Friday, December 30, 2011

So How is That Adoption Going?

Catching up with folks during the holidays is one of my favorite things ever.  EVA.  It also made me realize that I haven't circled back lately to let you know how we are progressing with our ET adoption.

International adoption is a roller coaster-- it's a well chronicled roller coaster and now one that I can speak to first hand.    We have several friends who have gone through the process and they all mentioned the need for FLEXIBILITY.

Here is our story as of now.

  • December 2008- Dana and Matt get married. Dana mentions that she feels drawn to adoption. Matt says A-OK but is particularly drawn to Africa.  We enter into marriage with the "loose" plan of having adopted children. . . you know "some-day".  ;)
  • November 2009- James is born and has some hearing issues.  We find out that it is due to a virus called CMV. The doctor recommends that we give 12-24 between pregnancies so that we clear the virus from my bod.
  • January 2010- We start researching adoption.  If we have some time between pregnancies, would now be a good time to grow our family in this way?
  • February 2010- We start talking to our families about adoption.  The overall response was very positive. . . well, after they got over the fact that we wanted to adopt and we had a 3 month old.   After we explained that most wait lists were at least 18-24 months everyone calmed down considerably :)  
  • April 2010- We pick an agency and start squirreling away money for the adoption.
  • June 2010- We finish our home study and start sending formal documentation
  • August 2010- All paperwork is completed, stamped and we enter the wait list.  We are open to a child of either gender.  Our initial timelines were moving very fast and we were looking at a wait of less than 6 months.  At the time that seemed pretty incredible to us. 
  • September 2010-May 2011- Things with the Ethiopian government change month by month.  ET adoption had become very popular and the government made some decisions to slow down adoption in the country in order to maintain their advocacy for the children. Hard to disagree with that.  Major changes with the program included a cap on how many court hearings there are a day,  a change from 1 trip to 2 trips to ET for potential parents and where the US paperwork is processed.  Flexibility!   Our wait is looking much longer at this point, but it's all good since we are loving hanging out with our little boy in the meantime.
  • May 2011- We are currently hovering around 2 or 3 on the infant boys list and around 8 or 9 on the infant girls list.  Our agency had some orphanages close and does not see any referrals in the near future.  They recommend that if we want to continue to grow our family, that we might consider a biological child now and put our adoption on hold.   Also in May, I get tested for CMV and find out that my immunity levels are back to normal.  Healthy as a horse. 
  • June 2011- Preggers.  Matt credits his Irish Catholic blood line. 
  • December 2011-  We are still on the list at the agency.  There have been no referrals in the past 6 months.  At this point we are in conversation with our agency about how to handle a referral once we have this baby. 
Our inclination is to move forward with the adoption once our baby girl is born.  Since it takes several months to bring your adopted child home, this means that we might be adding to the Fitz clan again in late 2012. (which I tend to think would still be a very fast timeline given what we have experienced,  more realistic to think 2013 at some point.)

Granted, we are keeping a flexible attitude in this household because none of our anticipated timings have proven true yet.

We are officially playing it by ear to see what happens. The arrival of baby girl doesn't change the fact that we feel called to adoption.  I do think that this is starting to feel like some sort of elephant pregnancy with a multi-year gestation.   I have been dreaming of this little child for so long and really look forward to the day when he (likely) joins our home.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Bigger Purse

Earlier this week I made a comment about needing a purse to match my cute puppy.  Now I need a purse to carry a stock of benadryl and an epi pen.  We are officially in the club* of parents with kids with allergies. 

Last night we had some friends over for dinner to talk decorations for an upcoming wedding. .. .  James ate "something" that didn't agree with him.  He started complaining that his hands itched (a frequent place of eczema for us) and Matt took him to wash his hands.  Five minutes later he came out of the bathroom and his face was bright red and lips were swollen.  By the time we got ready to go to the Urgent Care, his voice sounded raspy. 

Things you don't want to hear your awesome pediatrician husband say: "Call 9-1-1"

An ambulance came and assessed James and said his breathing was stable and that we could drive ourselves to the ER.  We gave him a dose of benadryl which helped greatly and we asked our dear friends to close up shop!  (Quick end to a happy evening)

James ended up being just fine but we really have no idea what he ate that had him react so strongly (and fast).  Most of his food that night were foods he eats all the time. . . cheese, crackers, banana, orange.  So the reaction was caused by something that he didn't have a large exposure to.

Next Stop: Allergy Testing

James is exploring the Elmo sticker on his belly with his red, puffy mitts.

Resting and watching tv.

This is our second trip to the hospital in so many weeks.  (And I was worried about not hitting our healthcare spending FSA amount.  phfew.)

*I order the club sandwich all the time, but I'm not even a member, man. I don't know how I get away with it.  How'd it start anyway? I like my sandwiches with three pieces of bread. So do I! Well let's form a club then. Alright, but we need more stipulations. Yes we do; instead of cutting the sandwich once, let's cut it again. Yes, four triangles, and we will position them into a circle. In the middle we will dump chips. Or potato salad. Okay. I got a question for ya, how do you feel about frilly toothpicks? I'm for 'em! Well this club is formed; spread the word on menus nationwide.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Slippery Slope

Today I bought a tutu and matching headband.   Never thought I would do it, but it was on clearance. . .   yep. 

I did put back the newborn ballet slippers that magically appeared in my cart.  In the fiscal angel vs devil moment the angel won that one. . . . the devil clearly won on the tutu.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Finding Our Own Way During the Holidays

We have some exciting news in our household-- Matt got a job.  A JOB!    Matt has been pretty focused on practicing a specific type of medicine since he started residency.  The problem with this is that there are only a couple places in town that do what he wanted to do and over the last couple years many haven't been hiring. . . so we were expecting to make some compromises-- either focusing on one area of his interests, moving or doing clinic work.  The good news, this year there were three groups hiring and all three wanted my sweet husband!   Incredible for him.  I am really proud of him. 

The tricky part came in the week or so after where he had a pretty tough choice to make between great programs.  There wasn't a clear answer any which way and in the end I think he made a decision that makes him really happy.  The reality though, is this will mean quite a bit of solo parenting time for me going forward- especially on the weekends.  It also means that Matt will be home a lot more than when he was in residency but when he will be gone he will be very gone.  Make sense? I didn't think so.

The job offers significant time away from work but the workdays when you are 'on' are quite long and include some weekends and nights.

This hit me on Christmas a little more since our house has been heavy with conversations on priorities, life goals etc. etc.  James and I were double dating on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and although it was really nice, it wasn't a huge family celebration either.   I have spoken about this before but the working parent compromise is something we think about a lot and although we don't think of it as much of an option financially right now, it is surprising how often the compromises come up whether it is a sleep deprived Wednesday or a big holiday like Christmas. 

Next year, I am going to do some thinking about how to build traditions with my little people for when Dad can't be there.

So was it a bad Christmas?  Heck no-- it was perfect. All that heavy thought for nothing.

We ended up heading down to a friend's house in Red Wing for Christmas Eve and it was just magical.  A real reminder that Christmas can come in many ways and with many people. I am so thankful for my many friendships in life.

On Christmas Day, Matt got off work early so we went to the Muppet Movie with James to see "The Frog" and came home to make a nice dinner.  It was lovely and likely the first of many holidays that are a bit unconventional ;)

James and I gave Matt a gift that I was really proud of-- the 12 Dates of Christmas.  I took some gift certificates that were lying around the house and built some parent dates and kid dates around them.  (Plus added some new ideas to supplement the gift cards that already existed).

For example, in March when the baby is pretty new and James might be struggling a bit, he is taking Matt to an indoor water park for some quality 1:1 time that will probably be great for both James and Matt.

In December, to help with the stress of Christmas shopping, Dana is taking Matt on a shopping date (Nana is baby sitting) so that we can get a jump on the holiday season.  There is a bright shiny caribou card attached to that one so that Matt can stomach the mall with a healthy dose of optimism and caffeine. :)

Every month will be a surprise for Matt (and probably me since I am unlikely to remember what I stuffed into the envelope!)

Picture Courtesy of Shawn and Ariel on Christmas Eve at our sleep over

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a Good Thing I Don't Have a Large Purse

Osa just got back from the beauty shop.   Isn't she lovely.   You can't appreciate all the detail because Osa's dense blackness doesn't photograph well but she is wearing bows, a festive handkerchief and her nails are painted with glittery nail polish.

I might look for a little purse to carry her around town in.

**I didn't ask the groomers for any of the above services, they just went above and beyond.   Oddly enough, I kind of love it.  They bedazzled my dog**

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Slight Revision to the Evening Plan

At my 30 week check up yesterday I mentioned to the physician that I haven't felt the same types of movements with this baby as I did with James.  Much of that is probably due to the fact that my placenta is in the very front of my stomach (it was somewhere else for J).   This means that I have never felt the baby kick me in the front and I don't have as much of the cool stomach acrobatics either. 

So, anyway. . . . I mention to my doctor that I often go days without feeling baby movement which feels odd.  He says that I am probably just missing more of the subtle ones.  We check baby's heartbeat and find it to be 30 bpm lower than any other appointment.  It's still on the low end of normal but given the conversation about movements we head to the hospital for observation.

Everything turned out to be just fine-- it looks like little girl has a lower resting heart rate but has plenty of accelerations when she moves.  Net-net, baby looks great.

Driving to the hospital was a little scary in that we weren't sure what the outcome would be-- and had the faintest (albeit unreasonable) panic that we could be having a baby. . . that day.   More unreasonable,  I, of course, focused on the fact that if we ended up staying overnight in the hospital that someone would need to take care of Osa and I am pretty sure I left a mangy banana peel on the counter in the kitchen.  Nice Dana, focus on what really matters in life.  Like the cleanliness of the counters.

Going forward, they are going to do weekly ultrasounds to double check that everything is a-ok.  

That is a-ok by me too. 

Unconventional Parenting

There are times when I just have to laugh at my husband "the pediatrician" in his parenting choices.  

One of our biggest issues right now is this whole getting dressed thing.  James often talks about it being cold outside but still refuses to wear appropriate clothing.   I have been sporting a Biderman (spiderman) hat for the last couple of weeks to try and demonstrate just how cool, warm clothing can be.  

On Saturday, Matt was giving James his options for clothing and let him pick his shirt but James freaked out when the thought of putting the Lion shirt on his actual body.  the horror.

After several minutes of negotiation, Matt and James left J's room and headed outside.  James wearing a diaper and a pair of socks.   I could hear Matt talking to James about how it's cold outside and James agreeing.  They were outside for maybe 30 seconds but I thought I was going to lose my poor bladder laughing so hard.

"Do you want to wear the Lion NOW?" 
"Lion,  cold outside!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

100 Posts

This is my 100th post!  Not bad considering that I only started back at this last spring and I have gone silent a few times.    I don't have much to report except I made an exorbitant purchase and I am so very, very pleased with myself.  I am the proud owner of boots.  BOOTS!   I have a hard time spending money on things that I don't "REALLY" need--- (unless they involve spa treatments or breaking bread with people).  I have been wanting a pair of winter boots since I was literally 9.  That was the last time I owned a pair of boots.  In Minnesota.  I know.   I am not an outdoor person in the winter and since I technically "NEED" work shoes but don't "NEED" boots, I always skipped them.  But not this year. THIS YEAR THEY WERE MEANT TO BE MINE.
They are here, overnighted by the good people at Zappos and I love them. I finally justified them because I am officially grounded in this tundra of a state and I figured they would be great for running around with a young baby and a pair of leggings for that period where you are not pregnant but you are not NOT pregnant either.   For that not so thin period I will have leggings and warm feet. . . . and BOOTS! ;)   Where have you been my entire life?  It's like angels kissing my toes. 

Oh the joy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Me and My Shadow

So I was reminded this weekend that I need to circle back on topics I start here.   Sometimes I forget that people might actually read this thing.  huh!

So about the telecommuting. . . I did it, I took the plunge.  So far it's just ok.  I give it a solid 6/10.   As many of you know, or can guess, I am a bit of an extrovert so I am really ready to be done with work by the time the work day rolls around.   This is a marked change however, I used to be exhausted at the end of the day and would retreat home to prep for another day.  In some ways I am living more life because I am not 'done' by the end of the work day.

I am also finding out that I have some pretty low personal care requirements. I literally get up, brush my teeth and face and head off to work.  Yoga pants.  check.  Matt's t-shirt check.    I might need to consider my cute factor at some point for my husband's sake.

I am spending my time in the basement now with my shadow (Osa)  who takes great delight in our daily trip to the day care to drop James off.  My dreams of a home office renovation are at a bit of a standstill until I can get my sweet husband to paint the room for me.  Oh sweet husband. . . please?   <-- note my attempt at a public plea for light blue walls and white trim.   A girl can dream right?   (Matt doesn't read this blog very often so I will keep you posted dear internet if this thinly veiled tactic works!)

All else is well in Fitz land. I am getting bigger and have started my 30th week of pregnancy.   No huge complaints yet but given that this is my second pregnancy I know where we are going in the next 10 weeks.     It reminds me of being at mile 18 of a marathon.  People on the side of the road start congratulating you on almost being finished.  In reality you have 8 miles left. 8 MILES.  For me that is nearly 90 minutes of running-- in my book, that is no where near "almost there".  Plus those 8 miles are the hardest 8 miles of the race.   That's where I am folks, I feel good and am smiling still but the floor is starting to seem like a far away place and my back is starting to act up.  Time to focus and press on for those last 8 miles.   Go team Fitzy.   Would people think it was inappropriate if I put my name on my shirt for the next 10 weeks or so?  Strangers could cheer me on randomly then. . . .    Certainly fits with the company dress code around here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I am happy to announce that this week is my last biz trip as a mother of one. Woo hoo.

James and I spent the morning together, again negotiating his wardrobe, and eating pancakes before I headed to the airport.

What do I mean negotiating? Well, as I mentioned, James is interested in fashion, but only as an alternative to being "nakey". Today his concern was not wanting to cover up his Mickey Mouse diaper with anything as practical as pants. We ate pancakes together with him stopping every bite to point to his crotch (where there is a character) and exclaim "Mickey Mouse! Mickey Mouse!".

I thought it was hilarious and have also started to realize that I need to build more time into our morning routine. Fashion takes some time.

The only downside to my several months at home is how they fall on the MN calendar. If I ever choose to have another baby, I will really try to have a summer baby. This winter with no travel planned is going to be long and cold!! ;). Who is up for a hot chocolate date?

Monday, December 5, 2011


Hello Team!  So I have been a little relaxed in the blogging lately.   We haven't done anything all that notable lately but have had a lot of fun.   Here are some recent going on's in our world.

We went to the Hollidazzle parade last weekend.  James liked all the lights- especially Bert and Ernie who were the grand marshals that night.  We knew Bert and Ernie were going to be there and James talked about it all day.  The idea of memory is kind of new to us as a milestone.  James now makes correlations from earlier conversations and memories and makes logical jumps in conversations.  Really fun.

This is kind of a dark photo, but you can see James has found a new resting spot for his head.  We have hit a phase where "cuddling with Mommy" is awesome.  I think it's awesome too.  In fact, I have been known to watch a little big bird or thomas in favor of gratuitous cuddle sessions.

I have to say, the fact that my baby is getting so big is hard.   I think everyone feels this way but for a long time, James was more interested in footballs than hugs so I am really savoring my physical time with him since I am not sure how long it will last.

James had his second birthday party last weekend with our families.   Here is James sporting his favorite new gift-- CAR SHOES.  (slippers)  He hasn't seen the movie CARS yet but he loves to run around saying Beep Beep.   

James is quite the fashionista lately.  Getting dressed in the morning takes a little bit of selling.  James has strong opinions about what goes on his body.  We try to give him some choices but today for instance, he had limited options in the 'clean clothing' category.  So I spent a good 5 minutes imitating a monkey so that he would think that his monkey shirt was cool enough to grace his sweet little body. 

The downside?  He also didn't want to zip a hoodie sweatshirt because it would hide his monkey.