Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Maddness

Whew!!  It is the middle of March and that is what I have to say!  This has been such a busy, but good month so far.  Hunter is now 6 months old.  He can sit on his own very well and play with toys for quite a while.  He is getting ready to crawl and has his two bottom teeth.  He continues to be the happiest baby I know.

So you may be asking, "why has March been so busy?"  Let's start from the beginning...

Part 1:  Baby oh baby!
I am so happy to announce that my brother Steven and his wife Kristen are expecting...TWINS!!!  They had been trying to start their family for 5+ years and the Lord was faithful to answer all our prayers.  They found out at the beginning of this month that they will be welcoming two precious babies in October.  Praise God!!

Part 2: Keeping things interesting
I had my first court experience where I had to testify.  As I may have mentioned in previous blog entries my job is to regulate daycare facilities for the State of Texas.  This involved inspecting, investigating, and sometimes closing daycares.  The first week of March, arrived the long awaited court date for a daycare that we decided to revoke their license.  Without going into detail, most of the parties involved went before the judge and testified.  I had been dreading this day for obvious reasons, but was ready to get it over with.  When it was my turn to testify, I was nervous but confident.  When the defense attorney cross examined me, he decided to bring out a totally different persona than I had previously observed in the prior three hours.  He really let me have it and grilled me pretty good.  His questioning technique was to attempt to make me agree with him and to confuse me by asking very compounded questions.  In my opinion, I think he took one look at me and thought I would be a pushover.  His plan backfired and it just ticked me off and made me more confident in my stance.  I have been at my job for four years now, and have only gone to court twice.  This, however was the first time I had to testify.  Needless to say, it was an interesting experience, but one that I wish not to have again for a looooong time!  As I was walking out of the courtroom, I checked my phone and got an even more interesting text message.  But I will get to that in a minute.

Part 3:  A day to remember
The day after I was in court for work, we were going out of town for Noel's sister's wedding.  That morning we packed up the car and headed north to Austin.  The forecast called for rain and a cold front to blow in.  Despite this, we were still hopeful that the outdoor wedding would go on as planned.  The family was excited and busy.  During the rehearsal, the cold front blew in.  We were all standing outside in our cute little dresses when it got very windy and cold!  By the time of the rehearsal dinner, the temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees and it was raining.  The rehearsal dinner was at a very good Mexican restaurant where the food was incredible.  Unfortunately the bride started feeling a little sick to her stomach.  We were all convinced it was just the stress of the wedding getting to her.  The next morning the girls get up and get ready for the bridal luncheon.  The temperature had dropped down to 42 degrees and it was still raining.  Keep in mind, that two days before that, it had been 80 degrees!  Gotta love Texas weather!  The luncheon was wonderful too and we were pampered with girly goodies and great food...but the bride was still feeling very sick.  We were still trying to convince her that it just must be nerves or stress.  We then move on to the wedding site and start to decorate.  Fortunately, there was a plan B in case of bad weather.  The wedding would take place in the same place as the reception area which was a very beautiful covered pavilion with a large fire place.  My fingers were numb as we ran around the site decorating.  I decided to go do some Matron of Honor duties and check on the bride.  This is where I found that things turned from bad to worse for her.  Poor girl was really sick!  We all soon realized that what we thought were nerves was really some kind of stomach flu.  So, I sat with her and tried to provide comfort.  We all helped her move through the day.  My sister in law is such a trooper!  She was determined to make her wedding happen, no matter what and she sure did!  You would never have known by looking at her that she was terribly ill.  The ceremony was shortened to 10 minutes and she missed most of the reception...but she still became a Mrs.  Her new husband was so sweet and loving to her.  I already saw him in action living out the vows he had just promised to her minutes earlier.  At the end of the night, Noel and I went up to hug him and he told us, "everything that could have gone wrong today did, but I am still married."  It was a great reminder of the beautiful commitment of love.  Rain, 42 degree weather, and a bride with the stomach flu cannot stop true love.

Here are a few pictures from the night:

Part 4: Surprise baby!
As I mentioned above, I received a very interesting text message from someone.  Well, that message was from my friend Karen in North Carolina.  She said that they were on their way to San Antonio.  I have written about our good friends Jeff and Karen before.  They are adopting from the same agency we did.  They came to San Antonio and stayed with us in January to meet the birth mom they were matched with.  To make a long story short, that adoption fell through about a month ago.  They were understandably devastated.  Their plan was to come back to San Antonio the week of March 5th for their baby boy.  This plan came crashing down when it was just weeks away.  To all our surprise, they received a call from our agency on March 5th saying they were being considered for another baby who was born that morning.  They got "the call" Wednesday afternoon that the mother had selected them and had already signed her rights away.  They hopped on a plane two hours later and were in San Antonio by 8:30 that night.  We had always told them that they have an open invitation to stay with us when their baby is born and for as long as they needed to until their paperwork was approved to go back home.  We had to go out of town for a few days for the wedding so they stayed in a hotel until we got back.   They came over, luggage and baby in tow just minutes after we got home.  What a joy it was to see them walk in with a precious baby boy who they named Caleb.  We spent the next week with the most wonderful house guests who quickly grew to be some very close friends of ours.  Baby Caleb is so cute and such a calm baby!  He was such a joy to have around.  It was so fun to have a newborn in the house again.  Caleb made Hunter look HUGE!   The guys spent the week working on Noel's jeep and us girls played with the babies.  Of course, I had to work, while Noel was on spring break and he got to stay at home with them.  We had such a blast with them as we cooked a ton of food, took care of our babies, and stayed up way too late talking, laughing, and swapping baby stories.  They received notification that their paperwork was approved on Thursday, so they left Friday morning.  Thursday night we took them to have Texas BBQ.  Little did we know that Thursdays are biker nights at this restaurant.  We had to wait almost an hour to get in the restaurant, but it was worth it.  We stuffed ourselves and had a great time as our last night together.  Of course, I just had to take pictures of this sweet family.  So here are a few of my favorites from the week:

Part 5: A'Hoy Matey!
If you are wondering why Noel looks like a pirate in the past two pictures, there is an explanation.  As mentioned earlier, the guys had been working on Noel's jeep all week.  On Wednesday, Noel had been doing some welding on the jeep.  That night, his eye started hurting so he flushed it with a lot of water.  Early the next morning, he woke up to severe pain in his eye.  So we called the eye doctor's emergency line and they had us come in.  I am sure you can see where this is going.  Noel had a small piece of metal in his eye.  The eye doctor had to pull it out with tweezers, brush out the rust, and buff the cut smooth.  Sounds fun, right?  Poor Noel was tough and handled it well.  I treated him to a breakfast at Chick-Fil-A and then went off to work.  His eye was hurting so bad, that he just needed to keep it covered to help it heal.  Noel is a good sport and decided to go all out and wear a pirate shirt and hat to make his look complete.

Part 6: Adoption Day!!!
And for the finale....on March 16th we went to court to finalize Hunter's adoption.  "I thought it was already final?" you are thinking.  In Texas, the adoptive parents have to be "supervised" for six months post placement.  So this means that Hunter is "officially official."  His birth certificate will now have our last name.  To keep with the crazy nature of this month, we didn't want to disappoint you all so we made the Adoption day an interesting one.  We had both of our parents and Noel's grandparents meet at our house before so we could caravan.  Well I was the line leader and had to navigate us down town.  Little did I know that downtown San Antonio would be packed with spring breakers and people celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  Many streets were closed off and there was no where to park.  We finally found a parking spot and rushed into the courthouse.  We had to go through the metal detectors and get wanded by the security guards.  Noel's Paw Paw got in trouble for having a pocket knife.  The guards really gave him a hard time.  We were already running super late.  It was 1:28 and we were supposed to be at the hearing at 1:30.  So my Mom, niece, Hunter and I went to find the court room and everyone else was going to catch up.  Our instructions were to meet the Adoption Agency's attorney by the second floor elevators.  Sounds easy enough....Wrong!   We went up to the second floor to not to find anyone that looked like an attorney.  I found a girl working behind a counter who was looking in a mirror fixing her hair.  Without even looking up at me she gave me a non-convincing question of "how can I help you?" I told her that we were looking for adoptions and she directed us to the third floor.  So we went to the third floor. Someone else then directed us to go down to the basement, walk outside to another building, go through the tunnel, get in the elevators, and then go up to the second floor.  How in the world would I have found that???  We got there well after 1:30 but were missing the other half of my family, including Noel.  To make this long story short, they wondered around the courthouse for 20 minutes until we finally got a hold of each other on the phone.  They went back to the beginning at the metal detectors where I ran back there to meet them and bring them back up.  So, we were all a little flustered and were arguing with each other while we ran and trekked back.  

We quickly reviewed the final court paperwork and signed and then went into the court room.  It was 2:00 at this time and fortunately this was a "first come, first serve" basis and we were the only ones present for an adoption.  The judge did not seem to mind at all and seemed happy to see it.  We all approached the bench, swore in, and the attorney asked us about 10 questions to which we both answered "yes" to each one.  The last question was if it was our intent to finalize this adoption today and I said "ABSOLUTELY!"  Everyone laughed and the judge said it would be his pleasure to do so.  He signed the court order and that was it! The judge was very kind and let us take pictures during the ceremony.  He talked to Hunter and even tried to fix him up with his one year old granddaughter!  We thanked him and then waited a few minutes for the attorney to come back with our copy of the adoption decree.  It was great how quickly we forgot about the frustration of 15 minutes earlier.  As we were crossing the street back to our car, a police on a motorcycle came racing down the road.  Noel's grandparents were right in the middle of the road when he just about hit them.  My dad saw him coming and stood in the road pointing backwards to them so he would see.  It was then when we realized that they were still after Paw Paw for bringing in the pocket knife :)

After the finalization, we went by Adoption Angels to say hi, thank them, and turn in our last monthly report (Hallelujah!).  It was great to have them see Hunter so they could "ooh" and "ahh" over him.  We also wanted our parents to meet our Dream Team. 

Later that evening, we met 33 of our closest family and friends at Spaghetti Warehouse to celebrate the end of this 2 1/2 year journey.  It was such a special time to have those around us who have walked hand and hand with us from the beginning.  

So there you have it!  The story of crazy, busy, and wonderful Month.  Whew!  I am tired.  I think I'll go to bed now.