We've had a great week filled with all kinds of fun things! On Thursday evening, Shelley Bedford flew in from AL! Friday morning we set up the house for a party, got everything as packed up as possible for a weekend away, the drove to Orlando to pick up some friends and have others follow us back. Mike took 1/2 day off work and came home around noon to keep the kids until we returned and my mom pitched in to babysit until then.
We had an "adventure" with almost running out of gas (we went at least 10 miles with it saying "0 miles to E"!) and riding with the A/C off and windows down with 6 of us in the car... well, let's just say we made it back on a literal wint and a prayer! :)
We had 5 WONDERFUL girls from church volunteer their time to come and be extra hands here at the house during the get-together! There were 34 people all together including 9 with Down syndrome, 15 under 10 years old! I enjoyed visiting with everyone (and will post pic's soon!) and getting to know the Smith family (adopting Dasha from EE), and the Andrews family (adopted 4 girls, 3 w/ Ds), and half of the Dickenson family (it was a girls' weekend!). What a blessing to be able to get to spend that time with these families, and for the girls at church to willingly volunteer their Friday afternoon to come and love on all the kids and let the parents (including us!) get to spend time with the other adults and getting to relax just a bit.
THANK YOU Anna, Sara, Rachel, Denise, and Maria!!!!
After the party we cleaned up since we were leaving town and we headed over to Orlando for the weekend. The National Down Syndrome Conference was this weekend and Mike's parents offered us their timeshare to be able to attend. It was a PERFECT set up for us and we are so grateful to have been allowed to use it! It had 3 bedrooms and we had TEN of us there for the first night, then ELEVEN, then TEN again!
Why 11 for one night? Because with the 7 kids, Mike and I and Shelley, we had 10 until Patrick's mom, Lyndi, came in to town on Saturday night! Sunday afternoon Shelley flew out, so their stay only overlapped by a day. It was great getting to spend more time with both of them though! (And we're hoping that Shelley's whole family will be able to come down for Thanksgiving this year, since we did Thanksgiving up there last year!).
The conference was great-- more details on that later :)
After a weekend of BUSY, we brought Micah and Emma back to our house on Sunday evening after dropping Shelley off at the airport and they stayed the night with grandma back at our house. Though we debated back and forth about whether to have anyone stay home that night or not, we decided that they would get some extra grandma time, and the other kids would get to do some "big kid stuff". Though James and Lynae aren't exactly "big kids" yet, neither is able to be left home overnight very easily, and two littles still let us do the 'big kid' stuff without having to aim for a 7pm bedtime for them!
We went to the pool that evening back in Orlando then to Downtown Disney the next morning.
Tired, make that exhausted, we got home mid-afternoon and I was glad to start counting to 7 again (it felt WEIRD to only have 4 kids with us plus Patrick!).
Then... I started laundry (x 4 loads) and sorting Patrick's stuff out of the other 6 kids' clothes. I *think* the only thing that was left here was a pr of underwear that he wore last night (and Brianna peed on after he changed this morning...) and a pair of PJs (and of course the PJ and underwear that I threw out after he pooped in them... and alllllllllll over). That's all we've figured out this far anyway and we knew those before he even left.
So, this morning Lyndi and Patrick hit the road to drive 13 hours back to Tennessee. We'll miss having Patrick around, and it's already weird here this morning without him! But, he will be back! He'll be visiting again when his new brother's paperwork is straightened out in Russia and the facilitators invite Lyndi to come back to finish the adoption. That trip should be closer to 1 week rather than 2-3 weeks, but I'm glad to know he'll be visiting again soon :)
And now... we're down to 6 kids! Which may just feel like a vacation after 7 :).