December 31, 2008

Christmas in Arizona

Right after the adoption, we took the 12-hour drive to Arizona to be with our family for Christmas. We are getting to be professionals at long-drives. This was our 4th time this year (and we are headed down again this weekend for another funeral . . .). We know all the best, cleanest bathrooms from American Fork to Mesa.
Highlights from our Christmas:

1. Quading with my family at 4 peaks on Christmas Eve morning. I got to ride in the yellow jeep with my 3 sisters. It's been a long time since it was just us together! We took turns riding Grandpa Neff's old ATV around. The boys loved it! The whole time Kyler was shouting "faster, faster!". At the same time, Kacin was shouting "Slow down!".
2. Eric's uncle, Doug, died Christmas Eve morning. I know it is not a highlight, but a significant event. It was all of the sudden and pretty tragic. Eric had become pretty close to Uncle Doug. I mean, we even have "Got Doug?" t-shirts. His death made the rest of our trip a little more sullen, but a lot more grateful for our wonderful family members and all of the great times and memories we have together. Death always makes you cherish the time you have with others a bit more. It was also great to see Wade, Eric's dad, a little more than we otherwise would have.
3. Hanging out with the Girls
Some of my favorite people! We grew up together in Mesa. I've known these girls since 4th grade and we were so close growing up--always together. It was me, Jenny, Trisha, Jill, and Linnelle at Lisa's house. We were sad Heather and Alyssa couldn't make it!
4. KFC. Even though Grandma and Grandpa Neff weren't here this year, we still had the traditional KFC dinner on Christmas Eve. It was strange not having them around for it all (Grandma died in July and Grandpa died in Oct.). They are definitely missed.
5. Santa came! The boys fell asleep with their heads close together on Christmas Eve whispering about what Santa was doing (getting his reindeer ready of course). Santa filled the stockings with cars and gloves. He left the gifts (unwrapped, Eric!) under their stockings. Camping chairs, a watch (for Kacin), and a skateboard (for Kyler). And he let us know a trampoline was waiting for us in Utah!
6. Biscuits and Gravy Christmas morning. Everyone was there! Even Grandma and Grandpa Allen came over for breakfast. Then we unwrapped all of the presents (except for my camera which I got to open on Christmas Eve--THANK YOU, ERIC!). It was so much fun watching Kacin's face light up each time he opened a gift. He exclaimed almost every time that it was "just what he wanted". Kyler was a bit more passive, except for when he opened up his suit. There was a huge smile for that gift.

7. The Bottom Chin
Kacin was sitting with his Uncle Josh. He looked up at Josh's face and was staring intently at his chin. Then he announced "Your chin looks like a bottom!" Sorry Josh!

8. The Allen Family Un-Talent Show. We performed a lip-synch/dance to "Donde Esta Santa Clause". The boys sang "Jingle Bells" almost perfectly! My dad multiplied into 4 people that did ballet (oddly, another one of him didn't even get off the couch).

9. The scary green bunny. Yes, Dad opened it Christmas morning and it haunted us the rest of the trip. More to come . . .

Merry Christmas!!

December 30, 2008

December 23, 2008: Adoption Day

Kyler Radmall Allred and Kacin Allen Allred are official! We are now legally a family of 4. It was a beautiful, crazy day. Thanks to the amazing Holly (does she really know how great she is?!) we have the whole thing documented in pictures (except for the 20 min. that cameras were banned by the new security guard who didn't know all the rules). It was so great to live in the moment and not worry about trying to snap pictures of everything.

The day began way too early because we still had to pack up the car to leave right after the adoption for Christmas in AZ. We got it all done in time. At about 8:25am we got in the car to drive to the American Fork Court. There was so much snow on the ground from the huge storm the day before! We were scheduled for 8:30am that morning and that's about when we got there. Though someone forgot to tell the judge because she didn't show up until about 9am.
Our attorney had talked to us the day before and let us know to bring 2 things--a check and a camera. The security guard at the entrance refused to let us through with a camera unless we went and got permission from the judge or something like that. I guess he was stepping in for the regular security guards so he didn't know that you can have a camera for adoptions. But this meant that Eric was stuck at the entrance until it was all straightened out. I took the boys on up to the 2nd floor and found everyone waiting there! Pattie and Ella, Emily, Cheryl and Dale, Liz (the CASA), Rhonda (therapist), and Holly were all there. It was so great to have support from such great friends!
On the 2nd floor, we waited . . . and waited . . . signed papers . . . and waited.
They finally called us in at about 9:45am. I wasn't nervous until that moment when I had to walk through the court room doors and it just hit me what was happening. But I think was just more nervous that I'd have to speak in front of everyone. . .

We got to sit together at a table next to our attorney. Kyler was on my lap and Kacin was on Eric's. We started out with Stephanie (the caseworker) testifying that the boys were integrated into our family well and that we were fit and the best family to adopt the boys. At one point, Stephanie was explaining that we do a lot of activities together and Kyler shouted out "Even silly things!".
Eric and I both had to answer a whole list of questions making sure we understood what we were doing by adopting them. When it was Eric's turn, the attorney moved the microphone that was on the table closer to Eric. Kacin realized it was a microphone and kept grabbing at it and trying to talk. He would say "Yes" each time Eric did. So then Kyler thought it was a game and tried to grab the microphone, too. What fun for us to try to keep our children under control in front of the judge! The attorney then gave Kyler a piece of paper to write on (entertained him for a minute) and I heard Eric whisper to Kacin "I'll give you a piece of candy" (Food? Yes, Kacin was quiet the rest of the time!). Kyler had one more thing to say though. He put the pen up to the side of his nose and shouted "A big booger!".
Needless to say, we made it through all of the questions. The judge gave her closing remarks and within them she made the comment that when they are 16 years old they will still be playing with the microphone and talking about boogers, only then it may not be as cute as it was today. :) The judge then invited the boys up to sign the adoption decree. They each wrote their names, picked up the gavel and tapped it on their names to say that they are adopted. Then she offered each of them a teddy bear in honor of the day.
Our adoption celebration "breakfast" ended up being an adoption lunch at Paradise Bakery. We missed having our immediate families there, but we were so grateful to everyone who came!
We are so happy that the boys are "ours" now. We absolutely love them and are so excited that they are part of our family now. We did it!