Saturday, April 28, 2007

Big Day.. and, um, Grossness.

Hmmm, where do I start today's post...

Yesterday, after work and all day today, I went with 4 others from our church to the Women of Faith Conference in Columbus. It was a first for all of us and we had a really good time. It not only brought our group of women closer together but gave us a temporary break from life so we could regain perspective and come back to life refreshed and ready to face the challenges ahead... and then I came home... ready... to face... the challenges...

Tom did a great job caring for Emily while I was gone. I left a post-it note with schedules and instructions. The twist in the story comes when I tell you that Emily has another cold. She had just recooperated from the one she had right after Easter and within 4-5 days of that she acquired a new one. On Wednesday night she started coughing again and woke up several times in the night to cough and immediately went right back to sleep. Thursday was similar. She didn't have the runny nose this time around, just a scary, rattly cough in her chest. I put her back on cold medicine and it didn't seem to do much until Friday night. This morning, she woke up still coughing, but had a runny nose.

Tom did an excellent job taking care of Emily and had to take her to my parents' house today so he could go to work. There was a note in the diaper bag tonight from Mom that Emily had a somewhat fussy day and was tired but kept waking up from coughing so she didn't sleep much either. After work, Tom picked her up again and they headed to Columbus to get Ryan. He said she slept most of the way to Columbus and at least halfway home. I'm guessing that was probably because she was sitting upright in her carseat and not laying down where her sinuses were draining and making her cough.

Now, the fun part! Emily actually had her first semblance of a crawl today! We're going to have to start being on our toes. She wasn't in the best of moods but was doing her best to make it over to me while I was laying on the floor in front of her. It was more of a combat crawl (not really up on her knees) but it was still a forward movement! She's been rolling all over the place and recently pushing herself backwards while on her back and tummy. She did it (combat crawled) at least 3 different times tonight that I witnessed. Now... we'll have to see if she remembers this trick tomorrow.

Ok, now you're wondering about the "grossness" part of today's title... at this point you can also really start wondering why I share every little detail of our lives with you. The part that makes me chuckle is that for a guy, Tom is really pretty easy to gross out and he will be grossed out that I'm putting this in writing... hehehe... oh well, I take weird pleasure in making his stomach turn. Emily was at her finest in "class lady etiquette" tonight. Remember the runny nose? We had plenty of nose bubbles tonight! The more I wiped her nose, the more upset she got and the more bubbles we seemed to achieve. (No, I didn't take pictures and if I did... posting them might pass the gross stage for even me!)

Emily also surprised me toward the end of the evening by not downing her bedtime bottle as fast as she normally does. She just acted like she was tired and started to lose interest in it. She had downed about 1/2 of it and pulled it out of her mouth and gave it a dirty look. A few seconds later it was back in her mouth. When she had finished all but the last couple of ounces she decided she was done with her bottle. I thought to myself, "Hmmm, this is new" and sat her up to see if she needed burped. After just a minute or two she decided she didn't wanted to retain the fluid in her belly and "swallowed in reverse". My sweet, little, adorable, precious, darling girl turned into a formula sprinkler head and adorned our living room floor with the former contents of her bottle. ;-) It didn't seem to phase her a bit but mother and child needed a change of clothes afterwards. How's that for creative wording? (We'll see what Tom says after he reads this!)

We're praying for a better tomorrow and I think I just might stay home from church tomorrow with Miss Em to see if we can get her to start feeling better without sharing with the rest of the folks at church. Who knows... maybe she got it out of her system tonight!

Enough for tonight... you can thank me later for NOT posting pictures with today's entry. ;-)

Take care and be blessed!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not for the Queasy!

I am rejoicing today for the weirdest reason... our 11 month old daughter can finally grab her toes and put them in her mouth!

Speaking of toes... she was fascinated with Daddy's big screen TV this afternoon. First it was Judge Judy, then it was the Simpson's! This pose didn't last long.. as soon as Daddy saw what I was taking a picture of he rushed over to "hug" his daughter and rescue his TV from scary, slobbery, slimy toes! Hehehehe.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Emily Update and Pix!

Things in the Land of Em are going well. According to Mom's official "scientific" methods of measurement, she's now 18 lbs. and 27 inches long. (I believe she's gained 4 lbs. in 2 months and has grown about 2 inches!) Even though it really didn't get her down, her cold seems to have run it's course and has left the building. Thankfully, she really didn't pass it along to either of us which is surprising -- especially since she's taken great joy in wiping her nose on my face as soon as I pick her up from her crib or exersaucer. Now that the cold is gone, she's continued this trick and it has turned into a cute snuggle which is usually followed by her blowing raspberries/zerberts on my cheek or jaw. ...It's cute until her 2 little chompers decide to get in on the act. Dad's face must be a little too prickly with all those whiskers because she hasn't tried this trick on him yet.

Today is Sunday, and just since Friday afternoon's PT appointment Emily seems much more flexible. Have you ever tried changing a diaper on a straight-legged baby? It ain't easy folks! But, something must have triggered at the PT appointment and some of those muscles must be starting to relax a little. She has been much easier to change this weekend and it feels like there is less resistence.

Now that the weather has started to warm up and we're feeling the bug to take Emily out and about we decided it was time to invest in a good stroller. We have a glorified umbrella stroller that I've used a couple of times to walk down and get the mail but even my little short legs kept hitting the back axle with every step. And, if you're much taller than my ginormous 5'2" stature, you have to bend over a bit while pushing it. The next time we get out and about I'll be sure to snap a picture of Emily in her new ride for your viewing pleasure.

Speaking of your viewing pleasure, I promised some pictures in my last post. I don't have anything quite as nice as the pictures of Switzerland and France that my sister has been posting in her blog but the kiddo will have to suffice until someone wants to splurge and send me on a another trip around the world!

I've been very impressed with our kidlet over the past couple of weeks. Even with a cold, she still made amazing progress. She went from sitting up for about 10 minutes one week to sitting up for over an hour at a time. We'll spare you the nasty nose by showing you a picture from a distance... ;-)

Remember the pictures of Emily's "office" and how she was crunching numbers on her first day on the job? She's settling in nicely and her "office" now has that lived in look...

Speaking of memories -- remember how very little hair she had in the early days of our blog? Check this out!

To wrap up today's blog... here's a lovely smiling portrait of Miss Em. Enjoy and Be Blessed!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Has it really been over a week since I last posted? Oi vey! Hmmm, since my last post we've had lots of fun. Emily turned 11 months old on Saturday. She has gained 4 lbs since the middle of February and is now up to 18 lbs. She's still small though and wears mostly size 6-9 mos. (But most of her pants have to be smaller than 9 mos or they fall off!) I can't believe how fast time has flown. Each day she learns more and more and makes us grin from ear to ear.

AT THE OFFICE: Emily continues to enjoy "staff meetings at the office". (See my Office post from the 7th.) She likes to stand up in her cubicle... ahem... exersaucer. And, the last few days she's really enjoyed bouncing in it.

AT CHURCH: She's always done really well during church. I've been trying to keep her with me during church because she hasn't been so good at sitting up by herself yet and didn't feel that was fair to the people helping in the nursery. Since Tom is the pastor of our church, Ryan and I get Emily duty on Sunday mornings. We get there about 2 hours before church starts to get everything ready. Since it's hard to make coffee (and unsafe) and hold Emily and since she likes her portable high chair so well, I decided it might be worth taking with us so she can entertain herself while I take on my morning tasks. After the preparations were made we get her out and play with her and she gets to visit with everyone at church. When church started back up, I put the portable high chair on the seat beside mine and she sat and played and "read" her book and ate Cheerios in total bliss while Daddy preached.

PHYSICAL THERAPY: Em has had 2 physical therapy appointments so far. Our insurance covers 20 visits and we're expected to need more than that unless she makes some rapid progress. We go once a week for a half hour at a time. Our physical therapist, Laurie, gives Emily a good workout and stretches out her muscles and teaches us what to do during the week to keep her limbered up. Our first visit was a little frustrating because Emily had more "high-toned" muscles than I suspected. I think I posted this already, but her spine had limited mobility and her legs were not very flexible. Her feet were in a "tippy-toe" position most of the time and it took some effort to get her to stand flat-footed. At our second visit, Laurie was impressed with the progress Emily had made and gave me some more things to work on with her. We are still working on the same stretches that I posted in our initial PT post but we are also working on what I call her butterfly stretch... while sitting or laying down, we bend her knees and rock her from side to side to stretch inner leg muscles. (I'm hoping this makes diaper changes easier in the long run... it's hard to change diapers on a straight-legged baby.)

EATING: Emily is still eating very well. As far as I can tell, she still hasn't quite figured out when she's full but I feel we're not too far away from that. We have more and more days now when she's interested in looking around while she's eating instead of waiting for the next spoonful to make it to her mouth. She still eating just about anything I offer. She's had a cold for the past week and a half and I think a couple of the things I offered her were irritating her throat. She turned her nose up at oatmeal cereal with apples & cinnamon but ate it a couple of days later. She did the same thing with a jar of chicken noodle dinner. She hasn't found anything that she doesn't like a couple of days later.... totally the opposite from how I was a kid -- or least so I'm told! ;-)

SICKIES: Speaking of her cold... she still has it, but it's not so bad except she's a little congested when she's waking up. But, shhhhh... she doesn't know she has a cold yet or that she's supposed to feel bad... and we're not going to tell her!

SLEEPING: She's still sleeping through the night and has ever since we first got custody. She woke up for an hour during the night earlier this week from coughing but decided after a little cuddling that she could go back to sleep for a few more hours until it was time for breakfast. We usually put her to bed around 8pm and she's awake and playing in her crib around 7-7:30am.

CHEERIOS vs FRUIT PUFFS: Emily has become a champion Cherrios eater. She's able to pick them up with either hand (although she tends to prefer her left hand right now). Now that she's got the skill mastered, I've been switching back and forth between Cheerios and Fruit Puffs.

Hmmmm... did I miss anything? I know, I know... pictures will be coming soon!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I didn't write the summary below. It appeared on a Yahoo Group that I'm on. If you've followed my blog from the get-go you'll remember that I discussed some of my feelings as we were going through the adoption process and the things that were difficult for me. I've heard from several people that followed my blog that they appreciated my honesty online because it helped them know better how to handle situations with family and friends going through similar things. Today's post is along a similar line, but describes what a person dealing with infertility issues might be going through. Yes, some of these things also describe what I went through as we were trying to adopt. I had no real overwelming desire to become pregnant and we did not have a desire to go through infertility treatments. Please read with an open heart and tuck some of these thoughts away for the next time you offer helpful advice to someone dealing with infertility/adoption issues. ;-)

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It may surprise you to know that one out of six women who wants to have a baby cannot conceive. There are many possible reasons for this dismal statistic: blocked fallopian tubes, ovarian failure, hormonal imbalances, husband's low sperm count, to name just a few. Moreover, after a woman turns thirty-five, it becomes difficult to have a baby primarily because many of the eggs she has left are defective and old. All these barriers to pregnancy are physical or physiological, not psychological. Tubes don't become blocked because a woman is "trying too hard" to get pregnant. Antibodies that kill sperm will not disappear if a woman simply relaxes. And a man cannot make his sperm swim faster by developing a more optimistic outlook.

Medical Intervention:
After every medical attempt at making her pregnant, she must play a waiting game that is peppered with spurts of optimism and pessimism. It is an emotional roller coaster. She doesn't know if her swollen breasts are a sign of pregnancy or a side effect of the fertility drugs. If she sees a spot of blood on her underwear, she doesn't know if an embryo is trying to implant or her period is about to begin. If she is not pregnant after an IVF procedure, she may feel as though her baby died.
How can a person grieve for a life that existed only in her mind? While trying to cope with this emotional turmoil, she gets invited to a baby shower or christening, learns that a friend or colleague is pregnant, or she reads about a one-day-old infant found abandoned in a dumpster. Can you try to imagine her envy, her rage over the inequities in life? Given that infertility permeates practically every facet of her existence, is it any wonder why she is obsessed with her quest? Every month, she wonders whether this will finally be her month. If it isn't, she wonders if she can muster the energy to try again. Will she be able to afford another procedure? How much longer will her husband continue to be supportive? Will she be forced to give up her dream? So when you speak with her, try to empathize with the burdens on her mind and on her heart. She knows you care about her, and she may need to talk with you about her ordeal. But she knows that there is
nothing you can say or do to make her pregnant. And she fears that you will offer a suggestion that will trigger even more despair.

Just as an ordinary room can be an obstacle course to a blind person, so can the everyday world be full of hazards for an infertile woman --- hazards that do not exist for women with children. She goes to her sister-in-law' s house for Thanksgiving. Her cousin is breast-feeding. The men are watching the football game while the women talk about problems with their kids. She feels left out, to say the least. Thanksgiving is an example of the many holidays that are particularly
difficult for her. They mark the passage of time. She remembers what came to mind last Thanksgiving --- that the next year, she would have a new son or daughter to show off to her family. Each holiday presents its own unique burden to the infertile woman. Valentine's Day reminds her of her romance, love, marriage - and the family she may never be able to create. Mother's Day and Father's Day? Their difficulties are obvious. Mundane activities like a walk down the street or going to the
shopping mall are packed with land mines. Seeing women pushing baby carriages and strollers strikes a raw nerve. While watching TV, she is bombarded by commercials for diapers, baby food, and early pregnancy tests. At a party, someone asks how long she's been married and whether she has any kids. She feels like running out of the room, but she can't. If she talks about being infertile, she's likely to get well-intentioned advice -- just the thing she doesn't need: "Just relax. Don't worry. It will happen soon." Or, "You're lucky. I've had it with my kids. I wish I had your freedom." These are the kinds of comments
that make her want to crawl under the nearest sofa and die.

Because she is infertile, life is extremely stressful for her. She's doing her best to cope. Please be understanding. Sometimes she will be depressed. Sometimes she will be angry. Sometimes she will be physically and emotionally exhausted. She's not going to be the "same old" girl she used to be. She won't want to do many of the things she used to do. She has no idea when, or if, her problem will be solved. She's engaged in an emotionally and financially taxing venture with a low probability of success. The longer she perseveres, however, the greater her chances of pregnancy become. Maybe someday she will be
successful. Maybe someday she will give up and turn to adoption, or come to terms with living a childfree life. At present, though, she has no idea what will happen. It's all she can do to keep going from one day to the next. She does not know why this is her lot. Nobody does. All she knows is the horrible anguish that she lives with every day. Please care about her. Please be sensitive to her situation. Give her your support -- she needs and wants it. "

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Day at the "Office"

Our physical therapist recommended last week that we get an exersaucer for Emily to play in so she can stand up flat-footed and stretch those feet and leg muscles. I shopped around earlier in the week for a used one and decided that most of ones in the 2nd hand stores were pretty dirty looking. We had recently received some money from the baby shower at our previous church and decided that a new exersaucer would be a good investment for the little munchkin.

I also went shopping at the stores at Lewis Center thinking they would have a bigger selection than Marion. I'm proud to say that Marion's Meijer store leaves little to be desired at the Wal-Mart and Meijer in Polaris/Lewis Center. They really didn't have much to offer in the way of baby periphenalia. Believe it or not, Marion's Meijer has the best selection of baby equipment (strollers, high chairs, exersaucers, rockers, etc.) BY FAR!

After work, Emily and I sat down in the living room to assemble her new work space. I had read product reviews on the internet that people had spent hours fumbling through the instructions in an attempt to assemble these things and I was prepared to leave my schedule open for the night.

After a mere 65 minutes, Emily was taking her new space out for a test drive! Look, she's even standing flat-footed in it during her first trial run!

Another happy customer... that's what I'm talking about!

We then had a staff meeting to discuss the upcoming years figures. I told Emily we were going to have to make some budget cuts in the diaper department and she'd need to start potty training next week. She thought that was pretty funny.

So, we did some more number crunching and we finally came up with a solid budget that she could really sink her teeth into!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Occupational Therapy

What kind of occupation can a 10 1/2 month old have and why would they need therapy? I know, I know, it sounds kinda funny. Emily is a very hard worker and earns every penny she makes. (I'm just kidding! She earns every dollar she makes!)

We had our last Occupational Therapy (OT) appointment this morning and Noelle gave us some handouts on things we can continue to do to help loosen Emily up and work on her fine motor skills. Noelle was very impressed with how much progress Emily had made since our previous visit. In 5 days Emily was sitting up much better on her own and was rolling on her own to play on her side instead of simply playing on her back or tummy. She can feed herself much better now and probably 8 out of 10 Cheerios are making it into her mouth now.

It was nice to hear that Noelle was impressed with her progress. We get to see improvements every day and get to witness Emily's new tricks but it's nice to hear a professional get excited about mastering those tasks as well.

Here's Emily with her OT friend, Noelle.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Post Dedication

After church we had Mama and Papa over to visit. Here are just a few pictures from the "photo shoot".

Emily's Baby Dedication

This morning was Emily's baby dedication. No, she's not wearing a fancy white Christening gown... she's dressed the way people in our church dress for church.

Although we had "a wardrobe malfunction" and had to run Emily home to change clothes just 20 minutes before church started, it was a very good day. Okay, it wasn't really a wardrobe malfunction of Janet Jackson quality but let's just say a onesie and a pair pants were at the opposite end of the spectrum from clean and fresh.

We (Jenni, Ryan and Emily) made it back to church 10 minutes late and found a seat in the midst of our family. Emily had lots of special visitors for the day. Along with our regularly attending church family Great Grandma Isler, Grandma and Grandpa Gaston, Aunt Michelle and Aunt Laura, Mama Hypes and Papa Hypes, Briana and Steven, Uncle Jim and Aunt Kris, Uncle Fred and Aunt Reda, Uncle Chuck and Aunt Connie and our friends Barb and Norm also came along to celebrate her special day.

Tom did a great job doing the dedication ceremony and surprisingly only teared up a little bit!

Here are some pictures from the morning.

The happy family...

Jenni, Emily, Grandpa Gaston, Grandma Gaston, Great Grandma Isler

Emily and Barb... after Emily tried eating Barb's cheek!

Uncle Fred and Cousin Abby

Ryan, Todd and Aunt Laura

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