Tuesday, November 29, 2011

how Norah's Thanksgiving was different

This year has brought on so many new experiences, many of which feel so sad without my sister, and many that feel so different now that we have Norah.  It has been strange to look back at each holiday last year and remember it was only with Maya.  Life was so VERY different, just a year ago.  Traveling 18 hours in a car is much easier with just one child, paying for food was so much easier with one child, but sharing the Thanksgiving holiday with an even bigger family was so much better!

Thanksgiving was not all about Norah, but she is what I am going to write about right now.

This year at Thanksgiving I really thought of Norah so much.  I watched her with all of her cousins, squealing, laughing, and just having so much fun!  I thought of her life before, with mommy Carrisa and how Thanksgiving would have brought family, but in a different way.  For a moment I felt so thankful that Norah had this big family with lots of children to play with, with a huge house to run around, to play outside, to get an unlimited supply of juice boxes that her aunt and uncle supplied, I just felt grateful that she had this, that she has us..........but inside I was still so torn because even with her fitting in so well and  having such a wonderful Thanksgiving it still seems like it would be better for her to have her real mother alive, even if it meant not such a glamorous Thanksgiving.

I know I told all of you that the last time I saw my sister alive was the first week of November, well it was the last time I saw her in person.  Actually, the last time I saw her alive was on Thanksgiving day last year when we skyped.  Our time skyping was fairly short, enough to say hi and see Norah being silly over the computer.  Thanksgiving was at Carrisa's house last year and we were in Houston.  Now this year we were in Houston again and Norah was with us.....how can than be?  It seems so strange in my head and it is hard to sort out.  My mixed up emotions leave me wondering what to think, what to say, and how to fully embrace Norah.

Norah and mommy Carrisa, Thanksgiving 2010

Norah shared a room with her cousin Ella (5 yeasr old) and each morning I could her them talking and giggling together.  One morning Ella came to me and said, "Norah told me that she misses her other mommy and daddy, the ones that died."  Ella knows a little of the situation, but as a 5 year old doesn't fully understand it, but her comment was enough to pour a little sadness into my heart.

That was not the only thing said that pulled on my heart.  On our last day in Houston Norah had to be disciplined by mommy and daddy and while I was talking with her about why she was in trouble she looked at me and said, "I miss mommy Carrisa, I miss my other mommy."  Talk about pulling on my heart strings...... sigh......  I knew she would use this against me someday but I didn't think she would use it at age 2.  People have told me not to show that it hurts when Norah starts making comments like this one, but the really hard thing for me is that I really miss mommy Carrisa too, so it is hard to hide my emotion.

I won't ever stop talking about her though, about Carrisa to Norah.  I want her to know as much about her mother as she can, even if that means she uses it against me when she is mad.

I have so many photos of Thanksgiving, but on this post I am just going to show some of Norah, of thanksgiving from her perspective. I will reserve many of the other photos for a different post.

so thankful for Brett's family embracing Norah as their own

time with a new uncle

a new cousin

a new aunt

so much time outside


doing crafts

Norah's reindeer headband was my favorite, either she is super abstract and creative, or she is not crafty at all (does that make sense)

having a cousin just months apart in age

a bath tub full of blonde family

and blonde braids

a daddy to help attack

a makeup makeover

4 cousins, instead of just 2

2 sisters instead of none

a new mommy to lean on

and a mommy and daddy together

that is how Norah's Thanksgiving was different

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Houston Sneak Peak

We have been in Houston, TX enjoying Thanksgiving with family.  Here is a quick sneak peak!





I love this time of year and time together!  
More to come

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sarah-2 months

Little Sarah Bug is 2 months old now!!  She is just as cute as ever and growing tons

I am not sure how much you weight now, but at your 1 month check up you were almost 10lbs, so I imagine you are close to 12lbs now!

You are very long (90th %) and are  wearing 3 month old jammies already!

You are very easy and very predictable.
You still have all of your dark hair although the roots are getting blond
You smile All the time, you even giggle!

You already sleep through the night.
We have lots of little nicknames for you: princess, bug, cheeks, squisher, squarballs

can you see why we call her cheeks?

You still love to play, kick, and squeal under this


You still look like your daddy


and your sisters still adore you


Here is Maya at 2 months

and Sarah at 2 months
I think they look similar

Sarah's Monthy Progression


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Starbucks Card

We are getting ready to go to Houston, TX for thanksgiving.  Yes, that's right folks, all 5 of us are going to be road tripping to Houston! I know it is crazy, but we do drive through the night, all 17 hours, and it seems to help since the girls sleep the majority of the time (hopefully).  This will be the first time with the baby though, we are praying for sanity and we do have a few tricks up our sleeve.  
 We are also willing to stop and get a hotel if need be.

One of the things we do when we travel (although this is usually for a plane ride) Is we get a handful of $5 Starbucks cards (yes we are big Starbucks fans, both of us have worked there, and we enjoy many of the blissful drinks (thank you pumkin chai latte)). 
These gift cards are not for us, or the girls, they are for people who help us along the way, for people who see that we have our hands full and step in to help with anything.  It is fun to pick and choose who to give them to, we do it a lot at airports, to people working behind the ticket counter, to others helping with luggage, or helping to grab one of our run-away children, or just someone we feel like needs one.  Yes, I know people do nice things without needing a reward, but sometimes people should be rewarded even for the little things.
 These cards also come in so handy when I am out and about by myself with the girls.  I somehow always need an extra hand, and someone seems to always be willing to give it.  Many of you may not be able to afford to do something like this, and we certainly don't have extra money flying around, but really, we can't afford not to do this.
There is not a price on blessing others and we are already so blessed.
For the road trip we also stock pile snacks, movies, music, new treats, and the girls each get a bin with travel toys (with one new toy each).

What are some tips or things you do when traveling with your family?

Friday, November 18, 2011

homestudy #2

We had our 2nd home study for adopting Norah yesterday.  The social worker came to our house to meet the girls, inspect the house, and interview us more.  It went well and was pretty easy.  The girls did great  (not saying I didn't bribe them with treats)!  I actually thought it would be a lot more invasive than it really was.  As the social worker was leaving Maya turned to me and said really loud, "Can I get my treat now?"  and I am sure the lady heard......haha whoops.

The social worker interviewed me a lot about my past, my relationship with family members, and how I have processed all of the loss.  It is really hard for me to  go back and remember and discuss some things, I felt myself being very superficial, emotionless, and vague just so I wouldn't start crying.  I was afraid if I cried it would show her that I was emotionally unstable and not fit to take care of Norah.  The truth is maybe I am a bit emotionally unstable (aren't most women who just had a baby?).  I mean I have spent a lot of my life crying and I am kind of tired of crying, although I still do it way to often.

It feels like Norah is so much a part of our life now I can't even imagine what it would be like without her.  If something happened during the adoption process and we were unable to keep Norah we would be devastated!  Just a few short months left until we can officially adopt and we are praying everything goes smoothly!  We have been blessed to have no real big obstacles.

All we have to do now is wait..... (hopefully that is all).  Then once February comes we sign millions of papers, pay a large some of money, and then wait for a court date.

Look at her, already such a mommy, feeding her baby :O)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All it took was a cupcake

Alright folks, I am going to reverse back in time momentarily to this past June.  We decided it would be a good time to potty train Norah.  She was 2, had an older big sister to mimic, she was waking up from naps with a dry diaper, and Maya potty trained right after she turned 2, so why not Norah?  The biggest reason to potty train Norah though, is that we did not want to have 2 children in diapers, YIKES!

So with Maya we did the "potty training in a day" method and it worked brilliantly, she had only 1 wet pair of underwear and that was enough for her to realize she didn't like it an went pee pee in the potty easily, done!

Yeah..... Norah is a different child.  And after 23 pairs of wet underwear, every bribe you could think of, and no real signs of progress, we gave up, it was just becoming to stressful.  We decided to wait until my mom came, with her extra help we knew it would be much easier.  Well when my mom came we tried different methods, my mom even bought her a doll that went pee pee o the potty, but no luck, she just would NOT go on the potty.  She would tell us she had to go, sit on the potty and then right when she got of she would pee on the floor, ugh!!

Once the baby was born I gave up, it was to much to deal with and a lot of it probably came down to my laziness.  Norah would tell me she had to go pee pee and I really didn't believe she would go on the potty or I just didn't want all the work that went along with it so I just left it alone.

Until this past weekend, when Norah started to put a diaper on by herself.......... It was just to much for me, I mean if she can put her own diaper on certainly she can go pee pee on the potty, right?  Or at least my husband thought she should.  So Brett got her big girl underwear and told her if she went pee pee on the potty she would get a "cupcake."

And guess what she did 4 times on Saturday folks?!?! That's right, pee pee in the potty!! It was like a miracle from heaven!  All she needed was a cupcake!  I should have known, Norah has gagged down food she does not even like if she knew she would get a cupcake!  How could I not know this, Carrisa loved cupcakes, I bet she would have used a cupcake as a bribe right away and had much more success than me!

We have gone  4 days, and no, we are not accident free, but Norah had gone pee pee in the potty enough to get rid of diapers. (no poo poo in the potty though :O( )  I know it will be a lot of work, but this just seems like such a huge milestone.  Good job Norah, I am so proud of you!  Mommy Carrisa would be so proud of you, I am sure she would have put the news all over facebook!

How can you not love this little face, she is so happy about her achievement and officially calls herself a "Big Girl"

P.S Tomorrow is our home study with the social worker, pray everything goes well!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fun with the girls!

Sometimes it is fun to have a more light hearted post and just let you know some of the things we have been up to around here.  I am always looking and listening for fun new things to do with the girls, so I appreciate all of the input/comments you all leave.  One huge help has been Pinterest, and if you don't know what it is you better find out!

One of Maya's favorite shows right now is Sid the Science Kid, she actually learns a lot from it, and on one of their Halloween episodes they told us how to make slime, so we did!




Oh my word the girls had so much fun, I don't think I have ever seen Norah do an activity for so long!

One thing they neglected to tell us what that the slime eventually dries and and creates this mess!!
(oh well, it was worth it)

This next idea came from Pinterest, you can actually write a letter to a Disney Princess and they will write back to you (supposedly).

Maya wrote to Rapunzel and Norah wrote to Cinderella
On the right is Maya's writing, on the left is the translation I wrote for her)


Getting ready to mail the letters


And I can't forget to talk about this precious bundle of joy! 

Sarah is so much fun, she is smiling up a storm, she is so easy and delightful.  She usually sleeps between 6-7 hours at night (thank you Jesus) and eats like a champ!


I always miss her smiles on camera, I kind of got one here


We do have lots of fun times together!