Raising a Blended Family

Protected: And it goes on and on…

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Hark, Good News (finally)

Amidst all of the doom/gloom/stress, there are a few things going our way:

  • We found out last night that our landlords are letting us out of our lease. It ends in two months anyways, but basically we are free as soon as we find something! They probably just don’t want that many kids running around the house, but hey, whatever the reason… we’ll take it!
  • We found something we love! We are putting in an application, STAT. We are both a little bit anxious (a lot riding on this one app, plus we technically only have the one income since I’m a stay-at-home-mom, but hopefully we will pull through. This house is PERFECT.  HUGE- huge, huge, huge.  Master bathroom is bigger than our current kitchen. =) Walk in pantry, fenced in back yard (things we don’t have right now), 4 bedrooms, and did I mention there is a park WITHIN VIEW of the house?!?!!? Plus, when we visited, the contractor was there laying all new carpet/tile/paint/everything.  And the kitchen was just redone last year so basically, it’s a new house
  • And in REALLY BIG AWESOME EXCITING NEWS,  our court date for Shorty to finally, finally, finally adopt Pax is on May 2!  We just found out last night and it put a huge smile on both our faces. Definitely something to look forward to amidst all the stress and heartache.

Protected: Welcome to the Zoo

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Protected: But wait, there’s more…

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Protected: Things are changing once again…

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Addie’s 6/7 month letter


Dear Little Ladykins,

My, my, aren’t we all grown up? While we weren’t looking (sorry about that) you turned half a year old… 6 months! And then, because that wasn’t enough, you added another month on top of that. Seven months now!  Even saying it makes you sound old.  You are no longer a teeny tiny baby now, and it shows! Your last appointment you were 18lbs, 27.25 inches- 95th percentile both, Missy.  Getting so big, so fast!

You also quietly sprouted your first teeth right around five months old- one day there were no teeth, the next there were! No fuss, no drool. Just teeth appearing suddenly where none were before. Feel free to continue teething that way- we much prefer it to the fussing and grumping of a certain bruzzin (or any other baby) when they get teeth!

Little girl, you are a lady on the move.  Literally- on. the. move. We will place you in one spot and turn around, then turn back around and you will be at least a couple feet from where we placed you! That is because you are, for all intents and purposes, crawling. It may not be pretty or particularly refined, (your technique right now involves getting up on hands and knees, moving your hands forward, then flattening out into frog legs on your belly to pull your knees up one at a time, then getting back up on your hands and knees… rinse and repeat) but it gets you where you want to go! You are all over the playroom now and generally don’t bother with rolling anymore (by the way, you mastered that ages ago… both ways by about two weeks after I wrote you your five month letter)… crawling is so much faster!

You are also making attempts at sitting up, though you haven’t quite got there yet. If we place you in a sitting position, you will stay seated for at least a minute or so… but by yourself, you have only managed to push up into what we call your “chilling out position”- like you were lying on your side, then pushed up on the arm closest to the ground until it’s straight, then tucker your legs in. The result is you leaning on your arm while basically almost sitting. It’s pretty cute- ask me to show you pictures of you doing this!  I’ve been tempted to put a pair of sunglasses on you, a beach hat, and photoshop a beach scene in the background… you would fit right in.

Vocally, you have, well… gotten vocal.  You will babble and shriek (ouch. Those are my eardrums, child. And your bruzzin is sleeping. Not that you care.) and make all sorts of noises now.  You love to babble “da-da-da-da-da-da-da” over and over again, but will. not. Say “mama” for the life of us, even when we babble it back at you. And yes, you get your stubborn streak from Deda.

You seem like you are developing a mischievous streak- inevitably, if there is something in the playroom you are not supposed to have (cups, preferably full, are a prime example) you will make a beeline straight for it.  The other day I had a cup full of rootbeer and you wanted it and started heading for it… so I picked it up out of reach before you got there and you stared longingly at it.  When you were distracted with toys, I put it down on the other side of the chair, supposedly out of sight, and forgot about it.  I got up to go do dishes and left you and Deda in the playroom… lo and behold, ten minutes later, Deda heard a slurping sound coming from that corner and looked up from the computer to find you, cup knocked over, face down in a puddle of rootbeer and slurping.  Yes, you had your first soda at seven months. No, we are not proud and do not tell your mother.

You also love to take things out of the organizer bins.  Though you do not know it, this is a preferred and acceptable activity (it’s cute to watch you sort through things and take them out, one by one) so we often “accidentally” leave organizer bins full of toys or lids or whatever within your reach and watch what happens.  Sure, it’s more work to pick up later when you have the contents scattered all around the playroom but it easily keeps you entertained for an hour or more and, like I said, it’s cute.  Next up on the agenda: learning to put things back IN the organizer bins.

Personality-wise, you are one of the happiest individuals I have ever met- including adults, children, and that dog we used to have. You are bubbly and silly all the time and if you are not, there is a good reason (like your pants are soiled- you cannot stand poopy pants.). Other than those times, you are sweet and giggly and generally adorable. You do have a temper, but you don’t display it too often, which is nice.  I hope you stay happy, kiddo. It’s going to help you a lot in life.

I love you baby girl. I can’t believe we’re already on the downward slope to one year old.  You’re growing so fast! And I’m loving every minute of it.


Love always,

Auntie-mama Ayslinn

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Pax- 4/5 month letter


Dearest Baby Boy,

Well, what can I say. Mommy got a little bit lazy busy last month, and so you are getting a combo 4-5 month letter. Sorry about that. Speaking of which, though- you are almost half a year old! Time is FLYING. I just went back and read your three month letter and I would give almost anything to go backwards, to have you be tiny again and stay my little teeny tiny baby boy.  I would be fine with freezing you how you are now, too.  You are growing much too fast for Moms’ liking!

What? What’s that you say? You have no choice BUT to keep growing and getting bigger and stronger and smarter every day? Sigh. I know kid. I know.  At your last doctor’s appointment you weighed in at just under 17 lbs (16lbs11oz I believe- 80th percentile) and 26.25 inches (85th percentile). So you’re still our big guy, just not our QUITE so big guy. Frankly, I’m relieved that you’re slowing down a little. Hopefully you’ll stay in your 6-9 month clothes at least until you hit 6 months!

You’ve got your first teeth in- bottom two, center. Those came in at about 3 ½ months… talk about an early teether! Since those, there have not been any others, although it could be any time now that more pop through. Take your time though- you are still breastfeeding so you really don’t NEED those teeth, kid. That’s all I’m sayin’.

You are developing in leaps and bounds and it is all your Mama or I can do to keep up! You ROLL now- from tummy to back, at least. I swear you rolled once from back to tummy but I didn’t see it (I left you on your back and found you on your tummy) and you haven’t done it again, so who knows. The tummy-to-back roll, though, that’s been fairly consistent and we cheer you on each time you successfully make it all the way over. You’re also learning to turn in circles on your tummy, using your hands to maneuver yourself.  You’re reaching for toys and such that you can’t quite get to from your current position, and then when you move, you can get to them. Amazing!

Favorites right now include swinging (where you take a lot of naps), being held (always), and still reading. You also love chewing on anything you can get your hands on, being sung to (high pitched songs are your favorite), and chewing on the Ergo when you’re worn.  You and your Sissin have started “sharing” or “fighting” over toys and that’s pretty adorable too- you will take turns passing them back and forth and noming on them.  You also love to try to nom on anyone’s fingers who will let you, but most people who are around you have caught on to this trick (and if they’re not usually around you, they catch on quick) because you have teeth now and your bites hurt!

Sweetheart, you have also found your temper.  Mommy loves you but Mommy does not like being screeched at angrily (more like a combination of a squeal and a shriek, actually) whenever she does something you do not like (like put you down when you would prefer to be held). Your face scrunches up, your little hands ball up into fists, and you shriek/squeal angrily at us until we’re either out of sight or we return to get you.  I would say it’s cute (and it was, the first few times) but CHILD. I’m sorry, sometimes you have to be put down. Moms have to take bathroom breaks, you know!

Conversely, though, you have also found your laugh.  You will now giggle, laugh, and shriek in delight whenever we are tickling you or playing with you.  A favorite game right now is “Wadalee at-cha” where Mommy sings the songs and bounces you up and down in time to the rhythm, and then tickles you at the end part where it says “I like the rest but the part I like best goes doo-de-lee doo-de-lee doo!”.  We get all kinds of shrieks and squeals out of you then- it’s great fun.

In general, you are now a very happy, content, smiley baby.  This is quite the turnaround from the beginning of your life where everyone always said you looked like such a grump (and I’m sorry son, but a lot of the time, you did. You couldn’t help it though). Nowadays you are happy and smiley and you will gladly and gleefully interact with us and with anyone else who pays attention to you!

Your charming ways were put to the test this past month when you and Mommy flew out to California for a weekend getaway- we went to Mommy’s friends’ wedding, and you met all sorts of people! You met all four of your first-cousins-once-removed and your great-aunt.  You also met your great-grandma, and she adored the pants off you, kid.  You were passed around shamelessly and Mommy loved seeing you surrounded by your family.  You were your charming self and they all loved you.  It was a pretty special weekend.

I love you so much, sweetheart, and in spite of what I said earlier, I love watching you learn and grow. I can’t wait to see what the next months have in store for us.

Love Always,


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Protected: First Visit

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A boy and his great-grandma.

We’re home again from our trip, and everything went swimmingly well. Pax was great on the plane both ways, had a blast visiting and meeting family, and enjoyed seeing my good friend’s nuptials.

But that’s not what sticks with me most about this trip.

Even before the trip, the one thing I was really excited about was for Pax to meet his great-grandma.  This woman holds a very, very special place in my heart- I was very close to her growing up, and actually lived with her for awhile.  I remember mornings filled with Winnie the Pooh movies and Cream of Wheat (lumpy, please), learning to play chess (she always won), watching her paint in her studio, and a rich rolling laugh that filled the air readily.  As I got older, there were card games (gin rummy preferred, Aces ALWAYS played high at her insistence) and more family time, and the growing awareness that my grandmother was no longer young.

The past few times I have seen her, age has caught up with her.  Though she is not yet in her seventies, COPD and a lifetime of heavy smoking have taken their toll, along with a series of ministrokes suffered a few years back. She is often disoriented and unsure of things, walks with difficulty and needs to be looked after. Sad as it makes me, she is no longer the robust woman I once knew and there is a growing awareness that time is running out.

Given all of this, I am so, so happy that Pax got to meet her. I had not seen her in years before this trip, because of such a  huge distance separating us. I do not know if he or I will ever see her again, because of age and the fact that it is hard for us to travel there and nearly impossible for her to travel at all… but for her to see him, hold him, and marvel at his red hair (she is the only red-head in the family, and has always hoped one of us would follow suit.  Pax’s hair currently has a red tint to it, though I didn’t have the heart to tell her it’s getting blonder by the minute)…. this meant the world to me (and to her, I suspect).  No matter what happens now, I have it on photo and video, her holding Pax and cooing to him, talking to him, playing with him. When Pax is older I will take out these pictures and show them to him.  As we go through the photos and watch the video and hear her amazing laugh on camera, I will be able say to him “Look, son. This is your great-grandmother and she was a remarkable woman.”

Thanks grandma, for the memories. I hope we see each other again!

First meetings

First meetings

A tale of two redheads

A tale of two redheads

With grandma and great-grandma

With grandma and great-grandma

A four-generation photo: Great-grandma, grandma, granchild and great-grandchild.

A four-generation photo: Great-grandma, grandma, granchild and great-grandchild.

Saying our goodbyes.  Love this woman.

Saying our goodbyes. Love this woman.

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