Saturday, February 28, 2009


On the wedding boards, FMIL means "future mother in law."

And normally, posts with FMIL in the title are followed with a number of "@*&%$!#" words.

But never mine. I am so happy that Elaine and I get along so well. I don't know if it's because we are both nurses or because we have both developed life strategies that allow us to get along with John or what. But she is great. And I am really blessed to have her as my FMIL.

Not to mention, she is super-crafty and I think she will help me do some DIY decorations for the wedding:)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The List(s) I Live (or at least plan) by.

I became a "knottie" because has the most awesome wedding planning list ever. EVER. And you know I know a thing or two about lists. The best part? It is broken down month-by-month in a countdown-to-the-day fashion, and it is an interactive checklist. Right now, I have 54 of 238 "to-dos" completed. I mean, it has everything from "start thinking about your floral scheme and what flowers will be in-season for your wedding" to "arrange for someone to pick up your wedding dress from your hotel after you depart." I love me a good list!

The other thing that has really helped is my beloved Google Docs. This particular Google Doc that I made during my adoption process was one of the major things that kept me sane during that wait. Now I have created another Google Doc that John and I are using for our guest list. I have given him access, so he can add/edit as needed. I can also update the list from work, home, John's folks' house, my parents' house... basically anywhere that has Internet, so I am not tied to any sort of address book or anything. Plus, it is easy to modify the list to include info like the RSVP, number in party, thank you note sent, etc. Then, when the wedding is over, this can become our starting point for our joint Christmas card list:) I love me some multi-purposeness!

Anyway, those are just two of the things that have helped me plan this wedding without loosing it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Skin and Hair Care

Jen asked for some pictures of Anna's puffs... so here is a long post about skin and hair care.

I will start with a bit about skin care. Now, I am not an expert on black skin care at all. And what is working for us is not necessarily going to work for everyone. That said, I am very happy with our present skin care program.

In December, I took Anna to the dermatologist. Ever since we came home she had these things all over her skin... they looked like skin tags... but they would grow and get big and once in a while they would express a milky-white substance. I had not seen anything like it, which is saying a lot, considering I am a nurse:) When the "tag" on her eyelid got so big it was actually in her line of sight, Anna picked it off. Um, EWWW! She started picking at other "tags" too, and I was worried she would scar (especially since she had several on her face.)

The dermatologist diagnosed the skin tags as mollescum. Because Anna is young and is more likely to scar, the doctor advised allowing her immune system to fight the virus and not intervene with lasers, burning, or topical medications. I agreed that this sounded like a good plan, especially since neither Abigail nor I showed any signs of developing the infection, so it wasn't pressing to clear it up. The doctor then advised giving Anna a bath every day to help keep the virus from spreading. A bath every day? Her skin would definitely dry out! So the doctor advised that I bathe her every day (with bar soap- preferably Dove- NOT baby wash) and then promptly apply plain old Vaseline all over her body and face. The Vaseline acts in 2 ways to fight the virus: 1. It locks in the natural and absorbed moisture of the skin, increasing the flexibility of the skin and making it more resistant to damage, and 2. it creates a bit of a barrier for the virus to prevent it from spreading. I asked about the more expensive cremes and lotions we use at work, and the doc was consistent: Vaseline it is!

So, since mid-December, that is what we have been doing. She doesn't get a bath every single day, but she does get them several times a week. And then she gets lubed up in Vaseline. All over. Which makes for one very shiny baby, as you can see!

Since we started this skin care program, the mollescum has definitely decreased, and I have not noted any new areas of infection. Anna's unaffected skin looks great and is soft and supple despite the cold and dry winter air. The infection can take over a year to clear, and she still has several infected spots, but overall, we are doing much better.

Anna's hair has also been growing like mad, and since she was in the bath so much for her skin, I knew I needed to be proactive about her hair care. We were using a leave-in conditioner both after bath as well as every morning, and her hair was looking good. But it definitely did not solve the problem of her immense discomfort when combing out her hair (an activity that was happening a lot more often due to the frequent baths, but was not getting very much better.) For the past few weeks I have been experimenting with hair styles and hair care products. I am making real progress with "puffs" and have been "puffing" her whole head the past week or so since it really helps to make comb-outs easier (the hair does not get nearly as tangled!)

I keep my puffs pretty simple and do not put pressure on myself to make them look perfect. This is my puff kit: wide-tooth comb with point, hair conditioner/gel/oil product, rubber bands in color of choice, scissors and a towel.

I start with hair that is still wet and combed out from her bath. I massage the hair oil/gel through and around her hair line. Then I use the tip of the comb to part the hair and the full comb to comb it smoothly into a small ponytail. When I am combing out her hair and have it straight rather than curly, it is quite long:

(note Abigail reading Anna a book.)
Her hair is probably about 2.5 to 3 inches when straight. I proceed with sectioning and ponying throughout her head. I try to keep it "even" and make a cute- or at least not funky- pattern, but mostly I just try to get it done quickly since Anna has a very short "sitting still" window. My best puffs occur when John is around to help keep Anna entertained but still.
Here are some pictures of the end result:

happy face!

ham-ing it up!

These puffs look tight, but they really aren't. However, to make sure Anna does not develop hair loss due to frequent/constant pulling, I do change up the design and pattern of her puffs each time I do her hair- never pull in the same place twice!

The Farm Show

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


The man I love.

styled by Abigail

Gagie and Pepaw at Christmas (and other assorted shots)

Green Card Advice

1. Don't loose your newly-adopted child's green card. It will cause you stress.

2. If you loose it, be prepared to pay $370 to replace it. Search your entire house several times over to make sure it is actually gone. Balk at the fee (which includes $80 for biometrics... um, for your toddler...) and decide that maybe you don't actually have to replace it.

3. File for a social security number for your child as soon as you get their green card. If you need a SSN to file taxes, but have lost your child's green card, file for a temporary taxpayer ID number using the visa on their passport with the I-551 stamp.

4. Find out if you need the green card to file for readoption. You probably don't. File for readoption so that your child can become a citizen and you won't have to worry about her green card. This can probably be done without a lawyer.

5. Feel better once you realize you will, in fact, be able to file your taxes and take advantage of your adoption tax credit.

Christmas 2008

Santa came to our house.

I have proof.

Abigail was thrilled.

Anna in a shirt from Laurie and Angelo. She insisted on wearing every item she unwrapped. (The ride-on car next to her was also a gift.) (Ignore me. Horrible picture of me.)

The "Chicken Dance" reindeer chicken from Aunt Sylvia. It scared her for a while. Because not only does it talk, sing, play music, and bawk, it also walks. Towards her. Of it's own accord.

She got over it, then loved it, and then I took it away because it annoyed me, um, I mean because I was packing up the Christmas stuff!

Glowing. (Note the cat, who is clearly admiring the baby Jesus in the nativity. Because she is a good Christian cat like that.)

Construction Pictures

Before: the strange "window" looking into the back family room

During: removing the wood paneling in the back room (oh, so sad to see that go!)

After: a door, and a hole

After that: Cat in the hole!

To Be Continued...

Lilies and Lavander

When we had been dating only a few weeks, John sent me flowers.

Today we booked our florist and made tentative plans to have the wedding flowers be reminiscent of that first bouquet he gave me. Lilies and "lavender" (it wasn't in season in December, so this was his substitute.) I wasn't going to share that little tidbit. I was just going to quietly know, each time I looked into my bridal bouquet, the significance of those flowers.

But I decided to share that, because that is how John is. He can look at a room and not see the huge mess that needs to be cleaned up. He can listen to a story and totally miss the point. He has certainly been known to miss the subtleties of my changes of expression... or changes of mood.

But then, he remembers the strangest, most romantic things. Like what I was wearing on our first date. What we ordered. Where we parked outside the restaurant. He remembered that I mentioned lilies and lavender in an early conversation we had, and weeks later sent me a beautiful bouquet that was perfectly suited to my tastes.

He is a big-picture guy. I am a details girl. And when he gets that- when he pays attention to those details- when he stretches himself because he knows it's those little things that matter to me... that's when I feel loved.

And today, sitting in the consultation room at the florist's, I felt so very loved. As I do now.
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