Friday Favorites

Wahoo for Summer Break!  Summer vacation started off a little rainy and yucky but the end of this week totally made up for it!  We’ve been living beside the pool and enjoying every single minute of it.

Just like every Friday I’m joining Narci and Andrea to host Friday Favorites.  We’d love for you to join us.  Simply blog your faves, grab our graphic, and link up!

And in typical fashion I have a hot random mess of favorites for you…{It’s more a life catch-up type post but it’s full of my favorites.}
Our neighbors throw a big party every year on Memorial Day weekend complete with a band, lots of people, and it’s sure to be a good time.  Isn’t their backyard gorgeous?!  I found this picture but just imagine how pretty it was at night…with the lights.  A FAVORITE night out.

I stole this right off Shay’s blog but it’s the only good picture of Britt from the weekend so I don’t think she’ll mind.  😉  Britt decided to dress understated for the party.

It was just good for my soul to spend a night out with these ladies.

On Sunday evening the fun continued…there is a big charity concert and fireworks across the water from our neighborhood.  We walked over, met up with our neighbors, and enjoyed the concert from the third story seats.  {Mixed in with a little AC when we needed it…it was GREAT!}

Love this group of girls!

We all stayed up way past our bedtime watching the fireworks but it was totally worth it!  My mama hormones are in over drive right now…with God Bless America playing, fireworks going off, and me holding this precious baby-can you blame me?
My FAVORITE first grader had Aloha Day on Tuesday {my kiddos first day back from China}.  Nixon had a blast!

Just a reminder I got this week that my heart needed.  Maybe yours does too?
We got to document Britt’s MESSIEST MEAL EVER this week!  Don’t we all have a picture like that of ourselves somewhere?  Well, now we’ve got hers.  This girl was a MESS!

Cleft Mamas…in China I was super stressed about her hydration.  She can eat table food as long as it’s small bites but she doesn’t really drink much.  Since we’ve been home I’ve been feeding her a ton of baby food (along with table food) just so I know she’s getting more liquid.  Any helpful hints with this would be greatly appreciated!  We use special bottles…I’ve even tried spoon feeding her liquids which works in theory but I don’t really think she ends up getting much before she loses interest.  We go to the doctor at the end of the month.  Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

Nixon got to celebrate his birthday with M and G!  In April our schedules were hectic, so we pushed the fun night out back until we got home from China.  It’s probably just what he needed after being cooped up with us in a hotel room for weeks!  He had a blast!
A night out with these girls is always good for my soul.
This gem is sleeping more at night and I’m so thankful.  Last Thursday, we met Shay and her girls at the mall for a last minute trip.

The big kids got to ride the carousel.  Can you tell how Bowen felt about that?  ha!
These were my people…suffering from jet lag-school’s out-we-stayed-up-too-late-last-night-and-it’s-raining-outside-hang over.

On Sunday these two Queens of Hearts danced their little hearts out!  And definitely the cutest costumes I’ve ever seen for a recital.  LOVED them!

Sunday afternoon there was a small window of sun so we took full advantage.  Britt decided she enjoys the pool after all.  In China she was NOT a fan.

And then she had a staring contest with Bowen over his popsicle.  🙂

I hope you have a great weekend!  XO

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  1. 6.9.17
    Meagan @ The Clanahan Fam said:

    So fun to see more pictures of Britt!!! Thank you for sharing them! Also, girl… your hair in the pic with Britt wearing the orange bow? ON POINT! Hope y'all have a great weekend.

  2. 6.9.17
    Megan said:

    My daughter didn't have a cleft palate, but she had a lot of feeding issues when she was born and we used the Haberman for a while, which is what I am guessing you are using. A sippy cup that was a great one for us was the cheap Take and Toss ones from the first years. Good luck!!!

  3. 6.9.17
    The Speck family said:

    Oh sweet Britt is such a doll baby! My daughter was born with a cleft lip and had surgeries at 2 months and 4 months old- I was always SO worried about her eating too, afraid she wasn't getting enough! The good thing is that baby food is full of liquid; and I am not sure if Britt will even take a bottle, but we found that the playtex bottle/liners were the best to get a good "grip" and suck from. You all are an amazing family and I love reading about your adoption journey!

  4. 6.9.17
    Nicole said:

    Been reading for years. Years of joy over precious Britt. Love how you live for the Lord and fillow his callings for your life. Your family is so precious. Bless you all.

  5. 6.9.17
    Unknown said:

    She is beautiful. My 9 year old was born with a pallett cleft only. I am assuming she has had surgery to repair? After Avie's surgery the we continued with the Medela special needs feeders. We had been through all and these worked best for our girl After the stitches came out and there was no concern of a fistula it was trial and error on sippies….I bought a lot trying to find one that worked. In the end I dont remember the cup but the trick was to remove the part on the lod that controlled the flow. Avie had to learn to suck so it was a process.
    I do remember he first time she actually was able to suction on her own through a straw….I felt like we had done good.

    My greatest tool and resource was other cleft moms who had been there or were there where I was

  6. 6.9.17
    Alison said:

    Hello – I've never commented before!
    Here is a blog that I've followed and they have adopted a girl from Chine with a cleft palate. She has done a ton of posts over the years about her daughter!
    (keep scrolling to get to the section with the surgery posts.)


  7. 6.9.17
    The White Family said:

    We adopted our cleft son at 13 months old from China. We used a cleft bottle initially that a friend gave us from the hospital. He would bite it and the liquid came out. I tried many different bottles and sippy cups and cut the nipple wider on bottles and cups. He liked the Nuby soft nipple sippy cups and the Playtex soft nipple cups the best with the nipple cut a little to open it up more so that the drink flowed out when he bit at it. There is a lot of trial and error! As for food, our son ate anything and everything we ate and his favorite was pizza crust! He wanted to be able to bite things! Every cleft baby is different with what and how they eat and drink. Just be patient and keep trying. She is beautiful!!! Cleft babies rock!!

  8. 6.9.17
    Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said:

    My goodness Britt is CUTE!!!!! That smile where she scrunches up her left eye is my favorite!!!!

  9. 6.9.17
    Britt Hensley said:

    Oh my goodness!! Britt is just too cute. Y'all look so, so happy! Enjoy your summer break!!

  10. 6.9.17
    Jenny said:

    Erika, Congratulations on your adoption! She is just precious. Wanted to give you a good clinic there in Dallas. I was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and my parents found Dr. Kenneth Salyer with the International Craniofacial Institute. They are amazing. He has since retired, but Dr. Genecov is wonderful. They are in with Medical City Dallas. She is just precious and what a wonderful life you will give her.

  11. 6.9.17
    Anonymous said:

    I mean, seriously too much cuteness for one post! So happy that you are back home and getting back into the swing of things! Those pictures from Memorial Day were perfect. We had a great time! XO

  12. 6.9.17
    Unknown said:

    1 Corinthians 13, is one of my favorite verses. I love your heart for adoption.

  13. 6.9.17
    Unknown said:

    Hi Erika! I'm not a cleft mama but I am an SLP that works in early intervention with lots of feeding kiddos including cleft babies. For babies the first bottle I always recommend would be a Haberman Feeder. They are pricey for a single bottle but most cleft babies have great success with these bottles. For a sippy cup you want to look for anything that doesn't require a lot of sucking. Those bite and drink straw cups often work. Sometimes a munchkin 360 cup works well because it requires only a little sucking. You could also try a Honey Bear straw cup. With the honey bear you squeeze the bottle and liquid comes up the straw requiring little to no sucking and only lip closure. You can find all of these bottles and cups on Amazon!

  14. 6.9.17
    Elaine Welte said:

    Have you talked to a speech pathologist or occupational therapist who soecializes in feeding? That's where I would start! I know there are special cups, some therapists prefer straws, some don't, and there's a little bear that is pretty much like a honey bottle that you can rig so you squeeze it while she sucks to help get more fluid in! My guess is your doctor will refer you to a feeding specialist! I'm sure Sheaffer can help direct you to a local clinic!

  15. 6.9.17
    Unknown said:

    Britt is adorable. I'm not a cleft mama, but will she eat icecream? Small pieces of watermelon? Those are hydrating…

  16. 6.9.17
    LongoriaLisa said:

    Hi Erika! I was born with a cleft lip and palate. My parents would use a big syringe to get the liquids in. Britt is older but may think it's a fun game. Message me with any questions! God bless your family!

  17. 6.9.17
    Rachel said:

    Hi Erika! I have loved following your journey to Britt -she's precious! We have adopted two cleft affected sweeties from China. Our daughter had feeding issues and we ended up mixing formula or milk with a jar of baby food. Then we would pour that into a bottle. We had to cut the nipple hole to be a little larger because the liquid was kinda thick, but it worked well for her. Sometimes thin liquids are just too difficult, so thicker works better. Hopefully you'll get some more tips too!

  18. 6.9.17
    Amanda @ That Inspired Chick said:

    I had so much fun the Wall Party! It was definitely good for my soul. You hit the nail on the head! And I love the all those pics of Britt!!! The one with her feet in the water is my favorite!! Can't wait to see her in her little bathing suit tomorrow!

    That Inspired Chick

  19. 6.9.17
    Unknown said:

    Hi niece just had jaw surgery and we have been hydrating her with the large plastic syringes. Your daughter is gorgeous!

  20. 6.9.17
    Paula said:

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend.

    I am not sure about cleft, but I do have special needs daughter that had trouble with eating/drinking as an infant. Early interventionist in the area can help tremendously. You can find the information through your pets. A couple a months of feeding therapy will do wonders.

  21. 6.9.17
    Janelle said:

    I don't have a child with a cleft, however, I do have a one year old with significant aspiration and oral motor weakness. I would highly recommend finding a good feeding therapist in your area, and possibly a dietician. Ask around for who is the best. My son went an entire year with pain, aspiration, and eating issues because the people we were seeing weren't trained to understand his feeding problems. We now have an incredible feeding therapist and a dietician and it is amazing how much help they are. I can text them when I'm concerned about my son's intake and they are quick to respond and help. They come to our house and monitor my son so much more closely than any dr ever has. They can be wonderful advocates for your child. Ours even call my son's doctors and tell them what they think needs to be done for my son.

  22. 6.9.17
    Jen said:

    Britt is darling!!! Will you be sharing how old she is?

  23. 6.9.17
    Trista @ The Classy Chaos said:

    She is beautiful! I am so happy for you all! Enjoy the weekend!

  24. 6.9.17
    Jessica | Balancing in Between said:

    Your children are beautiful! I hope you guys have a wonderful summer!

  25. 6.9.17
    Unknown said:

    Oh, Erika cleft lip/palate babies are dear to my heart. My son was born with both 26 years ago! So many things have changed since then. My best advice is to try different things even though your doctor does not recommend them. What my doctor told me did not work. So many doctors think it is their way or no way at all! But, I found what worked best for my child and went from there. Others mothers and support groups are great! But most of all (and you know this)the Lord will guide you to what is best for your child. I will be remembering you and your family in prayer. Thank you for adopting what a beautiful thing (my husband was adopted).

  26. 6.9.17
    Bethany said:

    Cookout, fireworks, pools, and friends! The best!

  27. 6.9.17
    A Gal Named Al said:

    I love the picture of you and Britt with God Bless America playing! I get choked up every time the national anthem comes on at my kids' swim meets. Thanks for hosting the link-up- hope you and your crew have a great weekend!

  28. 6.9.17
    Unknown said:

    I would love to see pictures of your pool areas ( landscaping). We just put in a pool and need to start adding softscapes.

  29. 6.9.17
    Elizabeth said:

    Have you tried giving water by dropping into her mouth with a straw (controlling the flow by keeping your finger over the other end?) It's the only way our son will drink other than from a big cup like an adult, which usually ends up with him trying to drown himself 😂

  30. 6.10.17
    Max's mom said:

    Baby Britt is just precious!! My son was born in 2012 with a cleft lip and palate. I really struggled/stressed/cried trying to use some of the special bottles that the hospital gave me. The Mead Johnson bottle, which is basically a squeeze bottle, was a lifesaver! The bottle has zero complicated parts- just a bottle and nipple. Another tip a nurse showed me was to cut a really small slit in the top of the nipple to help the liquid flow quicker. That helped a lot and Max could eventually feed himself with it. Before you know it Britt will be drinking out of whatever cup your older kids are using:) Lots of love you you and your beautiful family!

  31. 6.10.17
    Sarah K said:

    The way Britt is cuddling you. She knows you love her!

  32. 6.10.17
    Whitney Pegram said:

    Erika, I can't get over that precious baby girl of yours!! Such a babydoll!

  33. 6.12.17
    Simple Purposeful Living said:

    Seriously Britt is precious – praying for you and good wisdom, I know these ladies have you covered. What a sweet recap and I just can't get enough of Miss Britt. So glad you got a good messy food photo – you are right, we all have one! Now she does too! xoxo ERIN

  34. 6.13.17
    The A Team said:

    Your link is closed already? boo! I will post it here…
    Miss Britt is so adorable!!!

  35. 6.13.17
    Courtney Taube said:

    I LOVE seeing the pictures of Britt! She is absolutely adorable. I can't wait to read about your adoption process/stories.