Sunday, December 26, 2010

Epcot-- Day 1 continued

After we ate our lunch, Brandon ran three of the refillable mugs to the room. I like to have something to sip on with me at all times, and the double stroller has a cupholder so I took my drink with us.

We walked to the bus station area and hopped on the bus to epcot. It was a little rough getting two strollers collapsed and carrying two children but we managed. (Xander can walk but his new "game" is to take off his shoes and socks randomly so we put his shoes in our bag so we wouldn't lose them.) We quickly strategized how to make that transition smoother since it felt really rushed and frazzled me a bit.

There was a little drizzle so we put on our dollar store ponchos when we stepped off of the bus. The first stop in Epcot was the Character spot. The line was long but was moving rather quickly so it wasn't bad at all. I looked down after a few minutes and found the two boys sleeping.

(Xander did have a coat but he got warm while we were standing in line so I took it off of him while we were inside and Solomon always pulls the blanket in his face to sleep.)

I had to giggle... here we are in Disney and half of my children are sleeping! We kept walking in the line and right before we got to the front, I looked down again and 3 were sleeping!

I didn't want to wake them up so we decided that we'd see if Mickey and friends would play along. We also thought this would give Lainey some one on one time with the characters. Mickey and the photopass photographer were very nice and after they laughed a bit we got our first character picture. Lainey got some one on one time with Mickey. After she took some pictures with him and we had a picture taken of just Momma, Daddy and Lainey she looked up at me and said "Momma.. you made my wish come true!" *sniff, sniff*

Boy oh boy was she shocked when we went to the next station and Minnie was there!

Lightbulb Moment: As we walked to the next station, Lainey said "She was tiny!" I laughed a little and said "Honey.. her name isn't Giant Mouse. Her name is MINNIE mouse."

We also saw Donald, Goofy and Pluto!

Since 3/4 of the kids were still sleeping we decided to try to do Soarin' and do child swap. Lainey and I went to the line and the wait was about 70 minutes. As we stood there, we decided we didn't want to spend so much time separated from our family. So we got out of line.

When we met back up, the children were all awake again. We went to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. We split up into two clam-mobiles. Lainey and Solomon were with me. Lainey was frightened by the jellyfish. I explained that nothing at Disney was going to hurt her...I think she may have just been a little overwhelmed and tired.

Then we went to Turtle Talk with Crush. Lainey was picked to ask Crush a question. Rick, the castmember had trouble finding the "dudette in the spotted shell" and Crush got a little sassy with him. But it was hilarious! Lainey asked if turtles have tails and was so excited that Crush not only answered but he spun around too!

We loved looking around at the holiday decor.

We got hungry and headed to Mexico in the World Showcase to eat at La Catina de San Angel. Brandon and I ordered Tacos de Carne with churros, a lemonade and a diet coke. We ordered one Chicken Tender kids meal and one Empanada de Queso. Both came with chips and grapes. We split the kids meals so they could both have a taste of each others and gave Xander a chicken tender.

It was very, very cold and our food got cold quickly. I thought that my chips were a bit hard (stale?) so I really only ate the tacos. The sauce was wonderful! My lemonade went into the our backpack since I still had powerade in my refillable mug. I thought the meal was on the small side. It would have been more filling if I had eaten the chips too. But it was SO cold, I couldn't bring myself to sit there any longer. Solomon was going through a growth spurt and nursing alot, which increased my appetite. The tenders, empanada and chips were quickly inhaled by the children. We saved the grapes and put them in our backpack.

We split the two orders of churros between the five of us. At first I wasn't much of a fan, but they quickly grew on me. The children would have eaten more if we had them.

I thought the birds were really aggressive, but maybe they were in rare form since another guest was purposefully throwing food down for them.

At this point we decided we were just too cold and tired. It had been a long day since we had an early flight. We headed back to the bus stop around 5:30. There was a bus going to our resort waiting. We hopped right on and had a much smoother loading experience with our changes.

Once we got back to the resort, we picked up 2 more containers of soymilk and 4 fruit cups and used 6 snack credits to pay. We also showed our receipt from lunch and got our desserts. I had a sundae and Brandon had a milkshake.

We stored the fruitcups and milk in the fridge in our room. We let the kids wind down with some television. Brandon and I each took a soak in the bathtub and we went to bed on the early side.

Next up: Day Two- Magic Kingdom

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!

From our family to yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I interrupt sharing our trip...

to tell you the most wonderful thought I had the other night.

Brandon and I were praying over our upcoming adoption and a specific child. God has closed the door on us pursuing the little girl we were praying over.

After many tears fell down my cheeks I realized that if we are matched next summer/fall.. our baby girl is being knit in secret right now!

We have so much to pray for over the next year.

God, please comfort our future child's birth parents as they seek information and choose life for their child. Please guide them to compassionate social workers and medical professionals. Please protect them from harm. We pray for their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Lord, I pray they know You and are going to celebrate the birth of Your precious Son this holiday season. In your Son's most precious name, Amen.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disney Day 1: Arrival

On Saturday evening, I finally broke my husband down and convinced him that we should tell the girls what the surprise was.

We videotaped it but I can't figure out how to share it here. Needless to say, they appeared more excited about the flight and concerned about where the van would be then going to Disney. It took me a few minutes to figure it out.

One of the girls had "guessed" Disney earlier after eavesdropping on a phone call and Brandon fibbed and told them that you had to be 10 to go. So Lainey thought that she wouldn't be able to ride anything. Thus, the anti-climatic videotaping session. Once we cleared that up, she was very excited to go. Since they don't watch much TV they don't see a whole lot of commercials so they weren't sure what to expect. I'm sure if and when we go back they will be much more excited. Tee hee!

We ordered pizza and ate on paperplates the night before we departed. We had zero issues getting the children to go to sleep. (Hmm I wonder why?)

Brandon and I finished packing and we headed to bed around midnight. At 3am, Solomon woke for a feeding right before our alarm clock was scheduled to go off.

I nursed him and dressed him and then put him in his carseat. I thought for sure he'd doze off, but he sure seemed to know that something special was about to happen. He was wide awake.

The girls got up without much issue. I put them to bed in their dresses and leggings the night before so all they had to do was eat breakfast, brush their teeth, have their hair done and put shoes on.

While I did their hair, Brandon loaded the van. And we were off. It was 4:20 am and we were right on schedule.

Funny story of the day: Julianne saw Brandon putting on his shoes. She opens her mouth wide and says "Daddy, you are going to Disney too!?!?!?" Uhhh.. yup. Priceless.. not sure if she thought just the kids were going or what. So funny.

We arrived at the airport right around 5am. At the last minute we decided not to use the economy parking that was poorly lit and quite a distance from the airport. We quickly found a close parking space and took a few minutes to gather our thoughts. I was stressed and needed a few minutes to pull myself together.

We started to unload our things. An advantage that we quickly noticed as our children have gotten older is that there are more hands to help.

I unfolded the double and single umbrella stroller and started putting children in. We had three suitcases, a diaper bag and a backpack. Brandon carried the backpack and pushed a stroller. I pushed a stroller, hung the diaper bag on the stroller handles and drug a rolling suitcase. Lainey pulled two suitcases.

We didn't have far to go but it was SO helpful! We got on the elevator and barely fit. Then we went to the airline counter, turned in our luggage and got our boarding passes.

Next up was security. For a few weeks I had worried about going through security. I prayed about it alot. And I have to say, every prayer was answered!

First, we went to a podium. The worker checked our IDs, asked the girls their names and passed us through. While we were waiting, I took everyone's coats off. Then I took off the children's shoes and put them in a bucket. Coats in another bucket. Bags on the conveyor belt. I picked up Solomon from the stroller and asked Julianne to stand. Brandon folded the stroller and put it on the belt. He picked up Xander and folded the stroller and together we put it on the belt.

I walked through with Solomon, Brandon walked through with Xander and both of the girls walked through on their own. We grabbed the buckets and went to the bench to put everyone back together. Xander's almond milk was tested and we were on our merry little way. No nekkid scanner, no patdowns.

Easy, breezy, beautiful.. covergirl. Oops.. Just easy, breezy, beautiful I mean!

We easily found our gate and noticed that we were near a bathroom and a small stand with some breakfast items. We asked the girls if they wanted a banana or a yogurt. One had a yogurt, one had a banana and I got a banana for Xander. Brandon and I got breakfast sandwiches and a drink. I ate the sausage off and gave the biscuit to the girls to split. It wasn't a very good biscuit at all and I was still nervous about the flight.

We camped out at the gate and looked around. We made some smalltalk with another group sitting next to us. I popped my anti-histamine dose and all was well. (Yes, I'm still on an anti-histamine cocktail...) Oh and I snapped some pictures of us in our early morning groggy state. (None of us are morning folks- but Xander was having a pretty good time!)

We gate checked the strollers and walked on with just the diaper bags and the backpack. We had four seats all on the same row. Three on one side and one seat on the other. The flight went really well. Solomon finally fell asleep after nursing again and slept for most of the flight. Xander took a short nap. Before long we landed!

Once we got to the Orlando Airport we quickly found our way to the tram and followed the signs to Mickey's Magical Express. We showed them our tickets and quickly loaded.

Apparently, our bus driver was very new. I mean.. like maybe her first day out of training? It was a rather scary drive with lots of heavy breaking, a heavy foot on the gas followed by heavy breaking and back to heavy accelerating. And tediously slow turning. Brandon and I just looked at each other.

But we got there in one piece. Somehow seeing this on the way made things all better.

We walked into the All Star Music Hotel and holy smokes it was busy. We stood in line for about an hour. During that time, we had our first sprinkling of pixie dust. A man walked up to us and asked if we could use some apple juice boxes. They were all sealed and still in the big outside package. He explained he over bought at the grocery delivery and that his bag was too heavy to take them home. I thanked him and then he offered some bottled Lipton Green Tea. We don't drink that so I passed and wished him a safe trip home.

Luis checked us in and the only thing that was not 100% correct was the pack and play situation. We requested two and only one was already in our room. Not a huge deal really and I knew it was going to happen because I saw it when I tried to do online check in the night before (unsuccessfully.) We did get the building we requested and he said that they would send a pack and play up.

Our room was ready so we headed to our building to lighten our load a bit. As we were sorting through things to leave at the hotel there was a knock and our pack and play arrived. Then there was another knock. Our luggage arrived.

We headed down to the Intermission Cafeteria and ordered lunch.

We used 4 counter service credits:
2 bacon cheeseburgers, fries and icecream sundaes
2 grilled cheese sandwiches and fries and grapes
A soymilk, 1 chocolate milk, bottled water, lemonade.

And we picked up all four of our reusable mugs that came with our dining plan.

Then we got another soymilk and used a snack credit for that.

Next up: Day 1 Continued Epcot


Monday, December 20, 2010

We are different and I love it!

I had a lot of time to think and observe this past week. I love to people watch and Disney is people watching extreme.

I started to notice a trend. Children at Disney that had no idea how to occupy their every waking moment without electronics. Seriously. We stood in line for hours and hours by the time you added it all up. And as I looked around I saw children watching movies on phones, portable DVD players and playing all kinds of electronic games. Literally, children were rushing through the rides and attractions to get back to their electronics!

I noticed families on vacation that weren't even speaking to each other. I noticed families with a pained look on their face as they were "forced" to spend time together. I overheard a mother tell her child "I can't wait until we are home and I can drop you off at daycare!"

And I started thinking about what makes our family different...

1. Brandon and I see children as blessings. I can't say this enough. Children aren't burdens. They are glorious gifts from above. They come complete with their own little quirks and personalities. Children are FUN. It was amazing to watch my children as their eyes lit up in amazement at the sights and sounds. Complete amazement.

2. We spend a lot of time together. My children don't see their siblings as annoyances or rivals. They rarely argue and if they do, they quickly make up because they don't like to be on the outs. We eat three meals together with everyone in attendance-- including Daddy! And we crave MORE time together than what we already get. The girls share a bedroom and recently begged me to never make them sleep in separate rooms.

3. We don't rely on electronics to keep our children entertained. Our children watch less than 2 hours a week of television. And we only hit the two hour mark if we watch a movie.. together! Lainey received a gameboy (refurbished!) with a few games (used!) for her 7th birthday that she plays every so often. But she really would rather play with her siblings. We play board games and read. We are creative. It was amazing how our children really started playing when we limited TV!

4. We control the messages that our children hear and challenge the ones that slip by. One message we are constantly told is "You can't give your children everything if you have a large family." We challenge that. Why would I want to give a child everything? How do you define everything? Does giving your child everything help or hurt them in the long run? What happened to delayed gratification? Hard work? Counting the blessings you do have? Earning something yourself? If I give my children everything, what is their motivation? Sorry, I don't want to raise my children expecting to be entitled to everything, at least not everything as the world defines it.

Long story short, I fell in love with my family all over again this last week. I love each and every member of our family for who they are and I'm excited to see who each child becomes. Each addition to our family has added another layer to our family make up. We are by no means perfect but I couldn't be more pleased with the direction our family is heading.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Divine Appointment... Disney Style

We are home! We had a fabulous week and I can't wait to share all of our adventures but first I'm so excited to share this story.

I believe in divine appointments. Years ago, I was the subject of a Divine Appointment myself. I get giddy when I realize that God has used me in encouraging others. So I want to share this little gem with you!

Thursday night we went to Downtown Disney and ate at Wolfgang Puck Express. It was delicious but soon after Solomon and Xander had the biggest meltdown of the trip. I suddenly felt like we should go "home" back to the hotel. I was a little bummed that we didn't get to look in some of the stores but I mentioned to Brandon that maybe we could come back the next night and he quickly agreed. We rode the Disney bus to the hotel, tucked everyone in and had some quiet time together. I couldn't get Downtown Disney off of my mind for the rest of the night.

Fast forward, the next day we went back to Downtown Disney. This time earlier in the night. They had a Santa there and since we hadn't gotten a chance to visit Santa yet this year, Brandon put us in line. Solomon started fussing and I knew he was ready to nurse. So I grabbed my nursing cover and headed to the nearest bench. There was a lady sitting there with a little boy.. maybe 3 or 4 years old. I typically try to sit by myself to nurse but for some reason (wink, wink) joined her on the bench.

Her son asked her why Solomon was under my nursing cover and she explained that I was feeding him and that was how she had fed him. We struck up conversation and before long we were chatting family and husbands. The conversation flowed SO easily, like when you call and catch up with an old friend.

The spacing of the boys came up and she was so kind! I mentioned we adopted and then we found out I was expecting and she asked The Question. "Were you trying?" I quickly said "Oh we weren't trying or preventing.. God builds our family." She smiled BIG and was very positive.

I found out that she was from RICHMOND! And she asked some questions about adoption. She shared which denomination she belonged to (happens to be the same as one of the agencies we used.)

Then she got a little quieter and said that she had had two miscarriages. One at 9 weeks and one at 16 weeks and that she wondered if statistically she was doomed because both of the baby girls had Turner's Syndrome. She went on to say that a genetic specialist encouraged her to try again and that statistically odds were in her favor. But that she had a little doubt in her heart and she just didn't know.... after all she had lost two baby girls in a row with the same genetic syndrome. She thought that those odds were significant.

I could tell she was hurting and needed encouragement. My heart was just skipping beats during this portion of our conversation. I looked her in the eyes and softly said "Our God isn't a God of statistics." And shared our amazing story (matched 2 weeks after we were approved to adopt, pregnant a few months later when earlier in our lives several "perfect, textbook" cycles with medical help didn't end in pregnancy, my VBAC, etc, etc.) Her eyes lit up and her facial expressions were TOTALLY different after I reminded her that God doesn't follow stats. He follows His planning! Her husband walked over during that part and you could just see the weight lifted off of his shoulders!

Right then, Lainey came over and when I acknowledged her she asked "Daddy wants to know if you are coming back?" Oh. Yes. I quickly said goodbye and started to walk away. I turned around, thinking "Oh maybe I should exchange some information.. and we could talk again." And just like that, she was gone.

I still have goosebumps. STILL! God can use you ANYWHERE. Even in Downtown Disney waiting in a Santa line. *grin*

Monday, December 6, 2010

Apple of my Eye

I just got around to downloading some pictures from our adventures.

And I realized that I never blogged about our apple picking adventure.

To be honest, there wasn't too much adventure. We went to Carter Mountain and well... when folks around here say the word mountain, I should understand that they REALLY mean mountain.

I prayed as we drove up the mountain... it was scary and our girls kept saying "Daddy, do you know how close you are to the edge? And how far down I can see?" Girlies, now is not the best time to point that out.

Once we got to the top we saw many beautiful views. I love how beautifully God has created this earth for us. What a creative God we have!

We attempted to pick apples but the drop offs were pretty steep and it was next to impossible to get our stroller down it (and then back up!)

What we could get to was already thoroughly picked. (See the flat path that Julianne is standing on? See the steep drop off in the left of that picture? YIKES!)

So we bought pre-picked apples. Look at that big one Lainey found! We bought some Jonagold, Gala and Fuji apples. We paid by the pound.

Brandon ordered a snack while I found a picnic table on the back side of the food building with a beautiful view! We were overlooking the valley and saw a hot air balloon!

Brandon and the children had apple cider donuts and I had a small BBQ sandwich. I was starving! (If I don't eat enough protein these days, I get very shaky!)

Xander is looking at the remaining donut... He REALLY liked them! Solomon is oblivous that we are on top of a mountain or that the older children ate apple cider donuts. He just cares that he has his fingers. He thinks fingers taste the best!

Then we prayed while Brandon drove down the mountain. PHEW!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Packing times Six...

I get a lot of random logistical questions when people find out that we have four children. The most recent topic has been packing since we are going on The Surprise Trip. We sometimes get a wild hair and drive down to Georgia for a long weekend on a whim so I've gotten quite efficient.

First, I keep running packing lists on my computer. I have several. One for when Brandon travels for work alone, one for when we travel as a couple, one for when we travel with our children, one for when the children travel without us and one for hospitalizations. Now I'm not reinventing the wheel for each trip.

This was an evolving project, I started with just a list for all of us together. But remember when I was hospitalized for preterm labor? We thought we were just going in for monitoring. Brandon ended up coming home and packing the children to go to our friend Nikki's house and packing things for our hospital stay.

I sat down and typed each list in check list fashion when I wasn't stressed. The key here is to not be in a hurry and stressed. Then I let it sit for a few days and looked at it with fresh eyes.

When we get ready to travel I print the list I need and make any event specific additions. (Master copies can also be found in a notebook I call "Mom's Brain.") I cross out things that don't apply such as a coat for a July trip to Georgia.

Next, I start my staging area. I lay out whatever suitcase(s) we are using and start to pack things in the suitcase. As I put items in the suitcase I put a check next to the item. I don't worry about packing them efficiently at first. This is just for collection.

As the trip gets closer, I grab my stash of 2 gallon ziploc bags. I buy them at the dollar store but can often reuse them. If children are going on the trip with us, I put four complete outfits in the ziploc bag- one for each child. This includes hair bows for the girls, socks, underwear, and clothing. That is one days worth of clothes. I do this for all the days.

This is an example of a bag I recently packed:

I also bag up our toiletries in these 2 gallon bags and pack one extra bag in case the toiletry bag doesn't last. When Brandon travels, he has his own toiletry bag that we leave partially stocked for his business trips.

Why bags you ask? Well... I apparently am the Master Outfitter in our home. Brandon becomes paralyzed when he looks though a suitcase to choose things for our children to wear. This way I can quickly set out a bag and jump in the shower, dry my hair, nurse the baby, or one of the other many things I do to get us ready and dressing can continue. It's amazing and works beautifully!

Also, with five people (excluding Solomon for now) rummaging through suitcases, things can get messy very, very quickly. Organization can become chaos in about 3 minutes flat.

Once I have collected everything, I sit down and put things in the suitcase more efficiently. For flying, I divide our clothing into at least 2 different suitcases. I used to work for a company that handled lost luggage claims so I'm very mindful of the possibility.

Then I tackle our "To Do List for Going Out of Town." More on that later!

How do you pack? I'm always looking for tips to improve the process.


PS: Please be in prayer for Brandon and I. We are discussing some long range goals and some future possibilities for our family. I'll share more as I can. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taking a Break...

We have company for Thanksgiving! My aunt has driven up from Georgia.

Here's a picture from breakfast this morning. Solomon isn't too sure he's supposed to be on top of the table.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Searching for Annalise

I've been quiet on the blog... things have been very fast paced around here. I'm not complaining when I say that, I'm stating the well... obvious! And I love every single second of it. All I've ever wanted to be since I was a little girl was a wife and mother. I can't imagine my life without Brandon and each one of my special blessings.

The call to adopt again has gotten stronger and stronger in my heart. I've read until I can quote facts and statistics. I've researched until the wee hours of the morning when I can barely hold my eyes open any longer. I've looked over photolists for waiting children so much that I can tell when they change the order or someone disappears. I can pick out the faces of children that are placed on the list as new additions. I've looked at several special needs and researched resources here in the Richmond area. We have amazing resources here!

Some nights I get a handful of hours of sleep before I get up to tend to the children we already have in our home. Some nights I'm laying in bed with my eyes closed but I never drift off... I pray for our Annalise often... now we just have to find her.

My dream last night had me so disoriented when I woke up. I had to walk through the house to check on the children.

In the dream, Brandon and I were walking down a long hallway. We could hear a little girl calling for us "Mama... Daddy?" over and over. Sometimes her voice was very loud and other times it was very muffled. Brandon and I walked down this corridor trying to open doors. Some doors opened easily, but our Annalise wasn't behind the door. Some of the doors opened and revealed another corridor with more doors. Some doors were locked. Still Annalise called to us. And we became more frantic the longer she called. We started running down the hall checking doors while we called out "Annalise!!! Talk to Mama and Daddy! Hang on, we are coming!"

I started crying out to God to show us where she was and finally the right door opened but the light was so bright we couldn't see her. And then I woke up, shaking and disturbed.

Brandon and I will continue to cry out to God, asking Him to show us where we can find our Annalise. In the meantime, we continue to save and earmark funds to bring our girlie home.

We are coming,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let's get REAL: A post on Adoption Language and People First Language too!

So this post has been been brewing in my head for quite some time. But a few experiences have recently brought this post to the forefront. It's something I just need to say, to get off of my chest. I extend alot of grace to those that are just fumbling around and trying and want the knowledge. I cringe thinking about what I may have said as I was seeking information. I'm thankful that the people I sought out for information, were kind with me and understood my heart. I love educating people about adoption (the process, the feelings, the various ways, etc.) and talking about adoption. I take issue with those that continue to use words to hurt after they've been given the information of how to be less hurtful.

I am Xander's REAL mother. I'm not fake or an imposter. I'm as real as they come, with strengths and weaknesses. And REAL feelings too! I am also his adoptive mother. He just calls me "My Mama.." I gladly answer to that too!

Likewise, Xander is my REAL son. He's not any less my son than Solomon. Xander and Solomon ARE my sons. One is biologically my son and one was adopted. My love for both of them is great. I've grown as a mother and as a person due to each of them being in my life. They both are *very* much wanted and loved. DNA doesn't dictate my love for my children.
My children are REAL siblings. Seriously folks-- you don't want the mama bear to come out. If you don't agree with our adoption, that is fine. But leave my children out of this. They ALL love each other-- no matter how they joined our family.

As far as Xander's birthmother, C (initial only to protect her privacy), she is exactly that: His birthmother or biological mom/mother. I will not allow ANYONE to disrespect her and call her an "egg donor," "incubator," "baby carrier." She has her own struggles (ahem.. who doesnt?) but I will NOT allow people in my life to disrespect her. We have a semi-open adoption (C's choice) and Xander may one day get to meet her. I will not rip his heart to shreds by allowing people to be disrespectful to the woman that chose LIFE for him..
She made an adoption plan. She didn't give him up or give him away. She terminated her parental rights. And she loves him. 'nuff said.

Furthermore, a little lesson on People First Language. My eyes were opened to this years ago by a very dear friend, who is a special education teacher. Yes, you may roll your eyes. Internally, I did too.. and slowly my eyes were opened and it's changed the way I speak.


A child with special needs-Not a special needs child. (See that? The child came first.)

A child with autism--Not an autistic child.
So following this logic.. It's a "baby with drug exposure." Not a "Drug baby."

Language hurts.. and you never know just who's baby you're talking about.


Sickness and The Mouse

WOW! The month of October really got away from us.

It hasn't been a great month healthwise at the Bee House.

The last time I posted Xander was cutting teeth. This has been a continuous process. Those two are in and now he has more coming. He's had all the usual symptoms that accompany teeth: runny nose, fever, congestion, etc. It's getting old.. quickly!

Julianne has some mild coughing and congestion. I'm amazed at how mild this has been for her. She used to be my child that caught everything to an extreme-- especially if it was respiratory!

Lainey had a mild cough for a few days but quickly recovered. Once she got tubes as a baby for her multiple ear infections, her health really turned around and she has been very healthy since.

Julianne sneezed in Solomon's face as I was holding him. *sigh* It was one of those things I saw in slow motion but couldn't make stop! And now Solomon has a little cough. No fever, no congestion. Ahhhh.... the blessing of a breastfed baby! Solomon is also drooling pools worth of saliva requiring multiple shirt changes now as well. Guess what I found? Two little white knots on his lower gums. And he started chewing his hands like they were just the most delicious things ever!

Then, I came down with a headcold. Since I have no spleen, when I am hit with sickness I go down hard and fast! I went from sinus drainage down the back of my throat to barely being able to swallow and a fever in the matter of a couple hours. As the night wore on, I got worse and worse. Finally, the next day (on Sunday, doesn't it always happen that way?) I decided I needed to go to Patient First and found out I have a sinus infection. Unfortunately, I am prone to sinus infections but I'm thankful that I haven't been very sick like this since I had my tonsilectomy in 2008!

So, if you are still with me after that laundry list of ailments, BRANDON is the only one that has been well for the month of October.

He also celebrated his 29th birthday this month! We managed to celebrate his birthday in between illnesses. (I'm very mindful about exposing others to germs since I have no spleen!) We went to Maggiano's and had a yummy family style dinner and I stopped at Frostings, a gourmet cupcake shop, and picked up a half a dozen. Brandon had 2 red velvet cupcakes, one with buttercream frosting and one with cream cheese frosting and the kids and I had American cupcakes (vanilla) with chocolate frosting.

Solomon did not enjoy any cupcakes during this celebration. Poor fellow.

Brandon and I have also been planning for Christmas. This has involved code words and late night chats because the children do not have any idea that we are....


We did not take a family vacation this year other than a brief visit to Augusta in September so we are combining our vacation budget and our Christmas budget to make this possible. I'm so excited. I'm the only one in our family that has been to Disney before but there have been alot of changes since I went in highschool with our band. (What year was that? My freshman year? So Spring of '99? Erika, you'll have to be my fact checker!) For example, Animal Kingdom wasn't there when we went and many rides have been added. More importantly, I'm excited to see the reaction that the children and my husband have.

Brandon and I have talked about a Disney trip for years. It's been postponed due to pregnancy, school, careers, babies being too little, our adoption, etc. We finally just decided to go. Hopefully we can go back in a few years so the boys will remember a trip.

We've also been plugging in at church. We are still attending the *tiny* church and we are finding it more and more comfortable each Sunday. (We've also missed quite a bit due to sickness this fall.) Our Sunday School class has an email group so we've been in touch and we continue to get to know the other members. Our church also recently changed the schedule. Now it is Sunday School, a fellowship time and then worship. They usually serve snacks and juice during the fellowship time and people intermingle. I've met quite a few people this way and I've gotten the opportunity to get to know people more in depth this way. I have a feeling we'll be talking about joining the church soon. It's starting to feel like home.

I have a few other events to post about, but this is getting long and the tribe is getting restless.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Teeth are Coming!

Most of my friends know this about me, but I'll share it here too.

I despise teething.

I'd rather potty train each of my children twice, than deal with teething. Seriously!

Here is a brief history of teething ala Bee Style.

Lainey- teethed early (3-4 months folks!), teethed hard, had mulitple ear infections, found out she was allergic to rocephin, an antibiotic shot that they gave her because of terrible GI side effects from oral antibiotics that she was experiencing. NOT FUN.

Julianne- Not a tooth in the child's head until around 1. Seriously, even I the teething hater, started to get concerned. We saw her baby teeth on a chest xray and I was relieved but didn't look forward to their arrival. She teethed hard and chewed everything in sight, including the edge of our wooden stairs. Yes.. I know.. this has been compared to puppies multiple times by multiple friends.

Xander- Oh me oh my. The kiddo has the worst time with teeth! He hates teeth. He likes to chew his hands and fingers and then gets really upset when he bites himself. He will not take a teething toy or chew a washcloth, or a biter biscuit. Nope.. hands are the only things that will do.. well besides your forearm or wrist and trust me, the chompers work (and hurt!) He is a drooly, sopping mess. The poor guy looks miserable in a bib during his playtime, like we are pulling a cruel joke on him. How dare we put a baby bib on him! In fact, he's recently figured out how to tear them off but before that he would wad the bib up and try to chew it! Now he chews the collars of his shirts.. like he's a goat. He has 10 teeth (one has only barely broken through though.) The most recent additions are two molars on the left side. He chomped me tonight when I was trying to make sure he wasn't eating a toy. It hurt.

Lord help me.. I have at least one more teether to go. Can't we just do baby dentures or something? I mean baby teeth aren't even permanent!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Mispoke...

On September 16th, as I wrote my blog post, one handed in the wee hours of the morning, I mispoke. And I'd like the opportunity to correct it.

I wrote: "The ONLY thing Brandon and I are promised is that we will go to Heaven as Believers."

This is not true. We are promised more than just to go to Heaven. But first I would like to share how God put this particular post on my heart in an effort to show how loving God has been to me.

A few days ago it rained... I mean it POURED! And after the rain we saw a rainbow. Several of my friends were thoughtful and put their pictures of the rainbow from their view on Facebook for all to see. Turns out there was a rainbow here in Richmond and in my hometown of Augusta, Georgia at the same time. Neat huh?

Rainbows have always, always been one of my favorite things about nature. In fact, one day as I was in a drab hospital nursery I looked out past the nurses station and saw a double rainbow from the rocking chair where I was cudding and getting to know Xander. It was a breathtaking moment that I hope I never forget!

Anywho.. as I looked at everyone's pictures of the rainbow, I felt a gentle nudging. The biblical significance of the rainbow is in Genesis chapter 9. God promised Noah that He would never again flood the earth to kill everything.

Ahhhh.. yes.. a promise. And it was then that words that I quoted above ran through my head and I realized that I had mispoken. *gulp*

What I meant to say is that we aren't promised an easy life. We aren't promised a job promotion. We aren't promised that because we believe in God that everything will go our way. So I'll be editing my post from Sept 16th and I ask for your understanding and forgiveness.

I never intended to say that God has only promised us Heaven.

God has made MANY promises- they are all throughout the Bible!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Savings

This morning, I did something I've never done before. I woke up, nursed Solomon, grabbed my list and Solomon and I went shopping alone.

The three older kids stayed home with Daddy.

I went to the bank and made a deposit through the ATM. Have you ever done that? It's amazing! I typically don't use "self scan" anything because I don't want to put people out of work. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, I did today. It's a huge deal to make a deposit into our checking account because I don't have any deposit slips. Since we started our account in Georgia, I need an out of state deposit slip. Of course, the teller never believes that I know what I need and insists they handed me the right one. I fill it out and hand it to them and then they say it won't work. I need an out of state slip. I look over both shoulders expecting Candid Cameras and there is nothing. I usually sigh heavily and fill out the next form.

So today I skipped all of those steps and deposited a check at the ATM. The receipt has an image of the check I put in on it. Brandon has done this before (to prevent the above mentioned scenario) and we've never had any issues before. I also withdrew cash for our envelopes.

Then, I drove to the consignment store. I noticed when I walked in that there were signs everywhere that they were having a sale. 60% off of all clothing sized 24 months and under. I quickly thought through the closet inventory I took and realized that the only thing I really needed was a coat for Solomon. As they were looking over the clothes and preparing the offer, I checked out my usual area. I found a coat for Solomon for $2.60. They offered me $34.77 and so my total net was $32.17. (This check will be deposited via the ATM too!)

I drove through the drive thru at the newly opened ChicFilA and used a coupon I had for a free 4 piece kids meal. Total cost $0.00

I drove to Martin's. I chose Martin's today because they sent me a fabulous coupon flyer this week. There were three coupons on it: A free $25 giftcard for having a new or transferred prescription filled and two $10 off a purchase of $50 or more coupons. Each of the $10/$50 coupons dated differently.

I walked straight back to the pharmacy and asked if they had the supplies for the prescription that was new to us. They checked and said they didn't. So I had them call another Martin's for me. They had what we needed at the other pharmacy. While I was waiting I spotted a clearance rack. I got two large bags of Kingsford charcoal for $5.24 each, a container of lighter fluid $1.85 and a bag of cat food for $.99. Total cost: $13.99

I drove to Martin's #2. Picked up the prescription and paid with our Flexible Spending Card and picked up my giftcard from the pharmacy and took my list to pick up the 14 things I planned to buy. My Subtotal was $54.31. Then the $10 off, then the giftcard. Final Cost: $19.55

At this point, I drove home and unloaded groceries. Then I nursed Solomon and laid him down for his nap.

Then I went shopping completely alone. *giggle*

I went to CVS and that was a bust.

Then I went to Walmart and made a small return and bought lunchmeat for Monday and Baby Vicks for our congested Xander. But they didn't have any nasal aspirators. Out of pocket: $0.00

On the way home I passed a Babies R Us/ Toys R Us. I ran in, got two nasal aspirators and a travel package of baby wipes. Used my $5 reward card. Out of pocket: 18 CENTS!

Not bad for about 5 hours total! And I walked in the door just in time for Solomon's next feeding!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Gap

When I look in the picture in the header of my blog, I see something that most people don't. Of course I see four children, the youngest crying and the oldest trying to console him. I see two girls and two boys. I see that Xander is not the least bit interested in posing for pictures at all.

But I also see a gap in between Julianne and Xander, a baby that was in our lives that isn't in our day to day life anymore.

In December 2006, our Julianne was only 6 months old when I began to feel oddly. I took a pregnancy test and a line came up very quickly!

Brandon was in the livingroom playing video games with our friend, Chris. I called him into our master suite and showed him the test. He smiled and kissed me, I saw him puff out his chest a bit and he walked back into the livingroom where our guest was waiting for him.

And then my mind started racing. THREE? THREE children? Woah.. we said that we were "done" after Julianne! Julianne and the new baby would be 15 months apart. Much closer than the 39 month spacing between DeLainey and Julianne. How will I manage? What would people think? What would our families say? What if I had hyperemesis again? What if I am put on bedrest again?

Brandon didn't seem worried at all. He was thrilled. He was amazed that I was pregnant (while on the Birth Control Pill no less) after trying so hard and eventually using the fertility medication, Clomid, to conceive Julianne.

Slowly, I adjusted my thinking and embraced my pregnancy. Don't think for a second I didn't love my baby instantly- I did. I was just concerned about the logistics. I later lost that pregnancy immediately following my first doctor's appointment and ultrasound.

We were both devastated. Brandon says that the sound of me crying when they told me our baby was gone haunts him to this day and that he has never felt so helpless in his life. September 2007 came and went, without another baby joining our family.

Now, I am super thankful that Xander joined our family and then Solomon. But the pain of my miscarriage is still there and I still see The Gap.

Every September 19, I think of how we would be celebrating a birthday. This year, that baby would be three. No one really talks about our baby that died and that is probably the most difficult thing to deal with now. No one seems to remember or see The Gap but me.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flee and Never Look Back...

So Thursday after recieving word that the promotion was not meant to be, I had to go back "home" to take care of some things. Brandon was able to go with me since he wasn't starting a new position. (How is that for timing? LOL!)

It wasn't fine and dandy. Most of the trip was okay but we quickly remembered why we were eager to move. We both have a low tolerance for drama... family drama included.

I'm not going to get into exactly what happened, but let's just say it wasn't pretty. And Wednesday, although I was so sad to have to say goodbye to my aunt, (who is more like a mother to me than the family friend she truly is) I couldn't wait to get back to Richmond. Seriously, the speed limit was not fast enough and I wish I could have teleported myself back.

Last Wednesday night when we arrived home, I checked some blogs I follow and I read this:

And it touched me in such a way that I'm not sure I can clearly explain myself. Since November 2008, I've lived my life looking back. Looking at what we had, what was familiar, looking at the past. And it took the family drama for me to truly see that Augusta is not where our family should be.

God has made it clear that we are supposed to be in Richmond in the following ways:

1. Brandon had a very quick interviewing time for his position here. His offer was extended quickly. It blessed us financially.
2. Our move was the smoothest move we've ever experienced.
3. Xander's adoption was speedy and easy.
4. Brandon and I have had some insights that have made us understand what we believe and why we believe it.
5. We've brought Lainey home to homeschool-- something we wanted to do in Georgia but didn't have the guts to. He's blessed my efforts even when I feel like I can't homeschool effectively with four, 7 years old and under.
6. Our church is less than a mile from our first apartment here.. and a little over a mile from our place now. Yes.. all that church searching and it was just down the street!
7. It's been made clear that we haven't been meant to transfer out... at least not yet! (I've learned to never say never!)
8. I had wonderful care from my OB while I was pregnant with Solomon and the hospital I was treated at for preterm labor was less than 3 miles away. The close proximity allowed Brandon to bring the children to come visit me. This was my first pregnancy that I didn't have serious reservations about my care and change OB's mid pregnancy!
9. Julianne's asthma and respiratory issues are virtually non-existent (even though we now live in an apartment with carpet.)

I could go on and on... God's fingerprints are all over the details of our lives.

So I'm going to try VERY hard to not look back. I have a future to live.. here in Richmond.

Interestingly enough, I struggle with not looking back at what my life was like before I accepted Christ as well. Guilt, shame and fear live in my past. Old habits die hard. I'm trying...


PS: I'm still working on that other post. I guess I'm not meant to share the story yet!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not sure what to write about...

I'm working on a post that I can't get worded juuuuuuuuust right. And I have writer's block when I try to start another post about another subject.

So I'm not sure what to write. But I'm still here!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It wasn't meant to be....

Last Thursday was not a great day at the Bee House. Brandon sent me a text message asking for prayers because he thought the announcement for the position he applied for was about to come out.

I prayed and had a very unsettled feeling. I tried to shake it off and keep praying. I knew how much Brandon wanted it. Who am I kidding? I knew how much I wanted it for Brandon.

And then a very long wait happened and my phone rang. I said hello and I knew from the pause and they way Brandon's voice cracked when he said my name that things didn't go the way we had hoped.

The tears started rolling down my hot cheeks and mentally I started down a really dangerous path.

What do you mean he didn't get it? He's worked so hard... He deserves it. Look at all we have sacrificed! We took a huge chance to come here! Brandon helped change the course that the office was going down and improve the stats. We were one of the first internal transfers! Look at all his accomplishments....

I comforted Brandon the best way I knew how. All I could say was, "I guess it wasn't meant to be, God has something else planned." I choked back tears while I was on the phone with him. I excused myself to go take a shower and cry it out. When the water ran cold I got out and dressed. I found myself on the couch, as numb inside as I felt outside.

That night before I drifted off to sleep, I felt very convicted about my thoughts. I started thinking about what we really deserve. As sinners, we deserve hell. But we are offered the gift of forgiveness by God! I'm so thankful for that!

So now we wait...again. We will both keep looking ahead and working, while we wait for God to show us what is next.

[This post has been edited. See the October 5th posting for more information.]

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Chapter

All adoption decisions are on hold right now. We continue to pray for guidance and pray for families that are currently on their journey to uniting with their children. Many of you know just how passionate we are about this and how strongly we desire to adopt again. My flesh wishes we could have started yesterday! But the rules say that we can't start another homestudy until January at the soonest. We are trusting Him and waiting. As much as it frustrates me, much of the adopting process is jumping through hoops and waiting.

In other news:

We may have finally found a church home. God is such a patient Father. He had to let us flounder in churches that WE thought we should be in and none of those worked.

There was one certain church that we kept passing... we looked online and they didn't match up with what we thought we needed or even wanted. This church is crazy small. The list of things they don't have that we thought we desired/needed is very long.

But we kept being drawn to this church. We surrendered... and went on Sunday. We were greeted by a very nice lady that helped us find our way (down ONE hallway. HA!) We were introduced to people that we had things in common with (SAHM, homeschooling, adopting, more than 2.5 children!) We were welcomed with open arms. Our three children that attended Sunday School/Nursery were well cared for and comfortable.

We were asked if we had prayer needs... We were included. We were not mocked, ignored or belittled. The sermon was biblically sound and unapologetic.

The peace in my heart is so very sweet right now. And I can't wait to meet more people, build relationships and finally have a regular place to worship and fellowship.

What I didn't expect was the tears that would come with closing the chapter to our old church. Yeah, I know, we've been here almost TWO years (can you believe it?!) But I had very special memories at my old church and very sweet friends. Brandon and I had unbelievable mentors and I had great memories of teaching a Sunday School class. Brandon and I met some incredible prayer warriors... who prayed us through a job loss, me going back to work and then coming back home, Lainey's public school issues, infertility diagnosis and failed treatments, our adoption and my most recent pregnancy!

It hit me like a ton of bricks on Monday morning, when I realized that we may have found a church that we can call "home." So the tears flowed. Everything made my eyes well up with tears on Monday. And it is with much sadness, that I realized that the friendships and memories will remain, but that Richmond is home. I've told myself a lie for almost 2 years. I told myself that this is a temporary assignment and that this will never be home. This was supposed to be short term... a stepping stone if you will. And as things line up, fall into place and become more clear, I realize that for now, this is home. I'm not sure if we will ever leave Richmond. And I'm not sure I would have ever agreed to come if I had known it was permanent. But, I certainly feel like God has more to show us about this place and about where He desires us to be.

And for the first time in a long time, I'm not dreading turning the page to see what is up ahead.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's going to be a crazy week....

This is what our schedule looks like this week:

Monday- Homeschooling and Chiropractor visits for Brandon and I. (Brandon went and there was a sign saying they were closed. I guess we missed the announcement.) Prep chicken for potluck on Tuesday.

Tuesday- Homeschooling and potluck at Brandon's work that our family was invited to. It's a potluck for his team of employees. Solomon turns 3 months old!

Wednesday- Homeschooling, Chiropractor visits for Brandon and I, trip to the library to pick up books for the next two weeks and Brandon's office wide picnic-- families included.

Thursday- Homeschooling and dental appointment for me.

Friday- Solomon's weight check appointment, chiropractor visits for Brandon and I, drop off consignment and Brandon's SECOND interview! Exciting! It's at 12 noon if you'd like to join me in prayer. :)

Soooooooooooooooooooooo.... I shouldn't have scheduled our homeschool to start this week.

Live and learn.

Edited to add: Thursday we also potentially have either rain from the hurricane or rain and wind. So everything on our porch needs moved off, we need to make sure we have water and flashlights. EEEKS!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Looking for Fundraising Ideas...

Brandon and I have been discussing adding a #5 to the Bee Family! We were actually getting ready to update our homestudy to add #4 last October when I found out I was expecting. So little Solomon snuck in and became our fourth.

It looks like we can start the process again when Solomon is 6 months old. Hopefully, we'll be able to confirm that this week.

In the meantime, I'm looking for fundraising ideas. Any thoughts or suggestions?

A few ideas that we've come up with include using our tax return. Also, if Brandon does indeed get this promotion, we'd save his raise each paycheck. And we already save all our change and don't spend it...

I hope to have more information soon and be able to make an official announcement then.


PS: Brandon's interview is at 12 noon tomorrow!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

*SQUEAL!* and a hodge podge

I just got word that Brandon was asked to interview for The Position on Monday at noon!


Okay... enough of that. In other news, I'm almost done with Lainey's work for the entire year! I did something different this year and I'm so excited to share it soon! *Yay!* *Wahhhhoooo!*

Doing the same thing for Julianne, is well.. going much slower! *Boooooooooo!*

Xander now waves in response to "Hi, Hello, Good Morning, Bye, Goodbye and Good night." Yes, I've tested them all. :) He's been a bit cranky the last few days and we aren't 100% sure why. I'm guessing it's a growth spurt or teeth.

Solomon has been awake more.. and hungrier and hungrier! I've had marathon nursing sessions lasting at least an hour for the last 2 days or so. Growing is such a bittersweet thing though. It is neat to see his personality come out. Those of you that have met Brandon in person, know that well.. his facial expressions tell everything. I often lean in and whisper "Fix your face" when we are in awkward situations (per his request.. of course!) You can read his face from a mile away! Well... guess which one of our children appear to have this characteristic? Yes, my sweet Solomon. He will definitely be an interesting character.
This is his, "Are you done yet, Daddy?" look...

Still no good news on the hives situation. Still hiving.. since February now! They are less intense than they were but they are still here. I'm starting to wonder if I'll have them the rest of my life? Seriously, I do not remember what it feels like to not have hives.

Yesterday I went to the dermatologist to have a four suspicious moles checked out and only had to have one removed. I'll spare you the picture of that! It was easy to have it removed and I seriously didn't feel a thing. Don't hesitate to have any moles that looked at if they are suspicious!

I hope all is going well in your camp!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

So, I'm still up to my elbows assembling our curricula for this coming school year. I'm piecing together different programs for Julianne and DeLainey, so the planning is all on me.


I wanted to document something super exciting that is going on at the Bee House. A few months ago, Brandon applied for a position his company posted for their Kansas office. It would have been a promotion and it looked really promising. He interviewed but didn't get the position. He didn't even really get much feedback. They just said that he was a promising candidate. Hmpf.

After that, we moved into our new apartment and continued living our lives here in Richmond. We managed to make it through me being hospitalized for preterm labor without any family nearby. A dear friend, Nikki, stepped up and took the children to her house (on Mother's Day Weekend folks- she had SEVEN total children, 7 and under!) so that Brandon could be by my bedside to help me make decisions and advocate on my behalf and Solomon's too! I wasn't responding to the medications and the doctor at one point was preparing us to have a 33 weeker in the NICU. The day I was discharged, I was still on bedrest so my aunt drove up from Georgia and stayed with us until after Solomon was born.

I can't explain it, but after that "test" was passed, I started liking Richmond more. I'm sure hormones played a huge role in my homesickness. And let's face it, it has been a roller coaster ride since we've been here. Between getting things set up, transitioning Lainey to school, starting the adoption process, bringing Lainey home to homeschool, being matched to Xander, Xander's hospitalization and discharge, adjusting to life with three and then finding out that we were expecting.. it's been a WILD RIDE!

I'm still not 100% in love with Richmond, but it's growing on me. I know the exact moment that I realized that Richmond had grown on me. Brandon's company posted a position in another city (that shall remain nameless, but it's much more southern than Richmond) and we prayed and discussed it. I just did not have peace about moving. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I had a huge, huge knot in my stomach when I thought about leaving Richmond. Brandon had the same feeling. So he didn't even apply! At that very moment I realized that I do like Richmond!

Okay, so fast forward to last week. Brandon got a cryptic text message from a co-worker and immediately got on his work laptop. I knew something had to be up because he was on vacation!

He walked into the kitchen and told me that there would be an opening for the position above him.... and it was for his current office, so no relocation would be involved. I looked at him with wide eyes. This is only the second time this position has come open since we moved here in November of 2008!

The wait began. The position posted this past week. Brandon submitted his appliation yesterday after getting his supervisor's blessing. So now we wait to see what happens. I'm so proud of Brandon no matter what happens. He is an awesome, dedicated hardworker and truly loves his work. (And I'm not just saying that because he is my husband.. I once trained Brandon for a company we previously worked for and no.. we weren't romantically involved way back when either!)

If you feel led to lift us up in prayer, please do so. I'm trying not to drive him insane by asking him if he has heard anything each time we chat, so pray for that too!

I'll keep you posted!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

I'm still here!

We had company this past week and I'm to my eyeballs in homeschool planning.. But I'm hoping to be back soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I had to change my blog background a few days ago. And then a friend said she could no longer post.

I know I lost my "followers" on the right because I couldn't find a background that had a follower widget.

I also lost my prayer list...

Trying to find a new background.. but can you comment?

Try to send a comment and see what happens. If you don't get through, send me a message through any other method you have of reaching me (text, facebook, email, PM's, etc.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Solomon Kincaid's Birthstory

(Just oh ummm... 7 weeks late LOL! I wrote this the day after his birth but haven't posted it here yet.)

The morning of Friday, May 28th, Brandon and I laid in bed and discussed whether or not to send the children to Georgia with my Aunt. She was returning for the weekend to take care of some things because she had been in Virginia with us since Mother's Day. I had been hospitalized for preterm labor and put on bedrest so she came to help with the children. After I was taken off of bedrest, it seemed like Solomon was going to arrive any day so she stayed with us.

But, I had some hard contractions during the night that made me nervous. Brandon decided the children were to go with my Aunt and I packed them up while they were eating breakfast and then I saw them off. Right after they left, I wondered if I had whined too much about being uncomfortable or if I really was supposed to send them to Georgia. I decided that I did the right thing by submitting to Brandon's decision.

Friday afternoon I took Brandon back to work after lunch and ran errands. I had more contractions-- but by this point I had had contractions since 33.5 weeks and it was nothing really new. Friday night we went out to dinner... I remember telling Brandon that I thought this baby was much larger than our past babies because I could feel him on more than one side of my tummy at the same time. We laughed.

Saturday, I had a strong urge to get out of our house. We restocked the pantry and the freezer. Brandon bought minor league baseball tickets for Monday night. I accused him of “stacking the deck” (LOL!) but he insisted he was just trying to keep my mind off of the impending labor and if it cost $20 to encourage Solomon to arrive-- so be it.

Sunday, we slept in, ran an errand, ate lunch and then went swimming. It felt SO good to be weightless. We got rained out, came home, grilled out, and then went back to the pool after we cleaned up from dinner. Brandon and I teased that if Solomon was going to come early, our health insurance year started over on June 1st. I felt great. I was without pain in my hips/tailbone/pubic bone and I was walking a thousand times better. The pool was shut down for thunder and we headed back home.

Suddenly I felt really floaty and went to into our bathroom and shut the door behind me. I felt like I needed to be in a small, enclosed space. Then, I started having contractions. They hurt a lot and I had to really breathe and concentrate to get through them. I laughed and told Brandon “Oh they are nothing.. we've been doing this for weeks, now!” Solomon kicked and squirmed in between contractions. And then I couldn't talk through them anymore. I started getting a little cranky even between them. I just could not get comfortable. Brandon decided to call my doctor (who was on call) when I got “stuck” on our bed on all fours. Nothing else felt decent.

Brandon chatted with Dr. S and he said to come on in and we'd see what was going on. When Brandon told me, I started crying and said “I'm NOT ready to do this!” Brandon rubbed my hair and said that we were just going to check and we'd be back home soon and I could shower when I got home. (He knew we weren't coming home.. but he said he just needed me to actually walk to our van!) He grabbed our things and we headed in. I still smelled like chlorine and sunscreen from our pool outing! We walked in from the parking deck and had to stop several times. Brandon says I kept doing this thing where I looked like I was going to fall down and sit on the ground or something and it made him very nervous.

We had to check in through the ER and the poor lady had no idea what she was doing to register me. There were two of us in the ER pregnant and trying to check in and neither of us were getting admitted very fast. They came and got me and took me to L and D in a wheel chair. My blood pressure was VERY high (this was causing the floaty feeling.) I had been having great blood pressures up to this point. They tried to start an IV and they weren't having any luck. Finally I got one that worked but it was in the bend of my wrist... a very yucky place to have one! They sent off labs to check and see why my blood pressure was so high. I was steadily contracting and Solomon would NOT stay on the monitor. I had a nurse at my bedside for most of the evening trying to keep him monitored. My blood pressure was sky high and not coming down.

I dilated some more and Solomon's heart rate was going up and down... but I was still sure I was going home. I remember telling Brandon I could NOT wait to get home and shower... I want to say somewhere around 5-6 am, Dr. S came in and asked if I wanted an epidural and I said. “YES, PLEASE!” He asked if he could break my water and put a fetal electrode in the top of Solomon's head to keep his heart rate monitored better as well as monitor the strength of the contractions. I told him that was fine as long as I got my epidural first. (I'm such a chicken. I seriously told myself “Oh if the epidural doesn't work, I won't let them do anything-- I can go take my shower and we can try again another day!”) Brandon and I prayed that my epidural would please work- since I had a very bad experience during Lainey's pregnancy. I had tears running out of the sides of my eyes and down my face but didn't make a sound.... Next thing I knew, I had an epidural that was WORKING! I got my catheter inserted since I wouldn't be walking anymore and they put the monitor in for Solomon. Then they took the monitors off of my belly. And my blood pressure dropped down to a more normal range.

We called my aunt to let her know that it was Baby Day and Brandon called my mother in law. We finally announced it on MOMYS and on Facebook. Dr. S was off call and Dr. B took over. Dr. B is the doctor that admitted me over Mother's Day weekend. At 11ish, I was 6 cm. I was amazed that things seemed to be going quickly. And then Solomon's heart rate dropped. I had a handful of nurses in my room ASAP and they were repositioning me trying to get his heart rate to go back up. I asked to be checked again, and I was 9 cm. His heart rate dropped again and this time Dr. B came in. I was repositioned again and his heart rate came up. Dr. B said that if it happened much more, that we'd have to discuss another csection.

My first thought was “OH NO! I've gotten all the way to 9 cm and NOW I'm going to be sectioned! And then right as I completed that thought, my mind said "Stephanie.. this baby has been planned by God for forever. He KNOWS if this baby will be a csection or a VBAC, it's already decided. DO NOT STRESS!” I was so peaceful in that moment. Brandon was rubbing my hair and I said to him “Either way, he's got to come out...” He thought this was hilarious in the moment. The nurse said she'd be in, in about an hour to see if I was ready to start pushing but to let her know if I needed her before then.

I didn't make it an hour. After about 30 minutes, I told Brandon that he had to get someone NOW because I was feeling like I needed to push. The nurse came in and said I was right, that I was complete, started setting up and called my doctor. It all still felt surreal and I was thinking “I just want a shower!” They couldn't find the stirrups to my bed... and I was breathing hard, trying to not push... I grabbed Brandon's hand and said to him “Please, tell them to hurry or he'll be born in my bed without a nurse, doctor and stirrups.”

I finally got to push at 2pm. I had a contraction and pushed three long pushes. Dr. B commented that I sure did remember where to push. The nurse walked away after and said next time I felt another I could push... I couldn't even get the words out. I just said “Another!” and went to town. Then they had me stop pushing and I was given oxygen. I could hear that Solomon's heart rate had dropped... My next contraction came and I told them I couldn't put off another one-- I had to push! Dr. B said to go for it and then they started cheering me on. I heard Brandon say “He has a lot of hair, Stephanie!” (YES, the same man that said he wasn't looking at anything other than my eyes!) and the next thing I knew, when I opened my eyes, he was on my chest. I didn't get to look in the mirror because I didn't realize that I was so close. I had gone back and forth a few times in my mind, not knowing if I really wanted to see, and planned on asking after that contraction. Oops.

Solomon was born crying at 2:14pm and had vernix all over him. I had never had a new baby on my chest and remember thinking that I didn't know what to do with him as I started wiping him off. Brandon exclaimed that I finally got to hold one of my babies first. Solomon peed all over and they took him to the warming bed where he peed again. We all took guesses on his weight. I said low 6's, Dr B said 7's and Brandon said high 7's. My OB, Dr. S, had said 7 lbs even, earlier in the day. He was 6 lbs, 15 oz. I watched Solomon get feisty with the nurse and eventually delivered my placenta. I had one stitch and then Dr B said I needed one more. They had to turn on the pitocin to get my uterus to clamp down a bit and I felt a little light headed until they got that under control.

They brought Solomon back to me and the first thing I did was kiss and smell him. And then I pulled his hat back so I could see his hair! I got him latched when he was about an hour old but he wasn't interested in nursing. He kept making the worst faces and pulling off. He did suckle a little bit but he was a little congested-- they said it was typical of a very fast pushing session AND common for 36 weekers. He went to the nursery with Daddy to be checked out. There we found out he was 19 ¾ inches long. I eventually got my shower.

Solomon did have his stomach suctioned out because it was full of mucus. But he nurses like a champ. The only breastfeeding issue we had was getting him to flare his lips out for a great latch!

My aunt returned with the children on Tueday and I was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday.

Solomon is my earliest baby and also the second largest! DeLainey beat him out at 7 lbs even but she was born at 38 weeks and some days and Solomon was born at 36 weeks and 5 days. The rule of thumb is a half a pound a week so if I would have kept him in for another 2 weeks, it's estimated he would have been almost 8 lbs! My OB, Dr. S, teased and said that Solomon WAS 7 lbs before he peed all over everyone. LOL!

God's perfect timing through the whole thing was just amazing. We are thrilled that everything worked out so well.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday! - Love God

Tomorrow is my birthday.. well actually in about an hour, my birthday will start.

But I wasn't super thrilled.. in fact I bordered on being upset.

It's not that I'm worried about getting old. In fact, after having a few scary experiences I'm always thankful to turn another year older. Thank you GOD for keeping me on earth for another year!

It sounds silly... but I was upset that I have no baby pictures of myself. NONE. In fact I have a handful of pictures from when I was a toddler that my aunt passed to me but that is it. I have pictures from high school, but when I showed those to Lainey and Julianne, they both said "But MOMMY! You look the same!" Bless you children, but I'm getting you an eye appointment STAT!

I think it hit me this year because I have a new little one and we are actively photojournaling FOUR children these days!

So.. what did I do about it?

Well.. I took it to my Father. You know.. the one on call 24/7 to hear my cries, my praise, etc?

Yup.. I prayed and I asked God to make my heart STOP hurting or to help me get some pictures.

You won't believe this.

I got a phone call yesterday from my Aunt saying she stumbled across some photoalbums and wanted to know if I had any of my baby pictures? No.. I sure don't. The next question was "Would you like me to scan them and give you an electronic copy? Or 8 x 10's? Or 5 x 7's or do you have a preference?"

I didn't know what to say at first. She thought we were disconnected because I said nothing.

All I could think was "First I go from no pictures to pictures in whatever form or size I want?"

So I said "Whatever's easiest."

And when I hung up the phone, I got to share with my girls that God is awesome and sending us pictures of mama as a baby....

God is so good!

PS: My blog template expired.. I'll have to get on that later.. you know.. cause I have so much extra time. Bwahahahahahah!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

He took it better than I thought...

So having delivered two babies prior to Solomon, I knew the question was going to come up at my 6 week post partum check up.

My doctor wanted to know what kind of birth control I wanted.

"None." *big smile*

"Okay." *small pause* "I'll see you in a year, for your annual appointment. Give me a ring, if I can help you with anything."

Oh Father, You've brought me so far. I trust You with everything... including the growing of our family as You see fit. I can't imagine missing out on my sweet Solomon because I thought I could plan our child spacing in some worldly, "ideal" way. The world sees my boys as too close in age and too much work especially because I have two in diapers. But You have blessed us with another son. Thank You for creating that burning desire for a larger family after my last miscarriage. You worked our sadness into good, just like it says in Romans 8:28! I sincerely hope You have more blessings in our future. I'm still in awe that I've been blessed with four little people, so fearfully and wonderfully made! Amen.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wise vs. Smart

I was busy changing Xander's diaper and Julianne was talking to Solomon.

This is what I overheard:

Julianne: "Solomon... don't cry... Momma will be right back. We have to wait our turn you know..."

Solomon: (lips quivering and then let's out a huge wail)

Julianne: "So Solomon.. what can we talk about? You have a nice name.... Everyone says Solomon was wise when they hear your name.... So..... (looks around) what is 2+2?"

Solomon: stares intently at Julianne.

Julianne: "Lainey, I think Momma named him wrong... He doesn't know 2+2!"

Lainey: "Julianne, he doesn't know how to talk... Xander only says a few words! And he can't do Math!"

Julianne: "But Daddy called you smart when you did your math!"

I think we need to discuss wise vs. smart huh? And tell her for the 1 millionth time that he'll have to learn to be wise...his name didn't give it to him!

Thank you Father, for my children, that keep me on my toes and keep me laughing. You know exactly what kind of hard night I had with the hives and yet today, I was given yet another story to laugh about involving my children. I can't wait to share how awesomely You've provided for our growing family. Your blessings continue to pour out as we follow Your will and ignore the world.


PS: Friends, I have an appointment tomorrow with an allergist. Please pray for me to have some answers. I'm on month 10 or so of hives and nothing I've tried has helped. I was supposed to go without antihistimines for three days before this appointment and somewhere around hour 50 I had to give up... Not sure what that means for tomorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hi Friends!

I've been gone for quite some time (It's been busy around here!) but I hope to catch you up soon.

For now I'll leave you with this:

Solomon Kincaid

May 31st, 2010 (36W5D)


6 lbs 15 oz

19 3/4 inches long

We are so very blessed!


Monday, April 19, 2010

So... What do You Have to do to Adopt Anyway?

First, I will preface this with a disclaimer that different types of adoption have different requirements. In addition, you may find that different states may have different requirements and you may even find differences between agencies.

But I'll be happy to share the path we took.

First, we planned on adopting from the United States. We weren't sure if we were going to adopt a waiting child/children from foster care or adopt an infant. Waiting children from foster care are children that have had their parent's rights terminated by the state for various reasons. Typically waiting children in the US are toddler age or above and may have special needs (emotional, physical, mental, educational, etc.) Sadly, it is harder to place sibling groups and minority children wait longer.

At the beginning of our journey, I called around to find out which agencies in my area are licensed to do homestudies, what their current wait times were looking like and how much they charged. I called several agencies and ended up going with the worker that was easiest to talk to on the phone. Sounds strange but that was our deciding factor after a lot of prayer. We set up our first appointment and had her mail us a packet so we could get started on the paperwork.

At our first meeting with our social worker, we went over the various types of adoption and discussed which adoption path we thought we were going to take. She went over the risks and benefits of each kind of adoption, as well as the price ranges, typical wait times, etc. She understood that we were open to children 0-8 years old, typical or special needs, any race, either gender. We went over the forms that we needed to fill out and the papers we needed to gather.

That very afternoon we started what is commonly referred to as The Paperchase. We gathered previous years tax forms, proof of health and life insurance, physicals for every family member, copies of paystubs, a budget form, a list of debts and assets, birth certificates, fingerprinting, a background check, a CPS case file check in all states we lived in during our adult life, my divorce decree, our marriage license, a plan for our children if we were to die, fill out a family history/social history form, provide names and addresses for referral letter requests to be sent, etc. We gathered them all before our next appointment.

We also each had to write an autobiography before our next appointment. This part was tough for me because I have a very strained relationship with my family and my childhood was less than stellar. But I wrote it honestly and answered the questions that were asked of me.

Paperchasing was easy for me. I'm a box checker. And conveniently they provided me with a checklist of forms to turn in. *grin* It gave me something to do and I could visably see our progress.

Our agency called our next appointment, the interviewing appointment. The social worker spoke with Brandon separately and then me. And then both of us together. I bawled through my interview and wondered if I was even able to do this, given my crazy family life. Our social worker was very nice and explained that they weren't looking for perfect people, they were looking for people that had a heart for children. And if the person had trials in their life they were looking to see that they were successfully coping and had a support system in place. That was reassuring. She also didn't hold my tears against me. :)

The last appointment was at our home. To be perfectly honest I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. At one point Brandon told me if I washed the floors on my hands and knees one more time I was going to scrub the finish off of them. *blush* I dusted, I organized the food in my cabinets by type and made sure all the labels were facing forward, I cleaned closets, we rearranged furniture, etc. I basically was a nesting nut. Turns out, none of that is needed she was looking for a safe place for children and adequate space. And yes, our social worker assured us that it was normal to be worried about it and clean ourselves into a frenzy. Based on our home size, we decided that our homestudy was going to say that we could accept placement of up to two children. We also talked about the neighborhood, the area activities that we participate in, etc.

The next part was the hardest for me. Waiting for all the paperwork to come back, the social worker to write it up and have her supervisor sign off. I remember getting the call telling us that our homestudy was complete and then she asked if she wanted her to mail it or if we wanted to come pick it up. I couldn't wait to see it, so I said I'd be there. I've never gotten shoes on 2 kids so fast before in my life.

It was kind of weird to read about our family. LOL But I saw the glorious words:

Approved to accept placement and adopt up to two children, 0-8 years old, either gender, any race, typical or special needs.

And then came what we thought was going to be REALLY hard part... waiting for a match and placement.....