Happy Birthday Emma!!!

Yesterday we celebrated Emma's 3rd birthday! It was belated by a few weeks....but for good reason. There was no way we could celebrate Emma's birthday without Bo-bo (her brother Tyler). Thankfully Tyler is home and doing well and was even able to join us at Chuck E Cheese yesterday! Emma, Alex and Gabi enjoyed themselves immensely. And Tyler, Nate, Cullen and Ellie enjoyed all of the snuggles as they were passed around.
I should also mention that Cullen is doing MUCH better! He and I are home relaxing today while Alex joins Daddy at work for a few hours. I love having the boy all to myself!!!


The Deed's Been Done

Poor Cullen had his circumcision today. I have been a wreck about it all week. Kicking myself for not taking the extra time and having it done in the hospital. But today was the day. And from what the doctor said, he was a real trooper. He also said he would experience no discomfort for at least two to three hours....WRONG! And that we could handle him as usual....WRONG again!

My poor boy screamed to the top of his lungs the entire way home. He screamed. I cried. It was terrible. And if you know Cullen, you know that any crying is completely unlike him. Which broke my heart even more. He has continued to fuss and cry all night. Once he gets settled, just the slightest repositioning will send him into wails again.

So for now, we have found the only thing that works...Big Sister. Alex has been successfully calming him all evening. He sits relatively comfortable in the Boppy while being read to and told stories. A random fuss here or there escapes, but for the most part this seems to be working. After being up 5x last night (twice for Alex and three times for Cullen), I am justing hoping he sleeps tonight!


Downy Fresh

I just loved this picture. Cullen looking all cozy in a basket of laundry. Really he does have a crib. Alex needed me so I set him down for a second and he looked so comfortable I thought he was going to fall asleep!


Season's First

Today we kicked off the Spring/Summer season with the first picnic of the year. Karen came over with the boys this afternoon. And Teri and the girls joined us a bit later. As always, fun was had by all!








One Month Old

I can hardly believe it. Our boy is one month old today!!!


New Wheels

It was another beautiful day today. A perfect day for a bike ride. Since Alex has outgrown the baby seat, dad splurged today and bought the two person pull behind trailer. Cullen is still a bit too little for it, but Alex took it out for a test run. She and daddy rode to the playground at her school and mommy and Cullen took the car. And yes, there is a chunk of Alex's nose missing. I think she left it somewhere on grandma's driveway!


"April Showers"

We've had two baby showers in two days. Yesterday, my sister-in-law Amy hosted a baby shower in honor of Cullen. It was attended by Shawn's side of the family and numerous friends. In addition, we hosted Elliana's shower this afternoon. It was planned long ago and I was very excited about doing this for Teri and Ellie. So the invitations went in the mail Tuesday, March 11. Coincidentally the day Cullen was born! But we went ahead with it anyways. Below are a few pictures from the last two days.


For This Child I Prayed

God is good, I know this. And He does hear ours prayers, I know this too. Yet I am still amazed at this wondrous creature I hold in my arms and all that led up to his homecoming. Never have I done more praying than during the wait for Cullen. My prayers started out very general, but soon became specific. Let me explain.

A good friend, probably my closest friend, began a second adoption journey in 2006. Their first daughter came very quickly and they hoped the second would as well. But that didn't happen. A year went by, and still no baby. At that point, Shawn and I started the process again too. I knew how badly they wanted a second child and the toll the previous year of waiting had taken. So I began praying that their baby would find his/her way home before ours. Although I knew she would be overjoyed for us, I didn't want that joy to be damped with sadness over her own situation. And amazingly enough, that prayer was not only answered but with better timing than anyone could imagine. Our son was born only FOUR DAYS after their daughter.

I also prayed that our baby would arrive in time for our Disney World trip. I know it sounds like a silly desire, but I really wanted this vacation to include our whole family. Our COMPLETED family. We don't leave until November. Chalk that up to another answered prayer!

The next part happened gradually. In November, we made the decision that we were open to adopting transracially. Over the months following that, I became increasingly excited. By January, I was envisioning ourselves with a biracial child. I just felt it in my heart. By February not only was the desire even stronger, but my heart pulled in an even more specific direction. A biracial baby BOY! From commercials to magezines, everywhere I turned these curly haired, dark eyed and beautifully toasted skin babies/toddlers yanked at my heart. Then one day Teri and I were shopping in the mall when we noticed Parker. The child of my dreams...and my heart. There he was on a GAP ad. I confidently told my friend, I WILL be adopting a child just like that. And I began to pray again. He may be named Cullen, but I have my Parker. The most gorgeous biracial baby boy! God is so, so good.

But it didn't end there. After a failed match last Fall I was really worried about that happening again. I fell in love with this little girl and even allowed myself the indulgence of naming her. So I had at it again. I realized my list of requests was growing, but what was one more? So I started to pray that we would get a call last minute. My prayer was quite specific. "God, please let our baby already be born before we get the call". Cullen was 24 hours old when we first learned of him.

I should also add that I was a bit intimidated by the ICPC process. Would we travel with Alex? How long would we be out of state? Etc. So I really hoped for a child born in NY state. And he was. You don't get much more NY than Staten Island!

So when Sue called me on March 12th, 2008 (5 days after Ellie's birth). I couldn't believe my ears. It was for a healthy biracial baby boy born in NY the day before. Was that not everything I had prayed about! But he was far from ours yet. Other families would of course be considered. At that my heart hurt. Thinking this little guy may or may not be ours. I wanted him so so bad! I left work, got in my car and started praying like crazy. We found out at 9pm that night that Cullen's mother had chosen us!!!!!

But it gets even better! Anyone who knows me knows my strong desire for an open adoption. It is something I have always longed for. And I am so happy to say that we have the most beautiful and open relationship with Cullen's first mom. She amazes me more every time we speak! I am honored to know her and to have her in Cullen's life. I cannot even believe how good God is!!!

My mom bought the above piece many months before we knew about Cullen. But it says it so perfectly!!!