To say that we have had one of the best Christmas times ever would be a complete understatement. I just can't put into words how sweet this time has been. Of course Garrett had no clue as to what was going on but we were so excited to share this special time with him. We are completely amazed at all of the blessings God has given us this year. It's funny that at this time last year we had no idea that we were about to receive a phone call that would change our lives forever.
We have had so much fun spending time with family and with our sweet boy. As he walked into the living room on Sunday morning, he spotted a basketball goal that we got for him.....his response...."ooooohhhhhh" too cute! He has been in love with the Christmas tree and the lights and I think he was a little worried when we took them down today. I think our parents and siblings had just as much fun as we have for Garrett's first Christmas. We truly feel blessed to have this sweet gift! Pictures are coming soon :)
I know I have been completely slack at updating this blog but between home and work, things have been crazy! Thankfully Friday was my last day at work until January! Yippee! I'm so enjoying this time I'm getting to spend with my sweet boy. Monday, he turned 11 months old. I know I ask this almost every month, but can someone tell me where time has gone? I can't believe that in less than one month we will be celebrating his first birthday. Seems like yesterday that we received the call that we had been chosen.
His new favorite word is "uh-oh" and I have to say it's really cute. He had a really bad cold at Thanksgiving that lasted well over a week. The pediatrician said he was too young to have anything for "just a cold" and to keep doing the things we had been to get it to go away. Well that turned into an ear infection and then they gave him some antibiotics. It seemed to be cleared up and then this past weekend he started sounding stuffy again. Now we have a runny nose and he's been pulling on his ears. He's teething too so I'm hoping that's why he's pulling on his ears but we are going to make another trek to the doctor in the morning. Poor baby, I hate it when he's sick!
About 2 weeks ago he started walking, really walking. He's all over the place now. My mom bought him some New Balance tennis shoes this past weekend and he had a little trouble in them at first (his others were flat) but now he's gotten the hang of those too. He's also dancing. It is hilarious! Any time he hears music he starts dancing. He's quite the entertainer.
We went and saw Santa and he did great with him too. As it became our turn, a guy from the newspaper asked if he could take his picture. I think it's supposed to run tomorrow. I thought that was pretty neat. He was just checking Santa out, trying to figure him out! We've had 3 Christmas parties and he's had a blast at all of them. He doesn't really care about opening presents but loves the bows!
After several phone calls this week to various people.....in our mailbox yesterday was Garrett's social security number! Yippee! I really can't believe it's taken this long. We received our adoption decree in the beginning of July, got his birth certificate on October 3rd, and it's taken 2 months to get the actual number (we applied for the number on the same day we got the birth certificate). Wow! My plan is to write to our governor, representatives etc and let them know about our experience and that honestly something needs to be done about this to change things. You wouldn't even believe how one of the "workers" talked to me over the phone. This is a big deal for us because we need that for filling out our taxes. I really did not want to have to go through the hoops of applying for a tax ID number for him. So I'm thankful that this was finally processed. Funny story--when I called Raleigh this week to check on things......they began to tell me that the paperwork was never processed, meaning they couldn't "find him." Um are you kidding me?!?! Then I spoke with 2 other people along with the local office here and finally found out that everything had been processed (that day mind you)...hmmmmm I'm just glad we have it!
On other exciting news, Tommy and I have been chosen to be a "mentor family" with Bethany (our agency). So we have been "assigned" our first couple (they are getting ready to start their homestudy). We're really excited to be able to pray with them through this journey and hopefully answer questions that they may have along the way.
We stay so busy around here! Whew! I think things are finally beginning to slow down. Garrett turns 10 months old tomorrow?!?! Seriously, where has this year gone? If only time would have gone this fast during the wait, ha ha :) He continues to be such a blessing to us and we are so thankful that we have the privilege of raising him.
This week my heart melted just a bit more as he began to say the most precious word ever...."mama" :) He's been saying "dada" for a few months now and my Grandmother would tell me that he would say mama during the day but I wasn't a believer until I heard it for myself. He's also mimicking sounds that we make and it's really cute. He loves to laugh and he LOVES to eat! The doctor gave us the go ahead to start giving him meat at the end of last month and he loves it. He hasn't turned away anything yet (even turnips) and I hope that continues. We've got him on a breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule now so that when we drop the formula in a couple of months, he'll be ready to go.
Speaking of going....he's trying to walk. He will cruise all around holding on to furniture, our legs, Bailey (dog), and anything else he can grab. Then he started letting go and would take a few steps then fall. This week he made it across the living room (laughing all the way)---I think we're in trouble :) The poor Christmas tree won't know what it's in for :)
We are also still waiting on his social security number. I have to remind myself that I really do love NC. They told us it would take "up to" 4 weeks. It's almost been 2 months. Ugh. I've called and the hold up seems to be that Raleigh has to "verify" that the actual birth certificate is legit. (again this would be why our state taxes are so much) Once this is over with I plan on writing a letter to our representatives, senators, and governor about this part of the paperwork process. I understand being thorough but really.....
I can't believe tomorrow is already Halloween! I know this week is going to be completely crazy so I'm going to post this one early :) I am in the thick of things with the headmaster search committee at my school. This is our last week of finalist visits so hopefully life will return to normal soon :)
Garrett is doing great and is learning so many new things. I'm amazed that he can now feed himself cheerios and other little things like that. Where has my baby gone? We've had a slammed pack couple of weekends so I'm ready for some uneventful ones :)
Here are some pictures with him in his costume and from his first Halloween party and pumpkin carving event (I learned at our friends house that Tommy had never carved a pumpkin!)....
One of the girls that works with me hosted this party for the kids; all of us work together; as you can tell it wasn't long before the meltdowns occurred!
Garrett had no idea what was going on around him; I know he's going to get us back for this one day! At the family reunion--he loved this little bounce house Helping Daddy carve the pumpkin The cutest lobster....EVER :)
Well I figured I better post this before my sweet boy turns 9 months tomorrow??!! Where, oh where has the time gone? I can't believe in 3 months we'll be having his first birthday party. Amazing!
He is growing so much. We go to the doctor's on Thursday for his 9 month check-up and I can't wait to see how much he really has grown. He is moving all over the place and is pretty fast at it too! He's pulling up on the furniture, our legs etc and will let go. He gets pretty proud of himself and will now also clap :) He's learned how to patty cake and all he says is "da da da da da"! I'm trying to work a mama in there but so far I haven't heard him (my Grandma says he has said it during the day). His new "trick" is sticking his face in the tub (we don't put him in the baby tub anymore) and trying to drink the water. It's pretty funny. His smile is contagious and I will never get tired of hearing him laugh! We are so blessed!
To add to an even more exciting week, we've all been sick around here! I thought I was feeling better from last week and then I came down with an awful sore throat on Sunday. I ended up going to the doctor on Monday and things are much better now! Poor Garrett's had a head cold but he's on the mend too, thank goodness!
We drove to Raleigh on Monday and got the birth certificate! It only took about 10 minutes, go figure! I don't know why they don't do that in the first place and then mail them. But anyways, we have it now! For my NC friends that go this route, they do charge a $15 fee to have it expedited, a $15 adoption fee, and $24 for the birth certificate ($15 for extra certified copies). We did go to babies r us while we were there and we met Tommy's brother for lunch so it was nice.
When we got back into town, we decided to go by the social security office to apply for Garrett's social security number. I tried doing this back in the summer but they told me I needed the birth certificate in order to apply for one. As I hand the application to the guy, along with the birth certificate, he says--we don't have to have the birth certificate--we can't use that as proof. I asked if he was kidding?! So good thing I had brought along the immunization record and the adoption decree (the same things I had before). He processed everything and said we should get it within a month, maybe even sooner.
So hopefully we're finished for now :) I never knew what an adventure this part would be!
Time sure does seem to be flying by these days and I know I've not been the greatest at commenting or writing posts for that matter! Tommy and I were talking last night about how the weekends really seem to fly by now! He said it's because we're busy in a different way now. But I wouldn't change it for anything.
It seems like so many things have happened since the last update so here's my attempt to remember them all plus give you all the insight on trying to obtain a birth certificate from the great state of NC.
All about Garrett :) He now has 5 teeth! They seem like they are popping up everywhere (3 on the bottom and 2 on the top). He's really been a champ through this whole teething process. He is crawling everywhere and getting into everything he can touch :) He's also pulling himself up on things and just this past week he started letting go. He can stand for a few seconds and then falls, which he thinks is funny. Two weeks ago he received his first black eye courtesy of the entertainment center. He hit it just right and had a little bruise on his cheek which then turned into a black eye. Last week we got called out of church because he had fallen and they wanted us to see the little scratch on his arm (I'm really thankful they do this and let us know what is going on in there). Come to find out, he was "chasing" a little girl in the room and he slipped on his jeans that are too long :) Tommy told him once we got in the car that girls will you get you into trouble every time, ha ha!
He loves to talk. He is always making noises and babbling. He says dada all of the time now and we've heard a couple of mama's from him lately. That will melt your heart every time you hear it.
On the birth certificate front--We finally received our letter from social services saying that the adoption had been indexed and we could now apply for his birth certificate. Now I must say that our state is definitely lacking in this department. If you talk to 6 different people, you'll get 6 different answers. I fortunately talked with a lady who seemed to know what was going on during the summer and she told me that once we got the letter, to call back and make an appointment. You see supposedly our state is on a "critical backlog" (their words not mine) of creating certificates (birth, death, marriage etc). If you fill out the application and mail it in, it could take up to a year to get it back (are you serious)!! You can pay to expedite it but that will still take a few months. However, you can drive to Raleigh, and pick one up same day. It makes absolutely no sense to me but that's how things go here. It has taken us 3 months to get the letter saying we can now apply for the birth certificate since we received the adoption decree. As soon as I saw the letter on Tuesday, I started calling. One lady told me I couldn't get it yet (ugh) then she connected me with the "adoption department" and I left a message. I then called back because I knew she didn't know what she was talking about. I talked to another lady who said she would connect me with the lady in charge of adoptions. I left her a message and she called me back within 10 minutes. She took down the information (at this point it was 5:00) and told me the office was closed now but she would have someone call me back the next day to schedule an appointment. They told us if you drive up to pick it up on the same day you should call and make an appointment. I ended up having to call them back on Thursday and the lady said, I'm pretty booked the next few weeks but I have Monday or Tuesday. No problem, we'll take Monday! So tomorrow we had to the state capital to pick up that treasured piece of paper. The humorous part in all of this, the cost. Here's the breakdown- $15 (expedite fee); $15 (adoption fee--really?); and $24 (birth certificate); extra copies $15....... Gotta love NC :)
So hopefully things will go as planned tomorrow and we can come home and then apply for a social security number. Whew!
I posted all about baby food the other day but for some odd reason my page didn't get updated. Anyways, hopefully this little update will now show up; we've had some problems with our internet ever since the hurricane. See below for the baby food post :)
I know I promised this last week but I guess it's better late than never :) I really have enjoyed making Garrett's food and was surprised at how easy it really is! I also want to say that I am in no way an expert at this stuff! I did read things online and asked some friends but basically just went with my instinct on what to do and make for him. So here's what I did and how I did it!
First, the websites: I used this one and this one (I used this one more than the other). The latter one seemed to be more user friendly and gave a lot of great tips on which foods to start with and which ones to hold off on.
I should also say we have never spoon fed Garrett baby cereal. You may remember that the formula just wasn't cutting it for him so we started adding a few tablespoons in his bottle. That's the only way he's ever had the cereal.
Ok, the debate as to whether to buy a special food processor. I was lucky to have a friend who let me borrow her Beaba Babycook machine. It's basically a food processor and steamer all in one. I'll be honest, I never used it to cook the foods, only used it to make the purees. This is what it looks like:
I know that they are pricey, around $150. I wouldn't have bought this one because you just don't use it that much. I think a blender or normal food processor would work just fine.
Freezing: At first I bought something like these from Babies R Us. The ones I have only hold 2 oz and I think there are 8 in the tray instead of 6 like in this picture. I honestly did not like these. They work great if you don't make that much of the food but if you have a big batch of something, you will run out if you don't have a bunch of these. You can feed straight from these containers but if you don't, it's a pain to try to get the frozen food out of them.
So I then bought covered ice cube trays. I had a hard time finding them but finally found them at Bed Bath & Beyond. They were around $4 and totally worth it! I would make the food, puree it, and then spoon it into the trays. The cube is equal to 1 oz of pureed food. Once I filled the trays, I would freeze them overnight. The next day, I would pop them out and put them in a ziploc freezer bag. Make sure you label the bag with the date. If I remember right, I think they are safe to freeze for up to 2 months.
The biggest mistake I made, was making too much of certain foods before trying them to make sure Garrett liked them. Really, the only one he didn't care for was the butternut squash. I had 2 huge ones so it made a ton of food! I did have a friend that I was able to give them to though. The other thing we learned is that their tastes will change. At first, he only wanted to eat the fruit or sweet potatoes. Then we started mixing the sweet potatoes and/or fruit with green beans etc and he would eat them that way. Now he eats the green beans alone. So don't throw it out if they don't seem to like it in the beginning. You can always try again later.
Foods: When we first started solids, we actually started with fruit. We used one of these:
All you have to do is cut up the fruit and place it into the mesh bag. Then they just suck on the end. Garrett loved these! It also really helped with the teething. We put everything from bananas, blueberries and melons in these. It was really handy when we would go out to dinner. The nice thing about this brand is the bag unscrews from the handle part so it makes for easy clean up.
Once we started with the spoon feedings we used these less. His first foods were sweet potatoes and apples. For the sweet potatoes, I just baked them like I would do for us; scooped out the insides and then put it in the processor. If it seemed to thick, I would just add a bit of water. Then I made apples. I peeled and cored them, and cooked them in the crock pot until they were mushy. I generally didn't have to add any water to these. The rest of the foods: green beans, peas, and carrots; I did the same way, either boil or steam until soft, puree and then freeze. It really is that easy.
Here are some of my favorite products for feeding. These are what we used!
These spoons are great because they are soft, don't stain, and are long!
The baby bjorn bibs! LOVE them! They are much harder than "normal" bibs which is great because Garrett can't wad them up into his hands! He did that with the plastic ones and we had a mess on our hands! The pouch at the bottom also catches food and they are super easy to clean! You will notice they are more expensive, around $20 for 2 of them but you won't have to buy another bib once you have these!