Some family friends of ours have been trying for 20 years to have or adopt a child. They are in their late 30's or so. All of this time there have been issues that I wouldn't even know enough about to get into. Some health things... and other odds and ends.
Finally, out of the blue, in November of this past year... they got a call that a birth mother had chosen their profile and wanted to meet with them.
They met with her a number of times - and she asked them to be in the hospital for the delivery.
Things were looking good.
On January 19th, they got the call that the mom was headed to the hospital. Wouldn't you know, the weather was wretched! It was a 2 hour drive for them on a good day... so it took even longer and they unfortunately didn't make it for the birth.
HOWEVER, it was a GIRL! And a few days later, they were able to go home... Mommy, Daddy and Daughter.
As you can imagine, everyone has been super ecstatic and excited for this new little family! We've been following Facebook updates and pictures....
When the birth mother (who by law in PA has 30 days to change her mind)... ...asked for her baby back.
Those words don't even begin to describe how this couple is feeling... not to mention their friends and family.
I am just sick, thinking of them having to hand the baby over... tomorrow... Friday... the 27th.
If you are a praying person - I ask that you pray for this situation. God has a plan and, though we don't understand it, His Will Be Done.
As Cory and I have talked about the heartache - I told him that, to me, it's like holding your baby in your arms, knowing that it only has a couple of days to live... and not wanting to put her down... wanting to soak up every precious moment. And when I think of Eloise, I just can't even imagine what they are going through. That little girl may not be their biological daughter... but they love her with all of their hearts. On the flip side, I can't imagine being a birth mom - giving my baby away - so I can understand that the "real" mom wants her baby back. But how absolutely horrible for things to have gotten this far.
Please... send up a prayer for them. It would mean so much!
Seeing as how she loves her Minnie Mouse the best, I did what I could to make her Minnie Party special. Not having a huge budget to work with, I am pleased with the results! And I think everyone enjoyed themselves... Eloise especially!!
Though our house is small and most people had to migrate to the living room to eat, I still decorated the table!!
We had "picnic" type foods... burgers, dogs, mac salad, deviled eggs... and well, you can see for yourself!
I made homemade cake (chocolate ears/bow and a yellow face)... I also made Minnie Oreo cookies... which are hard to see in the picture... but they were cute!
Eloise wore this adorable Minnie Skirt that I bought off of Etsy. (Yes, I could have made my own... but I didn't have time!) I DID make the Minnie Ears though! Eloise liked them for a couple minutes... then that was that!!
Eloise opened lots of presents!
She LOVED this gift bag... and was constantly putting things in it and carrying it around like a purse!
(Yes, I know.. my face. Haha)
I think her favorite gift, by far... was her Baby!
And she pretty much instantly knew how to "feed" it!!
We sang "Happy Birthday"...
But Eloise didn't get to eat any of the cake!
I know, I know... Boooo Hissssss! But we are trying as hard as we can to keep her away from unnecessary sugary treats and white flour.
So I made her a whole wheat maple syrup carrot cake. Without any icing!
Her "smash" cake turned out to be more of a "neat" cake... since Eloise didn't make much of a mess... at all!!
Can't complain about that!
Here is the banner I made!
And also the "Minnie Tree"!
It's hard to see the decorations... but I made Minnie ornaments, decorated with ribbons and as the party went on... it accumulated birthday cards in the branches!
Eloise had fun running around... there was lots of laughter and chatter from guests... so I'd say that we had a Minnie Party Success!!
Today marks one whole year since our sweet girl was born. It has been quite the adventure!
Never did I know you could love someone so much... Never did I know that one little person could bring so much joy... Never did I know that in all of the years of "dreaming" of having kids one day, Eloise would be THAT kid... I couldn't imagine it any other way! She is beautiful, bright and amazing in every way!
We truly have been blessed!
Here is a snippet of our day! Luckily, though swamped at work, Cory was able to take the day off to spend with us.
Bananas were enjoyed for breakfast this morning!
Eloise is quite the little monkey these days! If you ask her what a monkey says... she literally makes monkey sounds! Thank you to daddy for teaching her that!
She also knows what a Sheep and Cow say! Ok--and just to brag a little.. she can point out all sorts of things in her books... like car, ball, duck, cat, sheep, dog, Bert... just to name a few! And when I ask her if she needs her diaper changed - she will run and get me one! She also knows her Nose, Toes and Mouth! And she LOVES to dance!
Eloise got Minnie Slippers for her birthday and she wears them proudly!
She has yet to learn how to carry her baby properly... (Thanks to Grammie & Pop Pop for the baby doll!) but she does know how to feed her!
After much play in the morning... Eloise was pooped! And amazingly, she wanted me to rock her to sleep! How could I say no to that!?
What a rare treat!
We played blocks for quite awhile... and opened some presents!!
Ate some cake...
And played some more!!
I am so grateful for every wonderful moment... because honestly, whether good or"bad"... (Maybe frustrating is a better word to use) each moment is one to treasure!
Happy 1st Birthday Eloise! You were meant for AMAZING THINGS! We love you!
I have so much to do for Eloise's Birthday Party on Sunday... it isn't even funny! But most of it has to be done tomorrow because I have a few things left to get at the store... and, of course, I don't want to decorate until the last minute or else it'll just get messed up between the 3 of us and the animals. So... since I have a few minutes and I finally uploaded some pictures, I wanted to share these pictures from last weekend.
Because of crappy weather and also some previous commitments, I wasn't able to make it to see my family the past few weeks. My sister was just DYING to see Eloise... but better safe than sorry when it comes to the weather. So we Skyped a few times, which was fun!
Last weekend, though, Cory, Eloise and I were able to meet my parents halfway and use a gift card from Christmas to eat dinner. It was nice to see them, even if it was only for a short while. And Eloise was such a card! She was saying "Hi" to people and giggling... and she has started going "Ahhhh!" with her mouth wide open after she takes a drink. That girl is something!
Anyway... after dinner... as we were walking out... we could not resist the crane game machine!! I have always been an addict. It's the thrill of the catch! Once Cory started dating me, I soon turned him into an addict too. We would sometimes just drive around with a ton of quarters and hit up every machine we could think of. I know, I know... what a waste of money... but if you think about some other things people spend money on for fun (booze, drugs, etc.)... it really was worth it! And we had fun together - which was the most important thing! One time I even won a GIANT scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz! Cory got upset at that one... because he wasn't the one to win it for me. Haha! We still have stuffed animals that we've won over the years - Eloise plays with some of them, as does Boo. We even drove to Brooklyn to pick up a crane game machine that my parents won on Ebay for my dad's garage... remember this post from earlier this year? That was the machine.
Anywho!! Cory and I are a bit sentimental about things... so we promised each other that Eloise would have her very first crane game experience with BOTH of us. What a better time than last weekend when we were both there (and my parents)... AND I had my camera!?
Getting ready to push the button! (Notice her finger!)
She got one!!! (see Eloise in the reflection, watching it?)
Woo Hoo! (Cory named him "Lucky")
Guess who is going to be just like Mommy and Daddy?? Guarantee it! Hee hee!
My husband is a planner. If we are going on a trip - even just a 2 hr. jaunt - he plans. Days, or sometimes weeks, in advance he has the route mapped out and potential restaurants and places to stop tucked away in the corner of his mind... and on a sheet of paper for my benefit. He checks the weather and considers traffic. I, on the other hand, am the type who gets in and goes! Hungry? We'll find somewhere to stop along the way. I admit, it's nice that he's a planner. My methods aren't always the most responsible and reliable... especially with a baby (almost TODDLER) in tow!
If you had read my last post, you would know that we had an appointment at Children's Hospital for Eloise on Friday. There's been concern about one of her soft spots closing too soon. As you can imagine, Cory has been planning since the appointment was confirmed. That mostly just consisted of checking the weather... and wouldn't you know, having had such a mild winter so far, the heavens were to open up and dump on our area the night before the appointment!! At the last minute we decided to book a hotel room near the hospital. It's a 2+ hour drive and we didn't want to risk losing our appointment if the roads were bad (or risk our lives!). Since the snow wasn't supposed to start until after midnight, we devised a plan:
Cory gets home from work. Eat dinner. Feed Eloise. Play. Bath Time. Get El ready for bed. Nurse. Put her in the car seat. Pack the car. Drive 2+ hours to the hotel... while El slept. Park. Cory would check in while El and I waited in the car. Cory would unload and get the pack & play set up in our room. Cory would make sure everything was ready for us to just lay Eloise down to keep sleeping. Cory would come get us and we would go to our room... and LIGHTS OUT!
Sounds like a good plan... right? I thought so.
Then... we drive into the stifling city. I am a country girl. I live on the outskirts of town... but my town has only, like, 5 stop lights and 1 bus that runs during the day - and that's basically for the old folks who need a ride to the grocery store. When we drive close to the city, I get claustrophobic! And of course... there are lights... EVERYWHERE. Apparently headlights aren't sufficient. So guess who is awake as soon as we breech city limits? Luckily she wasn't fussy... but by that time it was after 10PM and Eloise is normally sleeping like a baby at that time!
We wind our way through the streets where people are standing (shaking from the cold) on street corners, waiting for the bus.
We pull into our hotel... where we notice that the parking lot is GATED. And a sign tells us that it's VALET ONLY. Crap. Our plan is starting to unravel - which actually started with Eloise waking up! Cory greets the valet guy and we start to unload the car... our bags, El's bag, the pack & play, my purse... and of course, Eloise. I, by the way, am in sweat pants with sweet peas spilled on the leg from Eloise's dinner earlier that evening... and I am also sporting my CLOGS. Not "croc" type clogs... but nice shoes that you'd wear with jeans or dress pants. And my hair was a mess from trying to sleep in the car and not being able to get comfy with my pony tail in the way!! Meanwhile, as we are standing at the counter checking in, there are fancy people passing us by. I thought we'd be staying at some half decent hotel... where I could quietly slip into my room unnoticed from the parking lot. I wasn't expecting to be standing in a lit-up lobby with people in suits and dress shoes!
Anyway - off we go to our room, which was on the 4th floor, luckily at the end of the hall - hauling all of our crap. Eloise is wide awake, though very tired. We didn't waste any time getting things unpacked... and then--not 2 minutes from walking in... the phone rang. WHAT!? Who would be calling us? Crap! So Cory answered the phone... only to find out that as we were trudging through the hotel... looking like misfits with our pea-stained sweatpants, book bags and messy hair (OK, that was mostly just me).... I had somehow dropped Eloise's hat on the floor. Or perhaps, she had tossed it on the floor (as she doesn't like wearing a hat indoors). Luckily a hotel employee brought it to us - so we didn't have to go out in public again!!
Fast Forward a few minutes ----> we get our crap together, and since Eloise is up, I decide to try to nurse her back to sleep. Oh dear goodness. The minute I try to lay her down... she freaks!! SPAZZ-CITY! So I hold her and try to rock her. There isn't a rocking chair... but I rock anyway. She doesn't cry anymore... but she won't sleep. Cory lays in bed... but of course, he can't sleep because Eloise and I aren't settled. I rock and walk and "shhhh" and sing. El won't sleep. I finally decide to lay her in bed with us (Hooray for a King Size!)... and yet again, she freaks. Oh my gosh. So I get up and hold her, swaying and bouncing. My arms start to cramp. The girl isn't that big... but 20+ lbs gets heavy after awhile! Finally, she starts drifting and I decide to take a chance to lay her down in the pack & play. BIG MISTAKE! She starts screaming! I can't really blame the girl. She has never slept anywhere (except at nap time) other than her own crib. Cory tells me to let her cry. So I get in bed. But I just can't stand the thought of her disturbing other people in other rooms. So I get her again... and commence the rocking and swaying. Finally, I take another chance, but this time I prop myself up in bed with 3 pillows and hold her. Hallelujah... she falls asleep! Except I am stuck in that position - afraid that she'll wake if I move!! I don't have any blankets on me except for my feet... and did I mention that we forgot to adjust the heat? I was cold! And to top it off... when the heat DID decide to kick on... it was a LOUD... CLICK! And then WHHHIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! I just knew that it was going to wake Eloise up. But it didn't. Phew.
After awhile, I started to doze... and then Eloise would shift and move. I don't know how I did it, but I managed to get her into the bed between us without waking her. But then... both Cory and I could only sleep for a few minutes at a time because we were paranoid that we may roll onto her. How do people sleep with their babies in their beds? I will never understand that and am so thankful that we never started that habit!!! A little after 2AM, I couldn't hold it anymore. I HAD to go to the bathroom... I was afraid that El might roll off the bed... but she was far enough in the middle that I figured it was OK. So I got up. But since I didn't want to turn on a light - and wasn't too familiar with the room, I had to go grab my phone to use as a night light. Wouldn't you know... Eloise woke up. CRAP!! Seriously. CRAP. She was fussing... poor girl. Poor mama. I cuddled her back to sleep... and was finally able to lay her back on the bed so I could go to the bathroom. RELIEF, I tell you!
Off and on through the night... the heater would blast on and wake us up. If Eloise woke up, I would lay her on my chest until she fell asleep again. Of course, I had on a necklace... and she would lay RIGHT on the charm... and all I could think was that we were going to be taking her to Children's Hospital, and she is going to have this crazy mark on her head from my necklace! But luckily, she didn't lay on it long enough to make a dent. Phew, again!
Around 6 AM... we were all up. Cory got up and looked out the window to assess the snow situation. I'm not joking... there was only a dusting. YES... a dusting. We were a bit frustrated after our sleepless night... but, better safe than sorry. That's all we could tell ourselves at that point!!
Cory got showered while Eloise and I hung out.
Then I showered... and enjoyed a brief moment of peace. Too bad I couldn't have napped in there!
(Yes, that is a nursing pad on the table... but don't worry, it was unused!)
Cory went to see about breakfast... we could go eat in the hotel for $10 a person!! Or he could walk over to Starbucks and grab a couple of muffins for $5. We chose the latter.
Our appointment was at 10AM... but since Eloise was all out of sorts, we just wanted to get outta there and get going! Cory called and they were able to see us at 9:30AM, so we got all packed up and headed out! Luckily we left early enough that we were able to make it through traffic. Sometimes when you live in the country, you forget how long it can take to get somewhere when you're driving in the city. So many cars and lights! YIKES! We made it to a great space in the parking garage... and had a few moments to kill, so Cory got in the back and read to El.
Meanwhile, we both have been stressed about the outcome of the appointment... and also topped with the lack of sleep... we were just exhausted!!
Anyway--we went into the hospital and found our area. The "Mouse" area... which was nice because Eloise LOVES her Minnie Mouse... and that's what they had decorating some of the spaces. We filled out paperwork and talked to the receptionist/clerk person. And, I just have to mention... when she was asking for Cory's Social Security Number... he practically shouted it! She had to quiet him in the middle of it... and she kind of chuckled. Cory's face was priceless as he realized what he'd almost done by saying the number out loud! Then a few minutes later, the lady asked for El's S.S. Number... and Cory started to say it out loud (and I mean LOUD) again! The lady shushed him and said, "Gimme that!" and took the paper Cory had it written down on! And she jokingly scolded him and told Eloise that daddy was trying to ruin her life before she even turned one! It might sound harsh - but she was really nice and was keeping the mood light. We needed it!
We went off to the waiting area... where they give you one of those round beeper type things that light up and buzz when your turn is called. We were only there for maybe 5-10 mins before it was our turn to go back. El got weighed and measured... then we went to another room and waited only a few minutes before we saw the doctor. That's service!!!
She asked us questions, looked over Eloise and measured her head. We asked her questions.. yadda yadda.... and finally, she looked at us and said, "I believe you have a perfectly healthy little girl."
**BIG... no... HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!!**
Eloise does have a prominent ridge where the suture above her forehead is growing together. And we should keep our eye on it that it doesn't get any bigger.... but otherwise, she is just fine!!
We wanted to do the Happy Dance! And yes, perhaps we were a little overly-paranoid-first-time-parents. But we didn't want to even take a chance that anything might be wrong... and if that meant taking her to Children's just for them to tell us she is healthy... then so be it! We praise God that she is OK! And after being at the Hospital, we pray for those other children and babies we saw who were in the middle of their own medical issues.
After making our way back to the car and settling in, we drove the 2+ hours home... Eloise and I fell asleep... and though I could breathe easier after hearing the Good News... it wasn't until we pulled into our very own driveway that I felt like I could truly breathe again!
Thank you so much for your comments and emails of encouragement... and most of all for your prayers! They mean so much to us... and even though we may not know you personally, we are so appreciative for the support! If ever there is a prayer concern that you may have, please email me so that Cory and I can lift it up to our Heavenly Father! Every prayer counts. It really does.
I've had a lot on my mind and heart lately. I've lain awake in bed some nights writing out blog posts in my head... trying to come up with just exactly what I want to say and how I want to express myself. But nothing I ever come up with seems like it's really going to get my message across. And when I think about it, I really don't even know exactly what I want to put out there. In my mind, I have all sorts of things stirring.... but to write them out... I feel a little lost. Sometimes I just wish I could turn my brain off. Especially at night!
So, instead of sitting here and explaining why I can't explain what I want to explain - at least at this point.... I wanted to post pictures of the invitations I made for Eloise's Birthday Party. But, alas! I have switched to our new computer and those pics are on the old computer - which I am forbidden to touch until Cory gets home because it is on it's last legs! (He didn't forbid me, I forbid myself!)
So... all I have to say is... I can't believe my sweet baby is going to be ONE in a couple of weeks. Less than a couple of weeks.
It just doesn't seem possible. Yesterday she let me rock her for about 10 minutes... but being the busy-body that she is, she eventually wanted down to run around. I cherished those few moments though. They are few and far between these days.
I do have one request... Please keep our family in your prayers. Especially Eloise. Pending the coming snow storm tomorrow, we are taking her to Children's Hospital to see a Neurosurgeon. There is no cause for alarm - at least at this point - but there is concern that her Metopic Suture (soft spot above her forehead) may be closing too soon. That would mean that there wouldn't be room for her brain to grow and develop. Worst case scenario - surgery. Best case - we are just paranoid first time parents whose daughter has an irregular shaped head! (Actually it's just a slight bump--nothing drastic!) As you can imagine, we are a bit stressed... but I have faith that no matter what the outcome of tomorrow's appointment, Eloise is in God's hands 100%.
I will post an update as soon as we know anything. And I'll also post pics of her Birthday Invites because they are too cute! If I do say so myself!
I have mentioned this before... a LONG time ago... so long ago that I don't remember when... (but I know I've talked about it - even just briefly)
I do the booking for a venue in my hometown. I used to volunteer there on the weekends, but since moving and having a baby, Cory and I can't commit to being in there anymore.
I'm a little sad.
I have had fun over the years being a part of the ministry... and OK... a little starry-eyed at some of the bands who've come through... -GUILTY!- AND of course, I've been frustrated many-a-time as well... but I know that some chapters have to end so that others can begin.
So, our days of volunteering are over... except when it comes to me handling the booking of the bands. That's something I can do from my computer at home and keeps me somewhat in the loop.
Ok--totally guilty again--but I was able to get my all-time-favoritest-band back in 2009.
Over the past few years, attendance at our shows have been sparse. I know when I was a teenager, we had pretty good turn outs! (Which for us meant 50-100 ppl) These days... we are sometimes lucky to get FIVE people!!
It's a bit humiliating... but more than that, it's not really fair to the bands who are there trying to spread their music, the love of Jesus... and also make some moola by selling their merch.
That being said... HOW CAN I GET MORE PEOPLE TO COME?! There is a skeleton crew of volunteers. No one gets paid to help out... and everyone has "real" jobs to manage. So it's hard to get help. Especially when it comes to handing out/hanging up posters.
Here's a sample flyer I've made for a previous show... Not the BEST flyer--but I think it works.
We post on Facebook... website... and send fliers to churches with big youth groups.
What else can we do? I need some fresh ideas here... any thoughts?