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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You know time is feelin’ scarce when I resort to bullet-point blog entries!

- Thanksgiving was really nice. Pretty quiet – just us, my parents and brother Chris. Unfortunately, I’d been sick with a nasty cold for a couple of weeks, and then Mike got it, so his vacation time was spent laying low.
- Laying low, actually means – decking the house for the holidays AND Mike getting to spend an entire afternoon on the roof in the POURING rain fixing a LEAK. EAK. The last thing we need is a LEAK! (Especially as we continue to prep the house for eventually selling).
- Kayliana has six-ish teeth now!! From none to a bunch in a pretty short amount of time! I’m pleased to report that now that her middle teeth (top and bottom) are all the way out, she seems to be slightly less constantly drenched in drool. This is comforting, as I was worried that she’d be the only kindergartener in a bib. Maybe not!
- Speaking of teeth…big news: Zachary lost his first tooth today! He, like, Matthew, has the claim-to-fame of being the first kid in his class to receive a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Apparently, we have early teeth-losing boys! He is VERY excited about this loss (to put it mildly).
- Another first: Kayliana spoke her first word yesterday (other than dada). I put out my arms for a hug and she looked at me, ever so clearly spoke the word, “Hug” and then ran into my arms. Zachary – sitting about ten feet away – didn’t believe me, and the Kayli went on to say it two more times. Pretty awesome first word if you ask me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

There are so many happy memories to reflect on right now. A year ago today, we went to the hospital and – after what felt like an eternity of waiting – got to meet, fall in love with and bring home our daughter. Matthew – while everyone at the bus stop watched – met his baby sister for the first time in the back of our minivan. There weren’t many dry eyes at the bus stop that day. When my parents brought Zachary home, he took one look at Kayliana and started giggling profusely – he just couldn’t believe that she was real and really home. And, once again, very possibly my favorite kid quote of all time, that night, while the boys rocked Kayli and sang her a lullaby, Matthew said, “I like her MORE than love…like I don’t even know the word for it.”

Through all of the joy and delirious happiness that we were experiencing, deep down, my heart also ached. If I let myself, I could clearly hear the heart-wrenching sobs in that hospital room as a brave young woman lovingly placed her baby in my arms. Those first few days with Kayli at home – and still to this day – while I whispered fervent prayers of gratitude for our daughter, another part of me prayed for peace and strength and healing to envelop Mia. I could not wrap my head around the gift that she gave us. How does someone do that? Love their child so much they give them up for a better life? It really is the ultimate gift.

And that is why we are more than happy to have a relationship with Kayliana’s birth mom. We are so blessed to have an open adoption for our daughter so that there are more people to love her. It’s funny how people have applauded us on our willingness to do that, and I understand, and there have been – and will be – times when it’s a little challenging, but I still wouldn’t change it. It’s still worth it.

So, it seemed natural that we should share Kayli’s first birthday with the people who made her life – and her presence in ours – possible. On Friday night, we had Mia and her parents over for a celebratory dinner. We hadn’t seen Mia since our joint birthday dinner in May (we share the same birthday – just to really solidify how ‘meant to be’ this all is); we hadn’t seen Mia’s mom Norah since a trip to the zoo in April; we hadn’t seen James since that day in the hospital when Kayli was two days old and left with us. I was nervous but mostly very excited to see them. I knew that they must be feeling the same (times ten). Kayli has changed so much in just the last couple of months. She’s not a baby anymore! She’s a toddling, playing, little rippin’ around machine.

In my opinion, the dinner went flawlessly. The boys were obviously VERY comfortable with Mia and her parents (as in, being very much themselves and getting a little wild and wound up – much to the amusement of our company). And, thankfully, Kayli didn’t do too much clinging and was really comfortable with all of them as well. She was pretty much perfect. It was all pretty much perfect.

Mia and I even had a heart-to-heart. We both talked about how crazy it is that it’s already been a year. She said how thankful she is that we’re open to her being a part of Kayli’s life and that, she gets that WE’RE her parents and nothing will ever change that. “You’re the ones changing the diapers, cleaning up her vomit, there with her in the middle of the night…I’m so glad that I chose you…and that you chose me…well, that we found each other.”

“And you’re her birth mom,” I said. “She’ll always know that she was in YOUR tummy and that you loved her enough to choose us for her family – these crazy people that you stuck her with – she may hate you someday for it!”

We laughed together and agreed that we are totally the poster family for Open Adoption. Look out! There’s a new Juno in town.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I guess it takes some of the pressure off that I have a nasty head cold – I’m all fuzzy headed ‘n stuff – so that’s a good excuse for not being entirely coherent or eloquent. Even if I was at full mental capacity, today would be a difficult day to accurately capture in prose.

Today is Kayliana’s first birthday. A year ago, this morning, Mike and I clutched my cellphone waiting for news. At 10:31, we received this text message from our Social Worker, Joy: “Baby girl was just born. I will give you the stats as soon as I know them. She is lovely.” And then at 11:15: “Pushed out in 1 hour 15 minutes  8.2lbs, 21 inches long. Beautiful baby girl ” That one was from Mia, the most phenomenal young woman – Kayliana’s birth mom. Mia later asked if I wanted to see a picture or just wait and see Kayli for the first time in person. Well, if you know anything about me, you know that I’m not one to want to wait on a surprise (yes, I found Christmas presents as a child and unwrapped them and attempted to rewrap them. Then practiced my look of surprise for Christmas morning…I’m sure my parents were on to me, though I thought I deserved an Oscar for my performance). Mia sent me a couple of photos including this one. I stared at it for a day and a half until we got to meet our daughter for the first time. I still feel, when staring at this picture that Kayli is gazing into my soul and burying herself deeper into my heart. Cheesy? Yes. True? Completely.

And oh my goodness, I could not wait to kiss those little chubby cheeks and that button nose! For the record: they are some of the sweetest little baby cheeks ever.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Friday afternoon, the boys had two pals over (brothers who are the same age as Matthew and Zach). They are nice enough boys – not the worst but also not the best I’ve seen. I was quite appalled, however, (but not that surprised, really, based on our society today), when they began talking about a recent movie they’d gone to see in the theater with their parents. “Transformers – Dark of the Moon.” This movie (which Mike and I saw for a date night, for the record) is rated PG-13 and is, in my opinion, completely and totally inappropriate for the likes of an 8 and 5 year old boy. They were talking about how cool it was.

Matthew asked, “But wasn’t it scary?”

The younger boy replied, “Yeah, there was some scary stuff…but it was SO awesome!”

I eventually shifted the conversation on to something else.

Friday nights, if we’re home and don’t have anything going on, we usually do family movie night. We eat dinner downstairs and watch a KID-APPROPRIATE film together. Even before the playdate, we knew what we would be watching (as soon as they got picked up and we could start). Zachary had requested the new Winnie the Pooh movie. I was already tickled, as it were, that my five year-old (and big brother) still want to watch Winnie the Pooh, but after hearing these other boys talk, I was even more relieved and thankful.

And I must say, that snuggling on the couch with our boys and watching that movie on that night, proved to be my favorite Family Movie Night ever. Hearing and watching Matthew and Zachary absolutely succumb to hysterical giggles at the wacky antics of that silly ‘ol bear and his pals in the Hundred Acre Wood…well, it brought a tear to my eye! (And I was laughing along with them). I hugged them tighter and said a prayer of gratitude that, while they’re still growing up too fast, they are – not yet, not nearly – TOO grown up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I’ve found myself – a bit unwittingly – constantly comparing this whole new-house-are-we-moving-thing to our adoption process a year ago. I do think that the real estate market could learn a thing or two. First of all, I think that for the most part real estate dealings are just kinda mean. Why does it have to be so cut-throat?

On Thursday, much to my horror, the Mountain House – OUR Mountain House – status changed from “Active” to “Pending Inspection” (and not our pendingness as we were hoping to wait until after the holidays to make an offer). I’m not losing all hope yet. Inspections/pending sales fall through all the time or people choose to walk for whatever reason. Quite frankly, I’m not giving up on this house until – and hopefully this doesn’t happen – new people close and move in (at which point I may just chain myself to the door). But seeing the change in status was beyond disheartening. I found myself saying the same thing that I said a year ago when our social worker told us that – at first – we’d not been chosen to be Kayliana’s family. “Then why did it feel so right? How could it feel so perfect if it wasn’t meant to be?! I was just SURE that it was us!!!” And, of course, we all know how that story ended – thankfully happily and forever after. I’m hoping for the same outcome now!

Why can’t we apply for a house in the same way? I’d be happy to make a family profile book to plead our case. I’ll write another creative little somethin’ to stand out from the other applicants and to explain why we are the perfect family for that house and why that house is a perfect home for us. One look at our smiling faces and there’s no way they could turn us away; we’d totally be in!!!

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, so in the meantime all we can do is wait and pray that this house works out (for US!!).

I’m still going to bust my butt to get the house ready to sell. With the holidays coming (hooray!), Kayliana’s first birthday (yippee!) and tons of house projects to complete (oye!), I’ll have plenty to keep me busy.

Kayli, alone is enough to keep me beyond busy these days. And she’s so freakin’ fun! She just learned how to wave and thinks it’s pretty much the best thing ever, so when done waving she often applauds herself. She loves hiding around the corner for peek-a-boo, and then flips out and, hysterically giggling, tries to run away after she peeks out. If I get on the floor and put my arms out for a hug, she’ll come running into my arms – although occasionally she’ll tease and stop at the last minute (which she also finds hilarious). She loves pushing her baby dolls in their little stroller (and trying to stand/sit in it herself when they’re not around). She’s REALLY close to blowing kisses (flinging drool).

Speaking of drool (yes, another entry including this topic), it’s no secret that Kayli’s a drool machine. (To the point where we’ve had someone ask if there was something wrong with her). This past week she had a cold so we added snot to the mix. Zachary was telling my parents how he’s been calling her “BABY of CUTENESS!! Because,” he said, “She’s full of cuteness on the inside and out.”

“Oh!” I exclaimed. “So, THAT’S what she’s constantly leaking. She has a never-ending supply of cuteness that just continuously spills out of her!!” Now we know why her clothes are constantly soaked! So, when people ask, “Is she teething?” Or, incredulously, “Is that ALL snot?!” I can respond, “No, that is cuteness, my friends. Cuteness.” (Now feast your eyes on this cuteness. Sorry for the rerun from facebook photos, some of our fam isn’t on fb, so I post stuff here for them to see as well. Deal. You just get to see the Cuteness twice!)