Monday, September 29, 2014

day in the life: maternity leave ed.

It's been a long time since I've done a 'day in the life' post- in fact, it looks like my last (and only?) one was in January of 2013. young, so refreshing. So much healthy food. Ha- that's January for ya. I've been wanting to do one to capture my life on maternity leave with a baby. I'm sure one day I'll be wistful for the days of staying home and cuddling an infant all day (I mean, I'm already wistful for them...and they aren't even gone yet!), so I'd better capture a play-by-play now, before I forget that it wasn't all was also a lot of laundry and dishes. And bottle making. And washing.

So. There's a chance this whole (extreeeeemely long and detailed, sorry!) post could be of zero interest to you, but I always love seeing an occasional glimpse into the minutiae of other people's lives, so if that's you-- buckle up, cause here we go.

Friday, September 26, 2014
(Erika & Matt are 31, Camilla is 7 weeks old)

5:37 a.m.- Millie wakes us up with grunts and squirms that inform us she is ready for her next meal. Since her last feeding was a 'dream feed' around 11:00 p.m. (followed by a diaper change), this meant Matt and I got about 6.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep- can't complain!

Matt makes her bottle, I feed her, we change her, and it's back to bed for us all. Other than Matt running to the kitchen for the bottle, we do everything else right there in our bed- less disruptive for everyone. We put Millie back into her Rock 'n Play and she goes right back to sleep.

(at some point around 7 a.m., Matt gets up, dressed, and goes to work. I sleep through this.)

8:00 a.m.- I wake up and head to the kitchen to get a head start on the day. If I stay in bed until Millie wakes up, I'll feel 'behind' (and also lack caffeine) for a few hours. Better to get up and prepped for her while she's still snoozing.

I prepare my coffee (Matt brewed it before he left and leaves it on the burner for me) and Millie's bottle. I go with half a packet of Stevia, a generous splash of almond milk, and a Christmas mug. She gets 2 ounces of Similac mixed with 3ish ounces of breast milk. I put her bottle back in the fridge for when she's ready. She'll drink her bottles room temperature or cold, so I try to always have her 'next' one prepped so that she never gets hysterically hungry and I have to try to make it with one hand. That never goes well. 

After bottle prep, I put away the clean dishes from the night before, feed the pets, and take Lola outside to relieve herself. Normally Matt does that before he leaves, but apparently Lola was 'too tired' and wouldn't leave her bed this morning. Spoiled dog.
You're welcome, neighbors, for this classy ensemble. And you're welcome, blog readers, for this picture of my dog peeing.
8:30 a.m.- Breakfast and internet. 

Breakfast is toasted sandwich thins topped with peanut butter, honey, and flaxseed meal. YUM!

I set up a little 'station' in the dining room where I can eat, watch Millie on the monitor, and take care of important online business (like reading and commenting on blogs). While I'm doing this, I get the notification on my phone that my day's TimeHop is available.

Apparently it's been exactly one year since we announced our first adoption match. Bittersweet.

8:45 a.m.- Assemble the ingredients for dinner in the crock pot.

I'm making these Taco Chicken Bowls. I made them a few weeks ago and they were delicious and easy. A friend just had a baby and I signed up to take them dinner today, so I thought this would be a good way to make sure it happened with minimal freaking out on my behalf. Plus it makes enough to feed us, too!

9:00 a.m.- Noises and the video monitor confirm that Millie is ready to get up! I put her on the bed to unswaddle her and she treats me with the adorableness of a big stretch.

The bottle is ready and so is she. She eats on the couch. Sometimes she drinks her bottle very neatly, efficiently, and politely.

Yeah, this feeding wasn't one of those times. This was more a 'I haven't eaten in 20 years!!!!' gobble-fest. The kind where she sucks so hard she drowns herself in milk, then spews it all out over both of us as she's a real treat. We both needed showers after this breakfast, but neither of us got 'em. That's what baby wipes are for!

After her breakfast we went for a diaper change. Here's the thing- she hadn't pooped since Sunday. Now, she normally goes 3 days between poops, but this is more like 5, which is impressive by any standards. We've been waiting and waiting, but this morning I knew I'd need to pull out the big gun: the mint green diaper.

I don't know what it is, but every time we put this diaper on her, she poops. I think it's because it's my favorite diaper. I love the color. LOVE it. So I always save it for a time when I can appreciate it the most- like if she'll be wearing a dress with no bloomers, or an outfit that particularly matches the diaper? It's a special one. I just don't put it on her any ol' time. But we've started to notice that 99% of her poops happen immediately after putting on the green diaper. It's uncanny. So I barely get to even enjoy the cuteness of it! She immediately poops it! It's terrible and also hilarious. So Matt and I had decided that if she didn't poop overnight (in her disposable diaper like a good little baby...), we'd bust out Mint Green first thing in the morning. So I did.

This all sounds like superstition and coincidence, but I kid you not- five minutes after putting it on, I hear the tell-tale signs.

I'm telling ya, ol' Mint Green is batting a thousand. If your child is a poo-crastinator (HAAA, see what I did there??), I can lend you this diaper for a nominal fee. Just let me know.

Anyway, I'm no novice anymore- I know better than to change a dipe at the first sound of a poo. I put her in the swing to let her finish her business.

9:30 a.m.- Millie's still swinging and pooping, so I start a load of laundry and begin washing bottles. When my Spidey-senses tell me she's done, I change her. We play on the changing table for a few minutes while I re-dress her, but all this activity has worn her out. She starts yawning, so we head towards the bedroom for a nap.

10:00 a.m.- Millie gets a swaddle and she's back in her Rock 'n Play for a nap.

Bye mom, see ya later!
As long as we catch her in the early stages of getting tired, she's happy to lay down and will just stare and put herself to sleep without a fuss. It's awesome. But if we wait too's much less peaceful.

While Millie naps, I get dressed, put on some minimal makeup, make the bed, and move the laundry to the dryer.

10:20 a.m.- Work on my Bible Study homework.

I'm taking advantage of my temporary SAHM lifestyle by doing a women's Bible study on Wednesday mornings. We're three weeks in and I'm really enjoying it!

10:45 a.m.- After I finish my 'homework,' I spend some time responding to emails and writing thank you cards. And I make some hot tea.

Email responding and writing cards are both tasks that pile up and overwhelm me quickly, so I do best if I methodically pick away at them. I made a good dent in the inbox and got three cards written before Millie started making sounds like she was going to get up.

11:15 a.m.- Her eyes are open, so I sprint to make her bottle, put away some clean and sterilized bottles, and put my shoes on.

11:20 a.m.- False alarm; she fell back asleep. I take advantage of this by sweeping the floors in a few rooms, responding to more emails, and writing another thank you card.

11:45 a.m.- She's still sleeping, so I go ahead and make my lunch (ham and cheese sandwich and tortilla chips) and eat it. Better to eat while I have the chance!

12:10 p.m.- Still sleeping, so I move the finished laundry to the bed and start folding.

12:20 p.m.- Annnnd nap time is over! Millie is up and ready for lunch!! We dine al fresco on the porch glider.

This time she eats much more neatly. Clearly she doesn't want another wardrobe change. After she finishes her bottle, we do some aromatherapy. I know. You didn't know I was so fancy, didja? Each day, usually multiple times a day, Millie and I indulge in some aromatherapy. This involves walking out the the eucalyptus trees in the front yard, standing amongst the branches, and me running my hands over the leaves and then holding my hands up to her nose so that she breathes in the smell. It's quite delightful, really. She seems to like it- it's been known to entertain her for as long as 45 seconds, so...that's saying something! We also do this with the lavender plant, but that's harder- we have to kneel down to reach it on the ground, and the scent doesn't come off as readily on my palms. So mainly we stick to eucalyptus. This is like my poor man's spa day.

12:45 p.m.- Take a walk around the neighborhood. 

This is also something we do multiple times a day. I get tired of being stuck in the house and being a slug, so this is an easy alternative. It's 1.2 miles around the neighborhood and the weather was cool and cloudy, so we had a delightful little jaunt.

1:10 p.m.- Work on folding laundry while Millie watches.

She loves sitting on our pile of pillows and staring out the window. We call it her 'throne.' She only made it through about 10 minutes of throne-time, though, before she let me know she was getting sleepy and wanted her swaddle. I let her start falling asleep there while I finished up folding. I love watching her fall asleep.

1:40 p.m.- Finish putting laundry away, transfer the sleeping babe to the Rock 'n Play. Spend naptime working on uploading pictures and starting this 'day in the life' post.

2:25 p.m.- She's wiggling, making noises, and wide-eyed. I get her up.

2:30 p.m.- She isn't happy. She isn't sure about life. We rock, we try a variety of pacis, we do some more aromatherapy. We take a walk and look at the flowers outside, we change her diaper, she swings in her swing. None of these things do the trick. Finally I put her back in her swaddle and she falls asleep against my chest. Oops. Apparently I shouldn't have gotten her up at 2:25...false alarm! She settles back in for an extended naptime. I lay down on the couch with the laptop and keep working on the blog while she naps on my chest. My sister calls and we chat for awhile. Millie keeps napping.

3:30 p.m.- Still sleeping, poor tired baby. I get up and lay her down so that I can make her next bottle. When she wakes up, she'll probably be starving. After making the bottle, I return to my computer and the couch.

3:50 p.m.- She wakes up! Bottle and a diaper change.

4:15 p.m.- We head to the front porch to glide, enjoy the weather,  and read a few books.

Then I spent a few minutes trying to get her to smile at me. It went mostly like this:

Not amusing, Mom. Try again.
4:40 p.m.- Time for another walk around the neighborhood. This time I wear her in the Ergo. She falls immediately asleep and I perfect the art of walking while texting and scrolling through Facebook. When you walk around the same neighborhood as many times a day and week as I do...the scenery ceases to be entertaining.

5:05 p.m.- We return home from our walk. I put Millie down for her nap and I do some picking up around the house. Then I pack up the meal and dessert to take to my friend.

5:45 p.m.- Matt is home from work- and he brought me flowers! Happy Friday to me! As soon as he walks through the door, I leave to deliver dinner. I started to slack on my pictures, clearly- you'll just have to take my word for it. I dropped off dinner, stayed to chat (and hold the teeeeeeeensy baby (5 lb. 10 oz.!!)) for a few minutes, and then ran into Aldi to pick up a few groceries.

7:15 p.m.- I arrive back home, put away the groceries, eat dinner (I saved half of the crock pot meal for us to eat), and do some dishes. Matt has been taking care of Millie since he got home, so I have no idea what she was doing at this point. Probably napping. Or hanging out. Or maybe eating. You know...the only three things she really does.

7:45 p.m.- Fun diversion- our next door neighbors came over so that I could notarize some contracts that they had to sign! This is definitely not something that happens frequently, but I'm glad I could help them out! They hung out (and signed stuff) (and I stamped and signed and notarized) for about half an hour and kindly paid me in homemade cookies!

Notary stamp + cookies. Excellent.
8:35 p.m.- Bath time for baby! But not just any old bath. A bath with Daddy!

We recently discovered the extreme fun and cuteness of letting Millie 'swim' in the big bath with us. She loves it and we pretty much just squeal with glee the whole time watching her. Everybody wins.

9:00 p.m.- Millie dons her jammies and hat and we settle in to read a Bible story together as a family on our bed.

9:10 p.m.- Bedtime for Mills!

9:30-50 p.m.- Yeah, not so much on the bedtime. Millie treats us to a few meltdowns and lots of unhappy growling. We rock her, feed her, walk her, and ultimate realize it's some serious gas giving her issues. A few gas drops and she's back to being a happy (and sleepy) baby. Nighty night!

10:00 p.m.- We're planning a weekend trip in the mountains with Matt's siblings/siblings-in-law/nieces/nephews this fall, so we had a marathon group text session as we all browsed different rentals on VRBO, shared links, and debated the merits of various cabins and cities. We finally decided on one and I sent an email to the owner to get some clarification on a few things- if all goes well, we will hopefully book it!

11:30 p.m.- I take a shower, we wake Millie up for a quick 'dream feed', put her back down to bed, and hit the hay ourselves. Another exciting Friday in the books!

If you made it through all of this, you are a saint. Or possibly just very bored. At any rate- now my very exciting day of maternity leave has been immortalized for the generations to come (ha- bored generations, maybe) and I will never have to wonder just what did I do all day??

Friday, September 26, 2014

oh, to be ridiculously wealthy...

Since I'm currently in the midst of a very long (12 weeks!), very unpaid (womp womp) maternity leave, it makes sense that I fill many of my sitting-around-the-house hours browsing the internet and lusting after things I can't afford. Let's be honest, I couldn't (or wouldn't) afford most of this stuff even if I were working...but it's extra fun now that I really really can't. Or...shouldn't. Whichever the case may be.

But that doesn't mean I won't make a list of overpriced things I want anyway. You just never know when you might find a spare grand or two under the couch cushion, right? Better to be prepared.

(Oh!! And it's not exactly saving me a grand, but I would be remiss not to update you on my Broken Kindle Situation! Upon the urging of many of you, I finally and reluctantly contacted Amazon support. They walked me through a few troubleshooting things which all proved unsuccessful. The customer service agent concluded that it must be a physical issue with the screen and offered to replace it- FOR FREE- with a Kindle Paperwhite (since the model I had is no longer made)!! I quickly accepted their generous offer before they could change their minds. It should arrive on my doorstep tomorrow!! High five to Amazon! And so that saved me like $119, so...that's kind of like earning $119, right? Shouldn't I spend it somewhere else now?? Exactly.)

So. Just in case I come into some substantial spending money, here are a few things I have my eyes on.

1. The 'Elizabeth' (in camel) diaper bag from Lily Jade.

Be still my heart, I can't even tell you how badly I want this bag. It hurts. Go ahead, click on the link. Admire the inside. The billions of pockets. Read the testimonials of cloth diapering moms who sing the praises of how there is enough space for everything. Look at how you can wear it like a backpack, a messenger bag, or on the shoulder. Contemplate how I could use it for the rest of my life, even when I don't need a diaper bag anymore, because it doesn't look like a diaper bag.

I'd never even heard of Lily Jade until a few weeks ago. A friend alerted me to the fact that on the first day of each month they give away a bag (ANY bag- even this one!!) to an adoptive mom- all you have to do is send in your 'story' and a picture and they'll enter you into the drawing! So I entered for September and didn't win, but now it's almost October and I'm crossing all of my fingers that my name gets picked. But if it doesn't, then I guess I'll just have to leave it on my List of Things to Buy When I Get Rich.

2. Cute lounge wear.

I can't be bothered to hunt down any pictures, but you know what I mean. The genre of clothing that falls somewhere between pajamas, workout clothes, and casual 'regular' clothes. The kind of thing that is comfy enough to lay around the house snuggling with the baby all day, but decent enough to wear on the daily trip to Target and/or a walk around the neighborhood. I don't own much of anything that falls in this category. I know these things wouldn't necessarily be expensive, but they would only really be super useful for the next five weeks, so...kinda not what I really need to spend my cash on. But if I were rich, I would.

3. Fall candles.
I know, I know. Could I be any more stereotypical? Like every single other thirty-ish female on the internet, I am really excited about fall and wish to surround myself with fall reminders at all times. The Bath & Body Works fall candles are always spectacular, but all of mine are burned down to nothing. Sad. When I'm rich, I'm going to budget for seasonal candles.

4. All of the baby moccasins.

I mean...seriously. Millie currently has two pair (only one currently fits, though). She wears her moccs any time she needs shoes, since they're the only shoes she owns that fit right now. AND BECAUSE THEY ARE ADORABLE. I wish she had 20 more pairs in 20 more colors. I wish we had a whole room full of baby moccs. I wish there was a place that was like the library, only it was full of tiny baby moccasins in all colors and sizes and you could go and borrow whatever you wanted, any time, for free. And when I'm president, there will be. Baby Mocc Libraries. Count on it. Vote for me.

I've digressed. No need to get all political- I just need to get rich and then I can buy them the old fashioned way: with all of my Benjamins.

5. A maid service.

Oh please, happy women with plentiful energy and products, please come to my house next. I sit in it all day long and notice all the things that need to be cleaned, but lack the motivation to actually do it. I can keep up with the dishes and the bottles and the laundry and the general 'picking up,' but come with your vacuums, your brooms, your mops, your tub scrubbers...I need you

Eh, well, that should be enough luxury items to work towards dream about. Today's a big day (haha, not really): I decided to document everything for a 'day in the life' post next week! That means even MORE selfies than usual! Whew. I hope I'm up for it. More like- I hope Millie's up for it. Yesterday all she was up for was being held and never put down.

Like this.
I can't say I hated it, but it did make it hard to do anything else, so it would make for quite a boring Day in the Life post. But not actually a boring day for me, if you get what I'm saying.

7 a.m.-11 p.m.: Cuddled with my baby.

Actually, that sounds kind of perfect. But we'll hope for something slightly more eventful today. Anyway, have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

what we're wearing wednesday

It occurred to me the other day that sometimes being terrible at laundry can really pay off.

A few years ago we bought Matt this flannel 'lumberjack shirt.' It was awesome. He wore it approximately once, and then I shrunk it in the wash (or dryer, who knows). It was tragic. But we couldn't bring ourselves to get rid of it because hello, new shirt. So we tossed it in the back of the closet filed it away for the future wherein Matt became significantly smaller- a good round of the flu, perhaps? That also somehow shortened his arms? Maybe.

But lo and behold, all of the sudden it's fall 2014 and suddenly I'm seeing these shirts EVERYWHERE for women! And they're calling it 'buffalo plaid' or something, and suddenly I think hey, I have a shrunken man shirt just like that somewhere!!

And voila- yesterday's unfortunately laundry incident is today's semi-fashionable oversized buffalo plaid shirt!

Not gonna lie- I was (am!) pretty proud of pulling all this together. It's a stark contrast from the yoga pants and college t-shirts I've been rocking the last few days.

Don't mind the angelic glow that radiates from my face. Or my terrible photography in general.
But let's be serious- none of you care what I'm wearing. Let's take a look at the nuglet's ensemble today, shall we?

I'm not normally a huge fan of message/statement tees, but you know I couldn't pass this one up.

'miracle baby' tee from this etsy shop

My miracle indeed.

Monday, September 22, 2014


In a drastic departure from how things went last week, today I can pretty much guarantee that you won't need any Kleenex to get you through my post! Feel free to read away at work!

"Right, so, I was saying..."
 I just think it looks like Camilla is mid-conversation in that picture. It kills me.

We took a trip to Augusta for the weekend. Not only had my parents gone an ungodly THREE WHOLE DAYS without seeing Mills, but we also had a shower in our honor on Saturday to attend! I'd been looking forward to this weekend for awhile, and it didn't disappoint!

For starters, my in-laws lent us their minivan for the weekend. Praise the Lord, this meant we didn't have to have Erika, Lola, and Millie Together In The Back Seat of the Matrix: The Reunion Tour. It also meant we actually had space to bring home the gifts we received at the shower. Very important.

The shower was hosted by my lifelong friend Laura and her mom, Debbie. When I say 'lifelong,' I mean it. I don't mean 'since high school' or 'for 20 years.' I mean life. Well, since I was three. So...basically my entire life that I can remember. That's pretty cool. It meant so much to me that they would put together a beautiful shower for me and Millie!

With the fabulous hostess
Although we took plenty of posed pictures, when I was looking through the pics on my mom's iPad, some of the candid shots made me laugh a lot. So I will share them instead. You can just use your imagination to envision all the pretty, posed pictures of various people holding Millie, me and guests, me and decorations, and so on. 

I always think it's funny to see pictures of myself when I'm not looking and I'm (apparently) listening to someone else talk. I guess this is what it looks like. Laura and I are apparently very interested in whatever someone is saying!

During gift-opening time, my mom and I became Facial Expression Twins over this freaking adorable Christmas outfit!!

Okay, that's all the candids I'll bore you with. How about a semi-posed (as much as you can 'pose' a one-year-old and an infant) picture of Carley giving her cousin some love?

I had such a wonderful time at the shower- the food was delicious, the gifts were incredibly generous, and I loved catching up with friends, many whom I hadn't seen in a long time. Oh, and showing off my daughter wasn't so bad either. Millie was a perfect angel and slept through the whole thing (with a few brief periods of waking up and looking around) and didn't mind a bit that she was being handed from person to person the entire time. 

Other than 'showering' (the party kind, not the bathroom kind...clearly), we spent the rest of our time eating, watching football, and enjoying the more fall-ish weather. Oh, and eating. My mom taught me how to boil shrimp!!! I realize this doesn't seem like something that needs teaching, especially when you're a literate adult moderately capable of cooking stuff and following recipes, but...shrimp have always really intimidated me. But these turned out great (we didn't do anything special except use copious amounts of Old Bay) and then I ate basically all of them by myself, which was awesome. I didn't even like 'naked' shrimp (like...I'd eat them fried or cooked into something, but not just plain boiled/steamed) until a few months ago, and now they're all I can think about. So this was a big deal for me.

Oh, dangit. I lied. I am about to show you something that might make you cry. Grab a hanky.

Look what happened to my Kindle!!! A tragedy!!!

No, not the advertised romance novel, although it's probably a tragedy in its own right. 
 Something happened to the top quarter or third of my screen!!! It's all line-y!!!

I can't read it now!!!!

(pretend this is a string of really sad, crying emoji)

I have no idea what happened. I was using it as usual on our drive up on Friday. I put it in the diaper bag. I took it out at some point on Saturday and left it on the dresser in our room until Sunday afternoon when we packed up and left. I turned it on in the car on Sunday and NOW IT IS BROKEN!!! It wasn't dropped or stepped on...I have no idea what happened. :( :( :( :( :( (Sorry, I know that's obnoxious, but like...MY KINDLE IS BROKEN.) Do Kindles just spontaneously break? I think mine did.

Although this Kindle was a gift several years ago, now it is more in my 'necessity' category. Like, I don't think I can wait until my birthday (a million years away in December) to replace it. But I also don't really have a 'Kindle replacement fund' line in the budget. Do you think Kindle Replacement counts as a big enough emergency to tap the Emergency Fund? Someone call Dave Ramsey and let me know. It's an emergency to me. Also, I'm stressing about whether if/when I get a new Kindle, will it transfer all the books from this one onto the new one? That's a big deal. I have books (PAID FOR books...not just free ones!!) that I bought but haven't read yet!! Also, I'm only about halfway through my free 30-day trial of Kindle Unlimited!! Can I pause it since my Kindle is unreadable? Ahhhhhhh!! TRAGEDY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!!!!

Oh wait. I just looked and discovered that I could get a new (basic) Kindle for $79. Maybe this isn't as big a tragedy as I had thought. For some reason I thought a new Kindle would be like $$$$. I think I can justify $79. I mean, what with the cost of practically costs that much to drive to the library, right? Right. Thanks for helping me justify.

But still, will it transfer my books? I won't rest until I know. Just kidding, I'll rest whenever the baby rests. Mama didn't raise no fool.

Well, time to go reheat my coffee for the 20th time. There are thank you cards to write, baby announcements to address, and first world Kindle-related problems to freak out over! Have a great Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2014


On Monday, September 15, 2014, Camilla's adoption was finalized. Done. Finished. Forever.

I'm not usually big on play-by-play blogging, but it's not every day that your daughter's adoption is finalized, either. I don't want to forget anything. So...a play-by-play it will be!

We loaded up in my dad's truck bright and early. We had to be at the courthouse by 8:45 a.m. My parents spent the night with us, so we all headed over together.
Because I embrace my generation...we take a selfie. It's the only way to prove anything happened, right?
We made it to the courthouse with time to spare...enough time for a family photo in the parking lot, even! It was cool (well, for Georgia in September) and drizzly. Millie was wearing the only remotely 'fall'-ish dress she owns that fits her. I hadn't planned on it being not-blazing-hot...

We met up with Matt's parents in the parking lot and all seven of us traipsed in together. Matt, Millie, and I made it through security. The rest of our party had...issues, shall we say? Ha. Luckily, the metal detector issues were the only hiccups in our whole court experience, so they weren't a bad sign or anything. Then we headed up to the third floor to wait.

We sat.

 We admired Millie.

We took pictures in front of a giant window.

My bangs look stupid, but my legs look great, soooo...there was some mental turmoil about whether I should share this pic or not. I decided to go for it. Vanity wins.
 We sat around some more. 

Our lawyer came and went over some papers with us. We nodded and signed our names a few times.

 And then it was our turn to go back!!! Because adoption hearings aren't...I forget the or public or in, not open to the public to sit in and watch/listen. Not 'closed' in the sense of the adoption being a 'closed adoption' (it's not), don't do them in the regular courtroom with the other civil matters and court clerks, etc., present. So we went back to the judge's chambers. Our parents and lawyer came with us, and they were allowed to continue snapping pictures (and taking video!).

The judge had already reviewed all of the motions, paperwork, home studies, etc. This was an incredibly fast process that just made everything signed and official. First we were introduced.

Then we raised our right hands and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God.

Our lawyer asked us a few questions. We answered. The judge asked some questions. He thumbed through our paperwork. 

And then he pronounced us to be her mom and dad. Forever. And we cried. And shook his hand.

He agreed to take some pictures with us. He even entertained me and put on his robe. I mean, hello...I needed him to look a little more judgy. That suit wasn't cutting it. 

Seriously, the entire thing took maybe five minutes. I couldn't believe how fast it was. Months and years of waiting and preparing and gathering data and writing checks and waiting and praying and hoping...and it all culminates in five extremely easy minutes in a judge's office. It would almost have been anticlimactic if it weren't so incredibly awesome.

Then we had to wait in several different places while various paperwork and certificates were signed, sealed, and delivered. (Really, I don't know about delivered, but after I typed 'signed' and 'sealed'...I just had to go for it.) We passed the time by taking some incredibly happy family pictures. 

Then our lawyer came out with the official Final Decree of Adoption, so we had to get a picture with her (and it)!

Then we had to go somewhere else and wait for awhile for the Certificate of Adoption to get sealed and notarized and whatever else. I posted our happy news on Instagram.

If you're not repeatedly dying at how cute Millie's moccasins are, I don't know if we can be friends.
 And then we got the certificate and took a picture with it!!!

 All in all, the whole courthouse experience took maybe two hours. Again- an incredibly quick and easy finale to a process that started approximately twelve billion years ago (or so it feels like). I'm thankful for that. I expected this part to be the easy part, and it was. There were plenty of happy tears- and just this incredible sense of holy cow, it's OVER now. There's nothing else. We're just regular parents with our regular kid. No one can separate us. No phone call can come that will ruin my life.* She can't be taken away from us. We can breathe, we can move forward, we can just enjoy life. She's ours forever. 

I'm still pretty buzzed from it. The finality of it all, you know? I mean, we still have to wait on a few things- her new birth certificate and social security card, I think. But really...we're done. All of that waiting, and now...done.

We kicked off the beginning of our 'official' new life by eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel. 

It was freezing, so I wore my mom's too-small track suit jacket. Classy!
I bet that the handful of other patrons in the restaurant were wondering what six dressed-up adults and a baby were all doing having a leisurely brunch on a Monday (work day!) morning. I bet they wondered why we all had stupid grins on our faces, why we had to brush tears from our eyes every now and then, why we all fawned over the sleeping baby. They couldn't have known that we had just finished having our lives changed forever.

But we know. Camilla's adoption is final now. She's ours forever- for as long as we all walk this earth. Thankful doesn't even begin to describe it.

*Obviously, plenty of life-ruining phone calls could still come. I don't presume that our lives from here on out will be trouble-free...we could get awful phone calls from doctors, from school principals, from the police (oh please no, Camilla!!). I just mean we can't get one that would keep us from being a family. For now, that feels like a huge accomplishment.