And that’s that!

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The date was May 5th 2014, the adoption committee selected our family as a forever family for Elijah and Gabriel.

January 16th 2016 a “short” 620 day’s later the judge signed the adoption decree.

Which means their now 100% ours. No more DHS, no more having to get a third parties permission before taking them for a dental check up! No more monthly home visits! The boys signed off on the adoption a year ago. The Dad’s signed off on the adoption 620 days ago. Everyone in our family was ready for this process to be done.

We told the boys last night. Elijah was THRILLED. Moody Jayme was moody. Gabriel just clapped and was his normal happy self.

We took the boys out to dinner at their favorite place Sweet Tomato’s.

For our first official day as a family of all DeSoren’s we are going to go on a Cub Scout Field Trip.

 

 

620

Chicken Pox

First it was Gabriel,  Fever of 101.2 for 2 days. Then Anthony was smacked down for 3 days with a fever of 102.

Hoping to not get hit Joshua took to sleeping on the sofa. But he only ended up with something worse. A week after everyone was well Joshua came down with Strep. His Doctor confined him at home for a week. Anthony confined Joshua to his bedroom. Joshua was not allowed to go near the kids or leave his room for 7 days. Jayme helped sterilize the house. Every light switch, doorknob, stair rail, etc. was bathed in disinfectant spray or sanitizer. We were very worried that the kids might get strep and everyone would keep passing back and forth to each other.

The morning after the start of Joshua’s confinement, Gabriel woke covered in spots and white blisters. All over his face, back, arms and legs. Anthony rushed him to urgent care. When the nurse came in she said Chicken Pox and when the Doctor came in he had to get a second opinion because he had never seen it before, but both of them said Chicken Pox. The second Doctor even gave Anthony the “your a liar” look when Anthony stated that Gabe had all of his shots.

They said that there was no magic pill or cream. It would just have to run it course. They advised Anthony to buy some liquid Benadryl to help with the itching.

Anthony dropped Gabe off at home, headed to store and returned with Benadryl, Calamine lotion and hydro-cortisone. We gave Gabe a dose of Benadryl put him down for a nap and then began our second round of home disinfecting.

The next morning, with the exception of a few scratch marks, every last Chicken Pox sore was gone. Anthony has submitted our family for the Noble Prize for finding the cure for Chicken Pox. So we are looking forward to the awards ceremony and the prize money. That or the two Doctors were wrong….

Grand Floral Parade Walk

grand_floral_walk_logo

2015 saw Boys and Girls Aid as the official charity of the the Grand Floral Parade and Bank of the West as the official sponsor of the Boys and Girls Aid Family Walk in the Grand Floral Parade.

When Anthony got the E-Mail invite for our family to join the walk, he signed us up on day one. He carefully entered online for the T-shirt sizes each of us needed and clicked send.

The week before the walk Anthony headed down to pick up the T-Shirts. What he came home with was; Three Red adult mediums for the 3 boys and One red XL Youth T-shirt for one of the Dad’s. A quick phone call to Joshua later and that evening Joshua arrived home with 5 matching red blank T-Shirts all in the correct sizes. Seems good old Bank of the West didn’t order any kids sizes…. for a kids charity group.

We had a good laugh about not getting any of the correct sizes, but realized on the plus side we are NOW ready for Gay Days next year at Disneyland.

The Grand Floral walk started at 9:30am and we had instructions to be in our area at 9:00am. So on the big day we loaded the van up. The night before Anthony had laid out all the outfits for everyone and loaded Gabe’s diaper bag with snacks, juice boxes and sun screen. So we had no reason to be late, but we were.

The whole area was in lock down for the parade so we had to walk down from Joshua’s work to the rally area. We arrived in perfect time, just as the parade volunteers where moving our group out to the main doors into the Memorial Colosseum. We just slide right in on the side.

From year’s of being in the Portland Pride Parade, it was clear to both of us that Boys and Girls Group was an after thought/tack on group. We walked directly behind Bank of the West who wore yellow t-shirts, ours were red. Directly behind us was the Fred Myers volunteers group also in red shirts. So our group mostly was lost during the parade. Each time we came to one of the announcing booths they would call us Bank of the West, Fred Myers or The Oregonian do to the huge Oregonian logo on our groups T-Shirts.

There were a few important places they did get it right. The best was when we entered into the Memorial Coliseum. We walked in and and straight into Governor Kate Brown. She talked and shook all of our hands and called Gabe a cutie. Jayme was a bit stunned and didn’t really understand that we just met the Governor of Oregon until it was all over but he was super excited about it.

The walk itself was a 4 mile death march in 90 degree weather and full sun. But we had a blast. Jayme walked the whole route with only a little complaining at the end. Elijah walked about 1 mile and then spent the rest of the journey in the baby stroller or being carried. Gabriel was the grand marshal of the whole event, he waved at everyone from his stroller or a Dad’s arms.

We crossed the 4 mile finish line and Joshua and Elijah stood in line for some free swag and grub that was laid out. Elijah absconded with 2 full size subs and a free backpack sling.

As all the other families headed back into the city, we walked out towards the PGE park MAX stop. While waiting for the train we all shared juice and the free sandwich in the shade of the train stop.

It was a great day and next year we hope to work with some other parents to organize Boys and Girls Aid’s own entry into the walk and get some T-shirts that fit.

2015-GFW-RouteMap

 

 

Toothache

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Elijah came to us with tooth issues. It’s hard to miss his missing two front teeth and his slurred toothless speech. It makes him very distinct. Elijah entered care with very poor teeth, so bad that he had to have a mouthful of cavities filled and those mentioned two front teeth extracted.

Even though the boys moved in with us back in May of 2014, not all of their healthcare did. It took several months for the dental to transfer to a local vendor and then several months for an open appointment with Jayme’s dentist who takes the Oregon Health care plan. This became a bigger issue when he started to complain of tooth pain.

Now for Elijah to talk about pain is kinda a big deal, we have noticed that he as a pretty high pain thresh hold and tends to hide pain. The upsetting part of our story is Elijah will have reached this high level several times before this blog is over.

DENTIST OFFICE #1

A few weeks before the appointment Elijah started talking about a tooth hurting. It would be several months before the pain would be 100% gone.

Daddy Anthony was in charge of the first Dentist visit. Gabe, Anthony and Elijah all crammed into the exam room for a long cleaning. Elijah did great with the x-rays and did great with the cleaning. What he did fail at (and so did Gabe and Anthony) was the 45min after the cleaning waiting for the Doctor. Once the cleaning was done we sat and sat and sat. The Doctor was busy with another treatment and could not come in to see Elijah. With 10 mins left before we had to leave to get Jayme from school she appeared.

Strike 2 for the Dental office was quickly identified. The hygienist had failed to get a x-ray of the bad tooth so the Doctor had no way to see how bad it was. But she did open Elijah’s mouth and quickly find 6 cavities all in need of treatment. As we rushed out the door to pick up Jayme we found out the next closest treatment appointment was 6 weeks out. Elijah would have to wait to get his tooth fixed.

6 weeks later, Joshua takes Elijah in to the Dentist for his appointment. Everything was find until it came time for the shots. They tried numbing topical meds, they tried gas but nothing could get Elijah to relax and allow that needle into his mouth. After about 15mins the Doctor gave up and told Joshua that he would have to take Elijah to a pediatric Dentist. Now this was a shock because we thought we were at one. But it seems the pediatric Dentist that Jayme was seeing at this location quit. So they only had regular dentists now.

 

DENTIST OFFICE #2

It took a week for us to get a call from the pediatric Dentist office. First date available was another 6 weeks out. With some pleading about Elijah’s case and how he was a foster kid and how poor his teeth were they said they could do a examination only appointment and the Dentist would judge if the tooth needed rushed attention. The only time open was 7am the next day. So Joshua took Elijah in on his way to work, with the plan Anthony would pick up and take him to school later after Elijah got to spendsome time at Joshua’s work.

Joshua and Elijah arrived at the new Dentists office. Joshua presented Elijah’s medical insurance card and then the receptionist asked to see Joshua’s ID. Now this was a new thing for us, we have never been asked that before. Not at our Medical Doctors office with Jayme or the other boys. Not at the Pharmacy when picking up controlled prescriptions. So Joshua asked, “Why do you need to see my ID?”. The reply was to prove that he was who he says he is. Joshua said sure, but I am not the patient my foster son is.

It should be added that having now worked with the reception and booking staff of this office, clearly Joshua asking why was a challenge to the receptionist supreme godly authority. She quickly got back up and then told Joshua that since Elijah was a Foster child they could not see him today. Now to Joshua’s credit, no one was killed. But he did leave a bit mad. Not sure why, waiting for 12 weeks with a child in pain might have something to do with it, but who knows.

Joshua and Elijah returned home and told their tale. Anthony took the boys to school and then called the Dentist office to see how we fix this.

The phone was answered by a nice man. Anthony explained what happened. The man on the phone sounded confused and asked for the insurance information. He was then quickly able to pull it up and said, “I am not sure what the problem is, all of his insurance is correct, both of you are listed. Can you hold and I will talk to the receptionist?”

Several minutes later a woman comes on the phone, this turned out to be the receptionist. She started telling Anthony that since they had no idea Elijah was a Foster kid they had no way to confirm that Joshua was the foster father. Now this is a lie, as all of our names and information are listed on Elijah’s insurance HIPAA information. Anthony mentioned that he had told the scheduling person on the phone Elijah’s whole story just 2 days prior. The receptionist then without asking transferred Anthony to the scheduling receptionist.

She picks up the phone with “You never told me he was a foster child, because if you had I would told you we needed a form from DHS.” It should be noted that Anthony has not yelled. Anthony calming say “Well that is not true and I don’t like being called a liar. But, it’s not important right now. I just need to know what I need to get you so Elijah can be seen.”

The scheduling receptionist stated again, “I will need a DHS form.”

Anthony asked  “What form do you need, what form number is it?”

“I just need a DHS form.”

“Ok, but what form do you need? A DH1-45 form or some other weird numbered form or something like a consent form..”

“I need something that proves your the Foster father”

“Well that is in the HIPAA insurance information that you can pull up on your screen. Do you need letter from DHS?”

“Yes”

“What needs to be in the letter?”

“It needs to say your the foster parents”

“Ok, does it need to be on letterhead? Does it need to be a live signature or can we fax it?”

“You can fax it.”

“Ok what is your fax number”…

This strange banter continued for a few more minutes until we got to the next logical question.

Anthony asked “So how soon can we get Elijah back into be seen?”

“Well that depends on how fast DHS is able to get us the form.”

“Oh, you will have the form by noon today. I will be calling Elijah’s case manager and attorney right after this call.”

One long pause later.

“Well if we get the form today, we could see him in 2 days at 7am.”

“He will be there, thank you for your help. I will call back today at noon to make sure you have the form you need.”

After a call to DHS and short talk with Elijah’s caseworker, we had the “form” which was just a letter in by 11:00am and the caseworker was on the phone to the Dentist office moments after getting off the call. Two days later Anthony took Elijah into the office. Anthony had his personal ID and insurance card ready and handed both to the receptionist before even saying who he was. Both were scanned and we were told to wait.

Now, this is the end of the Dentist drama. The nurses and Elijah’s Dentist are wonderful, kind and gentle. It is like night and day in that office. Front of the house is power mad and the back of the house is amazing. After some x-rays and a quick look the Dentist told us that the tooth that had been bothering him was now a fully abscessed. The Dentist informed us that the tooth was not savable and have to be pulled.  She gave him a prescription for antibiotics and an appointment for extraction 9 days later.

Since she recommended sedation for the procedure, the dentist office tried for 7 days to get DHS to sign off on the sedation. With no luck the Dentist called us directly and told us. We called our caseworker and they had the sedation consent back same day. The Dentist has now mentioned twice how impressed she was that we could get DHS to move so fast. The truth is we just have a great caseworker.

Extraction day could not come fast enough. The antibiotic helped with the pain and swelling a bit, but eating was still very hard for Elijah. When we arrived, again Anthony handed over his ID and Elijah’s insurance card again before speaking (both were scanned again) and we were told to wait.

Once back in the back of office, in the good zone, Anthony and Elijah entered a dim quiet exam room. Elijah got a arm hugger on his arm and little clip on his big toe. Then he got a nice blanket to keep him warm. The sedation meds are oral, so after he drank them down we had to rest for 20mins for them to kick in. Anthony read Harry Potter to Elijah as he got woozy.

The Doctor came back in and gave him some pain shots, which he handled with no issues. Then 10 mins later she came back and wiggled two infected teeth out. They told him to bite down and then they raised him up. He quickly pulled the gauze out of his mouth and said “Blood! What happened?”

We set a date to come back and look over the other cavities for 2 months later and then we headed home.

Recovery at home was very fast. Once in front of the TV he was pain free and doing great. By the afternoon you could not even tell there was anything wrong that morning.

 

RETURN OF PAIN 

About 2 week prior to our appointment Elijah started complaining about mouth pain. This time on the other side of his mouth. Eating quickly became something very hard and painful again and we found ourselves right back in the place we were just a few weeks prior.

Dentist day came on the last day of school. So we had a very very full day. Anthony and Elijah arrived at the office. Anthony handed over his ID and Elijah’s insurance card again before speaking (both were scanned again for the third time) and we were told to wait. And wait we did. It took about 30 mins before we were called into the good back. The Dentist came out and explained that a procedure had gone long and apologized for the wait. Anthony told her about the new problem and how the Dad’s really did not want any more extractions as we have become concerned that he will not be able to eat.

Once in the good back of the house Elijah had a full set of x-rays done and a tooth cleaning. The great news was the Dentist felt that she might be able to just cap the two teeth. The bad news was the next appointment open was 3 months out. Anthony and the Dentist talked about how we might get in sooner. She mentioned that she had a lot of cancelations this week and she was sure she would get another one very soon, when she did the spot was ours. We also talked about calling in each morning to see if anyone had canceled.

So the next morning Anthony called and asked if anyone had cancelled. He spoke with the same nice man as last time, the one who found our names in Elijah’s HIPAA insurance with no problems. He told Anthony that they had no cancelations, but the 8:30am had not RSVPed for their appointment and I was welcome to call back at 8:30am to see.

8:30am Anthony called back. This time he got the Serene Highness receptionist. She scolded Anthony for calling, that she makes those calls and 8:30 would not be an option for Elijah. Anthony thanked her (for his tongue lashing) and said he would check back tomorrow.

Later that night we got a call from Her Serene Highness, the 7:00am for the next day had canceled and if we wanted it she would allow it. Anthony thanked her and quickly got off the phone before he said anything to upset her.

 

TAKE TWO

Anthony and Elijah arrived at the office on time only to find the doors closed and the lights out. So we headed over to the adult side of the office rather then the pediatric side. Anthony was ready to hand over his ID and Elijah’s insurance card again. But this time on the adult side, they did not need them. A new nicer receptionist only asked if Elijah had eaten any food. Within mins we were called back to the good side for round two.

This time Elijah was much calmer, until the medicine came. He really didn’t want to drink it this time. He also was much for restless in the chair during the procedure. Anthony had to hold his hands.

The Dentist was able to cap one of the teeth, but the other was dead and the nerve neurotic, it had to be pulled. The whole procedure was quite fast and the bad tooth came out very easy, which made the Dentist comment that we were lucky and just cut off another infection in the nick of time.

Once home Elijah bounced back again and within an hour was playing Star Wars Lego and pain free.

Next appointment for the remaining cavities it in 3 months, but the Dentist said none are near any point of causing pain.

 

POSTSCRIPT

Remember the nice man who found our insurance information easily and suggested calling back. They fired him for telling us to call back at 8:30. Not kidding, they really did.

Disneyland January 2015

Gabes 2nd Birthday, Anthony’s 21st again and Jayme’s 10th. MORE then enough of a good reason to go to Disneyland and meet the Mouse.

Day one

JetBlueOur fight was a 7:00 am direct on Jetblue to Longbeach Airport. This would be both Gabriel’s and Elijah’s first commercial airline flight. With Jayme we had to do a visit to the airport and lots of special airplane books. Not so much with these two. We did give Elijah Jayme’s old airplane books and he did read and enjoy them, but he is not Jayme.

We got to the airport on time and parked in long term parking. When the shuttle bus came up the driver was none other then our friend Alan, he runs tree farm for the annual Christmas tree hunt that we take the boys to. Very strange to be greeted by the shuttle driver at the airport by name. The boys got a kick out of seeing someone they knew as well.

We packed Gabe’s car seat for the flight but found out at the gate he did not need it for the flight. This was great as he HATES being in the car seat.  So they checked it for us and we piled into the plane. We must have been a very strange sight, 5 guys all moving in a disordered mass down the gang plank. We all sat in one long row. Elijah in the window, Gabe in the middle Anthony in the aisle seat, then Joshua in the middle seat directly across and then Jayme on the far window. The amazing part, no crying or fear. Elijah was in TV land and ignored most of the flight and Gabe was just one happy little dude.

We landed in Longbeach and after getting our bags and making the required restroom break we headed out to wait for our shuttle. But that too was a short wait and a direct trip to our hotel, the Desert Palms Hotel and Suites. As we pulled up a huge union strike picket line was in front of the hotel (ok perhaps not huge, 7 guys). So just to check in we had to be a class traitors and cross the line. But with a non-refundable vacation paid for and 3 kids ready for Disney, we somehow found the will.

Check in was a snap and they even had our room ready, which was nice since it was well before the stated check in time. Our room was a bunk bed suite with a nice king bed for the Dad’s. We didn’t stay long. After everyone changed in to shorts and used the potty we were out the door and headed for the parks.

Disney’s California Adventure was our day one park. Knowing how impulsive Elijah can be and not knowing how he would react to the park so we over prepped for any outcome. We wrote our cellphone number on his upper arm, gave him long talks about staying close and as we entered the park stopped to introduce him to some cast members. The cast members were happy to let us use them as props as we showed Elijah their cast member name badge and told him if he got lost anyone with a badge like theirs is someone who will help him find us. After our talk the cast members gave the boys Mickey stickers and we headed in to the park.

We made a bee line for Cars land, remembering how crazy the lines for the racers can be. By the time we got there the line was over 200 mins again, so we let Jayme and Elijah play on the other attractions. Elijah got to meet Mater and Lighting McQueen and even the big red firetruck (Red). He didn’t really seem to connect with them. Gabriel would have NOTHING to do with them. He just saw them and cried and ran to Daddy Anthony. He did do great in his stroller, for the most part he kicked back, waved at everyone and enjoyed the ride. For Elijah, itwas a bit like Jayme was on his first visit, quiet and overwhelmed.

After CarsLand, Jayme wanted to do California Screamer. So Joshua and Jayme headed off and Anthony, Gabe and Elijah followed slowly behind. The three of them took the scenic route to the Pier area. Alone the way they found a Donald Duck meet and greet. Elijah waited for his turn and then ran up to Donald and gave him a huge hug. Elijah was all smiles. Donald made a big deal about their shirts matching and then Elijah took off his Mickey sticker and gave it to Donald. It too a moment for Donald to understand what had happened, but once his handler told him, he made a big deal about Elijah giving him a sticker. As Elijah and Donald’s moment came to a close the handler asked if Gabe would like to meet Donald. Anthony took Gabe out of his stroller and Gade took 4 steps toward Donald, turned, screamed, and ran crying back to Anthony. Ah… Disney magic. (Photos on Shutterfly BTW it’s hysterical)

Lunch time was a 2:00 pm reservation at Carthay Circle. We love eating at this place. We normally do the World of Color package, but since WOC was down for refurbishment it was just for lunch this time. Not sure if was just a bad day or if Disney has been dumbing down the menu, but our lunch lacked some of the food magic we have had in the past. The food was still great, but not as great as it was before. Now we also had an almost 2 year old toddler, a 7 year old and a moody pre-teen… so that might have had something to do with it as well. That said all of the boys loved their lunch, it was a great family moment as we grazed off each others plates and made jokes.

Per our family schedule after lunch is nap time! Best tip we can give anyone going to Disney, always take an afternoon nap. You come back to the parks recharged and get to watch people who didn’t deal with tired kids and tired parents. Thankfully our hotel this time is pretty close, about a 10 min walk away.

By the time we got back it was starting to get dark. Jayme wanted to do Tower of Terror so we split up again, this time Anthony with Gabe and Elijah, Joshua with Jayme. While the boys did the tower, Elijah and Gabe took the Red Trolley. The Red Trolley is a very short Trolley that takes you to the front of the park from the Tower of Terror. Anthony got on board with the two boys and Elijah started to ask questions to one of the conductors. Before Anthony knew what was happening, Elijah and the very very cute conductor were playing hide and go seek through the windows. Elijah was having a blast. The ride itself was a bit of the let down for him, since it was so short. Once off we walked back to the Tower and met up with Jayme and Joshua. Jayme wanted to go again. Anthony said it was unfair to Elijah, but then Elijah said he wanted to go on it too. He was just tall enough, so with some worried looked between the Dads we agreed and Joshua lead Jayme and Elijah back onto the ride.

This left Anthony with Gabe. Now Gabe so far has not been a very good rider of rides. On the merry go round he screamed his head off and every other ride he as a bit of a cry at some part of it. But that did not stop him from pointing and indicating that he wants to go on a ride. So Anthony wandered with the stroller until they got to Bugs land and Gabe started pointing at a simple safe ride. Anthony then parked stroller and the two of them waited to go on the little bug ride. The ride itself is very tame. You sit in a little booth with wide benches, you are lifted a few feet off the ground and you go around in a slow circle. It was of course scream city until Anthony pulled out his iPhone and gave it to Gabe. It was easy for Joshua and the boys to find Gabe and Anthony, they just followed the wails. Elijah LOVED Tower of Terror.

With the close of the evening and with our fast passes in hand we headed down as a group to Radiator Racers. We all headed up and got a child swap pass. This one works with one Dad staying with Gabriel and one taking the boys on the ride, then switching. Joshua headed in first with the boys and Gabriel and Anthony tried to find something to do. It was almost 45 mins later when the boys came back out and Anthony was able to head in with Elijah and Jayme. While in line Elijah and his ZERO stranger danger came out. He started talking to some kids. Per our normal with him Anthony asked if Elijah knew their names and when he said he didn’t Anthony followed up with how do you know they are safe? It was at this point the kids mother chimed in that her daughter can be very scary. Everyone laughed. For the rest of the wait in line the two boys chatted with the two other children. By the time we got to the ride loading area we had become a group of six and all rode together in the same car. After we got out we lost our new friends in the crowd.

DAY TWO

Disneyland

The problem with going to Disney World is that Disneyland is so little by comparison. Jayme, Anthony and Joshua had the “oh that is in Magic Kingdom” morning and Elijah and Gabe just had smiles from ear to ear.Sadly Splash Mt and the Railroad was down for refurbishment. But Elijah got the grand tour of everything else. We spent the whole morning hopping from attraction to attraction.

Gabe was getting better now at being on rides and we had much less yelling today. In fact, this marked the beginning of Gabe’s Roller Coaster mania. Ever since this trip, Gabe loves to watch YouTube videos of roller coasters. He throws his hands up and screams in joy.

 

The case of the missing bunny

It only took a few minutes of being in the hotel room before Elijah noticed Rabbit was missing. The cleaning staff had made all of the beds and on the pull out sofa arranged all of the boys stuffed animals in a nice row, well all of the stuff animals except Rabbit. Rabbit was one of the two main stuff animal friends that Elijah clings to, numero uno being Dog. But Rabbit is a very close second.

Anthony tucked all boys into bed and then climbed into bed with Joshua, who was already face down and near unconsciousness. It was then Jayme made his partial admission. “Dad, I think Rabbit might have been thrown away. I think Gabriel might have put him in the trash can before we left this morning”. Translation: “I threw Elijah’s stupid Rabbit away and I don’t want to get in trouble.”

Anthony remained in bed for a few moments and thought about how he might have felt as a child if one of his stuff animals was throw away. So while everyone slept, Anthony headed out the door in search of the maid. He found her down the hallway and he quickly explained the lost Rabbit tale. Now the next bit is a bit of translation issue for this writer, as most of it was in Spanglish. 3 maids and their two supervisors all checking to see if Rabbit was swept up into the dirty laundry. This was done by yelling down in the hallways in Spanglish and via radio. After which all of them were very certain that Rabbit was not with the bedding. So the search headed to the trash can option.  Anthony and one of the supervisors began to empty the maids full push cart trash bag into another empty trash bag in search of a white stuffed Rabbit. Then at the bottom, all wrapped up in a clear plastic trash bag liner was Elijah’s Rabbit.

Reeking of 10 rooms worth of garbage, Anthony returned to the hotel room with a safe, but smelly Rabbit. The only words mentioned were to Jayme who’s guilty head popped up as the room door opened. “YOU OWE ME.”

 

Fantasmic – The new stupid way

So in the past we have treated Jayme and ourselves to the Dessert Fantasmic Party. While not cheap, you get seats, drink service and a huge dessert box. Plus the huge bonus of not having to cue up for hours and sit on the concrete for the show. Well Disney has killed this service. In it’s place is a Meal Package plan. Eat and pay for a meal at a higher set rate and you get Fast passes for Fantasmic. We opted for the Blue Bayou. Readers of this Blog will know how this place has let us down many times in the past, the most notable being sat by the toilet all night and the fragrant orders that fell upon us. But this time the gods smiled upon us with river front seating and while nothing that we ate was memorable, the food was not bad. At the end of the meal, the waiter gave us 5 huge 1/2 inch foam seat cushions for the show that night and 5 fast passes. Thank goodness we had the stroller to haul them around.

Later that evening we arrived at the Blue Bayou Fantasmic check in area. Which can only be described as a every man for himself area. Elijah once again forgot his stranger danger and befriended an elderly couple. Combined our expanded group were the first into our reserved area and the 7 of us got front row on the ground seating. This was fine for our family, but our new friends had a very hard time with it. Disney dropped the ball on this one.

The show started and Gabe stood up and yelled ICKY!!!! ICKY!!! ICKY!!!! Gabriel is in love with Mickey Mouse, insane in love. Goes nuts when watching the Mickey Mouse Club, loves his Mickey dolls and seeing Mickey in person was just to much for him.

The show as always was great. Both Elijah and Gabriel loved it. The Dad’s didn’t like the new seating, hated not having drink service and had a longing for a return to the chairs.

 

DAY THREE – GABRIEL’S BIRTHDAY or How to spoil your 2 year old

The morning started with a short walk from our hotel to Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Mickey Mouse’s PCH Grill for a Character breakfast.

True to form, Gabriel saw Mickey ran towards him for a big hug, got a hug, then turned and ran in abject terror. Elijah and Jayme did much better. It was very cool to see our moody pre-teen Jayme forget to be moody for a bit and be a kid. He, out of all of them, spent the most time with the characters.

Breakfast was a slow buffet. All the Characters came over to our table more then once. At the end they sang happy birthday to Gabe and brought our a chocolate birthday cupcake with a candle (Video on Shutterfly). This was not a cheap meal, but so worth it. No one was frowning, no one was moody and Gabe got to see Mickey!

One negative we had was the photo person forgot to bring us our photos from the Mickey meet and greet. So when we asked for them they gave us double the photos to make up for their mistake.

shockAfter breakfast, we walked to Disneyland via Downtown Disney and the Grand California Hotel. Once in the park we redid some of the rides the boys loved the day before and hit a few we missed. We also took a swing up into Toontown for Gabriel and a visit to Mickey Mouse’s House.

Gabe got to interact with all of the weird things in Mickey’s house and after a short wait was face to face again with the Mouse himself. This time Gabe was able to keep his cool. After a big hug he just wanted to sit at his Mouse masters feet and worship him. Elijah was quick to ask Mickey how he got there from breakfast so fast. But Mickey was ready with an answer and flashed a shocka to Elijah to let him know he was the same Mickey from the Beach party themed breakfast. The moody pre-teen just wanted to go back to Star Tours and pretty much hated the whole event.

 

Your again?

As the day came to a close Anthony and Gabe headed to a good spot in front of the castle for fireworks. As they got to the middle area a voice rang out “Hello Again!” It was the mom from our first night who’s family we befriended and rode with on Radiator Springs Racers. She was sitting on a bench with her new infant son and she invited Anthony to join her. A few minutes later both of our families arrived and we had a large group of 11 people sprawled out waiting for fireworks. The kicker for this second chance meeting was their family is from the Portland area too!

After a 5 min firework show (yes they must be saving money for the 60th), Anthony, Elijah, Gabriel headed back to the hotel to sleep. But Jayme had struck up a new friendship with the oldest boy from our run into family and the two of them spent the next few hours on Space Mt and other rides talking Pokemon and Doctor who.

 

Trip home

This was pretty easy. We used the same shuttle service and they got us to Longbeach airport with 2 hours to spare. Now we had a chance to enjoy the new airport which is a huge improvement over our last visit where they stored us in a hot box.

The flight home was quick. Gabe was bit more fussy this time and he ended up sitting with Joshua and playing iPad with daddy.

Christmas x3

 

IMG_3997This year we made a pact to NOT spoil our kids. For the past few Christmas we have poured tons of presents on Jayme, even surpise trips to Disney World. Well this year we decided that there was no way we could keep that up. Yeah, spoiler alert we failed. Never let it be said we are not spoilers of children.

We started the Xmas season with at the annual Christmas Tree hunt. This year our friend was dressing up as Santa handing out stockings filled with presents. Jayme was well weird with Santa, Gabe screamed his head off (photos on shutterfly) and Elijah well he came with a plan. The week before he had written a letter to Santa and  as as we loaded up in the car to go to the tree hunt Anthony reminded him to bring it. So Elijah got to read his letter to Santa in person. It was a very charming moment.

Then after some pancakes and hot coco we headed out to find our tree to chop down. Honestly, we just wanted a simple tree. We found it and it looked fine in the tree farm. But our first warning sign should have been the fact it was so large it could not be put in the tree bailer. It clocked in at 8 feet 3 inches tall. Well of course we NOW needed new lights and bulbs…. $$$

See Christmas this year was like a slow trap, like being a frog in a pot of water, slowing the water temp rises and you never notice that it’s boiling around you. But for us it was not water it was money, each trip Anthony made to the store at least a hundred bucks was spent.

The next big holiday event was Jayme’s 4th grade Gingerbread home building day. On the last day of school, before Christmas break, Jayme’s class was planning to make Gingerbread houses and his teacher asked for all of the parents to help out and donate candy for their children to decorate the houses with. So we loaded up the van and headed over to the Lovely Suzanne memorial shopping experience AKA the Dollar Tree. There was no real budget we just grabbed anything that looked like it would be fun and colorful. It is amazing how heavy $50 bucks of candy can be. In fact we got so much that we had to give Jayme cardboard box to carry it all in as the bags were to heavy to carry and were ripping.

Apparently Jayme was quite the stud with his candy haul, very few parents had sent items in so Jayme’s candy saved the day. We got a huge thank you E-Mail from his teacher and an invite to come and help…. so Anthony did. Yes… Anthony was the sugar plum fairly handing out candy to all the good boys and girls (yes add your pun here). But Jayme was so happy that his Dad came to school and was there.

Christmas eve we decorated Christmas cookies for Santa and then all watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. A quick check in on Joshua’s iPad and the NORAD Santa tracker  showing Santa on his way was good motivation for the kids. Anthony read the night before christmas as a bedtime story and then tucked them all in, Jayme stayed in his room all night, but didn’t fall asleep for hours. Gabe passed right out. Elijah, dear Elijah spent most of the night planing a prison escape. Warren Joshua had to stand guard on him most of the night while Anthony moved the presents down to their

The next morning we locked the top baby gate shut to hold back the IMG_3991mongol horde and once all of Santa’s Elves had disappeared the boys ran down the stairs and with smiles found the tree surrounded by presents. They also found a nice note from Santa thanking them for the homemade cookies and milk.

Jayme has really had a hard time over the last few months, going from being an only child to one that has to share has been a big learning curve for him. As the boys looked for their names on all the presents Jayme found only 2 with his name on it. This set him off in a bit of a pout. Of course the dad’s knew that he got everything he wanted but for the next hour Jayme was sure HIS Christmas was ruined.

Anthony cooked up a big breakfast and after the last nibble was eaten and the begs to open presents could not be withstood any longer, we gathered around the tree.

Gifts, we had planed on just a few each. We think we know how we got off track. Anthony was buying presents and hiding them in the closet, Joshua was buying gifts and hiding them at work and we both had even more presents arriving via Amazon the week of Christmas. So it was not until Christmas morning we noticed that each boys pile was… well lets just say VERY generous.

IMG_4138Everyone got what they wanted and then some. Elijah was drowning in Thomas the Train, Gabriel got his own toy iPhone and other loud learning items, Jayme got tons of Pokemon and all of the remaining Diary of a Wimpy Kid books he has not read. Santa also brought some shared gifts…. Disney Infinity 2.0 which the boys have to share. But the big gifts were all surprises. For Jayme it was a guitar, not from Santa or his Dad’s but from Elijah. Elijah saw it and knew Jayme wanted it and begged Joshua to get it for Jayme. For Elijah his top present was his singing light up frozen dress (video on shutterfly)

The rest of the day was spent in toyland and eating tons of food. Anthony was a little insane when it came to the food this year. Seems with no day job there is nothing to withhold the cooking madness within him. Christmas cookies, Fudge, Divinity, Almond Roca, Fruit Cake and for the first time ever sugared plums. Christmas dinner was also a bit of an overreach. Turkey, Duck, Ham, Green bean casserole, Stuffing, Pan Roasted Veggies, Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes and Sweet rolls. He even over did Christmas breakfast. Hash brown casserole, bacon, cinnamon rolls and a yummy Frittata.

In the end we spent a lot but it was worth it. They boys had a nice first Christmas together and that was what was important.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Road Trip

Salt_Lake_Temple,_Utah_-_Sept_2004-2

Pre-Trip Planning

So once again it’s Turkey time and time to travel to Salt Lake City for the family feast. But this year we have 2 additions to our family, and those additions put a quick airline flight out of our financial reach. That said, in the end we should have just bought the tickets.

IMG_3817Since we own a Mormon assault vehicle, we decided to drive. We had done the drive years ago together without kids, so we knew we could do it. Only question was could the kids? In the weeks running up to the trip we cleaned the van, got the oil changed and figured out ways to keep baby and the kids quiet and happy on a 12 hour car ride. Joshua picked up a power adapter which allowed us to add our Wii to the backset with all of it’s Dream Cube games. We also loaded up the iPads with movies and picked up a few new kid DVD’s for the trip.

The Sunday before our trip, Joshua took the Van to our local tire shop. First to get chains (just in case) and to have them look at the low tire light that had just come on. Arriving on Sunday to a closed store he turned around and got back on the freeway and headed home. It was at this point, in the pouring rain, the front drivers side tire exploded. Not sure what hurt him more. Changing a tire in the rain or the near $900.000 cost for the full set of tires he had to buy. This was GOD telling us to stay home, but we did not listen.

Trip Day

We woke at 2:45am and with the car packed the night before all we had to do was load the kids. Starting in the back seat with Jayme we moved him down and made him a little bed and strapped him in. We then moved on to Elijah and last Gabriel with a warm bottle.

The plan was the boys would sleep until Boise, where we would have breakfast. But they didn’t want to sleep…. until dawn. Once the sun came up the boys when down. After a few stops we got to Boise, a bit later then we wanted but the upside was we found a great breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. Surprisingly this leg of the trip was easy, apart from the 12 hour drive. Gabriel was not too fussy and the boys had lots to do in the car.

We arrived in SLC and checked into our hotel. The Homewood Suites by Hilton in MidVale. We thought we had booked a 2 queen room and would be roughing it. So when we walked in and found it was a King with a private room for the dad’s, a full size fridge, microwave and dishwasher. Well we were super happy. Well everyone but Jayme who learned he had to share the sofa bed with Elijah. Elijah on the other hand was thrilled to share with his big brother.
We dropped the bags and headed back out to pick up some dinner, Wendy’s and Wienerschnitzel for Elijah (our hot dog lover), Joshua the took Elijah and Jayme swimming in the hotel pool. While Anthony worked on putting Gabriel down.

Turkey Day

Blissfully we slept in. With no where to be and no one expecting us until the afternoon. We had some well earned quiet time at the hotel. We had expected to head over to the family house first thing, but where told to stay away until 2:00pm (later we where told we should have not come until 5:00pm). So Shiloh (Joshua’s little brother) came over to the hotel with his two kids and we took all of the kids out to a park to play. The cousins all got to play and get to know each other while the 3 dads all talked about life and the latest family news.

After the park and with it being 2:00pm we headed over to the family home, this is when we found out we were not expected until much later. Grandma had told us to be there at 2pm was not there, she was at a friend’s house. So Shiloh and Anthony cleaned up the dog poop in the backyard and tried to keep the 5 children outside and away from the chefs.

It was a much smaller Thanksgiving then in the past. The adults all ate in one room and our family ate with the kids. The irony of course was the Dad’s were longing for adult conversation, but ended up at the kids table.

Dinner was good and ended quickly. The one big thing to note here was while everyone was leaving; cousin Rowan (only 1 day younger then Gabe) started throwing up in the car and had to come back in to be cleaned off. At the time everyone said it was because he drank too much milk…. BOY were they all wrong! But more on that later.

Childrens Day

We woke the next day and headed to Denny’s for breakfast with the family. Shiloh and his two kids, Grandma, Uncle James, Jayme, Elijah, Gabe, Anthony and Joshua all sat down to a so so breakfast.

Shilo had to go to work so Rowan headed out with Grandma to be dropped off at daycare and cousin Aspen joined our family for the day. We all piled in the van and headed to Discovery Gateway. It’s like a OMSI and Children’s Museum rolled into one, but smaller then both. When we arrived we were surprised to see Grandma with Rowan, he had started to cry at daycare so she decided to keep him with her for the day. Which was great for Gabriel as he had a playmate when Rowan was not busy exploring the area with Grandma. Jayme and Aspen had a ton of fun together. So much so it was hard for Elijah not to be monkey in the middle. The Dad’s spent lots of extra time with him to help him not feel so left out.

After we had seen and done it all we said goodbye to Rowan and Grandma and took the kids swimming at our hotel. They had a blast.

Dinner 

For our final night in Salt Lake City we where looking forward to a nice family dinner. Getting some good face time for our two new boys with the clan was something we really wanted for Elijah and Gabriel. Grandma suggested the Cheesecake Factory, as it would be fun for the kids and there would be something for everyone to eat. But when we found out they would not take reservations, there was concern that having the kids wait outside on a Friday night might not work out well. So a Italian restaurant near by was suggested, Joshua called and got reservations for the 12 of us.

When the six of us arrived the hostess escorted us to the table and we noticed that our party had bloomed. Which was great, but the Dad’s ended up having to share one place setting with Joshua seating on the corner edge of the table which was not so great. A large event was happening in the restaurant in a curtained off area. Loud dance music pulsed through the dining room, talking to the person next to you was hard. So in the end it didn’t matter where we were seated the family contact we had hoped for was just not going to be possible.  This really bummed us out. This family dinner felt more like 2 or 3 dinner parties forced to share a small loud table, it was awkward and upsetting.

The wait staff seemed to be in the weeds all night. Even with two waiters they failed to take the Dad’s drink orders, forgot to take the Dad’s food orders, which just helped our injured feelings over the lost of a nice family dinner to just boil over into plain anger at the waste of it all. The food didn’t help much either. None of the food we ordered was good and none of the kids wanted to eat it. We are also sure that Anthony was served the wrong dish entirely. In all we spent $100.00 plus tip on bad food and ZERO time with the people we drove hours and hours to see. When the kids finished, moving their food around on their plates, we said our goodbyes and headed to Taco Bell.

Later That Night

Remember Rowan throwing up the day before… welcome to our families weeklong nightmare. At 3am Elijah woke up scared and came into the Dad’s room and woke Anthony up. After putting him back down, Anthony was unable to fall back to sleep. Whenever he gets upset it is hard for him to turn off his brain.  Well two TV shows later at 5:00am he decided to take a warm bath to help him unwind and fall asleep before the long road trip ahead that day.

Laying naked in the warm water, his eyelids started to droop and the warm water started to lull him towards night nightland. When Joshua storms in with a SCREAMING Gabriel. A screaming Gabriel covered in vomit and mucus pouring off him like some sort of Sci-fi horror movie alien birth.

 

Ice…. did you say ice?

We didn’t leave Salt Lake City, we evacuated from it. Gabriel kept throwing up and screaming until well past 7:00am. It was a team effort to get him calm and slumbering on the Dad’s bed. Once he was calm everyone packed quickly and after a bland free breakfast in the hotel we packed the van and hit the road. We texted the local family telling them we were on the road, then floored it.

Again we waited until Boise to stop for lunch, this time it was Shari’s. Unlike the ride to SLC the ride home was loud. Gabriel was not happy and unable to keep anything down. So our normal trick of cookies was not possible, one of the Dad’s was either in the backseat with him or turned 360 in the front seat rubbing his feet or legs for the whole trip.

Prior to our trip we knew we would have to travel through the passes in Utah and Oregon. The weather in Utah was warm and nice, so nice the kids played outside. But the Passes in Oregon where cold and we started to get worried when the sunset and the first snowflakes started to fall.

Now Joshua grew up in Salt Lake City, is use to driving in snow and ice. Anthony grew up in Portland, were the sighting of 3 snowflakes close the city for at least a week. The kids just saw snow and got excited.

IMG_3904We made it through the first pass, the snow was just blowing across the roads more pretty then scary. But as we exited the next and arrived in Pendleton things got much worse. We pulled off the highway into the Arrowhead travel center. the snow was coming down now heavy and while the Dad’s did there best not to panic all Elijah wanted to do was build a snowman. While in the travel center we found out that the pass had just been closed. Panic set in… it took a few moments for us to find out that the road to Portland was still open but outbound was shut. Now while this was great news, the thought that 10 feet away would be a closed highway due to weather, was not a confidence booster.

The final pass was a high speed terror ride on a block of compacted snow. Joshua who was driving was a rock, but the smaller cars and trucks (not commercial) that should know better made a bad situation worse. Somehow with a screaming sick toddler and two children who just wanted us to pull over so they could play, somehow we made it out and down into the wet columbia gorge.

In all the snow in the passes added 4 hours to our drive. We arrived home near 11pm

PostScript

The following evening Jayme began to get sick. It started with vomiting then the diarrhea kicked in. It was so bad Jayme missed a full week of school. By the end of the week Anthony was sick as well and then Joshua. Only Elijah escaped unharmed. Someone said it might be because the three of us contracted the Norovirus last year in Disney World and our guts were still recovering making us more susceptible. Whatever the reason no one wants to drive to Salt Lake City again next year. We are currently looking into Thanksgiving cruises.

The boy who lived

hair

 

 

For the official record Anthony and Jayme where in Jayme’s room, door shut and playing Roller Coster Tycoon when they heard the bang followed by the screen for help from Joshua.

Elijah in his haste to get to his room had dashed past his baby brother. Startled Gabriel lost his balance and dived head first into the wall.

As Anthony exited Jayme’s room all he saw was his baby crying and two long streams pouring from his baby’s head. One a large amount of gruel, which is normal. The second was anything but normal, it was a scarlet stream of blood.

Anthony is very good in emergency situations. He quickly took both Dad and child into the bathroom and got a compress and cleaned them both up. After inspecting the wound Anthony started telling Joshua to get his shoes on and go to the hospital.

Now since we are officially for the record here, the bleeding had stopped (without a bandaid), Gabe was fine and no longer crying. But we both felt a Doctor should check him out as head wounds are not something we should home treat.

We called the boy’s caseworker and informed her what happened and that Joshua was going into the emergency room to have a Doctor check Gabe out.

Joshua took Gabe to Kaiser and after waiting for two ambulance cases to clear, was seen by the Doctor. The wound was as we guessed not life threatening and his vitals were all good. We had three options for the cut. Leave it alone and have a scar, to close it with a drop of glue (but with a child his age he might rub it open) or the scary option, also the option you don’t want to tell the caseworker… stitches.

With a call to the caseworker and the ok for stitches we gave the ok to the Doctor. He put 3 tiny and tight little dissolvable stitches in and one little band-aid. They had to wrap Gabe up and he was not to pleased about the process.

 

UPDATE – Gabe is ok and has no scar.

 

Elijah’s 6th Birthday Party

Elijah6thweb-1024x638

 

Our families 4th kid birthday party and perhaps our most successful. Elijah turning 6 was fun and dramatic.

It took us awhile to figure out what to do with him. With Jayme he wanted a swimming party for his 7th birthday party, but Elijah turns blue and gets too cold at the aqua center. Bowling is too “big kid” and the thought of kindergarteners on roller skates scared us a bit. Luckily, we knew Elijah liked to jump. At his former foster home they had a trampoline and here in Portland he loves going to the trampoline center in Tigard. So JJ Jump (a large room filled with inflatable jump rooms and slides.) seemed like a good fit for him… So we booked it.

Anthony once again made custom invites and Joshua once again took them to the print shop in his tower and paid for them. Our party package covered 15 kids so we sent a lot of invites out hoping to get a big party. In the weeks running up to his party Elijah made hand made invites (scribbles on white paper) as he wanted to hand out the invites. So once we had the real invites made he was over the moon.

This year Elijah’s birthday landed on a Saturday but we still wanted to surprise him in his classroom with cupcakes. So in the last school day before his birthday Anthony arrived in his classroom with Cupcakes, juice boxes and party hats. Elijah was grinning from ear to ear. His whole class sang to him. His class loved the cupcakes but the juice boxes and hats were the big hit. It was quite a sight to see 24 kids all lined up ALL with party hats on as they headed home.

On the big day we all headed over to JJ Jump. We took 2 cars as we were joined by our good friend Scott. It took several trips to bring in the cupcakes, juice boxes, goodie bags and presents. But once inside we were quickly joined by all of our guests; six kids from his school joined us, plus Jayden and Ava, Elijah’s caseworker and her daughter, our friend Scott and Suzanne. We had toddlers through 7th graders, all had a great time.

The party started with the kids getting a little over an hour in the jump room. It was a lot of fun for the kids and pretty entertaining for the adults. Biggest problem was getting photos as the kids ran from inflated thing to inflated thing. Our group was playing soccer, sliding, jumping, playing tag. Everyone did something different all of them were sweaty, red faced, tired and smiling at the end.

Our group gathered up and headed to our party space. Anthony had decorated the room and placed party hats and blow ticklers on the table. Ok this was the only mistake, never never never give a room filled with mostly kindergarteners blow ticklers, it was deafening.

Elijah blew out the candles on a little mini cake we got him and then the group all had cupcakes with ice cream cups. We then headed right into the present pile, which was HUGE. Elijah got paper for his projects he likes to make, toys, play dough sets and several cards filled with cash.

During presents we noticed that Elijah wasn’t all there. He had been doing some pretty big processing over the past few days. The night before at bedtime he had a meltdown because he thought when you turn 6 no one takes care of you anymore. Pretty sure a lot of past family memories and feelings have been haunting him for the past few days. During presents this was really present, it was almost too much for him. First a Dad helped him unwrap but then his friends and even Jayme helped.

With the presents open and food all eaten, Elijah handed out the goodie bags to all his friends. With hugs and thank you’s the party ended. We loaded the car and then waited down in the lobby for the last parent to pick up their child.

We all drove home and Scott came with us. Anthony and Scott had a meeting on the big dinner they are doing and Elijah and Jayme played together with all of the new toys.

That evening all of us headed to Sweet Tomato’s for a special family dinner. Its a healthily salad place and Elijah loves that he can make his own food. Dinner ended with Elijah making his own chocolate Sunday with chocolate sauce, sprinkles and Oreo crumbs.

 

 

South Boarder… down Roseburg way

Elijah hiding

It was Wednesday, May the 21st. The alarm started beeping at 6:00am, for today we meet our new sons.

First – we had to get everyone dressed. Something that in retrospect was SO EASY. We drove Jayme to school and dropped him off at 8:15 a.m. then we pointed our TARDIS (Dodge) south and headed down I-205.

Huge traffic issues in Oregon City set us behind schedule for the day, something that would happen over and over on each trip to Roseburg. From our house in Happy Valley, it takes a little over 3 1/2 hours to get to Roseburg. That is not counting Dutch Bros and Starbucks stops, of course.

We arrived in Roseburg with only a few minutes to spare and walked into the local DHS office. After finding the right floor, we met our boys caseworker and a new caseworker who was going to tag along for the meeting.

We all headed back out to our cars and drove across the street to a nice little park. It was a great day for it too, sunny and warm. After a few minutes, the boys therapist arrived and we had a nice talk with her. Then the boys arrived.

Saying boys is a bit of cliffhanger breaker. Because due to some conversations we had prior, there was the fear we would only be meeting Elijah. The foster parents car arrived and both of us kept our backs to it. Elijah came running towards us, very very hyper and very very nervous.

We spent a lot of time with him, taking turns talking to the adults. One of the things we did not do was spend time with Gabriel. All of the books we read said that for the first meeting the toddler should just see that we are safe and not to try and take over the parent role on the first meeting.

We had a pizza picnic and Anthony played Jayme’s video greeting. Then Elijah made several movies for Jayme. It was very very touching.

After lunch, Foster mom took Gabriel for his nap and we kept playing with Elijah. We moved over to a huge steam train that parked on a little peace of track for kids to play on.

We had a real hard time saying good bye to him, but finally at 3:30pm we had to get back on the road to Portland. Jayme’s day care charges $1 per minute you are late after 6:00pm.

Luckily we had a back up plan and our friend Lisa was able to pick up Jayme. She then proceeded to spoil him with Mini-Golf and ice cream.

3 1/2 hours later we arrived home and to a son with lots of questions and a stomach full of ice cream.

 

 

D-Day (or rather E&C Day)

d

 

Here we go folks.

Today we will be presented to the adoption approval committee on two boys.

Meeting starts at 1:00pm and we have been told we might hear back something back as soon as 3:00pm today.

 

We will post as soon as we know anything.

Do you have permission to make medical decisions for your son?

 

So as we prep for our next adoption committee we decided that Jayme needed new medical Doctor. So Joshua called the healthcare provider to get a referral to a new Doctor. We need one that better meets Jayme’s needs and one that will meet the new kiddos as well.

After being on hold for 30 mins the call when like this:

Healthcare Vogon: Thank you sir, let me open that file. Hummm  what was your name?

Joshua: Joshua DeSoren.

Healthcare Vogon: I am sorry sir, you are not listed as being able to make medical decisions for your son. You will need to call DHS, they need to update their record.

One 30 min on hold call to Oregon DHS.

Local DHS Vogon: Thank you sir, Do you permission to make medical decisions for Jaymes?

Joshua: Jayme is 9 years old.

[DEAD SILENCE]

Local DHS Vogon: Phone Ahhh…. well Sir. We do not see you listed as his Guardian. In fact we do have any guardians listed.

Joshua: So your screen shows you have a 9 year old boy who was in state foster care.

Local DHS Vogon: Yes Sir. 

Joshua: Who listed in your records has having no foster placement

Local DHS Vogon: Yes Sir

Joshua: and no legal guardians?

Local DHS Vogon: Yes

 

 

DEATH TO POPCORN!!!!

So spring has arrived and with it the return to the waiting time that comes with adoption.

With a few warm sunny days we found ourself’s outside and working in the yard. We started in the backyard. We cut way the moss and made paths. Then came up with a battle plan for the backyard. Anthony tore out the rotting railway tie steps and Joshua worked on the fence and de-mossing the roof and cleaning the gutters.

But since this the Oregon, the sun departed and the spring rain started. We quickly found ourselves back inside with nothing to do. When we first moved into our new home the very first room we flipped was the laundry room. We scrapped off the popcorn ceiling, installed a ceiling vent and painted it a lovely blue color. We also painted Jayme’s room. But since then, we have not worked on many home projects other then installing new blinds. This was about to change…

First we planned just to do the dining room. But once Anthony had cleared and scraped the ceiling of the ugly mud it was clear we had to keep going into the living room. The cats hated this process. Every window was draped in plastic, the floors got a plastic drop the a paper drop on top of that. Worse they were banned from both rooms along with all of the furniture.

Jayme loved the ceiling removal process. He stripped himself down into his angry bird underwear, put on his heavy dust mask and got to run around the room spraying water in the house! Anthony did not love it nearly as much as Jayme did, but he was SO happy to get rid of the ugly popcorn!

Once the popcorn came down, we decided to fully flip the two rooms. We called a fireplace repairman out to look at our fireplace. We had been told that the prior owners had burned wood in a gas fireplace and ruined it. Well the truth was the fireplace is a wood fireplace with a gas lighter system. So other then needing a good cleaning and a few parts we were good to go.

With the fireplace ok, we decided to take down the ugly 80’s stone work and replace it with something a bit more modern.

The fight this time on paint colors was a rather short one. Normally it takes us months to agree on something (our sofa took months to find). But the color pallet came together pretty easily. We made a wall of paint samples and kept moving them around the room until we found something we all liked.

 

 

Happy Times

Today we had a conference call with the Caseworker of of a new sibling group we are learning more about. It was such a great call!

The caseworker was very open with information and seemed happy & excited to talk with us. This is a very different experience then we just had where information was scarce and we never got that “good” “happy” vibe from any of the people we talked with. But today we have a really good feeling about this match and really feel we made the right choice last week.

The four of us (our Adoption worker, the Caseworker, Joshua & Anthony) all talked for a good 50 mins and covered a lot of ground. We can’t post anything about what was said, but  it looks like we are heading to committee again! Date and time to be determined, but the caseworker is putting in the paperwork this week.

Thankfully the house is still primed and ready. Anthony has started work on new hello books and Joshua is looking at Baby’s R Us advertisements again.

The day we didn’t go to committee – By Anthony

grief

Our adoption worker said it… She used the word “Grief”. When she said it, it was in the middle of a conversation and it was one of those conversations were you nod at what the other person is saying but you are really really focused on what you are going to say next. So you hear them speaking but you don’t process it all at that moment. Then later you have one of those “Oh” moments.

In our last post we found out that the youngest kido’s Doctor made a surprise request to call off the committee meeting set for today. We held off making any decisions until we could learn more. But when the foster mother failed to join us in a prearranged conference call, with the Doctor and child therapist not communicating with us as well. Our avenues of getting better information became very closed. We had to make a very heart heavy decision and we decided to not go to committee until we got better information. We did not feel that in good faith we could say to the committee that we are the best choice for these kidos when so many vaild questions about them remained.

So today is the day where we should be very nervous and watching our phone for the call. Readying our letters to our employers HR departments letting them know the moment for FMLA is here and we are out of here. It should be a day were we have a party. A day were we get to tell Jayme that he has not only the brother he has longed for, but two brothers now. But today is not that day. Today is a day of grief.

I know some of you might be wondering why we are upset. It’s not like lost anything, heck the kids were never placed. But for weeks they were placed with us, at least in our minds.

  • We had to prep their rooms
  • Order and build new a bunk bed
  • Buy new bedding
  • Figure out schedules
  • Plan for time off and arrange things with work
  • Have talks with Jayme to prep him for the upcoming transition and the realities of having brothers
  • Think about meal planning
  • Toddler proof the whole house
  • Create lists of toys and items we would need
  • Budget for new clothing and sort Jayme’s hand me downs
  • Talk to friends and family about what was about to happen
  • Go on shopping trips

We woke up thinking about them, spent the day thinking about how we will meet their needs and each night together some conversation about them would creep in.

BUT

As one possible future is closed another possible future with two other boys has opened. Their caseworker seems very interested in us as a match.  These new boys would be a great match for us and us for them. They are super cute and the match is actually the best match we have seen. Call it Gods will/plan, predestination or even fate. This new match is looking to be the one that is a perfect fit.

The quote we used in our last blog keeps coming to mind. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” 

We do not want that to be us. So today is a day for grief. But not tomorrow!

When the Door closes…

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“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

So with 3 business days until we go to committee we get a E-Mail from our Adoption worker. The youngest of the two brothers  we are trying to be matched with Doctor’s send a E-Mail to the children’s caseworker asking for the committee meeting to be delayed today. The Caseworker then E-Mailed our Adoption Worker and said the committee meeting was going ahead anyways. But the Doctor felt that the youngest child has an very high need an diagnosed medical issue and was requesting the delay so that the child could be tested and evaluated.

WHAT!?!?!  No where in any of the child’s medical paperwork (that we had been shown) or in any of the conversations we have with anyone was this discussed. Nor was even the remote possibility of this medical issue discussed or disclosed. If the Doctors theory holds true it, this becomes a HUGE game changer.

We know that raising any child, there are no promises or guarantees of perfect health. But to intentionally adopt a child with this level of high needs would not only impact  how we could parent the child, but also effect how effective parents we could be to his biological brother and our current son Jayme. Again is a huge game changer and reason for thoughtful pause.

We have had no training or done any prep work to parent a child with this medical condition. With only a few days until committee the amount we can learn and training we can take is little to none. But we are also aware the longer these boys are kept from their forever family the harder their lives will become. So it just beyond  heartbreaking.

So with only days to go, we have very few options.

1. Proceed forward like nothing has happened and accept the risk of adopting a child that might have VERY high needs. Needs we are not prepared for.

2. Join with the Doctor and clearly state we will not go forward to committee without the tests being done first. The danger with this option is the committee might still happen without us and we would be left behind come Monday afternoon.

3. Walk away now and focus on other kidos.  Which is very hard to do. Emotionally we have put up walls to protect us. But for the last few weeks those walls have been falling one by one as we have prepared the house for their arrival.

Our Course of Action?

We have a conference call set for tomorrow morning with the children s foster mom. After a long talk we have decided to move forward with the conference call and get as much information as we can.

 

Prepping the House… again

So with the adoption committee a week away now we spent the weekend getting the house ready. It’s not as fun as it sounds.

Since we are looking at 2 boys moving in, it meant that two bedrooms must be kitted out.

First we finished up the oldest child’s room. Jayme had a large collection of toys he wanted his new brother to have and we changed out all of the light sockets with new white ones with shiny white cover plates the capped them with toddler proof plug covers. Joshua added a motion light switch, like we have in Jayme’s room. Last weekend we installed a new bedroom ceiling fixture, a nice bright LCD bulb one. With the bunk bed we ordered finished and the new mattresses in place we made up the beds and Jayme decorated the room with toys.

For the toddlers room we needed to convert our dream computer room. So on Saturday we started the long process of moving our dream computer room to a new location.  Jayme’s computer was moved back into his room (after double checking the parental lock settings).  The other computer was moved downstairs into the formal sunken living room. We plan to add some gates and turn the sunken living room into a toddler play area/work from home location for Anthony and Joshua. We cleared off one of our IKEA billy bookcases and decided to add some doors to it. This will allow hidden storage for the sunken living room, keeping all our desk junk tucked away and out of the little ones hands.

Once the computer room was cleared we started to move in kid toys. Right now we are not sure where the toddler will sleep, our guess is we will want him to have two beds during the transition time. One in the dads room and then one in his own room. From all of the research we have done into toddler adoption the one thing they state over and over again is we may see younger behaviors come out. With Jayme at age 6 we saw that, so we might be dealing with infant behaviors and want to keep him close.

We headed to Ikea Saturday afternoon, to look at toddler beds, cribs and bookcase doors. We came home with the bookcase doors and a new dresser for the toddlers room. The Malm dressers that we had in all of our bedrooms were on close out clearance. So we grabbed one of the last ones so the toddlers dresser would match his brothers. We decided to hold off on the toddlers bed until after committee and after talking to the Foster family to get a better idea of where the little one is at.

Once the rooms were set up we then had to stage the house and do a photo shoot of each room for the hello book.  The hello book has tons of photos and introduces our family to the kidos and puts a face on our family for the committee. We even picked up a second book for the toddler. That one is all plastic and it’s soft and drool proof.

Sunday afternoon we had planned to be done and rest, but it wasn’t until after Jayme was in bed before Anthony put the final touches on the hello book and Joshua still had to stay up late  to finish the weeks laundry.

And the Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down…

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When it rains, it pours. History seems to be repeating itself. Two weeks out from going to committee on two kidos, our adoption worker E-Mails that different caseworker is interested in us for a different set of kidos.

This happened before when we went just a few weeks out from Jayme’ committee we had the chance to go to a second committee on another child. (SEE POST) Back then we said no and stuck with Jayme. That turned out to be the smartest decision we have ever made.  We can’t imagine now another child more perfect then Jayme for our family.

This time around  we are going to get additional information and review all our options but our family is still working towards a March 10th committee meeting.

 

Going to Committee

Not that type of committee…

So it’s official, we are going to committee on a sibling group of 2 boys. Both are younger then Jayme and live in the Portland area. The date set for the committee is March 10th 2014.  If chosen we could have them home by late March to early April.

This will be our first time going to committee post Jayme and the third committee we have ever gone to. And this time around it’s not as scary. We both are feeling very confident, which we really hope is not pride before the fall.

We have started to get the house setup as the waiting period of 7 days will just not be enough time. We have ordered the beds and toddler proofed the house and stairs.

 For those of you unsure what going to committee means:

(Content below reposted from www.lanecountyheartgallery.org)

The committee consists of three members who are usually DHS caseworkers, retired caseworkers, or social workers experienced in the adoption field.  The committee meets for three hours, usually 9-Noon or 1-4 p.m.  Occasionally it lasts longer, but not often.

Committee starts with a presentation of the child by the Case Worker (CW.  Sometimes the child’s foster parent, therapist, court appointed special advocate (CASA), or attorney, is also present and invited to tell about the child as well.  The CW usually brings pictures, or the child’s Life Book, so the committee can view photos.  The goal is for the committee to have a thorough understanding of the child’s identity, personality, and special needs.  The committee members may have questions during this time about the child based on what they hear, read, or otherwise observe.

Once the child has been presented, any representatives for the child, except the CW, are dismissed and the AWs for the families each have a turn telling the committee about the family they represent.  Again, the committee members may have questions for the Adoption Worker (AW) based on what they hear or what they have read in the family’s home study.

The committee members then remark on or list the strengths they heard or read about each family and the concerns they have about each family.  Then they vote.  If the two junior members each vote for a different family, the chair must break the tie with a vote for one of those two families so that we leave committee with a decision.  We nearly always leave committee with a decision about who will adopt the child.

When committee ends, the families receive a call informing them whether or not they were selected by the committee.  The AW who represents each family takes notes throughout the committee, types them, and forwards them to the family, usually the next day.  If a family lives outside Oregon, then at this point our agency will step aside and the family’s AW will work directly with the child’s CW to proceed with the placement.

The CW comes to committee prepared with the child’s files, which are given or sent to the family’s AW.  There is a 7-day blackout period then to give the family an opportunity to review the files more thoroughly with physicians, psychologists, teachers, and whoever else can help the family be certain this is what it wants.  During this time, the CW and AW will work with the family to make a transition plan.

 

 

Meeting Nancy Olseon

Meeting Nancy, by Anthony

Growing up, one of the TV shows I was allowed to watch was Little House on the Prairie.  It was one of those quasi-christian values OK shows that was approved of by my Grandmother. Today, I think I had some sort of Little House flashback moment. And No, it was not about teen dreamy Albert.

No this flashback happened shortly after a conference call with the Foster Mother of a kido we are seeing if we match with. The flashback was of when the Nancy Olsen character was added to the show.

For those of you not up on your Little House lore, it was season 8, Little Laura and Nellie were all grown up and friends. A new villain needed to be added to the cast line up. Going with what the producers knew they created a new Nellie type character.

hqdefaultThe plot; Harriet Oleson(the mean rich lady) was having a very hard time coming to terms with the loss of Nellie who was now all grown up and married to a nice Jewish boy who was in the restaurant business. So Harriet begins a search for the new Nellie, a child to fill the mean and spoiled hole in her family. She sets out to the local Minimum-Security Orphanarium and finds Nancy.

Now unlike other orphans portrayed on little house, who all had no issues (Not counting Albert or all those blind kids) and were all just perfect little kidos waiting for  nice white christian people to adopt them. But Nancy was anything but, looking back with an adoptive parent eye, it is clear Nancy was suffering a whole range of attachment issues, trama and neglect and had developed a whole range of negative skills to survive. This made her a very nasty little TV child. The show of COURSE blamed her for that behavior and then goes to show that all she needs is love and she just has to make the choice to be good and everything will be perfect. HA!

But back to the 80’s subplot, I remember clearly a point when Harriet Oleson finds Nancy, which happened after Nancy had displayed some rather horrible TV child behaviors. There is this sort of eureka moment when Harriet finds her new Nellie. Harriet had found her daughter, one who fits their families skill set.  It was a tender 80’s family values moment.

Today, we had our first phone interview with the foster mother of a kido we submitted on. The more she described this kido the more I thought of our  Jayme. I thought about all the struggles we had with Jayme when he first moved in. The similarities between the two; behavior wise, between this new kido and Jayme is pretty amazing. So much so just putting it in this blog is revealing too much about the child. The weird part was both Joshua and I kept saying… this is so Jayme 3 years ago.

Now unlike Harriet Oleson, either of us hold  warm feelings for all of the tantrums, explosions and struggling we went though with Jayme. From the moment we started the adoption process again our intent has been to get a child with lesser needs then Jayme had. But it was very hard to hear about this little guy’s struggles and know in my heart we can help him, we know this road, we know how to reach him.

There were of course some major differences in some ways there are some bigger concerns with this kido since he comes paired with a sibling group. We also have to think about how adding any child with higher needs into our home will effect Jayme’s amazing progress. So it a lot to think about.

It’s very early days and we are in the discovery phase now. But for a few moments today I felt like a bit like Harriet finding her Nancy. Now all I am missing  is a nice Jewish boy for Jayme to marry.

Thanksgiving 2013

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With the holiday season upon us that can mean only one thing, the string that connects Joshua with his Mother began it’s yearly tug and before we knew it we were on a pricey plane ride to Salt Lake City.

Jayme had the whole Turkey week off of school. Unhappy with our current full day care we pulled Jayme and Joshua stayed home Monday and Tuesday and Anthony took all day Wednesday.

Wednesday night Anthony and Jayme loaded up our suitcases and drove to the airport. Joshua took the Red Line Max in from his work. The parking in the economy lot was crazy, we ended up parking way in the back. But once we got to the airport, check in took only minutes and the security line was practically none existent.

We had used a chuck of our Delta miles and were able to get a very affordable flight to SLC. The only downside was we had to return Saturday morning at 8am or the price would jump $400.00. So this meant we had limited time with family.

Our flight was at 6:20 pm and this was also the first time we have flown where we could keep all of our electronics and gadgets out and running from gate to gate. So one Doctor Who Christmas special later, and the plane was touching down on the tarmac.

We gathered our suitcase (once we found the correct baggage claim) and our hotel’s free van came by and picked us up. With 40 people expected for Thanksgiving, Great Grandma and Grandpa’s house was packed to the rafters. So Anthony booked us into the airport Hyatt Place hotel.

This hotel is so us, we love the computer terminal check in and check out process. Jayme loved the swimming pool, it only took him 3 mins on property to find it and explode with glee. The dads had a big king bed and Jayme had a pull out sofa bed all to himself.

The next morning we woke, showered and headed down to the free breakfast. Afterwards, Anthony headed back to the airport via the free hotel shuttle to pick up our rental car. This time we got a very cheap economy car from Thrifty. Total cost was $15.00 per day.

After picking everyone up at the hotel we headed over to the family estate around 10 am. Grandpa was in full cooking mode and the whole house smelled wonderful.

With 40 people coming the whole house had been converted into a restaurant. The greenhouse was cleaned out and set with tables and chairs. The backyard patio was enclosed with plastic and a large heater was keeping the ‘new” room toasty and warm.

We spent the day visiting with relatives and  meeting our new nephew Rowan for the first time. Jayme spent most of the day playing with his 2nd cousin Grace and being fascinated by his new baby cousin. Anthony spent the day trying to get as much face time with the baby as possible. (Cute pictures of this can be found on the Shutterfly albums)

Dinner was at 4 pm, total guest count was a bit lower then expected only 36 people. We ate out on the enclosed patio and then we held court in on the patio and chatted until late in the evening.

The next morning we had hotel breakfast again and then headed to cousin Nova’s work. She works for a big snow plow company and in the lobby is the 1990’s movie version of the Batmobile. Jayme loved it and then he got a private tour of the production floor.

We then headed over to the family house and spent the day relaxing with family.

There was a very big adoption subplot to our visit this year. Just a few hours before we boarded our flight to Salt Lake, our adoption worker emailed us 3 large PDFs filled with additional information on a sibling group we submitted on (a 6 year old and a 1 year old). The caseworker liked our profile and was very interested in us. This became the subplot for our whole visit.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…

 

11/26/2013

So our journey of adding to our family has reached another milestone moment. Our home study is done and we are now into the matching phase.

During this phase we review short bio profiles of children available for adoption. Our clinician then submits our home study to the caseworker of each child we think would be a good match for our family and who our family would be a good match for.

In the past we have called this phase “The Black hole phase”. Because you send your home study into the hole, but nothing ever comes back, not even light.  No “Thank you’s” and no “No thank you’s”. Just the reassuring E-Mails from our adoption clinician telling us not to panic. Last time around we submitted on over 48 different profiles and we submitted on Jayme twice on two different profiles.

But, this time we know that we will send out dozens of home studies and never heard anything back.  We are even ready for the heartache that comes when you do hear back and the information you get scares you away.

This time around there also seems to be a lot less profiles to review. The first time around, on day one, we submitted on 12 kidos. This time around we only found 4 that seemed to be a good match. Perhaps we are just more picky now, but we remember there was 2 binders full of kidos last time….

 

 

 

 

Halloween 2013

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Halloween time, our third Halloween together as a family. All the photo’s are up on our ShutterFly account. If you need an invite let us know!

Finding the outfit

First year was Darth Vader, then last year was Harry Potter. This year was a tough one to figure out.  For over a month we kept asking Jayme what he would like to be and he just didn’t know or the ideas he came up with were a bit out of reach.

First he wanted to be Sonic the Hedgehog. But he didn’t like the costume we found online. Then a Dark Sith Lord from Star Wars, but as soon as he learned he would not get a new light saber he fell out of love with the idea.

So with a little over 2 weeks to H-Day we stopped by the Halloween costume store. Last year we picked up Jayme’s Harry Potter outfit there and he loved it, so with figures crossed we started shopping.

This year the costumes seem to all be zombie related. Zombie Storm troopers, Zombie soldiers, ect…  Both the dad’s said no to Zombie anything. At 8 years old, we still need the cute photos for not only us but the rest of the family. That and Zombies are such a dark subject for an 8 year old.

It was then Jayme found his costume, a Jack Sparrow pirate costume. It was perfect. Jayme also decided that he was not going as Jack from the movies (which he has never seen) but Jack from his Disney Infinity game. You see Jack from the game has a sword….

So we had to find a sword. Then the devious demon known as Jayme announced that Jack from the game also had a gun and ALL PIRATES needed guns to look real.

Now our house has a firm zero gun policy. No real or toy guns are allowed in the house. So when the NO came, this caused a bit of a pout in the store. But the pout wore off quickly when Anthony let him know that we didn’t need to get a sword either if not having both would be an issue.

 

Pumpkin Chucking

Pumpkin carving was not as intensive as it has been in past years. We got 3 large pumpkins for carving and Jayme picked one up on a field trip.

Jayme created a Creeper pumpkin, a Creeper is one of the monsters from Minecraft. Anthony created a ghost pumpkin and Joshua did a Minion pumpkin.

The one new thing this year was Jayme really wanted to save all of the seeds. With a huge backyard who could blame him. So after the carving Jayme had to pull all of the seeds out of the guts bowl. He laid them out with Anthony on some newspaper to dry.

 

The Big Night

Halloween traffic was CRAZY. By the time everyone got home it was late almost 6pm. So we had kind of a mad dash getting Jayme into his costume and some pizza into his tummy.

When we came to getting in the Captain Jack Pirate outfit, the hardest bit to get on was the pirate hair. It itched and many bobby pins from Anthony’s old princess in training makeup tackle box had to be deployed to move the non-itchy parts away from his face. But once the hair was fixed Jayme was ready to go.

We made it out the door a little after 6:30pm and into our cul-du-sac. Like each year, Jayme had a bit of a hard time getting into the routine, when the door opens Jayme was more interested in seeing into the neighbors house then the candy being offered.

So the first couple of houses the door would open and Jayme would say “Hi” and then start snooping. He would thank them for the candy and then let them know if they had a nice house. Both of the Dad’s laughing so hard from the curb, we were crying. We did a family huddle for a little Halloween reminder of what to say and we then worked up a little script and within a few houses he had it down and was starting to really get into it.

At what was going to be our half way point for our families evening Jayme walked past a child in a mask and came to a full stop turned and followed the kid calling out to him. Turns out the kid was in Jayme’s old behavioral classroom from last year. Jayme then begged us to let him join his classmates group and since we all were going the same way we did.

It was a real window into the future for our family. One of the biggest questions we keep asking our self’s about re-entering the adoption program is how will our family meet the needs of a brother for Jayme. What needs and struggles can our family cope with and still meet everyone’s needs and surpass them. Then most importantly how will that impact Jayme. So seeing Jayme interacting with a child who fits some of the needs that lot of kids in care struggle with, was very informative and answered a lot of questions we had.

Jayme’s classmate is a very hyper kido. He seems to be just as impulsive as Jayme was a few years ago. All night long his classmate was really ramped up. Jayme was very excited but pretty calm. It was really amazing to see that side by side comparison. When your in the trenches it’s hard to see the progress Jayme has made, but not tonight.

Now Jayme’s classmate was not out of control, he had great manners and was a great kid to be around. But… and it’s hard to explain, Jayme had a body calmness that 2 years ago we never thought he could ever have achieved. What it made more amazing is none of the Dad’s or parents had to point this out, Jayme figured it out himself. At one point Jayme turned to his friend and said “I know you’re really excited, I am too, but see, I have a calm body.” I wish I would have had my video rolling!

The two stuck together all night long and really enjoyed each others company.

Of course Jayme still had a few Jayme moments; when his sword fell off his outfit or when his jean button would come undone under his outfit, he still needed his own moments of redirection. But both Dad’s were so impressed how well Jayme played and worked with his friend.

The classmate’s Mom seemed impressed by how well the boys interacted as well, so well that we exchanged numbers so the boys could do a play date in the future. Upon hearing that, Jayme wanted his friend to come over right away and wanted us to make weekend plans. It was so cute and a great way to end a long evening.

 

The Home Inspection

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This would mark our third home inspection. The first two were for Jayme’s adoption.

So going into it, we felt very confident. We only had to add a few things prior to the inspection.

First was a CO2 detector, which was mounted by the laundry room. We also had to make sure every bedroom of our home had a smoke alarm with fresh batteries.

Anthony created the new Emergency Fire Exit plan diagram, which has been posted clearly by the front door. We also had a full family fire drill out to the emergency meeting location.

Our fire extinguisher is up to date, so our only major investment was for a CO2 alarm, which was $20 bucks.

We love our house, but we love our houses potential WAY more. So the one thing that we did freak out about was how others would see our home. It’s a former back repo and prior to that was a rental. So everything is serviceable, but not really pretty. The kitchen is outdated, the hallways still have mismatched trim. But the worst part of the house is how white it is. We have been holding off painting because we want to knock down the popcorn ceilings first. Finding time for this has proved difficult in our busy schedules. So apart from Jayme’s room, the house is very bland and white.

Our adoption clinician was scheduled to come over to see the house and perform the inspection on Monday November 11th at 6:00pm, so the weekend prior we had a good clean out of the house. We might hate how the house looks, but we can make it as clean as possible.

Joshua climbed up to the roof and blew off the latest round of pine needles. Jayme and Anthony raked leaves and blew the walkways clean. We also tossed out the dead Halloween pumpkins, much to Jayme’s dismay.

Inside, was pretty clean to start off with. We are at the end of the war with the flea’s. But part of our flea maintenance to keep them gone has been to vacuum almost daily.

Joshua and Jayme did a super clean of the upstairs while Anthony did a power clean of the downstairs and kitchen.

Jayme spent most of Saturday in his room, play/cleaning, but the end results were great.

Our Adoption clinician arrived a little past 6 pm and Jayme gave her a full tour of the house. The whole inspection took less then 30 mins and before we knew it Jayme was in his room while the three of us were sitting around the kitchen table talking about what the next steps would be.