Thank You

Thank you for all the prayers and support. This has been a terribly difficult week and much harder than any of us had expected. It has been particularly difficult for Shawn. Alex was in denial the first day, but is slowly understanding what all of this means. Services are scheduled for today and tomorrow. Please remember the family in prayer this week.

Obituary can be found at http://aliferemembered.com/details.asp?ID=1803


Our Christmas Loss

William Reardon
Husband, Father, Uncle, Friend....and Grandfather

July 12, 1948 - December 24, 2008

Details to follow. Right now we are still trying to cope with this difficult loss on a day that was set aside for what was to be such a celebration.


On the Eve of My Baby's 1st Christmas

Baby's First Christmas
A Christmas Poem by Alice E. Chase

You have to hold him up to see
The angel on the Christmas tree.
And even though he's still too small
To know the meaning of it all
You watch his eyes reflect the glow
Of colored lights that come and go
And feel him quiver with delight
At every new and wondrous sight.
There's Santa with his jolly face
Beaming from the fireplace.
And from the stocking hanging there
Peeks a cuddly teddy bear.
Bright ornaments and candy canes --
Musical toy and wooden trains --
There's just no end to the delights
Spread out for him this night of nights!
He points and grins from ear to ear
And then he yawns - his bedtime's near!
Dad gives him a kiss and you tuck him away
To rest up for the fun of his first Christmas Day!


On the Mend

Cullen is doing much better. Thanks so much for the thoughts and prayers. He is still pretty congested, but appears to have kicked the fever and gotten back his appetite. Last night he woofed down a whole tray of kielbasa and perogies!

And later tonight I will post some pictures of the holiday party from Saturday. The kids had a great time and Cullen particulary enjoyed crinkling all of the wrappings!


Cullen Update

Poor baby was a bit worse today. His rapid and laboured breathing is really freaking me out. I think we need our ped on speed dial. But they continue reassuring us that what we are seeing is typical and could go on for quite awhile longer. I got him to take a whopping 5 oz today along with his baby food. And every bite of his food was a challenge. He kept gagging it all up and crying because he was hungry and getting frustrated :-( I had to force the Motrin down which he normally guzzles.

So I am expecting tonight to be a long one. I brought the pack-n-play into our room and have the humidifier cranked. They have suggested that we take turns sleeping so one of us could keep an eye out for any respitory distress. Yikes.

Prayers would be much appreciated.

Jodie, if you are up in the middle of the night like you usually are, track me down on im. I may be up just watching my babe breathe.


Of Snow, RSV and Firemen

Boy did we get dumped on today! We probably only got a foot, but it sure made traveling trechorous. As they were calling for this storm for a few days now, I caved and gave Shawn an early Christmas present. Well, I guess it wasn't so much the present I gave him, but the permission to go out and buy it. A snowblower that is. The most practical holiday gift for a man living in the North!

This past week has also brought more cooties. Alex caught a cold last week, and of course shared with her brother. Which is nothing new really. They have both battled colds on and off since Sept. But Cullen's breathing was concerning me a bit (rapid and very congested). So after numerous calls to the doctors last night, they suggested he be seen this morning.

Problem being, I work in the energy industry. And Mother Nature is being very, very cruel these days. I buy and schedule natural gas for customers all throughout NY state. Simple enough on an average day, but not so simple when your entire state is under an urgent weather warning. It was a zoo. Phones ringing, e-mails flying and text messages coming in one right after another. Every alert requiring action and expecting your undivided attention. What they didn't understand was that my attention was back home at grandma's house. Where my boy was needing his Momma, and where this Momma was needing her boy.

So I hit the road at 12:30. And everyone knows that I burn rubber each night getting home to my kids. But today, 20 MPH seemed to be the max speed. As much as I love my new Town & Country (thank you honey), I am so missing the 4 wheel drive on my Trailblazer! The roads were horrific. But we had to make a 2:10 doc appt. And we did. Barely. And it appears my boy has a touch of RSV. Poor, poor honey. But you know Cullen, he is a trooper. Just as happy and content as ever.

So on the way home from the docs, I stop to get gas. $10 worth. Because any more surely would have led to frostbite. At that point, the snow and wind was whipping sideways. Did I mention having to repeatedly pull over and clean the ice off my wipers. With no gloves. So fun. By the time I got back to my mother-in-law's (where Alex had just gotten off the schoolbus), I was just beginning to thaw.

Their plow guy had just arrived to clear the driveway so I parked on the street. Pretty much the middle of the street. I got out to run to the door and get Alex and realized that my car was locked. Running. With Cullen inside. Of course we didn't have another set. Shawn could have sent one of his guys from work, but in this weather it would take them over an hour. So a quick call to 911 and the firemen were dispatched. Meanwhile, I stood outside in the middle of the road, freezing, and making silly faces through the window at Cullen to keep him amuzed. Even though I nearly had tears in my eyes from the shards of ice flying 25 miles an hour into my frozen face! But alas, the heros arrived and van was promptly opened. I hope my brother-in-law wasn't working today to hear that call come. He surely wouldn't be surprised though.

And if you are hoping that is where the drama ends. Thankfully, it does. We are finally home. Safe and warm. And hopefully Cullen will be on the mend quickly as tomorrow is a very big day. The Family Christmas Party!


More Disney Pics

Yesterday we received in the mail our Disney photopass CD and Photobook. Photopass is a neat service they provide where their photographers take and store your photos for you to later access, edit and order online. They have photographers strategically set up at the character greetings, park entrances and main attractions. Here are a few of my favorites that they took.


Introducing Emma...

Isn't she a beauty!!!!

Welcome Ye Gui Xing

Deep breath Sue, deep breath. I am just so tickled that I can't even wait until tonight to post! After a nearly three year wait, our dear friends in Tennessee have received their referral from China!!!!

So far, they have only received a few pieces of info....
Name: Ye Gui Xing
DOB: 3/5/08 (9 months old)
Province: Guangxi

Today at 4pm (3pm Eastern) they meet with their social worker to review her medical records and get to see a photo of their sweet baby girl, whom they will call Emma.

And hello?????? Did you see her DOB!!!! That has been the talk since March. How close in age would Emma be to Cullen (and Ellie). How is it possible that all three babies were born within a week of each other! So the "twins" have now become triplets. What fun we will have next July getting the three babies together along with their three big sisters!

I will post a photo and updates as they come in, but for those interested in following their journey, Jen's blog can be found here.

And this is for you Emma. After living in the hearts and minds of so many for so long, we all join together in sending you many Merry Christmas wishes from around the world. You'll be home soon sweet girl. Very soon.


We've Arrived

Whether it is success or an event taking place, I think everyone has a little place in which they measure life. I have a friend who felt that way about a car. To her X car would mean that she had arrived.

I am no different. I had that little thing in which I measured my life. The point at which I'd know that I "had arrived". That life was exactly where I would want it to be. As you can probably guess, it wouldn't come from career success or making oodles of money. It was the place in which I would feel whole. The point where my life was full and complete. And that, of course, occured with the arrival of our son.

Which brings me to a far less profound achievement. Pottery Barn Kids Christmas Stockings. Although I have had my eye on them for years. It never felt right. To me that stocking said, I'd arrived. But I hadn't. And one day when I had, I would buy a PAIR of them. Get them embroidered. The whole shabang. So here they are for their holiday debut.

My family, my heart and my holiday is now complete!


"Our" Ellie

Ok, you probably think I am referring to Teri's sweet, adorable Elliana. But actually, we had our own Ellie once upon a time, or almost did at least. But it didn't last long. In truth, she was never really ours to begin with. But my heart was opened to her as if she was. For a short time last Fall/Winter, we were working with a woman in PA. And after several conversations getting to know one another, she asked us to adopt her unborn baby girl. Of course we eagerly agreed.

I loved LeAnn. That was instant. She was the sweetest young woman. And I always enjoyed our conversations. It's as if distance and circumstance hadn't been as they were, I am sure we would have been the greatest of friends. I admired her courage, determination and love for all of her children. But she was adament that she did not have the means to raise a third child.

After much internal resistance, I began to make plans. I packed a diaper bag. I picked out a name, Elizabeth. I pictured her tiny body all dressed in pink lying in her crib and her dark curly hair. But it never felt right. And in the end, LeAnn decided to parent. And I knew then like I know now that it was the right decision for everyone.

But I still think of her so very often. Of the whole family actually. LeAnn was usually just getting Markus to bed or brushing out Marigold's hair during our phone chats. I could hear them in the background. And I loved them too. I worried for all of them. I still do. And I wonder how the baby is. What was she named? She is about to turn one. Is she healthy? Walking?

Although I know this baby was never really ours, she and her family will always carry a special place in my heart. She opened our hearts to adopting transracially and led us on a road that ultimately brought us to Cullen.

And for that alone, I will be forever grateful.

(And no, Teri never knew of the name I had chosen until after Elliana was born. It's funny how life works, isn't it.)

Jewelry Store Kick-Off

Two of my talented friends have recently kicked off their jewelry businesses. Lisa of La Bella Bling and Laurel of Swishes, Swirls and Pearls will be participating in this year Crafters Bazaar as well as displaying their creations online for all to view. As you will discover, their designs are quite different from one another. So I would hope that one or the other caters to your style.

With the holiday season upon us, it's a wonderful time to check out their creations. And even if you are unable to attend the sale, I would invite you to check out their websites. Both have provided information to purchase products online. Good luck ladies!