It's Time!!!

Baby Oren is finally on its way and looks like he/she will be making their debut on his/her exact due date!!! Crazy! Water broke at 4pm. At hospital now. All is going well so far! And the question around the town... blue or pink cigars????



Wow! Two years ago today, we saw our son's face for the first time! I still remember it like it was yesterday! But then again, it feels so long ago... like he's always been with us. I look at this picture and am reminded of the sorrow and the joy of adoption... all that is lost, and yet all that is gained. It's a difficult thing to "settle" in my mind. I'm not sure it will ever be truly settled... someone's indescribable pain and someone else's indescribable joy- all rolled into one.

This boy has blessed our lives more than my words can describe. The gift of his life is more incredible than I ever imagined!
2 years ago- Mekonen Jack

And today... (well, this pic is from January). My how he's grown!

And how fun would it be if we saw this new baby's face on this same day! Now that would be neat! I was secretly hoping for that... however, with only 8 hours left of March 26th, I highly, highly doubt that is going to happen (unless labor starts very soon and is extremely fast! probably not my luck!) haha. 


39 Weeks! Thoughts on Pink or Blue

I never got around to posting my 38 week pictures last week! Oops!! But here we go...
39 Weeks! 
  • Wow. I can't believe I am 39 weeks. Part of me didn't think I would make it this far! Who wants to bet on a 40 week picture? ;)
  • Since Friday night, things have changed from being uncomfortable to more painful! All these random sharp pains, or dull achiness. It just all hurts! Even rolling over in my sleep is like, "ugh... oh my that kills. " But oh well... I will live! 
  • Across the top of my belly is now completely numb! Weirdest feeling ever. I go to scratch it and I can't feel it. It's like your arm falling asleep but without the bad tingling. I guess it's because when your stomach stretches the nerves don't stretch and apparently, my stomach has stretched beyond my nerves, hence the numbness. The numbness turns to a fire burning pain in one spot on the right when I lay on my right side. Strange. 
  • Had a doctor's appointment again today and nothing has changed!! Still just 1 cm. Looks like this babe is enjoying the comforts of Mommy's belly! 
  • Heart rate= 152 
  • Next week at my 40 week appointment, they will do a non-stress test on the baby to make sure they are still doing well. If they are, I will continue on to 41 weeks, and I think that's when they start talking induction. I do not want to be induced, at all. So we are really praying this baby comes on its own before that even needs to be discussed. 

We can't wait to find out whether Mekonen will have a little brother or a little sister! We are extremely excited for either gender and can't wait to see who God has chosen to best fit our family.  

Feelings on a Boy
I would love to have a boy because then he and Mekonen would be close in age (about 2 years and 3 months), and that would be a fun playmate for trucks, cars, dinosaurs, dirt, and more! (not to say girls couldn't do that too, but you know what I mean!) I love having a little boy. Love the boy thing. Growing up I always said if I could only have one gender of children I would probably choose all boys. So who knows! 

Feelings on a Girl
I would love to have a girl because we don't have one yet and I do love all things having to do with having a girl too. I can't put bows and headbands on Mekonen and have him wear bright striped tights, pig tails, and play tea party. Plus, Jonny would be absolutely adorable with a little girl who just stole his heart away. And I can't deny the incredible amounts of cute girl clothes. Yes, some people get offended when I say boy clothes aren't as cute. But I just don't think they are. Haha. 

But the best part of the whole gender thing is that God has placed the exact right child for our family in my belly and that's a great feeling! 


Getting Mekonen Ready for Baby Oren!

Adjusting to a new sibling is something it seems almost every kid goes through at some point in time. And- ready or not it's Mekonen's turn! Mekonen and Baby O. will be exactly 2 years and 3 months apart to the day if my due date rings true. I'm excited they are closer in age than farther apart. Many people ask me if Mekonen is ready to be a big brother. Probably not! :) Haha. But what 2 year old is when they don't really understand. 

Mekonen is incredibly sweet about the coming new baby, but he really doesn't know what it means or how it will change him being the only one who gets our attention. He runs into the baby's room and points to the crib and bassinet and says, "Baby nigh-nights!!" with great excitement. He also says, "Baby in carseat!!!" when pointing to the infant carrier. When you ask him where the baby is, he points to my belly and says, "kiss it!!!" Then gives my belly a kiss, right on my belly button. But really, he has no idea what this all actually means. :) If you ask him whether Mommy is going to have a baby girl or a baby boy he ALWAYS says, "baby girl, baby girl." Maybe Mekeonen knows something we don't! :) 

We've been talking about ideas to help prepare Mekonen for his new baby brother or sister. On top of talking about the baby and such, here are several ideas we came up with along with suggestions from friends who have already traveled this road! 

1. Exchange gifts! Get a gift for your older child from their new brother or sister and give it to them at the hospital. Have your older child pick out a special gift for their new sibling, like a stuffed animal or a book. We chose for the baby to give Mekonen two stuffed dinosaurs. He is currently obsessed with dinos (as he calls them). We think he will really get a kick out of these. 

He will also go crazy over the fact that there is a car on the gift bag...another one of his first loves. :) 
2. Make a special feeding basket! A lot of time is spent feeding a newborn, which typically leaves mom unable to really play with and give attention to an older child. Get a special basket filled with new toys, books, and/or videos, and take out the special basket only when it’s feeding time. 

Mekonen will love this! It has all new stuff in it he's never seen before. He's all about the alphabet and sounds right now so there's a Vtech alphabet toy, Elmo and Sesame Street coloring book and sticker book, construction vehicle gel clings that stick to the walls, fridge, etc. (He loved the snowmen ones he got at Christmas), a pack of car stickers, two matchbox airplanes, and two dinosaurs. I might get a couple more things to rotate in there for the first several weeks. (BTW, Target's dollar section was great for this activity!)

3. Buy your child a big brother/big sister shirt to wear.
4. Make all major changes before the baby arrives. If your child will be potty training, moving to a new bedroom, or moving to a big boy/girl bed and giving the crib to the baby, do this well ahead of time. This was a really good thing for us to pay attention to with Mekonen having shown some sensitivity to transitions in the past. We moved him out of the crib in November to the crib toddler bed, and in the beginning of January moved him into his big boy twin bed. We decided to hold off potty training until a couple months after the baby is here and he is adjusted. He didn't start showing really good signs early enough to try and get it done beforehand. He's showing great signs now, but we don't have enough time. We would've preferred several solid months of success before baby. 

5. Relive the older siblings baby years through videos, pictures, and stories. Lately Mekonen has been obsessed with watching his lifebook DVD. He loves seeing himself as a baby and says, "Baby Bonen!!!" It's adorable. He sits there through the entire 25 minute movie, completely glued. It's so sweet. 

6. Spend time before baby’s arrival reading books and watching some fun videos about what it’s like to have a new baby in the house! We have our list of books to get at the library but didn't make it there this week. Probably should've done this a little earlier, but oh well! Still 2 weeks or so left! 

7. During the 9 months leading up to delivery, talk about the baby, and let your child help you with all the preparations! Have them pick out something special for the nursery.

8. Buy them a special baby doll to practice taking care of their new sibling.

9. Explain to the child all that will take place when it’s time for the baby to be born: that you will be at the hospital for a couple days, they will get to spend lots of extra time with Grandma and Grandpa or friends, etc.

10. Have your child help make a welcome home sign for Mommy and baby when they get home from the hospital.

11. Put some baby items on low shelves in nursery so your older child can “help” by getting diapers, wipes, clothes, etc.

12. When someone comes to visit you and the baby, have them speak to the older child(ren) first and ask them about their new brother/sister, etc., before doting all over the new addition. 

13. When meeting the sibling for the first time, make it a private family time, with just Mommy, Daddy, kids, and the new baby. You can ask ahead of time for family and friends to wait outside for a few minutes so your older child(ren) can be as relaxed and comfortable as possible and you can enjoy those first few moments together as a new family.

14. Bring some new little toys and snacks to the hospital for older siblings to play with. (The dollar store is a great place for this).      

15. If friends and family members offer to watch your older chil(ren) once you are all home, take them up on the offer, but not at the expense of an emotionally upset child. Give them the option to stay or go, so as not to feel like they are being “replaced” or “kicked out.” However, if it’s really a tough day for you, have them go and make it an extra special fun time for them.

16. Grandparents are the perfect people to help ease the transition into siblinghood! As much as possible have your older child(ren) spend quality time during the hospital stay and following days with Grandma and Grandpa doing special things. This can be some unforgettable family times for all.

Oh and here is something special Jon ordered to celebrate the new arrival! He is so cute. The classic bubblegum cigars! 

So there are some family tested ways to help siblings adjust to the new addition. I plan to make individual play time, snuggle time, and the like for Mekonen each day, no matter how tired I am. These are precious days ahead and I want them to be the best they can be for our family and Mekonen... it's all about choosing ways to  live purposefully! 


37 Weeks & How to Choose the Perfect Baby Name

37 Weeks!!
  • I had my 37 weeks appointment today and nothing has really changed! This babe continues to cook, getting nice and strong and healthy (but hopefully not too big!!!) 
  • From last week to this week, I started having a lot more pressure in my lower stomach and some sharp pains. But nothing consistent or super significant. 
  • My doctor always giggles when I lift up my shirt for her to hear the heartbeat. She says, "Girlfriend, you are just all baby!" 
  • Gained a pound so now total weight gain is 22 lbs. 
  • The heart rate today was 141. 
  • The doctor referred to the baby once at my appointment today as a specific gender. Then she said, "Wait, we don't know what this baby is do we?" And I said nope! Now I'm really curious! Does she really know and did she just slip up? Both times the ultrasound tech said she didn't even look, so I don't think the doctor knows. Haha. Either way, we continue to guess and speculate! :) 
  • I have some amazing friends who got me a pregnancy massage today for an hour! It was AMAZING! I wish I could hire this girl to give me a massage during my whole labor. That would be awesome! 
  • I feel like there's a seem going down the middle of my stomach that is going to B-U-S-T! 
  • Pain in my right rib, wrapping around to the back of my ribs gets worse by the day! Oh baby oh baby! 
The torpedo continues to grow....

AND!!!! We are pretty sure we have finally nailed down a baby boy name! So, bring on Baby Oren! Now I feel ready for it to be either gender. I'm super stoked about both of our names and now wish I was pregnant with a set of boy/girl twins so I could use both of them, right now! 

The baby name process was fun for me! I just love names. Love the reasons why people choose their names, or why they like a certain name, etc. So fun. Here are some baby naming tips if you are also searching for the perfect name! 

Ask all your family and friends their suggestions on names and their opinions.
This is slightly sarcastic unless you are overly concerned with what people will think of the name you choose. Have you ever noticed that the name you like just happens to be the same name of that neighborhood bully in your friend’s childhood, or the “less than moral” girl they knew in highschool? And then there’s the family member who will always come up with a ridiculous nickname that afterwards you just can't shake. 

Tip: Yes, there are those abrasive family and friends who will give their negative opinion of the name you choose while you are holding your little bundle of joy. To avoid the complete bashing of your favorite name, keep it a secret until you are holding your new baby. By then, most people will at least say something socially appropriate (I repeat, most).
Many families choose a name based on their faith and/or ethnicity. These names can be special for a baby if they are presented with their importance and heritage in mind. Often times, children love hearing stories about how they are connected to the things that are important to their family.

Tip: If you choose a name that relates to your child’s religion or ethnicity, celebrate it in a special way in your child’s life, so they can take pride in it too.

Infant, Child, Adult
Some families prefer to find a name that will fit their child through all life stages. For example, you might be able to picture a baby and a child named Lily, but not an 80 year old lady. Or an 80 year old man named George, but not a teeny tiny infant.

Tip: Whatever name you choose will fit your baby and their personality perfectly. It always seems to happen like that. So go ahead with that older, strong name, or that sweet little girl name and your child will do just fine!

I know friends who have named their children so that their initials spell something but be careful your child’s initials don’t spell something  off-color that will be the brunt of teasing. For example, Ashely Sarah Smith, Peter Oliver Oren, or Gavin Andrew Yoder.

Tip: If this is something that might bother you, write out your child’s name and initials and see how they could be perceived from every which way.

Family Names/Significance & Meaning
Some parents chose names for their children based on its meaning. Either the name was passed down in the family and becomes sentimental that way, or a name is given strictly by what it means such as a character building virtue or identifies a specific time or event in a family’s life. For example, a child named Vivian after their grandmother, or a child named Gideon which means warrior, or a child named Jonathan which means gift of God, who was born on Christmas day (that's my hubby Jon!)

Tip: Search through your family history for some unique names that you might want to use to honor your family. Or, if there is a specific character trait that is important to you, find a name that has that meaning and use it as a teaching tool.

Gender Neutral Names
Many families prefer to stay away from names that can be used for a boy or a girl. These gender neutral names are different in various parts of the country as well. In the north, it is very uncommon for a boy to be named Ashley, but in the south, it is a very common boys name.

Tip: If you are worried that you will have a sensitive child who will be upset if they didn’t get a “girl color” name tag in kindergarten because the teacher wasn’t sure whether Taylor was a boy or girl, you might want to consider a different name, or consider a spelling that looks more feminine or masculine. For example: Jordan- boy spelling, Jordyn- girl spelling.

Say It Out Loud!
Often times people hear a name only in their head or on a list they are going over with their spouse, but they don’t say it enough out loud or in conjunction with their first, middle, and last name.

Tip: Say it like you would calling your child for dinner, or introducing them to someone, or even the first and middle name when they are in trouble!

Overall, if all else fails when you are trying to come up with a baby name, remember this one very important tip…Think like a middle school boy!


Getting Ready for Baby Oren

It's hard to believe we are nearing the end of Baby O's cook time! About 3 more weeks to go. People talk about this thing call nesting. Some say it happens right before the baby comes, some even the day before, or the day of! If this were the case, I would have had this baby several times by now! :) I hit my days here and there where I get a burst of energy and I clean and organize. But it doesn't stay that way for long before I feel like I need to do it again!

I think we have most of the big stuff ready to go! So here's what we've been up to! 

Here's the baby's bassinet that our friend Beth is letting us borrow!! Isn't it adorable? :) (Thanks so much Beth!!) I am planning on having the baby sleep in the bassinet in our room for awhile to make nighttime feedings easier since his/her room is at the end of the hallway. That is, unless Baby decides he/she wants to be an extremely noisy sleeper. Then they might just find themselves in their nursery crib a little sooner than planned. ;) (Who am I kidding? I won't sleep well noise or no noise!) 

A view from the top!

And since we don't know if Baby O. is a boy or girl we bought two take-home outfits for the hospital. One for a boy and one for a girl! We will simply take back the one we don't need!

If Baby O. is a Girl!
(I was hoping for a cute bright pink dress, I am obsessed with the bright bold pinks rather than pastel! But there isn't a great variety of outfits in newborn size. All the real cute ones started at 0-3 months- too big for going home day). 

If Baby O. is a Boy!
Equally difficult was finding a boy outfit I loved. Another indicator that Baby O. is probably a boy! :) Hehe. But he'll be stylin' in this cutie boy outfit. 

This made me smile when I pulled it out of the box. I can't believe Mekonen actually fit into this until he was almost 15 months old!! I remember the first time Jon and I tried getting him in this thing at the airport. It was a riot! Another cute little mini will be buckled in tight soon!

The Baby's hospital bag prepared with a couple things for a boy or girl. How fun! I am so excited we decided to wait!!

I still have to pack my hospital bag and a bag for Mekonen while we are gone. If you think of it, please pray for him, and us (okay, probably me more than us). I am extremely anxious about being away from Mekonen for a couple days for several reasons. 

In the past year, Mekonen has struggled a bit with transitions and big changes. I know once the baby is home and we are all home together, he will adjust fine. But that's not what I'm worried about.. it's the few days of being away from our home, being away from us, and not having a clue what is going on. That's what bothers me.... a lot. 

He's too little to understand or to explain the situation like you could to an older child. It's like all of a sudden, things are not normal, Mom and Dad aren't around, and then they come home with a new baby. We are extremely thankful for dear friends who are going out of their way to care for Mekonen. We are so loved and are so thankful. But I am still, really missing my Mom and sisters at this point when nothing would beat Mekonen staying home at our house the whole time, and being cared for here in his environment, by family, to make the situation the most stable and smooth for him. But I can't wait for my Mom to get here after the baby is born! That will be the best having her here. :) 

So that is where we are now in baby preparations!!! I was telling Jon yesterday that it's kind of a weird feeling waiting for the worst pain of your life to start! :) 


March- The Baby Month

Wow. March 1st! So far, March is our baby month (unless I go past my due date). We got our referral of Mekonen on March 26th and Baby #2 is due March 28th! What a special month for us. :) 

I have had a lot of thoughts running around in my head for months pertaining to my children and being a Mom. Things I'm not sure I can do justice with my words, but I will try. When we began the adoption process, I heard many people's opinions and thoughts on loving adopted children and biological children.   Some argued it's impossible to love a child who has been adopted as much as a biological child because of the lack of biology and not carrying the child in your belly. Many others said the love between the two is not less, but different. I do not mean to downgrade the real attachment struggles that some families encounter with their children, both adopted and biological (I know of families with attachment issues in both realms). So please hear my heart. It's just difficult when people automatically assume that it is and will be the case, simply due to something called DNA, biology, and pregnancy. I know attachment in both realms can be delicate and intricate, but I knew, well before Mekonen came home, that my love for this son of mine would not be less or different than the love I would have for a biological child. I held my son in my arms, he became a part of us, and I was certain.

The day I first held my son.
Previous to being pregnant with this baby, many might have argued that I haven't had a biological child yet so it was impossible for me to make such claims. But I did because they were true. And now, carrying our second child, for 9 months now, I can still make such claims because they are still 100% true. 

The love is not less or different. The only feeling I have is that of a mother's love. 9 months later, after the exciting news that we were expecting our second child, I am now, more than ever, convinced that blood has absolutely nothing to do with love and creating a family. I am incredibly grateful for adoption, for Ethiopia, for my son's birth parents, because without all of those things, I would not have my son. A son who could not by any biological means be any more mine than he is right now. 

There may still be hesitation on some people's minds to think, "Well, just wait until you birth and care for that child you are carrying. Then you will see it's different or less once they are here, in your arms." I can argue that to the ground as well. Ask any mom who has experienced a miscarriage or a stillborn child and see whether their love for that child was less because they hadn't been born and physically cared for yet. It's not less. I can without a shadow of a doubt say that my love for my two children is not different or less. It is a fierce, unconditional love I'm not sure I can put words to. I am so excited and in love with my two year old and this new baby - no matter how each child has joined our family. 

So in talking about this new baby! Another week down!
4 more to go!
36 weeks
(9 months)
(Sorry for the fuzzy shadow around me. I tried fixing it and it didn't work. Haha. I'm calling it... my husband will comment on my savvy photography skills).
  • The only noticeable change from last week is that the past two days I have had non-stop tightening and a super hard belly. I'm not talking about starting and stopping tightness, but constant, all the time, can't get it to relax tightness. It's not necessarily painful, just super uncomfortable and I just feel exhausted. Well, not me, but my stomach feels exhausted. Like it has run its own marathon without my consent. Haha. Then last night the unending tightness made me start throwing up. Lovely. 
  • I lost two pounds since last week, so I'm now back to so far gaining 21 lbs. total. 
  • Baby's heart rate was between 137-140 today, almost ten lower than last time! 
  • Cervix hasn't really changed, barely 1 cm! (haha, probably TMI, but wanting to record details for us). 

So here's to March!!! The baby month!!!