Thursday, June 21, 2012



A few weeks ago, you were in a really grumpy mood, and you were crying and whining, and your cousin Callum walked up to you, patted your head, and said, "It's okay, Noah Bug.  It's okay, Sweet Pea."

It made me laugh because those are two of the nicknames that I call you!  Callum obviously picked up on it!  This got me thinking that I need to document some of your nicknames.

-Noah Bug
-Baby Noah
-Noah Nugget (or just Nugget)
-Sweet Pea
-Sweet Boy
-Punkin (the annoying way I pronounce "pumpkin" when I'm talking to you for some reason)
-Punk (this is the shortened version of Punkin, though it ends up sounding like an insult :)
-Pumpkin Pie
-The Hulk (blame this one on Bapa)
-Mr. Big (again, Bapa--of course!)
-Fat Face (though this may seem very insulting, it's Aunt Sarah's biggest compliment and term of endearment for you--she loves fat babies)

I'm sure many more will be added to this list eventually. :)


A Special Quilt

I have been meaning to post about this quilt for months!!!  My friend from Buffalo, Margaret, told me that she was going to make me a personalized baby quilt as my baby shower gift.  She said I could pick the theme and give her a list of people to contact, and she would get all of my friends and family to contribute to it.  I chose the theme "Books."  I know that is really random, but I thought it would be cool if friends and family could contribute titles and quotes from their favorite books.  I wasn't sure how Margaret would work it all into a quilt, but I had faith in her abilities. :)

I love the way the quilt turned out!  She designed it on her computer, and it is really unique and fun.  I hope someday we have a kids' play room or library or reading nook where we can hang this quilt.  In the mean time, it is in your room, folded right by the rocking chair where we read to you.

Some people contributed fun and silly books, others contributed serious books.  These are some of my favorite profound quotes that are included on the quilt:

"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." from Harry Potter by J.K Rowling, contributed by Aunt Laura

"Children are a burden to a mother, but not the way a heavy box is to a mule.  Our children weigh hard on my heart, and thinking about them growing up honest and healthy, or just living to grow up at all, makes a load in my chest that is bigger than the safe at the bank, and more valuable to me than all the gold inside it." from These is My Words by Nancy Turner, contributed by Rachel Fordham

"'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.'" from The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjery Williams, contributed by Kristen Farrell

"Atticus was right.  One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.  Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."  from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, contributed by your mother (are you surprised?)

"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs." from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, contributed by Amber Price

"We have only one story.  All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil.  And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal.  Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is."  from East of Eden by John Steinbeck, contributed by Fran Hauser

"'I'm glad that you are here with me;" said Frodo, 'Here at the end of all things, Sam.'" from The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien, contributed by Rabecca Pierce

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, contributed by Carrie Schneider

"A person's a person, no matter how small." from Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess, contributed by Aunt Sarah

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.  You can have a wonky nose and crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." from The Twits by Roald Dahl, contributed by Julie Bastedo

"...of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction..." This is a description of Meriwether Lewis by Thomas Jefferson from the foreword of Undaunted Courage.  Bapa said that this quote reminded him of me in my quest to become a mother. :)

So many beautiful quotes from so many amazing books!  I hope you will be a reader, Baby Boy.  I hope you will love books as much as your mama does!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers' Day!

*I wrote this for my pubic blog but thought it was worth posting here. :)

Since Fathers' Day was on Sunday, I have been thinking all week about the good men that I want to celebrate and honor on this blog.  I love seeing each of them with Noah, and I feel so fortunate that my son has so many amazing male role models in his life:

Let's start with the oldest: Noah's Great Grandpa Jack.

We live about two miles away from my grandparents, and they have been a huge part of Noah's life, just as they have always been a huge part of mine.  My 83-year-old grandpa loves kids, and he begs to babysit Noah.  I don't know many old men who would be willing to take care of an energetic ten-month-old, including chasing him around and changing his diapers, but Grampy actually likes to do it.  My grandma tells me that he was a very hands-on father to his own children in a time when that wasn't common.  He got up with the babies in the night, changed their diapers, and supported them in all of their hobbies and interests as they got older.

A few months ago, I left Noah with my grandpa so I could run a few errands.  Grampy asked, "So what can I feed this kid?"

"Well, he just ate," I responded, "but if he seems hungry you could give him a mashed up banana, or some canned peaches, or a cracker--"

"Well, what about ice cream?" he asked matter-of-factly.

This made me laugh.  Of course Grampy would be the one to introduce ice cream to his great grandson.   I told him Noah was a little young for ice cream, but he didn't seem too convinced.  I have a feeling he may have snuck Noah a spoonful or two. :)

Noah is also lucky to live close to his "Bapa."

My dad was called "Bapa" by his first grandchild, and the nickname stuck.  It's appropriate that he has a unique moniker from his grandchildren because he is the king of goofy nicknames, and heaven knows he will give them lots of different titles throughout their lives.  Thus far, a few of the most unusual pet names that my dad has given Noah are "Hunchback" (when he was tiny and floppy), "The Hulk" (when he suddenly got massively chubby), and his current favorite, "Mr. Big" (because Noah is so solid and hefty).  Dad even taught this newest name to my nephew Callum, and it is quite hysterical when Cal will say to me, "Rachel, Baby Noa--I mean, Mr. Big is crying."  :)

Just like his father, my dad is very "hands-on" with Noah and is not afraid to babysit or give a bath or change a diaper.  Recently, I wanted to attend a regional adoption conference on a Friday morning, but Noah was sick, so I didn't feel like I could take him to the nursery that was provided there.  I mentioned to my dad that I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to go to the conference because there were some classes that I really wanted to attend on adoption topics that I have been thinking about lately.  My dad said, "Well, I could come babysit Mr. Big."  I was quite surprised by this offer because it was a work day, and my dad is a bit of a workaholic, so I never even considered that he would be able to take the day off to help me.  But my dad insisted, so he and Mr. Big spent the morning hanging out together and going for walks while I went to my classes.  Do I have a great dad or what?

Noah also has another awesome grandpa, Grandpa Nielson.

Ryan's dad, Gordon, is a very gentle and loving person.  I've never heard him raise his voice at anyone.  His family sometimes teases him because whenever he is feeling touched, his eyes well up with tears.  I think it is so sweet.  I will never forget when he came to the hospital right after Noah was born.  Tears streamed down his face as I told him the story of Noah's birth and the sacred time we'd spent with his birth parents.  It was such a beautiful moment when he met his grandson for this first time.

During the trips we've taken to Idaho since Noah's birth, Gordon has had such a calming influence on our sometimes fussy little boy.  He takes him in his arms and makes a purring noise by rolling his tongue (I've noticed that Ryan subconsciously makes the same noise when he is soothing babies), and Noah quiets right down.  This most recent trip, we went to one of Ryan's brother's baseball games one evening, and Noah was a little riled up because it was past his bedtime.  I watched Gordon holding Noah and walking him around the field to calm him down.  It looked like he was telling him about the trees and the clouds, the players and the sport.  I loved watching them interact.  Noah is so lucky to have such a patient, loving, tender-hearted grandpa.

Then, there is his birth father.

I've written more on this blog about Katie than I have about Drew, but I want everyone to know how much I love this young man.  When Noah was born, Drew was standing beside me and Katie.  I will never forget sharing that experience with him and witnessing his strength and his love for Noah.  During the emotional hour after the birth, Drew asked me if he could stay in touch with Noah and receive the same types of updates that Katie will be receiving.  I told him of course he could.  I will never forget the relief that flooded his face and the way he hugged me and thanked me.  (As if he needed to thank me when he and Katie were making such a selfless sacrifice.)  He has loved Noah from the first moment he laid eyes on him, and they are so cute together whenever we have visits.  Some teenage boys are intimidated by babies, but Drew has always had such a natural, sweet way with Noah.

It is very rare for birth fathers to be involved in adoptions--most birth mothers face this incredibly difficult decision and the subsequent emotional recovery alone--and it's even rarer for birth fathers to want to stay involved in the baby's life for the long term.  We are so lucky to have Drew in our lives, and I am grateful that Noah will never have to wonder what his birth father was like and whether or not he loved him.

And last, but certainly not least, Noah has his wonderful father.

Ryan is Noah's favorite person in the world.  It is really quite darling.  Noah is currently getting four new teeth (ouch!), and the other day, he was absolutely inconsolable--until Ryan got home from work, and then he was all giggles.  Seriously, all Ryan has to do is walk in the door and Noah starts laughing.  How do dads do that??

Ryan usually puts Noah to bed, and it takes a while.  Ryan only gets about an hour a day with him, so he savors every moment of bedtime.  I think it's important to be consistent with routines, so I recently asked Ryan to teach me how he puts Noah to bed.  As he described it to me, I couldn't stop smiling.  Noah has a small collection of toys and little stuffed animals that stay in his crib.  Apparently, after Ryan reads him books and sings him songs, he lays him down and has all of Noah's toys and animals say goodnight to him.  He picks them up one by one, says "Mr. Dog wants to give Noah a goodnight kiss" and then has the dog (or car or whatever he is holding) walk around the outside of the crib making little barking noises, and then the toy gives Noah a kiss and nuzzles in beside him.  At the end of their little routine, Noah is surrounded by all of his favorite toys, ready to head off into Dreamland. No wonder he falls asleep happy each night!

 I am so grateful for all of these good men in my life and in my son's life.  The impact of a loving father is immeasurable, and Noah is one lucky little boy to have all of these men (and his uncles and his other great grandpas and so many more) who love him.

Happy belated Fathers' Day!  xoxo

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Today is your birth mom's 18th birthday, Noah!!  What a year she has had!  We are proud of her for all that she has been through and all that she has accomplished.  We are thinking about her today and hoping she has the best day ever.

You were lucky enough to see her a few weeks ago, and you were just so happy.  You love her!

Today, we tried to get a photo of you holding a "happy birthday" sign for her.  You have gotten so wiggly and stubborn that it was almost impossible to get a picture of you holding the sign.  You do not stay still for more than two seconds these days!

First we tried the recliner, but you immediately turned around and tried to climb off:

Then we tried the floor, but you were crawling so fast that the picture was a bit blurry:

 Then we strapped you in the high chair, which you weren't too keen about, so you refused to give us a decent smile:
 Finally Dad busted out Barry the Buffalo and started being silly, and that did the trick!

Then you got a little hungry and decided it was time for a snack:

You are a handful, but we sure love you, Baby Boy!  We are so grateful for Katie and we are hoping her birthday is full of happiness.