With Easter around the corner, I’ve been debating if we’d do a basket for Jacob who will be 10 months old. Obviously he won’t remember if he received anything at this age, but I think I’m just looking for an excuse to give him a couple sweet little gifts. We’ve done pretty well at limiting the number of toys he has around the house so it’s nice to get him a few more age appropriate toys. Even if he was old enough to have sugary treats, candy wouldn’t be something we’d choose, except for maybe a single special treat. Instead, I’d rather fill a basket with a few carefully chosen toys made of natural materials. I’ve seen some photos of Easter baskets/gifts from a parents’ Facebook group I’m part of and there are some exceptionally generous parents out there! We are a bit more modest and I’m totally fine with that. Here are the gifts we’ll be putting in Jacob’s basket:
My first choice will be these Haba musical shaker eggs. I love the company that makes them, I love that these eggs will work both for sensory play, as well as in a play kitchen, and I love that that they don’t look atrocious if left lying around our living room! I looked into making them myself but once I bought a natural soy or milk-based paint, plus the hollow wooden eggs, I’d be spending more than if I’d just bought what I originally wanted! So hopefully Jacob will get a few years of play out of these. They are currently around $50 on Amazon but Nicki’s Diaper‘s still has them in stock for around $30!
In February, I picked up these natural rubber bath toys by BeginAgain and saved them for this occasion. So they are definitely getting added to the basket! He currently has a metal camping mug and a little rubber ducky for his bath, but no other toys. I think these will make bath time much more enjoyable!
We’re throwing in a spring-themed book, too. We have a few of these finger puppet books already (love the bumble bee one!) so we’re adding the bunny one to the line-up.
Lastly, I’m adding a few spring/summer materials such as a bucket hat and sunglasses and something edible that we wouldn’t normally buy: perhaps yogurt melts or a box of specialty organic teething crackers.
Other ideas that we aren’t doing this year but will save for future years include a child’s shovel, small growing pots and a pack of seeds, a wooden truck, alphabet magnets, art supplies such as finger paints or sidewalk chalk, and a jump rope. If your baby is just a couple months old, I’d add a special teether like the ones in this post. If you have any suggestions, please comment below!
OH! I forgot to mention Easter baskets themselves! I recommend a quick visit to Goodwill. Last time I was there, I saw a handful of Easter baskets, but I actually chose something that is a little more unique. I thought about getting a higher quality basket (non Easter-themed) but instead settled on a metal basket. I love that it can do double duty in his room either by holding his few toys, organizing things in his closet, or could just be an easy way for him to transport treasures once he starts walking. I paid about $1.50 for this one. Plus, it’s an eco-friendly option we can use every year that is a little better than the cheaply made baskets found in chain stores.
So there you have it! Our simple but sweet Easter Basket for baby’s first year. 🙂 What did or will you put in Baby’s First Easter Basket?
Happy New Year! Time to start blogging again. With a new baby and a busy photography business that didn’t give me maternity leave, I knew something had to slide for the second half of 2014. Unfortunately, it was this blog. But I have a huge list of things to blog about, many of them baby related! We’ve been cloth diapering, feeding the baby donated breastmilk (we adopted him, in case anyone is new to this blog), and trying to be generally natural in how we raise him. We’ve also been doing a lot of cooking from scratch, as we have been for years, and I think it’s time to share some of our favorite recipes! But to start, I wanted to share some experience with what we are in the middle of right now.
Yep. It’s been going on for a couple months. Jacob is 6.5 months old and I think any day he is going to get some chompers. So, after about two months of him chewing/biting/sucking on anything he can, it’s time to share his favorite teethers. We did not want him to teethe on plastic if possible, so I think we have only one BPA free plastic teether that can go in the fridge. Surprisingly, that one is not his favorite! These are the ones he loves:
Sophie the Giraffe (also called Sofie la girafe). We have three of these. Two of the traditional version and one teether version. He loves the traditional one made of natural rubber because it squeaks, it’s easy to chew on the knobby giraffe head and long legs, and it’s easy to grasp by the long neck or legs. His eyes light up and he happily reaches for this one. My aunt was playing with him the other day and said she had given Sophie as a shower gift to babies in the past after reading the rave reviews, and now she could understand why everyone loved it so much. He also enjoys the smaller teething Sophie. This one is firmer with grippy handles to grasp. It doesn’t squeak but he likes chewing on the handles and smaller, firmer head of the giraffe.
This is traditional Sophie. Check it out HERE.
This is the teether Sophie which my husband affectionately calls “Alien Sophie”. Check it out HERE.
The newest teether we bought is probably his favorite (tied with traditional Sophie, I think?). It’s a natural rubber fish teether by CaaOcho. Link is HERE. He LOVES this thing. It’s so easy for him to hold because it’s thin but has a hole in the center. It has different textures and the fish tail can fit in his mouth easily. The head is nice to chew on too, at any angle. I’m so glad we bought this one; it didn’t have many reviews but it’s quickly become a loved teething toy in our home.
Our last favorite style is the Hape/Educo rattle teethers made of wood. We have three of these – two circle ones and one rectangle. We keep on in the diaper bag, one in his toy basket, and one is currently missing. (That’s why we have three!) These were the first ones that he really grasped easily because it was small and easy to hold. The wooden rattle is nice to chew and it made a small rattle sound when the beads clinked together. These can be harder to find for less than $10 with shipping but this link HERE goes to one that is $7.99 with free shipping. (Not sure how many they have in stock though?) Just to mention it, we also have a natural maple teether in a similar shape that doesn’t have rattles inside. He likes this one too and I’ve seen similar ones on Etsy and Amazon.
We do have a few more that have not been hits, at least not yet.
One that is growing in popularity as he gets older is the Skwish by Manhattan Toys. At first he could care less, but now that he’s a little older he likes to wave it around (it’s incredibly lightweight). He also will push the shape around because it’s flexible. Lastly, he likes to chew on the round knobby ends. It has TONS of positive reviews on Amazon and I could see this becoming more popular with him in the next few months. Link is HERE. We have the natural, uncolored one but there are more colorful versions out there.
Three more are the Manhattan Toys rattle, Green Tones elephant shaker, and the Green Sprouts cool soothing teether ring.
While I love how the first two look, they are too awkward for him to hold at this point. He’s 6.5 months and fairly large for his age. 99th percentile for height and 65th for weight. Very big hands. So I’d guess most babies wouldn’t be able to use these easily until 7-8+ months? So I’m holding out hope that these two will get played with, but as of right now, they get no love. Lastly, we got the Green Sprouts cooling teether. This one I debated because it’s plastic, but it’s BPA, PVC, Nitrosamine and phthalate free. I also liked that it’s filled with sterilized water rather than some toxic substance. I really wanted to get him something that was cooled for when his gums really ache. So far he hasn’t loved it but maybe he will once teeth start to pop through his gums.
I’ve debated getting a solid wood ring with cotton tied to it (to absorb drool), but otherwise I think we’re set for teethers. Does your baby have a favorite teether? Do you recommend anything specific?
He is here and our hearts are full. I am the luckiest.
We welcomed Baby Jacob Asher into our family just 2.5 short weeks ago and life will never, ever be the same. I’m typing this with the most amazing baby cuddled on my chest, and still reveling in the fact that I get to be his mama. Five years of waiting, six miscarriages, 3 failed adoptions, and they have all brought us to this sweet boy. God is so good. Jacob is a happy baby; full of smiles and funny expressions, a dark head of hair, a beautiful tan, incredibly observant with his big eyes that seem like they are staring so intently at you, and he loves to “talk” to us as he tells us about his day. We are completely smitten by this little man.
We’re thankful for so many things, but mostly that God has connected us with this precious baby and his sweet birth mother, Izzy. She chose us to be his parents and I still get emotional thinking about her decision and trust in us. Saying goodbye to her and her family at the hospital when we took him home nearly broke my heart when I thought about how she must be feeling, but let me tell you about his amazing birth mother. She is proud of him and her decision. We hope we can raise him in a way that never lets her doubt her choice.
Izzy is loving and brave and so wonderful. She loves this little boy so much. He is hers in a way that we’ll never have, but he’s also ours in a way she won’t have. Together, we are his parents, both by birth and adoption, and he is “ours”. We will always be brought together by this boy that we all love, and we are thankful to have her join our family. He is so very special to have so many people that care about him; his birth family, his adoptive family, and all of our friends.
There are so many big things swirling around inside of me… hope, uncertainty, thankfulness, love, and even a little fear that something still might go wrong. In Wisconsin, adoption is a long process. Parental rights of the birth parents need to be (voluntarily) terminated at a court hearing, then we have a six month waiting period with visits from the social worker before we can petition the courts for adoption finalization. So he’s ours in our hearts and in our home, but not completely ours in the eyes of the law… yet. I wonder if I’ll breathe easy until the day everything is finalized? We have waited so very long for him that it’s scary to think something still may go wrong. But if he is meant to be ours, everything will work out.
This only scratches the surface of what I wanted to share with you today, but since I’ve started this blog post three separate times and still haven’t quite found the right words, I hope you can still share our joy, our apprehension, and know how thankful we are feeling. This song keeps swirling around in my mind so I’m sharing a few of the lyrics:
“The Luckiest” by Ben Folds
I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here
And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know
That I am
You are all wonderful. Since I posted our adoption story 15 hours ago, we’ve had about two thousand visitors to that blog page. Wow. So amazing. Personally, I take a lot of comfort in knowing that others are hearing our story and reacting so strongly to it. I can honestly say that I feel that God gave me those words. I was sitting at home, alone, yesterday and just felt this need to write. I had to write or burst. It’s all these things I’ve been feeling, except written so well that I can’t take credit. Anyway, I just wanted to share a few things that I took away from yesterday’s post.
- Many adoptive parents have gone through something similar to what we experienced. So many. It’s heartbreaking. We knew this before we decided to adopt but hoped we’d be lucky. And you know what? We are lucky. We are lucky to be part of this story, to become friends with this amazing woman and her family, to know and love this precious baby boy, and to have the support of such amazing people. If I had to choose, I’d do it all over again. Why would I wish away one of the best days of my life? I’d take the bad with the good, any day.
- So many people have no idea that this is what adoption means. It means baring your soul. It means sharing something of yourself that you can’t get back. It means you will meet amazing people that will inspire you to do better. I heard several people mention my strong faith. Can I just give a little shout out to this sweet new mother? She has done more to encourage my faith than anyone in these last 13 years since I left home. From the beginning, she has thought our connection has been “a God thing”, and I think she’s right.
- As I said in my post yesterday, adoption is TOUGH. If you have friends or family suffering from infertility or pregnancy loss, please think before you tell them to “just adopt”. Obviously it’s not easy, it’s definitely not cheap, and it’s not fast. We feel it’s right for us, but there is a ton of uninformed people out there making it sound like a quick fix to starting a family. It is definitely not any of those things. But it is beautiful, and forged out of love. So for some people, it’s worth it. And while we’re on this topic, please don’t tell someone they will get pregnant as soon as they decide to adopt. It’s not funny. It may happen to some people but for most people, it’s not an option. Ben and I could easily be pregnant but realistically we’d lose that pregnancy like the last 6 pregnancies. So we are actually hoping to adopt MORE than we hope to have a biological child. A biological child is not better than an adopted child. Children are the same, and the way you build your family doesn’t matter. So if someone says they plan on adopting, please wish them well and share their excitement. They are not choosing a lesser method of building their family. (Stepping off soapbox. You know I love you all, right?) 🙂
So. A few things were sent to me in messages or comments and I wanted to share a few of them so you can see why my heart is so full today. It is because of people like you. Taking a moment to send a message or comment to a family that is hurting is always an encouraging thing, even if they don’t respond. Your words have the power to lift up a complete stranger. So I’d like to share some of your words… both from strangers and friends.
The journey toward becoming a parent and then being a parent is full of so many hardships and heartbreaks. I know someday soon, you are going to begin raising a child of your own, and miraculously, all of the pain and hardships will become part of your story. They won’t be forgotten, but love always wins, it’s the love that keeps us going. Thank you for sharing your heart and faith … I’m so, so, so sorry you have to go through this. You already are an amazing mother. -Katie
I hope one day this is just a footnote in what is an amazing journey for your family. – Molly
Although you are grieving now, what a blessing to that mother that if nothing else, she has found true friendship in you. A support system… God has a plan. It isn’t for us to try to figure out or understand. There was a reason you were chosen. There is a reason He gave you those moments of being a mama and then taking it away. Perhaps so that you don’t give up hope? We may never know but your undying faith will keep you strong and your blog is helping others; not just those who are are in the process of adoption either! Do trust me, I see that if you can still trust in God’s plan even during this time, that my problems are minor. I won’t say I’m sorry that you had to go through this because although this child isn’t your son on paper, he was your son in your arms for a moment and I’m sure in your heart for a lifetime! God bless and prayers to you and your husband as well as to the newborn and his family! -Jennifer
I am so very sorry. I am praying for all of you tonight. You are so brave and such a blessing for so many people like me. I can never thank you enough for being my voice. Your strength gives me strength. Please know there are so many people out there tonight grieving with you. Blessings and peace be with you. -Morgan
Our first adoption experience had us with a brand new baby in our arms for 5 days. And then the birth parents changed their minds. The depth of grief I experienced was only matched by the grace I kept unearthing in order to find my way through. There is beauty everywhere. I worked through & learned so much in those weeks. … And that first story had to happen in order for us to find our way to our daughter, and for her to find her way to us. The road to adoption is never straight. And we have our own labour pains. And, in the end, we get our children, no matter how they come – birth, adoption, relationship. … Even floating in grace, grief is a deep ocean to swim across. Much love from here, to you there. – Jennifer
There are absolutely NO WORDS. Miscarriage… society expects you to grieve… adoptions disrupted….very few people gave me the time to grieve a child that was alive with a different mom…. Praying for you and your family. -Cindy
I’ll stop sharing quotes now, but these are just a few of the encouraging words that have been shared with us. There were literally hundreds of people sending prayers, love, hugs, and well wishes. With this kind of support, how can I help but be thankful? And knowing that our story has helped several people reading it makes my heart happy.
Thank you, God, for using this experience and our pain
for your glory. You are so, SO good.
And finally, this is the only photo I will be sharing of me with Baby Boy. I want to protect his privacy. But I figured this one was okay. It was our first photo together and he was five minutes old. I treasure this image. 🙂
This post is much different than what I anticipated posting today. In fact, I had a beautiful post written on Tuesday morning and waited to hit “publish”. I guess this is the post I was meant to share with you instead.
We’ve been very open with our adoption journey but have held back some things these past few months because of privacy or out of respect for certain people involved. Today, I want to share a little bit more about our adoption journey. It’s painful but I find a lot of comfort in writing our story out, as well as sharing with you. I know, without a doubt, that this story will help someone reading it. So if that is you, I’m sending you hugs and an open invitation to get in touch if you want to chat. Grief is tough to deal with but I find it so much easier to know I’m not alone.
As many of you following our adoption Facebook page already know, we have been speaking with an expectant mother since October. Here is a short synopsis of our timeline. This is done from memory so I might be slightly “off” on my calendar, but you get the idea:
- October: First contact by the expectant mother. We get to know her and she has been talking to two families, trying to figure out which one she wants to place her child with. She chose us. 🙂 She chose us, over anyone else, and we fell in love with HER as much as her child. The father was uncertain of his plans to agree to adoption at that point.
- In November, the expectant father agreed to adoption. We continue to get to know the mother, and in her we find a wonderful friendship, fantastic communication, and hope for an amazing future with the child we’d been waiting for since we started trying for a family in 2009.
- In January we announced to the world that we were expecting to adopt that baby in mid March.
- Two weeks later, the expectant father changed his mind and said he absolutely wouldn’t choose adoption or sign the papers.
- February we reached out to him. We said we understood and respected his decision, but we were still interested if he changed his mind.
- Mid-February he said that he was considering it again. He continued to talk to us over the next few weeks.
- March 17 – we got the call from him saying he would choose adoption.
- March 18 – we got the call saying the mother was heading to the hospital and I joined her there. I was in the room for the birth. It was emotional and I fell in love with that baby within seconds of meeting him. In the room when he entered this world was the mother’s mom, her best friend, and myself. There was so much love and support. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. So beautiful. The first thing the mother said to me after Baby arrived was, “You have a son!” then she grabbed my hand and we wept together. I’ve had some powerful moments in my life, but this was probably the MOST amazing moment that I will always remember as being one of the best. I thank her for sharing this experience with me. The rest of this day and all night was spent at the hospital. We all cuddled the baby, learned some baby care things from the nurses, and I even spent the night with the mother, in her big hospital bed with the baby in the bassinet at our feet. We were up talking late, and at one point a nurse told us that she was told about our adoption situation when coming on shift. She thought it was going to be a bit weird but all the other nurses told her, “Oh no, it’s like the adoptive and birth moms are best friends! It’s an amazing thing to go into that recovery room.” And she agreed that this was a special relationship. Watching my husband hold that tiny baby, and hearing how strongly it impacted him was so incredibly sweet for me. I also watched the baby’s father hold that baby. I kept telling myself that worry wouldn’t change anything; if the baby was meant to be ours, it would work out.
- March 19 – the father changed his mind again. He said he couldn’t sign the adoption papers. My mom and sister also came to visit, and they were there when the whole thing fell apart. My husband’s family was going to come today (the 19th) to visit, but given the situation, they did not come.
- Today is March 20th. I’m sitting at home, with no baby in my arms.I am ready for a baby. Clothes are washed, the nursery is done, and my arms are open. Last night I cried myself to sleep. Miscarriage is hard. Failed adoptions are hard. But failed adoptions when you have held that baby, made decisions for him, stayed up with him for hours at night when no one else is awake, and stared at him enough to memorize his face is enough to break your heart into millions of tiny pieces.I hurt today, friends. I hurt so much. I hurt like there is this big piece of me missing, a piece that I was aware of but didn’t know how big it was until two days ago. I hurt for this new mother that will now be raising a baby that she loves so very dearly. She loves this baby so much that she wanted more for him… she wanted him to be raised by two loving parents in a stable home where his life would be blissfully simple and happy. Where his mommy would be able to stay home with him every day and his daddy would take him fishing. Where he wouldn’t have to think about custody and splitting Christmases with different families and where our values are so in line with what she believes is important. With that said, she is and will continue to be an amazing mother. I have no doubt she will do whatever she needs to in order to raise this baby to be an amazing child.There is still a chance things will change with the father. It’s not likely, but he’s done it before. We know God is good and no one can imagine the plans He has for us. If this baby is meant to be ours, it will happen. We aren’t giving up completely on this adoption but we are recognizing that this family has some serious things going on and they need to figure out what to do next.With the friendship we have built over the last few months with this new mother (and on a much smaller level, we’ve built a relationship with the father as well), and we don’t anticipate that changing. She will always be important to us, and she made me a mother in a way that my miscarriages never allowed, even if I had a son only in my mind for a few short hours. Those moments were some of the sweetest I have ever known.
Today, I’m doing okay. I’m still pretty weepy and sad, and if I’m honest, I’m grieving a little. I still want to be a mom and more than anything, I want to see my husband be a dad. He will be amazing at it. I don’t think he realizes exactly how much he will love it but he got a taste of it yesterday. This has impacted him more than he expected.
But this morning I realized that God answers prayer when things go the way I want, and he answers prayer even when things are going horribly wrong. I still have HOPE, even though things looked so very bleak last night. Now we just want to support this new mother who is so dear to us. We want the best for this baby, as does his mother, and all of us will work to make sure that happens. This amazing, beautiful little man has the most incredible list of people who love him. For that, he is so very blessed. And our family has grown to include the family of this new mother… so while we didn’t gain a son like we hoped, we did gain some amazing friends who are very much like family. Watching the new mother’s mom hand my own mom the baby… these “grandmas” hugged and stared at this child, and wow. I cry just thinking about that moment.
_Three final parting thoughts:
Adoption is tough. It’s heart-wrenching on many levels for so many involved. But it is so, so beautiful. Thinking about the moments I’ve witnessed in the last few days is humbling. The adoption hasn’t worked out (though we still hope for a miracle over this next month) but the love will continue. I know this without a doubt. As I said before, this journey toward adoption has strengthened my faith in so many ways. Without my faith, I think I’d be an angry, heartbroken mess today when I think about the roller coaster of emotions we’ve had. But instead, I’m a little heartbroken and a lot hopeful. I’m sad but at peace. Does that make sense? If we are ever blessed to become parents, it will all come together and everything will be right. If we are not meant to be parents, I will still have my amazing marriage and life, full of happiness and blessed by a God that knows what I need more than I do.
- Please pray for us and for this new baby and his family. If he is meant to be ours, it will work out. If not, they still need prayer.
- God is good and has a plan. This is clearer to me now than ever. We could have brought the baby home from the hospital today but strongly feel He wants us to step back while everything is figured out. We hope this baby will be ours but accept the situation either way.
- In case this is the first time you’ve read any of our adoption/infertility posts, you can read about it on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/beckyandbenadopt, or on our adoption site, www.beckyandbenadopt.blogspot.com. I also have some blog posts on this blog HERE, HERE, and HERE.As always, thanks for your prayers, encouragement, and support.We are so thankful for the 900+ people on following our journey on Facebook, as well as those who we know in real life that are on our team. 🙂 You all have made our time of waiting so much sweeter.
You can read the follow-up to this post HERE… thank you all for the amazing support and encouragement!