Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy 40th Birthday, Big Brother Chris

Howdy Y'all!

So, my only brother turns the big 4-0 only once so I think it is deserving of a blog entry.  Don't you?

On the 23rd of February, 1971 - Christopher Bruce Ward made it into the world.  Oh look, there is the star of the show with the new parents.  They had no IDEA what they were getting into!

Chris got into quite a bit of trouble before I made my appearance 7 years later.  From the stories I have heard, he climbed onto the roof of the house at the age of 2.  My mom couldn't get him down - so, my dad had to come home from work and rescue him.  Also, as the stories go - he shot out the window/door of the church that was across the street from the house.  Way to go Chris!

By the looks of these next few pictures - Chris also had quite the fashion eye!  Check out those plaid pants!  Is it just me or is my dad wearing the same pants in three of theses pictures?

My parents learned about my arrival two days before I was born (since I was adopted) - and they told my brother they had a surprise for him.  He asked, "Are we having corny dogs for dinner?"  Well, I am not sure if he like his surprise as much as the corny dogs - but, I think I was a pretty good sister...most of the time...

When I say "most of the time"...there were a few times when I probably wasn't the best of sisters.  For instance, like the time I threw the stool that went with my little piano at him and busted out his front two teeth.  Whoops!  In my defense, I was like two...and he was NINE.  Surely he was big enough to defend himself!  And, I am sure I was just getting back at him for not watching me closely enough and I drank ant poison.

There are other things I remember about my childhood with my brother.

1) We loved to play what we called "football".  We played it in the den on our knees and the point of the game was to try and get the football (nerf, plastic, sometimes just a wad of paper) to the other side of the den.  That is pretty much all I remember - but, we played it each and every time my parents left us alone at the house.  The odd thing is that I don't remember ever playing it when they were home.

2) He had the Michael Jackson zipper suit and a glove.  I am pretty sure his zipper suit was red and the thought of that thing now just cracks me up!

3) He was pretty spectacular at baseball.  He always played second base which is the position that I ended up playing as well.  I guess I wanted to take after him in that regard.  Here are a few of his sports pics (note: he is the smallest one in every picture!)

4) He was ALWAYS in trouble - and he made my childhood hard.  I guess my parents thought I would end up just like him so they were overly strict with me.  I guess I shouldn't complain - I think I grew up just fine.

Just to embarrass him a little (not that he reads this blog - but there are others that know him that do) - here are a few more pictures from the past up to the present.

Well, Happy Birthday big brother - hope you are around for 60 more!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh, I Was Born a Ramblin' Wo-Man

Howdy Y'all!

This weekend was so super busy.  My family arrived on Friday night - my mom, grandmother and niece all stayed the weekend with us and my mother-in-law also came up and stayed in a hotel.  A few weeks ago, we had decided it would be nice for my grandmother to leave her house for awhile and get out of Texas for a few days.  She lost my grandfather, her husband of 60+ years, just over a month ago.  I think this trip helped her with the grieving process - and she was actually able to laugh a little.

On Saturday, my friends Laura and Rhonda threw me a baby shower.  They did such a great job in such a short amount of time!  Heck, we only learned that Kinley was coming a little over a month ago and work has been a beast for Rhonda and Laura.  They are such great friends to do so much for me!  I love them dearly!

Rhonda tried her hand at a diaper cake and did a great job!  I love how she coordinated the fabrics I have used for the room!  I heart it!

I got so much stuff - I am so blessed!  Seriously, I opened gifts for almost an hour and a half.  While I am so thankful for all the things I received (SO THANKFUL), I am kind of bummed that I didn't get to visit with all the ladies that were there for me and Kinley.  After I got home, we put all the gifts on the dining room table and floor and took a quick shot.  Wow, it is so much stuff!

A few years ago, I learned about something called a Blessing Ring at Laura's shower for her son Kennon.  It is a ring with decoration that holds all of the cards for the baby.  I think it is the greatest of ideas...Laura and Rhonda made one for me and it is super cute!  It will hang in Kinley's room and we will keep those cards to show her the love that so many people have for her.

I promised Hailey Bug that I would take her to the Justin Bieber movie and there were a couple of issues with this promise.   1) I was so tired from putting away all of Kinley's stuff the night before until 1 AM.  2) I wasn't interested in seeing this movie at all.  3) I had so much work to do for Walmart and 4) my mom and grandmother wanted to go to Eureka Springs.  And, I found solutions for each of these problems...1 and 2) I was just going to sleep during the movie, if needed.  BUT, I actually thought it was a great story.  It was cool to see how he got started and how he made it to Madison Square Garden.  If you are thinking about seeing it, do it...go now, you won't regret it.  3) I just squeezed my work in after the movie and dinner and stayed up a little later than usual.  It all worked out in the end.  4)  My husband is a SAINT!  He drove my mom and grandmother to Eureka Springs while Hailey and I went to the movie.  He is the best...I can't say it enough.

Last but not least, I have had this unsettling feeling that Sarah, our birth mom was going to change her mind.  After so many people so us so much love this past weekend, I was going to feel guilty and terribly saddened if it happened.  There were a few reasons why I thought this...(yes! another numbered list).

1) We got an email from the birth mom specialist at the adoption agency last week that asked us not to discuss details about our plans with Kinley with Sarah.  Sarah had expressed some extreme sadness as the date of Kinley's arrival is coming closer and closer.  Lara did reiterate that Sarah is still so excited that she has chosen us as the birth parents.

2) The lawyer in New York was supposed to meet with Sarah on Sunday and she was going to sign the consent paperwork.  He told us last week that he would let us know how the meeting went.  Monday came and went - and we heard nothing from him.

3) I emailed Sarah on Sunday night - and again, Monday came and went and I heard nothing.

So, today I tried to work and not think too much about it...but, of course, it was right there in the back of my mind.  However, around 1 PM today, I got an email from the lawyer that he had met with Sarah and that she signed all the paperwork.  And, right after that, I got an email from Sarah.  I know God doesn't want us to worry with our problems - but, sometimes it is hard.  I am glad he showed me signs when he did today...I really needed it.  I didn't sleep well yesterday because I just kept thinking about it over and over again.

Of course, there is always a chance that she will change her mind - she has until 5 days after the birth of Kinley, but I know that with God on my side, I can get through anything.  I also have the best friends in the world and they we be here for me no matter what!

Sorry that I rambled and that this post was extremely long.  But, someday I would like to look back on these and remember the process of Kinley's arrival into our family.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Making Progress

Howdy Y'all!

I have been going out of my mind with things to do...but, at least I have made some progress.  Yay!

I have been on the waiting list at Helen Walton for about a year - and I found out a few weeks ago that I was 39th on the list.  I didn't love that - and I was told to come up with Plan B.  Well, we shored up Plan B today and I am so relieved.  It is funny because our Plan B is drastically different than Helen Walton - but, I think I love the place.  It is a small daycare and there are only 5 full time infants.  All of those babies today looked so happy just a swinging and a bouncing.  One of the workers in that room is just called "Grandma" that!  :)  This just gets one thing off my list.

We made the tough, tough decision to give away our sweet little Roxy.  She is the sweetest little puppers...however, we have never been able to housebreak her.  We take her outside, we put out puppy pads and that little stinker still goes to the bathroom in the floor.  It is not difficult to clean up - but, we just don't want a baby around that.  So, a friend of my mom is so thrilled to get her and her wardrobe.  :)  I had a special load of laundry on Sunday just for her clothes.  She is quite the princess and I hope Gail treats her that way.

I finished these on Sunday too...and now I am just waiting on that money.  Hurry home soon...we have a baby coming!  :)

Gift for our Birthmom, Sarah
I looked and looked and looked out there - and luckily my friend Rhonda found the perfect gift.  I ordered it a couple of weeks ago - and I am so happy it finally showed up on our doorstep today.  I have always said that Sarah loves Kinley with all her heart and that is why she knows it is best for Kinley to give her up for adoption.  So, fittingly, I got her a heart pendant and necklace from James Avery.  I love it!

I was looking through the baby book that my mom got me that is all about adoption - but, it only had one  small page for a baby shower.   Problem!  We are having two showers - one here and one in Texas - and that just wasn't going to work.  So, I took the invite that Rhonda and Laura sent out for my shower and I scrapbooked and made it sparkly so I could use this as a sign in at the shower.  Then, I can put that in a scrapbook and remember all of the wonderful people that care so much about Kinley.

Travel Plans
This one is only half done.  I have a round-trip flight booked for Tony and a one-way flight for me.  My mom is going to take care of Toby, our sweet dog - and my friend Rhonda is going to look after our cats.  Right now, my parents are planning to drive to New York to stay with me and Kinley while we wait for the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children that has to be completed by the states of Arkansas and New York.  Then, they will drive me and Kinley back to Arkansas.

We still have lots to do...fingerprints for our FBI background checks to update from last year, update our doctor's records from last year, register our new car, find hotels during our stay in New York, host our families this weekend in Arkansas, make a list of things to pack, pack and try to cram it all in the car.  I am sure there are lots and lots and lots of other things that need to be done between now and March 7th - but, I am ready for the adventure.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Our First Contact with the Birth Mom

Howdy Y'all!

Yesterday, we had two conference calls for our adoption.  One was with our adoption specialist, Angie, with American Adoptions and she wanted to fill us in on the match and what to say during our first conference call with our Birth Mom.  And, later in the day, we had our conference call with her (the birth mom).  Both of these calls were made from my car since I was at work - I just thought sitting in my car with the comfort of heated seats might be nice.  :)

My stomach was in knots all day long.  I was afraid she wouldn't like what we had to say or that I would say the wrong thing.  It is funny because Angie said it will be a lot like a blind date - it might start off a little awkward, but hopefully it would go smoothly.

The call started off well - we told Sarah, our Birth Mom, a little about us and how excited we were that she choose us.  She then told us why she picked us over the other profiles she had looked at - she said that there were little things we said in our profile that stuck with her.  One was the importance of a good education.  In the profile, I talked about how my mom always stressed the importance of a good education and how learning was very important and it shapes your life.  My mom loved the fact that something she did was one of the main reasons we got chosen by Sarah.

Then, I became the crazy lady crying in her car.  I don't cry - and I know I have said it before - but, I am known as a stonewall  to my friends because of the lack of tears I produce.  Sarah was telling us that she has had criticism from some people she knows because she is giving the baby up for adoption.  They have told her that she doesn't love her because she is giving it up.  Sarah naturally became emotional while telling us this.  This made me become emotional - because I have lived and breathed an adoption story - I know that my birth mom loved me so much to give the a life that I deserved - which was one she could not provide.  I wouldn't where I am today if she hadn't loved me enough to know she couldn't provide me the best life.  I was explaining this all to Sarah and of course, I couldn't keep the tears inside.  Not only do I know from experience, but I can't believe that someone would tell her these things.  That is just so hurtful.  In this day and age, where it is so easy to get an abortion, you have to love a child with all your heart to decide to carry it to full term and allow someone else to raise your baby.

When we all finally calmed down, Sarah went on to tell us that the baby would come on March 7.  This, of course, shaves another week off our already shortened timeframe - but, I am so excited.  She is having a scheduled C-section because she has had one pregnancy before and delivered her son by a C-section.  She also said that she wanted me in the room when she had the baby.  I cannot tell you how that makes me feel.  I love that she wants to include me in the birth of Kinley.  I am just overjoyed.

We have exchanged emails with her and have also been communicating through that for the last day or so.  She sent us ultrasound pictures - and I think they are a prized possession.  It is awesome how she has embraced us as the family that will be raising her baby - and how she had included us in all the details.

I know that giving up the baby will make her sad - so I would love for you all to pray for her comfort in the days to come.

We plan on getting to New York a few days before Kinley will be born - and I want to get something for Sarah as a token of the greatest appreciation.  If you all have suggestions, I would love to hear them.  I am all ears.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Getting Ready for Kinley

Howdy Y'all!

It has been a one week since we found out that we will have an addition to our family in just a few short weeks.  I feel like I have so much to do - but, I haven't had any time to do it.

I had a fear that I had nothing...she wouldn't have clothes or bottles or diapers or burp rags or anything else.  But, in steps my mom, she has gotten wild with the shopping.  All weekend she was texting me pictures of clothes, bathtubs, sheets, etc.  I feel like Kinley might already have a bigger wardrobe than me...and that is only counting the clothes my mom has bought her.

My sweet friends Rhonda and Laura are throwing me a baby shower in two weeks - so I got a list of people and addresses - and they have already taken care of the invites and got them in the mail yesterday.  They are so speedy!  It is wonderful to have such great friends in Arkansas!  I love them both dearly and I hope they know I will be texting them 24/7 when we first get Kinley because they are going to be my support all the way in upstate New York.

Another preparation that we have done is trade in my car.  For the last three years, I have been driving a Volkswagen Bug and I loved that car!  I really could have driven it forever...however, it is probably not the best family vehicle.  We were actually in the market for a used luxury SUV.   We test drove a Lexus RX350 and I really did love it - however, we were able to get a better deal on a brand new 2011 Nissan Murano - so, on Saturday we came home with a loaded 2001 white Murano.  I love this car too - but, I haven't been able to drive it for a couple of days since we have been trapped inside because of all the snow.

When we got matched with our birth mom, we were asked to send a card to her through our adoption agency.  As I was reading the information about her, I saw that she really loved crafts so I decided to make a card to send her and this way it is hopefully more special to her.  Trying to determine what to say it is the hardest thing.

This weekend I made some letters for Kinley's room (and I finished them up tonight because I had to glitter up the edges when the rest was dry).  Hopefully, I can get this hung up in her room before Monday.  I thought this turned out super cute!  I pretty much love it!

Tomorrow, Tony and I have two conference calls.  One is with our adoption specialist at American Adoptions - she is going to go over what to expect from our match and what to expect when we go to the hospital after Kinley is born.  The second conference call should be a little more interesting because it is with our birth mom.  I really don't know what to say - and I hope I don't stumble over my words.  I think this is an amazing thing she is doing.

We have so much more to do - and I hope I find the time.  If you all can think of some things that will help me get prepared, I would love to hear it!  All suggestions are welcome!!!

One last thought, I have been trying to stay out of the stores and not shop for her since we will be having a shower here before she is born and a shower in Texas after she is here...but, I could not resist these.  She has to have a pair of cowboy boots, right?

Well, I hope everyone is staying warm out there!  Bundle up...we will be bracing for the -10 degree temps tonight.  Yikes!