Monday, June 22, 2009

Natalie is 11 months old!!!!

This past month has been full of activity. I have nearly had a break down during the long and difficult illness of my mamo Gertude. She has since gone to be with Jesus, which was really a blessing. I know that sounds terrible, but watching her deteriation daily was about more that I could take, and I know that she is now in Heaven and her new life and eternity has finally begun!!!! Praise be to God!!!

On a happier note we have booked our 1st vacation as a family of 5. We're going to Mayan Riviera, Mexico!!!! I've never been to Mexico, but man am I stoked!!! I am in desperate need of a vacation, unlike any other time in my life, so Mexico had better look out, cause here we come. We leave July 13th.

Our little princess Natalie has grown so much. She is now walking....yes walking. I know she's no bigger than a flea, but yes, she's walking. It's so cute. She started walking only 5 days ago and is now walking about 10ft at a time. She is so darn cute. We got some of her 1st steps on video and I'll try to get that posted on here soon. Once she figured out she could walk on her own, her whole personality seemed change. She immediately got so animated and engaged in everything around her. It seems that she feels that she can finally get involed with her surrounding more...I don't know. She just really blossomed immediately after she started walking. She will do something (make a sound or gesture) and wait for your reaction or you to mimic her. She will give kisses on demand which her daddy just loves. She has also developed a VERY strong dislike of strangers, and sometimes grandparents, which causes some great hurt in them!!!! But once she lets her little guard down again, man is she a papo getter. She's got both her papos wrapped right around her little finger. Papo JD (Eddie's dad) has found that Natalie likes fresh lemonade from a little resturant down the road, so he'll go buy her one and bring it to her. Did I mention Natalie is a little princess. Oh yeah, in the eyes of the papo's, she's the bomb diggidy!!! It's so cute.

Natalie is doing amazingly well, and we're so proud!!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Life Changing Events, and Changing Life Roles

First off I want to say that I've really thought long and hard about writing this post. This blog is dedicated to Natalie and her adoption story, and her young life. I plan to have it published in a book at some point for her as a keepsake, a record of her 1st years. This post is not about Natalie, it is about my dad and his mother, my grandmother. I now pretty much know that Natalie will not get to know her grate grandmother when she is old enough to remember her, so maybe a record of what exactly is going on, and how it is changing our family may be a good thing for Natalie to have when she is older. So here it is.

My grandmother, Gertude Deel, has always been a very strong, very histoic person. When she was her 20's, she would go and work with my grandfather in the coal mines. She would drive big trucks with huge logs loaded on it, something that was really frowned upon in the late 30's to early 40's. But she did what she had to do to help raise her family. She lost her son Arlet when he was only 6 months old, watched her oldest daughter suffer through polio, lost her next oldest son when he was 21 in the Vietnam war...only weeks before he was to be honorably discharged, and a younger son to drinking and driving in the early 80's. He was in his late 20's to early 30's. I'm not sure of his exact age. Mamo Gertude could out work most everyone I know, even in her 70's. I would go out to see her in the spring and summer only to find her somewhere working in her huge garden. Stubborn as a rock, hard as nails, she believed that children should be raised stictly, taught to "respect their elders". Since she was raised during the Depression, she would hoard food and keep things far past their expiration dates. I remember when Ashley was a little bitty thing, she'd go with my dad out to visit Mamo Gertude, and I'd send Ashley with her own personal packed keep her from eating any potentionally "spoiled" food. That's been a big "inside" joke of our family for years. And no matter how much you try to explain to Mamo how she needed to throw these things away, she just couldn't stand to be "wasteful". Mamo Gertude has always been a very tough person, and she's always been one to let the men of the family have the head of the house...she has much more respect for men than she does women, and more respect for boys than I guess our relationship hasn't always been the best, but I've always loved and admired her just hasn't always been mutual.

This year my grandmother's health has taken a drastic turn for the worse. I've watched her go from complete independence to complete dependence. She has gone from living at home, to being bedbound and even unable to lift her arms, or help turn, or eat, or really anything. It started off with a bought of pneumonia, then generalized weakness and frequent falls, to a subdural hematoma and new onset Atrial Fib, to another bought of pneumonia, then a stroke which left her with right-sided paralysis and inability to swallow. She cannot even tolerate her own oral secretions and as I write this today I've made her status comfort care only. This past 3 months has been absolutely devastating. My family has chosen to make me her Power of Attorney for Medical Care, so it's been me to make all the decisions. That is really hard when some family live far away and is not aware of all that is happening, and really has a hard time understanding even when explained simply. I can really understand why too....they remember their mom as that strong willed, hard as nails mom they grew up with. Now I see her cling to my dad like a child would to their parent. So sad. I've watched this role reveral more times than I can count in my professional life, but to live through it is more than words can express. And my dad....he's always been so much like his mother, so strong, so strong willed, and never depend on anybody, and to be perfectly honest with you, not an emotional person at all. It has only been in the past couple years he would tell me he loved me or hug me. Now I watch him with his mother....absolutely to most precious thing I've ever seen. He pet on her like a parent would their own child, he tells her he's sorry and that he loves her. I've never seen my dad like this, and it really makes me proud of him. My dad has also grown very dependent upon me. When things are really going south as far as mamo's health, or problems with nurses, or hospitals in general....I'm not going into all that mess here, he calls me...sometimes as many times as 10-15 times a day. When I go out to visit with my mamo Gertude with my dad, he doesn't want me to leave and will go through great lengths to keep me around. Again, just heart-breaking to see that role reveral. My dad has always been my rock and I'm seeing him grow more and more dependent upon me. It's so much easier when it's not "your family". This by far has been the most difficult days of my life, and adjusting to the added stress of directing the care of my mamo Gertude, and having everyone so dependent upon me has really taken it's toll.

My dear Natalie, I want you to know that your Mamo Gertude is one of the strongest people I've ever known. You remind me a lot of her. I see that strength in you my dear. I only wish you'd came sooner, so you could have known she truly was. But I know that in Heaven you will meet her one day, and I know you'll be as amazed and impressed by her as I always have.

Mamo Gertude, I love you, and until you take your last breath here on Earth, I promise you I'll take care of you the best that I can....I love you....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Something I learned today:

I've loved music all my life. Music has always been very important to me, and many times I can pick up my mood just by listening to different music. Ashley has most definatly got my love for music as I see her listening to it as often as I did when I was her age. It really makes me happy to see her enjoy it so much. Now I have Natalie....and let me tell you she loves music too....but she's so much more selective. She looses interest ver easily in many songs that I adore. She loves the very rich melody kind. I've put my playlist on my blog....I pray I don't offend anyone with some of my selections, but all these songs and artist have been important to me in some point in my life, and remember that I wasn't a Christian in my early 20's. but back to Natalie, she truly adores only 2 songs on my playlist: There's the Girl by Heart, and Big Girls Don't Cry by Ferggie. Natalie loves, loves, loves very rich melodies and when I sing to her she requires me to really stretch my vocal cords to hold her attention. She has a very picky ear!!!! Oh but how I love that about her. I love that she is picky about music, it makes me wonder if she's going to really have a good ear for the best music when she gets older, or even has a musical talent of some sort.....Well have to wait and see I guess.

Oh, I'll have to update my playlist to get Natalie's favorites on there....this one is a little old....I'll do that later today.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Simply Amazing

This past month has been filled with adventure. We now tend to forget completely that Natalie was adopted. When I take time to sit down and think about the way things have changed and literally blossomed over the past nearly 5 months, it's just mind boggeling, and reminds me that God IS still in control, and definely at work in our lives and in our home. I want to start this post off with saying...."My God Almighty, my Savior, my Father, my DADDY, I'm so glad I've given my life to You, without You, I simply make a mess of everything, but with You, my life is simply beautiful. It is because of You that I have the life I have, and all the wonderful, exciting, and sometimes even scary things, are because of You. You have a way of making the difficult things cause growth in my trust and focus on You, and the beautiful things just shine with Your presence. Thank You for Your presence in my life. I love You and am asking that you start to directing me in the next step of my servanthood in Your name.-Amen"

I'm going to try to share with you all that Natalie has learned this past month. The list is honestly so long, I'm not sure I'll be able to think of it all in one sitting. She now weighs 21 pounds 12 ounces and is 26 inches tall. She now crawls at a "sprint" pace, she is feeding herself using a pincher cute. She loves cooked egg yokes and bananas pieces for breakfast. She pushes objects to walk behind them, she'll use a large diaper box, her high chair, just anything she can pull up to and make move. Natalie says momma and dadda differentially, she waves bye bye and says it, she is just starting to point, but hasn't learned to point at objects she wants yet. She dances and sings for herself. She plays peek-a-boo, I love that one. She has just become such a little round, squishy ball of fun, and we're enjoying every single second.

Natalie has finally became equally attached to her dad. That one took a while, and I found it very difficult to diligently work on that. I would leave her with Eddie while I was trying to get some things done around the house and she would cry everytime I'd walk by, wanting me to pick her up. But I'm happy to say that after some real work and being persisitent....with Natalie and Dad, she will play with him and let me do house work. That was really hard for Eddie to work through. I've always been the one to help Natalie work though the difficult stuff, and let her cry through things, and Eddie had a really hard time watching her cry for me and not just saying, "Kami, will you please just get her". But he's seen that a few days of fussing is really worth the end result. Natalie is a persistent little girl, and very determined, but she's learned that she like her daddy's attention, and he definately is eating it up. I even left the house all day yesterday and volunteered at the kid's Christian school as a substitute teacher. Eddie had to even take Natalie to work with him for a staff meeting. Natalie done fantastic and of course was the star of the show. Eddie gained confidence in his ability to care for her alone, and I know now that Natalie will be just fine if I leave her with him for me to go out and do things alone---wow, that'll be fun!!! It seems like forever that I've done anything without Natalie on my hip.

Natalie has proven to be so different that my 2 older kids. She is so active, she is so curious, or should I say into EVERY thing, she climbs onto anything she can get those short legs on, she love to be "rough-housed", she loves to be spun around and around, she love to do "baby flips", and these are the things that make her laugh out loud. Ashley and Josh would have been terrified of the things that just make Natalie cackle. I always knew she was going to be a little dare-devil, oh how my nightmares have just begun, I'm sure. I've also always said that she'll be my little gymnist, and sure enough, Natalie will sit in the floor with her little legs stretched out to each side and then she'll lay down flat with her stomach and face completely flat on the floor. She is an amazing little girl, she's growing so fast!!! I know that I need to be sure I'm relishing in every second that I have cuddeling with her, because those days will be short-lived.

Natalie is awake from her nap, so I'll post pictures this weekend.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Illness has struck!!!!

This has been a rough month!!!! Someone has been sick every single week with the exception of last week. It actually started in Feb. and has just gotten worse with the last episode being with Natalie having bilateral ear infections and antibiotics---yuck. The week prior to that she had the stomach virus----double yuck, and Josh had a bad cold, and the week prior to that Ashley was sick with a cold. I honestly didn't sleep for about 3 weeks. It got so bad that our pastor saw us at church the day we took Natalie to the ER and she had a fever of 102, and was put on antibiotics, he called me on Tuesday to check on me. He's never done that before, but I honestly looked like death warmed over--worse than when I got back from Ethiopia!!!!! Then last week I had a tooth to break off and had to have a root canal....that was nothing compared to the weeks prior though. Today, we are all well, and I am just praying that nobody picked up anything at church yesterday or at Granny's house. Yesterday was Easter, and we had a wonderful day. Josh looked so handsome in his new suit, and Natalie and Ashley was so beautiful in their dresses. I'll try to post pictures of that very soon.

Natalie is gowing up so fast. She can cruise around furniture...what furniture she can reach that is. She is making new sounds every day it seems like. She's so much fun. At church yesterday, she was singing with the choir, but louder....and they were on microphones. She tried to preach the sermon with pastor Mike, but again, louder, and he too was on a microphone. Embarassing and funny. I love it. But when she was sick....not fun at all. She was not her normal fun-loving self. I'm so glad to have my happy girl back.

Josh finally lost a tooth---I say that because he's seemed to hang on to all those baby teeth for an exceptionally long time. Eddie had to pull it when I wasn't here. Oh, I can't take pulling teeth, I'll pass right out every time.

I haven't taken any photos lately, but here is some I took in March.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Well, all you moms who are stickler about your babies eating nothing but good 'ol healthy food,and cringe at the thought of giving them really fattening sweets you might not want to read this post.....but all you laid back moms like I've become read on.....

This morning was one of those mornings that you get up to fix breakfast and the cabinets are bare....there's no food to be found, at least not the healty kind we generally eat. So what now????? Good 'ol fashoned soutern style fried apple pies. Oh how we love fried apple pies. We only eat them on rare occassion, so they are an especially wonderful treat, but not too healthy for breakast, I know. But we do make our pies out of organic apples we can here at home every fall, so that's a plus. My Josh loves apple pies, he calls them "personal pies", he's so cute. And yes, Natalie absolutely loves them too. She will fight you for a fried apple pie. Josh learned the hard way this morning not to leave that last little bit in your plate in floor with Natalie near by...not even for a second. He stepped away for just a minute to came back to Natalie holding his beloved pie with both hands, going at it with all she's got. That was a priceless moment!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and Josh has a pie joke for you..... "What side of a pie is the left side?"..... "The side you haven't eatten". My funny boy..... He's the best.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My baby girl is 8 months old!!!.....What's she up to?

Oh my, my baby girl is crawling,,,,,the day the turned 8 months old, she crawled for the 1st time!!!!!!!!!!!! Today, she can crawl around anywhere she wants. Horray Natalie, you're growing up so very fast.....too fast for mommies liking. Natalie has also found out she can make mad know.....she's not at all crying, she's fussing.....majorly......fists clenched, and "growling". It's so darn funny. She's also attempting to pull up to things. Natalie, darlin', mommy is so very proud of you. You are an amazing little girl.....and very determined. I cherish every single second with you. Our days at home together are as precious as any jewel. God IS SO VERY GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!