Thursday, July 10, 2014

The annual visit

So many of you have messaged me privately asking about out annual visit, if we had it, and how it went.

First of all, thank you for thinking of us.  It is amazing to me how many people care.

Secondly, yes we had a visit just two weeks ago.  It was great being able to physically be present with our little girl.

Here is the deal.  Being just the birthmom means that I must respect the rules of the legal family.  Which in our case means that I will not be sharing any details of the visit here.

I made the mistake of posting a photo of her and I together on my FB page and saying vaguely to those who know us this was a special day (I did not name her, identify her or even indicate she is my daughter).  I received a swift email back telling me what I am allowed to do and what I am not allowed to do.  Interesting since they are not my FB friends so they specifically stalked me to find them. (I have since completely blocked them per my husband's insistence.)

You see, I am not allowed to post photos or feelings.  However, her adoptive parents are allowed to post public photos of her on their FB page (so this is not about social media security but about control of what I am "allowed" to do, because as we know, I am NOT her mother.)  I am to be quiet and grateful for our visit and wait quietly until next year, when we may or may not be granted another visit.

So there you have it.  I got to see sweet Brit and her siblings for about 3 hours at a public place near their home.  That is all you shall be allowed to know.

I will continue to pray for Brit and a heart of compassion toward me.  Because one of these days, she will be the one making the rules for her relationship with us.  I will also pray every single day that  she will grant me forgiveness for the life of dichotomy that I caused her.

Thank you friends for caring.  And if you email me directly I will gladly chat privately about our visit and even share a picture or two.  As long as you are on my list of "close family and friends only".

To ask questions, please email lisa(dot)nelson119(at)gmail(dot)com.  If you are a woman pregnant and contemplating adoption for her child, I would love to talk to you and let you know the realities of adoption so you might be well informed (which I was NOT) prior to making your final decision.

Much love to all of you who send such thoughtful and kind words and encouragement to me.

PS - My husband and I had extensive talks about this situation and I will be taking his advice and setting up an email account for Brit where I will send her notes and thoughts from me for the next few years. When she reaches an age where she wants to know why I was not part of her life, I will then be able to share with her how my heart longed for relationship with her all these years.  And hopefully the emails will allow her to know how heavy she has been on my heart since the beginning.

PPS - My husband is so amazing and supportive and his compassion and understanding is beyond words.  Thankfully I have his complete support and loving shoulders to rest upon on days when the burden that I know as adoption is more than I can bear.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Dear Brit

My sweet girl.  It has been too long since I last wrote to you directly.  So much has changed, things that I could have never expected.  Twists and turns that I never saw coming.  Tears of loss and tears of joy.  Through it all you were always at the top of my mind.

Today I want to talk to you about how things have changed between BF and me.  I guess I always thought that he and I would end up together, in a family that would have a distinct missing piece without you.  This is only partially true.  BF and I did not create a family together, but the hole in our hearts and our separate families still exists.  But now, missing you affects two families, his and mine.

Now that BF and I are no longer together as a couple, I want to make sure you know a few important things about BF and me so you can understand the very beginnings of your life.

BF and I got pregnant with you before we really knew each other well. A sad detail in the storyline of your life.  But as time went on, we really did love each other.  I never could understand it, because we were such an odd fit.  Our personalities are exact opposites.  Our interests weren't the same.  But something seemed to keep us together.   One reason was probably because he and I are both tragically nice people who didn't like conflict.  So rather than focus on our differences we just ignored them and pretented that everything was perfectly fine.  Other times I believe that we stayed together as long as we did because of you.  He and I are the only ones who can know what it is like to miss you. I imagine that in the subconcious of my mind being with BF was the only lifeline I still had to you. Whatever the reasons were that kept us together, I know your father loved me and I loved him too.  We just needed something different from a lifetime partner. Things that neither he nor I could provide to the other person.

Know that we tried so hard to stay together. BF and I were on again and off again for four years.  Each time I wondered if I was just trying too hard to hang on to him.  I think there was some truth to that. In the end, I knew that after that many years, if we were meant to be together forever, a permanent commitment should have happened by then.  Four years is enough time to know if you want to spend the rest of your life with someone.

During those four years, BF and I made some great family memories with your brothers.  I want you to be able to share in those happy memories so I have created a box for you that is filled with photos from those days.  The photos are of BF and me together.  They are photos of all of your brothers playing together.  I want you to know that we all cared for each other then, and hopefully you will still be able to see that between all of us still when you are allowed a relationship with us.  Knowing all of us like I do, I am sure we will still be kind and loving toward each other in the future.

I hope that you will know that while the romantic relationship between your father and I did not continue for a lifetime, our combined love for you ALWAYS will.

I love you forever and always and miss you more than you might ever imagine.

Friday, February 7, 2014

So much has changed - and stayed the same

Yes, I am still alive.  In some ways I am more alive than I had been for the past few years.  Because it is late, this might not be a fully congruent post, but at least I sat down at the keyboard.

Let's see, first of all what has changed…

1. The relationship with the "New Guy"

When I last posted, I mentioned that there was a new man in my life.  Well, kinda new.  He has been a friend of mine for 6 years, but he was new in the boyfriend arena.  Things continued to go very well.  We began talking about our future together just a couple of months after starting a romantic relationship.  We realized that we were perfectly happy with the idea of being a forever couple and we talked of marriage.  We entered into counseling together and started investing in a plan for how we would create a successful union, including parenting each other's children and how we would handle a relationship that included a spouse who is gone more than half of every single month.  We determined that it would be best if we got married after the first of the year and I told him that he was in charge of determining when.

During that same time the house I was living in became a money pit that I had to get out of,  so I officially moved into New Guy's house in October.  It was beneficial for both of us because he travels for his job with the railroad and is gone for 8-10 days then returns home for 7 days and the cycle repeats.  Having me in his house made sure that someone was always around while he was gone, and it allowed the boys and I the freedom to live as our little family of 3, like we have been for the past 5 years.  The move was a little scary for me, because as we all know, that didn't end so well for me the last time I thought I was moving in with a man who was going to marry me.  I actually remember a phone call to New Guy after I moved my last box into his house (he was out of town, of course), and I cried because I was so scared that I had just made a tragic mistake.  He was very confused, but in his usual style he handled my freak out very well.

So everything seemed like it was settling in until I had a big change on my career front.  Just one month after I officially moved into New Guy's house, I was offered a job in full time ministry, as the Director of Children's Ministry for my church (which new guy and I attended together - also a nice change to prior relationship).  I wasn't expecting the opportunity, but just suffice it to say, things fell together and I realized that this was an opportunity that God intended me to accept and He made it really hard NOT to accept it.

New Guy was very supportive of the career change.  His support was essential because the pay is not enough to support myself and two boys.  I was going to have to rely on New Guy's benevolence and willingness to pay all of the bills.  Talk about a serious commitment from a guy who earlier in the year (during our friend days) had been talking to me about how he never thought he would want to be married again.

So when the ministry job presented itself, I told New Guy that I wasn't comfortable living together without being married because of the example it sets. This wasn't a new conversation because we had always believed that it was not the preferred situation to be living together before marriage. Unfortunately the demise of my house created a situation where I had to decide quickly if I was going to commit to another one year lease somewhere or if I would just move into New Guy's house.  With all of the talk of an impending marriage and the intention of a lifetime together we decided it just made sense to have me stay at New Guy's house despite the fact that we both knew it was not the most preferable choice.

However, when I realized that I would soon become a leader in our church we both knew that we needed to rectify the living arrangements.  With a start date of January 1st, we had to make some quick  decisions about what we wanted to do.  I explained to New Guy that if we didn't get married I was going to temporarily move out until we did.  Again, I left it up to New Guy to decide what he wanted to do.

I would like to say that he said "Let's get married right away!", but instead he freaked out a little himself.  Suddenly marriage was for real, and the timeline was very immediate.  It gave him understandable pause.  Heck, it made me really nervous too.

So the first of January came and went and I told New Guy that after he returned from his 8 days work trip, which he was leaving for on January 7th, I would start staying at my best friend's house during the weeks he was back at home.  While he was gone on his work trips I would stay at his house.

Being honest, I will admit that my feelings were hurt and I was having flashbacks of how badly I wanted BF and I to get married and the rejection I felt when he would tell me he wasn't ready for that step, even after being together for 4 years.

But low and behold, New Guy had something up his sleeve and he planned a surprise wedding for us on the date that I had mentioned I wanted to get married on when we were talking about potential dates when marriage was just a concept.

So on January 4th I took my Little Princess and two of our kiddos and headed to Walmart for groceries.  While I was there, New Guy sent me a text asking me to join him and my youngest son for dinner at a local restaurant.  I let him know I was busy and it would be best if he just brought dinner home for me.  He pestered me until I gave in and I told him I would join him and would swing by the restaurant on my way home from the store.  He told me that he would be next door at our new church construction site so the kids and I should just meet him there, then we could walk to the restaurant together after we saw how the construction was coming along.

Obviously I was clueless when I arrived at the church construction site.  But the story is best told by the following pictures.










Our new family.  Me and the boys and husband and the girls.

My mom and dad both showed up for the wedding, also a big surprise.

As you can see, I was delighted.  Despite the fact that I was not dressed for the occasion, it was perfect. My family was there (3 of my 4 sisters, their families and a couple close girl friends) and I even got my catchy anniversary date 1-4-14.  An added bonus was that we were the first wedding in the new church building, as unconventional as it was.

So from this point forward, New Guy will now be HUSBAND on my blog.  A term that has taken some getting used to because I still talk to him and look at him like he is my best friend.  This is something that also makes me very happy.  I've never been married to someone who I considered one of my closest friends.

Sadly my Husband has been gone for almost the entire month that we have been married, but the beauty of our relationship is that although he is not physically present all of the time, I have never, ever been with someone who was so emotionally available to me all the time.  Never do I question if he treasures me, because he tells me all the time.  Basically, I feel like one of the luckiest girls ever.

I guess getting married qualifies as the biggest change.  It certainly has been a positive change for me and my boys.

And yes ladies, he is strikingly handsome, amazingly affectionate and a happy, funny guy.  Yes, he has a brother.  Yes, his brother is single.  No, his brother is nothing like him.  Sorry.

2. My job

As I mentioned above, I started a new job the first of this year as the Director of Children's Ministry for a new church (5 years old) that I have been part of since it launched.  I have always taught the kindergarten through 5th graders each week.  But now I am responsible for all of the logistics that go into Children's Ministry for all three of our campuses.  It is good work and it brings me true joy knowing that I now do work that actually matters.

Things were really bad where I was working before.  My boss and I had come to an impasse, and when I told them I would be leaving to pursue other opportunities, the HR director told me I was handling my exit with more class than I was ever treated with while working there.  I still go in every week to help my replacement with all of the tasks I was doing as the Director of Marketing, which has been a real help to her.  I am glad I can leave with dignity, despite how things were going.  I know it is a comfort for me to still be connected with all of my friends who I miss dearly since I no longer see them every day.  We all know how friendships formed at work become important to who we are, at least it has been for me.

What has stayed the same…

1. My adoption relationship.

Brit's adoptive father continues to send a monthly update.  He sends a couple of pictures and a short update about what Brit is up to.  Lately there have been more pictures of Brit with her siblings (there are now 4 total toddlers in their home, Brit who will be 4 in March, the twins who will be 3 this summer and the baby who recently turned one).

There still is no meaningful interaction between all of us.  When I email back after an update it is most often not acknowledged.  But I still send updates about us anyway with the hope that some day they will show Brit that I tried to stay connected.

Brit's father did respond at Christmastime when I asked about a gift idea BF and I had for the kiddos.  I appreciated that he did.  I wondered if he would respond to a text because we never communicate like that.  Although I think that BF sometimes texts Brit's dad during football games because they are both fans of the same NFL team.  BF has mentioned that Brit's adoptive dad will occasionally text back, but since I am not there, I don't know how often that really happens.

I still send routine care packages to Brit and her siblings, usually one every couple of months.  I make a concerted effort to include all of the kids because I never want packages I send to be hidden away because they cause conflict between Brit and her siblings.  I want to make sure that I shower love on all of the kiddos in their home because those children are the only brothers and sister Brit knows right now, and I know that she loves them very much.  She is very tenderhearted and I am sure she would be upset if she got presents and her siblings didn't.  I am so glad she got my tender heart.

2. My relationship with BF

Since the breakup almost a year ago now, BF and I have learned how to navigate our relationship as exes.  We interact very kindly to one another.  I will sometimes text him about his son who is on the same HS swim team with my LanMan.  Those two boys have stayed friends which makes both BF and I happy. I was worried about how our breakup would effect the boys and the bond they had created.  It seems they are doing well.

Other than that, BF and I don't communicate much.  Most of the time we send joint care packages to Brit and family, and we do a good job of coordinating what we will include and I will drop off items with BF.  We also talk casually at swim meets, I can tell he is visually uncomfortable, but he is respectful and pleasant.

I wish I could fully reconcile in my head what what happened between BF and me.  While consciously I don't dwell on it, I still have occasional dreams where I ask him why I wasn't important enough to him that he would just walk away without so much as a goodbye.  I continue to work through it in counseling because it still makes me feel like I was not good enough.  Mostly I wish we could have had at least a final conversation so I could have had the closure that I think would have helped.

However, I will always be connected to BF because he is the other half of our daughter and since both of us intend to maintain a relationship with her that means our paths will cross for a lifetime.

I am so thankful that Husband knew me before I met BF and that he lived through all the ups and downs all the way to the end of my relationship with BF.  Husband was there during the crisis pregnancy, the adoption fall out and as I wept and grieved the relationship that I saw never going anywhere between me and BF.  So even today if I talk about BF, Husband knows how complicated it has been for me to disconnect myself.

I do know that my relationship with BF taught me so much - the hard way of course - and because of what fell apart it has allowed me to fully appreciate what I have now.  I wish the same for BF.  I hope that someday he will meet someone who will make him never want to let her go.

I am grateful that BF and I can continue to be civil and I hope that it will make this future relationship that we plan to have with our daughter be easier for Brit.  As much as we caused complicated relationships by placing Brit in another family, I hope that we will continue to do everything in our power to keep her relationship with us as uncomplicated as possible.

So there you have it, lots of change on the personal front, but no new news on the adoption front.

I have several adoption related blog posts that I plan to write over the next few weeks, so I hope I find time to sit down and use this place to help me process some of the intellectual struggles I am having as my daughter is getting older and her ability to understand adoption will develop.

Thank you for all of the private messages asking if I am well and wondering if our adoption finally did close.  Thankfully we have not come to that point, and I hope it is never the case.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Adoption Blogger Interview Project - From Another Mother

For the record, I am a terrible blogger.  I have great intentions, but I get busy living and then completely blow off the blog.

Despite my on again off again blog presence, one thing I really love about adoption blogging is the annual Adoption Blogger Interview Project that is sponsored by Heather at Open Adoption Bloggers.  It gives me a chance to learn about another person in the adoption world, and I love reading all of the interviews that others do too.

So, in classic Lisa style, I was late submitting questions to my interviewee Valerie who blogs at From Another Mother.  In the same way that it seems she lives her life, Valerie was full of grace and very kind to me and my apparent lack of deadlines.  Just like today when I was supposed to have this post up and ready for a morning deadline to post with the rest of our blogger group.  Oops.

Valerie holds titles from two of the three positions in the adoption triad.  She is an adoptee and a birthmother.  I am always intrigued by adoptees who place children and I am glad I had the opportunity to ask her questions that I have often wondered.

I appreciate Valerie's perspective and the way she has handled her relationship with her first families is commendable.  She is very non-judgmental in her approach to being practically rejected by her birthmother but warmly accepted and included by her birthfather and his entire family.

Without further ado...


Describe your current relationship with your son?  How often do you speak to him, see him and/or communicate with him?I would say that our connection is similar to the one that I have with other long-distance relatives. We do not talk very often, although I keep up with his parents on Facebook. But the line is open--I know that if I wanted to talk/email them, I could. And they know (I hope!) that if they wanted to talk with me or had questions for me, that my proverbial door is wide open. The moments when we do connect are AWESOME. Like, back in September when my husband and I announced that we are expecting, I got an audio recording of Ian's dad telling him, and Ian's reaction to our news. Ian was so stinkin' cute, and getting that little recording made me immensely happy.


If you had the ability to create the 'ideal' open adoption relationship with your son, what would it look like?
The challenge in my situation is distance--my son lives over 2,000 miles away. Last year, I was fortunate enough to visit Ian and his family for his birthday. I stayed in their home for several days, and even went with them to Ian's [adoptive] grandparents' home to stay overnight. I fell in love with their whole family (all over again, in the case of Ian's parents, whom I had felt so close to during my pregnancy).
 
I guess in my mind, my "ideal" open adoption relationship would be something like that--not me staying in their house, wouldn't that be awful. But during my visit last year, I really felt a sense of family. I got to know Ian and his little brother better than I ever could, at a distance. I got to visit casually with their parents, rather than awkwardly trying to make conversation over the phone or Skype. I had the opportunity to show them my love, to the best of my ability, and to feel theirs in return, rather than just saying it. I can say, "I love you" a hundred times, and still not get anywhere close to the feeling of giving that kid a hug.
 
With the distance between us, visits are few and most often brief. Unfortunately, that's just life! We all have family members that we wish were closer. I am hopeful that in the future, as Ian gets older, that he and I will be able to form a relationship of our own, even if it remains a distant one.

As an adoptee in reunion with your father, do you wish your adoption situation would have been different?
Honestly? Yes and no.
 
On the one hand, I really wish I could have grown up knowing my birthdad and his family. They've become an integral part of my life as an adult, but I missed out on all the childhood memories that my sisters share, which I don't have. Beyond that, I wish I hadn't had all the questions, growing up. "Did my birthparents love me? Did they want me? Do they still care about me?"
 
However, I have to acknowledge that perhaps my situation was for the best. Though my adoption being closed had its challenges, there may have been blessings in disguise. I fought with my parents a lot while I was a teenager. I ran away from home once. I can only imagine what else might have ensued if my birthfamily had been present during that time. Would I have sought refuge with them? Would I have tried to pit my birthparents against my adoptive parents? I shudder to think about the cruelty that I might have inflicted upon my poor parents, considering the trouble I gave them already. I don't know. Mostly I'm just glad that I have been able to reunite at all, and that it has turned out so positively.

Now that you are expecting the first child that you are going to parent, do you anticipate it will change your feelings about your adoption?
I doubt it. When I placed my son, I was a different person, in a very different place. I was 19, I was single, (those were the key factors) I did not have an education, I did not have a steady job, I did not know where I was going or what I wanted out of life. I was scared, and I was ashamed.

I maintain that I could have managed. I could have parented. I was (am?) smart, I had a good support system, and I had the wherewithal to be a good mother. But I didn't base my decision to place Ian for adoption on my abilities. I based that decision on what was best for him.
 
I wanted Ian to have a mother and a father, who were committed to each other and to their family. I wanted him to have the stability that I wasn't able to provide for him. And if I may be a bit religious for a moment, I had a spiritual confirmation that Ian's parents were the right family for him.
 
Just because my life is different now, doesn't change any of those things. Ian's family is still Ian's family.

What would you like to see your parented child and your placed child's relationship look like in the future?
I hope they get to know each other. Unless the aforementioned distance changes significantly, they probably won't ever be close. In my mind, it would be like the relationship that I have with my cousins--I have cousins that I'm not super close to, but I still enjoyed hanging out with at family reunions as a kid, and now as an adult, I liked keeping up with them on Facebook. I imagine something like that.


How did your position as an adoptee in reunion influence your decision to place when you faced your unplanned pregnancy?
It was significant, particularly because I was pregnant at the time that I reunited with my birthparents.

I guess for me the biggest thing was recognizing (finally) how much I loved my parents, and what a good life they had given me. It also gave me a lot of closure to meet my birthparents, to hear from them how much they loved me, and get answers to the biggest questions I'd had, growing up in a closed adoption. I recognized at that time how adoption had benefited me, how it truly had been the right thing for me. It helped me to realize that's what I wanted for my son.


What impact has your birth mother's seeming disinterest in relationship with you had on how you interact or plan to interact with your son?
What has actually bothered me the most about the situation with my birthmother is the fact that her children, my biological siblings, do not know that I exist. So not only do I lack a relationship with her, but also with all these people that I am biologically connected to.
 
I don't need a close relationship with them. I don't need visits or phone calls. But it would be nice to know that if I had a question, that I could get an answer. And that is what I am determined to provide for my son. Even if he never desires a close relationship with me, I always want to be available to him when he needs me. I feel like that's part of my duty as a birthmother.
 
_______________________________________________________________
 
I was very glad to get to know Valerie and I look forward to finding out more about some of the other Adoption Bloggers.  I hope you take time to read more interviews too!
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dear Brit - Halloween

Not too much to say to you today.  Just wanted to take the time to let you know that I am thinking about you and wondering what you are up to these days.

BF and I put together a Halloween gift box for you and your brothers and sister.  You should have received it by now.  I hope you like all of the treasures we sent.  It would be really nice if we knew when you got the gifts we send, and even nicer if we got pictures of you playing with or wearing those items, just so that we could see that you were able to enjoy them.  Maybe someday you will be able to communicate that back with us when you are older and able to contact us on your own behalf.

It's interesting how almost every time I am out shopping I'm on the lookout for things for you.  I have no real reason to browse through the toddler girl section of stores, but I always do. And while I am there I think about what things you might like now and wonder how big you are.  Just the other day I sent an email to BF and included a link to a shopping site that had adorable John Deere clothes for little girls (BF works for John Deere, so we like to get you things that are related to that.)  In the email I wrote "Our little girl needs some of these!" Interestingly, he had already purchased a couple of the items even before I sent the email.  It seems we both think about you all the time. 

I know I often talk about gifts and sometimes I feel bad that the focus is on 'things' that we get you.  However, since we do not have a personal relationship with you, the only way we are able to show our affection for you is through gift giving and letter writing.  BF will never be a great letter writer (as most boys aren't), so you will just have to get used to the letters coming from me.  But he and I are both gift givers and we love shopping for you.  So at least we have that one way to show you that you are special to us.

I wonder if you have any idea who your gifts come from?  Do your parents ever talk about us?  Do they tell you how much we love you?  Do you know that we wish we could see you more or talk to you?  What do you know about being adopted? Do they show you pictures of us and tell you about us?  Do you know that you have lots of brothers that don't live with you?

I wish we knew more.  I wish we knew what you have been told.  I wish we were an active part of your life story.

Someday that will change.  I hope and pray for that day to come sooner rather than later.  But until then, I hope that letter writing and gift giving all these years will help you later when you wonder why we weren't around for you. Please know it was not our choice.  We would be as involved in your life as we were allowed, if we are ever given that option.

We love you to the moon and back little one, and someday we will shower you with that love, attention and affection, and it won't have to be in the form of gifts.

Sending all of my love!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Open Adoption Blogger Interview Project


I just signed up to be paired with another open adoption blogger for the 2013 Open Adoption Blogger Interview Project.

I am so excited!

I love meeting other bloggers who are connected to adoption, and I have learned so much by participating in this project for several years.

If you are an adoption blogger, sign up today!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dear Brit

My sweet girl,

It has been so long since I have taken the time to sit down and write you.  Please know it is no indication of how often I think of you.  It is just a matter of sitting down long enough to actually type you a letter.

Today I decided to do a quick update to you using pictures I've taken over the last two months.  So here it goes!

In my last letter to you I told you that I have started dating a new man.  Things are going really well.  Actually, things are absolutely perfect.  He is so good to me and the boys.  He treats me like I am the most special person he knows.  I can't wait for you to meet him.  He will LOVE you.  He has two daughters of his own and he loves them like crazy.  I am sure he will want to spoil you just as much.

I introduced my new special man and his girls to a great store in our city.  It is filled with candy you could only imagine.  Lots of your favorite - CHOCOLATE!


 This summer I had two college baseball players living at my house.  They played for a local summer team in our town and the boys loved watching them play and having them around.  When the baseball season was over, there is a World Series and one of the players was recruited to a team that played in the tournament.  The boys, the new man and one of his girls came to several of the games with me and we watched Jason play.

The boys and I snapped a picture with Jason right before he left to go back to college.

I volunteered as an usher at several of the World Series games.  It was SO HOT!

D was the bat boy for a few of the World Series games.  He got to meet some great players.
The summer finally came to an end and the boys went back to school.  D is a 7th grader and loving the middle school.  LanMan is a freshman and seems to be doing just fine in the big high school.  If they would have let me take their picture on the first day of school, I would have shared it with you here.  But what you will realize with your little brothers at your house, boys don't love pictures being taken, especially when they are super cool and with their friends.

So in August my special new man turned 40 and we had a party for him.  It was a nice night out and his oldest daughter was even able to join us.

This is my favorite picture of the night.  I love how he loves his girls.
A couple of weekends later, I took a trip with my sisters and my mom to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday.  We took my mom to Branson and had a great time.  Someday I hope you will be one of the "girls" that joins us when we take a girls trip!

A picture of all of us together before the Dixieland Stampeded show
While I was in Branson I got you a couple of small gifts.  My sisters laughed when I got you the little kitten.  It was creepy how life like it looked.  They all thought I was crazy for getting it for you, but I liked how it does look real so I thought maybe you could carry it around like it was your pet.  I don't know if you liked it or thought it was creepy, but either way, know that I bought it becuase I thought of you the entire time I was on my trip.  I also got you the little bag of polished rocks because that has been the thing you like best the few times you have visited with us.  Every year we spend time playing in the rock pile in BF's backyard.  Maybe the polished rocks will be special to you.  I can't wait until you are old enough to let us know when you get our packages and let us know if you like the gifts.  Right now we just have to guess. 


I hope you thought sleeping kitty was cute, but if you didn't at least you got the rocks!

I also sent gifts for your brothers and sister.  Wanted to make sure everyone got something.
Once I got back home from the trip, I spent a few days taking care of my friend's chicken.  Yes, I said chicken.  My friend is keeping a chicken in her backyard as a pet.  It makes us all laugh.  She went on vacation for a week so the boys and I would go over and collect the eggs and feed the chicken.  By the end of the week, D wanted to know if he could get a chicken of his own for our backyard. 

Then, the newest news is that the boys and I finally talked the new special man into letting us get a dog!  Our neighbor was fostering a rescue dog that lost its family in a tornado in Oklahoma.  As soon as we met sweet Ella, we were in love.


This is the picture we sent to my special man asking him if we could bring her home with us.
He finally said yes, and now Ella is a new member of our family.  She really likes me, and spends lots of her time at my side.  LanMan took this picture just yesterday as she was laying on my legs.
You know what my favorite part of this picture is?  It is the book in the background.  I'm not sure if your parents have shared the book with you, but you have one just like it too.  It is a picture book from your last visit with BF and me.  My new special man has it displayed right next to the bed so it is the first thing I see every morning when I wake up and the last thing I see when I lay down to sleep each night.  It makes me smile to see your precious face so many times a day.

I suppose that is enough for tonight.

Know that I miss you every single day and I cannot wait until the day that you and I can just pick up the phone and call each other, or even better yet, spend time just sitting on the couch talking.  I keep telling myself every day that passes is just one day closer to that day!

I love you to the moon and back!