Team Pink and Pearls!

Team Pink and Pearls!
Team Pink and Pearls is heading to Tour de Pink East Coast 2014! Click the photo to make a donation!

Friday, July 25, 2014

A full summer (new news!)

I run my fingers over everything in the store: the stuffed animals, the baby clothes, the teething toys, the books, the games. And I smile. And I finally let myself not be afraid anymore. Adele is my daughter and she’s not going anywhere. This is my first time in the Animal Kingdom since having a baby, and everything has a new meaning. All the toys and clothes and stuffed animals. All of them are Adele. Everything is Adele.

It’s quite obvious I haven’t posted in a while. And not for any other reason than life is utterly amazing and we’ve had new and exciting things happen for us! Most of you know by now, but in the midst of me being home with Adele I got a job at Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development working as full-time writer and editor. I started on July 1; Adele started daycare the following week.

So as I am adjusting to our crazy new life, I have barely had time to breathe. Maybe now, for the first time, I am catching my breath.

The new job wasn’t planned for or sought after, I can assure you that. The opportunity presented itself right around the same time we found out about Adele. After I was offered and accepted the job, I made sure I didn’t start until July 1 so I could have my full eight weeks of (unpaid) leave, which was what I was going to take anyway, had I remained at The Gazette.

The decision to leave The Gazette was not an easy one. I was happy there, and love everyone I worked with. I was nervous to tell them, but as expected, they were overwhelmingly happy for me and understood why I couldn’t pass up such an amazing opportunity at Penn State: for myself and for my family.

This kind of opportunity doesn’t happen frequently, especially for a newspaper reporter who has only worked at newspapers since college. Given the opportunity to still write articles that mean something to me, edit, write press releases, layout newsletters, and basically use and expand my skills to the fullest – I couldn’t pass it up. Plus it means more financial security for our family. Plus it means we can afford to put Adele in daycare (more on that later, but she has been THRIVING there).

Anyway, long story short: I LOVE my new job. I have my own office in the Henderson building on campus, and am basically responsible for writing, editing and generating content for the college’s eight academic units. I am meeting faculty and staff and professors and researchers and telling the stories I feel most passionate about: in health and human development.

So all of that happened really fast. I got a new baby and not just a new job, but a new career, all within the same two months of each other.

So I am adjusting. Life as a full-time working mommy with a demanding career (this job is demanding but I love it) is HARD. And this past week I did it alone. Sean is in Chicago until tonight (he left Sunday) so I took care of Adele, Campbell and myself on my own, while working 8-9 hours a day. It has been rough, but I got through it. I got Adele fed and changed and off to daycare each morning, got to work, worked hard, attended meetings, brought her home, fed her, changed her, sometimes managed to eat dinner myself, fed Campbell, sometimes managed to give her a bath or me a shower, sometimes managed to get the mail, put us all to bed and did it again, and again, and again the next day. The towels may not be folded or the flowers watered, but we are all safe and fed and clean. And that’s all that matters right now until Sean gets home.

I guess I surprised myself. I did it. I am doing it. When you have no other choice you just do.

There are no words to describe Adele, but I’ll try. She is THRIVING. She is the bubbliest, happiest, curliest baby. Chubby, curly hair, long eyelashes, huge eyes, huge smiles, arm rolls. She smiles and “talks” all the time. She’s grabbing and moving and nearly holding her head up herself. I read to her, I dance with her, I sing to her. My love for her is all consuming, indescribable. It is everything I feel, the way I live, the air I breathe. And my love for her continues to grow. I see her shiny face each morning in the crib and my heart lights up. She is the most beautiful baby. She is my absolute everything. I miss her all day when I’m at work; I stare at pictures of her in my iPhone and on my desk.

Friends and family have been visiting a lot this summer so it’s been wonderful for them to spend time with her. Tomorrow we have our second post-placement visit with the social worker. A reminder to everyone: that means after Saturday, we have ONE MORE visit, and then a few months later we will get our court date. Once the adoption is finalized in October, November or December, we will be able to post photos online. Until then please FaceTime us if you have it. I am still working on thank-you notes so if you haven’t gotten yours, I have not forgotten about you! We have been blessed and have received hundreds of gifts (still coming in the mail) so I will get to yours if I haven’t yet. I am also putting some print photos in some of the notes so if you want one please request one. Until then I will do my best to describe her:

She has cinnamon-colored skin (she is Vietnamese, African American and we think maybe Hispanic), lots of dark curly hair and is very chubby. (big cheeks, big legs!) She has large beautiful dark eyes (sometimes they look brown, sometimes they look grey, sometimes they even look blue), plus eyebrows and eyelashes. And she smiles and kicks and speaks. She is alert, finding her fists, smiling at everyone who talks to her. We are so blessed that she is such a healthy baby and is developing so nicely.

The transition hasn’t been an easy one. (New baby, new career) I’m still getting used to being a mom while adjusting to a new job in a new place with all new people and all new responsibilities and tasks.

As I write this today I am in a good place, but a few weeks ago I was not doing well. I have learned I need to EMBRACE the change, even the hard parts, instead of fighting them. Instead of resisting. Some parts are hard. Having a 3-month-old (on the 26th!) is hard. Having a new job is hard. Doing it all is hard.

But we are DOING.

A few more announcements before I tie up:

I have my annual breast MRI Aug. 12 in Hershey (a little nervous so happy thoughts are appreciated)

We leave for Ireland (with Miss Adele) on the 23rd of August

I have been asked to present a workshop at the 2014 PA Breast Cancer Coalition annual Conference Oct. 13 in Harrisburg. This is a tremendous honor for me. My workshop (which I am creating from scratch) will focus on the unique issues young breast cancer patients and survivors face, many of which I’ve dealt with, am dealing with or wrote about in this blog: body image, starting a family, etc.

Since the last time I wrote we’ve had my cousin Carolyn’s gorgeous lakeside wedding in NY, our annual family BBQ during ArtsFest weekend (Heidi came to visit and meet Adele!), an awesome 4th of July (I did the 4K and Dave came to visit), plus Rachel, Jordanna and Adam visiting. Sean has been training well for Tour de Pink. I’ll include some photos of our recent happenings, in no particular order.

Carolyn and Zack's wedding in Rushford!

Boating with my cousin Hannah at The Woods at Bear Creek during Carolyn and Zack's wedding weekend!

Jenn, Hannah and Alison at the wedding! (Plus Joey in the back)

Annal summer BBQ at our house!

BBQ collage!

Another from Carolyn and Zack's beautiful lakeside wedding! 

I was SO happy Heidi stopped by during her visit to Arts Fest to meet Adele!

4th of July!

So those are the updates. Thanks for bearing with me!



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Two months! (Lots of smiles, lots of curly hair)

One of Adele's new dollies

Adele is two months old today! I can barely remember when we first brought her home from the hospital, skinny legs and all; she barely opened her eyes. Today she is a bubbly baby! She smiles, she "speaks" (mostly "gah" and "bah"), she grabs her ring toys on her baby mat, she bops her head around. She had her two-month checkup on Monday and she was 12 pounds, 4 ounces and 23 inches long, which is 75th percentile for both height and weight. So she is growing and she is thriving, and every morning when I see her face it is glowing. Her eyes are bright and her cheeks are plump, almost like the just had the best sleep of her life. Every morning. A glowing face.

That's not to say we don't have our crying and fussy days (me too). She is just the most beautiful baby. Huge cheeks, curly hair, flailing arms and legs and enormous smiles.
Every day is a reward. Every day is a new journey.

Sean's staff at the Schreyer Honors College threw us a beautiful baby shower for Adele, and we continue to receive the most beautiful and thoughtful gifts. Our friends and family, near and far, have given their hearts to Adele. They love her fully. They have helped provide the most beautiful and loving home for her with the most beautiful and thoughtful gifts.

We are so grateful. We are so thankful.

We continue to learn and to embrace. I am a Mommy-In-Training. Some things are getting easier. Some days I still cry at frustration and shock - that we were thrown into this with little time to prepare. That our worlds were turned upside down. I ALLOW myself to feel that way without feeling guilty. Dr. Kelly told me it's important for me to embrace ALL of my feelings without guilt. I can feel frustration. I can feel like my world has shifted. I can feel panic and I can feel stress. I am allowed. Because none of that takes away from the blessing that is Adele.

I am allowed each and every one of my feelings, and none of them should be accompanied by guilt. All of these feelings are normal. At first I didn't allow myself to feel frustration because I thought it meant I wasn't grateful for Adele. Or that I shouldn't feel anything negative because we adopted. Adoption or not, blessed or not, I am STILL a new mommy and I am STILL allowed all of the emotions of "regular" mommies.

At Adele's baby shower! While we ate pizza and cake, Adele was passed around and admired :)

Best cake ever! Thanks, SHC!

Adele is the brightest light in our lives. And I am allowing myself to feel it all, experience it all. The joy, the terror, the panic, the happiness, the glory. 

Letting myself feel the negative emotions as well as the positive ones has been freeing for me. Some days I want to snuggle her and never let go. Some days I want to get away. Some days I just want to sleep. Some days I wonder how we did this and how we're doing this. 

But we are. We're doing it. And we're loving it. And we have this beautiful bubbly daughter who is growing right before our very eyes. And I smile at her and I laugh when she smiles at me. And I look into her eyes and sometimes I cry because she's so perfect and so beautiful and such a gift. And it's hard to let myself feel all of it. Those feelings will come. Because honestly I think I'm still in shock that this happened. I'm still in shock that two months ago we brought home this baby.

I went to the winery with Karishma (who came to visit!) and some girlfriends last weekend. New mommies, especially, need their time away with the girls!

And she is our baby. And I'm still understanding that I'm a mother. And I'm still learning to allow all of the feelings. And I'm still figuring it out. And that's OK.

There's no rule book. That's the most exciting thing of all.

Our good friend Lauren took some professional photos of Adele, myself and Sean at the Arboretum on Penn State's campus last weekend. They were our first professional photos with Adele. We can't wait to see them! (Here I'm just having fun!)

At the Arboretum

There's no right or wrong in learning it all and even embracing it all - the good and bad emotions. I have time and I will allow myself time to let my feeling and emotions fall into place.

Again, I can't believe we're doing it. But we are. We're already doing it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lauri and Dan's wedding, Sean's first Father's Day and Adele's Reston debut

All dolled for a summery winery wedding!
 Mazel to Lauri and Dan on a gorgeous winery wedding this past weekend in Leesburg, VA! Pics to follow: the wedding, Sean's first Father's Day/a meet-Adele party my mom hosted at her house in Reston on Sunday where my grandmother, aunt and uncle, cousins and friends got to meet Adele for the first time!

Here comes the beautiful bride!

Mr. and Mrs.!

Lauri has been a good friend since college, and I was honored to share in her special day!

Happy first Father's Day, Sean!

I made him this card :)

My mom (aka Grandma Ruth) hosted a great party in celebration of Adele!

With my brother Drew and Dan

Now introducing for the first time, GREAT GRANDMA Martha! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Written on May 29, 2014: Why it was always Adele

A gorgeous pink bear from Nanci!

Before Sean and I were even married (or maybe even before we were engaged) we decided if one day we have a daughter, her name would be Adele Chaya.
A boy’s name? Never crossed our minds. Not even after we began the adoption process. Not even after we were chosen and told it was a girl but sometimes the doctors are wrong. We never came up with a boy’s name. (We got lucky)
Adele: no, not after the singer. To us, the name is beautiful. It is old-fashioned yet current. It is timeless. It is simple yet fancy. And it rhymes with “my belle.” The A is after Sean’s grandfather Abraham.
Chaya: “Chai” in Hebrew means “life.” There are many variations on Chaya in Hebrew. We liked this one and thought it made perfect sense. We wanted to incorporate our religion, its language and our heritage into our daughter’s name and thought “to life” fit perfectly. Because to us, life means everything. Life IS everything. My name in Hebrew means “to light.” The C/H is after Sean’s grandfather Herman.
As a gift for my wedding, my in-laws Becky and Jeff presented me with a beautiful necklace, which I wear every day and never take off. It is three gemstones placed diagonally and surrounded by a diamond-encrusted tear drop: my birthstone, Sean’s birthstone and a diamond in the middle.
Adele was born in April. April’s birthstone is a diamond.
And now come the tears as I write this: it was always Adele.
G-d always knew.
The necklace, already with my birthstone and Sean’s birthstone, and right there in the middle, a diamond placed ever so beautifully, waiting for Adele to come into our lives. And now I have our family in my necklace.
And some days are harder than others as a new mommy. And I constantly wonder if I’m doing the right thing. But then I remember: all I have to do is love her and the rest will come.
We loved her as soon as we got the call. And the first time we held her in the hospital she melted into our arms.
Those big brown eyes. That black hair that curls up around the ears. My kisses drown in her pillowy cheeks.
 G-d knew we could do this and we would be ready for this. He knows a lot more than we do. He knew about Adele before we did.  

Written on May 28, 2014

An email to friends and family:
We can't believe Adele is already one month old! (As of May 26) She is doing beautifully! The doctor has been very impressed with her. She shined at both her newborn visit and her two-week visit, and the doctor doesn't want to see her back until she is two months old! She loves to eat and be held. She is growing and thriving amazingly, and the little milestones we see each day are breathtaking!
Now she has begun using the playmat and stares up at the creatures hanging below. She also uses her baby mirror and boppy pillow (she's great at tummy time already and has amazing neck control!). She has been making eye contact really well and holding our fingers when we feed her. She even holds her pacifier herself! She is a smart girl and we are so impressed at her accomplishments each day!
 We feel blessed so many of you have been able to meet her already, and are looking forward to more of you meeting her soon!
 As you may know, our 30 day period will be up soon. After June 1 the birth mother can no longer change her mind. (A huge weight will be lifted for us that day!) After June 1, we can begin the process of making Adele legally ours. This could take anywhere from 6-9 months. (It involves two more post-placement visits and a court date, as well as some other things.) After she is legally ours we will be able to share pictures digitally! Unfortunately, nothing online (email, text, social media, blog) before then.
As of June we will begin to distribute printed photographs of Adele. We will be bringing them to family events, etc., so people can choose which pictures they'd like. And if you happen to come see Adele within the next few weeks just ask me for a photo! We are also happy to mail photos if you send me your address!
 Thank you all for your continued love and blessings as we move forward with this process. Adele is an absolutely joy and there are no words to describe our love for her, and how it feels to see her flourish and develop every day. She is truly a beautiful little baby and such a blessing.
So please look out for printed photographs soon, and if you want one, request one! Thank you again! I am hoping you can meet our little girl soon!

Friends and family have overwhelmed us with love and ADORABLE clothes for our little one!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Team Pink and Pearls' Arbonne fundraiser

I want to thank everyone who came to Team Pink and Pearls' Arbonne fundraiser this past Saturday! Orders are still being processed and you can STILL shop Arbonne online to benefit the team! The deadline to order is June 14.

Follow the link at the bottom of the post. RSVP to the event, then click "shop online" at the bottom. It will take you to the Arbonne website. In the top left corner it should say "Tour de Pink fundraiser; Host: Marjorie Miller." Order before June 14 to benefit the team!

Thanks to our hosts Holly and Sandy for putting on a great spa party!
Click here to shop! Proceeds benefit Team Pink and Pearls!

Adele's nursery

I want to sincerely thank our friends and family who helped us put together a beautiful pink and lambs nursery in record time for Adele. You all came together and helped piece it together bit by bit. I still have some work to do, but it is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Thank you again, to everyone who contributed to make Adele’s room beautiful, calm, peaceful, inviting, colorful and stimulating.
The beautiful clothes, the activity play mat, the lamb swing, the furniture, the lamb mobile, the books, the toys, the stuffed animals, the lights, everything. Thank you all, truly, for your love and generosity.

The Little Lamb was my favorite book growing up

The lamb mobile is just darling!

The view (we still need to buy curtains!)

The closet is growing! (She will catch up to me in no time!)

Photos by me

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie