Friday, May 8, 2015

*Tap Tap* Is This Thing On?

It's been a while since I've written in this space. A LONG while.  I've missed writing here, connecting with other women in the ALI community.  After I shuttered Fearlessly Infertile I still continued to follow along with a few blogs but it wasn't the same.  And after 2 years of being gone I'm not really the same either.

Over the past 2 years we've thoroughly enjoyed being parents, forming a close bond with our daughter's birth family in an open adoption and visiting with them a few times a year.  It's been an emotional journey but oh so worth it.  C can recognize her birthmom's picture and even asks to see her, though we haven't had the "adoption talk" yet.  No real opportunity to talk about babies in tummies, no attention span long enough to go through the plethora of adoption books we have in her room.  So for now we'll continue to let them form their own bond and explain the importance of it a little later down the road.

I've continued writing through another outlet, a travel blog I started called Travel Fearlessly.  So in a way I've been carrying this blog around with me, using its theme to inspire my travel writing.

I'm not sure how many of you guys are still around but if you are I'd love to hear from you.  Perhaps in the future I'll come back here to write about our experiences in open adoption.  I've missed you all so very much!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How Do You Measure a Year?

The past 365 days have been nothing short of spectacular. Everything I've experienced in the last year has been new and exciting as I dove headfirst into the role of a mother.  It's a job I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world.

But the past few weeks have left me reflecting on where I stand with this blog and within the ALI community.  I'll admit that I haven't been contributing any thought-provoking posts lately and most of the things I discuss involve C, saving money, traveling and weight loss.  In other words, pretty superficial things.

I've gone back and forth so many times over the past few years about shutting down this space but never actually did it.  Now, however, I think it is time.  As I get older and as C starts to grow up I feel the need to protect our privacy more and more.  While there have been some wonderful posts I've written on this blog in the past 5 years I'll be the first to admit that there have been some words I've typed that I'm not so proud of.  The more I think about it the more I realize that I don't want those words hanging around in cyberspace for all eternity.

Therefore I've decided that on Monday January 6th, the day after C's birthday, I will be shutting down Fearlessly Infertile for good.  I might find it extremely painful at first to hit that "delete" button but I hope that it will also feel as if a load has been lifted off my shoulders.  Regardless of the intense emotions I'm sure I will feel, I want to thank each and every one of my readers for sticking with me through the years.  This has been an amazing journey with an amazing ending and I could not have gotten through all the highs and lows without the support from you.

Much love,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fearlessly Frugal Has Come to Facebook!

I finally got tired of spamming my friends' Facebook newsfeed with coupons and free sample deals so I decided to create a page specifically for the purpose of sharing deals that I find. I named it Fearlessly Frugal's Coupons and Freebies, at least until I come up with a better (and preferably shorter) name.  Please feel free to check it out and like my page if you want to follow along!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Daddy's Girl

Ever since our trip to Disney World it has become apparent that C is a Daddy's Girl.  Very much a Daddy's girl.  And while part of me knows that it's good for her to have a special bond with her father I also can't help but feel a teensy bit jealous.  Especially because I'm the one spending all day with her, making her food from scratch, keeping her safe from everything she tries to get into, but then Brandon comes home and scoops her up and she literally gives me the Stink Eye while sitting in his lap.  As if to say "NOW I get to go play with the nail clippers and open the trash can and push the buttons on the TV and there's nothing you can do about it!"  When I change her diaper or try to put her down for a nap, she doesn't say "no!" like some kids do.  She says "Daddy".  I hope that eventually I'll get over it and that one day C and I can have a special bond like she does with Brandon but this week I'm just feeling a little down about it.

Vent over.

So C's birthday party is coming up this weekend and I gave her a huge dollop of Cool Whip to practice with.  Cause, you know, if she doesn't like playing with food then her smash cake will be pretty anti-climactic.  What resulted was the funniest picture we have taken of C to date.  Or should I say, Colonel Sanders :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Disney Baby

It's been 4 days since we've been back from our Disney trip and I'm already itching to plan another. It was SO SO SO much fun!

I should start at the beginning, before we took our trip.

Brandon's leave request for Disney was rejected weeks ago and we were both fuming about that, mostly because there was nothing going on at his work that warranted his presence.  That and he needs to use up 18 days of leave by next September or he loses it (the military caps the amount of leave you can have at 60 days, after that you just lose it.  They don't pay you for the excess leave you have).  Anyway, Brandon had to work overnight on Wednesday and I was going to leave for my sister's at 3 am on Thursday.  So Tuesday evening he packed up my car, kissed me goodbye the next morning and I ran errands all day to prepare for my departure.  At 5:30 on Wednesday evening he called to tell me that the boat's schedule had changed earlier that day and he was allowed to re-submit his leave request.  I waited around on pins and needles for 3 hours until he called back to say YES!  It was approved!

Which was exciting but also meant unloading the car to re-pack the suitcase with some of his clothes, securing boarding arrangements for the dog and getting someone to stop by our house every few days to pick up all the packages that would be arriving at our doorstep.  We ended up leaving at 10 am for what ended up being one of the WORST road trips I've ever taken.  From now on I think I will avoid I-95 at all costs.

Aside from the long road trips and a catastrophe with my PhotoPass+ card the trip was a huge success.  C was such a trooper.  We spent about 8 hours at Animal Kingdom, and the next day a whopping 13 hours at Magic Kingdom and she never had a meltdown.  She met Minnie, Mickey, Pluto, Pooh, Tigger, Lilo, Stitch, Tinkerbell and Periwinkle and loved all the furry ones.  She wasn't too fond of Tink and Periwinkle so we didn't bother to try and meet any of the princesses and instead focused on rides at Magic Kingdom.  C LOVED the light parade and was mesmerized by the fireworks over the castle. 

Tuesday we had a character breakfast at the Polynesian Resort and spent the rest of the day shopping and hanging out with family.  That evening C opened up her very first present which required a lot of help.  Brandon showed her how to tear off a piece of paper but then she would just sit there and tear the large piece of paper into smaller pieces, completely neglecting the present.  In the end her cousin opened up the rest of her presents for her.

This trip was something we really needed to recharge our batteries.  It was so much fun to see C get excited when meeting some of the characters (especially Minnie) and it's apparent that she's very much a Disney baby. We can't wait to take her back in a few years when she'll be old enough to remember it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

One Year Pictures

Yesterday C had her one year/Christmas pictures done with the same photographer who did her newborn photos, Fresh Life Photography.  I was so looking forward to Laurie getting a shot of C's toothy smile (we've got Tooth #3 in, on the bottom with the others).  Her smiles are so big and her cheeks are so chubby that it looks like her eyes are shut.  So.darn.cute!  But C would have none of that.  Just like always, she hated being the center of attention and cried almost the entire time.

Laurie gave me a sneak peek of her pictures yesterday evening and I'm surprised they turned out so well, though you can tell that C is less than thrilled to be sitting on that sled.  Oh well.  No smiles but those pictures definitely captured C's serious personality! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Disney Countdown and Other Updates

In 9 short days C and I will be driving to North Carolina and then to Orlando, FL to visit family and spend a few days at Disney World. To say that I'm excited is a complete understatement. I'm also pretty sad, though,because Brandon's leave request was denied and he is unable to come with us.  When I think about it I get pretty bitter, especially when other co-workers of his were allowed time off.  But such is the military life and we can only remind ourselves that we have one more year until we're done with the Navy and back in the civilian life.

But enough of that.  Let's go back to Disney talk!

My sister and I have been reading every website for tips and tricks for our Disney visit.  We discovered things that we never knew Disney offered that we've added to our growing list of things to do and see.  We've "ridden" rides on Youtube to check out what would be appropriate for my 4-year old nephew and for C and crossed things off our list that looked too boring.  Our plan is to visit Animal Kingdom on Sunday December 8th, then ride the monorail around to all the resorts to check out their holiday decorations.  We definitely want to see the giant gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian but Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort also had a huge edible carousel.  I bet C's tongue would love to take a swipe at that!  I'm sure it would taste much better than the socks she's been obsessed with for the past two weeks.

On Monday the whole family (12 people in all) will spend the entire day at Magic Kingdom.  Tuesday we will have a character breakfast at the Polynesian Resort where we'll get to hang out with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto.  The rest of the day will be spent shopping at Downtown Disney and later that evening we'll do a Disney-themed Secret Santa.  We always do a Secret Santa every year for Christmas but this trip is replacing our normal get-together at my grandparent's house so of course we have to bring the Secret Santa tradition with us.  

C has finally hit that magical sweet spot where she loves people, especially people dressed up in glittery, shiny things.  I don't know how long it will last.  Tomorrow she could wake up and hate strangers again but I really hope that she maintains her bubbly personality throughout our Disney trip, and that she also doesn't catch a cold between now and then.  I am so so SO excited for this trip!!


C took her first steps last week and Brandon was actually there to witness it.  I had stripped her down to her diaper earlier that day to practice walking and she put one foot forward before dropping to her knees.  That evening I showed Brandon what she had accomplished and she actually took one full step for him!  Brandon had his phone ready to take video but let's face it, husbands suck at taking pictures and video so the only thing we got was a 3-second video that's pretty poor quality.  A couple days later she took another more sturdy step towards me but her walking is random and only when she feels adventurous.  


C still only has her two bottom teeth which means she isn't doing too well with crunchy table foods, though she tries her hardest.  We we first introduced baby crackers to her she would suck them until they were soft enough to bite.  Now she tries to bite off a chunk immediately but gets this pained look on her face because the hard cracker hurts her top gum.  So now I've taken to wetting her crackers first with a bit of water before giving it to her.  I'm still making her baby food and have been feeding her less of the pouch store-bought food, ever since I heard about the Plum Organics recall and the video that showed baby food with worms in it.  YUCK!!  But I realize that she'll have to eat some pouch food when we go out of town so I'm sticking with Gerber and I plan to taste test her food before giving it to her (I always did that anyway).

In the past two weeks C has tried dill pickles, plain yogurt and scrambled eggs for the first time and all were a big hit, especially the pickles.  Brandon is mourning the fact that he will now have to share his beloved pickles but I assured him that we'll be limiting C to only one baby dill a week due to the sodium content.  Now that C is eating A LOT more solid foods I'm trying to come up with a wider variety of stuff to give her.  Making her baby food is really time consuming (about 2 hours per batch of food which only makes about 10 servings) so I try to only feed her one container of homemade baby food and then give her fresh fruit or veggies for the rest of her meal.    


For those who are new readers, you should know that before we were matched with C's birthmom we had given up on adoption.  We told our local agency they could keep showing our profile but they only do about 3 matches a year so we never thought we'd be matched through them.  Our main agency that we worked with wanted a new homestudy done and since that cost about $800 we just decided to give up, mostly because we had already waited a year with no match and I had just lost my job.  We decided to put the adoption thing on hold for a few more years and in the meantime we were going to take a trip with my mom to England.  I had booked a few things, including a stay at a castle hotel, and was just a few days away from booking our flights when we got The Call.  Naturally the plans for England were put on hold.

When my father passed I found out that I would be getting a significant inheritance.  Maybe not significant to some people but it's a lot of money to me.  With some of that money I want to take my mom to England, on the vacation that we were supposed to take this past year.  She'll be turning 60 in 2016 and by then C will be 3, the perfect age to introduce her to Jemima Puddle Duck and other Beatrix Potter tales and of course, Alice in Wonderland.  In England we can visit Derwentwater and the garden that inspired Lewis Carroll's famous novel.  With my inheritance I plan to foot the bill for my mom's trip so she doesn't have to worry about coming up with the money to pay for it.  I figured that since my dad didn't have much time with C it's only appropriate that I spend my inheritance money letting her make fond memories with my mom.  The only bad part is that I already created our itinerary last fall so there's nothing left to plan or research.  For me that's half the fun of taking a vacation!  But maybe in the next 2 years some things will need to be redone.


C's birthday party plans are coming along really well!  I made a pennant for her out of the pages of a book I got from Goodwill and I plan to make one or two more decorations for the party.  We don't think that many guests will come so we're hosting it at our house.  If more people RSVP than I planned then we might have to rent a place to have the party.  Our house is pretty tiny!

Aside from sending out invitations we're also sending little cards to create a time capsule for C.  We hope that lots of people fill out the cards for their wishes for C, even if they're unable to attend the party. 

I will probably be busy for the next few days so I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you're able to spend it with those you love!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Confessions From an Adoptive Mother

It's been a long time since we've heard from C's birthmom, almost 4 months to be exact.  When we were first matched we were told that M just wanted a semi-open adoption, with letters and pictures coming to her via the agency with no personal information exchanged.  We were perfectly okay with an open adoption, even preferring it, but we totally respected her wishes.  After meeting us for the first time, about 5 weeks before C was born, she told her social worker that she liked us so much that she felt comfortable swapping email addresses in order to keep in touch.  We emailed a lot in the beginning but eventually the contact declined to about once a month and now our emails from her are few and far between.

Some people might see this as a good thing, as M slowly transitions out of our lives and gives us the space to parent C.  Not me.  It makes me incredibly sad.  I want our birthmom to be a part of C's growing up, to witness (even if it's just through pictures) how awesome a kid she made.  I want her and her extended family to feel comfortable sending birthday cards or Christmas presents to C, things that we can keep for her to cherish.

But like infertility, adoption isn't all rainbow dust and unicorn farts.

Some birthparents them don't tell their extended family they're choosing adoption or that they're even pregnant at all.  Some find it too painful to keep in touch with the adoptive parents.  Still others make choices during their pregnancy that you yourself would have never made.  Some of them want more contact after the birth than you feel comfortable with.  Only in a few rare cases does an adoption end up being the perfect dream that one expected and hoped it would be.  The rest of us are re-taught a very valuable lesson that life does not always turn out the way we planned.  I say re-taught because many of us were already taught that lesson during struggles with infertility. 

I think that for the past year I've had a somewhat rosy perception of adoption, thinking that I could have it all.  I had hoped that after meeting M we would be able to keep in touch and even have a close relationship with her and her family, almost like gaining a new set of in-laws.  I dreamed about seeing them during the holidays and attending C's birthday parties.  But that's not the case and the past few weeks I've had a hard time letting go of that dream.  I don't know why M has chosen to distance herself, or if she's even doing it on purpose.  She might just be busy with things and forgets to write, or perhaps she doesn't use the email address that we have for her anymore.  Whatever her reason is, I have to respect that.  I will continue to send emails, birthday cards and Christmas presents until her email address comes back undeliverable or our packages come back with no forwarding address.

But one thing that I will never question is how much M loves C.  I knew that when I found out how much thought she put into her adoption plan and how well she took care of C when she was still growing in her belly.  So every night as I'm rocking C to sleep I whisper in her ear "Mommy loves you."  And one day C will understand that I don't just say it for me.

I say it for M too.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Trip to the ER and Other Random Updates

This past weekend we took C to the ER for the first (and hopefully last!) time.  She had come down with a bug from being at the daycare center all day on Monday.  First it started out as a very green, snotty nose.  Then she developed a low grade fever, hovering between 100 and 101 degrees (we do underarm temps).  Then Thursday she started to get a tiny rash on her cheeks.  No big deal, she had this last winter and it was nothing more than dry skin.  Friday morning I put some Aquaphor lotion on her cheeks to clear it up.

Saturday morning when I went to get her out of bed I almost died of shock.  C's cheeks were BRIGHT red and the rash had spread upward to parts of her forehead.  She almost looked as though she had suffered second degree burns!  I posted a picture of her on Facebook and some friends said it was food allergies, others said it could be scarlet fever or fifth disease.  C was pretty cranky all day and was losing her appetite a little.  When it looked as though the rash was starting to spread to her neck we decided to take her to the ER.

C's rash.  On the plus side you can see her teeth! (click to enlarge)

In 45 minutes we were in and out.  That had to be some sort of record as far as emergency room visits go!  The doctor said that it was just a rash in response to whatever viral bug C had.  She said that most babies gets rashes with viral infections but as we get older we tend to "outgrow" the rash part.  It's been 3 days since our visit to the ER and C's rash is almost gone.  I guess it was bound to happen: two overly concerned parents taking their kid to the emergency room over nothing.  Ah well.


This is my 400th published post (415th in all).  Yay me!


Brandon is getting out of the military in less than 14 months and plans to finish his engineering degree.  So guess who's going to be the bread winner in this family?  You got it...C.  Just kidding, obviously it will be me.  But since I have no hope of making as much as Brandon is making right now and we have NO clue how much health insurance is going to cost us we have decided to sock away a significant amount of savings to help supplement our income for three years.  Hopefully it won't take Brandon 3 full years to finish his degree but we added a little buffer in case it does or in case it takes a while for him to find a job.  Our magic number for savings is $23,000.   That amounts to about $650 per month for 36 months.  At the beginning of October our savings balance was.....$60.  We're now  up to $2,000 so we've got 14 more months to save the remaining $21,000.  Plus a little extra for our trip to Disney World and new tires for both sets of vehicles.  Think it's impossible?  Not for me.  I can sniff out savings better than a pig looking for truffles and Brandon is thisclose to pitching our craptastic DVR out the window and cancelling our cable TV with Comcast.  It's gonna get done.


I just realized today that almost all of my articles on the sidebar had expired links from when Associated Content was bought out by Yahoo.  So I've spent the past few hours going through old blog posts and checking all my links to make sure everything is up to date.  It's still a work in progress.  If I've linked anything in the past that is now broken please let me know.  I hate to be *that* blogger that has crappy links all over the place.  That and I like to think that people still read older posts from my blog.


I'm in the process of writing up an article about saving money on Christmas shopping.  I just have one more thing to buy C (a new car seat) and I will be DONE for her Christmas and birthday shopping!  Though I'm woefully behind on planning for her birthday party which is only 2 months away.  I really need to get started on that.  At least I made a Pinterest board.  That's a start!


Lastly, please stop by Holly's blog and offer up some prayers and positive vibes.  Her water broke at 17 weeks with one of her twins and she's trying desperately to carry them another 42 days until she hits 24 weeks.  She could definitely use as much support from the ALI community as possible! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not One But Two.....

Milestones! Teeth! Blog posts in one week!

Yesterday I saw them, two little white dots on the bottom of C's gums.  I couldn't feel anything but decided I would keep an eye on them.  This morning I felt her gums with my finger and felt it!  A sharp little tooth had broken through!  Though it's no more visible than it was yesterday.  I expect its neighbor will arrive any day now.

And now here's a little video of C's other milestone which she accomplished on Tuesday and is now her favorite thing to do.