Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trouble in School

Yesterday we got an e-mail from Shy's school teacher. It seems that she was not listening to what the teacher was telling her during math class and as a result, the teacher took 5 minutes of recess away from Shy.

When we asked her about it, she did not want to talk about it at all and got quite irate about it.
We explained that that behavior was not acceptable and it was important that she listened to her teacher. She said she didn't care about recess and when we told her no TV after dinner, she said she didn't care about that either. She got quite angry and started yelling at us. We know she was more upset with her self than with us, so we just kind of let that part of it go.

She just didn't want to talk about it. She knew we were upset with her, and I think that was enough. So after dinner we just let her read and finish up her homework and then it was off to bed.

When DW was putting her into bed, she said she was sorry that she didn't behave well in class, and that she was also sorry for the way she acted about it at home. She was very loving.

These are the times when we believe that she is still testing us. I think she wants to see if we will still love her no matter what she does. Of course the answer is yes. The only thing I worry about is how far she will go to see if we still love her. Of course our love for her will never waiver, but we don't want her to do anything in the future that is going to require more than a simple apology to make things a little better. The last thing we want is for her to be labelled as a trouble maker by the teachers or the school.

And I know most of you already know this, but we do still lover he and always will. She is an absolutely wonderful and beautiful little girl, and nothing she does could ever change that.

The challenge is getting her to believe that!


Friday, January 27, 2012

New Places, New Experiences, New People

First.... for those of you interested, Shyanne did earn a sticker yesterday.
Last Saturday Shy and I went to the Northeast Clown Institute being held in Plymouth, Ma. It is a short ride from where we live and Shy likes clowns. I know that there are a lot of people who think clowns are creepy, but Shy likes them.
On the other hand, the clowns I know are all pretty good guys. The main reason we went up there was so I could see some friends of mine. You see this institute is run by the Shriner's Organization. They have clowns at all of their temples and they go around to different events that children may be at, and also work at the Shrine Circus events held around the country.
Most people have heard about the Shriner's Hospitals and all the good work they do. All the funding for those hospitals comes from the Shriners, so they are definitely a great organization, and one I know all Shriners are proud of.
I have two friends from Maine who are Shrine clowns and they were going to be there. One was actually the "Dean" of the institute. So Shy an I went up there. Since their wives were not coming DW was not real interested so she had some alone time at the house while Shy and I had some "Princess/daddy" together time.
We watched as all the clowns paraded on stage for a make-up competition. Unfortunately, they didn't announce winners until the next morning, so we don't know who won. (neither of my friends participated in that particular part). When that was over, Shy and I waited until my two friends could get away. In the meantime, Shy collected cards from all the clowns, and had her face painted as a butterfly by a clown. She really enjoyed all of that.
Then it was off to dinner. We ate at a nice Italian restaurant, and said our good-byes and went home. IT was a great day. Anytime we take Shy anywhere or do anything out of the ordinary she just eats it up. She loves doing things that are different. The more we do different things, the more she thrives. It is the sitting around at home that she doesn't like so much, and that is why there are days that she does not earn a sticker.
She just needs to be doing new things, experiencing new places, and having fun with other people. The cruise in 3 weeks should be just up her alley!!! and ours too!! None of us can wait for that trip and vacation. I am sure I will have plenty of stories to tell when we return.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


When we went to play therapy this week, the therapist gave us some stickers to give to Shyanne when she has a good day. That was on Tuesday.

Since they came from the therapist, it is very important to Shy that she gets a sticker every day. She really thinks they are special, and she wants to be able to tell the therapist that she has gotten them.

Yesterday she did not get a sticker.

She was very upset about that, but we are hoping that today turns into a better day and she can get a sticker. She has two friends coming home with her after school today. I don't know if that will be a good thing or a bad thing, but as long as she wants to be good and get one of these stickers hopefully it will be good.

As I was getting ready to leave for work this morning I told her she needed to be good enough to get a sticker today. After that she wanted a big hug and a kiss. Then as I was pouring my coffee in the kitchen and getting ready to leave, I was yelled to three different times in a 5 minute period from the bedroom area of the house. What was she yelling?

"I love you daddy!"

I love her too. I hope she earns a sticker.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winning Isn't Everything....Or Is It?

Now to most of us, winning isn't everything (except maybe when you are talking Patriots and Super Bowl, or Red Sox and World Series). But in our everyday life when we are playing a game of cards with our spouse or playing chess or sorry with our children, winning isn't the most important thing.

We all know that in our hearts and on many occasions, we express that to our children. When I sit down or lie on the bed to play a game with Shy, it is all about playing the game. It is about having fun together and enjoying each other's company. It is about quality family time.

The last thing it is about is who wins and who loses. Yet no matter how many times we say that, to Shy (and I know most other children as well) it is all about winning. Shy just can't stand to lose.

Now she plays basketball at school. She played T-Ball last year and they didn't keep score in those games. As a result, there is no winner or loser. That is the way it should be. The only thing is, how do you play sorry, or Candyland, or Chess and not have a winner or a loser.

The only way the game ends is when someone wins and someone loses. Now I want Shy to be competitive and I want her to have some drive to do well, but I don't want her to become all obsessed with the winning and losing. I want her to enjoy the games we play for just that purpose. Enjoyment!

We never make a big deal out of who wins and who loses, but still she can get very upset when she loses. Sometimes to the point of not wanting to play or just leaving and pouting. Again, I know this is far from uncommon and actually is way too common. I just don't like it and don't want Shy to become a sore sport, or just not enjoy playing when she isn't winning. I want her to have enjoyment for the person who wins. whomever that may be.

I suppose I could only play games that don't have a winner and loser. You know like playing house or playing with dolls. But that isn't really my thing. So, how do I instill in Shy the fact that sometimes it is OK to compete and do well and maybe not be so happy when you lose, but that it is more important to be a good sport and congratulate the person who wins and not be such a sore loser?

Any ideas?


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Daisy Girl Scout


Yesterday Shy became officially a "Daisy" Girl Scout. While this isn't a very good picture, Shy is the one getting her daisy pin. She was very proud of that and was even wearing her little vest at home after dinner.

It used to be that mothers everywhere would be working hard sewing on all the patches, and all the troop numbers. I guess Girl Scouting has gotten really big, as her troop number is a 5 digit number.

DW is very thankful that all the numbers and patches now come in the iron on variety. Follow the instructions and they should all stick.

Now, I am not a vast wealth of knowledge about Girl Scouting and what the vision of Juliette Gordon Lowe was when she started Girl Scouts a century ago. What I do know is that this is yet another opportunity for Shy to spend time with girls her own age. Do the things that girls like to do, and do it with some guidance and mentoring provided.

That is just what Shy needs. It is truly a perfect fit. I don't know how long she will spend in scouting. Whether or not she will just be a daisy and never go on, or if she will advance all the way up to Senior Girl Scouts and get the Gold Award someday.

It really doesn't matter. For right now, Daisies is perfect for her and she loves it!!! (personally, the cookies aren't bad either!)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Patriots and Loud Noises

I am a big Patriots fan, and have been for as long as I can remember. I am old enough to have been around when the AFL was formed, and the Boston Patriots started playing at Nickerson Field on the ampus of Boston University. I think they played three seasons there before playing a few over at Fenway Park and then on to their own stadium (Shaefer Stadium) at Foxboro, MA.

I am a much bigger Red Sox fan, but during the late fall and into the winter, I am all Patriots. The problem with that is that Shyanne really does not do loud moises well. She is much better now then she was when she first came, but she is till not totally over her sensitivity to loud noises. It used to be that ambulances and motorcycles would cause her to cry uncontrollably.

Now, unfortunately it is mostly yelling and screaming that she can't handle. Needless to say, yesterdays game required a lot of that in order for me to help the Patriots get through to the Super Bowl. Now my family has told me that the Pats can't hear me from our living room as I yell into the TV Set. They also tell me the Refs can't here me wither, and when I suggest a play, they tell me the coaching staff can't here me either.

I think they are wrong. I worked so hard yesterday, I am dead tired today. By anyone's account that was a very difficult game, and I worked as hard as anyone. (Except maybe Vince Wilfork).

I just have to learn to keep my voice down a little bit, but it is a ways from hear to Foxboro, and I want to make sure they get the word. It is even longer to Indianapolis and that is going to be difficult.

I just have to get Shyanne more involved in the Patriots so that she is yelling and sceraming with me. If they play there the way they played yesterday, a win may not be possible, and I may end up in the ER. So let's hope they play really well, run up the score and get revenge for the 2008 loss in Super Bowl XLII to the NY Giants.


Friday, January 20, 2012

My Wish for Today

"Hard to Say Goodbye" has to be somewhere in the lyrics of hundreds of songs. maybe there are even thousands of songs with that line somewhere in the lyrics. That is because it is true, especially for Shy. She just hates saying goodbye. I think it keeps her from saying hello sometimes too, as she knows deep down that when she says hello, that means at some point there will be a good-bye coming.

Yesterday she had her first play-date with a friend coming right home from school with her. They both had a wonderful time. They had a snack when they arrived, and they went right to playing. They played "Sorry" for a little while, then they played with dolls for a while. They had to get dressed up in "princess" clothing and put on a fashion show for DW and I as well. They went outside on the swing-set for about 15 minutes and also played with a few other things. They certainly kept busy.

Then her friend's father arrived at the appointed time (5:30) and Shyanne just started crying. I mean really sobbing. She was so sad that it was time for her friend to go home. It didn't matter how much we told her she would see her again at school in the morning or that she could come over again, she still did not want to say goodbye.

Now I know some of that was because she was having fun and just didn't want the fun to end. That is normal for all of us. But with Shy, it is far beyond that. She has never liked to say good-bye to anyone. No matter who they are or what they were there for.

This morning was yet another example. As usual, she didn't want me to go to work. I was all ready to go and pouring my coffee into my travel mug when I heard her start calling for me and then all of a sudden she was in tears. I went running and found her in the hall on the floor crying. In her rush to get to me before I left, she had fallen right on her face and hurt her nose. She was again in tears. Then when I held her and gave her a hug and a kiss she didn't want to let me go.

Now, all along I have been thinking that this is because she was taken from her family at a very young age and when she said goodbye to her mother that day, she was sure she would be seeing her again, and while she did see her again, eventually it got to the point where she doesn't see her anymore. As a matter of fact, she hasn't seen her mother now for August of 2009, and before August, 2009 had not seen her since January of 2009. So in the last 3 years, she has only seen her that one time 2 1/2 years ago. Keeping in mind she was only 26 months old when she was removed from her family.

I don't know about the inner workings of a child's mind, but I do know that this little girl hates to say good-bye, and when it is me that she hates to say good-bye to, it just makes me feel all that much worse. I hope there is a day when she can overcome this fear/hatred/loathing of saying goodbye. That is my wish for today.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Too Much Media

Yesterday Shy had Chess club right after school and then swimming after dinner. (All that activity and she still didn't sleep through the night)

Anyway, she loved Chess club. She has learned the names of some of the pieces and knows that they move differently depending on the piece. I guess they had older kids playing with the younger ones kind of teaching them the game. They have this twice a week after school, and she is looking forward to it. I am definitely buying a chess set this weekend so we can teach her more at home. I use to play a lot of chess in my younger days and having someone to play with now will be wonderful.

We picked her up at school at 4:00pm and then it was home. She had time to do her homework before we had dinner at 5:30 and then it was off to swimming. She is making such great progress there. We feel it is important that she be a good swimmer especially now that we live so close to water, and she has certainly learned a lot in these classes. Last night she was able to swim from the edge of the pool out about 20 feet or so and back again. She did this without any floatation assistance or anyone holding on to her. Her form wasn't anything spectacular, but swimming that far on her own will certainly keep her out of any trouble when we are on the cruise chip next month, and by this summer she should be an even stronger swimmer.

After swimming it was back home. Into the shower to get all of the chlorine washed off, and then it was just about time for a story and bed.

So what does the title have to do with that. Well, there was a story on the news about how many hours of media input children are getting these days. By media they were referring not only to television, but to computers, Ipads, smartphones and all of those types of devices. At some ages they were averaging over 10 hours a day!!!

I am happy to say that the extent of Shyanne's media exposure is much more limited. She gets a little TV and computer time in the morning after she is ready for school, and then she gets a little more after she comes home from school on the days when there are no activities. But on a day like yesterday, I know total media exposure was less than one hour, and in my opinion that is a good thing.

Today she is having her very first "friend from school home on a play date after school" event. I will fill you in on how that goes tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why does Xylophone start with an "X"?

Shy is doing really well in school, and we are certainly happy for that. One way we can tell how well she is doing by the questions she asks.

Since she is just in first grade, there is a big focus on reading and writing. She reads wonderfully and loves to write as well. When we go away on vacation next month she will be keeping a journal and I am looking forward to including some of her journal entries right here in this blog. I think it will be interesting for everyone.

She is really a good writer in terms of putting her thoughts together, getting them on the paper and making them flow rather smoothly. In my mind those are great accomplishments for a little girl who just turned 6 in October.

The one area that doesn't work so well is spelling. Yes, there are those words that come up frequently in reading and writing sometimes referred to as "popcorn" words, but there are certainly other names. She has those down pretty good.

When it comes to sounding things out, she gets the phonetics right most of the time even if she doesn't know how to spell a particular word. Because of her ability to keep a story going with a good flow, you can usually tell what the word is supposed to be seeing how it is used in the sentence. All great for Shy, and helps to show us that she is doing well.

The problem comes when she sees a written word, knows what it says and then asks why it isn't spelled differently. This is the real key to our knowing she is doing well.

Last evening she was on the computer and the word on the computer was Xylophone. She knew what it said. Then she asked the question:

"Daddy, Why doesn't Xylophone start with a "Z"?

So not only did she have the spelling correct and the pronunciation correct, but she knew the phonetic sound and the letter that makes that phonetic sound. All good things in my mind. Now, I may be a little bias and making a lot out of something that isn't so big, but I was impressed., and it gives me reason to talk about how wonderful Shy is doing in school.

You know in my dictionary at work, there are only 71 words listed for the letter "X". 47 of those words begin phonetically with the "Z" sound. All of the others just say the letter "X" before whatever follows such as X-Ray or X-Coordinate. Even with all included, "X" takes up less than one page. Why do we have it?

On the other hand "S" has 165 pages.

While I am only asking for the word Xylophone, but keep[ing in mind it goes for all the other words out there. I have one question.

Why does Xylophone start with an "X" instead of a "Z"?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


So we have tried two things. One old, and one new.

The old:

When Shy had first started coming into our room a lot a couple of years ago, we got to the point where we were very adamant that she had to get back to her own bed and go to sleep there. After the problem went away, we weren't worried about it and the occasional trip into our bedroom at night was not discouraged. We would tell her in the morning that it was not acceptable, but we weren't as good about making her go back into her room. That was a mistake we made, and now we are back to making sure she goes back to her own bedroom when she comes in.

The new:

We gave Shy three tickets. They could identify anything she might want AFTER she goes to bed. All three have turned into "HUGS". So she has three chances after she goes to bed to call us into her room if she wants us. Each time, she must turn in a ticket. When she runs out of tickets, she can no longer call us into her room that evening, but she gets the tickets back the next day.

This gives her the feeling that we will be there if she wants us, but gives us the satisfaction of knowing our evening time together will not be interrupted more than 3 times.

Of course last night was different. In the past, all time the ticket has been turned in was while we were still awake. Last night, I was woken up by a tapping on my shoulder. I was being tapped with her last remaining ticket for a hug. So, I took the ticket, walked her back into her room, gave her a hug, and that was the end of it.

At least she didn't even attempt to stay in our room and was fine about going back to her own room. I think the ticket thing is a good idea and is working well. I also think we accomplished what we wanted to with sending her back to her own room. Now it is up to us to maintain, and not let the occasionally trip into our bedroom be a long one.

I'll let you know how we do.


Friday, January 13, 2012

More of the Same

Today was another day that Shy didn't want me to leave. It was actually a night where she came into our bed either very late at night or very early this morning. This was a huge problem when she first came to us, but we had made a lot of progress and she hardly ever comes into our room at night. The past week or so, that has changed.

I wish I knew what the catalyst was for this behavior so that we could deal with it more appropriately, but when she comes in and gets into our bed, and neither of us notices it, it kind of makes it difficult.

We have told her that she can't come into our room before I get up in the morning. Now that is pretty early as my alarm goes off at 5:18am (yeah I know, a strange time, but that's another story). Today I woke up before my alarm at 5:10 and there she was, fast asleep between DW and I. I wasn't going to wake her up and send her back to her room for 8 minutes, so I just went ahead and got up and got ready for work.

When I came out of the shower and into the bedroom, she was up. I needed to give her a big hug and kiss, and after I was all dressed and out in the kitchen getting a cup of coffee to bring to work, she came out of the room, put her arms around me, and wouldn't let go. She just stayed there hugging me.

Again, I wish I knew what triggered these periods of time where she goes through this, but there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for it. I guess I will have to keep closer track of when it occurs. We did keep a journal when she first came to us as a foster child with all the details and particulars of everything that happened every day, but after she was with us a while, nothing seemed to be all that important, and since the adoption, we really haven't felt the need.

I think DW and I have to give some thought to keeping a journal so that we can go back and see everything that has happened and if we date it all, then maybe that will help. Anyway, in the meantime, we will just keep assuring Shy that we are here to stay and that we will always be here for her, no matter what.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Longing For a Day

Shy is going through a stage where she is very clingy. She has gone through these stages the whole time she has been with us. It is certainly understandable, given her past. It does seem as though there is more and more time in between the times she is clingy, and they certainly don't seem to last as long as they once did.

today, for the second time in less than a week, she did not want me to go to work in the morning. Now I leave the house relatively early and usually she is still fast asleep. But for the last week or so, she has been waking up more and on two occasions was awake when I was leaving for work.

On both of those occasions, she did not want me to go to work. She gives me a hug, and then just won't let go. I ask her to let me go and she says "No, I don't want you to go to work". After I give assurances that I will see her after school, she is OK and lets go off the hug and off I go to work.

Now the good side of all of this is that the hugs are really good ones. She holds on tight and that part of it I enjoy. I certainly understand that there was a time when the people she loved were taken away from her, and even though she was just over the age of 2, it is still in there.

I understand it

I do my best to make sure she understands I will be back.

I enjoy the hugs.

I hope it ends soon, because I know the reason she feels this way, and I don't want her to ever feel that we will be leaving her. I keep telling her we are her "forever family". I know it and believe it to my inner core. I long for the day when Shyanne will feel that way as well.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Not Too Much

You may remember that at one point I was wondering if the Monday schedule was going to be too much for Shy.

She is at the bus stop at 8:30 am for school. School gets out at 3:10pm and it is down the hall to Daisies which starts at 3:15. Daisy's ends at 4:15 when either DW or I pick her up and whisk her off to dance class which starts at 4:40 and runs until 6:00pm. then she gets picked up and brought home for dinner.

Diner will be done by 6:30 at which time homework (not much) and then maybe a little TV and off to bed at 8:00am.

Is it too busy and hectic? I think not....

She is not complaining and is fast asleep by 8:05. so we are certainly not complaining either!!!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Family Tree

At Sunday School yesterday Shy's class was tasked with drawing a family tree. She was given the choice of doing her mother's side, or her father's side. She chose my side. I am not sure why, and I didn't really ask as it was not very complete anyway.

What I found most interesting was that she showed her biological brothers as part of the same family. I thought she understood that there were two different families, and maybe she was just showing them because they are her brothers, but I am not sure.

I want to address the situation so that she is clear and remains clear on how her family tree looks, but I am not sure how an adoption is typically depicted on a family tree. She is the first person in our family to be adopted.

I also don't want to forget the fact that she has a biological family so that it is totally disregarded, but by the same token, I want to make sure she clearly understands that we are her forever family and she will remain a part of our family tree for generations and generations to come.

I bring issues up here for two reasons. One is so that other people can read about issues that arise and issues they may face with their adopted/foster children, but also to get some advice for myself and DW as to how to best handle situations that come up. There is a lot of knowledge lurking around these boards, and I have found in most cases I can put it to good use......so,

All you lurkers, here is an opportunity to put in your 2 cents worth.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thank You "r."


If I knew how to operate this software and my computer better, I would have a link that directs you to the comment made on my blog entry from yesterday. Since I am not that technologically savvy, I will have to count on you to look at it for yourself.

I bring it up because it is one of the reasons I find this blog, and other blogs like it so useful. There are points of view mentioned that I haven't always thought about.

No, "r." I did not take it as a lecture. I am hopeful I took it in the spirit in which it was given.

I do think about what to say to Shy when she starts asking questions. Actually, she already does ask some questions, and I have got those down pretty good, but I know there will be more and more questions asked as she gets older, and I suspect that they will not get any easier. I have often thought about what the answer will be if the question is "Why did my mother stay with my father and choose him over me?"

I didn't really know what the answer would be, and I think I have a few more years before that will come up as right now she doesn't know the full reason for why she came to be with us. What we have told her is simply that her parents were not able to keep her safe. That has been fine with her at this age. She is very accepting of that answer and quite comfortable with it.

I know better to think it will stay that way, and I am sure that other question will ultimately come and I will need an answer. I think the information provided by "r." will certainly be helpful, as well as other information I have received while writing this blog.

I hope you find it useful as well.

Thank You "r."


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Half Sibling

As I mentioned yesterday, Shyanne has a half-brother. He was the first child removed from the home and was removed over a year earlier than Shyanne and her 4 full brothers. Within a few months of Shy and her brothers being removed from the home Parental Rights were terminated for Shy's mother regarding this half-brother.

This half-brother had the same mother as all the rest, but a different father. We are told that his step-father (Shy's biological father) liked to use him as a punching bag. I guess he frequently got in between his step father and his mother to try and protect his mother. I think it would have been nice if his mother had left his step-father to protect him and all of her children, but for some reason, that I can't imagine, she would not and does not leave that man.

Anyway, I have not really mentioned this boy much on this blog as he was taken from the home when Shy was very very young (about 1) and Shy has only a vague memory that there may have been a brother other than the 4 she knows, but no real memory of him in particular. So why do I mention him now.

Well, being the careful and protective father that I am, I have a second persona on Facebook that I have developed. I actually have about 1500 friends on that persona, and I only know 2 of the people I am "friends" with. Shy's biological mother and father. I am not really friends, but because I consider her father to be a dangerous man, I wanted to be able to keep track of them and any comings or goings or anything else that may be mentioned on their Facebook pages. It was important to me to provide that extra bit of protection for Shy.

So I was on this weekend, and I noticed that Shy's biological father had a new friend who had sent him a message. The friend was the half-brother. After checking further, I found that he was NOT friends with his mother. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! He is friends with the man who beat him up numerous times, but has no contact yet with his mother. The whole thing is baffling to me.

Anyway, that is why I mention it now. I will continue to follow both bio parents on Facebook and check in on them periodically. The half-sibling is now 18 so he can have contact with whomever he wants. I know his mom was hoping he would come back to live with them when he turned 18. At this point, there is no sign of that, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sisters (and a brother too)

Vacation is over and today I am back to work. It was a great period of time off that I really needed. It was the first full week off I have taken since moving to the Cape and starting this new job back in June.

We went to Maine to visit with Amy and Kari and their families. We spent most of the time at Amy's house while we were there. Shyanne has a wonderful time when she is with her sisters and her nephew. It is amazing to me how that works out. I know that inherently most sisters are pretty close to each other. While that isn't always the case, for the most part, a sister will always come to help out her sister.

But I wouldn't have thought that to be the case with Shyanne. Even though Amy and Kari are her sisters, they did not grow up in the same house and when Shyanne came to live with us, they were not living in the house. We simply spent time with them and told Shyanne they were her sisters.

Now keep in mind that Shyanne didn't have any sisters before coming to live with us. She only had 4.5 older brothers (yes there is a "half" brother in the mix as well, and that is another story I will tell you about tomorrow.) Anyway, Amy and Kari are her first and only sisters and they never lived in the same house together. In spite of that, they act just like you would expect sisters to act. They even have the occasionally spat when the older sister wants to act like a parent to the younger sister.

That is when the older sister tells us how spoiled we are making her younger sister. It is really amazing. We heard the same things about her first younger sister. Anyway, I have found that dynamic to be quite interesting, and it makes me very happy. I know that they will always be there for Shyanne and that is important to me. As those of you who follow this blog know, one of our concerns was our age when adopting Shy. It makes me feel good knowing that if anything should happen to DW and I, Shy will have two very loving sisters to look after her.

She also has a brother who will look after her as well I am sure. It is nice knowing I can count on them, if needed. And that Shy loves them all so much. She is truly a part of our family.

Now, is it OK that I am already looking forward to our next vacation which is only 6 weeks away and will include a cruise in the Caribbean. Won't that be grand. Shyanne is looking forward to it too.