Sunday, August 11, 2019

Olive Lou turns 6

Olive Lou turned 6 years old on July 31st. Instead of a party she opted for one on one time with me, her mimi and her aunties Natassja and Josie. Her birthday fell on a Wednesday so we decided to meet up to grab dinner and then head to the mall so she could get her ears pierced and pick out her birthday  build-a-bear. 

She picked out her entire outfit and then asked if i'd curl her hair and if she could wear lipstick. I love her sense of style and I LOVE how confident she is. We met up with my mom and Natassja at Red Robin and had burgers and all you can eat french fries. Olive ordered her own meal and specified exactly how she wanted it'-"meat, cheese and ketchup only!"

 Mimi had brought her a bouquet of birthday balloons and a purple set of fairy wings to put on while we ate. Olive was soo excited. Mimi also introduced her to Shirley Temples ( mixture of sprite, a splash of grenadine and a maraschino cherry on top) AKA the pink drink. She LOVED it and got multiple refills. We used to order those all the time growing up and I can't believe i've never shared that with my kids till just then. 


Mimi and Natassja also showered her in gifts! She was literally squealing as she opened her gifts at the table. Afterwards the whole dinner crew gathered around and sang her happy birthday while she ate her free ice cream chocolate sunday. 

After dinner we headed to the mall. Olive had been wanting to get her ears pierced SO bad but had chickened out earlier this year, so we weren't really sure if she was going to follow through. She asked if she could get her build-a-bear first so she could have something to hold onto!

Idk if you were aware but Build-a-bear does a "pay your age" dealio during the month of your kids birthday. So olive got a bear for six bucks. I let her pick out a little tutu skirt to put on it too. We then headed to See's Candy to get a free chocolate and then over to Claire's to get her ears pierced. She picked out the rainbow flower gemstone pair of course. She was so brave and did so well! She was so excited to see them when they were done. 

It was a really special day for her and she had so many people make her feel loved both here and from afar! I can't believe how many packages this girl had sent to her from family out of state. She was like "the packages are mine this time momma and not yours!" haha

I her sass and her zest for life. She is strong, brave, kind, helpful, smart and knows what she wants. She's an amazing friend, student, daughter and sister. I know I always say it, but this girl is going to go far in life. I'm so grateful to be her momma and along for the ride haha. 

We sure love you Olive Lou!!
Happy birthday!!
She was very particular how she placed her bracelets ^^
She's my mini me! ^

etta moon: 6 + 7 months

Dear Etta, 
Momma has been a busy bee and decided to combine your six and seven month posts in attempt to catch up. 
So here we go-
I love this stage so much. 
This past month you cut your first two teeth! One on the bottom and one on the top. 
You love to chomp down while nursing (OWW) and anything within arms reach goes straight to your mouth. 
You want to move SO BAD!
You're starting to rock back and forth and scoot around in the seated position. 
A lot of the time you lunge forward, fall right and your face and cry!
You're still trying to figure out what to do when you're on your tummy. You kick and wiggle your legs back and forth, trying to get up on your knees and get frustrated pretty quickly when you can't. 
We are taking bets on when you'll figure it out. 
It'll be soon and then there will be no stopping you haha. 
Technically you are old enough to start eating real food. 
We've tried a few different things like applesauce, chicken, fruit etc but I don't think you're quite ready for it. 
You still have the tongue-thrust reflex going on and I don't really want to fight you on it. 
My favorite things you've started doing the past few weeks is reaching up your arms when you want to be picked up and dancing when the music turns on!
It's so fun to watch you interact with your environment. 
You love watching your siblings play and you LOVE grabbing on Rooney bunny. 
Your relationship with that dumb bunny is so incredibly sweet. 
She would jump right up on my belly when I was pregnant with you and you'd kick around so it's started from the beginning. 
You are sleeping so well in your crib. 
In fact you slept from 6pm-7am last night in your room with one nursing break at 11pm!
I woke up 2 different times disoriented and wondering where you were haha but I think we are well on our way to get you sleeping away from us! Hooray! 
I can't believe you've already been with us for over half a year. 
We just love our little Etta Moon so much-
Momma. 



Sunday, July 28, 2019

How David found his birth mom


I've been meaning to sit down and write this out for a while now, but we have just been so busy this summer.

I also get super emotional anytime I talk about it, so there's that too.

To preface, this experience really is personal and intimate and there are SO many moving parts and people involved.

There are some moments that are meant to be shared and others that are not.

I also recognize how unique their story is.

Not all adoption stories end like this, as it almost feels like a hallmark movie.

We all keep saying it but it really truly has been a fairy tale ending.

With that being said, here is the story of how David found his birth momma.

***

David was adopted 31 years ago at 4 days old by his loving adoptive parents.
He grew up always knowing he was adopted.
The only thing he really knew about his birth mother was that she was a young teenage girl at the time of his birth.
He also knew his birthdate (duh) and the hosptial that he was born at.
That was it.
He did however have a very special hand written letter from his birth mother as well as a stuffed teddy bear.

It is a VERY emotional and touching letter.

He shared it with me right after we were married and we'd pull it out often to read it.
I remember reading it over a few days before I gave birth to one of the kids and just sobbing.
I was just absolutely touched at this young woman's strength and her decision to give her sweet baby a better life.
I couldn't imagine the pain that she went through to come to that decision and we were always so grateful to her.

We often talked about maybe finding her someday but it was never really discussed in detail much further.
It was always a touchy subject around his adoptive family too and he never wanted to offend or ask questions.
But he did have lots of them.
The adoption was a closed one and done through the Dr. and a lawyer at the time.
A few years ago he had read that he could sign up and pay to be put on the Utah Adoption registry and be connected to his birth parents that way if either of them had done the same.
Life got busy and he just never got to do it.

I was always curious about his heritage, especially after we started having babies!
His looks are unique and I always wanted to know where his family originated from.
It has been fun to see what genetic traits our children have inherited but WHERE do they come from!?
I also wanted to know if there was any major health history we should be made aware of.
I used to joke with him that if anything was wrong with our kids, it was his fault since we didn't know his family history for sure haha.

Last fall, the DNA kits were being promoted like crazy so I made a Facebook thread asking which one would be the best one to get.
I got all kinds of feedback.
My purpose was truly just to figure out his ancestral origins and any health stuff.
We never in a million years would have thought that it would lead to any actual family.
Thats the kind of stuff that happens in the movies, not real life.

So earlier this year there was a big sale on the Ancestry.com kits and I ordered one to get here just in time for his birthday.
I was so excited to see his results!
We were all taking bets to see where he was from.

That dang kit sat on his nightstand for WEEKS!
David went off that he didn't want to do it because he didn't want the government to have his DNA and that he had read that insurance companies could refuse to cover certain things if any major health issue was detected in the tests (eyeball roll)

I was annoyed but it was his choice.

Finally one day he decided to do the test and he sent it in.
The process took about 6 weeks to complete before he'd get any results.
I told him not to check the app for the results until he got home from work so I could film his reactions!
(my original plan was to put a little video together)

May 14th came just like any other day and I got a phone call from David in the late afternoon.

"You better be on your way home" - I proclaimed, super annoyed and done with the kids at that point in the day.

"JESS" he yelled "I FOUND MY BIRTH MOM!!!!"

"SHUT UP, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?" I replied.

His voice was shaking as he explained that he had a notification of his Ancestry app and he opened and saw that his results were in.

He said he went to close it but that right there on the front page there was a  PARENT/CHILD match with shared DNA: 3,460 cenitmorgans. 

Her name popped up "HEIDI BEVERIDGE"

Having such a unique name, he quickly searched her on Facebook to see if she had an account and sure enough he saw her photo.

He sent me the screen shot and I GASPED.

"OMG DAVID, THAT IS YOUR MOM! OMG OMG OMG!"

There was no denying the resemblance.

He was sobbing of the phone.

Tears of joy!

The next 48 hours were full of excitement and ALL the emotions.

Should he reach out!?

How would he reach out?!

It was clear from her profile that she was married and had a family of her own.

Did they know about him?

Would it ruin her life if he reached out!?

We prayed about what to do and finally felt that he needed to write her a letter.

He wrote a note explaining who he was and why he was contacting her.

He sent it and waited, having no idea what would come of it.

He couldn't sleep of focus on anything the next two days.

I was starting to worry.

What if she rejected him?

What if she didn't want to be found!?

We overanalyzed EVERTHING.

Of course she wanted to be found or she herself wouldn't have done the DNA kit too.
She also included her full name, she could've stayed anonymous on her ancestry profile so we figured that had to be a sign right!?

While we waited for that reply we researched everything we could find about her online.
It was insane the amount of info you can dig up if you look hard enough.
We looked through photos of her and her kids and couldn't just believe how much they all looked alike.

After two days of not a single word, David was starting to lose his mind.
He couldn't focus on anything else.
He decided to reach out to an old friend who used to be a private investigator, who was able to find two current phone numbers that were connected to her name.
David had his friend reach out on behalf of him.

That evening at 2am, David grabbed my arm.

"Jess, she accepted my friend request!"

He began to cry.

We didn't sleep the rest of the night.

The next day she reached out to David and they FaceTimed during his lunch break.

He said it was incredible looking at her face to face and that most of the conversation was them just staring at each other and wiping tears away.

For the next seven weeks they talked every night for hours and texted back and forth all day.
There was a lot to catch up on over the last 31 years.
I sat in on a lot of the conversations and it was amazing how effortless and natural it felt to talk with her.

It wasn't weird or awkward at all.

Every night we'd come up with 20+ questions to get to know her more and vis versa.

It was insane to see how similar both her and David's mannerisms were.

Over the weeks she slowly started to share more and more about her side of the adoption process.
I couldn't believe her courage and strength as she shared her experience coming to that decision as a young 17 year old girl.

One night she pulled out a photo book she had kept of the days she was in the hospital with David.
She had spent four and a half days with him before the adoption was finalized.
We were sobbing looking through the photos.
Again, her strength...
I don't know how she did it.

Right away she had expressed her desire to come down and meet him and the family. 
We set a date for the end of June. 
I knew this was on of those "once in a life time moments" that had to be captured properly, so I reached out to one of my old college girl friends who was a videographer! 

That day arrived and we got to the airport. 
I was already full of emtions and David was trembling from nerves and excitement. 
I kept asking how he was feeling and he was like "there are literally no words to describe this right now." 

We picked out a bouquet of her favorite flowers (peonies) and David made a sign to hold up. 
We stood waiting right outside the terminal as passengers started coming through. 
The only thing we knew to look for was an orange suit case. 

Laura captured the moment so perfectly, I'm just going to letcha watch here instead of write it out because, ya know its hard to type with watery eyeballs haha. 



So there it is.
That's how David found his birth momma (in as few words as possible haha) 
We spent the most incredible 5 days with her that weekend. 

Since then we've met a few of his half siblings and all sorts of other family. 
He has even been in touch with his biological father and we hope to meet him and his family soon as well. 
We never thought that this is something we'd experience this summer. 
It's been so incredibly emotional and so so surreal. 
Their coming together has brought nothing but complete joy for our family. 
We are so excited for the many new memories and experiences to come. 



**Shout out to CRANDELL VIDEO. 
Girl you couldn't not have captured this any better.
THANK YOU!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

etta moon: 5 months

Dear Etta,
At five months old you weight 24 lbs and are 28inches tall which are both off the charts for measurements.
The biggest milestone you hit this month was learning how to sit up!
It's amazing to see your giant chubby body balance out on your huge role legs and bum.
Your sleep this month has been ROUGH.
You wake often during the night and it's killing me and Dad.
We seriously don't know how you survive on such little sleep because you are just do dang happy during the day.
Honestly you have been the easiest and chill tempered baby we've had so far.
You are so happy just to BE and we reallllllly appreciate it.
You've been an amazing little traveler this summer too.
Even though you suck sleeping at night, you are super content to just sleep on the go, wherever we happen to be at the time.
You get distracted when nursing now that you are starting to pay more attention to the world around you.
You love sitting in your high chair during our meals and we think you are just about ready to start up on solid foods!
Your cry is super cute and so quiet.
We always have to remember to keep the baby monitor on when you're napping in your crib or else we won't hear you at all when you wake up.
You love being in the pool and you enjoy your baths much more now that you can sit up in them.
You eyes are still bright blue and your hair is growing in thick and dark.
Still no teeth yet, but you are chomping down on everything.
We are obsessed with your big gummy grin.
Heavenly Father knew we needed you in our family, even when we didn't think we were ready for another baby.
We are so grateful you are here Etta girl, we can't imagine our life without you.
Love,
Momma










Sunday, June 9, 2019

etta moon: four months


Dear Etta, 
At four months old you weigh in at just over 21 pounds. 
You're starting to get to the prime chub stage and I am here for it. 
At four months old you have discovered your voice and it is so dang squeaky and cute. 
You like to yell out and mimic our sounds. 
You're just starting to be able to sit up right! 
(with a bit of support)
You are SO strong. 
My fingers actually go numb after you've been holding them for a while. 
Everyone comments on how happy and easy going you are. 
It's true, you are the chillest baby we've ever had. 
You love to smile and love to be held. 
You're doing a lot better in your carseat! 
In fact our trip to CA went a lot better than expected.
You've started taking naps in the crib and even managed to drink .5 oz of breastmilk out of a bottle. 
Slowly but surely we will get there, haha. 
Your hair is starting to come in super thick and even has a little bit if a curl. 
I can't tell if it'll be light or dark. 
For now it's somewhere in-between. 
You're also starting to enjoy baths now (when we remember to give them to you, whoops)
Your favorite thing is watching your siblings wrestle and horse play around you. 
They love the belly laughs they get from you!
Keep growing strong little nugget, we love you.
-Momma  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

etta moon: three months

Dear Etta,
At three months old you weigh in at a whopping 19.5 lbs!
You don't look as chubby as your siblings but dang girl you are DENSE.
I don't know where you hide all that weight lol.
You are also super long/tall.
I think you only wore your 6 month clothing for 2 days before I had to pull out the next few sizes.
Currently you're wearing 9-24 month sizes depending on the style of clothing.
I love that the light bulb has turned on.
You are suddenly "awake" and aware of the world around you.
I love that you're so quick to smile and that you smile with your whole body!
You are our first ever LAP CHILD.
AKA you are so happy to just sit in our laps and chill.
You love sleeping as close to us as possible.
You enjoy sucking on your fists and looking at your feet.
You hate cloth diapers, riding in the car and showers.
I love your giant blue eyeballs and your full, chubby cheeks.
We are also loving your squeaky yells.
You're starting to find your "voice" and it is the BEST sound in the entire world.
Additional things to note from this month-
First, NO CRANIOSYNOSTOSIS (seriously the best news of the entire year)
You took your first nap in the crib and you took about an ounce of breastmilk from a bottle.
We sure love you Etta Moon!
You are a ray of sunshine in our lives,
Love Momma



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