Sunday, August 31, 2008

Home sick

Mia is staying the night with her Granny and Granddaddy...and is perfectly fine. She was so excited to hear that she was staying the night with them and not coming home with us. I am the one that is home sick for my baby to the point that I am actually nauseous. Ok, I admit...that might be the super greasy burger and onion rings I had at dinner. At any rate, I miss my little girl. I am so thankful that she has wonderful grandparents that spoil her rotten and she is so comfortable with them that she is basically pushing us out the door. I just don't do well being away from her. I know it's good for her, and something I missed out on with my grandparents. I stayed the night with them from time to time, but they were NOT the spoiling type. Mia managed to watch or partially watch 4 movies from the time we got there until Evan and I left (which was only three hours) and Granddaddy was talking about more. Mia's dinner consisted of alternating between graham crackers, a sucker, spaghetti O's, french fries and Granny's coke. No doubt she will be up later than I will tonight and will love every second. In the meantime, I'll swallow the lump forming in my throat and busy myself with tasks hard to do with Mia around.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The rest of the story....

We had to stop by Evan's office on the way out of town, which was out of the way - by the way! He had taken our digital camera to work the day before and forgotten to bring it home. We got the camera, ran through a McDonald's drive and headed towards Amarillo for the 2nd time in one week. It was an exciting, and nerve-wracking drive. Would we be coming home with a baby? Would this end in heart-break? For us? For J and A? If we did come home with a baby, where would she sleep? We had NOTHING ready. I had a few sleepers and bottles I had bought just in case of a quick match, but nothing had been washed. I didn't even have diapers!!!!!!

We got to Amarillo a little after noon and even though we were starving, we headed straight for the hospital. It had been nearly 9 hours since they first called us and we wanted to see if Mia had arrived yet. We found out where we needed to go and met J, his Mom and A's Mom in the waiting room. This was the first time we had met the Moms - AWKWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, we were perfectly content to sit in the waiting room, but J wanted us to come back to see A. I wasn't sure that was what she wanted, so I asked him to double-check with her. She said it was ok, so we headed back. There were also a few family friends there, so we got acquainted with everyone and took a few pictures. A was nearly completed dilated when we got there, but was really sleepy. So as she slept (and progressed), we visited with everyone. A was so funny. She would wake up and comment that she couldn't feel her legs due to the epidural. She would try so hard to lift her legs and when she would, we could see Mia moving around.

At around 3:30, A asked us all to leave the room, with the exception of J. We retreated to the waiting room to wait. Eventually, A's Mom couldn't stand not knowing what was going on, so she decided to wait outside the room. A few minutes after 4:30, we saw a nursery bed being wheeled away from A's room. Inside it was a tiny baby wrapped in a foil looking blanket turned on her side looking straight at us. She went by so fast, all I noticed what that there was a baby there. But Evan saw her eyes, locked in his direction. He immediately fell in love!

A few minutes later, Shirley came out, crying. She said that the cord had been wrapped around Mia's neck, that she was really blue and that they wanted to get her to the NICU right away. I asked how A was doing and she said she was tired, but ok. We began praying for Mia, and for J and A too. J came out a few minutes later with red was obvious he had been crying. He sat down by us and told us how beautiful Mia was. He then asked if we were really ready to be parents and I think we mumbled something like, "Uhhh, yeah, sure." He said he wished he was and broke down.

A's Mom said she was going to go to the NICU and asked if we wanted to go. We were so concerned about over-stepping our bounds and not interfering in anyway, we wanted her to check with J and A first. This was THEIR baby, not ours. They gave the go ahead and so we got to see Mia for the first time. This is her first picture. One hour and 6 minutes after she was born. Not that anyone was counting!

We took the picture back to A so she could see as she wasn't allowed out of bed yet. Evan took J back to their apartment so he could get some stuff for A while I stayed with A. She was so tired, she slept most of the time but woke up every once in a while and we would talk. She woke up once and out of the blue, asked me how much weight I thought she had lost! Too funny! By the time Evan and J got back, it was late and we had not even had dinner yet. We left, grabbed some Taco Bell and headed to our hotel to crash. we spent the next day visiting with J and A at the hospital, spent a little time in the NICU with Mia although we had not held or touched her. She wasn't ours!!!

Everything seemed to be going ok until Saturday, when A was discharged from the hospital. Mia wasn't ready to leave yet and A had a hard time leaving the hospital without her. They asked us to take them home. The drive to their apartment was very tense and very quiet. They had told us that they wanted us to come in and hang out, even though we felt like they needed time alone. Once we got to their apartment, they began getting settled and there was very little visiting. A did show me a few things that she and her Mom had bought for Mia. We talked a little more about the entrustment ceremony. Finally, when the tension became too much, we left. We knew something was up and our hopes were beginning to fade.

Sunday morning we woke up less than chipper. Everything on the TV was talking about a storm named Katrina headed towards New Orleans. However, we were dealing with our own storm in Amarillo, Texas. We spoke with our social worker fairly early in the day and she said that J and A had called her late the night before, completely freaked out. Reality was setting in and they were not sure if they could go through with the adoption. Hmmmm, exactly what we had sensed when we left their apartment. She said that they really needed to see us with Mia as they were having a hard time envisioning us as her parents. We agreed to meet them later at the hospital and talk. We got to the hospital, fully expecting J and A to tell us, "Sorry, but we just can't go through with it." And to be perfectly honest, while we would have been disappointed, we completely understood. That has got to be the most gut-wrenching decision a person can make. Once we all sat down in the waiting room, A told us about the previous night. About how they stayed up most of the night trying to think of a way to keep Mia, but they always worked their way back to their original reasons for choosing adoption. So, they were going to move forward and wanted us to visit Mia with them. We told A that we had visited Mia a few times, which they had given us permission to do and she seemed shocked that we had not held her. I told her that she was not ours to hold.

A and I went back to the NICU first. She showed me how to scrub in and gown up. A took Mia's temperature and then told me that I needed to change her diaper. Yikes!!! Changing a newborn is hard enough, but you add in an IV and other wires..oh, and her birthmother standing there watching your every move. Can you say nerve racking???? I got her cleaned up and A said, "Good job Mom!" A few minutes later, the nurse brought a bottle over to A. She handed it to me and gave me the go ahead to feed her. After I fed her, J came back and said that Evan was looking mighty sad out in the hallway. I offered to step out so Evan could come back, but A said that Evan and I should have some time with Mia and just us. J and A left and a few minutes later, Evan came back. He sat down in a rocking chair and handed Mia to him. It was such a precious time for us. We were feeling more confident that J and A were going to follow through with their plan to place Mia with us and we finally allowed ourselves a little bit of excitement. I don't know how long we were back there, but after a while, I felt like I needed to leave and let A come back. During this time, one of the nurses had been getting stuff ready for a bath for Mia. I hung out in the hall with J while Evan and A gave Mia a bath together. After they were done, A told me that Evan talked Mia's ear off the whole time they were bathing her. At one point, Evan was joking about Mia having hair on her back and A said, "Don't let your Daddy tease you like that!" WOW!!! We took them back home and went to meet our parents (who had arrived earlier in the day) and Evan's cousin for dinner. We were on cloud nine and couldn't wait to tell everyone about our afternoon.

Monday, August 29th - Our social worker called in the morning to let us know that Mia was going to be discharged. However, it would most likely be late afternoon, early evening. Argh! We were planning on driving straight home after the entrustment ceremony and did not want to drive all night. We asked her to beg, plead...whatever it took to get her discharged earlier so we would not be on the road so late. She promised to try, so we waited for her call. A little while later she called back to tell us that she could be discharged whenever we were ready. Woo-hoo, we were more than ready. We met J, A and the social worker at the hospital and while we signed our paperwork (and handed over a big check!), J and A spent a few more minutes with Mia. Once we were done, J and A signed their paperwork and then came back to the NICU where the nurses gave discharge instructions. Before we knew it, it was time to go.

J and A had decided to have the entrustment ceremony at a park near the hospital. Mia rode with them in the social worker's car. Once at the park, our parents finally met J, A and their Moms. The ceremony was short, but unbelievably sweet...and heartbreaking. Our social worker read some scripture, prayed and gave us an opportunity to say something. We had written a letter to J and A. I knew I would not be able to read it, so Evan read, but barely made it through. Once he finished, it was time for A to place Mia in my arms. By this time, everyone is not just crying, but sobbing. I had so many emotions running through my mind. While I was happy to finally be a Mom, my heart was breaking for J and A. I felt like stopping the whole thing and saying, "Wait, are you really sure about this?" However, the decision had been made and she placed Mia in my arms. I will never, ever forget the sound of J and A's sobs and how they collapsed in each other's arms while Evan and I stood there, awkwardly holding our new daughter. After a bit, we took some pictures, hugged on each other and then it was time to go home. We walked back to our car, promising to call when we got home and to basically give Mia anything under the moon. They said goodbye to Mia, hugged us again, told us they loved us, and that was it. We left.

After a quick dinner before leaving town, we started towards home. We only had to stop once to change and feed Mia. We had to make many other stops for Evan's Mom, who was driving behind us. Being home that first night with Mia was so surreal, and sooo hard. She was up most of the night, crying. At around 3 or 4 in the morning, it hit me that this was the first time in her existence that she was not with A and my heart broke all over again.

Over the next few days, we bonded and eventually became more confident in our roles as Mom and Dad. Now, three years later, we feel immensely blessed to have such a healthy, beautiful daughter. In addition to our beautiful daughter, we have gained an extended family, J, A and their families. We love them dearly and cannot imagine not having them in our family.

So, that's it. That's her story, more or less. I love to tell her story because I feel like it is such a testimony of God's grace and provision. God's timing is always perfect. Everything had to happen at just the right time for J and A to contact Buckner, for us to finally be ready, for us to hit it off and be "matched." God is SO awesome!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Three years ago, continued

Ok, let me first speak to those that are in the process of adopting your first child. Please, please, please get out a little notebook of some sort (right now!!!) and start journaling. I was very particular about journaling once we got the "call" and during the next week until we brought Mia home, but I really wish I would have journaled more during our wait. I am so proud that I at least had the brains to journal what I did because it's the little details that I want to pass on to Mia.

So, back to Mia's story.............

We were up at 4 am on Monday, August 22 and left the house at 5 am for Amarillo. (Those that have made the drive know what a THRILLING drive it is...NOT!!!!) We arrived in Amarillo at 10:15 and called Evan's cousin, Kevin, up to let him know we were in town and decided to meet for lunch. Unfortunately, we were so nervous about our meeting with the birth parents that we were horrible company. I remember staring at my lunch, not saying a word. After lunch, we went to our hotel to rest and pace the floor. Ok, ok...I paced the floor. Evan laid on the bed and watched TV. Trust me, I paced enough for the both of us.

We left the hotel at 2:15 for our 2:30 meeting. Before we left the hotel parking lot, we prayed (again!). After we prayed, we felt energized and renewed about our decision and sped to the church. Of course, being that Amarillo is small and it only takes 4 1/2 minutes to get ANYWHERE in town, we got to the church early. We circled the church a few times to kill time and Evan even had the foresight to get a picture of the church just in case this match worked and our daughter wanted to see where we met her birth parents one day. We met J and A in a Sunday school room with the maternity case worker. J and A were finishing up their lunch from Wendy's. When we walked in the room, J was playing horribly on an old piano and A was chomping away on some fries. They both seemed as nervous as we were, if that was even possible. We spent the next 2 1/2 hours talking about ourselves. J and A already had a rough idea about us from the profile, but of course, wanted to know more. We got to hear about their lives (a rough sketch) and why they were choosing to place their baby for adoption. The social worker brought up the issue of the name, Mia, and A went into a long explanation about why they chose the name and how it would mean a lot if she could keep it as some part of her name. I was smiling the whole time she was talking and couldn't wait to tell her that we were keeping the name. They were so excited. We did tell them that we would like to pick the middle name and when we told them we thought 'Grace' would be pretty, they agreed. We talked a lot about open adoption and what we thought that relationship would look like for us. We made an open adoption plan and talked about plans for the birth and hospital visits. Now, keep in mind, this was only our first match meeting. Most of these things are discussed later. However, since A was due in less than two weeks, we knew we had to get this stuff worked out if they decided to choose us. We went from the church to Chili's for dinner WITHOUT the social worker. I begged her to come, however, she wanted us to spend some time with just J and A. In retrospect, I am SO glad we did that because it gave us a chance to be a little more "us" without the agency looking over our shoulder. After dinner, we took J and A home and made plans to meet the next day.

We talked to A at 11 the next morning and decided we would go to their apartment for a while. We talked about the entrustment ceremony, then went to a local bakery for coffee. We visited a while longer and then it was time to take them home, and for us to head back home. A told us she had a Dr's appointment the next day and would give us a call later in the evening to let us know how it went. Remember, at this point, we did not know if it was a match. We said goodbye, hugged and headed home. The whole way home, all we could talk about was the possibility of bringing a baby home soon. We were scared, but VERY excited!

August 24 - Back to reality, back to work. All of our friends at work were so excited for us and we kept trying to bring everyone back to reality. This was not a done deal. They might not choose us. They might decide to parent. It was so obvious that they loved this little baby named Mia and the decision to place her for adoption was killing them. After work, we went to orchestra rehearsal at church and rushed home to call A. A said she had not felt well all day and had a Dr's appointment with an eye doctor. However, she had an OB appointment the next day and would call to tell us how it went. That was a good sign!!!! Maybe we were it.

August 25 - We were woken up at 3:51 am by the phone. It was J calling from the back of an ambulance. A's water broke and they were on their way to the hospital. J said we better get on the road if we wanted to be there in time! We jumped up and started running around the house like crazy people trying to get ready. We threw stuff in bags, called our parents to let them know what was going on and left the house a little after 5 am. As we were leaving, we found that a newspaper had been delivered to our house. This was strange, because we did not have a subscription. However, anytime anything big happens in our family...marriage, birth, death, etc., my Dad always buys a paper to save so we will always know what was going on the day of said event. Hmmmm, perhaps a sign from God that our daughter was going to be born that day?????

Ok, I am sorry, but I have to continue this later. There are four more days to write about and I am TIRED!!!!

To be continued....again.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Three years ago today

Even as I am writing this, it's hard to believe that it has been three years. It was three years ago today that our social worker called me at work and said that there was a birth family with a baby due in two weeks. It was three years ago today that our lives would be changed forever.

That day started like any other day. Got up, got ready for work, dreaded going to work and longed for a day when my workday would consist of staying home with my own babies. Before I left the house, I knelt in the living room and prayed for the usual stuff - health and safety for my family, patience for me to deal with twelve one-year olds and oh, by the way God, could you please give us a baby soon???? We had been in the adoption process for well over year. Not waiting, mind you. But taking our sweet time getting all the required paperwork, training, etc. done. If it had been up to me, I would had it all completed in 24 hours. However, my hubby, being the brilliant man he is, knew it was my lifelong dream to be a stay-at-home Mom and knew that when we began the process, me quitting work would have made it impossible for us financially. So, he worked overtime and took the time to get our finances in better shape so that when the call did come, there would be no hesistation about me quitting. Anyway, we were in the last leg of approval, only lacking our last home visit from our social worker and then we would be put in the "book", and that was scheduled for the following week.

I finished up with an amen and headed to work. My day was pretty typical...twelve, crazy one years olds that needed to be fed, changed, entertained, redirected and most importantly, loved. Then, at about 11:15, the assistant director came in and said I had a phone call from Buckner. I just assumed this had something to do with our upcoming home visit and went to the office to take the call so I could actually hear and have a thought. (Remember, there were twelve one year olds in the room!!!) When I got to the phone, it wasn't our social worker on the phone, but the maternity caseworker, Rachel, telling me the impossible. There was a birth family in Amarillo that was due in TWO WEEKS!!!!. They came to the agency late in the pregnancy and after looking at all the waiting families, didn't feel a "match" with any of them. Rachel knew that while we weren't "approved" yet, we would be by the due date and wanted to know if she could show them our profile. There were some issues and red-flags regarding this birth family, so I told her I would have to call Evan and let her know. I got off the phone and started bawling. Partly because I could not believe everything I had just been told, and partly because I KNEW what Evan's response would be when I told him everything the social worker had told me. I pulled myself together to call Evan at work to relay the information and see what he thought. Of course, his immediate response was, "No way!" However, he told me that he would pray about it. I spent my lunchbreak talking with my coworkers/friends, reading my Bible I just happened to take with me that day :) and praying. Evan called me back and said that he could not concentrate at work and was headed home. I couldn't concentrate either but did not have that flexibility!!! When I was finally able to get home from work, we had a LOT of talking and praying to do. We had a lot to consider and Evan did not want to jump feet first into the first situation thrown our way if it did not feel right. Of course, I would have said yes immediately, but knew he would take his sweet time thinking and praying. After spending the evening and into the night discussing, we decided that there was no harm in having our profile shown to the prospective birth family. If it wasn't meant to be, God could still close the door. But if we were not even open to showing our profile, would we be closing the door for God to do something amazing?

We called the social worker first thing the next morning and told her that we were ok with our profile being shown. She was planning on flying to Amarillo that Saturday to do some counseling with couple and wanted to know if we could get together more pictures to take and show them. (Those that have worked with Buckner know they give you very little room for pictures on your initial profile!) We agreed and she said she would fax us the information they had on the birth parents and baby. Our social worker, Carol, got in touch with us and said on the off-chance that the birth family would like us and want to meet us, we would need to be officially "approved" before we had a match meething. So, she moved our home visit up to Sunday. Like most going through the adoption process, we assumed we needed our house "white glove" clean and absolutely perfect. Soooo, on Saturday we went to required training at Buckner stoppping to get copies of pictures to send to Amarillo on the way. While Evan drove, I quickly labled and added descriptions to the pictures. Once at Buckner, we spoke with Rachel a little more and she said we needed to go ahead and make plans to head to Amarillo on the following Monday to meet the birth parents. We spent the rest of the day getting our house ready for the home visit with the help of our family, trying not to get our hopes up.

On Sunday, we had our home visit and while our social worker tried to keep it generic, it was hard because we already had a potential match. During the meeting, we found out that the birth mother was having a girl and that she and the birth father had already named her, Mia. Carol knew how strongly I felt about naming our child and told us that if this did turn out to be a match, that the birth parents were really in love with this name and wanted to talk to the prospective adoptive parents about keeping it as part of her name, somehow. As soon as we heard the name, we both fell in love with it. Up to this point, we had not been able to agree on a girl's name, but suddenly agreed that Mia was the most beautiful name we had ever heard. Carol was thrilled to hear this, but we made her promise to keep her lips sealed as we wanted to tell the birth parents ourselves. Once Carol left, we headed to Target to register, something Evan told me I could not do until we were officially "approved." After registering, we headed home to pack and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! We stayed up well into the night, sitting in the room that we had set aside for our baby praying. Not just for the possibility of finally becoming parents, but for the health and safety of this baby named Mia, whether she was meant to be ours or not. Praying for the birth parents as we could not imagine the agony that they were going through. And praying for our meeting with them. We could not imagine anything more awkward!!!

To be continued......

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not what I intended to write about

First and foremost, thank you for all of your prayers and encouraging messages. Many were confused and alarmed by my previous post and after reading it myself, it did sound a little tragic. Unfortunately, that is how it turned out. We discovered last week, much to our surprise, that I was pregnant. I had been having some symptoms that were a little familiar and decided to take a pregnancy test, more as a joke than anything. Imagine our surprise when it came up positive!!!! Livi is only 7 months, I am still nursing and my cycles are a little screwy. Anyway, despite our shock, we were excited. We had been telling one another that we were done with two kids, but I think deep down, another one would not be so bad.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I was about to leave the house to meet K for a lunch/playdate and needed to pee before leaving. I think you all know where this is headed. Yep, I was spotting. I had been having some slight cramps off and on for the past few days, but remembered having that with Livi and did not think too much about it. However, on Tuesday and Wednesday, they had subsided and I was feeling really good. I started to panic and resisted the urge to go buy another test. Anyway, I called my doctor's office and the nurse said I would feel much better if I came in. There is nothing they could do, and since I was only 5 weeks, a sono might not be conclusive. Well, I called K and told her what was going on. I was planning on telling her the good news at lunch, but instead had to tell her all of this. Being the AWESOME friend that she is, she offered to keep Mia while I went to the doctor. I was so relieved because juggling two at the doctors is tough and I knew Mia had been looking forward to playing with her three B's all morning. By the time I got to the doctor, I was bleeding pretty heavily. (Sorry if TMI!) I was trying SO hard to hold it together and doing a pretty good job until Evan called to check on me and said he was praying for me. What is it about that phrase, "I'm praying for you" that always sends us into sobs? Anyway, before the sonogram tech started, she told me that since I was only 5 weeks, they might not see anything, even if I was pregnant. I told her that I pretty much knew how this .was going to play out. Besides, I had my first sono with Livi at 5 weeks and there was a little something to see. Of course, as soon as we were done and she didn't show me anything, I knew. I went back to the waiting room to wait for my doctor to talk to me. I was eventually called back to an exam room to wait some more. I completely lost it at this point. And then, I saw it. My doctor is a Christian lady and has scriptures all over her office - VERY awesome. Well, in this particular exam that I had been in MANY times. There was a calendar on the wall and the scripture for August was Mark 5:19.

"Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."

Wow! The tears immediately stopped. My heavenly Father reminded me in that instance of just how richly blessed I am. I have two, healthy children. The best husband in the world. A wonderful family. Awesome friends. I get to be a stay-at-home Mom. I have food in my house. I have a house. I am healthy. And I have a Savior that died for me so that I would not spend eternity in hell, which is what I deserve.

Of course we are sad. And I have waves of crying. I've never lost a baby before and while I was only 5 weeks, I already loved that little life inside me. When my doctor came in, she told me that they did not see anything on the sono but that it could just be too early. I told her that I was bleeding quite a bit and she told me that I was most likely miscarrying. During all of this, Livi was being her usual happy, smiley self. My doctor was talking about how sweet she was and trying to comfort me. I hugged Livi and said, "How can I be upset? Look what I have."

I KNOW how blessed I am to have two children. There were many, many years when I thought I would never experience the joy of being a mother. And even after we adopted Mia, there was still this little part in me that hurt a little every time I saw a pregnant lady, or heard of someone's new pregnancy. Having Livi honestly completed me, and if we never have anymore children - adoption or birth - I really am ok with that. After all....

The Lord has done great things for me and shown me more mercy than I deserve!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pray for peace, please!

There is something going on in our lives right now, and while I am not ready to share the specifics, I would like to ask all of my blog buddies to pray for me. I am worried, fearful, name it. I know that God does not give us a spirit of fear and I really believe that satan has found a toe-hold and is having a grand 'ole time at my expense. I am even worrying in my dreams! I know that this particular situation is out of my hands and all I can do is pray. However, it's those quiet moments that the worry begins to creep back into my mind and it starts all over again.

Sorry to leave you hanging. I promise details will come soon. I am just not ready.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Oh happy day!

I know I am an oddity (understatement of the year!) but I am SO excited that football is back. Grant it, it's only preseason, but it's here. College games on Saturdays, games after church on Sundays, Sunday night Monday night football for me, no cable!...and high school games on Friday nights.

Oh yea, I love me some football!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I survived!!!!

Ahhhh, the peace that is coming from my house right now is wonderful. It's not quiet, but so much nicer than it was 24 hours ago. There is no Wii in the background, no talking over the Wii, no girls fighting, no 12 year old explaining his jokes to me, no baby screaming for attention...just the washing machine going and my oldest watching Curious George. Ahhhhhh!!! Honestly, those of you that have more than 2 kids, how do you do it? I saw a friend at church this morning who has 5 and wants more and I just looked at her like, "You must have a screw loose in that pretty head of yours!" I know, they typically come to you gradually and in most situations are not over half grown when you get them. Once we were finally in bed last night, my husband mumbled to me that he was definitely fine with two kids, no more. I told him that I would still like to adopt older kids in a few years from CPS. Of course, he thinks I am insane. While it was chaotic and LOUD, it was fun. The older ones are at the age where you can joke and be sarcastic with them. And the two girls played so much together, that I felt like I actually got a break. Except to break up the occasional cat fights. Just a preview of what is to come with my girls in a couple years. Yea!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

All better

Yea!!! I am all better. Whatever the funk was, I am over it. Those are the times when I think there might be a little bipolar hanging out in my brain. I can have days like that, and then days like today..I am incredibly happy, almost on a high. Which, considering I have five children in my house right now, is a miracle in itself. We have our two nephews and niece until tomorrow evening which will either be tons of fun or the birth-control we need to convince that we really are ok with just two kids! The nephews are great...10 and 12 and pretty much self-sufficient. My niece, who will be 5 next month, plays really well with Mia. That is, until Mia decided to pick up a really heavy plastic mug and whack her on the head. That sent the niece into sobs and begging to go home. Yep, should be a fun weekend. Of course, Olivia has this bewildered look on her face like, "What happened? Where did all these LOUD kids come from?"

Gotta scoot. I'll be sure and post pictures and let you know our decision - Do we want more kids, or are we good!!!!