Monday, April 25, 2011

Growing up already

It's been a long week but Passover will finally be over Tuesday evening, and we are looking very forward to having a meal that does not revolve around matza. This year though, it honestly didn't feel as rough as previous years felt, and I tried to cook things for dinners, and pack meals for lunches, that made us feel as though we weren't eating "Passover food."

Every day Sami's habits change. Her newest thing is having an ounce of formula, then suddenly not wanting any more, and then wanting another ounce a half hour later. This goes on throughout the day and evening, and I'm starting to feel like I'm not doing much aside from feeding her. I don't mind feeding her and holding her all day and night (in fact, I'll admit that I love it) but I have work to do and some days it's very challenging. I'm taking over the business magazine next week, and have finally received the first three chapters from the author whose book I am editing, so I do have a lot to do. If things become too difficult and if I'm making enough money to warrant it, we are considering trying to find a college student to come over here and there for a few hours at a time during the day to watch Sami while I am home working. I wouldn't be leaving her alone with the "mother's helper," as I would just be in another room in the house working, so I think I'd feel comfortable with it. Anyway, it's just an idea and it's not happening yet. It's just an idea we have talked about a couple of times.

Most nights Sami is sleeping through the night, but she still has some nights where she doesn't sleep much through the night. I complain of being tired from my lack of sleep, but every smile from Sami makes it all worth it. She truly is our world. I already worry about what will happen when it's time for her to go school and how much I will miss her. I think my separation anxiety will be much worse than Sami's!

Sami's getting so big, and I've recently put away the clothes she has outgrown. I was looking at her preemie-size clothing the other day and it's hard to believe she was so small that even those were too big. It's hard to believe that our 12-pound little girl was that small. She is growing so quickly, and although I know that's a great thing, I have to admit that it makes me a little sad to see her grow so fast. Yes, I know she isn't even six months old yet, but I'm already having visions of her growing up and going away to college!

This past week, Sami started using a high chair! I've attached a photo. (I've also attached a couple of photos from the first night of Passover, including a photo of Sami with two of her cousins, Rachel and Sydney.) She gets excited when I put her in the high chair, because she knows it means she will be eating soon. She seems to really love eating, and eats cereal every morning, and a fruit and/or vegetable in the evening, with bottles in between of course.

In addition to working, Sami and I also have a few play dates this week. Sami loves seeing other children, especially babies, and cries after we say goodbye to them. But watching her laugh and smile when she sees the other babies is so amazing and warms my heart. While she still screams and cries a lot some days, she generally is a very happy baby, and it's very easy to get her to laugh and smile. And those laughs and smiles may just be the best things I've ever heard and seen in my life.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Sami's doctor appointment today went really well. She weighs 12 pounds 7 ounces and is 25 inches long. She is still only in the 10th percentile for weight, but she is now in the 50th percentile for height! The pediatrician said that Sami is "long and slender." Everything else was great as usual, and she is going to continue trying new Stage 1 foods. At her six-month check-up she will be able to start Stage 2 foods.

We also now have tentative dates for both the conversion and baby naming for Sami. The conversion will mostly likely be on a weekday in the middle of May, early in the morning at the beach. This will be more of a private ceremony with just Steven, Sami and me. We are tentatively planning the baby naming for either June 17 or June 18. We originally had planned to have a party for Sami, too, but now we are leaning toward just sponsoring the oneg, which is when after the service the congregants gather together for dessert and wine in another room at the synagogue if we do it on Friday night, or just having a light lunch if we do it on Saturday morning. We are hoping to confirm our plans after Passover.

We are still waiting for a date for the adoption to be finalized, and this is still always on our minds. We are expecting it to take place sometime in May, but our rabbi said that since we are already Sami's legal guardians, it is OK to plan a conversion and a baby naming, since we were so anxious to do so. I am planning on calling our attorney on Friday to see if there is any update on the adoption finalization.

Sami continues to bring us happiness every day. I barely remember what our lives were like before she was here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Busy, but happy

Sami's next doctor appointment is early Thursday morning. I scheduled her appointment for 8:30 a.m. this month, since it's the doctor's first appointment of the day. When I go later in the day, there always winds up being a very long wait, so I'm hoping to avoid that this month. I'm excited to find out what Sami weighs and how tall she is this month. I can't believe she is almost 5-and-a-half months old already! I'm already getting a little sad when I think about how fast she is growing up, and Steven keeps saying that I'm going to be a complete wreck when she starts school one day. I'm sure he is right.

Last night, Sami slept almost 12 hours! She had stopped sleeping through the night again, so it was shocking how much she slept last night. Of course I didn't sleep as well as her because I kept checking on her to make she was OK with as soundly as she was sleeping.

I've been spending a lot of time making our kitchen a kosher kitchen. I have been working this week on separating our kitchen (dishes, silverware, pots and pans, etc.) by meat and dairy. We had already been having only kosher food in our house for about a month, but I hadn't separated our dishes. I'm determined to finish that this week, before Passover begins. And following Passover, we will continue to have a kosher home. Today I went back up to the kosher market in Boca, and bought the rest of the things we need for Passover, and kosher chicken, turkey, etc. I think I will be going to the kosher market about twice a month throughout the year. Luckily, there are also a couple of grocery stores nearby that have a decent kosher departments.

Next week I am officially starting the editor position at the business trade magazine, in addition to doing my other freelance work. Steven is continuing to work all day at his regular job, and coming home at night working on freelance work he has been getting. We are busy and tired, but we are happy. :) And more importantly, Sam is happy, too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Our bedrooms feel miles apart

It's almost 1 a.m. on Sunday night/Monday morning. I'm wide awake because our bedroom feels extremely lonely. Tonight Sami fell asleep on the couch and I put her into her crib in her room instead of in her bassinet in our bedroom. I do not know if she will make it there all night, but I am giving it a try. Though her room is very close to ours, I still have the baby monitor on at full volume on my nightstand, and I have already been in her room several times to make sure she is OK. I know this sounds crazy, but I miss her. Not having her here by my side is a huge step, not just for Sami, but also for me.

Another reason I am not expecting her to make it in there all night, is that Sami has stopped sleeping through the night. We had a week or two in which she was sleeping between eight and 10 hours each night, and then suddenly she stopped sleeping through the night.

Last Wednesday night, we had another big step. Steven and I went out to dinner alone for the first time since Sami was born more than 5 months ago. My mom offered to watch her and although I knew it would be very tough for me to leave her, I reluctantly agreed. Steven said it would be good for us, and for her, and I knew he was right. We had a nice evening, even though I missed her terribly and called my mother several times during dinner to make sure Sami was OK. On my last telephone call to her on my way home, my mother, who hasn't taken care of an infant in a very long time, admitted to me that earlier she changed Sami's diaper, and couldn't find the tabs and therefore couldn't figure out how to fasten the diaper. So, she Scotch-taped the diaper closed!! It was very comical when we got back to my mother's house and I checked out my mother's handy-work. The diaper was on backward, which is why my mother could not locate the tabs, and it was very loose around Sami's waist, most likely due to the fact that the Scotch tape was not strong enough to hold the diaper tightly closed. After that I gave my mother a lesson diapering. We had a good laugh, of course at her expense. LOL.

Also this past week, Sami got to meet my cousin Charlie, who was visiting from New York. Charlie fell for Sami the way almost everyone else does, and insisted on holding her on his lap throughout our entire dinner. Although we do not get to see my cousins often, whenever we are together, it's as though we were just together yesterday. I wish we could see each other a lot more often.

As you can see, I've posted two photos to tonight's blog post: one of my cousin Charlie holding Sami (dressed in her new Florida Marlins' outfit,) and one that Steven took after Sami pigged out on baby green beans and then a bottle and then proceeded to pass out on top of me. I hope you enjoy the photos.

I expect this week to be a busy one, between work, a few play-dates, and getting the kitchen ready for Passover, which begins next Monday night. Sami also has a check-up, along with a few shots, this week. I am looking forward to finding out how much she is has grown. She has definitely had a big growth spurt since her last appointment one month ago.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

5 months

It's hard to believe that Sami turned 5 months old on Monday. It feels like just yesterday when she was born, and had to stay in the hospital for two weeks. I remember how much I missed her then when I couldn't be there, although I spent as much time as possible at the hospital holding her. Those two weeks felt like a lifetime, waiting to be able to bring her home with us where I already knew she belonged.

It's a relief to know that Elizabeth's parental rights have been officially terminated, but we are still anxiously waiting to be notified about the court date to finalize the adoption. I know it will be at least a month from now, possibly longer, but I am so happy to see the light at the end of this tunnel of waiting for Sami to officially be our daughter.

When I was talking with Elizabeth often, I was using a pre-paid cellular phone to keep our home number and my real cell phone number private. I had been renewing the phone every month, even though it's been since December since I have spoken to Elizabeth. I tried to call her over the weekend, but her phone number now belongs to a guy named Jason. So because today was the day to renew once again, I called our attorney yesterday to get her opinion on if she thought it was OK for me to not renew the phone, especially now that Elizabeth's rights have officially been terminated. The attorney said she thought it was fine, especially since it has been so long since either one of us have heard from Elizabeth. She said that if Elizabeth did try to reach me, as she is entitled to photos and news about Sami if she requests them, she would let me know. At that point either all of the communication could be done through the attorney and Elizabeth, with me passing on information to the attorney for her to pass to Elizabeth, or I could then decide to get another phone and communicate directly with Elizabeth if I prefer.

So after hearing the advice from our attorney, I replied that since Elizabeth's rights were terminated and she couldn't change her mind now, I was going to cancel the phone. She agreed, but then replied with "After all, you don't want to pay for the phone for another year!" I inquired what she meant by that, and she informed me that Elizabeth has one year to appeal the adoption. I was upset with the attorney as this was the first I had heard of this. She said that Elizabeth will probably never even request a photo of Sami, let alone hire an attorney and try to appeal the adoption. Still, it was a bit startling and upsetting to hear, and my telephone call to Steven confirmed that the attorney had never mentioned this before to us at any of our meetings, nor was it mentioned in the contract. I did even more research after that, and learned that it is almost impossible for Elizabeth to appeal the adoption after if it is finalized; she basically would have to prove that she was coerced to give her baby up for adoption. I have decided to put the thought out of my mind, otherwise I'll be spending another year in frantic worry.

Sami's five-month check up won't be until the end of next week, due to her being sick last month and us having to reschedule her four-month check up late, too, and since the visits are supposed to be 30 days apart due to her vaccination schedule all of her monthly appointments will be two weeks later than normal. I'm curious to find out her height and weight now. To me, she looks a lot taller as though she's had a big growth spurt. She is now wearing a combination of newborn-size clothing, and 0-3 month size clothing.

Sami stopped sleeping through the night again for some reason. She had been sleeping 10 hours at night, from about 9:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m., however the past few nights she as fallen asleep before 8 p.m., then woke up around 1 a.m. and hasn't been going back to sleep until after 4 a.m. I'm hoping tonight will be better, because she fell asleep at 7:30 p.m., but woke up at 8:30 p.m., and I then I took her to visit my sister, brother-in-law and niece, and by the time we got back home and I changed her into pajamas and gave her a bottle, it was probably close to 11 p.m. before she fell back asleep. So I have high hopes that she will sleep through the night tonight once again.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One smile makes everything worth it!

Today was a really nice Sunday. Sami didn't fall asleep until after midnight Saturday night, and she slept until after 8 a.m. Sunday morning. I fed her cereal and a bottle, and when Steven woke up I made French toast for the two of us. After that, Steven took care of Sami so that I could make my deadline for the catalog I needed to have edited by Monday. I had expected to be up all night Sunday night completing it, and was pleasantly surprised to be done with by 4 p.m.

In the evening, Steven went to watch Wrestlemania, as our brother-in-law ordered it and invited a few guys over to watch it with him. Right now, I am home with Sami and our two dogs and two cats. Sami is sleeping on the couch next to me as I type, and every time I glance over at her my heart feels as though it is literally melting. Sami really seems to be enjoying baby food, and I think that so far bananas are her favorite. They are extremely messy and gooey, but it's still so cool to watch her eat real food.

On Friday, Elizabeth's parental rights were officially terminated! Our attorney has submitted a request for a court date to finalize the adoption, and we are waiting to hear back about that. There is a 30-day minimum waiting period between the termination of the birth parents' parental rights and the adoption finalization. So at this point all we know is that the earliest the finalization will take place is early May, but it could be later, of course. Then the next step is to have Sami converted. And then we can plan her baby-naming, which we're still hoping will take place during the summer. Also, our social worker completed her post-placement report about us after visiting us with Sami, and it was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes about the wonderful things she thought of our new little family.

On Monday morning, Sami and I will be going to our regular Mommy & Me class, followed by our hour-long drive to return the edited catalog. My mother may be joining us for that drive, as it is near the kosher market and we both want to do our Passover shopping for the eight long days of keeping kosher for Passover.

Speaking of kosher, Steven and I have decided to keep a kosher home. I was brought up in a kosher home, and am feeling the need to give that to Sami, too. We also talked about how it's been so important for us to convert her and give her a Hebrew name at the baby-naming ceremony, so why not carry that into giving her a Jewish life, starting with growing up in a kosher home. So beginning about one month ago, all the food in our home has been kosher, we have been separating meat and dairy, etc. And Steven has given up ham, which he loves, but still did it with no complaints. The only thing I have left to do is set up our two sets of dishes, silverware and pots and pans, for meat and dairy, as one of the main rules of keeping kosher is not mixing meat and dairy products. I plan on doing that this week. I know it will be a lot of work, but we both feel committed to making it work.

Aside from that, Steven and I have both been working hard. I met with the author for whom I am editing a book, and signed a contract with him. I expect to have his first few chapters by Wednesday, and will be getting to work on those. In addition, I accepted the telecommute editor position of a business trade publication. The job will start in about eight weeks, as the publisher is revamping the publication. The job pays VERY little, but I will be able to work from home, and the publisher has promised that as the magazine pages increase, so will the amount of money I will earn. I am friendly with a woman who used to work with him on a previous venture, and she said that he is very sincere about that, and was always very good about "sharing the wealth" when he had success. As for Steven, he has been working hard at his day job, in addition to accepting a lot of side jobs and often comes home after working all day just to work on other projects at night. We are not in the position right now to turn down work, so we are doing the best we can to balance work, parenting and time with each other.

Sami does not nap much at all during the day. She takes a few naps, but they usually do not last longer than five or 10 minutes. But she is now sleeping eight to 10 consecutive hours at night! She is really starting to play now, shaking rattles, holding stuffed animals with delight, and grabbing at the items that hang from her activity mat. She's really becoming quite a character, with her own personality. She also does a lot of baby-talk, and looks so serious about whatever she is trying to tell us. She can also sit up in her boppy pillow now. She still has her bad days of course, in which she screams and cries and makes doing anything else aside from holding her almost impossible. But of course it's all worth it when I see her smile, and then I forget about the screaming moments.