October in a nut-shell… an enormous nut-shell!

2 Nov

Wowzers! Over a month since I’ve shared. Well, I guess that’s just further testimony to how busy the past month has been for our family!
So what have we been up to? be prepared… it’s long!

So, updates on everyone:

Olive and I have started therapy with a wonderful behavioral therapist that operates out of Pine Rest on the North West side. She’s been super helpful when we can actually get in and see her! I’ve been learning a lot as to what attachment looks like, specifically in an adoptive situation, what trauma does to our brains, and how we recover from trauma. We’re exploring how Olive’s disabilities affect her and how her disabilities combined with her past could be affecting her behaviors in the present. I’m learning a lot about how we need to be parenting, disciplining, and how to purposely bond… it’s been a lot of information! And I haven’t even read all the reading that she’s sent home with me!
Olive has been making some progress, she’s able to say “all done” pretty clearly, has been putting some weight back on, and has started to walk a lot better with out her braces to the point where we might be able to get them re-formed with just ankle support. Which would be awesome! ¬†Developmentally she’s falling in to the 12-18 month range with the exception of expressive language and oral abilities. It’s strange to see Jobee chew effortlessly while Olive is still working on mastering it.

Olive is notoriously hard to photograph, so I couldn’t find many pictures of her looking decent! But here’s her snuggling with her papa:

Being excited to be with Grandma Meekers:

And paying no attention as I tried to get a picture of all four of them out front:

What about me? Glad you asked. I have had an enormous amount of photo work this past month that kind of took me by surprise. Between the client work, second shooting for other photographers, frequent migraines, Jobee not letting me sleep through the night STILL, and all the appointments – I thought my head might start spinning! October was busy and hard. I found myself feeling like I was failing the kids and the house quite a lot. But, it was a learning experience and helped me to refine my multi-tasking skills! That’s. for. sure. This month I’m pacing myself. I’m spreading out client work and I have a mental cap on how much I’m willing to take on. I really wanted to beef up clientele and my income to be able to afford tuition for the kids at their private Christian school next year — but it was evident that life at home would be chaos if Mom stayed that busy. I’m fine staying busy with play dates, crafting, cooking, house work, and all that mom-stuff that I can include my kids in. (Because we all know I HAVE to stay busy) But staying busy with all the working-mom stuff es no bueno for my family. I will still take on a smaller amount of photo work, but will certainly be pacing myself and putting a cap on it. I’ve met with the kids’ school’s administration about our income and tuition expectations and we’re praying for the best case scenario: where Mom can still be Mom AND the kids can continue to go there. Time will tell. But, with a more gentle pace in work, more focus on the family, being invited in to a wonderful local support group for mom’s of traumatized children, making progress in therapy, Jobee starting to sleep through the night!! and my migraines essentially under control with medication — I expect the later part of November forward to be much more balanced and enjoyable.

Karl and I? We’re doing really well. Busy of course, but in a good place. We just celebrated 6 years of marriage in Chicago this weekend. It was really nice. Way too fast, being that we only had one day. But, really nice none-the-less. We went for a long walk around the city, got lunch, went to the Shedd, caught a cab back to The PUBLIC where we ordered room service and watched bad TV for the rest of the night.

Some pictures with the timer on the camera catching us at random:

Other than that, Karl and I recently read Crazy Love by Francis Chan which has helped us to radically change our focus. Lots and lots of changes that we’re working on. We have a new long-term life-goal, a lot of new short-term goals, and a lot of old-habits and attitudes to kill. But, all-in-all it really has been a wonderful life-changer and I’d recommend it to anyone!

Jobee turned 9 months AND 10 months since I last posted. Yikes.
She took her first big girl bath with Evelyn…

She got harassed by Daddy, per usual…

She didn’t want to take her 9 month pictures….

Then she thought… well okay, maybe one or two.

She went to Chicago with Karl and I for our anniversary and had her 10 month pictures taken there…. and apparently weighed the same amount and wore nearly the same exact outfit! lol oops! I did knit her little socks for her though.

We actually took a picture together… just for proof that I do really exist.

She loved sitting in the window….

And I just had to share a few of her chubby soft morning cute-ness… think she’s going to regret not having enough pictures of herself when she gets older?

And no your eyes aren’t fooling you, and no I am not blind to the color-cast, Jobee is a little orange. She really likes her orange baby food and her face shows it! lol

And then she was a little monkey side-kick for Daddy Gorilla for Halloween just a few days ago. (I was a cat)

At her 10 month appointment, she weighed in at 13lbs 8oz. (Which means she hasn’t really put on any weight) She was 26.5 inches long and had a big ol’ noggin measuring 17″.
She is doing everything that she should be doing and Doc said that much like Evelyn, she’s likely to be a late walker and crawler due to loose ligaments. I kind-of figured considering how rubbery she is. And that’s alright – because I like her little anyway! She’s still in 3 month clothing!!! Baby forever? Yes.
As far as the growing thing goes though, my body just doesn’t want to nurse her anymore and my supply is dropping rapidly. So, the plan is to nurse her as much as my body allows, follow with solids, and then cap her off with formula. She actually hasn’t had any issues with digesting the formula and seems to be a LOT happier (if that was even possible?) now that her belly is finally getting all the way full. And get this – she is sleeping through the night most nights that she gets a bottle before bed! Sweet, sweet sleep!

Miss Evelyn… Evelyn got a special treat of making noodles with my Grandma this weekend. It was really cute to watch… (Olive was included for brief moments too, as her main objective was to throw the batter or eat it by the handfuls. lol)

She was very proud of herself when they were done.

She is definitely entering the terrible threes, challenging our authority and seeing what she can get away with controlling. Ethan started this about 3.5 years old and peaked a couple months after his 4th birthday where it pretty much went away. Evelyn is definitely less strong willed than he was and is much more sensitive to discipline – so I’m hoping this phase doesn’t last long. She is such a sweet little mama though, even when she’s being naughty. She seems to really enjoy school right now and says she plays with the babies a lot. She brings home a ton of art work and I think that is probably her favorite thing about being a preschooler. Oh, and she’s completely potty-trained, finally! Thank you Jesus!

On halloween, just a few days ago, she had her second bigger accident since she’s been born. She tripped and fell in front of the house across the street while trick-or-treating and busted her lip up pretty bad. She had about a quarter inch cut across her lip and a chunk of her gums taken out. She was pretty traumatized by it, but it seems like it’s healing well. I hope for her sake, since she can be very self-conscious, that her teeth don’t end up turning gray. She went to school yesterday with her big swollen lip though, which I was really proud of her for sticking it out. And she’s doing much better today.

And last but certainly not least, Ethan. He’s getting SO big! He’s become such a good little helper, and listener. We have issues with disobedience when he’s over-tired but other than that, he’s shaping up to be such a great little man. There’s not too much new going on with him. He’s smart as a whip, sweet as can be, and has been a super-trooper for us. He definitely has an obsession with Mario Galaxy on the Wii. I think that he would play it 20 out of 24 hours a day if I’d let him. Which obviously, I don’t. He even went as Wario (sp?) for Halloween. He looked so stinkin’ cute!

(L to R: Julie, Karl’s sister as a princess, Olive as Cinderella, Evelyn as Little Mermaid, Ethan as Wario, Jobee as a little Monkey, and Karl as the Gorilla he’s dreamt about being for years!)

Oh, and he and Evelyn had a school field trip to a pumpkin farm that Karl and I went along on. Here are a few pictures of that…

My brave little man (alright, not so brave as it took A LOT of coaxing) went down the zip-line.

Evelyn like sliding off of these things? They look like big bobbins to me, lol.

Ethan was super cautious about it, but he tried the rope too!

They did a maze and Ethan finished first, by a mile. And Miss Evelyn ended up last, but still had fun!

Despite their looks, they were really excited to pick out pumpkins and eat doughnuts and cider.

Alright… I think that’s it!
I’m hoping that as I finish the client work I have and my role transitions back to primarily being MOM over the next month, I’ll be able to share more often!


One Response to “October in a nut-shell… an enormous nut-shell!”

  1. Gramm November 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Ashley they are just awsome to me. Great pictures.
    Love Gramm

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