About themielkeway

I'm Andrea~ teacher, foster momma to 17 little angels, wife to Ian (otherwise known as Dizzle) and Mommy to the three loves of our lives...Grae, RJ and Gigi. Am I a lucky girl, or what? ;)

My boy

I take the toddlers to a weekly art class and last week they had a substitute teacher.  They were both pretty apprehensive about entering the room, so I turned my back and started making their name tags.  When I turned around, Grae and Jaydon were sitting in the front row together, listening and holding hands.

Grae and I have our best talks before nap time  and we talk often about the special role of being a big brother. We talk about how big brothers are protectors . We talk about how he will get to look out for his baby sister and hold her hand in new, scary situations.

To know that Grae was there, holding Jaydon’s hand in a big group of kids sets my heart on fire. He’s listening to those whispered conversations we share and he’s acting on it. I couldn’t be more proud.

Grae Turns Two!

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo,

Graeson Royce is Turning TWO!

We celebrated Grae’s second birthday with a train themed party this weekend!  What a blast! We had the most amazing day with family and friends, and took tons of pictures so G will remember it forever.

Grae’s first words when he opens his eyes in the morning are always, “Choo Choo, Mama?! Choo Choo!” And then we have to go through his options to figure out what choo choo his little heart desires that morning- Dinosaur Train Cartoons, Thomas Cartoons, his Brio Train toys from Grandma and Grandpa, or his big, remote control train.  So, we knew that this year’s party just had to be all about his adored trains.

I’d been squirreling away decorations for months, so it was fun to stand back and see how all the ideas came together! Thank you so much to my wonderful family for helping make it so very special.

We kept the food simple and toddler friendly- all of G’s favorites (with a train-themed name, of course):

IMG_8423 IMG_8424 IMG_8426 IMG_8427 IMG_8428 IMG_8429 IMG_8431 IMG_8432 IMG_8652(GREAT GRANDMA HILDRED’S RECIPE!)

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Our guests took home conductor hats, train whistles, and adorable (handmade by Grandma) candy trains as party favors- and it was an extra fun treat to see our whole family riding around the neighborhood in a Thomas train with their conductor hats on- what good sports! 😉

Table Settings

Cake Table

The forecast was calling for rain in the morning, so we were hesitant to set up in the yard, but thankfully the rain held off and we could have the party out on the back deck with the kid-sized picnic table that Daddy and Uncle Khyle built special for his party.


We had a couple of different activities planned: A trackless train painted like Thomas that took us for rides around the neighborhood, an industrial sized cotton candy machine, bubbles- complete with bubble wands and a bubble refill station, and a remote control train that was circling the cake table.  I think I had as much fun as the kids! 🙂


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Our outgoing little guy didn’t quite know what to think when we sang him happy birthday.  He got very serious and reserved and looked down at his feet when he realized this whole day was about him. 🙂



It was just a wonderful day and the perfect celebration for one of the sweetest little boys in our lives. Grae brings so much joy and happiness to our family and we cherish every opportunity we get to celebrate him. I can’t believe another year came and went so fast – before you know it, we’ll be here again, watching him blow out three candles as he runs off his sugar buzz. Until then, we count our lucky stars for every day we get to watch him grow.

We love you, Graeson! Hooray for turning two!

Trick Or Treat

We really made the most out of Halloween this year- we participated in just about every fall festivity Atlanta had to offer for kids. We went to Halloween costume concerts, decorated pumpkins, went to IHOP for Scary Face Pancake Day, Fun Fall Festivals, Casper’s Castle, and neighborhood trick or treating.  The boys wore a whole assortment of costumes from Pirates, Wolverines, Clowns, Astronauts, Puppies, and I’m sure there were more… turns out they love dressing up.  Grae was old enough this year to understand the concept of holding his bag open and getting goodies!  So fun!

I love Halloween. The nostalgia. The glow of pumpkins. The smiles on the faces of people as they open their doors with candy bowls in hand. And the sounds of children laughing throughout the neighborhood.

Hope everyone had a great night.

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I have a dozen half-finished blog posts sitting in my draft folder right now and haven’t published a single one- they are scattered and boring.

And, I think I know why.

Our life is ANYTHING but boring right now.


My every day life has transformed into a huge source of creativity.  I wake up thinking about things I want to accomplish. I go to bed thinking about the next day. It is hard work in the best way and I love it. I’m living and breathing my dream.  I get to spend every day with my children- we are making stuff and going places, and generally having a ball. My science consulting business has hit the ground running and I haven’t even had a chance to come up for air.  18 weeks pregnant, and, we are FOSTERING again!

Two weeks ago, we were blessed with a new little boy to love and cherish while he was in foster care. Little JayJay is two years old.  We picked this angel baby up from the burn unit from an Atlanta Hospital because he has  second and third degree burns from his knees to the bottoms of his feet.  I was instructed how to care for his wounds and change the dressings.  As the nurse unwrapped his legs, I got so dizzy and light headed, I had to hold myself up on his bed.  When the job was done, I walked out of the room and silently sobbed in the hallway.  How do these things happen to babies?  They say he was left unsupervised with a running bath…

But, with very little confidence, we have learned together. We overcame our fears. We have nursed this baby back to health and he’s even walking around our house now! I’ve never felt like I’ve accomplished something so great.

He has proven to be a fighter.  He’s strong. He knows what he wants and how to get it.  He is hilarious and dramatic and smart.  He was set to go back to live with his grandmother tomorrow, but we were told yesterday that this is now very unlikely.  His grandmother asked Dizzle and I to be JayJay’s Godparents.  She said that we are his guardian angels. 😉 How cool. She seems like she loves him to pieces, so we know if he does go home to her, he will be safe.

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~   ~   ~

Tomorrow is Halloween! We have a full day of family fun planned, so we better get to bed.

Here’s to yet another scattered, random post. Thanks for hanging with me. 🙂


Most people think twice before asking strangers personal questions.  There is a line that typically isn’t crossed- nobody asks you how much money you make or questions if the man standing next to you is your husband.  But, for some reason, the rules of etiquette don’t seem to apply when it comes to children.

We brought Grae and RJ with us to our OB appointment this morning and we were asking them if they were excited to hear their baby sister or baby brother’s heartbeat for the first time.  The doctor (who was in the room for our entire conversation) turned around and blatently stated, “Well one of these children belong to you.”  Ummm, excuse me?  Did I just hear you correctly?  I was so shocked, I froze dead in my tracks.  Five minutes passed, and another Nurse Practitioner walked in.  Her first comment- I couldn’t make this up if I tried- was to address RJ:  “Well I know where he (Grae) gets his red hair, but WHERE DO YOU COME FROM?” My blood was (and still is) boiling.  The original doctor came back with a third, completely INSENSITIVE, comment that I think I blacked out.

I’ve been asked the million dollar question:  “Are they brothers?” too many times to count.  And, although even that offended me at first, I have perfected the answer:  “Well they aren’t sisters!” I say with a smile and a wink.

End of story.

But, not only were these two healthcare providers ignorant and insensitive, but they were relentless.  THREE COMMENTS- each more hurtful than the time before?

RJ’s spirit deflating before our eyes… four little ears listening intently- I said nothing.  I did nothing. Ian did nothing.  With tears in my eyes…  we did and said NOTHING.

After the appointment, Ian walked back to them to explain their mistake. I’ve called both of them and personally explained how it made him feel and what it did to us as a family.  I informed the office manager of the ignorance of her practitioners.  I’ve ensured that we will not be seeing either of these ladies again for the duration of my pregnancy.  But, is this the world that we live in?  Will RJ have to answer these questions for the rest of his life?  What do we tell him? How do we protect him?  He is as much our son as G… I never want him to question that.

I’m ashamed of myself for not having the perfect (OR ANY COMMENT FOR THAT MATTER) comment to shut them down dead in their tracks and I’m ashamed that people think they have the right to say whatever they want to in regards to a child.

Please don’t get me wrong- I LOVE talking about foster care and adoption-this has been the single most important and meaningful decision of our lives, how could I not want to share it?   I desperately want to help other people that want to bring children into their homes and share their love.  I love answering questions, but I cannot accept hurtful assumptions that make our son question his place in our family.

What should we have done?  How would you have handled this?


Got Milk?

Our summer was full of exciting adventures and first time experiences.  As we are looking back, it seems one of us had a few more experiences than the rest.  One day we took a trip to Green Meadows Farm.  During our time there, Buttons the Cow was kind enough to show the boys exactly where the milk we drink every day comes from.  In an attempt to show Liam how warm her milk was, I playfully squirted some on his arm.  Little did we know, this playful squirt turned into a more serious discovery.  Got Milk?








In light of this new evidence, Liam was asked a simple question: Did you taste Button’s milk?

Without missing a beat, Liam coyly batted his eyelashes and said, “No…”

We quickly presented EXHIBIT B.  He immediately stopped batting his eyelashes and just as quickly as he had denied the allegations, he smiled and exclaimed, “IT WAS GOOD!”




Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game

I helped him stick each finger in the right hole of his brand new baseball glove with a little lump in my throat.  The moment just felt important.  Soon after, he stood in our driveway, glove still on his hand, and as I snapped a picture, I knew I was capturing so much more than a photo.


RJ’s first baseball practice.  His first sport. His first team.

He has been waiting to play a sport for a whole year.  We just couldn’t find a program that we both felt comfortable with.  Then one night at dinner he announced that he wanted to play baseball.  Ian and I looked at each other and smiled because we both agreed that was the perfect sport for him.  I looked up youth baseball immediately and found that the last day to sign up was that night.  We jumped right on it and his skills assessment was the very next morning.

Ian had to work, and RJ didn’t even have a baseball glove.  So the boys and I woke up early and went to the sports store.  We started trying on gloves and neither of us could figure out why they weren’t fitting until the sales associate came over, little smirk on his face, and put the glove on his left hand for us. OH MAN, was I out of my league.

If ever there was a reason to blog – to capture all the little moments – as I look at my wild-eyed little boy with his cleats two sizes too big and glove on the wrong hand- it’s the constant reminder that this stage will be gone before I’m even done soaking him in.

We got to the ball field and it was pure intimidation for me- utter excitement for him.  Three year olds were hitting balls over the home run fence. They had arms on them better than I’ve seen on high school teams.  Everyone was dressed in baseball pants, socks, jerseys, fully equipped with their own bats, batting helmets, batting gloves, and baseball bags.  I felt like the worst mother in the world showing up to (what I believed to be T-ball) with a little red glove and a Superman water bottle. Liam had never even held a bat or put on a glove until early that morning.

I was so worried for him, but when his name was called, he enthusiastically ran out on the field and said, “WOW, I can’t WAIT to try that!”  The coach hit him some ground balls, and he ran right up to them, grabbed them and threw them to first base like he’d been playing all his life. (Well, maybe not his whole life, but I was IMPRESSED!)

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My little baller sauntered out after the skills assessment, glowing. His first question: “Can I come back and play tomorrow?”

When Ian got home from work we took him back to the sports store and got him his very own equipment.  Something in my gut tells me I better get used to it… I suspect we are going to be buying baseball gloves for years to come.




Captain America

RJ came home from school today declaring that he had the PERFECT name for his new “SISTER”…. The conversation went something like this:

LIAM:  “Isn’t it perfect Mommy?  Can we name my baby sister Captain America?? Please, Please, Pleaseeee??”

ME:  Sure, that’s the perfect name for the baby until it is born!  But how do you know you are going to have a sister?

LIAM:  I just know it… she’s my beautiful sister in your belly.   Wow, I wonder how she’s going to come out!  (HORRIFIED LOOK)  Mommy, will they cut your belly open?

ME: Gosh, I hope not, Buddy… we will have to see though I guess.

LIAM: Just tell Captain America that Big Brother loves her.

(PRAY for me… here’s to 7 more months of questions and conversations with a six year old!)

Seriously though… he just melted my heart…




Proud Momma.