Thursday, November 29, 2012


this year's thanksgiving was much more relaxing than last!  last year we had a two week old baby and i attempted to make about 20 traditional thanksgiving dishes all by myself - thankfully - for many reasons - we had thanksgiving with family this year.

this year we headed to roanoke, va to meet up with my parents and sisters for a traditional thanksgiving event.  thanksgivings at my parents house are full of game time, loud chatter, staying up late, and non-stop eating of deliciousness.  thursday morning we woke up early to start working on the bird.  this year we were doing a 22lb bird and an additional turkey breast.  we'd brined it the night before, so thanksgiving day it just needed to be filled with aromatics, given a good massage with some rub, and into the oven for some cooking.  i always make the turkey, so i love getting that checked off my list.  after turkey we had a long list of things to work on.  mom, lori, and i worked on deviled eggs, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, rolls, and sweet potato casserole.  granny and aunt sheree were bringing broccoli casserole, green beans, and corn pudding.  makes my mouth water to think about it all.  while we prepared the linner (4pm lunch/dinner), dax and granny watched the parade and daddy and grangran took daxy on a wagon ride.  they kept each other busy until it was time to chow down.

when everyone had made it in we actually started the dinner right on time!  (which if you know the taylors is really an impossible feat)  uncle arnold said the blessing and then carved the turkey while i fixed dax a little plate.  dax did not eat nearly as much as we'd hoped, but he was a little fussy so we did not force anything on him.  he did do some serious damage on the dressing though, so maybe he liked its texture.  hopefully by Christmas he will be ready to feast on a meal with no baby food components!

making, setting up for, and cleaning up after all of that food was so much easier since there were so many cooks in the kitchen.  chris did about twenty loads of dishes and will kept dax entertained while we piled food into storage containers and tried to fit it all in the fridge like a game of tetris.  after all of our bellies were exploding, some of us participated in the early black friday shopping.  it was not nearly eventful as we'd hoped, and we ended up with 0 items off our list for our first stop.  we tried to stop at starbucks to make it all worth while, but they were not even open.  we finally ended up standing in line for two hours to buy three small items, which looking back on it was just a silly thing to do - but we were all wrapped up in the heat of the moment.  all in all, that was a bust - but we had fun.

spending time with family and friends is truly what makes the holidays so special.  last year we were so tired we did not even realize how lonely it all seemed since it was just the three of us here.  dax was just too young to travel and we did all we could to make it seem like a real thanksgiving, but deep down we knew what was missing.  we hope dax enjoyed all of the family traditions he's starting to see unfold before his eyes.  he's got a lot to take in this holiday season!

Friday, November 16, 2012


i am generally not a crier.

when dax was just three months old i packed my bags and headed for a long weekend away at an adoptive mom's retreat.  it was the hardest thing i'd ever done.  sure, my mom and will were going to be there to take care of dax and make sure he had his every need cared for, but my heart was still aching and still missing him.  i cried then, but there was a lot going on at that seminar and emotions were at their maximum capacity.

we'd been looking for a way to get dax to mississippi to visit gigi (will's 1-2 year old grand-ma - dax's great-grand-ma) and planned on going at Christmas time.  at first the trip was all talk and it was not until after we checked into the cost of tickets, rental cars, and dog boarding that we determined we just could not make it happen this year.  knowing that time is precious, especially when you are 102 years old, we decided that will and dax should go down the next time will's parents headed down the highway.  i was all for the trip, supported it 100%, but when the time loomed and the date for departure arrived all i could do was cry.

they'd be gone for one week - sunday to sunday - 7 days - 168 hours - 10080 minutes.  their car pulled out of the drive way last sunday afternoon and tears fell as they reached the street.  i know will is a great dad and he does an amazing job taking care of our boy, but still my heart ached for them to be gone and for us to be apart.  i headed back inside, closed the garage door, and just started to sob.  i know its only one week and i know they'll be home soon, but i just could not stop the crying. 

i decided i'd keep busy.  i worked on laundry, washing, drying, folding, hanging, organizing.  i worked on dishes, washing, loading, unloading, putting away.  i worked on taking down party decorations, deflating balloons, taking down streamers, packing up party hats, and eating leftover candy.  i worked on cleaning out dax's closet, folding up 9 month old clothes, packing them away, and putting up new 12 - 18 month size clothes.  i worked on a craft project to make dax a giant ruler to track his growth, sanding, staining, measuring, drawing.

still, all the while at the drop of a hat, you could find me crying.  i've been crying at commercials, songs on the radio, dave ramsey's video on wednesday night at financial peace, and seeing other families shopping at target and the grocery store.  it's hard to be away from your husband and your kids.  one night i was crying so hard i wanted to call my mom and ask if it will always hurt this badly, but luckily i could hardly speak and so i did not go there.  i am sure i would have just made her cry too.  as the week has gone by it has gotten a little better, just knowing we're in the home stretch - and that they'll be home sunday.  it's just two more sleeps without them at home and soon all of my crying will be over.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

adoption bloggers interview project - lisa

in honor of national adoption month i'm participating in the adoption bloggers interview project for 2012.  to participate in this process, bloggers were matched with other bloggers in the adoption realm who'd like to get to know each other and spread the good word of adoption.  i was paired with lisa from open to life.  lisa is an adoptive mommy to two precious children - olivia and martin.  lisa blogs about the daily happenings in her family and how her family's life is a whole lot better than she and her husband could have ever imagined.

meet lisa!

1. Infertility is something that led both of us to similarly understanding God's plans for how we should build our families would be through adoption. While it took my husband and I about 8 years to figure this out, we would not change a single step in our journey knowing what we know now. Is there anything you'd change about your path, had you known then what you know now about how your family would come together?
Well, our journey from marriage to first adoption took just over 3 years (3 years and 6 days, to be exact). So in retrospect, it wasn’t really that long that we wandered in the desert of childlessness. While we were in the midst of it, though, it seemed pretty interminable.

I suppose there really isn’t much I’d change about our path. The journey through infertility led us to the two greatest kids we could have asked for. I’ve often said that infertility was, in a way, a blessing for us because it led us to these specific children.

It would have been nice not to have to spend money on the fertility-fixing procedures, but those had a health-fixing aspect too. More than that, they served to unify me and my husband in our commitment to doing things God’s way, even if that meant some financial sacrifice and uncertainty. There was a reason for every single step. Like all of life, it is a journey that is not always easy, but is always worth it.

2. We had dreams of things we'd do for fun once we had children. For us, it was taking our son to the pumpkin patch - we could hardly wait for October this year! You've written about taking your family to a theme park for some family fun. What topped your list for an activity that you just could not wait to do once you had children?
I guess the thing I looked forward to most was sharing holiday traditions. I have a big family, and currently there are lots of small children running around. Martin is the 12th grandchild for my parents, and the oldest of those is nine years old, so it makes for a lot of activity when we all get together at Christmas. It was hard to be on the outside of that kid activity before Olivia came along.

I remember our pre-child days when we kind of skipped the whole exchange of gifts and would go shopping on the day after Christmas and buy what we wanted, together. And while that was fun, the whole tree-and-gifts business is best with kids. There is nothing like watching your little one’s eyes light up when she pops out of her room on Christmas morning to find a mound of gifts with her name on them. It is kind of magical.

3. In your lost adoption interview project you spoke about the fact you were in the adoption process for a second time and waiting for a placement. Now that your family has grown by an additional member, how do you think your family dynamic has changed?
Oh, wow. Well, first of all, we’ve had to deal with a few more challenges from Olivia. She is a very emotionally needy child, and I guess we didn’t notice it as much before Martin because she was the focus of our attention. While she is absolutely IN LOVE with the brother she prayed for for the past three years, she didn’t really know how to deal with her feelings about the new reality that she was no longer the center of the universe. In that way, having a sibling has been a huge challenge and a huge blessing for her.

We are learning to juggle the demands of two and making accommodations to make sure both get enough attention. It helps that Martin is so laid back. It also helps that my husband has the type of job that allows him to be home most nights of the week and most weekends. We make sure that one of us spends some quality time with Olivia every night, coloring or playing games or doing crafts. That one-on-one time has helped her a lot.

4. Along those same lines, how has your life changed being the mom to two children as opposed to the mother of one? Is it more difficult than you thought it would be, or are there any challenges that have come up that you were not prepared for?
We weren’t quite prepared for Olivia’s outbursts, but we are managing pretty well now that we’ve figured out what the problem is. Aside from that, it is actually easier than I expected. Martin is SO different. Olivia, as an infant, was easily overstimulated and upset by changes in her schedule. Martin just goes with the flow. He is the baby you can take anywhere, anytime. I had come to believe such a baby didn’t exist, but he does!!

5. While Martin is just a tiny fellow and you have not had much time to learn about how your relationship will unfold with his birthmom, how are things different so far than they were with Olivia's birthmom?
Well, both birthmoms had eerily similar circumstances that led to placement. However, in personality they are as different as night and day. I think the differences in birthmothers is illustrated by the differences in the kids, if that makes sense. I don’t want to say too much about their personalities/challenges/issues they face in this forum. But I will say that we have a good ongoing relationship with Olivia’s birthmom, and we are starting to build that with Martin’s as well. We actually met with Martin’s birthmom for the first post-birth visit last weekend, and that went really well. We text weekly and send photos. I’m hoping that, with both kids, we can continue to keep up regular communication and a few visits a year with birthmothers so that, as they grow, they can get to know them well enough to consider them a loving part of our extended family.

6. A lot of Caucasian adoptive moms have anxiety about beautifully styling their adopted children's hair when it does resemble their own. Now that you have both a daughter and a son with different hair than you have, how do you successfully manage their hair care needs? Are there products you rely on or routines that you have?
Well, we are still working on this! Olivia has tight curls and her hair is very, very dry. That is our challenge with her. She has beautiful light brown streaks (natural highlights) in her very dark brown hair, and they show up very well when I braid it. For Olivia, I’ve found that the easiest way to deal with the hair right now is to make sure it gets braided nightly for easy morning styling. If we don’t braid it before bed, we’ll be spending an hour just working out the tangles! And we haven’t yet found the miracle product. We keep trying different things with different results. But as long as I can keep her hair braided when she sleeps or swims, we can usually come up with a pretty and presentable style.

(Now, if I could just get her to stop dumping sand in her hair when we play outside. But that’s another issue altogether.)

Martin’s hair is very different. It is dry, but it is also coarse. I’ve noticed that it falls out easily. He likes to stroke his head when he’s trying to fall asleep, and I’ve noticed fistfuls of black curly hair in his hands! But that may be a function of his age. Lots of babies are bald, after all. Lucky for him, he’s a boy. So even if we have hair troubles, all we have to do is keep it short. Right now, his hair care regimen includes a weekly wash and daily rub down with coconut oil. We’ll see how that changes when he gets a little older.

7. You've previously blogged about the possibility of fostering a child, have you done research on this topic and will this still be a possibility in your family? Do you have any fears about fostering or foster to adopt?
I have done a lot of research, actually, and we have friends who foster and adopted their youngest child through the foster care system. It is still a possibility. I do have some concerns about fostering, but if God leads us down that path, I’m sure he’ll give us the skills we need to do it successfully.

Right now, we are so entrenched in babyhood that it is not really in the forefront of our minds. And, to be honest, our family feels complete at the moment. That could change, of course. We are always open to whatever God has planned for our family, and we are well aware that His plans are often unexpected. But when Olivia was born, it felt like we were welcoming our first child…not our child, but our first child. We were a family, but we were missing someone. It doesn’t feel that way anymore. It feels like the period at the end of a sentence. A complete thought…our family.

thanks so much to lisa for taking the time to answer my questions and tell us a little more about your family!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

12 months - one year

one year ago today we became parents. parents to a tiny baby boy. a boy who was perfect in every way. we, with his birthmother's approval, named him daxton. we had no idea then, how fitting that name would be now. every time we meet someone new they ask us what his name is and they ask to clarify and then confirm what we already knew - that this name is awesome - just like he is.  daxton could never be a broden, a tyler, or an oscar.  he's dax.  he's strong.  he's decided.  he's firm.  he's intriguing.  he's dax.

it was just one year ago that we lived a different life. a life filled with what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. when we wanted to go out to eat, we went out to eat. when we wanted to sleep late, we slept late. when we wanted to go on a trip, we went on a trip. when we wanted to go to target at 9pm, we went to target at 9pm. when we wanted to run errands for 7 hours, we ran errands for 7 hours. still, regardless of the flexibility being "just marrieds" affords, we never felt complete. we longed for the sleepless nights, the changing of diapers, the mixing of formula, and hearing a baby cry. we longed for a little person to call our child, someone to help build our family, someone to raise with our values and morals.

so, on 11/7/11 at 4:48pm i received a phone call telling me that this sweet precious baby was on his way. it was at that moment that our lives forever changed, and things got incredibly wonderfully amazingly better. the panic set in at that very moment. the reality that our son was actually on his way into our family started to sink in. we had prepared our home and our hearts and now our day to day lives were about to be plunged right in to parenthood.

the first night home was rough, and shortly thereafter will and i both started going to bed around 8pm - which if you know us is something that just does not happen in our household. we were exhausted. however, slowly but surely our sweet boy turned into a sweet sleeper. when its his bed time our angel boy lets us change his diaper, put him in his sleep sack, lay him in his crib, turn on his sleep sheep, turn off his lights, and goes right to night night. sure, he has had a few nights when teeth and earaches made it hard for him to fall asleep, but he is an amazing night time sleeper. as time has progressed, will and i are back to our 2am bed times and working off 4 - 6 hours of sleep.

our little guy was not a huge crier. sure, he'll cry if he wants something - but he is not the kind of guy who is just going to cry for the fun of it. we're generally pretty quick to figure out what is ailing him and get the situation rectified so he'll be at ease. from the time we brought him home his little cries quickly turned into him making some other noises and babbling. then he went to what we've donned as his "roar".  he loves to let out a roar when he gets excited or just out of the clear blue, you just never know when you'll get one. sometimes he launches his entire body into the roar, shakes his fists, and tenses up every muscle he owns.  it's definitely passionate.  (matter of fact, the is doing one right now in his jumperoo.)  then, he decided to start saying dada, doggy, boom, hey, hi, and uh oh. he loves chatter and making sounds. we hear him carrying on conversations with himself in his room during "nap time" and he loves to talk in the car.

when dax was even just a tiny baby he was still a mover. he always had his left leg kicking, his hands flailing, and even started rolling over long before i ever thought he possibly could. now our sweet boy belly drags at a quick pace to anything that he's after - mostly - electrical cords, cell phones, remote controls, and any other electronics. he's still king of the jumpers and spends at least an hour a day (at various times) jumping in one of his three jumpers. as of late you can even find him pulling himself up on anything he can get his two hands on. crashing down after his victory clap is a little frightening to him, but he still cannot resist giving himself some rejoicing!

dax started out drinking bottles (and bottles) of formula and moved on to enjoying such things as butternut squash, to sweet potatoes, to green beans, to bananas, and other organic baby foods. however, lately you'll find him loving to eat baked sweet potatoes, whole green beans, chopped cooked carrots, chopped bananas, yogurt (of any flavor), and of course his o's cereal. he amazed us by eating pickled beets, turnip greens, and cheddar crackers. it won't be long until he's having what we're having for dinner. i have to admit i am patiently waiting for him to try curry and pho.

he's a social guy. he loves people (in small batches) and has never met a stranger. he makes people smile. he makes people laugh. he brings people together. he melts people's hearts. he's a charmer and he knows how to turn it on when he wants to.  he knows he's silly and he makes sure you know it too. whenever you tell him "no" he looks at you out of the corner of his eye and grins the biggest grin he can muster, knowing that he is irresistible.  he also has great friends in his "daags" or "doggee" - which are his two dog sisters.  he squeels with excitement when he gets to pet them (gently) or watch them wiggle on the carpet.  he loves them both and lights up with pure joy when he sees them run by.

its amazing how this sweet boy has forever changed our lives in the most amazing ways. will and i still (at least once a week) have to talk one another out of just going into his room to peek in on him while he is asleep. we miss him during the night and wish we could just see his sweet face. we love his snuggles when he nuzzles right in your neck and coos before drifting off to slumber.  we love those sweet chubby cheeks, the grin with little pearly whites poking out, the dimple, the curly hair, his tender little grasp when he holds your finger or your hand, those ultra long and curled eye lashes, and those adorably tiny feet.  we're so in love with him, its a love that we never previously knew. i feel like i just cannot make it clear how much we love him.  its an overflowing, awe inspiring, unbelievable kind of love.  he makes our lives so full, so complete, so rewarding. we enjoy every minute we have with him and we'll never forget all he went through to find his way to us. we're so eternally grateful to be his parents.

and so, it's with pure happiness that we've arrived at our final statistical post:

it's been twelve months since daxton was born.

it's been twelve months since this sweet boy found his way into our lives.

it's been twelve months since our hearts grew exponentially with a love we never knew.

in this past month, daxton's top two teeth have officially poked through his gums. they are still not protruding down far enough into his grin to be visible on photos where he's smiling, but its just a matter of time until you'll be seeing all four teeth in his grin. every time we see those teeth we comment on how amazingly adorable they are.

as of this past week, daxton is officially pulling himself up now. he does it best in his pack n' play, crib, and on the various baby gates throughout the house. its still pretty shocking to just turn your head and see him standing there. when he does it, he is so proud of himself that he claps and smiles as big as he can. he knows he's done something amazing.  to add to the excitement, just yesterday he decided he'd start edging around the inside of the walker and his crib, pulling himself along in a walking motion.  oh baby!  he is still not sure how to sit down once he's gotten up there, so once he's been standing for about five minutes he begins to cry to hopefully be reminded how to bend those legs and get back down where he has been for the past 11.5 months of his life!

daxton's latest trick is sitting on his knees. it's so funny to see him plunked down on his knees and calves just playing with a toy, figuring out blocks, or working to get his passie back in his mouth. he goes into this position to prepare for standing, and sometimes he just likes to sit this way.

daxton has impressed us with his eating skills lately. we're dicing up the o's cereal with cheddar crackers and he loves to crunch and munch them between his four teeth. when we went out to a restaurant this past month dax amazed us by eating an entire baked sweet potato! we kept giving him another bite, another bite, another bite - and before we knew it all that was left was the skin! he has also eaten greens, ratatouille, shredded cheddar cheese, and pickled beets. i think he's going to be a good eater. we think he's having another growth spurt because he is doing lots of eating and lots of sleeping!

lately daxton has learned to wave bye bye.  he loves to flap his right arm up and down waving when you say "bye bye dax!"  he has also found a fascination with "uh oh".  we say it when he falls down, when he throws something on the ground, or something accidental happens.  he's started copying us and saying that phrase over and over again.  he loves mimicking and being just like us.  he still loves to copy cat you when you wiggle and dance and i recently told him he has more dance skills than daddy.  this fella knows how to bust a move!  he has also learned how to reward himself for doing great things.  whenever we jump for joy, say awesome!, say yay", good job!, or good boy! dax knows he is supposed to clap.  so, now whenever he does something brilliant he goes ahead and starts clapping even before we offer praise.  man - i love this kid.

it's been twelve months of 2172 diaper changes.

it's been twelve months of 1905 bottles for a total of 71.6 gallons.

it's been twelve months of cuddling, rocking, and loving on our boy.

it's been twelve months of the purest joy you'd ever know.

baby dax, we thank you for the best year of our life and we hope every year just gets better and better in yours.  we cannot imagine our lives without you in them.  you bring us hope, joy, and love.  we wish you a lifetime full of happiness, fond memories, and a heart full of a true and amazing love of Jesus.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

birthday - o n e

november 3, 2012 we hosted daxton's first birthday party.  friends and family came from as far away as illinois, virginia, and western north carolina.  it was a great day to spend with everyone who loves our sweet boy.

here are just a few of the photo highlights from our amazing photographer Sara Davis.

we'd decorated outside to let everyone know where the party was!

dax's giant number 1!
the table set up.
me, my sister beth, and my sister lori.
my mom, me, my sister beth, and my sister lori.
the delicious cupcakes!
me, dax, and daddy.
me, dax, and daddy.
daddy trying to help dax do some premature walking.
the arrival of a giant dinosaur balloon sculpture.
dax and his cousin james.
sweet feet.
dax getting ready to try cake for the first time.
dax being not so sure about cake.
dax declaring that he does not like cake or party hats.
my parents attempting to get the shot of dax eating cake.

daddy standing by with o's cereal in place of cake.
dax doing his big boy crawling.
dax and mommy.
dax opening his lifestory book about his birthmom.
dax and lori - otherwise known as "auntie conti".
dax and beth - otherwise known as "auntie bethy".
dax and my parents - otherwise known as gran-gran and nani.
dax and will's parents - otherwise known as poppie and namaw.
dax with mom and dad.
dax and his nextdoor neighbor dylan.