Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We'd rather be playing Shoots and Ladders...

instead we're playing Poops and Laughter's ;0)

Out of Kensington's 10 diaper changes yesterday, she managed to poop/pee 6 times during the actual changing process... and laughed about it.

Kensington - 6; Daddies Plural - 4. She's winning the game... and wanted to play again this morning. We know that parents should let their kids win when playing games together, but the line has to be drawn somewhere! We have pictures of this, but have decided to save these until she brings home a date that we don't care for.

Around 4 o'clock yesterday, Kensington laid on my chest and ended up falling asleep... for hours. It was the most precious thing ever. Unfortunately, last night when she was in between her 3am and 5:30am feeding, she wouldn't sleep in her vibrating chair or her bassinet, so Chris put her on his chest and it worked. Unfortunately, when she's sleeping on you, you shouldn't be sleeping as well (Thank goodness it wasn't me who had that feeding scheduled) so he's been up for some time, poor thing.

We've already gone through our first pack of diapers, and the second pack that we opened was the Pampers Stage 1 Swaddlers - LOVE THESE! They actually have a blue-line indicator that tells us when she's gone potty. These are soooo much better than the smell/feel indicator that parents have had to use for centuries.

We got great news yesterday from Barb at Friends in Adoption... she faxed over the paperwork to both NY and PA as a 'head's up" and sent the originals via FedEx. We found out that the paperwork sent to PA is a courtesy filing and we don't need to hear back from them before we can enter the state... we just need to hear back from NY before we can actually leave it. One less step in the process!

I made the following calendar - You can download your copy here.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Kensington learned how to write her name in cursive. Her penmanship is BEAUTIFUL.

Okay... she's not that advanced, yet, but she's getting there :o)

While she didn't learn to write her name... she did learn to cry when she wants food. Yippee for us. Last night Kensi' appetite grew... instead of her normal (can it really be classified as normal if she's only been doing it for 4 days???) 2 ounces a feeding, she increased to 3 ounces. She work up again at 2:30am and took her 2 ounces and after her burping and changing, she wanted an additional ounce. This routine happened again around 5am. At 8am and 10:30am she took her regular 2 ounces. She's been sleeping and we've decided to forgo the pediatricians "2 ounces every 2 hours" to a feed-on-demand routine. It works better for all of us here in the hotel. By the way mom, thanks for the advice... she burps easier when you rub her back versus patting it.

Back on January 31, 2008, I blogged about the amazing support we had receive within the first 24 hours of starting our adoption journey. We had received the cutest little shirt (that's not so little on Kensington) from Marilyn in the ACS HR department and I couldn't wait to put it on her. The design is a freebie Quick Page from Biebel Scraps.

Here she is this morning getting ready for another changing:

She already has her adoptive daddy, Chris, wrapped around her finger:

Pictures from the hospital. Look how tiny she is. She looks like a cross between Boris Yeltsin and an Oompa_Loompa in the hat. We decided not to keep the hat on her her hospital picture - less is more (lol)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I should sell advertising space...

on my forehead.

Last night Chris and I slept with the pack-n-play butted up to the end of the bed and we both slept with our heads next to it. Kensington did great. She had a bottle around 8:45 pm and then one at 11:45 pm. Chris and I jumped at every move she'd make. I found a little nook in the bassinet area that I'd store my glasses, and we constantly checked to see if she was breathing when things got quite. She kicked herself out of her swaddle twice and, we don't know how she kept doing it, her left sock kept flying off of her.

She woke up at 3:00am (just seconds before my blackberry alarm clock went off). Chris got up and did an amazing job of feeding her and changing her diaper - but she wouldn't go back to sleep. She never cried... so just didn't want to sleep. Around 5am, she wanted another ounce of formula.

After Chris did another changing, he placed her back in the bassinet and I rested my forehead on the pack-n-play and placed my arm around her so I could rub her chin. I feel asleep in that position around 6:30am. When I work up at 8:15am (thanks Cathy Peckens for the call... did you notice I let it roll over to voicemail) I had the GRACO emblem embedded backwards on my forehead. I think I just found a new way for companies to advertise their products (lol).

Kensington slept in until 10am.

Oh, what a night. Some how I feel like tonight will be more of the same. This time, I'll make sure to place a diaper cloth over the emblem :)

A name suitable for a princess... Kensington Grace

We love all of the comments, text messages and MySpace/Facebook comments. One of the questions we've been getting is, "How did you come up with her name?"

We wanted a name with meaning, as well as one that was unique (and strong). [Kenginston Grace rules the world, And now presenting... Kensington Grace, And the winner is... Kensington Grace, Madame Secretary - Kensington Grace]

Many of you know, Chris & I love to travel... and Kensington Palace is one of our all time favorite places to visit when we're in the London area. We've been to the working palace about six times, and have taken Rhonda (Chris's sister), Frank and Irene, Fred, and Lowell & Renee to The Orangery, and 18th century restaurant connected to the palace, for afternoon tea and scones.

Also, the day that Chris and I were moving up north, Diana, Princess of Wales, passed away. We actually postponed our trip a day to watch the news to get the latest updates. Diana lived at Apartment 8 Kensington Palace from the time of her wedding on July 29, 1981 until her death on August 31, 1997. Diana was one of the first public figures (and the first member of the royal family) to publicly state that she was for equal rights for non-traditional families. [Chris wouldn't let me name her "Princess of Wales", so I settled for Kensington]

Grace, in Latin, means "favor from God", and that she is... one delivered on Christmas morning.

Yes, I'm officially one of those...

the driver in the right lane that is going 10 miles under the speed limit - for 120 miles.

And yes , I see you. The way you're looking at me as you pass. And yes, I can read lips and sign language as well. Just know that when I smile at you, and point towards the back of the SUV and mouth the word, "baby", I'm thinking of something else I'd like to tell you :)

Today Chris and I headed to the hospital around 11:00 am, to spend time with Kensington before she could be released. When we got to the nursing station, we saw a little one getting a bath, so Chris asked the nurse if it was her. She said it wasn't, but asked if we wanted a "bath-time" demo. After watching that horrific video from the hospital last night, I was a little a little hesitant, but Christopher said that he'd love to.

The nurse wheeled her in and ran through the steps verbally. Funny... you're telling us that same order as everything we've read - which contradicts the video we just saw, but we rolled with it. Glad to know she was the one teaching us.

After the verbal instructions, she says, "Okay. Get to it."

"What? I thought you were going to give us a demo." Chris questions.

"Oh no... I have four kids of my own. I'm not bathing yours. I told you how to do it, now get to it." And so he does. And he did a wonderful job at giving Kensington her first bath. She did ok to.

We then dressed her for her hospital photos. Being that she's so tiny, her newborn outfits are huge on her. None of her socks fit, and the gloves are twice the size of her little hands. The hats that we brought for her hang down to her nose :) So for now, we'll be keeping the small crochet hood to keep her heat in.

Barb, came in around 2:45 and signed the paperwork needed in order for the hosiptal to discharge her and then Kensington came back from picture time. We packed up her little belongings, and headed down to the main entrance. I pulled the truck up and both Barb and Linda, our nurse, nodded and gave their approval that the care seat was installed. We locked her in place, and gave hugs all around.

Kensington slept the entire time in the truck... all three hours.

Chris's brother Mark, along with our sister-in-law Aggie and our 2 1/2 month nephew, Mason, came up from Jersey (they were so excited to come see the baby!).

Lets hope she sleeps as well tonight as she did in the car (keeping our fingers crossed).

Friday, December 26, 2008

We're already offered to buy her a pony!

Last night was a rough one... not only because of the high emotions that we were riding, but because of the guest staying next door to us in the hotel. Around 11:30pm it sounded like the kids were jumping on the bed and seeing just how far they could land in their suites hallway... and around 12:15am it was pillow fight time. We're guessing that the parents were in one suite and the children were across the hall (next to us). Security came by once... which seemed to halt their activities - for about 20 minutes.

I tossed and turned until 6:15, just about the time Chris woke up. He wanted to get out of the room and head into the closest town to go to the stores - not so much for the shopping or the potential sales, but just to buy time until our 3:30 meeting at the hospital. He ended up coming back to the room around 9:30, just as I was waking up.

He walked in the door with tears in his eyes. Today was the day... so exciting yet also sad. To be honest, trying to wrap our arms around the multitude of emotions has hit us like a brick wall. We are so amazed at the courage that Kensington's bio's have had. We wanted to wrap our arms around Kensington and them.

So we spent the next couple of hours, literally, calling hotels to check availability for anywhere between 3-10 days. Once we take custody of Kensington, we have to stay in upstate New York until both NY and PA recognize that we have custody. We were told that because of the holidays, we're at the mercy of one gentlemen in NY and one lady in PA... each wanting to take time off during the holidays. We were able to get into the Residents Inn, but having to change rooms - we'll spend one day in a Studio Suite, then we'll move to a King Suite, which will allow for (or the plan is anyway), one of us to stay in the bedroom and get some rest, while the other will be in the general living area with her in her Pak-n-Play bassinet.

Once we made our reservations, we ended up heading off to town... picked up a couple more cute outfits (smile) and had lunch at Panera.

Barb told us that she, along with the lawyers, would be at the hospital around 2:00pm to discharge our Bio-mom and dad, as well as to sign over custody to the agency. This would take between 60-90 minutes and she would call us when it's complete so we could go and sign our part.

3:00 - we're in the parking lot 1 1/2 blocks away from the hospital waiting on the call.

3:30 - no call.

3:45 - still no call and I start getting antsy.

4:00 - now I start getting worried. What could be taking so long.
Chris is now in the back seat going through everything we packed as a means of getting his mind off things. He ask if I care to join him and I quickly respond no.

4:15 - beads of sweat start forming on my forehead. I'm turning up the music one second and then off the next. Turning the heater up one second, and then rolling down the window to let the cold air rush in... this goes on for 30 minutes.

4:47 - Barb calls. The Bio-parents are leaving the hospital. All went well, but she wants us to travel down the street to Wal-mart, away from the hospital.

We travel down the road and wait in the parking lot. Are we going inside to sign the paperwork? Wait... this CAN NOT BE. I don't want a "rolling back the prices" baby, unless they're going to roll back the price of our agency fees :).

Barb shows up and we suggest the Chinese restaurant across the way to go and sign everything - one small piece of "Yum-Yum" for the scrapbook.

Barb told us that the reason that it took so long was that the hospital's social worker was new, and approached this as a closed adoption, not an agency placement. The difference in the state of NY is, an open or semi-open adoption, the birth mother and dad can sign over custody of the child to the agency, and leave once the doctor okays the discharge. A closed adoption means that the mother has to leave the hospital with the baby, then the agency takes custody of the child, most times in the parking lot (thanks Mama Peckens for the clarification). The lawyers had to call and get a hospital supervisor involved, and they were taking their time to get up to the pediatric center.

We caught up on the days events, and signed our paperwork surrounded by boxes of fortune cookies and a sad, sad looking buffet table. The irony is Chris hates Asian food and they served Pepsi not Coke. Those who know us well, know that in any other situation, we'd walked out to find a place that served Coke products (hahahaha).

So, we then traveled back to the hospital, rushed up to the the third floor and went to the nurses station, "We're Kensington's adoptive parents and we were told we needed to watch some videos" (The agency told them we'd be on our way, so they were expecting us).

One nurse brings us to a private room, rolling in a small TV and VCR player along with two tapes. One tape had three segments, SID's, Brain Injuries and Shaken Baby Syndrome. The information was good, but shot in the 80's with piano music playing in the background that made all who's ever watched this zone out in a sleep daze. 30 minutes later we popped in the second tape. Only two segments on this one: bathing and breast feeding. It's state law that we watch both tapes, but the nurses said we could forgo the second half. I'm game if you are.

The bathing video had us cracking up, sitting on the back of our chairs, and biting our nails. It was locally shot (as in, the hospital did it themselves). Apparently the nurse who was giving instructions never watched the first tape on SID's, Brain Injuries and Shaken Baby Syndrome. She's slinging this poor baby around, saying things such as, "they tell you not to do it this way, but it works for me." At one point she picked the poor child up and almost hits his head on the edge of the bath. We were thinking, what parent in their right mind would have allowed this to happen. While we were watching this tape in pure terror - if was VERY reassuring... if that baby could survive all of that, there is nothing we could ever do to harm her.

As the tape started rolling into the breastfeeding piece, the nurse rolls Kensington in and asks us if we want to feed her and change her.

Day 2 was much better for her, as she finally got an appetite. We gave her about an once of formula and then tried to burp her. Nothing. So we fed her about a half an ounce more and then tried again. This time for about 15 minutes. Nothing. At one point, I had her on my shoulder and she lifted up her body, turned her head, and looked at me like, "would you please stop". It was the most precious thing ever. Chris was cracking up and then he tried burping her - nothing. I even offered to buy her a pony if she'd just give me one little gassy burp. So I decided to change her (won't go into details there), and then laid on the bed with her on my chest. Burp. All better, but because she didn't read the fine print of my original offer, she'd needed to burp before I changed her.

We rolled her back to the nursery, said our good nights, and off to the hotel we went.

Tomorrow morning we'll head back to the hospital to get her pictures done and then they'll release her around 3:00ish. We'll sign one more set of papers and then we're on our way.

Now, let the next part of the journey begin...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

There goes our Christmas Taco’s

We know that this is a lot of detail.. so forgive us if we ramble. Our belief is, “the more information, the better.” I know that we’ve talked to a handful of you and have been giving you the status update as we’ve received them, during our 5 hour trip up north. Lets start from the very beginning… a very good place to start (okay, okay… I know. Sound Of Music references are not needed).

Doe, a deer, a female deer. (sorry, couldn’t help it)

A couple days ago, we learned that our birthmother wanted to move the date they scheduled to induce – from the 24th to the 26th. She didn’t want her, or the baby, to spend Christmas in the hospital, which we fully understood and agreed with. With that being said, Chris and I realized that our holiday plans would change. We originally thought we’d spend it in a hotel up north waiting on the call to pick her up. So we decided to spend it low-key, getting some of the final details of the nursery set up.

We spent Christmas Eve picking up the dresser/changer, having lunch with Mark and our nephew Mason, and we did a bit of grocery shopping – we decided we were going to have “Christmas Tacos” and were quite excited to do so. We bought all the fix’ns including Spanish rice and refried beans. After arriving back at our house we quickly unpacked the vehicle and then we were off to have Christmas Eve dinner with our close friend Fred.

We got home about 9pm and Chris wanted to bring the 200 pound dresser upstairs. I begged and whined not to, “we can get this tomorrow. We have the ENTIRE day to do this.” Chris won that battle and we lugged that sucker upstairs and got it situated in her room. All in all, it took about an hour but I was actually glad we got it done. Her room looks amazing.

So… about 30 minutes later, our birth mother realized she was having some contractions and headed to the hospital. (We didn’t even know.)

At 5:30am she had Kensington. At 5:47am we received the text message “Merry Christmas. She's here. She's beautiful and healthy."

Here is the crazy part… Chris and I slept in this morning since we didn’t have any plans. Duncan and Gossip, Chris and I, all snuggled in our places on the bed. Throughout the morning, you could hear the phones vibrating from text messages. Our thoughts were, we’re getting holiday greetings and can answer them when we get up. No rush.

When it was time to let Duncan out, Chris looked at his phone and scrolled through the messages. He came across our bio-mom’s message. He showed it to me. “Awe… that’s cute. Who’s it from?”, I say to him… (come one people.. no coffee yet. You have to understand). Two seconds later, I realize. “Oh Crap – get in the shower now!” Chris sent out a text message to let the birth parents know that we were excited and that we hope they are doing well. We got a message back, “6lbs, 6oz”.

Even though we were completely packed, it took over an hour to get things ready. We called Barb, our wonderful social worker who, not only congratulated us, but invited us to her home for Christmas dinner since we’d be up in the area.

We were on the road by noon. Thank God I saw a sign on Dunkin Donuts drive thru window this week saying that they were open today. Coffee was DEFINITELY needed!

While we were there, we ran into the Stagg’s (two of the most amazing people we know) getting their morning cup of Joe, as well, and were able to share the news with them. Karen finally got the name out of us J. Then we were officially off to upstate NY.

Our plans were to get up to the area to beat any bad weather that would be coming this way. The birth parents’ plans were set that once they were being discharged from the hospital, they’d call Barb and Barb would call us. Oh, how things change (and we were told that 80% of the birth plans do change). We got a call from our birth mom around 2:30 letting us know that things were going well and asked us if we wanted to come to the hospital. Do we want to come to the hospital?!?!?! You bet we do!

Flowers? Balloons? Chocolates? We have to bring her something, but EVERYTHING is closed on Christmas and I will not be stopping at a truck stop to get our baby’s momma a gift. No problem… we’re staying at a casino. They have to have a gift shop open and they did. We bought her a beautiful arrangement of tulips and lilies and got Barb some truffles (and I got a pistachio muffin as well). We called them at the hospital and were told that around 6 o’clock would be great. We ate at one of the many food venues in the casino and then headed to the hospital.

Once there, we spent about an hour talking with the bio parents… both looked exhausted, but in good spirits. Then one of her prenatal nurses came in on her day off because she heard that she went into labor and wanted to say congratulations. She came in and knew exactly who we were and told us all congratulations. She then went on to tell the bio-mom how proud she is of her, and how mature she is for giving us the best gift ever. She explained that in her line of work, she sees the same situation that our birth parents were in and that it is uplifting to see such a match being made. At this time, our birth mom and dad presented us with two gifts.

1) a pewter coin that her aunt gave the baby, on one side it’s a cross with a heart in the middle, on the other, “You are loved because he first loved you – John 4:19”

2) a beautiful baby ring. Our bio mom’s sister is getting married and had their grandmother’s wedding ring reset into an engagement and wedding set. They took one of the stones from that ring and had a ring made for Kensington.

The exchange of the gifts brought tears to everyone’s eyes. As we were wiping them away, a nurse came in with Kensington, who was asleep. We were told that we needed to wake her in the next 20 minutes to give her a bottle, and that her hearing test was spot on so they wouldn’t have to do another one tomorrow. It took us about an hour to get her up. She was perfectly asleep. She’d lift one eye, look around, and go back to sleep. The nurse told us to undress her (babies don’t like to be naked) and to rub her back (they hate that). And so we did. Kensi likes to be semi-naked and loves her back being rubbed. She started to smile and would stretch-out as we did it. We couldn’t stop laughing so the nurses came in and tried to wake her up. It worked (for a moment) and we were able to get about an ounce in her. Another nurse came in and explained that when quick deliveries happen, the baby’s don’t often eat that much in the first 24 hours.

We got her dressed and bundled up, and could see that our bio-parents were tired so we wished them well, thanked them for EVERYTHING, and told them that we’d be in contact shortly. Our bio-mom’s original plan was to stay in the hospital as long as possible (48-72 hours). She’s now planning on leaving tomorrow so she can rest in her own space. The agency will come in and do the paperwork with them, then when they are discharged, we’ll come in after and sign our part. The baby will stay in the hospital until Saturday (48 hours) and we’ll go back and sign the baby’s discharge papers with the agency. We also have to watch a couple of videos, mandated by the state, about SIDs, Shaken baby syndrome, etc.

Very exciting day, if I do say so myself! :) Love you guys and forgive us if we ramble on with typos etc. We just wanted to get something up for everyone.

We have a Christmas Baby!

Chris and I decided to sleep in today and around 10:30 Chris reached for his iPhone to find a message from our birth mom. "Merry Christmas. She's here. She's beautiful and healthy." We jumped out of bed to learn that our little "Kensington Grace" is 6lbs, 6oz... and now we're running out the door! I'll update this later tonight once we get to the hotel.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Times Up!

Well... today has come and gone, and "baby girl" has decided that it's not her time to come out, just yet. Our birth mother has asked her doctor not to induce until Friday so she won't have to spend the holidays in the hospital - and we totally understand!!!

Looking forward to updating you all on the news as soon as we hear. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

~ Paul & Chris

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lord, it's like a hard candy christmas...

Today wasn't the way I wanted to end my last 'official' day of work and start my paternity leave. As I pulled out of my road, I couldn't turn right onto the main street because our maintenance department had shut off the road because they were laying new culvert pipes (you got to give them credit... it was 7 a.m. and their day had already started). I was diverted to go around to the other side of the mountain to leave the community. No biggie. Only a 5-7 minute detour (just wait... the story gets better). Once I got out of the community, I came upon a wreck. A maroon mini-van had slammed into a silver Chrysler. I was driving slow as I saw the mother of the mini-van extract her stroller out of the back seat to bring it to her mothers (I'm guessing here) car. The police officer who was standing in the road - wearing bright orange - gets me to detour again. This took me about 10 minutes out of the way. Then, as I turned on Route 209, the township was working on a bridge and had shut down one of the lanes. Yep... you guessed it. Another 15 minute delay.

To recap this part of my day: an additional 35 minutes in PA.

Once in NJ, I hit my emergency flashers as me (and all the cars around me) came around the corner at exit 16 to see an 18 wheeler that over-turned. One lane open and 30 minutes to go the 1 mile past the accident. No sooner am I at the accident do I see a puff of black smoke up ahead of me... The fire department, EMS and police leave scene 1 to head to scene 2. A white van hit another car and the van caught on fire.

To recap this part of my day: an additional 65 minutes in NJ. 3hrs 40min to get to work. Ugh.

[work was work... except I just found out that my nutty co-workers swiped my camera when I wasn't looking and took photos of the storage room, offices, conference rooms, parking lot, name plates, etc so I wouldn't forget them over the next couple of weeks - I'm just saying, if they have this much time on their hands, they BETTER make goal]

On my way home, I was planning on stopping at Babies R Us to pick up a glider chair. Traffic is horrible so I call my co-workers to tell them to avoid Route 80. 45 minutes later I'm at my destination. There was another car fire in the parking lot in front of Lowe's in the shopping center (please tell me these are not signs of the Apocalypse). Once I got into the store, finding an associate to help me was going to become more difficult than getting into work this morning. Four guys were in the corner of the store throwing around a ball. They then saw me in the furniture department and decided to take their little game into the stockroom (umm... hello. I need help here). So I waited a few minutes and none of them came out. Nothing. Nadda. So I got to the front of the store and ask them to page someone.

Finally Collin comes out. I show him the glider chair I want and get a "It's out of stock, but I can order one for you". I go to option number 2 and get, "It's out of stock, but I can order one for you". Okay... lets try door number 3 - "It's out of stock, but I can order one for you". Now I'm looking around for the candid camera that HAS to be focusing in on me. "Can you tell me what chairs you do have in stock?" "Well, we don't have anything in. These are our displays but we can get one here in 7-10 days if you'd like" As I tell him no thanks, he informs me that he can check in the system of the other stores and see what they have. He tells me they have the one I want in East Hanover. Great. "Can you just call them and ask them to hold it for me, please." I'm glad I asked this because the system showed an error. East Hanover was also out of the glider, as was was Totowa and Whitehall stores, but after 40 minutes of calling the stores and being put on hold while they checked their storage rooms, he found one at Bridgewater. Out of that store and on to Route 206 I go.

To recap this part of my day: 45 minute delay to get to the store and 1 hour in Babies R Us and I walk out with nothing - and heading 30 miles in the opposite direction of home.

I get to Bridgewater 50 minutes later and at the exit I need, another wreck. OMG!

I finally get onto the store and finding help in this location is going to be just as bad as in the other store. The store manager comes by and I tell him (as I'm standing in front of the glider model), "I have this chair on hold. Your Flanders store called in about an hour ago." 10 minutes later, Dan comes out of the stockroom with a box. "here you go sir". "I just want to confirm that it's the espresso wood chair with the cream fabric." "Yes sir it is." I go to the front to check out and am told that the coupon that I have isn't valid until tomorrow. Thank God Dan is still there and sees that I'm about to lose it and gives me the discount. (Thanks, Dan)

Glider is in the car and I make 2 quick stops: Home Depot for a curtain rod and a light dimmer and to Macy's for a humidifier. No humidifiers at Macy's and I only pick of the light dimmer at Home Depot. Okay... I'll stop at Wal-Mart of the way home to get a rod.

It's now 9:30 pm and I'm finally headed home. I'll be home by 11 :(

I'm listening to Derek and Romaine on SiruisXM and I'm tired and cranky. Then, something amazing happens. My friends end their show with a sing-a-long. A huge smile begins to form on my face when I think, all around America there are tens of thousand of us in the LGBT world in our cars or at home singing MY FAVORITE Christmas song. Come and sing along with me:

Hey, maybe I'll dye my hair. Maybe I'll move somewhere. Maybe I'll get a car. Maybe I'll drive so far. They'll all lose track (but) Me, I'll be just...

Fine and Dandy. Lord it's like a hard candy christmas. I'm barely getting through tomorrow. But still I won't let, Sorrow bring me way down.

[Btw, I get home and find out that they gave me the wrong glider... but you know what? I'll be just "Fine and Dandy"!]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On again, Off again...

Chris and I came across the cutest little website - www.wrybaby.com.
We can use these to avoid late-night misunderstandings. hahahaha

Calling All Dads...

Chris and I wanted to let you know about a wonderful book giveaway at bookdads.com
They are offering an opportunity to win a copy of A Day With My Dad At The Beach by Lance Waite. The book is about a little girl who gets to spend time at the beach with her father. It's a delightful rhyming book about enjoying togetherness between fathers and children. Please check it out and put in a submission for their contest. The contest ends on Wednesday, December 31st and they will announce the winner the following Day. Good Luck!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Postings

Hey everyone... sorry for the delay. I've updated the blog with information from the past couple of days (well, since Dec 2). As you are all aware, things have been a little hectic here. Just keep on scrolling down :)

Hope you all enjoy!

~ Paul

The crib is complete... for the moment.

Now we just need to pick up the dresser/changer this week.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

That baby has one heavy head!

Not ours! (just didn't want you to assume that she's been born yet)

Have you ever played wii for hours at a time? Oh, I'm not talking about just any wii game... I'm talking about wii sports - track and field. 100m dash. I'm talking about table tennis. Wii Playground's tether ball and dodge ball. Oh yeah... you know what I mean. Swinging your arm at full force to beat your opponent. When your done, nothing. no pain. nothing out of the ordinary. you go to bed and you wake up. everything is fine and dandy... but you go to pick up your toothbrush and then you realize. yep. you've got...You know the feeling. It hurts so bad that you have to call in sick to work the next day. Yep... you got it bad. Take that feeling and multiply it times 10.

That's what you get when you hold your nephew in your arms for 20 minutes without a boppy. Mason's head rested on my arm while he feel asleep. It rested on a muscle that I never knew existed. my arm went dead. no, seriously... dead. Episode of Fox's HOUSE, where they diagnose some wierd medical disease kinda-dead. I was the biggest wuss! For a good 2 hours after he left my arms, I couldn't move mine.

Folks... this doesn't look good for me!

Aww... you shouldn't have (but we're happy you did!)

Cathy, Diane and Mary Cay... you're the best.

These three wonderful women threw us a shower in NJ today. Do you see the look of sheer surprise on my face???? lmao.

As I've said before, and I will say again... Chris and I truly have the best set of friends around.
Okay.. there are a couple pics that I need to share: What is up with scary cardboard baby?!?!

You GOT TO love the diaper cake!

And the real cake:

And then there was the gift that brought on tears:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Surprise!!!! (No, really) Surprise!!!

Today, Chris and I got up at the crack of dawn to get ready for a board meeting - getting only about 5 hours worth of sleep was difficult (but I'm told we need to get used to it - ugh!).

Having no urge to sit through a 5 hour meeting, I ended up leaving after our first 1 1/2 hr working committee session and decided to leave Chris there to suffer (but in the good "i wanna give back to the community" type of suffering).

So I headed home, threw a load of laundry in the washer, a load of dishes in the dishwasher, and took out three loads of garbage to the community compactors. We had two messages on the machine, one being Fred, who asked if I could go to the cemetery today to help him lay a wreath on Colleen's grave. I called Fred and he asked if I would be available around 12:45 to head down the street and I told him I would be more than happy to go with him to visit Colleen and help him lay the holiday wreath down. He then said that because of the winter weather, he's been stuck in the house for the past several days and would love to go out to lunch at our restaurant, and that he was craving stuffed pork chops - and after he mentioned them I too started craving them.

So, at 12:45 I showed up at Fred's house and we headed down the road. We were at the site less than 5 minutes and then headed back to the community and he suggested that we just ride to restaurant together instead of me picking up the truck and driving separately. Once we got to the Top Of The World, I headed straight to the bathroom to wash up (The pins that I used to hold the wreath down to the ground had been sitting in the back of the truck's cab and were rusted and I had that yellow-orangish crap all over me). After washing up, I headed around the corner into the dining room to see approx 30 ladies (and their husbands along the side) sitting in the back yelling "surprise!!!". I guess it's the pregnancy hormones (or the fact that I'm fabulously gay) but I started to choke up and cry. There were gifts, food, cake, balloons, and pink-crap galore and I received more hugs that I knew what to do with.

Chris, 30 seconds later, walks in to another round of "Surprise"[we were supposed to walk in together, but they didn't plan on me leaving the board meeting early and when I did, Kathi called up Fred and he called to get "plan B" in motion]. The ladies had tons of games planned as well as tons of food (and wine) and I couldn't believe the amazing support system that we had in place. These wonderful women - mothers/aunts/grandmothers, etc - got together before their own "Women's Club" holiday party to help us celebrate the little ones arrival.

I can not tell you the amount of items we received - and not only did we show off every item, but we also had to announce the items to help the ladies in their baby shower "Gift BINGO" game that they were playing. The little one has a new outfit for every day of her first 365 days she's here. In addition to the clothing, we received a car seat and the additional cradle for the car, a high chair, hand-made crocheted blankets, scrapbooks and frames, musical mobiles, boopies, dolls, playpen, garden gyms, diapers and wipes, laundry hampers and gift cards... the list really does go on and on. Currently, Duncan (dog) and Gossip (cat) have no place to walk in the living room as we have 8 huge boxes of items taking up floor space (come on people, I'm too tired to carry this stuff to the nursery). In addition to the amazing items our community gave us today, FedEx and UPS delivered our diaper bad and changing pads (Thanks Melanie and Pete!) , additional wipes (no name on the packing slip), a cute sleeper, sleep sacks and onesies (Thanks Cupcake-Bill).

The one thing we continue to tell our NJ and TX friends is the love we have for our community and the friends we have made here. Never in a hundred years would we expect the amount of love and support for the people here when we first selected to build our home in PA. We are truly, truly blessed to have the friends and the relationships that we have!

The only complaint of the day... no stuffed pork chops (thanks for getting my hopes and my appetite up, Fred!) hahahaha.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Today Chris and I drove back up to New York to visit with our bio-parents. The drive took much longer than expected because of the winter weather that hit. Silly me... I took the word of our weather man that said the storm would pass and only leave us with rain - not the snow and sleet that actually came.

On the way up, Chris and I finalized the baby's name. We had the first name down, but ended up toying with middle names for about 5 hours and found one that we both agreed on. Thank God that's over with!!!

Once we arrive in their town, we called to let them know that we were down the road and they met us outside and we headed to Denny's (which, BTW, they have FANTASTIC new pancake puppies... like hush puppies, but battered and sprinkled with yummy goodness!)

When our birth monther got into the car, she had a pillow for Duncan... something our vet asked that they provide - a blanket, pillow, old shirt... something with Sara's scent on it so Duncan could get used to it and help him adjust to the baby. She also had a memory box that we'd talked about decorating together. She opened the box and took out a small rabbit. It was her childhood toy that her mother had made for her. She asked us if we could put it in the baby's nursery. The funny thing is, the theme of our nursery, How To Hug A Porcupine, has a similiar white rabbit in it.

We got to Denny's and she took out her journal and turned to her page that had two questions written in pencil... oh God, I think I know where this is going.

"So, what are your thoughts on a post-adoption agreement?" I choked on my pancake-puppie.
This was the question we'd been waiting on... but assumed that the lawyers were going to handle it - and the tried... they really did, but when they initiated the conversation, she wasn't ready for it, and we totally understood the time that she'd need.

Recent changes in New York law have brought about a lot of challenges for everyone affected by adoption. In a nutshell, one of the new laws states that in a New York agency adoption, if there is an agreement between the adoptive family and birth family to stay in contact after the placement of the baby, that is to be legally binding, and this agreement must be approved by the court.

Chris took the lead in the conversation and we came up with an agreement that benefited all 5 of us. The agency requires pictures once a year... the relationship that we've created clearly goes beyond what many couple go through, and we told them we'd do them quarterly for the first two years and then, we'd meet to discuss where we're all at emotionally and physically. The same with face-to-face visits... we'd agree on twice a year (and hope that her friends and sister would come as well) for the first two years - the first meeting being at Friends In Adoption annual family picnic - After two years, we'd discuss and agree on future visits and the frequency of them. In addition, if our bio-parents ever want an update, all they have to do is ask.

That... was the easy question. Next came:

"So, have you two thought of a name?"

Oh My God... do we tell them? What if they HATE it!??!? What if they have something in mind - that we HATE?!?!?

"If you haven't... it's okay. We can come up with something... but if you had something in mind, that's fine too." Chris and I look at each other. "Well, it's funny you bring that up. It's something that we've talked about since you two chose us. We couldn't agree on anything until really today. On the way up here. We'd really like to name her xxxxx xxxxx. The name, for us, means xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Do you like? [beads of sweat start to trickle down my forehead]

"Oh... I do. That's one of the things we talked about - selecting a name with a meaning."

"Waitress... Check, please" before any other questions could come up :)

We headed to a small scrapbooking store close to her house to work on the memory box, but as we pulled up we saw the "For Rent" sign that hung on the front door.

So, we headed to Michaels about 20 minutes away. Once we got in, Chris talked to the manager and told him our situation... and he offered up his training room to the four of us. We wlaked up and down the aisles picking up papers and embellishments, ribbons and buttons, wood forms and stencils. We had a blast picking out items... not only did we buy supplies of the memory box and our scarbook pages today, but we made sure she had the supplies to do future pages for pictures that we send them. The employees at Micheals could not have been more helpful. We used their scissors and cutting boards, we went into their training box and took out the tools that we needs... and we able to have a fun experience and helped the four of us bond.

Below you'll see our layouts. The blue boxed will be replaced with pictures (they'r just a place holder).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lions and tigers and diapers... oh my!

I know I posted on my coworkers in the past, and said that they are all nut jobs. I still stand by that comment... but they are nut jobs with HUGE hearts.

Today we had our monthly staff meeting, followed by our Secret Snowflake party. I ended staying up until 2:30 last night working on Jackie's gift (if you want the back story, continue reading... if not, fast forward to the black text below)

[A couple of us went to Jackie's house back in September during lunch time and as we were leaving, I hijacked one of her lawn ornaments - a ceramic frog. At first, we were just going to put the frog in the safe at work, and when Jackie would go into it - hahahaha... her frog would be there. But then we thought... how can we keep with joke for as long as possible? I know... why don't we take pictures of the frog all around town doing different things. Oh... better yet, why don't we take the frog to Fire Island with us and get picture of it there. And so we did. Pictures of the frog on the Suffolk County police boat, on a pool table, kissing the deer... we had a blast the entire weekend with it. The fun didn't stop there. It ended up going to Indianapolis, Albany, NYC, New Hope, the Poconos... as many places as we would possibly take it until on October 30th, Teresa and Kate (yes ladies, I blame you both, broke the frog). In order to keep the joke going even longer, we snuck back over to Jackie's house and kidnapped the second frog - side, side story - we actually went to the wrong house on her street and ended up crawling on our hands and knees looking for the frog. Then, we went on their neighbors back deck and I ended up running into a tree as we snuck back to the truck to leave empty handed... it was only as we drove away did we see the correct house we were supposed to be at and ended up laughing so hard I almost wet myself. To wrap that story up, we went to the house and grabbed froggy II.
How we were going to let Jackie know was to put a scrapbook together of the 300+ pictures of the frog and give it to Jackie at the holiday party. To make the plan work, I had to volunteer to put the Secret Snowflake gathering together to ensure that one of us had Jackie as our gift's receiver. One of the 'rules' of the gift giving festivities was that the gift had to coordinate with the receivers name (i.e., If your name is Debbie Downer, you could receive Dunkin Donuts coffee and mug, or a Drama on DVD. You get the gist) Jackie's initials are J.W., so I ended up doing the cover with "Freddy the Frogs Jounrney around the World to find his was home. I came up with a corny storyline about the frog being kidnapped and having to take odd jobs to buy a plane ticket to get home. Teresa got some great pics of the frog at the airport, and almost had her camera confiscated at Newark due to the fact that she was taking pictures in a secured location. Below you find a couple of the pages that I did... all in all, I was pretty impressed with the job I did. I used the Artemia by After Five Designs Freebies and quick pages.

After the holiday party, I went back to my office and continued to work. Then my coworkers started acting strange (again). They would walk back-and-forth by my office and just give me a look. Then Cindy came in and asked if I could help her with the goal setting sheet... and when I asked 'with what part', she responded with "just come to my desk and you'll see". I knew right then and there that they were up to something and then I was escorted to the board room.
The entire crew (minus Dan because he's a boy and boys don't do showers) was there, including Megan who left us a couple of weeks ago and Carol who is still on her maternity leave. They all went above and beyond... clothing, tubs, blankets, drying station, sleeping sacks, taggies, and butt paste galore (which brought on another conversation about our outing at Fire Island). We also got our "entertain me" set, blankets, gift cards, Dora the Explorer movie and the cutest darn bibs ever!
Chris and I can not thank you all enough! We can't wait for you to baby sit.