Awaiting Jameson

Ok, so I didn't know that Kristine would want me posting them all over Facebook, but I just had to share a few pics from our little shoot this afternoon.


Anniversary Syndrome

It's been creeping up for several months. But the past few weeks have been even worse. Suddenly in a single moment it all comes crashing back. The smell. The trees and presents. And once the cold air hits my face I am brought back to that wintery night last December. It's freezing, but I barely notice. I think I am numb. But I can feel that my heart is racing. I think to myself "this can't be happening".

We've done this dance before. Many times actually. The phone rings. It's late. It can only mean one thing. I grab Shawn's coat and keys for him while he jumps into his shoes and then he's out the door. He flies down the street to his parents while I make arrangements for the kids and follow right behind. We rush to his side. Ambulances come, maybe a few days or weeks in the hospital and then he's home again. It's how it always goes. It's the dance we do. And it always begins with a the phone ringing at some unexpected hour.

But this time it was different. It was Christmas Eve.

And everything about it felt different. The urgency in my mother-in-laws voice spoke volumes. "TELL SHAWN TO GET HERE". That's all she said and the phone went silent. I knew this time was not like the others. I raced to a neighbors and started frantically banging on their door. And within minutes I too was racing down the street.

By the time I arrived, Shawn was out of breath from doing CPR and was sitting on the floor hugging his knees. It was a furry of activity. Firemen, EMTs. Chris's dad had heard the call and dispatched all available units. Betty was so shaken she couldn't even stand. This was definitely different. So I went outside and paced. Waiting for Amy and Kristine, I tried to make sense of all of this. This could not be happening. NOT on Christmas. WHAT would we tell our children? The thought was unconscionable.

The rest seemed to happen in slow motions. Walking into the hospital. The looks of sympathy. Being escorted into a "private" waiting room. The waiting room you know is set aside for grieving families, now our family. And then being in the trauma room. The only room big enough for the whole family to come into and say our goodbyes in.

It was around midnight when we stood around his bed. Trying to understand why this time was different from all the rest. Hoping we'd all wake up from this terrible dream. We hugged, we cried and we wished one another a solemn Merry Chrsitmas.

Hours later, we were be back home again. And the kids soon to wake. We would play this charade Christmas Day. Pretending that nothing had changed, when in reality everything had. But the kids deserved to enjoy some type of Christmas before we broke the news.

When talking to Alex later that night she was sad, but still didn't seem to really get it. Then all of the sudden her expression changed and she had the biggest most excited smile. She said "Mom, Christmas is Jesus's Birthday. And Grandpa's with Him now. That means Grandpa gets to celebrate Jesus's birthday WITH him!" She thought that was pretty awesome.

The wisdom of a five year old!


Cullen's New Room

So we moved Cullen into his new room. Formerly Allie's Pink Princess Room. We still have to finish the trim, buy a dresser and second mattress, hang pictures, etc. But you can get the general idea.

Cullen loves his new bed and has had no transition issues. It's so much fun decorating for a boy!


Down Syndrome Awareness

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. And I would love to give a shout out to my friend Tyler!

Many of you have heard me talk of Tyler and his family. And some of you are even blessed enough to know them personally. You may also know that they have had a very, very difficult and challenging year. And I would ask that you continue to keep them in prayer. However that story will have to wait, because right now we are simply celebrating the wonder that we call Ty-Ty!

Tyler was born with Down Syndrome, along with a multitude of other medical challenges. But let me assure you that none of his "labels" truly describe who he his. Personally, I choose to describe Tyler as:


Tyler is an enormous personality jam packed in little boy's body. His will to live, thrive and excel is an inspiration to all. He is a fighter in every way. His strength and loving spirit have forever imprinted themselves on every individual whom he meets.

Oh, and I failed to mention that Oct 2nd is also LiveStrong Day: Uniting individuals affected by Cancer.

And unfortunately this day also applies to little Tyler. Keep fighting Sweet Boy. Keep Fighting.

We love you Tyler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Houston, TX

Well so far the trip has been much more enjoyable than I'd expected. Flights were pretty uneventful, except for getting really bad motion sickness on the last leg. And what's up with that? Who gets motion sick on a plane. I'd never gotten car sick and now twice in the last month I have. And now the plane? Just weird. (And no, I am most certainly NOT pregnant!)

But anyways. I got in late last night, or more accurately, very early this morning. Hotel is very nice. Clean. Comfortable. Free internet. Fridge. Micro. And most importantly, adjacent to Cantina Laredo: Gourmet Mexican Food. Yum. Apparently these Texans like good food! It's all anyone talks about down here. Not that I'm complaining.

So the class. The whole reason I'm down here. Introduction to Energy Trading and Hedging. What they meant to say was "sign up for our class if you are a CEO or CFO of a large energy related corporation or if you hold multiple degrees in Engineering and Economics"! Seriously, the only other attendees were attorneys from both the IRS and PSC. All them, an ME. And the material, lemme just say WOW. But the most amazing part is that I have been able to keep up with most of the material. Will I remember it by the time I return? Heck no. But at least I haven't shown myself to be a complete idiot, yet.

And Daddy is doing quite well back home with the kiddos, which has allowed me to relax a bit for a change. Talked to both Alex and Cullen several times. I was even able to sing Cullen's usually good night songs to him.

Now? Some Facebooking. Checking on Blogs. Catching the repeat of the Army Wives episode I missed last night. A little reading. Then bed!


Big Boy

My baby is growing up!

Cullen was 18 months old last Friday. It's just not fair. He was supposed to be my baby. And being our last...he was supposed to stay a baby. At least for awhile. But Cullen will hear of no such thing. And just as his sister did, he felt that 18 months was long enough for the crib! He was a big boy and he wanted out.

So while in NY last weekend, he decided to climb out of the pack-n-play. And once we returned home, he did the same with his crib.

This weekend we went shopping for a big boy bed, but his set won't be in for up to 10 weeks. So we borrowed Grandma's toddler bed yesterday and tried it out.

We could not believe that Cullen got right in and slept the entire night without getting out once! We were sooooo proud of him. Now let's hope tonight goes as well!


My Baby Girl

Today my baby started First Grade. I am still trying to figure out where the time has gone.

I had the first day jitters big time. Even down to the nightmares last night. I don't think I caught a wink of good sleep! Alex was fine though. Very exctied. Anxious to see some of her friends and her dear Mrs W (her classroom aide that moved up with her). She was also very excited to wear a fancy dress. Nothing short of a holiday dress was going to cut it for her today. So this was our best compromise. I'm glad I caved. She was so proud of how she looked. And giving her self confidence may just be the most important thing I could offer her. (And yes, she insisted on the oversized bow as well.)


Ready or Not?

Most definitely Not.

School starts in under a week and I couldn't be less ready.  I mean what is so exciting about having to have two kids ready and out the door by 7am?  Not much.

But it is just around the corner and will be here whether I am ready or not.

The one thing that makes me most nervous is that we have had a wonderful and PEACEFUL summer.  We have had our share of incidents, but nothing like last school year brought.

But this is a new year and hoping for new and better experiences.

The first step toward making that happen was getting in with a child psychologist and trying to figure out what exactly is going on with Alex.  Which we've begun.  And today, an official diagnosis.

So here's to hoping First Grade is a huge success!!!!


A Look Back

Looking forward to a busy weekend!  We didn't think we'd get around to this trip after just getting back from Tennessee, but how could we resist.  Not when those huge dark eyes light up and sparkle at the near mention of Elmo!  Even Alex has been begging for months to take Cullen to Sesame Place.  So off we go.  

I also couldn't help but to take a walk down memory lane and look back on our first trip to Sesame, and the following year when we eagerly returned.  I think I am just as excited as the kids!!!

Gabi and Alex- Sesame Place 2005

Weren't they adorable!  And those were the days when they actually let us dress them.  And of course they had matching Sesame ensembles for each day we visited.

And the following summer- 2006


Family Times

These pictues were taken a few weeks ago during an impromtu campfire. With everyone's busy schedules, it doesn't seem like we get the whole family together very often. But it just happened to work out that everyone was available last minute. Good times just relaxing and catching up with everyone. Cullen was already in bed, but here are some photos of the rest of the gang.

Amy & Trey Snuggling by the fire, Roger in the background.

Shawn and Allie roasting a marshmellow, Uncle Pat & Aunt Vicky in the background.

Kaitlin& Grandma

Chris & Kristine

Chris enjoying a burnt marshmellow. Yuck.

Adorable Lilly

Our smouldering fire.

Light sabers.

Alex & Kaitlin in their "fort".


Barking Baby Boy

Yes that's right, barking. Seems our boy has the croup. He started on Wed night with a low grade fever. Had a deep and raspy voice on Thursday and then the bark started last night. So it was off to the docs today.

Although he acts under the weather, I wouldn't classify him as miserable. Hopefully it gets better quickly and he won't ever reach that point.

The good news is that I get to spend the whole night snuggling with my boy. He is afterall the world's best snuggler! And at nearly 18 months old, he doesn't stop long enough to do much of it these days.

BTW....our house is DONE! I will post pics later this weekend.


Small Moments

Since I'd love to get back into blogging again, I thought I would participate in this weeks Open Adoption Roundtable.

This weeks writing, a "small moment made possible by open adoption".

My moment happened the day I met my son.

Unlike with the adoption of my daughter, 4 years earlier, his was a much more open adoption. And because of this, I was able to meet his firstmom. We spent five hours with one another in the hospital on the day of discharge. We shared many laughs and tears.

My moment came during our good-bye.

A hug that captured a world of emotion.

It was as if silently we held a full conversation.

Her to me, how much she loved her child. How she would miss him and think of him every day of his life. Begging us to take good care of him and to always tell him of her love.

Me to her, thanking her for trusting us with her precious son. Promising to be the best parents to him that we knew how. Letting her know that she would always be loved and that he too would know of her love.

We then just stared into one another's eyes, Mother to Mother. That moment created a forever seal between she and I. Words were not necessary. I knew that there was no other woman on earth that loved my son as much as I did. But her.


We're Back!!!

We are back from our trip to Tennessee! I won't even attempt to share all of the photos we took, but here is one shot of the three families. Reardons, Henicks and Waits.
The trip down was surprisingly uneventful. Alex was a real champ, took all her meds and didn't get sick at all. It also helped that we drove both ways through the night. And Cullen was a trooper too even despite having his nap schedule essentially demolished.

The first night and a half, we stayed at the Christmas hotel. Alex LOVED the Christmas theme that could be seen throughout every inch of the hotel. She especially enjoyed the cookies and milk with Santa each night. And, though not so toddler friendly, we had the most beautiful and ornately decorated Christmas tree right in our room!
The hotel also had a pool, which the kids really enjoyed. Even I, gladly entered the waters. You know it must be over 90 degrees for Sue to go swimming!

Our cabin was wonderful. 2 master bedrooms, living room, dining, kitchen, game room, 3 decks, hot tub, etc. The view was incredible, though the drive was a rather hair raising experience. Some of the hills were 40 degree inclines with many sharp twists and turns. We also experienced some excitement when a black bear decided to join us for some steak dinner. It was fun watching him from above. Then another paid a visit one morning right outside our door. We had to wait a few minutes to leave the cabin as he was circling the dumpster next to our van.
The first night was also spent with some special guests. Gabi's birth grandma (Kathy) and two of Gabi's bio-sisters (Ashley & Erica) joined us for the night. It was such a treat and Kathy soon became "Grandma" to all. Cullen took to her particularly well and spent the second dinner literally hanging onto her. The kids all enjoyed the water rides at Dollywood's Splash Country.
On Sunday we did some shopping and eventually landed at the Dixie Stampede. Everyone enjoyed the show! And we were really surprised at how much Cullen enjoyed all of the dinner shows. He laughed, danced, clapped and screeched the entire time.
On Tuesday we visited an area in the National Park called Cade's Cove. Alex was having major wardrobe issues that day (hated her shirt) and refused to cooperate with the first half of the pictures. I told her how many wonderful pictures we had of Cullen, and so few of her. Since she has a wicked case of siling rivalry, she then decided to play American's Next Top Model the rest of the trip.
Wednesday, my birthday, was a lot of fun. We spent the morning at Ripley's Aquarium. I was surprised at how much both of my kids loved the aquarium. For lunch, we stopped at some Cantina style Mexican place. We were all dying for Mexican. Anything to not be served fritteres and country fried "meat of ones choice". And dinner was great! We all came back to the cabin. Teri and Jen threw a little party and we indulged in Filet Mignon and Chocolate cake! Good times.
Thursday we did some outlet shopping and the the BlackBear Jamboree at night. Again, the kids LOVED the show. After dinner, Alex and Gabi mined for their own gems, which was fun.
Friday, our last day, was pretty low key. More shopping, packing, shopping, dinner and then the Comedy Barn. A complete collection of photos can be found on my shutterfly page.

Of course, the best part of the trip was seeing our dear friends Shane and Jen again. It's hard to believe it was nearly 3 yrs since our last trip. 3 year and 3 babies later! It was wonderful to finally meet Emma and to see how much Hannah has grown. Now if we can only talk Mr Shane into a trip up North next summer!


One More Month

Do you see that ticker up there? One month from today. Or more specifically, 4 weeks from tomorrow!!!

I cannot wait to get out of Rochester! We so need this trip. And we've missed going to TN the past two years. Which means we haven't seen Shane, Jen and Hannah in 3 YEARS!!! And we'll finally get to meet Miss Emma too.



I know I haven't been around much. Honestly, I don't have much to say. Well much good that is. But maybe this is exactly where I need to be. A place to vent. So here it goes.

As the title may suggest, we were robbed.

Shawn got a call at work on Friday from our neighbor that they thought our house was being robbed. Shawn called 911 and flew home. Once there, he was met by officers who had our house surrounded and guns drawn. Not quite the start of the relaxing weekend we'd hoped for.

In the end, they got away with most of the smaller electronics. Apparently the driver got spooked and called the other two out as they were attempting to unhook one of the tvs. They also made off with most of Alex's DVD collection. Thugs. And course they couldn't be neat about it. The downstairs was pretty trashed. Broken glass. Drawers and cupboards ransacked. Stuff thrown all over.

The one favor they did us was the forced entry through the garage. It was one of the doors we hadn't yet planned on replacing, but now cracked, will be replaced with a nice shiny new one to match the rest of the house!

As for their fate...it's looking pretty grim. Thanks to an observant and fast acting neighbor who was able to report the plate number, the guys were all apprehended shortly after arriving back to their apartment. And not only were they caught with most of our property, there was also evidence of other burglaries. And to top it off, the Sheriffs who helped arrest them were rather interested in pressing additional charges for all the marijuana they had growing.

After some questioning, it came to light that these (for the sake of keeping it clean) "individuals" had targeted our home as we had guessed. Apparently they were some of the boys that stayed at our house while we were on vacation back in November.

No, we won't be getting our things back any time soon, but we do have much to be thankful for.

1) No one was hurt, including our dog.
2) It's all stuff that's replaceable.
3) It wasn't random. And for some reason, this gives me great comfort. The threat existed. We knew that. It happened and now it's over. We can move on.

So thank you all for your concern and well wishes. We are fine. The house is fine. And most importantly we pulled it off without Alex finding out about any of it. For those that don't know, Alex has had a very difficult few months. Please keep her in prayer. But that will be another post.

Much love, Sue


Much to Report

So much to report, I'll start where I left off last week.

Emma's had her kidney biopsy on Tuesday and made it through just fine. Thanks for all of the prayers. They stayed the night in the hospital to watch for any complications and met with the nephrologists. The diagnosis does include a kidney disorder, but thankfully one they beleive is slow in its progression. For the time being, treatment will only include medication and monitoring.

Our house has also been hopping with people. We decided to take the plunge of siding our house this summer. So we've been innundated with contractors and decisions. Shawn finally signed the contract yesterday and they should begin in a few weeks. Now I get to decide on colors!!!

Thankully the siding job will also included all new windows. Especially since one of them was broken last week. I came home and let the dog out the back door and noticed a back window smashed. It took me a minute to process what happened, but it was soon obvious that someone had attemped to get in the house. So I called 911 and sent Alex to Grandma's. (She doesn't know anything about it since it would likely put her anxiety into high gear). In the end, a total of three entry points were attempted. It was a bit nerve wracking, but thankfully nothing was taken and no one was hurt. Well except the moron that smashed the window and sliced himself in the process.

Not much else going on. Kids are doing well. Jobs are well. Everyone is healthy. Alex is busy with school and will be in her first play in a few weeks. She also met her soccer coach last night and got her jersery. Cullen is as busy as always acting more like a 2yr old than a 13 month old.

My best to you all, and to all the mom's out there...have a great Mother's Day weekend!


Prayers for Emma

Please continue to pray for Emma and her family. If you remember, Emma recently joined her family when she came home from China just one day before her 1st birthday.

Upon arrival to the US and through a more thorough examination, it was identified that Emma has something kidney related going on. The initial fear was Melamine poisoning possibly due to tainted Chinese formula. But this most recent news is even worse. It is not Melamine, but likely a congential nephrotic syndrome. And in time, it is likely that Emma will need a transplant.

I have heard those words before and they are a devestating blow to family. My own father passed at the age of 47 due to a similar disorder. Since many of these disorders are hereditary, as in our family's case, two of my nephews also share this disease (Alport Syndrome). We know that transplants are also in their future as well. And the thought breaks my heart. (Note- my dad never did have a transplant, so it is likely that he would have lived longer had he gone that route)

I am equally devestated for Shane and Jen and little Emma. Emma's first 12 months were no day in the park. We will never know exactly what she experienced in the orphanage, but from the clues her parents have picked up on, it was a rough way to start life.

Please keep sweet little Emma in your prayers. We know that miracles can and do happen every day and are trusting that this just may be one of those case. And if not, please pray for her mom and dad. Pray that God provides them with the wisdom to make the right medical decisions for her and the strength needed to get through it all.

Also, on a similar note, I have another request for prayer. A cyber friend of mine Jen was also given some difficult news. As she was preparing to undergo surgey to donate a kidney to her cousin, it was found that she has a cancerous tumor on one of her kidneys. Already shaken with the recent death of her beloved grandmother and the news that her father too was diagnosed with cancer, this couldn't have come at a worse time for Jen and her family. Please keep this family in prayer as well. I know Jen could really use them!


Tuesday Afternoon Catch-Up

I really miss being here. I miss writing. The days I had time get lost in thought and reflection. I am sorry that I have not the energy nor the ambition to share anything remotely enlightening or thought provoking. But those days are gone, at least for now. And I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Instead this is what I can share,

Kids are doing well. Alex and Shawn are just getting over the most violent tummy bug I've ever seen.

School is on break, so Alex is enjoying some time home with her brother. Cullen, on the other hand, is ready to send her back!

Cullen is really changing all of the sudden. He is off the bottle and milk. He runs all over. Loves wrestling and playing ball. Jabbers away endlessly. Says many, many words...including unprompted "thank you's".

Cullen has also attached himself to me like a growth lately. If mom's home, he must be attached to my hip or leg. He is like the proverbial ball and chain. My mother-in-law commented that he looked a bit "oversized" for the wrap I wear him in. But my gosh...my arms physically can't hold him that long! And God forbid I leave his line of sight. Oh the drama.

We've also been busy on some home improvement projects. Alex had her room redone before Easter. Peter Pan. Thankfully there are some creative artists on ebay! It's adorable and I hope to get around to taking some photos. But that would require I actually get all her laundry put away and not have it stacked on her bed and dresser. In due time.

Shawn also decided to tare out all of the trim work up stairs and replace it with more decorative stuff. He is 90% done with that.
Besides the trim upstairs, Shawn is talking about ripping out the stuff downstairs. And in addition, now talks include replacing all the windows himself, rebuilding the deck, putting up a shed, pouring concete for a patio and siding the house. Obviously it is not possible to do all of this at the same time. He just needs to gain some focus. Could someone please pass on some ADHD meds. He could clearly use them!

Me, I am still trying to kick this respitory thing. We are going on three weeks now. And 3 days of which, I had no voice at all. Try getting your kids to take your threats seriously when you can't speak! Talk about a joke.

But all in all, I am holding my own. Trying to prioritize my time, which means less time on the computer. Attempting any time saving measure I can think of. If you have any tips....please let me know.


Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter weekend. Ours was very nice. Crazy as usual, but wonderfully traditional at the same time.

We spent much of Saturday at Adventure Landing for Easter egg hunts and other fun. Alex made out like a bandit and Cullen had alot fun running around.

We had Easter brunch out with family and then went back to grandma's house for a hunt. The kids scurried around the yard gathering eggs and the men later gathered round for the annual "scratch-off hunt". Yes, this is actually the most comically fun part of the day. Mom hides a couple dozen scratch off tickets througout the house and the guys have to hunt for them. Between Shawn, Roger and Chris...laughs are plentiful! And only because Grandma is so evil and chooses the most ridiculously hard hiding spots.

Unfortunatley we never made it to my mom's (sorry mom). Alex was saying she didn't feel well all of the sudden and we thought it was becuase she didn't want to leave her cousins. We later learned she was indeed sick as she exploded with the force of Mt. Etna all over the van. So two days later, she is still recovering and I am finally catching up on all the wash she has created over the last three days.

Before the "incident" I was able to capture many photos. They can be found here through Shutterfly.


Product Plug #2

As you can see, I haven't been very diligent with posting my "product plugs". In truth I've only posted one so far. So here goes number two.

The Vibrating Teether

I had forgotten how much Cullen (and Alex at that age too) enjoyed the vibrating teether. But along with my phone charger, we left his in the hotel on our last trip to Niagara. So tonight when Cullen was terribly miserable cutting some megateeth, we had tried everything. Didn't want food or drink. Didn't want to be held or put down. Didn't really know what he wanted other than his teeth to stop hurting. So as a last result, I suggested Shawn go replace Cullen's teether.

You be the judge...
...I think he's in heaven!

These teethers are just as their name states, vibrating. When you bite down, they massage the gums. For a young/early teether, you may need to squeeze it for them and hold it on their gums. I remember this being the case with Alex. But they learn quickly and Cullen took right to it like a magnetic force. They run between $5-$7 and can be found at most local grocery stores, baby stores, Target and WalMart.