Wednesday, October 1, 2014

bye bye "pie!"

it's official.  the passie is no more.  (in our house it was always dubbed the "pie" and i cannot say pie will be no more because then i might actually banish real pie and that would be terrible.  so here, i'll just refer to it as passie, so then everyone knows what we're really talking about.)

dax has been infatuated with the passie since he was a wee little baby.  it wasn't until he was about a year old that i really started to see that it may later become a problem, but at that time i thought well - he's a little guy its no big deal.  so, at about 18 months we made sure he only had it at home, then at two years we made sure he only had it in his bed or in the car, and then recently it was only in bed.  we'd tried a couple of times in between to just take it away all together and were met with full on revolt of this crazy notion.  so, as weak parents we caved within half an hour each time and just said at the next milestone we'd pull up our big parent pants and take it away.  never happened.

fast forward to last week.  it was long about tuesday that the passie got a slit in it from dax chewing on it.  he and i talked about how it was breaking and when it broke we'd have to get rid of it because it would no longer be safe.  we talked about how he did not really need it anymore because he was a big boy and that passies were for babies.  he seemed to be listening and so we thought we might be on to something.  on wednesday night at bed time we told him that we would take him to the disney store and let him pick out a toy in exchange for the passie.  he agreed that was a good idea, but went right back to hard workin' that passie.  i talked about it with him again on thursday and built up the excitement for what was about to happen and did a walk through demonstration of him giving me the passie and me giving him a toy.  he just wanted the passie back, but he was hearing what i was saying.  then, friday came.

on friday i was over the top about how great it was going to be to trade in the passie for the new toy.  he was getting pretty excited.  when daddy got home from work we put the passie in a zip lock bag and all piled in the car towards the store.  when we got there we talked again in the parking garage about what we were going to do inside the mall.  he really seemed okay with the concept.

forgive my quality as i came from the phone.
he grabbed the bag, inspected it, and was ready to run into the mall.  we followed him and guided him down the elevator and off to the disney store.  he loves the store because it has a motion display, a movie screen, and of course a million characters with gobs of paraphernalia.  he quickly ran to the buzz light year display and squatted down to check out buzz and all of his buttons.  after playing with him for about three minutes he laid down the passie in a bag and walked over to look at woody.  i pointed out to will that he was already over the passie.  we let him wander the store and check out all of his favorites.  we were probably in there for over an hour.  (the store is not that big, but its as close to disney world as you get in north carolina.)  it became pretty apparent that we were going to have to get two toys - blade from planes and buzz from toy story.  for the cost of trading in the passie, we were fine with that.  daddy stood in the long line and waited our turn.  when the time got close i got dax over into the line and told the cashier what our payment terms were.  

forgive my quality as i came from the phone.
dax handed over the passie in a bag as he sat on the counter.  he was irritated that we had to put the buzz in the bag, but once he saw that the bag had disney characters he was okay with it.  and so happily - he left the store.  we made it to the clarks store (two doors down) before he had to open the bag and open the box to retrieve buzz.  the shoe salesman actually cut buzz from his twist ties to please our happy fellow.  as we left the building he said "bye bye pie!"  memories of passie were long gone.

or were they?

well, he was happy in the car and we took him to an old fashioned diner.  we wanted to go somewhere he would find fun and where he could be loud (himself) if needed.  he loved putting money into the juke box on the table and didn't really care that ours was broken and would only play one song.  in the end it was just about putting the money in and getting it back out, so i gave him a stack of 2 pence coins that he played with.  he was happy with his mickey shaped pancakes, a slurp of a chocolate shake, and being allowed to stand up in the booth.  

forgive my quality as i came from the phone.
 the ride home was a bit long, about 40 minutes, and we thought for sure he'd fall asleep in the car.  he was up way after his bed time and we were hoping this would work to our advantage.  when we got home he was really sleepy, but not asleep.  as soon as we got into his room he asked for the "pie".  then, started the quiver lip.  the quiver lip kills me.  first of all its precious and second of all its sad that he is sad.  its too much.  however, this is why we left the passie at the store.  it was as much for him knowing it was traded in for buzz as it was for will and i to not have something to fall back on.  at one point will went to get his phone out of his pocket and dax thought for sure he was going for the passie.  he started to cry.  we told him that he had buzz now and the passie was gone.  he really did sob in mourning.  we hugged on him, loved on him, cradled him, and rocked him while he processed it all.  in the end he wanted to read every book that was out (we usually just do 3, but we did 8) - just to prolong the inevitable.  once we were done with books and we told him no more books he wanted to watch a tv show.  we told him it was too late and he needed to go to sleep.  in his bed.  with buzz.  he ran and got buzz and put him in the bed and then smiled and ran to me.  he hugged me in a full body hug as i sat on the floor.  will smiled as tears ran down my face because he knew that i knew at that moment that dax got it.  the passie was gone and buzz was here in his place.

he's looked terribly sad each night when it's time to actually lay down and put his head on raffie (that's what he uses for his pillow) and on the first night he wasn't quite sure what to do with his hands, but each night gets a little easier than the first and by the third night he wasn't even asking for it any more.  

nap times are still pretty rough because we're battling the fact that he soothed himself to sleep with the passie and the fact that he's exerting some independence about almost being three years old (gasp) and so he likes to say "no nap", "no nigh nigh", "no bed", "no mommy, no".  he says all this with his back to me, arms crossed, in a very sassy tone.  i laugh (to myself of course) and i ask him where did he learn this?  of course he wont divulge his sources, but it makes for rough afternoons.  pretty much all this week he's either fallen asleep on my lap, on the couch, or not napped at all.  today however, i finally won the battle.  he is resting now, as i type in his bed with nothing but a raffie and buzz by his side.

so, we're really calling it a huge success and there's no looking back.

to infinity and beyond!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


wednesday was dax's first day at preschool.  it's hard to believe he is already in "school", but he is more than ready.  since i work from home he's been getting pretty bored with the situation lately and we're excited that he'll get to go to preschool two days a week for 3.5 hours where they'll focus on making friends, learning about Jesus, and having a grand old time.  

his first day went very well and he got a good report.  he ate all of his lunch and even took a nap that evening.  he's a little social butterfly, so we think it's really going to be a lot of fun for him to build friendships and find some play mates.

the school/church is only two miles from our house, so we're really blessed to have a quick commute to and from.  the teachers and director are so friendly and genuine loving people that we feel uber comfortable leaving our sweet boy in their care.  we know they're focused on showing the love of Christ to these littles and we're excited for this opportunity for him.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

project: big boy bed

the finished product
we could not be more thrilled with project:  big boy bed.   we didn't want to jinx ourselves, but things have gone really well for us so far as the transition goes from crib to dax's big boy bed.  we kept him involved in the entire process and talked a lot about the change that was about to happen, and we really think he was ready for the big day.

here are some snap shots of daxton seeing his big boy bed for the first time.

climbing up!

bouncing!  that's what tiggers do best!

clearing everything off the bed!

except for raffie.

being a silly goose.

testing out the resting.
knock on wood he's slept one week without incident.  he still asks to go to "nigh nigh" when he's tired and we've only had a couple of nights where he couldn't resist the urge to stay awake and read some books or check things out.  naps have been harder than bed time (i think just because of the day light and the fact that he's not THAT tired yet).  however, today he took a 4 hour nap, so maybe we're working back into a pattern.

we have a baby gate on the door, so this helps to keep him safe and from wandering the house in the middle of the night.  we think the thing that we have going for us is that he likes his bed and his room, and often will just ask to go in there to play - so hopefully that will never change.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

big boyness and stripping the bed

after about 12 hours worth of work.
baby boy is growing up.  

we recently started the process of moving him out of his crib and into a big boy bed.  we didn't need to move him because he was climbing out, but because every time he would go into a room with a bed he'd shout "BED" and run and lay down on it with his hands behind his head like he was relaxing.  we thought just maybe he was trying to tell us something.  

i purchased a jenny lind style bed frame off craig's list last year for $50.  it sat in our garage for about 8 months until we thought he was just about ready.  then, a few weekends ago we went and purchased a mattress and began the process of cleaning up the bed frame to get it ready for a make over.

turns out the bed was slathered in two layers of latex paint and ever since then we've been chemical stripping, scraping, hand sanding, electric sanding, rinse and repeat.  its been hours and hours of grueling sweaty hard work out in the garage, but i think we're finally getting to the stage where i might (just might) be able to paint in the next few days.  i've always enjoyed a project (ahem) but not necessarily the prep work of said project.  so, the fun part is coming up and i can hardly stand it.  we let dax direct the redesign of the "new" room and he's using his favorite colors and we think he's really going to like it when its all said and done.

the mattress was delivered last thursday night and we set it up in dax's room on the floor on friday.  he's done a very good job of sleeping in it at night, but naps have proven to be a little more challenging because he is not yet "that" tired that he can omit all distractions and actually lay there untempted.  we're hoping that with the mattress actually in its frame and a side rail up that he may feel a little more confined and thereby a little more "sleepy".  

i have to go public and say i did get teary eyed the first night we tucked him into his big boy bed (a.k.a. mattress on the floor).  it was kind of sad to say (yet another) bye bye baby and move onward towards big boyness, but i keep having to remind myself like i remind him - that the crib is for babies and we're probably gonna need that soon for his baby sister.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

into the swing of things

james, conti carla, great granny, will, dax, adri, vicki, tom
we had a great time on vacation and this week has been a shock back into reality.  that's always the hardest fall!  at the beach we really enjoyed spending time at the ocean, swimming in the pool, cruising around on the golf cart, hanging out with our family and pigging out on some seafood.  even great granny (90.5 years old) drove the golf cart!  everyone had a great time cruising around!

dax's favorite game of the week was taking all of the pool toys and throwing them into the pool.  great granny would attempt to pull them all back out, but within minutes he'd gather them all and toss them back in.  at one point we had so many pool toys in the pool that people actually could not swim.  

it took us about four days that week to get things together before we could obtain the family picture above.  we had issues with humidity, a photographer stalker who hijacked my camera (don't even get me started on this one), a child with a mask wandering around the beach that scared dax to death, and rain.  however, everyone was a trooper and wore these same outfits (we did a lot of laundry) three days in a row.  one night we went to the same restaurant wearing the same clothes and they had to wonder if this was our uniform.  

special thanks to conti carla for taking our family portrait!

our fundraising efforts are officially in full swing.  will recently received two unexpected monetary donations that we're extremely grateful for and we sold quite a few t-shirts this past week.  there's additional progress on the book illustration and are excited for that to be completed so we can start selling those.  every little bit adds up and we know that when it's meant to be - we'll be ready.

Monday, July 28, 2014

searching for bliss

It is with great excitement that we announce the commencement of our second domestic infant transracial adoption process!  We've recently been pre-approved and have now submitted our formal application with Bethany Christian Services.   While the initial paperwork chase will be less time consumptive, the wait for a second child may take longer.  Our family has decided to seek a baby girl, which could again delay the search time.

We will be creating a profile book using photos of our family get togethers and other special memories with Dax to "show off" our family to any expectant parents.  Along with the book we'll also be working on some fundraising opportunities to help fund the process. We would appreciate your help in sharing the word!

 Fund raisers include:

·          Etsy Store - Hand Made Goods & Art Work

·          Mommy's Freckles - Children's Book

· - Affiliate Link

·          Donations

God has entrusted us with a special gift in being adoptive parents and we look forward to seeing how He expands our family through future adoptions. We cannot thank you enough for being a part of our lives, praying for us, and helping us continue our journey to build our family as we search for Bliss.

With Love,

Will, Adri & Dax

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

catching up

wow, time is really flying by!  i knew summer time was a busy time, but somehow we got all the way from may to the first of july without one single blog entry!  whoops!  we've been keeping busy with work, outdoor concerts, going to the pool, taking little mini trips that included my dad's retirement party in va, a visit to will's parents in western nc, and a trip to the train museum and nc zoo.  dax had a fun time with all of it.  he's really getting into going places and when we sometimes find him with his favorite item of the day standing by the front door saying "go"!  he's definitely on the move, and doesn't like to be still.  he keeps folks entertained and he's even doing pretty good at entertaining himself these days.  today he played for several hours with some chalk and two race cars.  he drove them all over the "road" that we'd drawn on the wall and he even chattered to the cars - although i have no idea what they were carrying on about.  

his recent 2.5 year check up checked out well and the doctor said he was looking good.  thankfully he got no shots this time, so he really liked seeing all of the doctor's tools and getting a sticker.  

mother's day 2014
mother's day - music in the park
stanley, nc - transportation museum
first ride on a real choo choo train!
nc zoo in asheboro, nc
nc zoo
park in greensboro - dancing to african drummers
chalk drawing at namaw and poppie's - waynesville, nc
hanging out at gran-gran's retirement party - roanoke, va
picking blueberries  in namaw and poppie's back yard - waynesville, nc
all of this fun has made our boy tired and gotten him a little off his sleep schedule.  some afternoons daddy has to wake him up from his long afternoon naps.
while all of this fun has been going on we've also got some major happenings in the works over here.  we'll be updating everyone with more details on all of that soon, but just don't think we're sitting around watching real housewives and eating chocolate candy. 

although, there is nothing wrong with that.

Friday, May 9, 2014

growing pains

it's quickly gone from spring to summer here in NC.  when i got done with work yesterday we had to take dax to get some water friendly shoes so we decided we'd let him play in the play area at the mall.  i am a nervous nelly in there with 50+ kids running "hog wild" every which direction.  at one point will looked at me and gave me this "look" as we saw one kid go flying through the air one way and then one kid go tumbling the opposite.  its a lot to take in, but dax surely seems to have fun running around the zone and checking things out.  he likes to "follow" other kids around the play area and run if they're running, or climb if they're climbing, or jump if they're jumping.  but, if anyone turns around and looks him in the eye he will almost immediately cease what he is doing and run off and do something else.  

last night he almost ran head on into an about 4 year old girl.  she stopped, dead in her tracks, and looked at him.  when she looked closer at his face she made a "not so friendly face ((yucky))" and then ran off.  i watched him to see what he'd do and he just kept on being his happy self and ran off to do something else.  about 5 minutes passed and said girl came and sat down right beside me.  she looked me straight in the face and she said: "what's wrong with his eye?  is it broken?"  i quickly responded and told her that the muscle in his eyelid was too long and couldn't keep his eyelid up like hers or mine, but that when he turns 3 he'll be having a surgery to repair it and then it might look similar to hers.  she mumbled something and then went across the play zone to (who i presume was) her mom.  i could hear her telling her: "see, it is broken.  he has to have a surgery to fix it."

(i should have told her that God made him in his image and he was perfect just the way he was.  you always get the perfect thing to say after you've left the situation. sigh.)

the whole thing made me kind of queasy to think about.  especially the "not so friendly face" that she'd shown him, which he was thankfully oblivious to.  it just broke my heart that people naturally see differences as being "broken" and therefore not as "good" as or "less" than something that is what they've been taught or lead to believe is "ideal".  i wondered how many parents teach their children about differences if they don't face anything major in their childhood experience and how then the cycle repeats and repeats until one generation faces a challenge of some sort and then they're forced to talk about it.  

i asked will to remind me to tell him something after dax had gone to bed.  it made me cry just to tell him the look said girl had on her face.  we just want to shield him from "yucky" behaviors whenever we can or at least make sure he's not the one dishing them out.

we love reading him this book about celebrating our similarities and differences at the same time:

Whoever You Are 

i wish other kid's parents would read it to them too.  it's easy for us to talk about physical differences with him because he is at that age where he is comparing everything.  he definitely knows all three of us have different hair, but he and mommy have the same color eyes, and that my freckles are the same color as his skin.  we've never talked with him about his eye and we don't think he knows any different.

i worry for our little fellow and what challenges he will face because of this ptosis.  husband and i don't even see it anymore and that is what really kind of threw me off when the little girl asked about it.  i guess i just didn't think it was that noticeable.  especially not for a "not so nice face" response.   his spirit is so kind, so gentle, and so sweet that husband and i just don't want anything to hamper his self worth or impede in his social growth.  

watching your babies grow up is hard work.  we've been able to protect and shelter from this point, but now there's really no looking back.  we just hope his tender heart is ready for what's out there.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

hard as stone

it's been a long time coming.  
it's not about what "she" did to me, but about what i unknowingly let happen.  

over dinner in london will and i talked a lot about adoption #2.  we've been talking about it, praying about it, thinking about it - so many things to consider with #2 that weren't there with #1.  

there, when he told me that he felt like i was different since "that" time, it finally dawned on me that he was right and that since "that" day i've not really allowed myself to be myself.  i've been guarded. 

then, at created for care i spoke to an internet friend (that's what i call people that i stalk the blogs of but have never before met in person) and she told me about a similar situation and it struck a cord in me and reiterated the importance of following up on what will and i talked about the week prior.

then, after that i spoke to another internet friend over the phone and she and i chatted about these "things" that happen and the kind of ache it leaves on your heart.  i was finally talking about the actual neglect of the processing.

see, ever since september 6th 2011 - it's been hard for me to process my emotions.

it all goes back to august 4th, 2011.  on that day we had a face to face meeting with a family that was considering adoption for their baby.  the baby was due in just under a month and somehow our hearts thought that this was the one.  looking back (and even at the time) i think we just wanted to be parents so badly that we were taking all of these random "signs" as divine messages which really had nothing to do with anything at all.  we saw "the plan" in the situation's details and somehow my heart just knew this was it and we were finally going to be parents.  

i'll never forget going out into the parking lot after the meeting and standing by our car and just wailing ugly crying.  we were standing there under a tree that had prematurely (for the season) already started to lose some leaves.  i was wearing a navy blue dress and had my hair cut similarly to the way it is now.  the air was a bit warm, but not overly hot.  i was almost shaking because of these raw emotions.  will just stood there and hugged me in the parking lot.  the release was so intense i just could not hold it back.  then, it probably did not help that we allowed family to throw us a baby shower a few weeks later.  we got all sorts of cute little pink things, things with bows, things with ruffles, things with girly adornments.  it started making things really seem real.  this freight train was moving ahead - full speed ahead.

then nothing.  

we waited past the due date, cancelled a pre-planned vacation and sat on pins and needles.  sleepless nights had already kicked in and i just knew this nervous energy was preparing me for a baby to come home.  but the days turned into weeks and our hopes started to fade.  then, on september 6th we were informed by an email from our social worker that the mother had actually given birth several weeks prior and elected to keep the baby.  then - just like that - it was over.

people have asked me if it was like a miscarriage.  i honestly think it was worse than the two miscarriages i have had.  the babies i carried never made it past 12 weeks, so in my preparedness in our home and in our hearts we never really got so far as to think that a baby would be coming into our house in a few weeks.  for me this really felt like a miscarriage at 9 months.  mourning the loss was hard.  i was grieving a baby that was never mine.  the baby hadn't died, i'd never seen her, never held her - she wasn't our baby.  however, that fact - even though we knew it - did not make it any easier to handle.

that same day we put our profile book back to active.  i wasn't wasting anymore time on hold and just longed to be a mom.  somehow it felt right at the time, but looking back now it was probably all too fast to fully process the grieving.

this is how i was handling it all at the time.  it definitely felt like i was processing it all, but the disconnect started even then:
eventually there will be peace 

but, that was the time that daxton's birthmother started looking at books.  she looked at ours, looked at some others, and then came back to our book.  perhaps if it wasn't in the pile when it was, she wouldn't have seen it and today i wouldn't be drawing choo-choo's on his chalkboard wall and hearing him scream "wow - too-too, yeah!"  it's possible i wouldn't get to be dax's mom.  (which is something i just cannot fathom.) 

we know that everything happens for a reason and we don't need to know the why behind everything and that we won't know the why behind everything that happens in our lives.  however, i'm still trying to understand this "practice" dry run failed match.

it hardened me.  made me less of a crier and harder to pull emotions out of.  even my dad has noticed.  nothing really makes me cry anymore, except for the fact that nothing makes me cry.  you ask yourself - why would you want to be a crier?  but, i was previously a very emotional person.  the kind of person who kept nothing in and spilled my guts to everyone.  and the parallel with the crying is the same as my ability to share, to feel, to get excited about things anymore.  everything just seems run of the mill and i am a quiet keep to yourself kind of person.  very guarded.  very protected.  it's a hard thing to know and then again even harder to know how to stop "being" this way when its not how you want to be.

awareness is half the battle, right?  

well, consider me aware.  extremely aware.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

somewhere in the busy - we find rest

welcome to the place where meetings with birth family, work schedules, personal once in a life time trips, adoption retreat weekends, and exhaustion collide.  this is a long one, so get yourself a cup of coffee and settle in.

long before the thought of london we'd planned a build your own pizza party for the day after valentine's with daxton's birth mother and half brother.  luckily we were all able to focus on that moment and keep the rushing of preparing to be out of the country for two weeks to the pm side burner for that night.  the early evening was lovely and we always look forward to our visits.  for this visit daxton's biological mom and half brother were scheduled to come over and spend some time at our house.  since my mom was in town to prepare to watch dax, she got to meet them too.  we really enjoyed being able to just relax and catch up.  we all made our heart shaped pizzas, shared in some cupcakes, and listened to dax's half brother play songs for us on the guitar.  dax was completely star struck when he saw the guitar and then saw his half brother playing it so beautifully.  once he was done playing the song he'd learned daxton gave him a huge hug.  if they weren't previously the best of friends they are now.  that totally sealed the deal.

regarding international travel, it all happened in a flash.  i found out shortly before it would be time to go that i would need to be in london for one week to get the new uk program up and running for their first assessment.  originally i was told i’d be going by myself and after coming back from india, i said i’d never do that again.  i am just not a good lonely traveler.  so, that’s when we decided will would tag along – and since he’s never been across the pond we’d tack on a train ride over to france for a week in paris.  before we knew it the tickets were booked, the nani and the gran-gran were lined up to watch dax and we were on an 8 hour flight from jfk to lhr.  

we took raffie with us as a representation of dax so we could show and tell him about all we'd done and seen. 

the week in london went by quickly.  my coworker (who ended up coming last minute) and i worked about twenty hours a day, but we got things set up and rolled out for a pretty successful first assessment the following week.  once the work in london was done will and i started our sight-seeing vacation.  we took a long adventure in attempting to locate a temple, and after about 6 miles of unnecessary walking, we located it and got to admire its beauty.  it was also just good to get out and breathe some fresh air.  later we took a sight-seeing tour by open air bus and saw most of the highlights of london including trafalgar square, buckingham palace, big ben, parliament, harrod’s, high tea, hyde park, the underground, a real pub, picadilly circus, and the london eye.  for dinner we went to an amazing restaurant (one of my favorite from the trip) called vinoteca.  (very reminiscent of our formerly favorite restaurant in raleigh enoteca vin, before it closed down.)  our sight-seeing time here was short and the next day we boarded the train for france.

the train ride to Paris was fairly short, only two and a half hours.  it was good to finally get into rest/relaxation mode and i actually dozed off for a bit on our ride.  once we arrived we gathered up our luggage and were greeted by a driver to take us to our hotel.  will and i were taking in all of the sights and appreciating the fact that we’d driven directly around the eiffel tower and that we were actually finally in paris.  the hotel was only about two blocks away from the eiffel tower and before we knew it we were checked in and able to drop our bags.  i immediately came into the room and opened the windows.  it was the one thing that i required of a french hotel.  i had to have windows that opened.  how very parisian.  we relaxed and soaked in the sounds of the bell tower from the nearby church and enjoyed the cool crisp air wafting in from outside.  not relaxing too long, we decided we’d head out for some sight-seeing.
hotel ares eiffel

after a good night of rest we were out for a day of exploration.  we got an early start and located our fresh pastries and espresso.  we ate them in a park right around the corner from the bakery.  it was so good just to take a deep breath and say "we are eating fresh pastry in paris france!"  after breakfast we wanted to get an early start to head out to the flea market.  it was something that was at the top of my monday list, since they are only open sat - mon each week.  we'd downloaded directions from oh joy and were so glad that we did!  we needed every single indicator she'd given! 

it was definitely a highlight of my trip, so i got a little nervous when i thought we were not going to be able to find it.  when we first got off the metro at the stop we were confused as to which direction to go.  we wandered down a street, but it was full of bus routes and seemed to be meandering off into residential areas.  we quickly turned and made our way back to the metro stop and then will spotted the necessary sign to get us there.  when we got there we made our way up and down the crooked little aisles and pilfered through all of the items.  we saw loads of mis-matched silver plated utensils (which is what i wanted) and then spent the next few hours just looking for the exact right pieces.  we finally came upon a lady sitting with a dog drinking an espresso.  she spoke english quickly after we used our broken french and we chatted about a crucifix she had on a display in the front of her booth.  she told us it was from the 1800's and we admired how delicate it was.  we asked how much it would be and figured we could swing it, so we picked it up.  we asked her if she had any silverware and she said that she didn't, but her friend did - and said she would escort us to their booth.  there we found nothing but silverware so she helped us dig through the bins for the classic french pieces.  our one interesting find was a booth with all sorts of metal press letters.  we dug through and found all of the w's we could find.  if i had more room in my suitcase i would have taken home lots of furniture, but shipping back to the us was just not something the budget would allow.

after the flea market we headed over to montmartre.  i knew we'd be seeing it the following day on our tour, but also knew the weather was not going to be as splendid as it was on monday, so we figured we'd soak it in while we had the sunny window.
the sacre coeur church is one that has always been my favorite.  you're not permitted to take photos inside, but even the outside is exquisite.  then, there is the way its perched atop the hill in montmartre, its just definitely something to see. 
at the top of the hill you can see all of paris.  the city is so expansive, but because of the lack of high rise buildings, the skyline is so unique.  we sat for a while and just admired the view.

everything seems so peaceful from up here.  it was nice to see all of the landmarks and where they are in relation to one another.  it showed us how far we'd already walked!

that night we rested our feet and went out for a picnic by the eiffel tower for dinner and the elevator ride to the top.  we went to the market and got some foie gras, some wine, cheese, and fruit.  then we went to a boulangerie and got a baguette and found our way to a little park bench.  we enjoyed our romantic little picnic under the gleam of the tower.  after the pic nic we made our way to the line to wait for our turn in the tower.  i  am not a fan of heights, so  i was a little nervous, but i knew millions of people have done it before -so i kept my fear under wraps.
upon getting to the third level i realized how windy it was and then decided i must brace myself by holding on to the structure itself.  i was afraid to let go of my phone, but i let will grip it at the same time to take my picture so i could prove i went to the top!
on tuesday we had signed up for a sight seeing tour of paris.  there were supposed to be four people on the tour, but because of the weather we ended up with a private tour.  the driver was very nice and told us if there was anything we wanted to do or see that was not on the list to just let him know.  we felt like we got a great overview of the city, got to see notre dame inside and out, drove all over town in the shelter from the sprinkles, got to see the moulin rouge, and then got a personal tour of montmartre (where the driver was born and raised).  

that night we had an amazing dinner at cafe constant.  we love getting dressed up and going to dinner, so this was right up our alley.  we had no reservations, but we decided to go check it out.  when we arrived there were people all milling about the bar area, but nobody seated at a table.  after some time we figured out that the first seating is at 7pm, and nobody gets a table before then.  so, when 7pm rolled around we were all escorted upstairs where we could sit to prepare for the dinner service.  we both enjoyed and favored will's duck dish and thought it was one of the best of the trip.  however, the appetizer ouef moullet, a deep fried soft boiled egg over mushroom sauce - was expertly executed and divine enjoyment.  my dessert - il flottante was so delicate and delicious, i will never forget every pillowy bite!

the next day we knew we had a moderately sunshiny day so we decided we would literally walk all over paris and take a river cruise.  we started out with finding the best coffee shop in town and headed in that direction.  here we found amazing cortados and lattes and just enjoyed the scenery for a bit.  after coffee we found a boulangerie on our way to our walking tour.  we stopped in for some quiche and pastries and then made our way to the steps by the seine river.  we enjoyed our leisurely breakfast and soaked in the sun.   after enjoying breakfast we walked along the seine and made our way to the docks where you could do a river cruise.  we opted for the open air cruise to be able to take pictures.  it was a bit chilly when the clouds covered the sun, but it was fine in gloves and coats.
these ladies kept barging their way to the front of the boat to take their pictures on various devices.
after the river cruise we decided to walk to the arc de triomphe to see that and the champs-elysées.  here we hiked to the top of the spiral staircase inside the arc to see the view from the top.  i had never done this before, so it was a fun experience for us to share as a first together.  the views were incredible!  after sight seeing we at lunch at a sidewalk cafe and i enjoyed the most delicious salade nicoise.  it was so fresh and full of flavor.   it just so happened that laduree was on the same street, so while in the neighborhood we had to go investigate more macaroons.    
this night we came home and rested our feet a little before going out to another amazing dinner.  this time we went to le cristal de sel, which was absolutely amazing.  here we had some of the most attentive service, forgiveness for broken french, and delicious fare.  will had a truffle rissotto (fregola sarda comme un risotto à la truffe noire) that was unbelievable, and my lobster ravioli (ravioles de langoustines, embeurrée de choux et beurre de nage) were so delicate and savory - i can still taste it now!  our wine pairings were delicious and the environment was so relaxing and sweetly charming.  we both just loved this place!
the day before we'd also injured raffie jr. in a fall at montmartre.  he fell off a granite pilaster and broken his leg clean off when he hit the cobblestone.  we were able to get a bandaid from my toiletry kit to temporarily mend him so he could carry on his journey until he returned to the us where he could receive medical treatment.  he was a good sport about it, but he did ask to be propped up quite a bit.
thursday was our big day to go to the louvre.  unfortunately it was raining, but we put on our coats and grabbed our flimsy umbrella and headed out.  even more unfortunately was with the rain came wind, and our inferior umbrella was no match for the weather outside the louvre.  the line wrapped from one side of the pyramid to the other side of the courtyard.  luckily we were only out in it for about 30 minutes, and we dried out quickly once we made it inside.  

while inside the louvre we headed for the highlights, knowing that will had never seen these things before.  we had to see the mona lisa, the venus de milo, religious art, the dying slave, and the egyptian art exhibit.  it was a lot to try and fit in, but we made it all happen.  we were inside for about four hours, and after our tour we headed out to pont des art to put our lock on the bridge.  we had hoped to make it to the catacombs, but it was just all too much planned for one day and we did not make it there before they closed and we ended up walking around (semi-lost) for about an hour.  it was the only thing we'd been unable to locate and were sad to find it on google maps and see that we'd literally walked right past it several times without knowing.  will says it gives us reason to have to go back.  (i think he liked it here.)

 and before you think, oh man how cliche - it really is as romantic as one might suppose to clasp your lock onto this bridge and throw the key into the seine.
it started to rain a bit more heavily at this time and so we made our way over to a bistro and enjoyed a cappuccino, more foie gras, and some escargot.  after the rain let up we walked back to our hotel and rested some.  we were getting pretty tired at this point so instead of heading out and across town for our last dinner we decided to go to le suffren - it was right around the corner from our hotel and they had gobs of fresh seafood out on display at all times.  we'd seen it all week and been thinking about oysters and thought it would be a good fit.  we were glad we made that decision.  we started our dinner with a champagne toast and a platter of fresh french oysters.  they were ginormous!  my dad would have been so jealous!  we enjoyed every bite and then settled into our entrees.  i had duck and will had steak.  both were well cooked, but not as good as the two previous night's dinners.  because we knew we needed to clean up macaroons we opted to skip dinner and take our tired feet back to the hotel.  

our last day was friday and we had to start the process of heading to the airport by noon, so we knew we did not have much time to do many things.  we opted to go back to our favorite patisserie (eric keyser) to taste those amazing croissants, pain au chocolates, and other treats one last time.  even though it was a little cloudy we decided to go back to the park where we'd enjoyed our espresso a couple times before, just to absorb it all one last time.  after pastries we did a little souvenir shopping before it was time to load into the taxi and head to the airport.  

we had an amazing time of reconnection and focusing on each other.  we enjoyed most every second (aside from my body's overreaction to some eczema that had us attempting to speak french in a pharmacy - allergies are for the birds).  we loved experiencing another culture, seeing all of the history, and doing new things together.  however, we missed our boy terribly and even though we talked with him on facetime every single day, it was hard to see him over four thousand miles from our grasp.  we love that little fella with all of our souls and while we knew he would not enjoy paris, france at this age - it was still hard to not be with him for so long.

the night we got home from the airport we quietly entered his room and just watched him sleeping for quite some time.  it brought tears to my eyes to see him peacefully resting there.  i kissed my hand and then rubbed the back of his head.  finally we were back together.  

within a week i was headed for created for care (adoption retreat in lake lanier, ga) with my sisters and mom.  that is a whole nother post, which i hope to get to shortly.  however, as soon as i get home from one last business trip this coming friday i plan to do nothing but rest and relax with my boy.  i've missed just resting with him on the bed and holding him while he watches his shows or holding him on my lap while i read him a story.  while traveling the globe is something i think everyone should get the chance to do in their lifetime, having that one on one time with your children is something that is so much more comforting and treasureable than any foreign city could ever hope to be.  soon, we'll get to rest.