Archive for August, 2008

my baby is one!

We had so much fun celebrating Kailyn’s first birthday. Melia was as excited as if it were HER birthday. We kept the party short and simple . . . a couple of close friends and Aunt Mel. Other family and friends were unable to make it, but they were with us in spirit and through phone calls. K had a blast opening her gifts (almost as much fun as Melia had), and she LOVED, LOVED, LOVED her cupcake. We let her play with it for awhile, then I fed her a little bit. No lie. Each time I gave her a bite she said, “Mmmmm!”, and she’d open her mouth for the next bite as soon as she had swallowed. She is definitely an Austin ’cause anyone who knows us well knows we LOVE dessert.

What a year this has been! Of course every child changes dramatically during their first year, but this year has been one of extra celebration. We just can’t say enough how thankful and excited we are to see our little one grow and change each week. When she was born one year ago, I just couldn’t even fathom how she would be today. We didn’t even know if she would live, and now she is so cheerful and inquisitive and determined. She weighed two pounds, two ounces when she entered our world, and now she is up to a whopping fourteen and a half pounds. Still a teeny one, but she is on her way. Thank you, God, from the bottoms of our hearts, for our littlest miracle. Here’s a peek into K’s party.

Bath time! Oh. Thanks to this little one, I got to clean my bathtub again last night. Grandpa suggested that we start bathing her in the toilet. Hmmmm. One more poopy bath time and I might consider it.


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the big day

Happy first birthday, sweet girl. What a year it has been! More pictures soon.

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birthday bling

Kailyn’s birthday is quickly approaching, and Graig and I decided to get her ears pierced as part of her birthday celebration. We second guessed ourselves and almost didn’t go through with it, but in the end she ended up with sparkly pink earrings (Melia’s choice).

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becoming a photographer

I make list of goals each January. These aren’t really New Year’s resolutions, but just some goals of what I would like to focus on for that year. At the end of the year, I mentally think through that list and see how I did. Most of the time, I accomplish one or two or my goals. Well, one goal that has been on my list for three years is learning how to use our camera. We have a decent camera that we bought when Melia was little, and it’s like a “real” camera. It can take amazing pictures, if you know what you’re doing. I don’t. My best buddy, Colleen, has the same camera, and she knows how to use it. Too bad she lives three hours from here so I can’t drive her crazy asking her to teach me what she’s spent months learning to do. (She would patiently teach me, too. She’s tried almost every time we head to Columbus). Well, all that to say, I’m finally starting to work on this particular goal. I don’t want to just take pictures, I want to be a photographer–of my kids, my friends, and my life. I’ve started reading books about it, researching online, and watching DVDs. I’m really excited to learn more. I am drawn to pictures that are “real”, unposed, natural. I think there is definitely a place for the “smile and say cheese” pictures, but that’s not what I’m after. I want to see real life through my camera. Here’s a few examples of what I took when the girls were playing in the baby pool. What do you think? It was really difficult to narrow it down to four. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. This is only a teeny scratch on the surface of what I want to learn.

Kailyn LOVES the water. She’s kicking as hard as she can and making quite a splash. I had to dry my camera lens more than once because of her.

Melia is showing me how she can body surf in our pool. I love how Kailyn is in the background doing her own thing.

Filling up the watering can before dumping it on Kailyn

Blowing rasberries

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spic and span

My tub has never been cleaner. Why? I’ve cleaned it three times this week. Why? Because my youngest daughter keeps pooping in the tub! No joke, she has used our tub as her personal bathroom the last three times we’ve given her a bath at home. We’ve traveled the past two weekends, and I’m very thankful that she didn’t cristen Aunt Mel’s or Aunt Colleen’s tub. Graig and I have to laugh about it or it would be very frustrating.

We have had a very eventful 10 days. Between the four of us, we’ve had four doctor’s appointments, we’ve also traveled to Grand Rapids and Columbus and Lansing, and we got a great report from the Neonatologist!

On Wednesday, we took Kailyn for her second appointment with the Neonatology Clinic. They track preemies and how they are developing, and they see Kailyn every four months. We knew this would be a HUGE appointment for us because the doctors were going to let us know if and when we could safely proceed with our adoption. This decision was based on how Kailyn is growing and developing compared to where she should be if she had been born full term. We needed to know if she is healthy enough to live with us in Kenya for six to twelve months while we complete the Kenyan adoption requirements. Well, long story short, the doctors said they are VERY happy with how she is doing. She IS meeting the milestones that they expect. They seemed surprised at HOW well she is doing. It was such an encouraging appointment, and we are so thankful. That’s not to say that she doesn’t have any issues, but she is doing remarkably well, and they gave us the news we were hoping for. She is totally healthy enough to live in a third world country for several months! We went out to dinner to celebrate, and we joked about the fact that we were celebrating the beginning of a TON of work, a lot of faith, and a lot more sacrifice. We were celebrating the start of a whole new trial, but we are very excited to move on with this new phase in bringing our other daughter(s) home. We will start working on all of this sometime after Labor Day. This week is another big week since Kailyn celebrates her first birthday on the 30th, and Melia starts Kindergarten a couple of days later. Woo, Hoo! Let the craziness begin!

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lessons learned

1. Even though the sign says “U-pick raspberries, August through November”, it’s a bit early for ripe raspberries.
2. Mondays are the worst day to pick berries.
3. Strollers and raspberries fields are NOT friends.
4. Picking berries close to nap time is a bad idea. (OK, I already knew that one, but I thought I’d take a chance.)
5. When you go to pay for the berries, kindly explain that things did not go well because of your little one, and you will get your tiny batch of under ripe raspberries for free!

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one year ago

August 16, 2007–a day that changed our lives forever. I don’t remember much about that morning. It was probably just another regular summer day. I took Melia to her last gymnastics class, and while the class was going on, I took pictures and chatted with another mom about adoption. She had adopted internationally, and we talked about all kinds of adoption related things. I felt Kailyn moving around a LOT during the class. She was really pressing on my belly, and I felt her moving lower than I had before. Soon class was over, Melia came over to me, and I bent over to help her put on her shoes. That’s when it happened. That life-changing moment. My water broke. Only 25 weeks and 5 days along in the pregnancy, and my water broke. I was shocked, of course. We hurried out of the gym, I called Graig, and then my doctor. I stopped at home to get Melia a coloring book before driving myself to triage at U of M Hospital. Graig met us there, brought Melia lunch, and we waited while the doctors did tests and confirmed that my water really was broken. We were terrified. I cried, a lot. What did this mean for our baby, for our adoption? It was a crazy day followed by an even crazier four months. I was immediately admitted to the hospital, monitored constantly, and prayed for by hundreds of people. Friends and family immediately stepped in and took over the main care for Melia, and we just prayed and held on for a wild ride. In some ways, it seems like that happened ages ago to someone else, and other times it comes right back as if it were yesterday. What a year it has been. Most of you know that I was able to stay pregnant for exactly two more weeks. We were praying for much longer than that, but those two weeks made a big difference in how Kailyn is doing now. We are continually humbled and thankful for how well our two pound, two ounce daughter is doing today. We didn’t even know if she was going to live. We had several dark days, but today she is growing so well, and she is such a joy to all who know her. What an amazing journey, and it’s just beginning. I have a feeling that this upcoming year will also be full of challenges and rewards as we plan to pursue our Kenyan adoption again soon. It will be interesting to see how our lives are different one year from today.

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