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Monday, September 20, 2010

So much to say. So little time. So little energy with which to say it. Convention is less than two weeks away. A week from today Mike and I will be moving into the Convention hotel for 7 days. It is Ca-Runch time. Crunchy! It’s all going well, it’ll be awesome and we’re getting excited, but planning a convention for 450 people is A LOT of work and we’ll be ready to have our lives back! Thank goodness we’ve got lots of people working on this thang. It’s kind of like training for a marathon: we’ve spent months (two years actually) preparing and following a training schedule/agenda and a lot of the time we’ve said, “And just WHY are we doing this?....When will it be over?...But it WILL be worth it!” And then when the big day(s) finally arrive, we’ll be excited and nervous and thrilled and full of trepidation. And then when it’s all over there will be this let-down. This post-Big event sigh of relief/sadness that it’s actually come and actually gone. (That’s when I will commence with master bathroom-makeover, garden shed installing and generally nesting and preparing for life to change).

Speaking of life changing, here’s a quick adoption update: We meet with Mia this Wednesday to negotiate the “Communication Agreement” (the legal document that maps out the plan for our contact with her post-baby). As you can imagine this can be a little intense and awkward, but we have a good feeling about it and there’s a neutral agency representative there to help maneuver through it. We also found out three items of EXTREMELY good news: our adoption fee will be $2000 less than what we’d thought (Praise God). And then ironically the same day we found out about the lower fee, the car broke down and sucked up $1200 of that saved money. Funny how that works.

Second item of great news: Mia does not request any input on naming the baby!!! HOORAY! (And no, actually, I’m not broadcasting the name this time ‘round. Believe it or not I CAN keep a secret…sorta. Sometimes….we’ll see. I will just say it’s pretty much the awesomest name ever and it’s not Abigail, fyi.)

Lastly, we learned Mia’s birth plan: being the smart girl that she is, she is aware of the emotional rollercoaster that she is in for and she will not hold the baby or see us at the hospital. We will get a call when she goes into labor, once the baby is born she (the baby) will be taken immediately to a private room; we’ll either be in the waiting room or arrive shortly after. When I thought about this scenario it made me a little sad: Baby’s just going to be hanging out in a room by herself with no one holding her just post-birth?!….and then I realized that (if all goes well), we’ll actually be able to hold this baby a lot sooner and longer than we did with either of the boys. I mean obviously I saw both of them and got to hold them for a MINUTE but then they were whisked off the NICU and we didn’t get to hold them for at least a day. We’ll also get to feed this baby sooner too. And at least this time round I won’t be recovering from labor, 7 weeks of bed rest and the struggles of nursing a preemie (and thus also having to pump and bottle-feed). This is DEFINITELY a different kind of labor-delivery-baby-scenario and it’s stressful in many ways but filled with huge blessings in many other ways. What. A. Ride.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Matthew is now a strapping young seven year-old. And, yet again, his birthday experience was a rollercoaster ride as he was devastated to realize that despite it being his birthday, he felt no different what-so-ever. Seven years old in the morning felt very much like six years old had felt the night before. Thankfully, we worked through the drama and he had a great, special day in the end.

We spent Labor Day weekend at Port Ludlow with my parentals, my two big brothers and my mom’s youngest brother – my Uncle Phil (aka “Uncle Phuzzie”). Uncle Phuzzie – who the boys quickly adored – taught the boys useful things like how to say “Good morning” in Japanese, “Where are my shoes?” in Spanish and the fun little classic ditty: “Miss me, miss me, Now you gotta kiss me.” He also chanted, “Matthew and Emma kissing in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…” to which Matthew blushed fiercely and then, giggling, asked him to do it again. (Despite his reaction, Matthew claims to no longer have a relationship with Emma. That was SO Kindergarten).

We, along with my brother Tim, took the boys swimming on Sunday afternoon. All of a sudden, Zachary has no fear of the water and (clutching four swim noodles) he launched himself off the side of the pool at his Uncle Timothy. When Tim asked him if he wanted to do it again, Zach, said, “Um, maybe not, that was actually kinda scary.” Matthew did an awesome job swimming on his own, though it’s possible he also drank about half the pool in the process.

After swimming, we returned to the bumpin’ condo for dinner and birthday cake. Mom had decorated the cake with little green army men and Matthew was THRILLED. He announced, “This cake is SO COOL.” He’d gotten to open Aunt Jamie’s and Uncle Dan’s gift early on Friday and was thrilled to get to open a few more from the rest of us on Sunday. He got some birthday cash, some books (including audio books of Robin Hood and Black Beauty), and of course, we got him a couple of Legos that made him squeal with glee like a little girl.

All in all, it was a great three-day weekend and birthday celebration and once again, returning from vacation made reality all the harder to face. We’ve got nasty colds – Mike’s is actually the worst which is ironic as he’s usually the one that avoids getting the bug all together, and with only three weeks until the Convention that we’ve been working on for two years, things are going to be CRAZY for a bit. The. Count. Is. On.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Um, wait, September?! For really? When did summer come to a screeching halt? Where did it even go even? We didn’t make it to the local beach park once! We only did the slip-‘n-slide a handful of times. We didn’t make it to one concert in the park at our neighborhood park! I didn’t finish my garden sanctuary. I didn’t get the deck stained. Oh well, that’s what I get for blinking! Sheesh.

Here we are, September. We took Matthew to school this morning for his first day of first grade. FIRST, I tell you! AND Matthew turns seven on Saturday – SEVEN, I tell you! Zachary started gymnastics on Monday – he’s a natural and holy cow does he ever love it! I really don’t know that I’ve ever seen him look so enthralled and alert. His eyes were huge and lit up as he watched and listened to the coach’s every move. I can’t wait to watch him do it again!

September definitely marks the end of one season and the start to another. Vacation time is over. Beach time is over. We spent an AMAZING week with the Clan – Jason, Rebecca and their two boys – on our Clancation. We camped at Ocean City State Park near Ocean Shores. We had a great time and the first few days were gorgeous, but unfortunately the weather turned (totally) freezing-burr-cold so we (wisely) wussed out (just a couple of days early) and came back for a Clancation Staycation. For two days we did camping laundry, lounged about in pajamas and cozies, ate delicious food, drank delicious drinks and played game after fun game. For our anniversary, I got Mike (and the Clan) several new games and they’re ALL great: Qwirkle, Five Crowns and Carcassonne. I highly recommend them all. We also played one of our favorite games: Settlers of Catan. (And not that I’m bitter or counting, really, but I’m fairly certain that after seven evenings of playing games I only won a total of two or maybe just won one and tied one. At any rate, it was super fun and rough to come back to reality).

We came back to Nat’l EE Convention madness (thankfully just one month to go)! But we’re seriously going to be wrapped up in that for the next 30 days, so if you never (or rarely) hear from me/us, that’s why. We also came home to the joyful bill for Zachary’s hernia surgery ($1400 of fun!), we need to put about $1000 of work into our Honda CRV (yay!) and then, of course come December-ish we will pay Amara the ginormous (but totally worth it) adoption fee. It’s going to be a tight fall and Christmas!

Adoption news: We will be sitting down with Mia on Sept. 20th to negotiation the “The Communication Agreement.” This legal document spells out our post-baby/adoption plans for continuing contact with the birth mom. Negotiating this document can be a bit awkward and tricky business. (As you can imagine it can be difficult to balance the birth mom’s desire to see the baby with the adoptive parents’ desire to clearly assert their role as parents…that’s what the document AND the professionals are there to help sort out.) We’ve planned a trip to the zoo with Mia which might actually happen just a day or two before the C.A. negotiation meeting. Hmmm, could be interesting! I’ll do my best to keep you posted on that.

And now, for some quality time with Zach. He and I will be spend a lot of time together this year as I’ll be ‘homeschooling’ him for pre-K. It freaks me out a bit to be the sole teacher educating him in the basics (abc’s, 123’s, beginning reading, etc.), but thankfully pre-K Math is the only Math that I really excel in, so I know I’ll rock that.