joyful girl

we owe each other the world. the world owes us nothing.

It’s hard to write every day! November 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 1:52 am

I was so excited to finally get a new camera with my birthday money tonight! According to all of the Amazon user reviews, my new camera takes great indoor photos, so I’m hoping I’ll be inspired to be a little more diligent about documenting daily life in the Fox household. Sadly, there are no new camera photos tonight, as the battery is charging. I did manage to take a couple of shots on my old camera today, though. Here is Elliott lounging at COSI this morning on a play date with Alex’s best friend. I love COSI. We have a membership that I haven’t used consistently for a few months, but I’m planning to make it a part of our weekly routine for the winter. It’s fun, it’s only a ten minute drive, and it has lots of open space for Alex to get out her energy. She was going nonstop there today, and had so much fun climbing and running and practicing her imaginative play in their kitchen and doctor’s office play areas. Elliott slept in the ergo most of the morning, but I managed to catch him with his eyes open after lunch. At almost four weeks old, he is such a chill kid. He does have a little fussy/gassy time in the evenings but it really is only a few minutes, and I’m working on clearing dairy from my diet. The past couple of nights, he’s only awakened twice a night, which is a nice switch from every 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Alex is doing well, too. Here she is this evening “making dinner,” which she declared was hummus. (I love hearing her say “It’s hummus time!”) She is acting very much her age these days, but seems to be adjusting pretty well to being a sister. She loves to hug and kiss Elliott – usually right before she yanks his pacifier out of his mouth. The first thing she says in the morning is “Where’s Elliott?” (Then she usually says, “I want to watch Caillou!” Sigh.)

Now, both of them are sleeping, which is probably a sign that I should head to bed, too. Sleep well, dear ones!


115,000 November 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 2:28 am

Before I became a mother, I was a social worker. I was, in fact, one of the most stereotypical scary social workers – a caseworker for child protective services. In my experiences in two major Ohio cities, I got to work with some pretty amazing families, and even more incredible kids – kids who were living, breathing testimony to the resilience of human beings.

Some of my families were simply in stressful situations, and needed some extra support to regain safety and stability in their homes. Some of my parents needed accountability and the resources to address numerous addictions in their lives.

Most of the kids I worked with were able to stay in their homes, or with relatives, or were successfully reunified with a parent after some time in foster care. Some, though, were left without a capable parent to return to, or had been abandoned or so severely abused that no court would consider reunifying them with their family of origin. For one reason or another, these kids were left looking for a permanent home. These are the kids who come to my mind when I am reminded that November is national adoption month.

I don’t know if our family will ever adopt. I do know that if we decide to have more children, it will be through fostering or adoption. I also know that I feel passionately about the importance of children having a family to call their own. I don’t believe that every family should adopt, but I also wish that it wasn’t so often viewed as a “last resort” option for having children.

There are so many types of adoption, and I think that they are all equally valid. But I have to admit that my heart probably lies most closely with the 115,000 children who are currently in foster care waiting for a family. My heart is with them because they are the kids I know, the survivors who do not trust easily, who will push your boundaries until they are assured that you are around for the long haul, the ones who need a safe place to heal, and a parent who can say “Yes, you belong with us now.”


Happy Birthday to Me! November 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 6:50 pm

Today I turn 35. I love birthdays, and I like that Facebook lets everyone know that it’s my birthday. (Secretly, I really like attention.) It’s turning out to be a good day with fun little surprises like a latte from a friend, a good playdate this morning, both kids napping at once and some fun birthday money to spend on whatever I want!

Mostly, though, I’m feeling really thankful for where my life is now. Truly, I feel like I have all of the important things I’ve ever hoped to have – a husband I love (and who works so very hard to care for our family), two children who I get to take care of all day long, the education and resources I need to continue my dream career when those children no longer need me to care for them at home all day long, a loving extended family and some very high quality friends who let me be who I am. I don’t say this to paint a picture of some perfect, everything-in-place life, but when I really take the time to assess it, my life is lovely in spite of its numerous aches and imperfections, and I have done nothing to deserve such loveliness. So today, I am grateful.


NaBloPoMo, Day 2 November 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 6:42 pm

Yesterday was a rough day for parenting a toddler in our house. I was prepared to share all of my failings and ask for advice, but it’s a new day now, and I’m feeling more confident in my parenting choices again, and (kind of) more rested and ready to be patient and actively engaged in teaching and practicing get off my butt parenting with my lovely and funny 2 year old who is establishing her independence and getting used to sharing her world with a little boy who grunts a lot and tolerates her kisses, but otherwise doesn’t offer her much in return.

I do want to ask for a little advice, though – does anyone have brilliant ideas for large muscle activities that can easily be done inside one’s house? Alex is really into climbing lately and needs some exercise to keep her busy, but I’ve had a hard time getting her to the playground and while I’m not opposed to playing in the backyard when it’s cold, I know it’s only going to get colder this winter, and I won’t always want to bundle up Elliott and go outside with her…and I’m also not comfortable letting her go out by herself when it’s too cold to leave the back door open so that I can keep an eye on her.

Elliott is three weeks old now. He is a snuggly, grunty bundle of boy. I think I need to stop eating dairy to prevent colic, but when he isn’t gassy he’s a pretty content kid. He still sleeps a lot more than I remember Alex sleeping, but is awake a little more every day. (including almost three hours from 11:30-2:30 last night) I would post lots of cute pictures, but my camera doesn’t take great indoor photos, and he is also in that not-so-cute baby acne stage.

That is all. Happy election day!


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! November 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 6:33 pm

Happy November! I just learned that is is NaBloPoMo! Now I have an official reason to challenge myself to write on a a daily basis. According to my grad school education, it takes 30 days to make a habit, so here I go. I also had my husband recently extol the benefits of taking on new experiences and challenges, and committing to blogging daily for a month is certainly a new challenge for my poorly disciplined self.

*It is also NaNoWriMo, for those of you who have a novel floating around in your head.* Consider yourself nudged.

Happy day after Halloween! I’m a little ambivalent about All Hallow’s Eve itself, but it does have a lot of significance for me, as it marks the beginning the best time of year – my very own extended holiday season that encompasses my favorite days – my birthday, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, the New Year! What is there not to love about brainstorming gifts for people, spending time with relatives, looking up new recipes? I love it so much that I even try to extend it to Epiphany. AND, I think that I can even start early from here on out, with Elliott’s birthday.

Of course, I usually have all kinds of ideas of gifts and new traditions to start for our family, but I have an inclination to have lots of ideas and little follow-through on implementing them. (see above mention of some lack of discipline) I’m hoping to get it together by the time the kids are old enough to remember traditions…

So far, we alternate years of spending either Thanksgiving or Christmas with our respective families of origin. I try to watch “Love Actually” at some point and drink lots of egg nog lattes. I like to attempt handmade gifts, but it can be hard to come up with something as nice as the generous gifts that our relatives give to us. My goal this year is to make stockings for everyone in our family, and start using them on Christmas morning…

Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite holiday traditions? What does this time of year say to you?


two weeks and a birth story October 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 12:47 am

apparently, it’s been about ten months since i’ve updated this little space – just enough time to get pregnant and have a baby boy! elliott james fox was born two weeks ago on monday, october 11. he was 8 pounds, 3 ounces, and 19 1/2 inches long. we are all doing well, and the transition to having two children has felt pretty easy so far probably because he sleeps most of the time, and i had constant help from my mom for the first ten days, but now here we are – on our own as our complete family of four!

i love hearing birth stories, and i like to document my own, so here it goes. feel free to stop reading now if you aren’t interested in medical details – and i will warn you that elliott had a pretty medical birth. alex was born by an unplanned c-section after a very arduous and unsuccessful labor, and after a lot of thinking and processing we decided to schedule a repeat c-section for elliott instead of pursuing a vbac. (here is my little disclaimer that i think natural childbirth is an amazing thing, and i think that we have too many surgical births in our country, and i believe there should be more support for vbacs. that said, i also think it’s really important to support the birth choices of each woman without her needing to fear judgment, and i’m thankful that my diverse range of women friends have helped me to feel supported.)

so, after the safe arrival of nona and pawpaw (my parents) to watch alex, daniel and i arrived at the hospital in the morning to prepare for our 12:30pm birth. the section was delayed a bit due to other births, but we had a pretty mellow time answering the nurses questions, signing permission forms, prepping for surgery and surfing the internet. oh – we also got a little visit from the first-year medical student who would be observing with my OB. he seemed very excited, and i thought it was endearing that he was really trying to make a human connection with us beforehand. when the time came, i walked to the operating room and got my spinal block from patti, who i will always think of fondly as “the most amazing nurse anesthetist in the world!” i honestly felt like i had a doula with her constant support and reassurance during the entire birth – she even held up the mirror for daniel and i to see elliott being pulled out, which was the coolest part of the birth. (we didn’t get that with alex.) my first thought was “wow, he looks just like alex did when she was born!” he cried immediately, and daniel held him after they wiped him off a bit. elliott was not too happy initially about being born and was very vocal about it, but my surgery had to be finished before we could snuggle and start nursing. as soon as i was stapled, we went to the recovery room as a family, and got to spend about an hour getting to know each other. elliott nursed great from the beginning, and we enjoyed each other until he was taken to the nursery to be weighed and measured and checked. daniel was with him for part of that time, and then we all ended up in our room to get to know each other more before our visitors started arriving.

this birth was so strikingly different than alex’s, but i have to say that i don’t have any regrets about either experience. this time, we went home after only two days, and my recovery has been so much easier, as has starting our nursing relationship. alex is mostly loving elliott, with occasional demands for extra attention. elliott is a sweet boy, and is finally starting to wake up more and watch his world. i’m excited to see him explore it.


little helper January 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 4:08 am

yesterday alex was playing in her room while i was putting away some laundry in our room. as usual, i had carried my cup of coffee upstairs with us. i thought i left it on her dresser, but apparently it was on her little table instead, since a few minutes later she came into our room trying to hand me what looked like a gross brown blob. it was, in fact, the wet wipe that she got when my coffee spilled on the floor so that she could try cleaning it out of the carpet. at least she’s learning to clean up after herself!


alphabet January 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 9:01 pm

alex now officially recognizes the letters “A” and “E” – hurrah for refrigerator magnets!


ch, ch, ch, ch, changes….. January 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 2:52 am

it seems that a lot of blogs are getting set aside in favor of the convenience of facebook, this one included. as usual with the new year, though, i’ve been feeling a renewed commitment to write here. if nothing else, it has become alex’s baby book of sorts, and there are things i would like to remember about being her mama these days…

it’s hard to believe that my last entry was before her surgery in october. that seems like such a distant memory. the surgery went very well in the capable hands of dr. jayanthi, as did the follow-up ultrasound. we don’t worry that another infection is just waiting around the bend anymore. there are no more daily antibiotics, no more second-guessing if we should be checking for a fever or not. we’re just living normal daily life with a toddler, and it is what it is.

the toughest part of alex’s surgical recovery was a disruption to our nights. before the surgery, she had been going to bed well and sleeping consistently through the night for several months. after the surgery, she started waking several times a night (fear and some pain, i’m sure), and we got into the habit of night nursing again. after the recovery period, she started getting molars, daylight savings time changed, and then the holidays, all of which kept interrupting the glorious sleep that we used to have. then, at christmas she apparently started what the internet calls the “18 month sleep regression,” and not only woke during the night but started screaming a lot when we put her to bed and then tried to get her back to sleep at night. sigh. BUT, this week we seem to be having a turnaround – for the past two or three days, she’s gone to bed at night and naps without a peep – just a little chat with the new teddy bear that she got from grandpa. 🙂 thanks, dad!

aside from sleep, things have been good, though. right after thanksgiving, alex finally started walking independently on a consistent basis, at the ripe old age of (just turned) 17 months. just like i knew it would, my worry that she would never walk on her own seem silly now, and she is taking the world by storm. she’s 18 1/2 months old now, and the best word i can think of to describe her is….BUSY. (as in, i am no longer able to just take a shower and trust that she’ll simply entertain herself with her toys or the pets for a few minutes, or if she’s really feeling spunky, unroll the toilet paper. no, now it’s things like dumping the cat food all over the floor or trying to brush her hair with the toilet brush which she managed to snag from the hard-to-reach corner.) i wouldn’t describe her as difficult or strong-willed, but she’s definitely entering the realm of figuring out her boundaries. she’s also learning the meaning of “timeout.” rather, she gets put into timeout several times a week. i’m not sure she really knows what it is yet. but she does know enough to do everything in her power to avoid eye contact with me when i say “look at mama,” so that i can explain that “no, we do not scream like a banshee because we do not get what we want.”

i’ve read that when kids hit 18 months, their knowledge grows exponentially, and i believe it. every day alex is picking up so many new words and skills, and it’s so much fun to see her mind work and grow. she’s also a sweet, snuggly girl who loves her mama, dada, cat and dog. she’s been in a bit of a needy stage with me, but that seems to be waning now that the holidays and travel are over, and we’re getting back to our normal schedule.

speaking of schedule, i should be getting to bed myself now. keep checking back, though – there is much more to discuss. until then, my question of the day is this (for those of you who graciously read all of the above): how have your friday nights changed as you’ve gotten older? i used to make sure i went out with friends every week. now, i usually watch one of those weird true crime mysteries on dateline or 20/20 and then go to bed. ha – i used to wonder who watched those shows. now i know. 🙂


15 months, 3 days. September 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 1:32 am

two loves life is full of good moments around here lately. here are the two loves of my life together at our saturday morning breakfast out on the town – a nice meal on a cafe patio right before the rain hit and brought fall with it. i love the change from summer to autumn, even when i can feel a bit of melancholy set into my spirit. our summer has been fun and full of outings, exploring, and learning new things.
happy girl alex has been soaking up knowledge and skills like a sponge. she has a number of words, with the main ones being: dog, cat, doll, paw, caw-caw (for birds), daddy, mama, hi, ball. those are just the ones we can discern. she talks constantly, when she isn’t singing. she’s definitely continuing to grow an appreciation for music, and sings, dances and plays keyboards whenever she can. she is cutting down to one nap a day, but generally is sleeping pretty well. she loves to be around people, although she likes other people the best when i’m also there. right now, she’s in a stage where she can play independently for longish periods of time, but also has longish periods of time where she wants to be as physically close to me as possible, which often entails climbing onto my lap and wrapping herself around my neck.
she does like to climb, and is pretty good at going up and down stairs. the one thing she is still hesitant to do is walk. she can do it with us holding one of her hands, but just isn’t taking steps by herself. i wish she’d just do it already, but i’m not too worried about it. she’s still within the normal range, and i know that when she decides to walk, she will, and will probably master it very quickly. she seems to be very deliberate about things that she does – not fearful, but observant and purposeful in her actions…

one big milestone that is happening next week is her first hospital stay since birth. some of you know that alex was born with a condition called vesicoureteral reflux, which was diagnosed in december/january, after she had two urinary tract infections. it essentially means that her ureters are attached to her bladder in such a way that it pushes (or refluxes) her urine back into her kidneys. normally, that would be fine, but if she has an infection in her urine, it can infect her kidneys and damage them. most children who have this reflux outgrow it by the age of 4 or 5, and it is managed with daily antibiotics to prevent UTIs. however, alex has continued to have infections, so she is having surgery next week to correct the reflux – they will be unattaching her ureters and reattaching them to her bladder in the correct position. the surgery is 99% effective in fixing the reflux, which is great news. also, her urologist at children’s hospital does the procedure multiple times in a week, so intellectually i’m fine with it, but of course there is emotional anxiety that comes and goes. i’m very thankful that we have people who are stepping up to care for us through prayer and food (always a good combo!), and my mom is coming to stay with us for a few days. alex will be in the hospital for two days and nights. if you’re a pray-er, we would really appreciate your prayers for the surgery and the recovery, and also that her kidneys have not already been damaged by her recurring infections. i’m really looking forward to the day when the reflux is a distant memory, when she doesn’t have to take antibiotics every day, and when she doesn’t have to get a catheter to check her urine whenever she has a fever. in the grand scheme of sick children, her experience has been relatively minor, and i’m so thankful for that, but it has definitely had its rough days.
so, that’s the big news around here. i’ll leave you with one last shot of my favorite people…