We've had a busy week without much time to post, but we've had a lot of Halloween fun! Here is a link to an album of the events we've done so far- Vivi and Amira, the Zoo Boo, and carving our pumpkin. We'll add more to it after all the trick or treat fun tonight!
Adam and Amy gave Jenavieve some of their old baby toys. It is fun to see them again, I remember playing with most of them when they were babies. We're bringing them out slowly as part of our rotation, but yesterday we pulled out the little piano, and she LOVED it! She went nuts banging on it for 5 minutes straight, then she started banging on it a few times, then throwing her hands in the air.
We started getting questions about what Jenavieve might like for the holidays, and my first thought was "you're thinking about that already?? It isn't even Halloween yet!" But, there are only 65 days until Christmas, and Hanukkah is early this year, so some of you are just good planners!
PLEASE don't think we're asking anyone to get her any gifts! We are so blessed to have everything we need, and feel a little tacky asking for more. We have just had questions about what she might like, especially since we're doing things a little differently from most parents, so here are some suggestions:
We are incorporating a lot of Montessori's theories into raising Jenavieve, which includes trying to stay away from plastic as much as we can, opting for more beautiful wood options when possible, and avoiding anything that uses batteries. We are also not using plastic dishes or cups for her. I'll do another post about our thoughts on that later.
She is still in 0-3 month clothes...and has been in this size for so long that we have quite a collection of 3-6 month clothes waiting for her. We don't have much in any bigger sizes though if you enjoy buying cute little girl clothes. She can't wear pajamas with footies because her feet are so long. Footless ones can be found at BabyGap, Old Navy, and Babies R Us that we've found so far. She wears size 2 shoes.
If you're looking for something specific, we made a little wish list for her on ChildTrek.com, which is where we like to buy her toys. Here is the link.
She LOVES music, so cds or instruments would be a great gift. We want to expose her to all kinds of music, not just children's music. As a suggestion, Putumayo world music covers different types of music from all over the world, jazz, reggae, etc.
As far as books, she doesn't have a favorite author yet. We like Sandra Boynton, Eric Carle, and Dr. Suess books. Target (and maybe other places) have a cute book from the new Disney princess movie The Princess and the Frog, it looks like a pillow and has cloth pages.
We don't have a social security number for Vivi yet, since we had a question about savings bonds for her-I don't know if you can get one with her name and our number? If its something you're interested in, let me know and I can find out how it works, or let you know if we get her number before the holidays. We applied for it, but haven't heard anything yet.
If you have any other questions, you can ask us, we promise not to tell her :)
I'm definitely still learning, I haven't perfected any of the styles yet, but I'm enjoying trying new things. It would help if she stopped rubbing all the hair off the back of her head so I could do more with it! Just when I thought it was going to start growing back now that she is sitting unassisted for long periods of time, she figured out how to dig her heels into the floor and push herself backwards when she's lying on her back.
We wanted to wait until Jenavieve was 6 months old to start her on solid foods, especially since she was getting breastmilk exclusively. She started showing an interest in eating our food, but we tried to hold off. Then we lost our donors because there is a sick baby in the area who can't have formula at all, so we're back to formula, and Vivi has been hungry non-stop and pulling food off of our plates. So, we decided 5 months and a week was long enough.
I made applesauce from the apples we picked at Long's, put some in the fridge and put the rest in ice cube trays to freeze it, then in labeled bags in the freezer so I can just reach in and grab a cube or 2 for the day.
After the initial shock of finding that there was actually flavor on the spoon, she enjoyed the apples. She looks suspicious in both of these pictures, and much more excited in the next 2 :)
She enjoyed it even more when she got to hold the spoon herself.
I also baked and froze some squash, and she tried that for the first time today. She really liked it! She kept getting mad when her spoon was empty and banging it on the tray, it was very cute.
She's really enjoying eating, and is still hungry all the time, so tonight I put some uncooked brown rice in the Magic Bullet and in the morning we'll cook it and see if getting some whole grains into her fills her up.
Miss independent has also started holding her own bottle. She gets very excited when we make it for her, and reaches her hands out to grab it and bring it to her mouth.
I've been having trouble getting the layout right lately, so instead of throwing my computer out the window, I'm just putting all the captions on the top and all the pictures at the bottom :)
We went to the mall with my mom to do a little shopping. We met Geoffrey the Giraffe outside of the Toys R Us store, and Vivi couldn't take her eyes off him. Between the red shirt and the giant giraffe inside the mall, he was quite interesting.
Vivi has been trying to tell us that she's ready for solids, and on this day, she told us she was ready by grabbing a handful of fries and trying to shove them in her mouth.
Then, she decided she needed a purse, as all ladies do. She shopped until she dropped (while still holding her purse).
We were on vacation on Vivi's 5 month birthday, so we're a couple of days late. Here is our little 5 month old...wearing a newborn onesie and 0-3 month jeans. The jeans are getting short on her though!
My friend Michelle sent me the link to the youtube channel she used to learn how to do things to her daughter's hair, and still uses for inspiration. I watched a few videos, and started experimenting. Vivi's hair is getting too long and unruly to be just left out, and I wanted to do more than just pigtails. In this picture, she has pigtails with 3 twists in each one. I don't have all the tools I need quite yet, but I'm enjoying working with what I have.
I know everyone is waiting to hear this story so I tried to get it done as fast as I could!
We got up early on Sunday morning, got dressed, and headed out for the 2 1/2 hour drive down to Charleston. We got to Kapri's house to pick them up for church, and Ka'Praisha (Vivi's birth half sister) came running out to greet us. After hugging Eric and I, she jumped in the car next to Jenavieve and said proudly "this is my sister!". We all loaded into the car and went to church. The sermon had already started when we got there, but as we walked in everyone got quiet and watched us come in. Ka'Praisha announced "this is my sister!" to the congregation. Kapri's mom Marquetta was already there, and greeted us with more hugs. We passed Vivi to her and sat down. The pastor was loud and energetic, and Vivi watched him with big eyes for awhile, then fell asleep in Marquetta's arms. During the sermon, Ka'Praisha sat next to Marquetta, and I kept looking at how similar she looks to Jenavieve. Then Ka'Praisha fell asleep too, and they make the exact same face when they sleep!
During the church service, they had a time when people could share what was on their hearts, and while other people were sharing, Marquetta was crying. The pastor asked what was on her heart, and she shared that she had been so tormented with trying to keep the baby in the family, even though she knew it wasn't possible, and she was devastated that she would have to go away. She was afraid she would never see her again. But since we became her parents and have sent pictures and letters every month, she can see that she is in the best place, and she is very happy. She said she couldn't believe that these 2 strangers that had never met her before, had just walked in and placed her granddaughter in her arms, when she had thought it would never happen. It was a very emotional speech, and I was so glad to know her story and how happy she was. She asked the congregation to pray for us, that we would never want for anything. They said prayers over each of us individually and after the service, everyone came to hug us and tell us how happy they were the way that everything worked out.
After church, we went to Marquetta's house, where we had gifts for Kapri, Marquetta, and the kids. My mom also made matching quilts for all 3 kids, which they thought was very cool. We met Kapri's youngest sister, who still lives at home. We got to see a picture in the house of the family when Kapri was just 4 years old. She looked almost identical to Ka'Praisha, who is 4 right now. We also got to see some baby pictures of Ka'Praisha, which look just like Jenavieve does now. It is so cool that Vivi shares this resemblance! They called Kapri's sister in Texas and put us on speaker phone so they could hear Vivi and say hi to us. We sat and talked there for awhile, then went over to Kapri's grandmother's house. We also got to meet Kapri's aunt, brother, a few cousins, and 2 of her cousins had baby girls too. I watched one of them do her daughter's hair, I can't wait to try it on Jenavieve! Everyone that came to the house immediately noticed how much Vivi and Ka'Praisha look alike, which made Ka'Praisha very proud.
After we had visited with everyone, we went to Golden Corral. Kapri called it Golden Corral part 2, since we had dinner there on Mother's Day in Utah. After a nice dinner, we dropped everyone off at home. Kapri gave us a picture of her and the kids that they had just had taken, as well as the one from last year when Quez was 7 months old and Ka'Praisha was 3. I'll scan them in to share. Even though Quez and Vivi don't really look much alike now, in his baby picture, he is making a face that looks just like Vivi. We all hugged and said goodbye, and talked about the next time we would be together. Kapri is trying to save money to come up for Vivi's 1st birthday party, that would be fun. If not, we'll be back next October.
This arrangement is new and different to most of you reading this, and we have had a few people voice concerns over how it will all work, with Vivi being raised knowing her birthfamily. I tried to reassure everyone through articles and blog posts, but now that we have been to see the family, I can say that Vivi will absolutely not be confused at all with the arrangement. We all decided that Vivi will call her birthmom Auntie Kapri. I didn't want her to just call her Kapri, since she is more special than that. Ka'Praisha informed me that I would be her auntie too. (This is auntie like they say in the south, awntie) She will call her birthgrandparents Grandma Marquetta and Grandpa Oliver. (Grandpa Oliver was out of state with Kapri's sister who had just had a baby so we didn't get to meet him). When they introduced us to family and friends, they said "this is my daughter (or granddaughter) and her mom and dad".
It was very clear from the beginning that Kapri has said all the right things to the kids about the situation. Ka'Praisha probably doesn't fully understand it, but she definitely has a good grasp. When we were at Marquetta's house, Ka'Praisha sat next to me and said "you're my sister's mommy". I said "Yes, I am". Then she said "My mommy is her 'other' mommy". "Yes", I said, "your mommy is her birthmommy". She smiled and said "Yeah".
Another time, during dinner, Vivi's pacifier fell on the floor and Eric went to go wash it off in the bathroom. Ka'Praisha watched him walk away, then said "My sister's daddy goes in the boy's bathroom".
At 4 years old, she understands that her mommy was pregnant and had a sister, but that the baby lives with her mommy and daddy in another state. She understands that the relationship between her mommy and her sister isn't the same as the relationship with her mommy and herself. She has accepted all 3 of us as family members and enjoyed introducing us to everyone she saw.
If that isn't reassurance that Vivi won't have any problems, I don't know what is.
It was a great trip, we had a lot of fun and can't wait to go again next year!
Here is a slide show of the pictures, you can click on any picture to see it bigger in Picasaweb and browse them there as well. Be sure to read the captions.
After 20 hours of travel, we made it to Myrtle Beach! It wasn't too bad, we drove into the night, I took a nap while Eric drove, then we switched, and then we both took a nap in a cvs parking lot for a couple of hours before a coffee stop and getting back on the road. Vivi was great, we stopped for gas and food when she was awake so we could let her stretch and play.
We got in around 4:30 and brought everything into the house, then went out back to check out the ocean. Vivi wasn't too fond of the wind or the waves hitting her feet, but she really enjoyed the sand. It felt so strange to dress her in a little romper when just the day before I put 2 pairs of pants on her to keep her warm enough.
Aunt Chris made a yummy dinner and we went out to watch the sunset. Then Eric earned his keep by fixing their internet problem :) We also went for a walk down to the touristy shops to see what they had. Now hopefully we'll get to bed early, we are getting up early to drive down to Charleston to go to church with Kapri. I'm excited to meet Kapri's daughter and her mom and see Quez again!