Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hands Full, Heart Full: Month THREE


     Today marks MONTH THREE with our Josiah Bug. I sort of can’t believe yet another month has passed by already. But then again, it feels like we've been together so much longer! I’d love to say we’ve conquered a lot of things these past several weeks, but the reality is…we’re still adjusting. Step by step...and sometimes...day by day. Who am I kidding?! Maybe even hour by hour! I feel like a broken record, but it’s important to remember that this continuous adjustment is normal. I can’t tell you how many times I read stories in my China Adoption group that emulate our life with Josiah. Sleep issues. Ear issues. Eating issues. These are all struggles for SO MANY adoptive families. While reading some of the struggles can be scary, it is more than anything…encouraging. We are not alone.
     One of the biggest changes this month has been (Mommy) going back to work and sending Josiah to a sitter. We’ve been plagued by sickness and other unfortunate things that have caused both Eric and myself to miss more work than we would like (and now to a point where it’s more than we can miss) so I use the term “going back to work” quite loosely. I’ve yet to work a full Wednesday! Fog has taken a couple of those days and then Josiah had a fever last Wednesday so Eric and I split the day to take care of him. The missed work and messed up routine has made adjustments to life a bit trickier and downright stressful. 
     Josiah has done fairly well tagging along with Emmaline each day to the sitter. It’s hard for me to accurately define his reaction to being dropped off each morning. I’m so quick to relate everything back to the fact that we’ve only been together for three short months. But, there’s also the reaction of normal anxiety exhibited by children when they’re dropped off in a new environment the first several times. The other week, my mom asked me to think about when our other kiddos started going to the sitter. Were there tears for them? And as I thought back, there were tears…so I have to remember that some of this anxiety could be normal. Once he’s there, he plays and eats like we’d hoped he would. It just sort of makes mornings a bit interesting when you're trying to figure out what "trick" will work and possibly ease his transition. Kids are smart so it's no surprise that they catch on quickly to what you're trying to do. As a result, we've not been able to make the same thing work two days in a row. Sometimes we've been able to use food, some days we can use his shoes, and some days we just have to do a "pass the baby" and run. Hopefully, we'll be able to find some more regularity in that area this month.
     This next month, in general, is a huge one for our ‘Siah Bug. We’ve got an MRI in the middle of the month as well as a test called the BAER. We were referred for the BAER test after seeing an ENT and Audiologist. Both the MRI and BAER require sedation so we were mostly thankful to push back Josiah's originally-scheduled MRI in order to have just one sedation procedure. We also have a cardiology appointment to check on his ASD that is supposedly a non-issue. Again, we’re checking all of these doctors off our initial list. Actually, we’re on our way home from Columbus as I type because we saw a Urologist today. All looks good in that arena. YAY! 
     Yesterday, I took Josiah to the doctor after dealing with high fevers again last week. I was not shocked when the doctor told me he had an ear infection. I believe this makes #4 for our poor boy. Remember, I’m only on our MONTH THREE post. Yikes! Once he has the BAER test done, we’ll follow-up with our ENT during the first week of November to discuss next steps. We’re still slightly surprised that he cannot pass a hearing test because he has picked up language so well. He now says “Sit down!” when Emmaline stands on the furniture. And he shrugs his shoulders when we ask where something is…and he says "toot toot" as he points to his belly when he passes gas and he says “Uh oh!” when he drops something on the ground. Soooo...all of the important stuff is basically covered. He still likes to parrot a lot of what we say so that is encouraging. We’re really hoping to get some answers this month about his MRI and hearing.
     Sleeping has seen some changes. To be honest, he slept SO WELL when we got home from the hospital. It was through-the-night sleep without any coughing and no terrors/tantrums. Since that first week, sleep has been a different story. We DO have a good routine now so that has been a blessing. Eric and I try to put the big kids to sleep first because Josiah requires one of us to lay with him for an extended period of time. When we were trying it the opposite way…Eric or I always missed out on bedtime routines for Sydney and Landon. SO this way…Eric and I can both try and read stories to the older two. 
     Josiah now goes into each of their bedrooms to give his big bro and big sis smooches…and then Josiah and Mommy head down the hallway to turn on his night light and sound machine. Eric purchased the sound machine/night light and surprised us with it…and it’s been such a huge deal to Josiah at night time. It is HIS thing to turn on and then he always gives me a high five! He loves it. In fact, one night it was still on and I had to have Sydney run ahead and turn it off so that Josiah could still do his "thing." Heaven forbid we mess this routine up! It's working!
     Settling down for bed is becoming easier…it’s just the staying asleep part we’re working on right now. But, knowing he has yet another ear infection, I can’t help but think that he slept so well because he was on a strong antibiotic for an ear infection and felt TRULY WELL at night. We shall see if his sleep is affected now that we’re on yet another antibiotic. 
     Josiah has gained almost 5 pounds since we’ve had him home! He still has the skinniest little legs, but his face is filling out and he’s got a few more acorns in his cheeks for the winter time. He also has a bit more of a belly than when we first met him! We’re not quite into 24 month clothing…but he’s getting closer. His “younger” sister is rocking 2T quite well. Our two cuties sure keep us BUSY, BUSY. At yesterday’s doctor appointment, Landon was my only “big” helper and it definitely changed the dynamic of our visit. Essentially, I had triplets that I was trying to coerce into a giant building as we dodged cars, automatic doors, and people coming out of elevators. We met the nicest man who asked if they were “all mine” and then said how cute they were. Naturally, he followed that comment with a statement about how BUSY I must be! I smiled and told him I even had ONE MORE at home that called me Mom.
     We’re stressed…but we’re also blessed. Cliche? Probably. But, we prayed and prayed and prayed for this family and we believe God is using all of our struggles for His glory. I often need to remember that He indeed SEES us and knows exactly how our story will continue to unfold. Until we know what the next several pages bring, I continue to pray for patience, grace, discernment, wisdom, and did I mention…patience?! Mercy! 

     And because I know you all come for the pictures...here they are...our growing boy!

(After-work naps are sometimes a MUST.)

(He is really in to sitting on the potty. He even censored the picture on his own!)

(He just got done saying "Uh-oh" in this picture.)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Hands Full, Heart Full: Month TWO

     And just like that...we've experienced another month with Josiah in our lives. Wow! Time sure flies when you're having fun. And fun we're having! But there's also a lot of hard. Sometimes it's heavy on the fun...sometimes it's heavy on the hard. Here's a glimpse of Month TWO!

     At the beginning of August, we had our initial visit with Nationwide International Adoption Clinic. Eric and I had to get Josiah to Columbus for a 9AM appointment. We were told it could be up to three hours so they encouraged us to bring lots of things to occupy our little guy. So we did! Stacking cups, snacks, books, snacks, a pom pom sorter, some Little People, and snacks. Did I mention snacks?!
     Overall, the visit was AMAZING. We met with so many wonderful doctors and professionals. They were all so kind and kept apologizing about how far we had driven and how long we were in the office. I insisted that it was not a big deal because everyone was SO kind! It was totally worth the drive. During our visit, our room had a revolving door. Figuratively speaking. We saw a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, an audiologist, and then the general doctor. Our appointment lasted three hours and then some. Basically, we have to work on gathering baseline data for certain areas so we can track Josiah's progress. We also have to work on updating several tests that were done when he was first brought into the orphanage. All of these tests and scans were never given to use with his medical file so we don't really have an idea about the extent of some of his potential medical needs. Also, since he had certain diagnoses in his file, we have to work our way through figuring out whether these diagnoses are accurate and how they might be affecting our sweet boy. One of the things we needed to check off our list was a kidney ultrasound. Thankfully, we were able to complete that later in the afternoon. Of course, it was a very LONG day in Columbus, but we were so thrilled with our experience there. Here's our rockstar boy doing what he does best...snacking!

      Some of our visit highlights included the doctor giving me a big hug when she saw me in the hallway. Technically, that was a highlight for just me. BUT! She was actually on her way to another patient, and HAD to stop and give me a hug and tell me that she heard how well Josiah was doing so far with the other assessments and interviews. How amazing is that?! In general, the doctor was very impressed with Josiah. Some of the concerns she had about him (based on some video footage we had been given prior to meeting him) were immediately thrown out the window.
     Josiah was also given a Bayley's Cognitive assessment. Due to excessive snacking, he refused to do some of the tests...but still managed to score "Advanced." The psychologist was slightly shocked. This was following her speech about how we shouldn't worry if he didn't do well because that was very typical of kiddos who are adopted. We knew this information, but it was nice to be reminded again that this wasn't going to define Josiah. Remember, for every YEAR that a child is in an institution, you can expect six months worth of delays. So...Josiah was 17 months at the time...and could have scored as an 11 month old. But instead, he scored as a 21 month old! Even without completing a few of the tests! Naturally, I cried. I was so proud of him and so thankful for the caretakers who loved and taught our boy while we weren't there to love on him. Eric and I also laughed a little because we felt like he really did understand so much of what we were saying to him and at the rate he was picking up words, etc...it really made sense to us. God is good!
     We'll go back in February to check in again with the team and discuss new progress and any areas of concern. In the mean time, we have to check off some doctor's appointments. In the next couple of months, we'll visit the cardiologist, the neurologist, another audiologist, and a urologist. Phew! That's a mouth full- or at least a calendar full!
     This month has definitely required us to dive a little deeper into "normal" life. According to my contract, I can take twenty, consecutive days in relationship to our adoption. Not much of a maternity leave. But, I don't have a lot of sick time built up after having Emmaline so I just decided to take the first two weeks of the year off. Things are definitely interesting in our house right now!
     For starters, this is my first "maternity leave" that doesn't involve nursing a baby. WHAT?! While that makes it easier in some ways...it's also difficult because twin toddlers just don't like sharing attention sometimes. This is definitely more of a struggle for Josiah than Emmaline. She does a really nice job (mostly) of sharing and comforting him when he's upset. But a lot of times, there's no comforting Josiah when he's upset. I don't even think he knows why he is crying half the time. And this boy can cry. For a long time. Like more than 30-40 minutes without stopping. It's hard to get him to snap out of it. Not even holding him helps. These fits are hard. It makes my connection to HIM difficult at times. It's definitely a process on both ends. He's attaching to us...but we're also attaching to him. Of course, we LOVE our little guy...but learning to handle all of his tantrums and fits is very different. Parenting, in general, is very different with a child who comes from a traumatic past. *Josiah (although he spent time in a loving environment) is still considered to have come from a traumatic past.* We're still learning about each other.
     Here are just some of the FIRSTS Josiah experienced this month: Two doctors visits. Shots (with more to come...Boo!). A failed blood draw. A successful blood draw. <---Both were AWFUL by the way! Just awful! A parade. The county fair. The babysitter. Swimming in the baby pool. His cousin's volleyball game. The zoo. A trip to our favorite store- Barnes & Noble. Annnnnd his first hair cut...which I did...and it totally got out of control. I was supposed to just trim the hair over his ears and then next thing you know?! He's without sideburns and resembles an Amish version of Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber. I'm sorry, buddy! NEVER AGAIN. I promise.

     While I had started writing a lot of this post last weekend...I wasn't expecting to add an entire section about another unexpected first: a hospital admission. On Wednesday, Josiah woke up with a fever. I wasn't too surprised simply because he seemed to have some drainage issues with his ear and nose and he still coughs a lot in the night. This cough is something the doctors just haven't dug into very much and it's been frustrating. Wednesday was a fog day (yeah OHIO!) for the older two so I decided to take all four kiddos shopping and out to eat. Why not live a little?! At lunch, I noticed Josiah was shaking a little. It was more like a shiver...he seemed cold. I could tell his fever was back up again so I called the doctor to schedule a sick visit. They had an opening in an hour. So I put my meal straight into a to-go box and off we headed. The doctor sent us for a chest x-ray but encouraged us to maintain normal therapy. Whaaaatttt is normal therapy?! He largely didn't want to medicate Josiah if he didn't have to (which I support) and he dismissed it as a virus. We never heard back about the x-ray and assumed it was OK. The kiddos were once again amazingly helpful and well-behaved...so I pretty much feel like we've got these doctor visits down to an art!

     After we were home for a little while, Josiah wanted to sit next to me on the couch. As he sat there, I noticed his head was bobbing a bit so I picked him up. He hadn't napped much and I thought he was falling asleep while sitting there. Unfortunately, that was not the case. His lips were completely purple and a bunch of unswallowed saliva was coming out of his mouth. He was almost unresponsive and very limp in my arms. I called 911 and an ambulance came to the house. Thankfully, Josiah came around by the time the EMS arrived. He was weak, but responsive. They checked him out and vitals were mostly good. His fever was at 103 even though I had given him Tylenol after our doctor's appointment about an hour earlier. The EMT didn't feel he needed transported at the time (and I agreed) so I chose to keep him home and watch him closely. About an hour later, I was feeding Josiah in his high chair when I noticed his left eye/face begin to droop. It was very scary and very odd. My mom had come over to help watch the other kiddos when we had the 911 scare and she noticed the same thing. As soon as Eric got home, off the three of us went to the ER. They admitted Josiah and began an IV. The IV did not go well. At all. The next couple of hours were equally horrific. Josiah screamed and screamed nonstop. Nonstop. They couldn't draw blood, we had to hold him down for more x-rays, and they couldn't get his heart rate to register correctly. By now, his fever was 104.5.
     The ER doctor explained that he didn't feel like we were best served at the hospital and put in for a transfer to Toledo Children's. Part of his reasoning had to do with diagnoses in Josiah's medical file from China. We understood and agreed this was best. MediVan came soon after and took our boy away in his car seat...leaving Eric and I to follow them in our own vehicle. I was scared. And I was angry that they wouldn't let me ride with Josiah- for insurance purposes. Can't I sign a waiver?! After all of the trust we had worked to build...how would Josiah know what was going on in a van with two strange men?!
     As soon as we arrived, a rapid response team was sent in to the room. This was also very scary! Josiah's fever was now 104.7 and his heart rate was through the roof! It was a long night of worrying and trying to figure out what was going on. Obviously, his vitals were checked around the clock so not much sleep was happening. And Josiah pretty much associated ANYONE in the hospital now as the devil and screamed and flailed his body. Every.single.time. This made Eric and I the forever "bad guys" and we hated that. As you can imagine, the constant vital checking and an uncooperative 18 month old made it very difficult and hard to complete temp checks and BPs accurately. Josiah also knew the pulse ox monitor was on his foot and had to literally be distracted from this 24/7. Yikes! And an IV plus a flailing body makes life interesting too. At one time, it did have to be pushed back in and taped down more. This caused him to bleed quite a bit underneath his bandage.
    We ended up staying from Wednesday night to Friday night because Josiah's experience was not a textbook febrile seizure. This concerned the doctors. Based on some findings in his EEG, it was determined that an MRI would need completed to figure out exactly what was going on with our sweet boy. Unfortunately, the MRI requires full sedation and the team did not feel comfortable with Josiah's fever and nasal congestion to go forward with the procedure. We were finally released Friday night and were instructed to schedule the MRI as soon as possible. Until then, we've got four different medications we're taking. We also have an ENT appointment next week because we did find out that Josiah had an ear infection (again). And we'll meet with the neurologist in the next few weeks to discuss the MRI findings.

     Thankfully, the entire staff at Toledo Children's was exceptional. We loved everyone we met and they had mutual feelings about our boy. Eventually, Josiah learned to trust and let the vital checking happen without tears and tantrums. (Although sometimes he signed "all done" as soon as they walked in to the room. HAHA! Stinker.) He also loved saying "Hi" to all of his favorite nurses and he was even spoiled with his very own medicine syringe. You should have seen his excitement about this gift. The nurse could not believe how happy it made him. We had told her how he LOVES using those things to take medicine. Everyone commented on how cute he was which always make me smile. Naturally, we think he's a cutie too! Especially when he's feeling like himself! So many people have told us that they can't believe he's even cuter in person. You guys are too sweet. And too much. This boy is going to have an ego!
     Phew. That was a lot. But again, I want to make as much of our journey as transparent as possible. God has used our testimony in so many ways these past two months as we've shared with others. And I can't tell you how many people share that they've considered adopting too after talking with us. God creates our testimonies so that we may share with others for HIS glory! At the hospital, a doctor opened up about her struggles with infertility and cried along with me as she shared her game plan for Josiah.
     And just yesterday, I got to share a bit of my heart for adoption with a cashier at Walmart. She admitted that her daughter was wanting to begin the process soon. She also cried with me and held my hand as she handed me my receipt...telling me that she was praying for our boy. See?! How amazing is our God?!
      Soooooooooooooo...back to month TWO happenings. An area where we've seen improvement since month ONE is eating! We've figured out a trick with baby food. He definitely has some texture aversions. But, he tolerates more fruits and vegetables in a puree form so we're rolling with it. He'll still eat some fruits and veggies in solid form...but not many. That boy can inhale two big containers of baby food in less than a few minutes though! He's also eating more protein and has done sooooo much better with not gagging this month. Although he seems to be able to do that on command. Oy.
     Something we're still waiting to see improvement on is SLEEP. We had taken the advice of the psychologist and tried the crib again. She told us to keep the end goal in mind. Well, the end goal is obviously the crib. We didn't exactly wish to sleep with him until he was nine or OLDER?! We had also learned that he wasn't sleeping well prior to this because he had roseola, an ear infection, and he was cutting his bottom canines. The doctor said he was dealing with SO MUCH and that all of those things would drastically affect his sleep. So we were relieved and hopeful. Sleep was surely on its way!
     But alas, after trying the crib for two horrible weeks...we ditched the plan and went back to co-sleeping. Eric and I could not function. I almost fell asleep- standing up! And since Josiah wasn't napping consistently and then sleeping horribly throughout the night...it was a terrible situation for him too. Sooooo now, I sleep in our queen bed with Josiah...and Eric sleeps on the floor. And it works. We all sleep. I think we'll try to squeeze Eric into the bed during month #3. Or save money for a King. Josiah is just a total bed hog. But hey, we're all sleeping so that's the important part! He has also been taking hour or so naps a few times a week while I've been home with him. Granted, he lays on the couch beside me...but again, we'll take it! Also, knowing that Josiah hasn't been 100% since we've been home makes this sleeping piece make a little more sense. Poor guy! Here he is refusing to go to sleep...while standing up! This boy is a FIGHTER! The hospital kept telling us that too. Ha!

     As always, thanks for following our journey and praying us through it. We are so appreciative of everyone's outpouring of support and love. Happy September, everyone! We're excited for a more healthy month THREE!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hands Full, Heart Full: Month ONE

     So I've been thinking about the easiest way to update our blog with our adoption journey and I've seen other Mamas do monthly updates...and that sounds like an easy and simple way for me to stay on track...so here it is...our MONTH ONE update! Wow! It's kind of hard to believe! Last night, I had to pull up the first picture I ever saw of our boy...the picture from back in January...that led us down this road to our Josiah. He has changed so much! And we're glad to be on this side of our journey and experience these changes right alongside him. Here's our sweet boy experiencing his Mama's craziness! The first picture is courtesy of his older brother and sister playing peek-a-boo. The second picture is how he TRULY felt that his Mama was making him do such a thing. HA!

     I'm not sure what the "cut" is when people tell you that your hands are full...I mean...I'm fairly certain I heard it when our "number" was three...but I don't feel like it was as often as I've heard it in the past month. I've read numerous stories and accounts of funny things people say to you and quite honestly, I'm sure I've been guilty of saying things that probably send chills down parents' spines in regards to their adopted child. More often than not, people mean no harm....just as I meant no harm when I've told people how "lucky" their child is to have parents like they do. (Sigh) But, it's something I'm learning along the way and I appreciate my encounters with all of these comments because it allows me to practice my responses!
     The first month home is exactly what it sounds like...the month where you experience a LOT of "firsts" with your child as part of your family. Our first month was no exception. Here's a recap of some of the FIRSTS we experienced together.
     Last week, Josiah had his first outing to the doctor's office. Emmaline had her well-check so it was a "pack up the circus and take it on the road" kind of day. I wasn't exactly sure how this was all going to go down...but Sydney and Landon were super amazing and I'm fairly certain I'd still be in the parking lot if it wasn't for them. We arrived. We parked. We all joined hands and walked through the parking lot, into the elevator, into the waiting room, and then into the check-up room. And for the most part, it was fairly successful! Keep in mind successful means there was floor-sitting...Emmaline was walking around the room barefoot and in a diaper...and a Cheerio MAY have been eaten off the floor. Cheerio-eating off the floor wasn't our goal...but hey, we were also going for survival. Naturally, I had to thank the "bigs" with a little Biggby hot chocolate. Their personal fave. And of course, I indulged myself with a Grande Teddy Bear HOT...because...when in Rome!

     Another first for Josiah has been playing outside with his siblings! Grass is still basically a sea of alligators to him that he won't touch. But, that's to be expected when he's likely never played in grass before. I didn't see any at the orphanage, but we didn't see every square inch of the complex either. I can only guess because he literally picks up his feet any time I try to put him down. And when he's dropped a piece of chalk in the yard...he can't find a way to pick it up. It's actually kind of funny to watch him pace back and forth on the concrete and think so hard about HOW he can rescue things that have fallen into the "alligator" pond. But he's becoming more comfortable outside and just the other day...he walked into the garage and carried out a bucket of chalk on his own. Progress!

     Josiah also experienced his first trip to the store this week. Actually, make that storeS plural. This week, he conquered Marshall's, New to You, Bath & Body Works, and Wal-Mart. He also became an experienced "fountain coin-thrower" and loved experiencing this "first"- perhaps most of all! That boy can throw some serious coins. And thankfully, Mama's penny population is now under control.

     All trips have gone well...mostly because he has had snacks the entire time. But hey, we're in the business of keeping things stress-free right now. And our boy is HAPPY when he can snack. But this brings up one of our biggest struggles this month...food. Transitioning his diet has been difficult. Not difficult because he isn't getting what he's used to eating. He actually doesn't always accept his normal Chinese diet. And I mean, eventually, he has to eat something else besides congee and rice cereal. I say it's been difficult because he WANTS what we have...but only on his own time. And only certain things. If this boy had his druthers, he'd live off Cheez-Its, Blueberry Chex, Goldfish, Cheerios, and milk. Do you see much protein in there? Me either. 
     Meals can be a quite the trigger for our boy's fits. Fits where he cries and cries and cries...and cries some more. Did I say he cries? I've been keeping a list of what he'll eat and it is a fairly long list...but again, it's finding a balance of things that are good for him to eat and not just allowing him to survive on snacks alone. He does love noodles. So goulash, spaghetti, macaroni & cheese, and Ramen have been successful. But not always. We've also had some success with tacos. Each meal is an adventure though. 
     He's still learning how to use his entire mouth full of teeth. So.many.teeth. He's learning how to chew AND swallow. He'll still gag from time to time because he gets too much food in his mouth. He doesn't know when enough is enough. (Eric and I have caught our FAIR share of gagged-up food. Yum.) He's also learning that he can eat more than one thing at a time...meaning...if there are several things on his plate like a veggie, a fruit, and the main dish...he can pick and eat all of those things throughout our mealtime. But right now, he only picks ONE thing off the plate and won't touch anything else. We definitely have to be strategic in how we offer meals to him. He also doesn't know that he can finish one item before he accepts another. So...let's say he's working on some cereal at breakfast...but wants the muffin I have. If I hold out a piece of muffin to him...he spits out everything in his mouth and takes the muffin. I've been decorated with many a spit up food in the past couple of weeks. Really doesn't help my re-wear policy on certain clothing items. Haha! 
     Another area where he's struggling is sleep. This triggers his crying fits as well. In China, he'd take a 3 hour nap with no questions asked. He also slept through the night as if he knew no other way. Even in Florida, we saw much of these same sleep patterns. Of course, we can likely attribute the majority of this sleep due to the emotional trauma he was experiencing with all of the changes that adoption brings to a child's life. 
     Now that we've been "Home Home" for almost two weeks, however, we have been dealing with new sleeping habits and patterns. Josiah largely doesn't nap. If I can lay on the floor and pat his belly (through the slats of his crib- read: I have ginormous hands and this hurts for long periods of time)...he'll nap. Or there have been times when he's so tired that he'll fall asleep on my chest. But both of these circumstances are difficult to do on a daily basis...because there are other kiddos and other schedules. Right now, he'll start in his crib at bedtime and make it a few hours...but he's basically co-sleeping with us. We're OK with this arrangement for now, but it has been tricky when our other "graduate of co-sleeping" baby (Emmaline) decides to cut teeth and come in for some action too. We only have a QUEEN bed, people! HA! So really... I've been co-sleeping with two toddlers and Eric has been sleeping wherever he can find room....which isn't always IN our room. P.s. Have you ever seen a queen bed with side rails? It's real cute. Insert wink face.

     I asked Eric last night...as we were both remembering our first month together...what his biggest surprise has been...and he said Josiah's communication. I had to agree...because we are truly blown away at all he is able to do. He signs "more" and "hungry" and "milk." He says Hi, Yeah, All done, Thank you, Up (when he wants held), Mama, Dada, Uh-oh. The kids are convinced he can say their names. The jury is still out for me on that one. But overall, he understands sooooooo much. He puts things back when you ask, he gets his shoes when he wants to go outside, he comes to you for diaper changes, he pulls you in the direction of what he wants when his "words" aren't working. He truly is such a smart boy. Sometimes, I have to remember that he has only been with us a short time when he's throwing fits...because I forget...and he has exceeded our expectations when it comes to communication. So I can easily "expect" more from him...because he can communicate and understand SO WELL...but this isn't fair to him or our adjustment to one another.
     Wow. I can't tell you how helpful it is for me to write all of this down...to remember that it's only been a month. But, at the same time, that it's also been a MONTH. He's been in our arms for an entire month!? As a dear friend said this morning...it feels like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. And that is so very true.
     Yesterday, as Sydney and I were trolling through Wal-Mart with a double stroller AND a shopping cart...the cashier said (in a very sincerely sweet voice) "You have your hands full, don't you!" And she's right. My hands ARE full...but so is my heart. Through good and bad, fun and hard...there can be joy in EVERY step. We love you Josiah Bug! Every single piece of YOU!