Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Tale of Two Babies

Yesterday we took Baby Girl M. and the boys up to school for another hair appointment. Erica invited Mrs. Green to help, and as you can see she did an amazing job braiding little M.'s hair. It was unbelievable how quickly she worked and how effortless she made it seem. Here are the results:

Pretty girl!
We took these pictures in our front yard when we got home. It was a beautiful evening and we were all enjoying spending some relaxing family time together. Billy was holding Baby Boy D., I was holding M., and J. was toddling about. Suddenly a strange gurgling sound broke the calm.
"What was that?" I asked.

"It sounded like D.'s stomach," Billy replied.

We started joking about what it sounded like he had just done. But the joke was on us (well, really it was on Billy) because a moment later he gasped and jumped up, holding D. at arm's length. Since words won't do it justice, here is a picture:
Poor little D. I guess sweet potatoes aren't so sweet after all.

Friday, May 30, 2008

7 Months Ago

Seven months ago Baby Girl M. entered our lives.
A few days later we were told she would only be with us temporarily, meaning a few weeks at most. During this time I would just sit on the sofa and hold her and cry. Already it was too hard to fathom saying goodbye. The weeks have stretched into months and with each passing day the bonds between daughter and mother, daughter and father, and sister with brothers strenghthen. Each day that passes makes the day she might go more painful.

There is always hope. And that is one reason we kept M. (We were given the option of placing her in another foster home once we received the boys a month later.) Yesterday her CASA (Child Advocates San Antonio) volunteer came by for her monthly visit. From the way things are moving, there seems to be a greater chance now that we might be able to adopt her. The huge unknown is that we have heard word that there is a relative who wants her. But they have not contacted her case worker yet. The next court dates are in August and if rights are relinquished or terminated I believe these relatives would still have 90 days to come forward. So we still have a long way to go. But there is always hope.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Proverbs 22:6

This is so cute I had to share. Click here and here. Way to go, Rachelle!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pathetic Little Pug

Today seemed liked a good day to share a picture of this sad little guy. He's not so little anymore because this picture is from back in the day when Brad and Darcy were the original 500 Babies, even though we didn't know it at the time. From the look on his face, it seems Brad knew that someday he would not be my little baby anymore. Ok, well, I never called him my "baby", I'm not one of those people. But he was, and still is, my little BoBo Head even though he doesn't have lap priority anymore. (My lap is like a airplane runway. As soon as one baby leaves, another one taxis up to take its place. Wait. I'm not sure if that analogy was very good. But I know you all are smart enough to understand my point. And I can't think of a better one at the moment. ) ANYWAY, Brad is a good guy and a great dog because he puts up with all kinds of pulling, poking, and prodding by the babies. Baby Boy D. even sat on him last night. The sad thing is that right after we got the babies last fall, Brad developed a grey beard on his chin.

Here's the proof:

He looks quite haggard, don't you think? (Kind of like me these days!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Fun

We spent time this weekend working on the backyard, attempting to reclaim it from the dogs. Billy built an awesome deck, which you can see a little bit of in this picture. We have some landscaping we want to do around the deck and hope to accomplish that next weekend.

The babies loved being outside and were content to play by themselves for a while.
(Yes, M. is wearing American flag shorts.)

Then they started fighting over toys. Baby Boy D. climbed on top of Baby Girl M., and she retaliated by pulling his hair. I have photos, but they are graphic. (Just kidding!)
Here is J. getting to know the ground a little better.
What these photos don't show was the screaming, crying, falling down, and other hysterics and general chaos that occurred while Daddy was trying to grill and supervise a toddler and Mommy was trying to feed babies and then get them situated outside. But the end result was a relaxing evening in the backyard with our family, and well worth the trouble.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Blessing

We are so thankful that Mount Calvary streams its services live on Sunday mornings. Today the babies had runny noses and J. had a cough so we stayed home. We hate not being able to attend, but this is the next best thing. Before we had the background checks on the nursery workers this was the only way we could "attend" for a few weeks. (Billy and I took turns going by ourselves with J.)

Yes, we make J. watch. He sat on my lap during the sermon, just like he does when we're actually there (or Billy's lap). He does really well at church. I think it's because it's the one time all week when he gets to have both Mommy and Daddy to himself. The nursery staff does a great job of taking care of D. and M., so everything usually works out great.

I pray for good health for everyone next week so we can attend again. I didn't get to go last week, either, because Billy was at the Men's Retreat. I miss church.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I "caught" J. reading again, this time in his tunnel.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Update on Poseidon

There's good news and bad news.

The good news: Billy won! Even though some people didn't quite get who he was (he was called a Mermaid, Merman, Queen Neptune, and Zeus) he was a big hit. The principal announced the winners in front of the school during the Alamo City Heat Concert. (The Alamo City Heat is a band made up of San Antonio Police Officers who travel to schools putting on concerts and encouraging kids to make positive choices.)

Ok, on to the bad news: First place prize was $50, not $100. So the profits were drastically reduced. But it wasn't about the money (at least not completely!) and I reminded Billy that his students will always remember this day.

So in parting, let's have one final look at my dear husband, the sea god:

Don't mess with Poseidon!

Poseidon, God of the Sea

Today is "Beach Day" at school. It's an end-of-year celebration for everyone and includes a dress-up contest for the teachers. When Billy told me he was planning on participating I thought, "Cool."

When he told me the prize was $100 I said, "How can I help?"

After tossing a couple of ideas around (the sun, a seagull) Billy came up with "POSEIDON, GOD OF THE SEA". The idea comes from the book The Lightning Thief, the first book in a popular series for kids by Rick Riordan (who is from San Antonio, by the way). Anyway, I agreed that it was a great idea and we spent most of Monday putting the costume together. Our budget was $20 and I think we came pretty close. Not a bad investment if we win and if we don't win, hey, we had fun.

So without further ado, I present to you: "POSEIDON, GOD OF THE SEA"
I will post an update later today to let you know if he won.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We Like WIC

Yesterday Billy took J. for his re-certification appointment at WIC. J. has grown an inch since his last visit and has lost a couple of pounds. The nurse said the weight loss was fine because he had been a bit chubby when he came to us. His iron count was a little low, however. I think it may be because we tend to give him apple juice more often than orange juice, and vitamin C helps the iron absorb. So that's something to work on.

In addition to the regular food vouchers, we received 5 vouchers for $2 each to be used at a local Farmer's Market this summer for fresh fruits and vegetables. We are very excited about this, especially because it doesn't look like our garden is going to give us the bountiful harvest we had hoped for: I always thought it was odd that WIC didn't provide fruits or vegetables (except carrots if you're pregnant or nursing) so this was a nice surprise. I still need more inspiration for the dried beans, though.
(To be fair, there is still hope for the tomatoes!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Middle Child

Baby Boy D. is a true middle child. He does not demand as much attention as his big brother or little sister and sometimes I worry he's being neglected. For this reason, today D. gets his very own post.

D. has become an expert at pulling up and is showing interest in wanting to cruise along on the furniture. At his most recent physical therapy evaluation the therapist said he is 2-3 months ahead of where he shoud be as far as sitting and standing up. (This is due to high muscle tone in his legs.)

The red tunnel in the picture is one of D's favorite toys. He loves crawling through it and sitting inside with the tunnel upright. It's a great toy, by the way. It's actually a dog/cat tunnel Billy found at Dollar General. All of the kids love it.

D. is also becoming good at picking up small objects, something Mommy is a little uneasy about. A couple of days ago he was playing with the door stopper (You know, the ones that make the funny noise when you hit them.) Not a big deal, I thought. Then I noticed his hand was in a fist and was going to his mouth. The little rubber stopper on the end had come off. Duh, Mommy! Fortunately he isn't dextrous enough to get the objects from his hand to his mouth very quickly, and I was able to get there in time to remove it.

D. is a laid-back baby, content to crawl around, gnaw on things, and play by himself. Of course he has crabby moments, especially when he is overtired. When it gets really out of control, he starts the "typewriter cry", where his little head jerks back and forth. It's very sad. But most days he easily falls asleep on his own and consistently sleeps through the night.

Baby Boy D., we love you! We love your sweet smile. We love the way you laugh when you see your bottle when you're hungry. And we love the weird little way you like to flail your arms and hit yourself in the chest. God bless you, little buddy!

Friday, May 16, 2008


mortification - noun.
1. A feeling of humiliation or shame, as through some injury to one's pride or self-respect.
2. A cause or source of such humiliation or shame.
3. What happens when the ECI lady shows up at your house for a 10:00 appointment which you had totally forgotten about and the house is in a shambles and you look like you just rolled out of bed even though you haven't, you just look that way because you've been taking care of 500 babies.
4. When the same ECI lady is at your house and you are in the bathroom attempting to flush the contents of your toddler's diaper down the toilet and you realize the contents of the aforementioned diaper are missing. And you go to the living room and see that the contents had fallen out onto the floor when you picked up the diaper.

The funny thing is, about 8:30 or so I actually thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be awful if there was an appointment today I am forgetting about?" But silly me didn't bother to check my calendar. So when the doorbell rang at 10:00 my heart sank and I prayed I that when I looked through the peephole I would see a package left by UPS or a salesman or anyone else I didn't know so I could ignore it. But no, it was Angie, ready for her scheduled visit with J. The mess didn't seem to bother her at all, and I'm sure she doesn't expect a clean house when she visits. But I usually have at least the living room and kitchen fairly tidy when visitors come over. And my hair is usually brushed. And I am usually dressed.

Oh well. I needed something to blog about today anyway.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hair, Part II

Presenting Miss Baby Girl M. with her hair all done up in proper style:

Billy and I are blessed with wonderful friends. Erica graciously offered to show us how to do Lil' M.'s hair and as you can see she did a beautiful job. The picture was taken after M. slept on it so I redid a couple of the little puffs this morning.
It's not quite as nice and neat as it looked yesterday, and I still need a lot of practice. But don't you think she looks pretty? Thanks, Erica!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hair, Part I

One of these babies has a special hair appointment this afternoon. Can you guess which one?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Battered and Bruised

I had no idea babies were bullies. Every day (and night!) they mercilessly pull, push, pinch and pound on me with their little hands and bodies. The most painful is the death grip they use on my hair. I have tried wearing it pulled back, but it doesn't matter. Their little hands still find a way to clasp on and pull out chunks. Baby Boy D. likes to use my legs as a gnawing block (is he a rodent?) and both babies use their tiny nails to scratch, scratch, scratch. Baby Girl M. has taken to flailing and kicking in excitement when she's in her high chair. I always receive a few good jabs to the chest while feeding her.

I am a living jungle gym by day and a punching bag by night. Around 2 AM this morning I was holding Baby Girl M. in bed, trying to get her settled. She actually made me cry when she leaned on my windpipe causing me to choke and head-butted me twice, once in the nose. (She was trying to get on her hands and knees to rock back and forth. She just learned how to do this and I read that when babies learn a new skill they have trouble sleeping because they want to practice.)

I might have to put a "Beware of the Babies" sign on the front door.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day was a day to remember. It started with a delicious breakfast cooked by my husband and included thoughtful cards, fun gifts, and yummy ice cream. Those babies have a way with words so I thought I'd share what they wrote in their card to me:

Thanks for being the best. You pick me up when I fall. You sing to me in the morning. Let's face it, you put up with a lot! To say thanks, I have 2 gifts: 1) A pacifier holder - I know it's a pain to keep picking it up. 2) Safari Roller - This'll keep me busy for at least 5 minutues. Thanks again, Mommy. You're #1.
Love, Baby Boy D.

I love it when you hold me close. I can tell how much you love me by your gentle touch and loving words. Thanks for saving me mommy! Here are my 2 gifts: 1) Fun Links 2) Teether. Let's face it. Anything to keep me busy for even a few minutes is a blessing just like you. I love you mommy!
Yours with hugs, snuggles, and kisses, Baby Girl M.

I know that I can be a handful sometimes. I pull all my toys out and destroy the lving room every day. I'm sorry. So to make it upto you I have two gifts: 1) Magic Wand - It'll make that mess go away before I can say, "ooh-LAH!" 2) Super Power Mints - Evvery super hero needs a boost . Have a great Mother's Day! Thank you for all you do for me. You're the best Mommy ever!
Love, Toddler J.

There you have it. Yes, the card made me cry. Plus my thoughtful husband got me a very cool new coffee maker. The kind that brews automatically.

For all this and more, I am blessed.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good Habits Start Early

Last Wednesday morning I noticed a suspicious lack of noise coming from the nursery where J. was playing by himself. Concerned, I jumped up to investigate and was surprised and delighted by what I saw. Toddler J. was sitting in his big comfy chair quietly reading a book. He wasn't playing with his blocks, trucks, or dolls (Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, and Little Bill, thank you very much. All right, and a baby doll that laughs when you squeeze it. He pretends to feed it, ok?) No, at that moment he was lured by the simple pleasure of getting lost in a book. We are very proud of him.

(I would share the picture, but it shows too much of his face.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Formula for Cuteness?

I don't give much thought to what growth percentile the babies are in. Probably because there are so many of them it's hard to keep track of it all. But recently I measured J. and figured out why he's so darn cute:

Height = 10-20th percentile (He's short.)
Head circumference = above the 95th percentile (He has a big head.)
Eyelash length = above the 95th percentile (Ok, I made that one up. But they are remarkably long.)

Three months ago J. was below the 5th percentile for his age in height, so he's making progress. But he still has a way to go before he grows into his head.

Monday, May 5, 2008

An Incorrectly Filed Intervention

Today was the permanency hearing for the boys. Both Billy and I were able to attend. (Thanks Beck, Lydia, and Ruth for coming to babysit!)

What we learned is that the intervention filed by the family was done incorrectly by their attorney. But neither the family members nor their attorney were present at the hearing. We don't even really know if they filed by the deadline. But the judge said that the attorney would need to be contacted to figure out what was going on. Everyone seemed in agreement that we should adopt, but we have to make sure that everything is done correctly so that no one can challenge it at a later date.

Our case manager said that sometimes families don't really want the children back, but they will file an intervention just to say they tried, or to put the blame on CPS and say CPS wouldn't let them have the kids back. The fact that they didn't even show up tells me this could be the case.

So, we still have unanswered questions and more waiting. But I feel more hopeful than I did before. Thank you everyone for your kind words and prayers. I will keep you updated.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy Ascension Day

Even if O.P. Kretzmann wasn't my grandfather's second cousin, I would still share this with you.

I'm Good with Mice

Last night I received a nice compliment from my husband. He said, "You're so good with everyone. Babies, dogs, mice, husbands." At the moment I had been grasping Summer (the mouse) by the tail, getting ready to lower her back into her newly-cleaned cage. I think I was talking to her as well. It was exactly what I needed to hear because sometimes I don't think I'm doing a very good job at anything. An adequate job, perhaps. But who wants to be just adequate?

On another note, Billy deserves special recognition because for the past two days he has undertaken the monumental task of getting Baby Girl M. to fall asleep in her own bed at night. There's quite a bit of crying and screaming (the baby cries, too) but he doesn't give up. He keeps soothing and patting and humming to her until she falls asleep. I don't know how he does it because I would cave in and rock her or bring her to bed with me. The really amazing part is that once she falls asleep, she STAYS ASLEEP ALL NIGHT. I don't have to contort my body around her to fit on our bed anymore. Nice!

I love my husband.