Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Am I ready?

This Friday, me and the kids will fly to California to see my family. I am still a little in denial that I will be taking three kids through the airport on a plane, then a layover, and another plane all by myself. Yikes! Did I mention by myself? We are flying through Memphis on the way there and total travel time is about 8 1/2 hours not including getting to airport early, waiting and then getting bags on other end or driving to my dad's house. If I included all of that, I would estimate from door to door to be about 12 hours of travel time.

So the things I am most worried about are:

Security. No, not the actual security, but getting through it in one piece. Taking three kids shoes off, my shoes, off putting everything through the scanner, hoping a kid doesn't try to bolt or crawl away and then getting all our stuff and then getting our shoes back on. See, just typing it is making me exhausted. I can already anticipate the looks of annoyance from the person that will be standing behind me in the line.

Potty Time. Miss M is newly potty trained. I really just want to stick a pull up on her and tell her to pee in it, but that would be setting us back and probably wouldn't be a good thing in the long run. We traveled to Hawaii with the dude when he was freshly potty trained but there were two adults to shift potty duties between. I am sure Miss M will need to pee a billion times because peeing means freedom from the car seat on the plane. The dude has already volunteered to help me watch the girls, but he said no diapers or potty help. I am sure we will manage and maybe just in case I will bring two extra outfits and some pull ups just in case.

Packing for plane: The baby just turned one, so she isn't off bottles yet so I need to make sure she has bottles, then I need sippy cups for Miss M, snacks, entertainment, toys, clothes, car seats. I can just imagine I will look like a sherpa guide with all the crap I think I will need.

Packing in general: Three kids, myself, one week where the day time temp is 80's and night time temp is 30-40's. This means I think I will need a crap load of clothes to layer for the different temperatures. I think I am going to buy diapers, formula, etc. in California. If I pack the girls lightweight jackets I can probably minimize some stuff.

I usually feel really confident in traveling with the kid, but I actually have only ever flown by myself with the dude and we have done some serious traveling together. The only trips Miss M has gone on were with both me and hubs. I am dreading the travel, but I want to see my family so I will just go for it and usually my anticipation is much worse than what usually ends up happening.

I got the letter to travel with the baby, so at least all is well in that realm. Luckily, the social worker was really good about getting permission for her to travel. Also, her parents were excited about her getting to travel.

I went to the Target dollar spot and got some coloring activity books, a small magnetic drawing board, then got snacks, too. I am also bringing the iPad, DSi, iTouch, and phones so maybe I will have enough to entertain the kids on the flights and in the airport.

What are the best travel toys that you have used?

Monday, November 14, 2011

News on Baby D

I got a call today from the social worker on Baby D's case. I wasn't surprised to see her name pop up as sometimes her parents will have a question for me while they are visiting. I had wrote a really long letter today for them because I had a lot of good things to report. She had her one year well visit, she had her first birthday, her first Halloween, she is cruising, and moving quickly with her crawling. I like to keep them updated with her status and they really appreciate it. I also sent (well, really the hubs sent) two sets of pictures, one for mom and one for dad. They last saw her on Halloween, the day before her first birthday.
What I was shocked to hear was that they wanted to talk visitation, they wanted to recall what exactly we had agreed to in mediation about visitation. It was 2-3 visits a year and quarterly update letters like what I do for visits now with pictures. They wanted to know this because today they decided to sign the conditional relinquishment. A conditional relinquishment in this case means, they only relinquish to us to adopt. If the adoption is not filed, then their rights are retained. I am still in shock, this means they have 7 days to change their mind. I am still very unsure on timelines and where things go from here, but my rough estimates are we are still several months away from the adoption decree. They have to staff the adoption in social services, we have to get finger printed again, we have to re-do our adoption home study, then we file and wait. The wait time right now is estimated at 3-6 months for decree from adoption filing. We got our decree for Miss M 8 weeks from filing, but that is really uncommon.
They set the final visit for November 28th which I realized I wondered why after we got off phone. It seems that visits could continue until the adoption is finalized, but maybe we will set our first open adoption visit around the holidays. In the coming days/weeks, we will figure it out. With Miss M, her termination was when she was around 8 1/2 months but her visitation continued until her first birthday. I guess it just means we need to work diligently on figuring out what this whole open adoption is about and make sure that we follow-through.
I still can't believe it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An Outtake

I was looking through our disc of pictures and found the cutest outtake that I can share of the three kids. Here is dude, baby looking down, and Miss M kinda smiling. We had over 200 pictures taken that day. I have found only two where the baby wasn't looking at the camera. She was quite the photogenic ham during the pictures despite having a cold that day.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't get much cuter...

This was the year that I was actually organized and scheduled a photo shoot outdoors for the family in order to do Christmas Pictures. I scheduled it early enough in the year that we wouldn't have to cancel due to a freeze warning. So we went on October 24th to Duke Gardens and met with Annie of Red Bridge Photography and got some family pictures done. The day was beautiful and we got some great pictures of the family. They don't get much cuter than this:

The Dude:

The Chica1:

The Chica2: