Internet - Happy. Happy - Internet. This is Happy Gabe's favorite toy lately (well, depending on the day... he also LOVES his Handy Manny Toolbox and well, really anything he's NOT supposed to be getting into!).
Whenever Gabe plays with this bear, he brings it to me and says, "Happy!". He wants me to push the button. When you push the button, the bear sings Happy Birthday. The cool thing about this bear is that you can record your voice on it, so it says "Happy Birthday to _____". Well, when Gabe recorded it, he recorded "Mama". So, whenever he plays it, it sings Happy Birthday to me! Pretty sweet to have everyday as your birthday!
Internet - M&M mini's. M&M mini's - Internet.
Parents - I cannot stress enough, children (well, my child anyway) will do anything... let me rephrase... ANYTHING!!!... for M&M mini's. I've gotten this kid to pick up toys, put jammies on, eat dinner, etc... He loves these candies. Want to know a trick? Oh, this is bad... Only give them like 1 or 2 at a time and space it out quite a bit and they really think they're being rewarded a lot. And, one container lasts a few days. Is that bad? Only a few extra calories and sugars a day instead of a whole bunch. Oh, it is also a really good grocery store trick too! "You be good and we can get some CANDY!" I just hope I'm not enabling a sweet tooth...
Extreme close up... WAAAAAHHHH! Oh, yeah, and here's the Gabers! Isn't he getting to be so big?! I was trying to get him to lay on his belly and put his head in his hands, but he just kept getting really close to my second baby (um... my camera) and wanting to touch it. So..... This was the best I could do! He's so cute though, isn't he? Maybe I'm a little biased, but he's stinkin' adorable.
Gabe's Mom is headed to bed. Have a great holiday weekend!!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Internet - Happy. Happy - Internet. This is Happy Gabe's favorite toy lately (well, depending on the day... he also LOVES his Handy Manny Toolbox and well, really anything he's NOT supposed to be getting into!).
Friday, August 29, 2008
If you have been following our story, you'll know it's been awhile since I've written about the adoption journey that lead us to these doors. When I took this picture, Gabe's birthmom was in labor and I was pacing back and forth. Greg and Gabe's birthmom's brother were sitting and talking. I was pacing.
Let me back up a bit though. I left off here in case you want a refresher as to where we are. So, it's June, we're on the list, and we're waiting. Every couple of weeks, I email our agencies to see if there's any news, but each time they tell me that they will let us know. So, we spent a lot of time in June just doing things together and spending quality time with our friends. During June, we had a great little motorcycle day trip and I believe we went to Darci & Craig's cottage. Also, I was on LA Weightloss at the time and I had just lost 26 pounds. Things were going great. In fact, in July - July 18th - I found out I was pregnant.
I couldn't believe it. We weren't trying. We were very happy to be on the adoption waiting list - we were so excited to be adopting our first child. We really felt like this is right where the Lord had directed us. We thought it was His plan. Little did we know, His plan would include this pregnancy.
We were beaming. We couldn't contain our joy and didn't delay in telling our family. We told them that night. Greg's parents had a dinner for the farm and my parents were camping. Greg's mom and dad thought we were talking about adoption - we showed them a Harley jacket for a baby. My mom squealed. My dad actually had to tell my mom to be quiet because we were at the campground. Greg's parents came to the campground too. We got pictures together and spent the evening just saying, "I can't believe it."
I went to my first ultrasound at around 5 1/2 weeks and the doctor saw a flickering heartbeat. We were even able to hear it. My mom and Greg's mom were with us and we were all crying. I was shaking so hard from crying that they had to tell me to stop so they could hear the baby. I will never ever forget the sound of that beautiful heartbeat. The doctor told me he wanted to do another sonogram in 10 days to make sure things were going smoothly. Greg left in a couple of days for a motorcycle trip with his dad, so Greg's mom would be going to that appointment with me.
A couple of days after we found out about the pregnancy, we received a call from one of our adoption agencies that a woman was in labor and wanted to meet some couples. We really felt that we had to say, "no" because we didn't think it would be fair to the other families waiting to have a child, if we were to be chosen. Also, I don't know if we could've handled 2 children at once! To this day, I still think maybe my pregnancy saved me from a potentially bad situation - not that it was the reason I was pregnant, but it was a factor in saying "no" to meeting that birth mom. Maybe the birth mom would've chosen us. Maybe she would've changed her mind in the 2 week window that the state of Missouri has. Maybe the situation with the birth father would have been trouble. Who knows.
At the next doctors appointment, I was scheduled for another sonogram. I was so unbelievably excited. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I bought a pregnancy journal and started a Mother's Journal for our baby. I wrote that I couldn't wait to see the baby again. When the nurse did the sonogram, she had a really hard time finding the heartbeat. She said she needed to call the doctor in. I knew immediately that the baby was gone. They didn't have to tell me. I knew. In fact, throughout the time I was pregnant, I think I always knew that I wouldn't get an opportunity to raise this child. Don't ask me how I knew... I just did. Mother's intuition, maybe.
The doctor came in and told me & Greg's mom the terrible news that I had a missed miscarriage. We were devastated. I will always remember that day. It's almost like I can replay it in my mind, but I'm watching it all happen from above - I know that probably sounds weird, but that's how I recall it. Greg's mom was absolutely fantastic. We had friends visiting, people praying, and others that would just hug me while I cried. I have never experienced something so painful in all my life. Greg and his dad came home and Greg and I looked at each other and just didn't know what to say. I had a procedure done and found out that there was nothing wrong with the baby chromosome-wise. This was good news, according to the doctor. To me, I was just even more frustrated. There was no explanation. No reason why our child was gone. I still grieve the child we lost. I still think of her every due date anniversary and every anniversary when I found out she was gone. Her loss was agony. I couldn't understand why God fulfilled the desires of my heart and then so quickly took her away. I don't think I'll ever understand that. I have blogged more about my thoughts on the miscarriage on my other site.
After a couple of months, we informed our agencies that we were ready to be back on the list. We weren't going to try the common infertility drugs like Lupron & Clomid again. We still felt like we were meant to adopt. Sure, we may get pregnant in the future, but right now, adoption was God's way. So, we were reactivated. And.... we wait.
I'm trying to decide if I should go on and make this the longest blog post ever... I guess I will. Grab a cup of coffee or a soda, and chat with me for a bit longer...
In January, we received a call from Adoptions of Illinois. There was a birth mom due with a little boy and she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. She was due very soon. The birth mom wanted to meet us after reading our profile. We were ecstatic. When Greg called me to tell me, I was sitting in the parking lot of our pharmacy. All I could say was, "Greg, we might have a boy. A son." It was Monday, and we were leaving for a cruise on Friday. Wednesday, 2 days after receiving the call, we met with Gabe's birth mom, mother, and best friend.
Instantly, we seemed to hit it off with them. We talked about movies, likes, dislikes, hobbies, discipline plans, goals, religion, etc... any big or little topic, we covered. They were all so easy to talk to. Greg and I had decided before we even walked in the room we were going to completely be ourselves. No "super parent" attitude. No, "we're the perfect couple". We wanted his birth family to choose us because we're us. That's the best thing we could've done. They liked us! That day, that room was filled with laughter, a few tears (from me when I talked about becoming a parent some day), and calmness. When we walked out of the room (I still can't believe I said this...) I said to Greg, "We nailed it! It went so well!" That totally seems to contradict the "be yourself" attitude we had when going in there. I think I was just so excited that I meant, "We did just what we said we'd do and they liked us! I think they may pick us!"
We didn't know for sure if we should go on the cruise since Gabe's birth mom was due so soon. She thought we should still go and she definitley wouldn't base her decision on whether or not we'd be here. So, reluctantly, we decided to go. While on the ship, (a week after meeting her) we received an email that Gabe's birth mom had chosen us. We were going to be parents. We told my parents first because we were on the cruise with them and then called Greg's parents. We also called Darci & Craig. We were so excited, we ran out of our room on the ship trying to find my parents. When we told them, mom squealed (again) causing our neighbors to open their door. When we told them the news, they handed us a bottle of wine and said, "Here, you need to celebrate!".
On our way home from the cruise, Thursday, one week and one day after meeting Gabe's birth mom, we found out that she had started to dialate. We were freaking out thinking we wouldn't make it home in time. We didn't know that a woman could dialate days before the birth! Friday night, my mom, my mother in law, and my sister in law went shopping with me to buy all the necessities for baby. It was so much fun. AND, overwhelming. I couldn't believe it. I was going to be a Mommy. That Sunday, just 11 days after meeting his birth mom, Gabe was born at 12:59 pm.
There you have it. Our Story. It's a great one, isn't it? Gabey, we love you and we couldn't have planned it any better than it unfolded.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I'm looking forward to a rather calm weekend. We don't really have any plans except for a cookout at my mom & dad's house on Monday. We always try to get together as a family on or around Labor Day - This is the anniversary of the accident my siblings were in, so we like to spend that time together. My parents invited my in laws too (including Greg's brothers and their wives & kids), which is awesome. I'm so fortunate that my family all gets along so well together. That's great for me and Greg, but even better for Gabe. Not many kids can have some of their holidays shared with both sides of the family. Greg's parents are always so great about including my family too. If my mom has to work a holiday, a lot of times Greg's parents invite my Dad and brother over to spend the holiday there, which is so thoughtful.
Gabe is really fortunate to have grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, & friends that all love him so much. Seeing your child loved is one of the greatest joys a parent can experience.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
We had a pretty nice weekend. It started out Friday night with a dinner for Gabe with his PawPaw, Papa, Uncle Dan, and his two Abbas. We had them over to celebrate Gabe's adoption anniversary. We had a really nice time. I fixed lasagna, salad, and an apple pie (frozen, but hey, it was still yummy!). Greg's mom brought some cucumbers in vinegar and homemade pretzels. My mom brought deviled eggs and star cupcakes.
Even though we didn't expect any gifts, both sets of grandparents brought Gabey a present. PawPaw and Abba got him an awesome Handy Manny tool set - which he loves! We have now learned the Handy Manny "Hop Up Jump In" theme song forwards and backwards! He has been playing with that all weekend. Papa and Abba got him a tractor with dual rear tires, oh, and it ALSO makes noise! He loved that too. Most of all, he just had a blast with his grandparents, which was what the whole evening was about. He entertained them all by saying, "ah happy!" several times, as well as yelling, "MommmmEEEE" when I went in the kitchen to get him a hotdog. I guess he's not a fan of lasagna.
Saturday, we played with his new toys and in the afternoon Gabe's Dad let me get groceries and do a little scrapbook shopping. It was nice to get groceries by myself and take my time. I also got some SWEET scrapbooking things that I'd had my eye on. We had pizza for supper and then watched Prom Night - kinda lame, but we watched the whole movie.
Today, I met with the engaged couple whose wedding I'll be photographing. I was really nervous about this meeting. Once I got there though, things went very smoothly. I liked the couple and I felt very confident in stating my responsibilities for the wedding day. Both were very nice and even took me to the site of the wedding so I could get a feel for what I'd be in for that day. I was actually quite relieved when I saw the site. It looks like we'll have plenty of light and we'll be right near downtown, so we may even be able to take some outdoor shots if the weather is nice enough.
Oh, and here we are with our Gabers:
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Today is your day. When we asked you this morning "Is today YOUR day?" You smiled at us and said, "Che-yeah". Today is the anniversary of the finalization of your adoption. One year ago today, you legally became a part of our family.
Gabe, we are not celebrating this day because we became a family that day, because we did not. We became a family the minute we met you. You were forever a part of us from that moment. We are celebrating today, just as a reminder of how very special your part in this family is. How Daddy and I cannot begin to remember our lives without you in them. We are celebrating how very thankful we are that all turned out well with the court proceedings, how God blessed us and kept you with us.
When we were waiting for a baby, a child that was a perfect fit into our family, we prayed for you. We prayed for your birthmom and birthdad. We prayed that God would keep you healthy as you grew in your birthmom's tummy. We also prayed that you, the child God intended to be a Herrman, would be a perfect fit. It's still so amazing to me how God was able to hand select you, me, and Daddy to be together as a family. Seven years ago, when we started trying to have a family, God already knew that YOU were the baby we would wait for. He knew that we needed you.
Gabe, we love you so much. As I'm typing this, I'm crying, thinking about how very much I love you and how much of a miracle your adoption has been. Because of one perfect, very loved baby, Daddy and I have a family, a wonderful relationship with your birth family, and joy beyond words. One tiny baby has brought two families together. One tiny baby has brought his grandparents so much delight. One tiny baby is growing into a big boy. My big boy.
Tonight, when I put you to bed, we had a bit of conversation. First, we said our prayers. Then, I covered you up and said, "I love you love you love you, baby". And you said, "La Yu. Ba Ba?" So, I gave you your bottle. As I was leaving your room, I said, "Sleepy Good!" and you said, "La Yu!" Gabe, to hear you say love you is the sweetest sound in the world. My heart is overflowing.
I love you, Gabe Herrman. You are so loved - never forget for a minute, you didn't grow under my heart, but in it.
All my love,
Sunday, August 17, 2008
It's hard to believe that this Wednesday will be 1 year since Gabe's adoption was finalized. It's hard to believe STILL that this awesome, totally fun, "appy" boy is ours. As I think back about last year, I think of all the dread, the hurt, the wonder, and the pain. I think about how proud I felt on the witness stand to say, "Yes, he is MY son". I remember tearing up while the lawyers questioned us: "Will you always love this child?" "Will you treat this child as any other child you may have naturally or adopted in the future?" "Do you realize your child will inherit from you, just like a naturally born child?"
I remember being kind of insulted by the questions. Part of me felt like saying, "He was mine from the moment I met him." Because he was. That child captured my heart the very minute I saw him through the double door windows of the maternity ward at the hospital. I could see that he was long, red, and screaming! He was mine when I held him and wept because our dreams finally came true. He was mine when I fed him for the first time. He was mine when we laid him on the hospital bed just to look at his precious face. He was mine when he turned his head when he was a day old towards our voices. Somehow, he knew us. Somehow he knew to look for us - that he would be safe, loved, and treasured forever.
I cannot begin to imagine the tender moments Gabe's birth mom spent with him in the hospital and the time she had him at home. All I know is that he captured her heart as well. She will always, always love him. I just wanted to make it clear that she spent a lot of time with him as well. She bonded with him. And, still, he continues to capture her heart too.
On Wednesday, we will celebrate as a family, Gabe's special day. The day it became legal and final. But, to me, it wasn't August 20th really that he became mine. It was January 14, 2007 - the day he was born. The day we met. The day I'll never forget - the day I became a Mommy.
Gabe, I "la yu" way up to the Stars,
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Oh, this kid! Probably one of the most amazing moments is to know that your child is happy. I was able to see that quite a bit this weekend. Gabe's Dad took care of Gabe quite a bit this weekend to give me a little "me" time. I was able to get groceries, get the house picked up (it's already a mess again, but that's ok - it felt good while it lasted!), and even get some things planned for the Momma Retreat I'm going on with my girlfriends. I have the best husband. Seriously. He is so good with Gabe.
Today, Gabe's Dad let me go back to bed and they ran to town to get some things. They came back with an alligator pool that they got on clearance at Menards. $12 sure bought this kid a lot of happiness today. I bet it also had something to do with the fact that he was playing with his DaDa and PawPaw and Abba came to see him. Gabe's Dad also let me run with Tami today too. It was just nice to get out with my friend and have some spontaneous girl time. All of the pictures in this post are from the alligator pool. Wanna see some more?
Had to include this one too - this is how Daddy's morning started out! Yesterday, mine started with Gabe body-slamming me - WWF style.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Last week, Little Gabers was invited to his first Splash Party. He had so much fun. So did I. I loved watching my little guy play with all the other kids. I loved watching him just stare at the older kids with amazement. He's so cute. Look at that little belly.
When we got to the Splash Party, Keith - the dad in charge - said, "Can I take him?" Um, yeah! Go for it! Keith took him down the slide, showed him all of the activities, and then when Gabe went to his garage door and said "Jucsh", Keith went in and got him a juice box. Greg often takes Gabe down to Keith's garage to visit - ya know, guy time. So, Gabe is used to going to Keith's for a jucsh box. I thought it was funny that he remembered where to go and that he knew exactly what he wanted at Keith's house. Keith's wife, Beth did an awesome job of organizing the splash party with games, snacks, and rules (because with 20ish kids, you need them!) I'm so glad Gabe was invited to have a fun summer day!
Lately, we've been dealing a lot with temper issues, hitting, and biting. Basically, when he doesn't get his way, he either hits or bites. Not fun. As a parent, the hardest thing so far has not been the lack of sleep, the poopy diapers, or the eating challenges. Nope, it has been disciplining. There are times when we say "no" and Gabe just looks right at us and does it anyway. There are times when we have to let him throw a tantrum and just ignore it - this seems to work the best. He gets mad, then gets really mad when you're ignoring it, and then he's over it. I figure as long as we're keeping him safe from harm, this is probably ok. I don't want to draw attention to the behavior because then he knows it gets our attention. Ugh. It's tough.
Last night, I asked him if he loved me & Daddy. Usually he says, "yeah" or "Cheyeah". Last night he said "uh uh". Oh, that was hard to take. He's never said that before. I realize now that he was just mad at us, but ouch. Ouch. I know, I know... this is the first of many times that our child will hurt our feelings. That's another hard thing about being a parent - you give and give, you sacrifice, you go without sleep, you put them above all of your needs, and then they tell you "uh uh." That's tough.
However, God certainly knew what he was doing when he made the relationship between a parent and a child. He blessed us with those tender moments - when little boys want to be held by their mommy, when children say "La You" for the first time, when parents watch their children sleep. These are the moments that make it all SO worth it. These are the moments we waited for. The stinkerness, the poopy pants, the hitting and biting are all phases (hopefully) and God gave us these little blessings to help us get through it. When I watch Gabe sleep, sometimes I am so overwhelmed with love for him that I almost feel like my heart is going to overflow. I tear up many nights watching him over his crib and praying for him.
Forgive me for rambling... Sometimes it helps me to talk it out.