Friday, January 30, 2009

Now, calling all gay dads...

Are you a gay dad? Would you be willing to answer some confidential questions about your life and about your family? Let's help Samantha Tornello, Grad Student @ University of Virginia, out!

The purpose of this study is to examine the many ways families headed by gay fathers have been created, explore how families function, and learn about the relationship between partners. The study consists of an online survey and will take approximately 25- 35 minutes of your time.

To qualify for the study you have to identify as male, a father, and gay, bisexual or homosexual and have at least one child of any age; this child can be biological, adopted, foster, step, or other child. You do not need to be the child's legal parent to participate. This study has been approved by the University of Virginia IRB #2008-0407-00. Samatha is working with Dr. Charlotte J. Patterson who is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. If you and/or your partner are interested in participating or want further information please contact Samantha L. Tornello (Principal Investigator) via email She will send you a web link that you can use to access the study.

It's a miracle...

No, we didn't see the face of the Virgin Mary in our asiago bagel this morning, one of our Sid Dickens didn't weep throughout the night, nor did Pope Benedict XVI quietly canonize Princess Diana without the press getting wind of it... it happens to be - drum roll please - Kensington slept a whole eight hours last night! [Thanks Steven and Grant - just the recommendation of the book yesterday got her to sleep throughout the night :) ] Hallelujah!

Chris, Kensington and I spent last Saturday and Sunday away from home... yes, it was our first official weekend get-a-way [we're not counting being sequestered like contestants from Big Brother in a hotel or a beach house waiting for clearances]

We spent Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday morning at Aunt Cathy and Uncle Kyle's house. Chris and Kyle did "manly" chores (hung light fixtures, ate fiberglass, made numerous trips to Lowe's and Home Depot, etc.), while Cathy, Kensi and I stayed behind and had bath time and Cathy was nice enough to allow me to take a nap while the Miss America pageant was on (Miss. Georgia got ROBBED!). As we've said before, Kensington - like many infants - doesn't enjoy bath time - and the pictures show Aunt Kathy just how much she appreciated all of her efforts.
[double click photos for a better view... sorry, had to split it up to 2 pics because Blogger wasn't letting me upload all day]
In addition to bath time, Saturday was the first time we had to call the doctor for advice. You see, On Thursday when we saw him, we told him she hadn't gone poop in almost 24 hours. He said to give her a little Karo syrup in her formula and it should take care of that. Should being the key word there. So we get home and give her syrup and wait. Friday comes and we give her a tablespoon more. Nothing. Saturday morning again... nothing. So when we got to C/K's, I call the doctors office an got the answering services. Within 10 minutes, I got a call from the pediatrician on call - whom I've never met or talked to. In her very deep foreign accent I get, "Is this your first child?" "Um... I'm not trying to be neurotic. Your office told me on Thursday to give a teaspoon of syrup and it should take care of it. We did that and it's now 48 hours since we've been to your office and she still hasn't gone #2 (roar in the background because I said "#2" instead of having a bowel movement). "Give her two ounces of pear juice with 2 ounces of water. That will clear her up." Great! I get off the phone and tell Chris to run to the store to get pear juice. Cathy then questions, "Do you mean prune juice?" Umm... the doctors accent was pretty thick and hard to understand. "Better get both". When Chris and Kyle left, we checked and found out that it was indeed pear juice, and formula babies can go 4-5 days without going "#2" before you should worry. But the site told us of a massage technique that could help the baby... so we did that for three minutes and the great explosion of 2009 occurred. From both ends. Pear OR Prune juice were no longer needed :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Calling all LGBT Families...

Is yours?

I wanted to take this opportunity to showcase, founded by our friends Steven and Grant (yes, I can call them friends. Not only are they good ol' boys from Texas, but they just informed us of the book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth. Anyone that is trying to help us sleep... you're not only our new best friends, you're invited to our next open house).

In searching for items a non-traditional family with traditional needs would use, the two determined that GLBT families were underserved when it comes to products that appeal specifically to them. “If there are so many of us having babies now with this ‘Gayby Boom’ phenomenon, where are the products that serve our community?” Grant, a business travel management consultant, asks. “It’s curious to look around and realize that, although there might be so many of us having babies now in the gay community, there are very few products to support us.” Their Pride Family Flag can, and will, connect GLBT families everywhere, honor their relationships, and show their pride to the world.

In addition to the Pride Family Flag, the site also has tons of other items. Pride Families specializes in unique designs for LGBT, Alternative, Adoptive & other kinds of loving families. Kids with two dads or two moms can show their pride with slogans such a "My Dads Rock", "I Love My Mommies", "It's Daddies PLURAL", and "Every Family Matters". Please go check them out and show off your pride. Thanks Steven, Frant and Cleo!!

I also received a special request... seems like Mazha and Fazha were a little upset that only Kensington was sporting an Obama icon, so I created this just for them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our bright-eyed girl...

Feed me, Seymour...

Feed me all night long'... Cause if you feed me, Seymour - I can grow up big and strong!

Kensi is now eating more, (okay... more like drinking) and more each day. Way To Go! Chris and I received an Enfamil "Mastering Mealtime" book in the mail yesterday that stated a newborn, average weight of 7lbs at birth, should be eating 2-3 oz every 2-3 hours. Trust me when I say I think she knows it, too. She's eating on average, 4 oz at a time (which, we've checked with her Dr. and he say's it's perfectly fine).

Chris and I will be switching Kensi from Similac, back to Enfamil LIPIL, based on the doctors recommendation. She takes both formulas well, but with Similac, our little chickpea is the gassiest little thing ever (which we were told is one of the side effects of Similac). We decided that it would be better for the environment if less gas were released into the ozone, so as soon as the container of Similac is done, the switch will be made.

While we're on the topic of what's good for the environment, I'd like to make a plea to President Obama. I know on your Agenda page, it lays out your civil rights agenda, which includes broad support for the LGBT community, including the expansion of Adoption Rights. I've already given you Kudo's for that and will again, once more. But... here's the thing. You need to offer the "Gays" a large tax incentive to adopt, which will in turn, will help the environment. Stay with me on this one and I'll explain.

We've had Kensington for over a month now, and Chris and I have both lessened our carbon-footprint on the earth. According to Water Wasters & Pollution, the average person WASTE an average of 1 gallon of water every time they brush their teeth. We don't have time to brush our teeth any more, so we... in one month, have saved over 120 gallons of water. The same site concludes that you waste 2 gallons of water every minute in the shower. The gays like to be clean and on average would take at minimum, a 15 minute shower to clean and groom, every morning before work (It's so much easier for me to shave in the shower than standing at the sink. The steam softens the hairs and causes less cuts). 60 Gallons of water a day, per gay household, times 6 times a week (on the 7th day, we rest) is 360 gallons of water. Take into account that on Friday nights, you take an additional shower pre-club and you save on average 1680 per month.

The average toilet flush is 5 gallons of water. Seeing that I don't stop at Dunkin Donuts twice a day for an extra large coffee, I don't get a diet coke at our 9:45a.m. grease truck drive by, I'm not eating out at lunch and I don't stop to get my extra large Sweet Tea from McD's, I only need to use the bathroom 3 times a day versus my pre-Kensi 7 times a day. That's 140 gallons saved per week, 560 gallons per month. If you're adding along with me Barack, so far this household alone has saved 2240 gallons since Christmas.

The gays like to have a clean car, and on average, run our vehicles through the touch less car wash 45 times a year (this accounts for more in the winter with the salt and snow, and less in the summer time when it's parked in a lot when we're all hanging out on Fire Island or P'Town). So... 150 gallons of water times 2 cars, times 45 washes is 13,500 gallons a year / 1125 gallons a month. Chris and I have, to date, saved 3365 gallons of water (and will save 40,380 gallons in a year)
Gas... being that I'm on leave until April, I haven't used much gas, but have saved TONS. I work 69 miles from home, and drive a Dodge Nitro that gets 23 miles to the gallon, so I go through 6 gallons a day of gas just round trip, 30 gallons a week, 120 gallons a month. Now... with my job, I travel throughout the division, and on average, would have a $300 mileage reimbursement a month (576 miles of travel). That's an additional 25 gallons of gas a month, bringing my total to 145 gallons of gas saved per month, 435 gallons of gas saved while on leave.

Cleaners. Let's just say we haven't used any cleaners in a month. No Ajax, Windex, Draino, tile cleaner, toilet scrubby stuff, 409, etc. I don't know how to formulate how much this has saved the environment, but I know it has. Trust.

Chris and I have not visited Brooks Brothers, Armani, Banana, AX, Calvin Klein, Diesel, etc... in over a month. Due to our lack of investments in them, I'm sure we've put one child labourer in a third world country out of a job... and if more gays adopt, factories across the globe that have little or no environmental regulation would have to shut down, exposing us to less harmful fumes.

It is estimated that approximately ten percent of the U.S. population or 25 million people are homosexual. Of that, lets say 1/2 are men - so we have 12.5 million gay and out men in the US.

Of that 12.5 million "out" number, 7 million are between the ages of 27-42, the range that most people in the US now adopt or have children. Of that 7 million, there would be, roughly 2 million gay couples that have been in a relationship over 12 months and thus would even consider having children. If those 2 million gay couples adopted a baby, in the US, we would save 80,000,000,000 gallons of water a year and up to 870,000,000 gallons of gas JUST while on paternity leave. I think a huge tax-credit is needed to save the environment! whatcha think'n, Barack? Enquiring minds wanna know.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My... how time flies.

We've had a very busy weekend which will give us several days of blogging material - our first weekend retreat, finding out who crocheted the pink/white afghan, Paul's first "official" nap, Kensi's second doctor visit, prep-work for our Creative Memories event this upcoming weekend, the finalization of her 'official' birth announcement (meaning, a non-blog version... yes, we're going snail mail), our first of three post-adoption home study meetings, the great 'explosion' of 2009, and so much more.

We have reached another milestone in the adoption process and would like to share with you some of our thoughts (especially for those of you in this process - whether you are adopting or opting to adopt).
Fear: fear is the uncertainty, the unknown, the 'will they pick us', the 'what if they change their minds', the 'what if everything goes wrong'. Courage: courage is being able to get to the other side of fear. If there is one thing we have learned in this, it would be… you must trust. In the adoption process there is a time when the bio parents can opt to parent instead of adoption. This period of time varies by state, but is something everyone goes through.
For us, yesterday was the day. While we have been in ongoing communication with Kensi’s bioparents, we've felt very comfortable that this day will come and go. But still... you hold your breath a little, that is fear. I look at it similar to a graduation... you know you're going to graduate. The date is set. Invitations sent out and your guests have arrived. You have your cap & gown on... and yet, you're still a little nervous. Is this going to happen? Can the plan change? In 99% of instances... you graduate, as planned, and move forward. But on that rare occasion, the paper work comes back and you're shy a couple credits, and thus, won't be walking across the stage. Well, last night Chris and I graduated without any issues.

So. with that being said, we'd like to address our birth parents for the first time, via our blog.

S & S –
You decided that we are the right couple to parent your
child, and we are forever grateful to you (more than words could ever say) for giving us the opportunity to be a family. Please know in your hearts that Kensington will always have the best of everything that she could ever ask for: emotionally, spiritually, financially and academically. We will teach her love - respect for herself and respect for others. We will teach her how to laugh. We will take her to the shore and teach her how to make sandcastles and where to buy the best saltwater taffy on the east coast. We will teach her how to dance and sing just because it feels good. We will teach her anything and everything we possibly can and know that everyday she will be teaching us too. We will show her the world - literally. She will travel around the globe, because reading about a place or looking at its pictures is an unfortunate substitute to actually getting there and feeling the pulse of the place and absorbing its culture.
She will receive plenty of hugs and kisses and a family who reminds her everyday what a truly special blessing she is and how many people love her.
We are committed to offering Kensi a life of unconditional love and constant nurturing. We believe that she should always know and feel your love and we will do everything we can to make sure of that.

Always in our hearts – Paul & Chris

P.S. To Kensi’s extended biofamily and friends (of which many are reading the blog), thank you for sharing in this experience with us. Peace & Love.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kensington had her second doctors visit this past week. She now weighs (drum roll, please) 8lbs, 4oz... and is 21 inches long. There are a couple 0-3 month outfits that she's been able to fit into, but many of them are still a little large on her.

Rainbows and Smiles quick page by Sara Ellis.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What an exciting night...

Kensington is a little pooped out at the moment... last night she attended 8 of the 10 inaugural balls with the first couple and was up way past her bedtime :)

I found out that, the official site of the President, was updated to reflect the changeover from President George W. Bush to President Barack Obama within a few minutes of yesterdays inauguration. On the Agenda page, it lays out Obama's civil rights agenda, which includes broad support for the LGBT community, including the expansion of Adoption Rights. President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not. Right on!

(oh... what's that below? Another post from today? Wow)

T H A N K y o u...

Kensington has had an amazing birthday celebration that has continued on for weeks, which has kept us quite busy with the thank you notes (again, we're only 1/3 of the way through and I am determined to get at least 15 out today if it kills me).

This little angel has so many beautiful outfits... and we can not wait for her to grown into them. With the amount of formula she's taking in, she should fit into all of her newborn clothes within 2 weeks, and her 0-3 months shortly after that (one would think that 0 months would be the same as newborn.... but it isn't).

In yesterday's, Today... Life Is Beautiful!, post you will see a picture of Kensington in a little teddy bear swing that she received from her Uncle Mark and Auntie Aggie, who have been spoiling her to death - and she loves it!

We're still looking for the creator of this beautiful afghan....
Speaking of afghans, Kensi has received another beautiful one made by Marilyn O. that came with the funniest card ever. "This blanket is for Kensi. To keep her warm and cozy in her stroller or car seat. She is allowed to chew on it, spit up on it and even spill things on it. When she wants it clean again, just pop it into the washer on gentle and put it in the dryer on low and it will be like new again." Spoken like a true grandmother :) Thanks Marilyn and Don.
And while on the subject of funny cards, these leopard print slippers were sent courtesy of Auntie Jeff in Ohio (soon to be Auntie Jeff in New Jersey... right?!?!?). The card read, "Dearest Kensington, Welcome to the world! You're a season and a half behind on Gossip Girls - We have some work to do. Here's to the latest Diva in training. Lots of Love, You're old auntie Jeff" Okay... so I may have changed the way he signed the card. Jeff - stop sucking up to Kensington. She's not going to take you in when it's time to enter the nursing home. You're own your own, buddy! You get a 'A-' on creativity.

Adam gets the Gold Star award for creativity and talent. Not only did he create an amazing Adoption Portfolio, but he hand stitched the pillow cases that we posted on our Wednesday, December 17, On again, Off again... post. In addition to that, he made Kensington four beautiful onesies (A deer, birdie, angel and "Kensington" set), which you can tell by the picture below, she fell in love with.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

100th post - Change has come...

300 to be exact. Yes, We've hit our 300th diaper today! What a milestone :)

Speaking of stones...

Today... Life Is Beautiful!

Happy Inauguration Day!

With Barack Obama set to be inaugurated today as the nation's 44th president, the day figures to be one of the most-covered live events ever in television history. For Obama's swearing-in at noon, estimates put the potential worldwide audience in the billions.

With that being said, what can lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Americans expect from the new President of the United States?
Barack Obama is the most gay-friendly politician to lead America. During his campaign for the White House, the former Senator from Illinois spoke about his personal friendship with gay people.

"Michelle and I have been blessed with many openly gay and lesbian friends and colleagues whom we have been close to for many years," he revealed in a series of written answers to a gay newspaper. "While that fact has made the issue facing the LGBT community more personal, the fundamental reasons I have for supporting equality are greater than any individual."
President Obama (wow... I like the sound of that), we welcome you with open arms. But as my good friend in Michigan, Mike, has stated, we can not leave you alone to clean up the mess. As you take your oath today, I encourage everyone to please take one yourself -- to work harder than ever to end these wars, create universal health care, save our planet, end poverty, increase knowledge and establish a true government "of, by and for the people".

Today is a time for celebration and optimism and hope!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Monday...

We have had a busy few days behind us. Kensington met many of her aunties: Diane, Janice, Kevin & Nathan, Alyssa, Kevin & Carmen (yes... the famous HTHAP creator and author) as well as her Nonna Gionvanni. She also had the opportunity to spend more time with her cousin Mason, aunt Aggie & uncle Mark.

In the pictures it may seem like we span weeks, due to the different outfits Kensington is in… but it’s just not so. On Saturday alone, she went through 5 outfits. Yes.. count them. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. (okay... I have to stop spending so much time watching Baby Einstein). Kensi has this ongoing habit of tinkling every time we start to change her diaper. On a few occasions, she’ll squirm while peeing, which causes it to go everywhere, thus needing a wardrobe change. Just a change, not a malfunction.

We were finally able to take down all of the Christmas decorations and pack them back up in the attic. We've also completed about 1/3 of our thank you notes... so it's my goal to get another third of them done this week and to design her birth announcements. Again... it's a goal. :)

More to come on the adventures of Kensington Grace tomorrow…

Diane showing off Kensington's cow girl outfit from Mark and Aggie, along with the hat that Chris ended up going to 5 different Gymboree stores, in three states, to find.

Kevin and Nathan... upset that someone in the house weighs less than them.

We have a dilemma! Do you see the BEAUTIFUL pink and white afghan below? If you know the artisan who made this, please call or email us. Someone spent hours making this and brought it to our open house/reception in December without a tag on it. The person actually handed this to Chris and said, "I didn't put a tag on it", so we walked it to the nursery and placed it in her crib. He remembers the action... but for the life of him can not remember who handed it to him. Kensington love this and we'd like to thank you for it!

Carmen displaying the rough draft of Kensington's one-of-a-kind How To Hug A Porcupine artpiece that will go in her nursery, Kensi sleeping, Kevin and Alyssa.

Paul and Mason along with Janice and Kensi.

I picked up the scuffed and distressed frames from Anna Aspnes at designerdigitals

Friday, January 16, 2009

To Be... or Not To Be

Mazha Dearest,

Back in high school and college, you told me theatre was a waste of time and wouldn’t prepare me for anything in life. Let me tell you how wrong you actually were. I’ve been able to take the fine teachings of Pro, Doc, M’Liss, Strick, Vic, Jacque, and Faulds and it has helped me become a better parent. Let me take a few moments to make my point:

Lights: We have installed dimmers throughout the house to create the perfect ambiance for Kensington. During the day, the lights are set to the maximum level to encourage her body to realize that it’s daytime (which means small naps, but lots of activity – including her tummy time). At night, the levels are dropped. We also have motion-detector nightlights that illuminate the major hallways so when we’re up at 1 am, we can make it to the kitchen without walking into a wall or tripping over Gossip.

Make-up: Chris and I haven’t slept in days, but you would never be able to tell due to the amount of “yellow-mellow” we’ve used under our eyes. Also, we haven’t seen the light of day in three weeks, but I remembered that Max Factor liquid base is a versatile foundation that creates a natural finish that won′t streak, smudge, slip or transfer onto our clothes… unlike Kensington’s spit-up.

Box-Office: Sales, sales, sales. Mazha Dearest, the gift of the crib (which not only is loved by Kensington… but commented on and adored by EVERYONE) is like an appetizer. It’s the starter piece. We got the crib, you got pictures and photo albums. Now… if you actually want to see her in person, it’s gonna cost you a little bit more. Kensi would like a Grand Victorian Playhouse. Please click on the name to be directed to the place where you can purchase it. Thanks in advance.

Sound: Please see Thursday, January 15, 2009 posting… enough said.

Props: Having gone out a couple times, we’ve realized that we need to focus on our Prop-list for her diaper bag. One cannot get caught without the proper nipples for her bottles, additional binkies in case one falls and we’re not able to wash it, and the right suction bulb for her nose. We’ve learned to always check the list twice before going anywhere.

Set Design: We’ve used the right color combination in her nursery to create a calm and soothing environment. We’ve structure the layout of the room to enhance the mobility and functionality of the space provided. The pieces used have purpose & meaning and accent the room to leave one in awe when entering the room. The mulberry and HTHAP pieces have been woven seamlessly to complement and fashioned the necessity of the room.

Costume: While “premature” clothes may be to small, and newborn clothes too large, we’ve altered pieces to enhance her petite frame. We’ve also created and used a colour palette that compliments her skin tone and the hue of her eyes. To ensure continuity in style, we’ve assembled coordinating outfits, bibs, blankets and accessories in hatboxes to provide for easier access when preparing for the morning routine.

Choreography/Vocal: I have created an original dance number to my original song entitled, “It’s a warming up”, that is preformed at each bottle warming session. Within the coming weeks, the dance-mix version will be taped and posted on the blog… but the steps go a little something like: 5-6-7-8… Weight on right foot, stamp left foot down, take a few steps backwards, hop forward on one foot, Weight on left foot, stamp right foot down, etc.

Directing: We’ve become ‘those’ parents that are directing people to use Johnson & Johnson’s Purell hand-sanitizers before holder her, positioning her in the right angle when holding/feeding, etc. We’ve taught Kensington to emote when she’s in need of another bottle, and to move with purpose. We’ve also ensured that she’s positioned properly for each picture and have created an overall well-orchestrated environment where everything comes into play.

PR/Marketing: This blog has been viewed over 3800 times and in 16 different countries. Chris and I just added a map on the blog that will start tracking countries that are logging on. Keep an eye on it – it refreshes every 24 hours with the hits.

Acting: This whole thing is an act. She’s a perfect child that sleeps through the night and never cries. This blog was just created for an over dramatization on how hard parenting is. To tell you the truth, this parenting stuff is easy. [are any of you buying this? Okay… maybe I needed to work on my acting skills a little bit more]

Thanks Mazha & Fazha for all the support! We love you and appreciate all you do.
Outfit from Dave and Theresa, Blanket from MK and Kat. Thanks gang!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


[Kensington is napping, so time for a quick post]
Chris and I have found the routine that works... so for now, we're sticking to it. It goes a little something like this.

7:oo p.m. - Warm Bottle
7:02 p.m. - Take bottle and Kensington upstairs to her room. Turn dimmer light on low. Turn on humidifier.
7:03 p.m. - Put bottle next to glider, turn on her iPod. "Lullabies" play list. First song is All things are Bright and Beautiful, by Fisher-Price Rainforest Music.
7:04 p.m. - Place Kensington on changing table. Prepare diaper, Johnson's baby wipes and butt paste. Change.
7:06 p.m. - Spray a little saline and clean out her nose.
7:07 p.m. - Lavender Blue by Fisher-Price Rainforest Music is now playing in the back ground. Bring Kensington to glider. Feed her two ounces and then burp.
7:19 p.m. - Jewel of the Earth is now playing. Feed her remaining 1.5 ounces, then burp.
7:28 p.m. - Are You Sleeping begins to play. Rock Kensington with Carter's Plush Bear Security Blanket over her eyes.
7:32 p.m. - Bring her to her crib (thanks again Mazha and Fazha), and place her in her baby snuggle nest. Hover on the side of the bed to see if she makes a noise. Upon the Clouds is playing.
7:35 p.m. - Leave her room. I See The Moon starts.
[24 songs play, ending with Ingrid Michaelson's Morning Lullabies]

Repeat these steps again at 9 p.m., 11 p.m., 1 a.m., 3:30 a.m., 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

While reading Luca (and now Matteo) Has 2 Mommies , We came across the "Mom Song", which as you all know, can also be the "Dad" or the "Parent" song (lol), but I guess this gives us something to look forward to :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes... two post in one day. S U R P R I S E !

I had a couple of pictures in the camera that just made it over to our external drive, so I wanted to share them with you.

Auntie Cathy and Uncle Kyle. (Since this picture, two of the Christmas trees have come down... but still don't have the time yet to put up the other decorations. Please read post below - smile) Kensington is wearing one of her favorite onesies, from Dave and Theresa. Blanket provided by Aunt Simone :)

Chris and Kensi
Outfit from Mary Cay, Matt and M2

Gossip checking out the pack-n-play.

Duncan getting in some much needed tummy time. If only Gossip would only join him.
Kensington relaxing on the couch.
Swaddle by Jason, Jason and Jacobb.
Outfit from Mary Cay, Matt and M2

We're stopping the subscriptions...

Today it has HONESTLY taken me 5 1/2 hours to get through one 30 minute segment of NBC Nightly news - from December 24th. At this rate, it will take us 116 hours just to catch up to day!
I finally had the chance to log into the news section of Yahoo: Who knew Israeli troops invaded Gaza recently? What's up Blagojevich? Michigan has weather in the -20 degrees - Yikes! Patrick Swayze and Howie Mandel were rushed to the hospital, and there's a new season of American Idol with a forth judge. WHAT?!??! Where has the time gone?

Chris and I have two Tivo units. One for down stairs that can 'record two shows/watch one show' at once, and an additional 'record one show/watch one show' upstairs. We haven't turned on the TV except to play our Baby Einstein DVD's. Bye, Bye Tivo.

HBO, Showtime and Cinemax... Love you Tudors, Big Love, True Blood, Entourage, and Dexter - but bye, bye.

Netflix: Um... hate to tell you this, but it just isn't meant to be. While I'd love to catch up on all 8 seasons of Little House on The Prairie, we have this mansion on a mountain to take care of first.


Advocate/Out: We love you. But unless you're going to start showing off stylish gay-fashion with built-in burp cloths, you got to go.

Newsweek: If the world is coming to an end, shoot me a text message on my blackberry, if not, see ya later.

Time: Who has time... really? We have a feeding schedule every 2 hours.

SmartMoney: Yeah, a lot of good you've been to us. What's that you say... "invest"? Whatever!Bye, bye. It's now called: College fund. We just saved $19.95 a year (that we can reinvest) and you don't have to clog up our mailbox 12 times a year.

O: Seriously Oprah. We can't keep up with you. One minute you're pushing one diet and the next minute you're crying to us all that you fell of the wagon (again)... but wait... here's a new diet (again). Girl, we ain't got the time to read about something you're going to say doesn't work in 3 months. We got a child to take care of. And don't even think of telling us to have fresh flowers delivered to her room on a weekly basis because it sooths ones soul. There's snow on the ground and it's -20 degrees in Michigan. Tell me where flowers grow in the ice?

Domino: Stop trying to tell me how to tidy my home in less than 5 minutes. I don't see a pack-n-play, bassinet, baby papasan, toys, changing pads and swaddles in any of your make-over homes. Get real. Unless you're going to show me how to make over a nursery for the holidays for under $20, or create a stylish diaper bag out of worn out binkies, go organize someone else's home.

Bon Appetit: It just doesn't make sense. You want me to spend hours in the kitchen slaving over the stove, to then put everything in a blender to liquefy it to then add to a bottle? Not going to happen.

Sports Illustrated: I've told you time and time again, you have the wrong household! I don't care if the Eagles make it into the world series. Please take me off of your mailing list once and for all. (BTW - I really do know the Eagles are a football team - - smile)

The National Enquirer: While I honestly do care about Brittany's kids and K'feds new fashion line, I got to put you on hold for about 12-18 years. But I'll be back... don't you worry.

Parenting, Parents, American Baby, Family Fun and Creative Keepsakes: You're in. We just can't part with you. We think we've made enough sacrifices that you get to stay :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A couple of updates...

Sorry gang. I know... I know...

Two days without blogging. It won't happen again (okay, don't hold me to that statement). We've now taken the advice that everyone gave us in the very beginning... sleep when she sleeps.

Kensington still has her days/nights a bit mixed up, so I've been trying to take advantage of the small naps throughout the day since Chris is working. Her cold is about 90% gone - A few sniffles here and there, but she has yet to have a fever (knock on wood).

Personally, while I'm enjoying the tme off from work, I'm anxious to be 'in the know'. I'll admit, I've checked my work emails a couple times (a gazillion) and called in to talk to the team about their events and the day to day activities. I can't help it! I get really excited for the team as we enter the event season.

Below are a couple postings... hope you enjoy!

There must have been some magic...

In that old silk hat we found,
For when they placed it on her head,
She began to dance around... Kensi the Snowgirl,
Was alive as she could be.
And the children say, She could laugh and play...
Just the same as you and me!

This outfit was supposed to be a gag gift from Kate, Jordan, Dan, Kiki and Cindy (along with the wonderful toys and gift card they bought Kensington's vibrating crib mattress). They saw it at Babies R Us and thought it was hideous, so they bought it thinking we'd hate it... but would never tell them because we'd wouldn't want to hurt their feelings (do they know me?!?!). When we opened it up, EVERYONE (with the exception of them) LOVED it. Our nephew, Mason, was the first to have an oppurtunity to wear it and he looked so adorable... so we couldn't wait for Kenis's turn.

Only one small glitch. The outfit is 0-9 months (okay... like that makes sense!!!). With the eight inches of snow we had this past weekend, it would be the perfect time to have her in the outfit. So while Chris was outside shoveling and snow blowing for an three hours on Sunday, I dressed her up - but she still to tiny to fill it out, so yes team... we'll be holding on to this outfit for another cold winter season, and for Christmas next year, will be making all of you Kensi the Snowgirl apparel that I will be expecting you to wear in the office. Lets just say I'll be making this part of your goals and evaluation process as being a 'team player' :o)

The cute pink backdrop is her monogrammed blanket, which she loves to sleep with. It's sooooo soft. Thanks Karen in Massachusetts!!!

The quickpage used for the picture above is from Raspberry Road Designs. Please check out all of the amazing pieces Susan Darter has put together.

Luca has 2 mommies...

and now a baby brother!

Congratulations to Dana on giving birth to a beautiful boy, Matteo on January 9th. We also want to send a shout out to Debbie and Luca as well. What a wonderful addition to your family. Luca, I think you're going to be the best big brother ever!
Check out Dana's blog, Luca Has 2 Mommies here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Still a little sniffly...

We tried taking pictures of Kensington the past couple of days, but she still has her little cold and is groggy and doesn't want the paparazzi tailing her (may have something to do with the saline that gets sprayed up her nose every half hour and then sucked out). The doctor said she should be 'in good spirits' by Wednesday.

This little outfit is from the Jackie, Jamie and Howard and it's one of her favorite sleepers. It's part of the Taggies collection.

[frame source - Natali Design]

What a Kawinkydink, Moment 1

A couple weeks ago, after Chris and I picked out Kensington Grace's name, we went online to look for items for her nursery. The major theme of her room is "How To Hug A Porcupine", which is a wonderful children's book written and illustrated by the very talented Carmen Carnevali (I'm not just saying that because of the gorgeous Tiffany's Atlas® platter that he and his husband gave us last month, or all of the baby items for Kensi - the cute little panda bear, the hilarious bibs, or the Baby Bjorn. By the way... thanks guys!)

Anyway... the major theme of the room is "How To Hug A Porcupine", with the backdrop of mulberry items... a shade of purple that goes along with the color of Prickles, the lovable charater in the book. (I would have tried to make her bedding in the How To Hug A Porcupine theme, but my $9.99 Sewing Genie from AC Moore just can't do that type of project. Curtains, yes. Baby Bumpers, no!)

While looking online for mulberry items to accent the room, we came across two items that we wanted to share with everyone, but at the time we couldn't. We didn't tell anyone the name we selected (though a little birdie told me that the other Mr. Irwin-Dudek may have slipped it to someone... again, it could have been because of that Atlas® platter).

Chris and I heard of children being call MacKensi, or McKenzi (or various spellings of both), but in all of the baby books we looked through (and there were many), neither on of us saw a Kensi/Kenzi anywhere... so imagine our surprise when we found a Mulberry clock that could be customized... and the example they used was Kenzi (different spelling, but you get the point). And to add to the coincidence, we found block lettering in the same style, from a different online store, and the example they used was Grace. Out of all of the items we looked at, only two of them were customizable and they used "Kenzie" and "Grace".

We had several of these Kawinkydink moments throughout the process, and will be sharing these throughout the next couple of days when not trying to catch up on sleep.

Friend In Adoption Annual Picnic

Chris and I just found out the date to our adoption agency's annual picnic and put a countdown on the blog. One of the things we really liked about Friends In Adoption when we were evaluating agencies is that they host two large events each year that bring both the adoptive families and birth families together. We look forward to seeing Kensington's bio parents again, as well as their extended family and friends. Let the countdown begin.

Friday, January 9, 2009

129 and counting...

Yes... this is the number of diapers Chris and I have changed since we took Kensington out of the hospital on December 27th. I don't think I went to the bathroom more than 200 times during the 2008 year. At this rate, we will change 4,015 diapers before her first birthday - and this doesn't include the times we get pooped or peed on DURING the change itself.

Today, I got the best birthday present ever... Chris and Kensi let me sleep in until almost noon. I KNOW - noon!!!

Chris got up at 1am and fed her and I did the same around 4:30. She then needed one more feeding, but wouldn't take it at 6:30... instead she was ready for it at 7:30am.

Chris brought me coffee (at 9:50... remember, it has to be before 10), and I didn't even budge. At 11:50 she made a noise and I jumped... realized that it was noon, and only want to sleep for another couple of hours. But... I couldn't. I now have parental responsibilities (who said that? Who ever you are, go away).

I tried the, "It's my Birthday, so I don't have to change any diapers." That went over like a lead balloon.

Kensi was in her Baby Papasan chair and the next thing you know not only was she out sleeping, but Duncan (the protector) was sleeping with his head on her lap.

Guess what, today I had the opportunity to give her a bath and if is do say so myself, it wasn't so bad.

There is so much more to blog about... but even with sleeping in, I can't seem to put a complete thought together. Hopefully tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Celebrating over 3000 hits...

Chris and I have been amazed at the amount of support we have received... not only over the past 14 days since Kensington was born, but from the onset of announcing that we were starting our adoption journey last January.

We initiated the blog to share our story with friends and keep our familis that were out of state up-to-date on what was going on. The amount of encouragement from them, as well as so many individuals around the globe has been extremely overwhelming. In the week pre-k (pre-Kensington), we were receiving about about 40-50 hits a day, and now it's over 120, and growing... and this morning, we went over 3000 hits.

Days before she was born, I was updating the blog and deleted our original counter by accident. Not being able to find the same cute teddy bear counter, I installed a 'generic' one just to get one up and found out that it tells us what country/state the person is from. Again... overwhelming.

We have 4 regular viewers from the UK and 3 from Germany; 2 from Argentina, Singapore, Canada and Spain, 3 individuals from US Armed Forces bases (one I know is from Guam), and at least one person (or couple - smile) in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Brazil, Czech Republic, Croatia/Hrvatska and the Netherlands. And here in the US, lets just say I think we covered all 50 states, including one person stranded on that bridge to nowhere in Alaska that is picking up free Wi-Fi from Russia... because they're that close.

For all of you who have viewed our site, left comments, kept us in your prayers, and shared our story with others. We can not thank you all enough. Kensington not only has 3 daddies and a mommy that love her very much and want the best thing for her, but now "family" around the world that is keeping a close eye on her.

With that being said... watch out. We may be calling you soon to babysit (or at least for a visit when we're in your neck of the woods).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Missing Pictures :(

Hey guys... Blogspot is having some issues. Can't upload pictures at the momement and many pictures have gone missing on the post below. It's a widespread problem and they're working on it. As soon as it's fixed, I'll upload more pictures.

Home Sweet Home

Well, we're certainly glad to be back!
We just want to thank everyone for the wonderful emails, phone messages, text messages, etc., welcoming us back home. You all are the best!

We got home last night and the kiddo's were extremely excited that we were back... and confused about this little chickpea we had in the car seat. Duncan immediately came and sniffed around her. With a, "gentle" command from us, he went and kissed Kensi. It was so adorable. Now... if he'd only acknowledge Gossip every once in awhile, we'll be fine. Gossip sat in the corner and watched us bring everything in. We set up the pack and play in the living room and Gossip walked around it a couple times, sniffing, trying to figure everything out. Duncan is about eye-level to the top of the pack and play, so every time Kensington made a noise, he'd go to see how she was doing [just wait, it gets cuter].

Who knew the comforts of home, and a real bedroom, was what Kensington needed. Two nights ago, the batteries in her sleepy chair died. So it didn't vibrate or play music. Top that off with a cold you have a recipe one unhappy baby. In the car ride home, she was a complete angel, but once we got her home she was still cranky. We felt so bad for her.

We started to get a little worried about her and called Momma Peckens (yes, we have her on speed dial). Well, wouldn't you know it, just the fact that we put her in her bed (with the vibrating mattress) and turned on the iPod with a lullaby playlist, she went right to sleep. Crankiness gone... and wouldn't you know it, Eureka, the little stinker had a stinker!

Oh, to be able to use a baby monitor (thanks Eric!!!). Last night we were able to sleep in our own comfy bed, allowing Kensi to sleep in her own crib, and yet hear and see everything she did. And... to be able to use a glider, instead of an office chair on wheels worked SO MUCH better. Being home is what we all needed.

We had the normal feedings (9pm, 11pm, 1: 30am, 3:30am -and added 4:30am - 5:30am and 7:30am). I had to clear her little nose out because she kept on getting congested. At around 3:30 when I did it, she let out a blood-curdling scream. Duncan bust through the door - he's a smarty, he can open doors by jumping up on the knob and pressing hard with his nose - and rushed in for her rescue. He nudged me because he thought I was hurting her and wanted her to stop crying. It was the most precious thing. The cat on the other hand decided to jump up on his bed and get comfy on his spot which just frustrates him to no end.

Oh, by the way, we've now become a pros at filling and assembling a Dr. Browns bottle with formula and steaming it with using only one hand. Not bad for being a dads for only 12 days.

Around 6:30 I heard the neighbor shoveling his icy driveway. We had about an inch of ice, and it's something that a snow blower just won't break up. He was at it for an hour. And his driveway is less than half the size of ours. Chris went out and threw three 20lb bags of salt on the driveway, I pulled the covers over my head and dreaded having to do that to ours. If it wasn't for our doctors appointment, I'd just hibernate indoors today.

The 20 minute drive to the doctors office took almost 45 minutes. So much for getting there early to fill out all of the paper work. When I walked in they made an announcement, "We have a New Baby!!" in the bubbliest of voices. They then handed me a stack of paperwork and, in the same bubbly voice, instructed me how to fill it out. This is the same voice that they use on the phone, and as I found out, used in the examination room. It's cute at first. After 20 minutes, not so much. Seriously. No, seriously. :)

Kensington got weighed and she's back to her birth weight of 6lbs, 6oz. I was concerned that this was low, since she was discharged at 6lbs, 5oz, but found out that she lost more weight than that and getting back to the birth weight at two weeks is ideal. So she passed that test.
She's now 20 inches - she grew a whole half inch.

Doc's report: she's in the 50 percentile of weight, 50 percentile on the circumference of her head, and at the 40 percentile of her height. He says, "she perfect". Well, duh!.

He wants us to use a saline spray several times a day to help clean out her congested nose, and gave us some eye drops to help clear up the cold-related gunk in her eyes. Also, he's suggested that we not take her out until she's about 2 months and her little immune system needs to build itself up [I think this is my doctors note to get out of the board meeting this Saturday. Sorry Pete, doctors orders]

After about 2 hours at the doc's office, it is time to visit the local CVS to fill her prescriptions.

We are greater at the drop-off counter by Bunny (who has checked us out countless times) and she looks at Kensington and puts a death grip on my arm, "Oh my... she is so precious! I want to eat her up!... oh, I'm so sorry about your arm. I hope I didn't hurt you. But come on... look at her. She's adorable. P A U L A... come here, look at the baby".

After the admirations I hand over my prescriptions and inform her that the company insurance just changed so she'll need the new card to update the system. She looks at the prescription form. "What's her last name?", "Irwin-Dudek". Shes write Irwin on the top left side of the paper and Dudek on the top right side of the paper. Then she scratches it out.
"What is it again?"
"It's hyphenated."
"Oh...", she says to Kensington with a cute little smirk, "you have to love mommies who hyphenate their last names."
"Kensington doesn't have that issue... she has two daddies that got married and now have a hyphenated last name."
Bunny does a double take and I laugh. Pause. She looks at the form. Pause. Pause. "are you Chris's..."
"Husband? Yes I am." She throws herself over the counter and gives me a hug. Again, I've been there with Chris on multiple occasions. "Everyone... this is Chris Irwin's little one." They all come back to stare again.

Ummm... hello. Look at me. I'm cute too. :)

We're now home and she's sleeping. Oh... this is the life.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chris Daughtry couldn't have said it better...

I'm going Home to the place where I belong... well, let me put it this way:
We're going Home to the place where WE belong.

We just got a message on the blackberry from our PA home study agency letting us know that we have clearance! In just a couple hours we'll be in our own space and able to put Kensington in her bassinet and roll it up to the bed. Oh... my Eddie Bauer Classic Goose Feathers & Down Pillow has never sounded so good.

So we got the call from Interstate

Their CogentID system went down and they can't access our records. It just keeps getting funnier and funnier by the moment. Hopefully this will be cleared up soon...

Monday, January 5, 2009

If they ever film a remake of "My Left Foot"

we found your leading lady!

Our little chickpea, for the life of her, can not keep her left sock or shoe on. I'm looking on eBay for pink duct tape, because I think that is the only thing that's going to work :)

Seriously... Chris and I put her left sock on a minimum of 20 times a day. When she's eating, she kicks it off. When she's sleeping she kicks it off. When she's getting changed, she kicks it off. The only time she's not kicking it off is when it's already off :o)

This is like a bad Seinfeld episode...

wait... they were ALL bad!
Let the saga continue. We heard back from Interstate today. I'm cleared (Yippee). Chris is not (what the...?). On the application for clearance, his name was misspelled. I don't understand why is social security number wouldn't suffice... or why they couldn't run both "Christoper" and "Christopher". So... are you holding on tight? Chris has to travel back into PA to get rescanned, and we have to wait another 24 hours. Even though I'm cleared, they won't let me in the state with Kensington until Chris is cleared as well.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sweet Moment...

This evening, I've been catching up on emails and downloading my digital scrap booking freebies and decided to use this time to work on one of my favorite pictures of Kensington (so far...), yesterdays bath time with Christopher. I did this one for Kensi's Grandmazsia, who keeps hitting refresh on her computer every 10 minutes to see if new photos are posted.

I used the Artemia kit, available from After Five Designs. Their collaboration freebies are expired, but the entire kit has hundreds of items and I love the design and theme. Highly recommended :)

I swear...

this picture is not staged. Little Kensington is just relaxing in her Pack-n-Play.

Last night, Kensington slept very well. After her 9pm feeding, I made sure I woke her up at 11, 1, 4 and 7 for feedings. She slept through most of the night, with only about an hour (between 1:30 and 2:30) where she was up. Not crying. She learned how to vibrate her lips and she was making funny noises that would then in turn make her grin :o)

Today has been a low-key day. Kensi has been getting some 'tummy-time' in, and we've just been watching her sleep, as well as the normal feedings and diaper changes.
Just waiting around to get the news on Monday [hopefully] that our ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) has been granted.
Chris and I got a little worried that she was constipated... no poppy diapers in 12 hours, and with as much as this little chickpea has been eating, it didn't seem right. But before I could call Momma Peckens, she struck again. In the middle of changing a wet diaper, I was surprised by her. Thank God I had plenty of Johnson & Johnson's baby skincare wipes on hand. [Cathy, how about that for product placement]

Friday, January 2, 2009

America runs on Dunkin DUNCAN!

Today we were able to see our 'little man', Duncan, and 'baby girl', Gossip. It's been a week since we've seen the kiddo's and we missed them terribly.

The day started off perfect (oh... and ended that way as well). Kensington slept throughout the night - well, Chris woke her up three times to feed her, but he got her before she cried for food. After her feedings and diaper changes, she quickly fell back asleep. He claims to have "figured this out".

This was the first day I'd been out of the hotel (and now beach house) before 10am. I have this weird thing about coffee. On my 1hr 45min trip into the office each day, I normally stop at Dunkin Donuts twice for an extra-large light & sweet coffee. If I have anything cold to drink in the morning before coffee, I can't drink coffee. If I don't have coffee before 10am, I can't drink coffee at all - but, if coffee is the first thing in my system in the day, I can drink it all day. It's the small OCD in me. Anyway. Today I had coffee from DD for the first time in a week. And they did it just right - Hallelujah!

We got up at the crack of dawn and drove to the truck stop at the NJ/PA border (yes... to those future adoptive parents reading this blog... Walmart, Chinese Buffets and Truck Stops will be a part of your story as well) where we met Dee. She watched Kensington while we traveled into PA to get our FBI screenings and a quick drive-by the house to see the kiddos.

When we got to "The Packaging Place" with the huge UPS symbol on the door, we went in and handed the guy behind the counter our registration paperwork and told him that we were there to get our screening. "we don't do that here."

I gasped! "The UPS website list you as a screening location and we called on Wednesday and were told to come in today."

"Sorry. We don't do that. You can check the UPS store in Mt. Pocono if you want." (which happens to not only be 20 miles west, but one of the places that said they were booked until Monday).

Chris and I were devastated! We traveled all this way to get the screening done and this isn't the place. I pulled up the UPS site on my Blackberry. "Chris... it says it right here. Eagle Valley Mall. Wait. The mall only says 'Eagle Vally Printing', nothing here says Eagle Valley Mall"

We traveled across the street into the other shopping center, and around the corner, in the back, we saw the REAL UPS store, and not just an authorized UPS shipper.

It ended up taking less then 2 minutes a person to get scanned. We told the UPS employee what happened across the street at she informed us that they have had constant issues with the owner of The Packaging Place. She told him that while she understood not wanting to send people to UPS if they are just shipping/faxing/copying items... but if people come in for FBI background checks, to please send them across the street. He refuses. All I have to say is - Karma!

After getting scanned, we called Interstate with our transaction numbers, along with Steven from Rep. Siptroths office with the same information and then headed to our home to check the mail and pick up a couple items.

We opened the garage door entrance into the house and we greeted by a very excited Duncan! After giving him a stuffed goose that we bought, we walked up the stairs into the house and was hit with a horrible smell. It's not the littler box. We walked around the house and it was something in the kitchen, but couldn't tell what it was. There was chicken in the trash that gave off a small odor, but there was something else. Something that smelled like death. And so it was...

Not visible to the us at eye level, but if you looked in the aquarium, at a certain angle, you you see two dead Tinfoil Barb fish (that were on the verge of dying before we left because the school of Blood Parrot Fish refused to let them eat) floating on the top of the water. It was the sickest thing ever! After spraying a can of Fabreeze, we rock/paper/scissored to find out who was going to fish (pun intended) out the dead creatures. I lost. Actually, with the smell in the house, we both lost.

We grabbed a couple more of the smaller outfits for Kensington, checked the answering machine, and were out the door.

As we were headed back to NJ, we got a message from Interstate letting us know that they have the scans and that it would take approx 24 hours to process through all of the systems (so they say), and we should be cleared by Monday afternoon. So... just a couple more days until we can bring Kensington home.

We got a lot of calls, emails and texts messages from people concerned about us. Thank you all... Know that we are fine. Know that Kensington is fine. Not being cleared by PA in time was a PA agency over site and an inconvenience, but not an issue in the adoption itself. I'm just happy that we'll be in PA within the two week period of her birth to see our pediatrician. We're looking at this in the best of light - it's just an extended vacation at a beach house (yes... with snow on the ground - and have you seen us. We're so white that people know we don't do beaches).

Kensington got her second bath today, and learned how to say "Daddy". Okay. I made that part up - she didn't have a bath today :)