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lousy likeness

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I took off this week, originally to go on vacation with the family, but gas prices nixed that one in the bud. So we've stayed home this week.

It's worked out kind of nice actually. We've had the chance to get a bunch of different projects done that we normally can't find the time for. And we're able to put our vacation money toward the adoption.
Double bonus!
This afternoon I'm sitting at the computer doing some work on our dossier. Our agency sent us some papers to correct this week...nothing serious just a couple of blanks that were not filled in. They have also given me an idea of what we'll need for the next batch. (I hope they get me the complete list this afternoon - Meshack leaves for a four day conference tomorrow. And you know me...I want to get this to them by the weekend.)
I started compiling those pages today.
One of the items on the list are color photocopies of our passports.
It makes me want to laugh.
Our passport photos are HIDEOUS! They look like mugshots off of America's Most Wanted! Or at best, the worst DMV photo ever!
They look nothing like us!
They were taken almost eight years ago on an extremely hot and nasty muggy early July day! It was awful. Meshack and I are NOT warm weather fans and our car's air conditioner had just given out...by the time we got to Kinko's to get the pictures taken we were cranky, hot, sweaty, droopy, etc.
You get the idea.
Not a pretty picture.
Obviously.
Eight years later we're still stuck with the pictures. We don't want to renew the passports...there's really no need. We still have about a year and a half before they expire. But every time we use them we're afraid the people at immigration think we're a couple of cons.
We're not...honest. We just passed our USCIS background screening! :)

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i'm in love the mailman!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Look what came in our mail this morning!!!!

Our I-171H!
Isn't it sweet?!!!
Woohoo!!!!
We just got our fingerprints done a week ago today and already we have this yummy little piece of paper in our hands!
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!
I bought the 60 to 90 days spiel hook, line and sinker. I wasn't expecting to see this thing for AT LEAST another three weeks or so. So I was convinced Meshack was joking with me when he brought the mail in this morning.
NOPE!
WE'RE APPROVED!
Now we've got to get crackin' on the last little bit of our dossier and get this thing over to Ukraine!
Yipppeeee! :)

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brotherly love

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In the craziness of yesterday's blog I overlooked one quintessential, critical, ultra-important detail. And I wasn't reminded of it until Punky asked JacJac about his hand this morning.
It's a comment my sister-in-law made to me as we were walking into the restaurant after the 'Palm Pinching' incident on Sunday. She said when JacJac's hand was stuck in the door, my other two were 'visibly upset and worried' about him. Punky was on the verge of crying.
Wow!
Isn't that awesome?!
I know for most of you this observation may sound a little weird. I can just hear it now, 'But Tami, all kids should have compassion for others.'
Yes - but not all PI kids DO!
There are so many bags these little ones haul home with them from the orphanage.
No matter how old they are.
There's the fear of abandonment duffle...
the sensory integration satchel...
the no-trust suitcase...
the attachment attache...
And for many kids the no empathy/sympathy trunk.
Now, I don't want to make my kids sound like zombie's who don't see anyone around them...or notice when others are hurt. They do. But I've never seen the level of unease as I saw in the kids that day...and I'm proud.
Darn proud.
I don't want my kids to be traumatized by seeing JacJac's hand caught in a van's sliding door, but it opened my eyes to something that when we brought them home five and eight years ago, I wasn't sure I ever would see.
They empathize and feel the pain of another human being.
And not just any human being...they care deeply for their siblings.
They have brotherly love.
Isn't that awesome!?

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another gray hair

Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm warning you now...
I may not survive raising my youngest son.
I think I'm going to die from fright.
Can you actually die from fright?
It doesn't matter.
I will.
Here's my theory.
I think for every kid-induced scare a mom gets, not only does she get another gray hair...she loses at least couple of hours off her life!
You would think after eight years of parenting I would be an old hand at this, but honestly Q-ball was an easy preschooler. He wasn't a big daredevil and was pretty obedient.
And Punky...well, Punky is a girlie girl. There's not much fright involved with my girlie-girl.
JacJac is another story. At this rate I'm going to die before he graduates from high school!
Here are just a few of my really good scares in the last 24 hours!

SCARE #1 - PALM PINCH
My brother and his family were visiting from Colorado. It was the last night of their visit and we decided it would be nice to go out to dinner. Both families are on an adoption budget, so we went to Ryan's...a buffet where our husbands and their two teenage sons could eat to their hearts content and our wallets could survive.
When we got there we climbed out of our respective vans, gathered the kids and started for the front door.
I had just picked up my 2-year-old nephew and turned toward the door when I heard a blood curdling scream.
I turned around to see JacJac with his hand caught in my brother's van's sliding door. Meshack quickly opened the door, pulled his hand out and gathered a screaming JacJac into his arms.
Side note: One nice thing about being married to a vet. He can assess medical situations very quickly and relieve a lot of my mommy medical mania. I was imagining chopped off fingers and years of plastic surgery to repair the damage.
Thankfully Meshack was there to calmly look the fingers over and figure out JacJac was fine. His hand is bruised and skinned up, but nothing was broken.
I think I lost a good 24 hours.
Sigh.

SCARE #2 - DISAPPEARING ACT
That night when we got home, the kids poured into the back yard to play basketball, baseball, bikes and trucks, the adults sat down on the patio furniture to chat for awhile.
You would think that with JacJac's scare at Ryans, he would only be interested in hanging out on my lap and cuddling.
Nope. Not JacJac.
He ran for the garage, pulled out his bike and took off.
No big deal. The kids know the rules. They can ride on the sidewalk in front of our house or on the back patio. It's never been a problem.
Before last night!
Len, Valerie, Meshack and I were talking away when I noticed how quiet it had gotten.
Where were my children?!
As I stood up to start the search, I heard JacJac yelling 'That was totally wicked!'
I ran to the front yard and didn't see any of them. They weren't in the side side yard either. I turned to start walking up the street, when I saw Q-ball, riding Punky's pink bike, come around the alley corner with JacJac on his bike and Punky following on foot. What were they thinking?!
They know they're supposed to let us know where they're going to be playing. They know Punky and JacJac are not supposed to leave the yard.
And they're certainly not allowed to RIDE THEIR BIKE IN THE STREET (even if it is just an alley!)
Uuuuugh!
All three kids lost their bikes for a week for that infraction.
I never did figure out what JacJac was yelling about. Part of me is afraid of what I'll find if I really dig around.
Some things are better left alone.

There goes another day.
Sigh.

SCARE #3 - LAWMOWER MAN
Thankfully I didn't actually witness this one. If I had, I may have keeled over on the spot!
Q-ball has a new chore...one that he has been waiting for since he was two. He gets to mow the yard. Dad has to be out there with him and he can't do the hills, but he gets to mow to his little heart's content.
Meshack has gone over and over with him the rules of safety for mowing. Q-ball and Meshack carefully go over the yard to make sure there are no potential projectiles before Q begins mowing. The he makes sure Q wears jeans, goggles, tennis shoes and gloves when he is mowing. (He looks a little freakish...but he's safe.)
So imagine my horror when Meshack informed me that Q-ball won't be mowing the yard for the rest of the summer because he let JacJac BEND DOWN ABOUT 10 FEET AWAY FROM THE DISCHARGE SHOOT SO HE COULD GET A BETTER LOOK AT HOW THE MOWER WORKS!
OMW!
WHAT WAS HE THINKING!
That one had to be worth two weeks!!!
I'm never going to make it.
Sigh.

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family reunion

Sunday, May 27, 2007

We're having a ball!
My brother and his family rolled in around 9 p.m. Friday night and the kids have been playing non-stop with their four cousins ever since. They've only stopped long enough to eat.
Despite the torrential rainfall today we had visits from princesses from far away lands, crazy truck drivers and sports geniuses. We've had tea parties, rides on choo-choo trains and tournaments of Madden NFL 2006, Mario Ski Patrol and NCAA basketball.
But perhaps the most fun we've had was tonight when my brother pulled out the video game, 'Guitar Hero II'!
I'm not including pictures for a very important reason!
Imagine four 30-somethings rocking out to Cheap Trick, Kansas and Guns 'n Roses.
Not a pretty picture.
Our kids must think we're nuts.
Tomorrow, we're off to church (if I can get everyone to wake up!) and then we'll traipse back home to try and get our family pictures taken.
I'll let you know how it goes.

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sleeping in

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why is it that when you have to get up you're too tired to do anything but push the snooze button...but on the mornings you get to sleep in, you wake up way before anyone else in the house?!
I hate that!
I'm off today. The plan was to spend the day with the kids on their first day of summer vacation, and get ready for my brother sister-in-law's visit.
We took the kids out for pizza last night to celebrate the end of school, then came home and let them stay up WAY past their normal bedtimes. I figured they'd sleep-in this morning.
THEY did.
I didn't!
I was awake at 6:15!
Uuuuuuuuugh!
And what did I do?
Instead of taking advantage of the situation by having some quiet time, I laid in bed and tossed, turned and tried to go back to sleep. Then, when I realized that wasn't going to work, I got up with a bad attitude and a bad headache.
Beautiful way to start the kid's summer vacation, huh!?
I'm better now. I've had my version of a cup of joe - my big glass of skim milk and a couple of Advil. (I just wish I had a big glazed donut to go with it.) And I've prayed for a change in attitude.
He obliged.
The kids are starting to stir. My first one just came down the stairs, mumbling something about wanting to go the park to play. I'd better get going.
Summer vacation has begun.
*****************************
P.S. #1 - My sister-in-law, Valerie, is going to be taking our family portrait this weekend. I'll try to post a pic when I can.
P.S. #2 - I've been tagged by Missy!!! My first time - I'm so excited!!! I'm working on it and will try to post it soon, but with company this weekend it may be Monday before I get around to it. Besides, I have to figure out who to tag next. Now would be a great time for some of you to de-lurk and let me know you're out there! I need people to tag!

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mission accomplished

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We've been fingerprinted!
And it didn't hurt at all.
I've been a little stressed about this part of the process. For no other reason, other than I thought it would take all day!
Our oldest, Q-ball had a field trip scheduled for today...they were supposed to be there at 10 a.m. It was the last field trip of the year and reportedly the last time we would be able to accompany him on a field trip. We couldn't miss it!
But today was also the first opportunity we had to get our fingerprints done. If we didn't do it today our work schedules would require waiting at least another two weeks.
Have I mentioned I'm not very good at waiting?
I thought so.
So we decided to do both.
But doing both required surgical precision, ballet balancing and a lot of prayer! The plan was to get to the USCIS before they opened. We hoped (and prayed) that we could be done by 9:45 a.m. so I could drive Meshack over to the field trip location. (Thankfully, it was that close...it could have been a lot worse!)
At oh-dark-thirty this morning we put the plan into action. We got up, got ready, drove the kids to the babysitter (so they could catch a ride to school) and drove the 45 minutes to the USCIS office.
We got there at 7:30 a.m. to a sea of cars in the parking lot!
Being the eternal optimist - I just knew we weren't going to get out of there before noon.
Now here is what I think was the key to our success.
The appointment letter said to show up any time between 8:15 and 3:00 on any Wednesday. Eight years ago when we adopted Q-ball we showed up at 8 a.m. thinking we would be early...we were 20th in line...and ended up waiting over four hours!
This time we showed up at 7:30, but instead of waiting in the car for the doors to open (like everyone else), I went to the door (rain drops and all) and STARTED the waiting line. We were first in line and when the doors finally opened at 8 a.m. we were the first through the metal detectors and the first ones up to the registration counter where the nice guy gave me the #1 card and Meschak #2. They called our numbers promptly at 8:15 and we were out the door 10 minutes later.

I kid you not!
We even took the time to fill out the survey card!
I found out this afternoon we had a lot of people praying for us today, asking for an easy fingerprinting process. Our paperwork coordinator, my best friend, people at work, family and church friends - they were all lifting us up in prayer.
And He was listening!

Not only did Meshack make it to the field trip on time, we even had time to stop at Panera's for some cinnamon bagels with Hazelnut cream cheese! Yum, yum!
And as I prayed before I ate, I thanked God for once again showing me I can trust Him in providing even the little things.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

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a little reminder

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's so incredibly easy to get caught up in the chase - the hunt for paperwork, notaries and apostilles; tracking down birth certificates, marriage licenses and proof of home ownership. Thankfully, God always finds a way to bring me back.
Sometimes its a picture or a comment someone makes. Today, God used Courtney to give me one of those nudges.


Warning: You're going to need a kleenex!



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adoption roundup

Monday, May 21, 2007

Suzanne over at Adventures in Daily Living is having an adoption roundup and it sounds really neat. I went ahead and linked one of my favorite blogs to her site.
Go on over and check it out for yourself. There are already some great stories!
Enjoy!

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when love takes you in

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I saw this video over at Carrie's website and just had to share it.
Get a kleenex ready. You're going to need it.




I love Stephen Curtis Chapman. He get's it. snif, snif

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i'm gonna be an aunt, i'm gonna be an aunt, i'm gonna...

Friday, May 18, 2007

I'm going to be an aunt!
My brother and sister-in-law just received their LOA (Letter of Acceptance) and will soon be on their way to China to pick up their little girl!!!!!
Woohoo!
Head on over to Bringing Home Kaycee for the full story and congratulate them!
I'm thrilled!
I'm going to be an aunt,
I'm going to be an aunt,
I'm going to be an aunt...

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the bathroom hog

She's at it already!
And she's only six!

Punky is a bathroom hog!
I wasn't prepared for the washroom monopoly until the teenage or at least pre-teen years!

What happened!?
I had a plan!
We were going to have at least three lavatories in the house.
One for her.
One for me.
And one for all the boys.
But I didn't think I would need to implement the privy plan for at least another eight years or so.
I was wrong.
Punky is a first-rate watercloset hoarder! And no one is safe.
It doesn't matter the time of day, what the purpose is or how badly someone else needs the one and only restroom. She won't come out until she's good and ready.
Heaven help you if you're dying to use the facilities!
And Punky has powder-room appropriation down to a fine art.
She'll sneak in when no one is looking or right before someone announces they are headed to the loo.
Then she'll stay in there FOREVER!

Most nights we have to make sure she is the last one to get ready for bed. Otherwise, you'll see a line forming at the door and no one will make it to bed on time.
And the wait is interminable.

As unprepared as I was for her to commandeer the commode, I still managed to pull a few tricks out of my sleeve. Unfortunately the only one that is working right now is setting a timer for three minutes and threatening to take away her Barbies!
Somehow I don't see that working forever. It probably won't even last for another six months!
After we get Maddie home we're going to take a good, long look at speeding up the eight year plan. It may need to be a one year plan.
If we can hold out that long!
And we'd better make it a four latrine home.
If one girl is this bad what's it going to be like with two?

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fingerprints P.S.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I realized after I posted the last blog I may have sounded a bit loony in getting all hyped up over fingerprints. (It is rather silly! Especially since we've done this all before! :)
I have to tell you though...I'm not loony. ;)
When I talked with the USCIS worker last Thursday she led me to believe it would be another 60 to 90 days (after they got the homestudy) before I would hear from them for the fingerprint appointment. And another 60 to 90 days after the fingerprints to process everything.
I had just resigned myself to not hearing anything for two or three months when we got the letter.
Needless to say I'm thrilled at the prospect of saving myself that much waiting...which I know I've mentioned that I'm not too good at! :)
We're hoping to get down there next Wednesday morning. Q-ball has a field trip on Wednesday, which is also in KC. Meshack is supposed to go on the field trip with him, so I hope I can just drop him off at the field trip site on my way back to work.
We're still working out the details.
I think it will work.
The only problem may be how long it takes them to get us in.
When we did our fingerprints for Q-ball's adoption we were at the KC office all morning (after arriving 30 minutes before they opened.) We were late for our homestudy appointment which was two hours away!
When we had our appointment for Punky and JacJac's adoption, Des Moines got us in within 15 minutes of our appointment.
I'm not holding out much hope of having it that easy, but I sure would like to get in and get out within a reasonable time frame.
Anyone have any idea how long it takes to get approval in Kansas City?

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i love the mailman!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WE'RE GETTING FINGERPRINTED!!!!!!

HOLY COW!
WOW!
GREAT GOOGILI-MOOGILI!!
GEE WILLIKERS!!
OMW!!!!!
I went to the post office to pick up our mail this evening and I pulled out what looked like the regular assortment of Wednesday mail.
There's was the...
- Wednesday mailer...
- credit card offer...
- weekly newspaper...
- credit card offer...
- utility bill...
- credit card offer...
- cell phone bill...
- credit card offer...
- LETTER FROM THE USCIS!!!!!!
I nearly dropped it in the middle of the street!
I didn't see it coming!
When I talked to the Feds last Thursday it sounded like we wouldn't get an appointment until they had our homestudy. And then it would take 60 to 90 days to process!
So I mailed our homestudy on Saturday, the Post Office's website says it got there Monday, the letter is dated Tuesday...we got the letter today (WEDNESDAY!)
Talk about fast turnaround! Or maybe it's just a coincidence.
Just when I blogged about having 'neecheevo' to do...
Just when I was getting down to business complaining about having 'neecheevo' to do...
Just when I was getting used to the idea of having 'neecheevo' to do...
I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO DO!!!!
I get to go stand in 'chyehehrta*' at the USCIS and get my fingerprints taken!
I love the mailman!
********************
*Nuuuh uhhh! No cheating! If you want to know what this word means you have to check the word of the day...or drop me a line. I'll be happy to share my newfound, limited, but impressive knowledge of the Russian language in exchange for a blog comment! Yea, I know! I'm a really cheap date! :)

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nothing, nada, zip, zilch, ничего (neecheevo)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sigh.
There's nothing going on. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, ничего (neecheevo).

Neecheevo is my new word of the day. It's Russian for 'nothing'. I've decided since there is 'neecheevo' for me to do on the adoption front, the least I can do is learn a Russian word a day.
At least it will keep me busy.
We're at a point in this process where we're at the mercy of someone else and their ability to get things done.
I'm not comfortable with that.
I have to wait on someone else to make the phone calls, process the paperwork, look over the dossier to make sure everything is okay.

There is 'neecheevo' I can do.
I can't call and bug anyone. I can't send off a quick email to get something tracked down. I can't photocopy anything.
I have 'neecheevo' to do but wait.
Have I mentioned I'm not very good at waiting?
I thought so.
I'm starting to feel like a broken record.
I've blogged on this same subject at least five times since I started this blog in March! Besides being tired of complaining about waiting. I'm worried that I'm going to start scaring people off!
Please don't go! I need someone to hear me complain!

So, instead of complaining about 'neecheevo,' I'm going to learn something.
Of course, at this rate I could be fluent by the time we travel.
I hope not.
My word for tomorrow...ожидание (ozhelaneye).
It means 'wait.'
*************
P.S. For anyone who actually knows Russian, please feel free to correct my phonetic spelling. I can't find an online translator that will give me both the Cyrillic and phonetic spellings...so I faked it. I have a feeling I may have really botched it.

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just call her 'slugger'

Monday, May 14, 2007

I think Punky surprised a few people tonight.
Remember, Punky is just that...she's punky.
She's small in stature but big in spirit.
She's head and shoulders shorter than the other girls her age (she's not even on the growth chart), but she's tenacious. She can keep up with most kids twice her size. She's one of the fastest kids in kindergarten, even though she's the smallest.
She's a go-getter.
Despite all that, when she ran onto the softball field tonight, we had no idea how she would do. At her first practice last Friday they pretty much just had her running the bases. She tried hitting the ball during batting practice, but didn't have much luck. They didn't even let her try to field any balls. I think they were afraid she would get hurt.
Fast forward to tonight...
At first she was a bit timid. She stood at the grass line of left field with her blond ponytail sticking out the back of her black ball cap and her ball glove hiding her left hand, using her right foot to draw circles in the dirt.
Then someone hit the ball toward her.
She perked right up and ran up to field the grounder and threw with all her might toward first base.
She made it about half way.
Not too bad for our pip squeak.
The next ball rolled toward her and this time she tossed it to the short stop...just like she was supposed to.
Great job!
Now she was hunched over in the ready position, waiting for the next ball. She looked like a pro!
During batting practice she stepped up to the plate (with a helmet that was way too big) and whiffed the first four pitches. I was worried it was going to be a long night, but on the fifth pitch, she made contact...and the ball made it all the way to third base. Way better than a lot of the other girls!
You go girl!
She hit the next two balls...one of them made it to the edge of left field. Her teammates were thrilled, the coaches gave her high fives and Punky ran the bases like a pro.
We were so proud...and so was she.
She's already counting down to her next practice on Friday.
I posted before about how I've never really cared for her nickname. It was one Meshack gave her, but it never really fit.
I think I've finally come up with a nickname to replace Punky.
I think we should call her 'Slugger.' ;)

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rock 'em, sock 'em robots

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Do you remember the toy from the 70s that had a boxing ring with two big boxers in the middle? You and your opponent pushed buttons like crazy, trying to get either the blue or red robot to knock the other one out. Eventually one of the robots head would shoot up and the other would be declared the winner.

Well.
I have my own set of rock 'em sockers right here in my house.
Lucky me.
I haven't seen anything like this since my brother Leo (named changed to protect the not so innocent) and I were little. We used to go after each other pretty hard. I remember chasing him through the house, tackling him and pinning him to the floor once...many, many years ago (he's now 6'4"...I'm not!)
Punky and JacJac are starting to make us look like best friends!
Punky just came down the stairs with a hand over her eye, sniveling about JacJac punching her in the eye. He scampered down the stairs after her screaming something about wanting the light on and she kept shutting it off.
Now they're both crying...sitting and facing their respective corners.
I may not let them out of time-out until they're 16!
I had been planning to blog something today about how sweet it is to be spending a quiet Mother's Day with my kids.
Nope.
Not today.
Not so much.
Maybe some other time.

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boys (and girls) of summer

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I knew it was coming...and I did it anyway.

I've just committed our family to a summer of spending EVERY night at the ballpark.
For some background...the small town we live in, lives for summer baseball. People from all over town will come to the ballpark on any given night of the week and watch a game...even if their kids aren't playing.
It's a tradition.
And it's something they take very seriously!
Q-ball has been playing baseball every summer since first grade. He really enjoys it and despite a little bit of nervousness about moving up into the fast pitch league (the kids start throwing at each other this year), he's ready to start practicing.
As I told you in yesterday's blog, Punky starts her first real year of ball this year. Last year she was on a T-Ball team and enjoyed it quite a bit. She's already counting down the days until her next practice on Monday.
Last year JacJac got left out of the mix, and he let us know it. He was pretty teed that he didn't get to play and every chance he got he would let us know he expected to play this summer.
So when I saw the sign-ups for T-ball I knew I had to get him signed up, or I wouldn't hear the end of it. Besides, it's good for him.
What I didn't take into account was just how much time was going to be spent in the searing Kansas summer heat!
Punky's games are on Monday and Thursday nights, Q-ball plays on Tuesday and Friday and JacJac will be playing on Wednesdays.
I've done the math...it's not looking good for a quiet, leisurely summer. I'm going to spend my whole summer baking...and I HATE summer!
If I'm lucky we'll have the weekends without anywhere to go, but I haven't heard anything about practices yet. That may be all out the window!
And we're planning on bringing a fourth child into this craziness?!!!
Heaven help us when Maddie gets to ball playing age.

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field trips, softball and homestudies, oh my!

Friday, May 11, 2007

What a busy, busy, busy day.

It started out this morning with a field trip with Punky's kindergarten class.
We headed off to Kansas City just after 8:30 this morning, headed to the Rainforest Cafe. It's a lot like last Sunday's visit to T-Rex...except it has rainforest stuff. They had a neat fish tank, complete with little Nemos and Dori's...and they had a curator who gave us a tour and a speech about saving the rainforest. I could have done without the environmental lecture, but the kids enjoyed the atmosphere.
Now, before you ask...no, I don't have any pictures.
Once again, I didn't have the camera. For some reason Meshack keeps taking it to work. (I've given him an ultimatum. Either he starts leaving it at home, or he's going to have to buy me a new, better, more expensive camera.)
Either way, I win! ;)
I tried taking pictures with the camera phone - with mixed results. I still haven't found out how to download them to my computer...although I did manage to send one to Meshack...just trying to make him feel a little guilty about the camera thing! :)
After stuffing themselves with chicken nuggets, pizza and burgers, the kids all headed out to the gift shop, where Punky found a cute red t-shirt with rainforest animals all over it. Too cute...I had to get it! ;)
Then we headed over to the Moon Marble Co. for a demonstration on how marbles are made and then how to play with them.
It was great.
I'm not sure about the kids, but I learned quite a bit. Like, did you know that the glass has to be heated to over 1500 degrees at one point in the process...and then it has to be cooled over a long period of time so it doesn't explode. The standard 1" marble has to sit in a kiln, slowly cooling, for over 24 hours.
Cool huh.
And he made some really pretty ones.
The demo on how to play marbles was hysterical! I heard one mom say the guide was the perfect babysitter, she wished she could hire him. He had the kids in the palm of his hand.
I need to learn his technique.
The kids each got to pick out about 20 marbles to take home, then we climbed back on board the bus and bounced our back to school.
We came home stuffed, educated and exhausted.
It only got better.
When we got home, what was in the mailbox?
Our HOMESTUDY!
Wooooohooooo!
Another thing checked off the list!
I'm mailing it off to the INS tomorrow!
Finally, we're going to be able to make some progress in bringing Maddie home!
I'm so excited - can you tell?
BTW - We still haven't picked out a name.
Now, we're off to softball practice. It's Punky's first...she's pretty excited. She'll be the youngest (and smallest) girl out there on the field, so she may not see a whole lot of playing time. Thankfully, she just wants to have fun. A pretty good attitude for everyone don't you think?

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the WMEC club

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I think I won an award today.
"The World's Worst Mother Trophy."
We've all been candidates for this prize. That's my only comfort. I know others have gone before me...and others will certainly follow.
It's an easy award to win. Forget to pack your kid's lunch on a day when spinach is on the school lunch menu, back over your kids bicycle in the driveway or embarrass them by showing their baby pictures to their friends and your kids will be sure to write your recommendation letter. Or better yet, yell at your kids for something they didn't do - you'll feel so guilty you'll nominate yourself.
I've had the award before. I've brought home the trophy for forgetting a child's baseball practice making sure he wouldn't start the next game. I've also forgotten to make the kids do their homework, accidentally thrown away precious pictures and notes from their 'bestest' friends and embarrassed a son by singing '867-5309' at the top of my lungs in front of a buddy. (I was vacuuming and didn't hear them come in! :)
The last time it was a bad case of "time-out". You know the one where you set your child in a room and then forget they are there...only to go back about a half an hour later to find the kid dutifully sitting still, quietly pondering what he could have possibly done that was so bad as to deserve a time-out that never ends.
Poor Nick had to endure the never-ending time-out over last Christmas break at his grandparent's house. While all of the other children were playing with their new Christmas presents, Nick was sitting in the laundry room on a stool, composing his nomination letter for "World's Worst Mother".
Thankfully, it wasn't a lifetime appointment to the "Worst Mother Ever Club" (WMEC). It was a temporary assignment. One I thankfully was relieved of when Nick got a cup of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows (after talking about what he had done wrong.)

Today was a biggie...
I was nominated for forgetting my children at school.
I know what you're thinking...but in my defense, I didn't forget completely.
Just long enough to be late in picking them up.
Seeeeeee....I'm not completely horrible.
I just got stuck in a meeting.
The only problem with that excuse is I'm the one that called and ran the meeting.
Oops.
In my defense, I was out of my routine. I usually don't pick up the kids until about 5 or 5:30, but I didn't have a babysitter today. So I was supposed to pick the kids up at 3:05.
At 2:50 as I was strolling back to my office from the meeting, I glanced at the clock. Hmmm...wasn't there something I needed to do this afternoon?
OMW!
I dashed to my desk, grabbed the phone and quickly dialed the number. (Thank goodness it has the same last four digits as my in-laws, I may have been searching for a week for the number!)
'_______ school office, this is Jane.'
I quickly explained that I forgot I was supposed to pick up the kids...could they stay in her office until I got there.
'Sure,' she said. 'No problem.'
Was that a snicker I heard?
Never mind. It was 2:55 and I had 10 minutes to drive 25 miles. I was never going to make it.
I pulled up to the school at 3:18. The buses were all gone, the good mother's were all gone. Only a couple of kids played on the school's playground. (It's amazing how fast that place clears out on a nice spring day!)
My three kids were peering through the glass of the school's front doors. The minute they caught sight of me, the door opened and the barrage began.
"Where were you?"
'How come you forgot?"
"We've been waiting foooooorever!"
"You were supposed to be heeeeeere!"
"What took you so long?"
The school secretary stood behind them with a knowing smile.
Sigh.
I wonder how long it will take me to get out of WMEC this time?

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waiting...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Alright...enough of the sappy blogs.
Sappy week is officially over. It's back to business.
We're kind of at a standstill on the adoption front. My social worker finished her draft of the homestudy last Wednesday and emailed it to me. I immediately sent it off to the agency who looked it over, made some changes and sent it back to me on Friday. In all the commotion of the birthday weekend, I didn't get it sent back to the social worker until Monday.
I just heard from her. She says she'll get it in the mail to us tomorrow so we can get it off to the USCIS before the weekend. I'd really like to try and get our fingerprints done as soon as possible. We can't really do anything else until the fingerprints are done and we have our I-171H (USCIS (formerly INS) approval).
The agency says that alot of the forms we have left for the dossier are very simple, they are pretty much just sign and notarize types of forms, so we should be able to knock them out in a day.
Sooooooo...we wait.
Have I mentioned that I'm not very good at waiting?
I thought so.

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my baby is growing up

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Where does the time go?
This picture was taken just yesterday...or so it seems.
It's the first picture we have of Q-ball. (We have a video that we need to get pics pulled off of - anyone know how to do that?)
I love this picture! Isn't he just precious?!
Yesterday this precious little boy turned 9!
I've written before about the scrawny little tyke we met almost eight years ago in a Russian orphanage. About how he used to pull his arms in close to him, like a turtle, every time he was overwhelmed. How he rocked himself to sleep every night and refused to look in our eyes. How he pulled away from hugs and couldn't tell when he was in pain.
Now our little guy is not so little anymore. He's tall and muscular. He's friendly and funny. He doesn't get overwhelmed very often. He falls asleep quickly and quietly now, gives us big hugs freely and climbs in our laps any chance he can get. (Of course, now he's getting too big to do that! - or maybe it's us that are getting too big! ;)
He's adventurous...he flew in a small airplane for the first time last fall and enjoyed every minute of it!
He loves football, basketball, baseball and any other sport where a ball is required. He loves to swim, ride his bike, play tag and skateboard.
He's a math whiz...acing all of his multiplication tests on the first try.
He's kind, compassionate, loyal and brave.
He's handsome, charming, quiet and humble.
We waited 10 excruciatingly long years for this guy to join us so we could become a family.
He was so worth the wait!
Happy Birthday Q!

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whew!

Monday, May 7, 2007

What a weekend! I don't think we've run that much...ever! For some of you this list may not seem like that much, for but us this weekend was a marathon...at a sprinters pace!

To start things off, my parents arrived...a day early!
I was sitting at the computer Thursday night, checking Google Reader, catching up on all my blog friends, when Q-Ball came running down the stairs yelling, 'Papa and Gramma are here! Papa and Gramma are here!'
I told him to cut out his teasing and turned back to the computer.
'Mooooom, I'm not teasing, honest! They're here!'
He bolted for the door.
Sure enough, they were walking up the sidewalk...24 hours early!
The house was trashed.
Oh well, at least I had managed to get up the energy to vacuum the living room before I had started my much needed hour break! ;)
Thankfully my Mom isn't one of those clean freaks. She loves me just the way I am, laundry and all. Of course she felt compelled to do all my laundry while I was at work on Friday. I felt a bit guilty, but she says she did it because she loves me.
I love you too Mom, but I'm not so sure I would be up to doing a week's worth of a family of five's laundry, a day after traveling 12 hours across Kansas, all while trying to keep up with an energetic 5-year old who has the day off of preschool!
Ya gotta love her!
After everyone got in their hugs Thursdays night and the kids were off to bed, we sat down to chat.
While we were visiting my dad, who is a pretty severe diabetic, gave himself his evening shot. A little while later he realized, in the commotion he had given himself the wrong dose! Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. We had to sit up until 12:30 a.m., trying to fight off the effects of too much insulin.
To try and keep his blood sugar from going too low, he had...
- a spoonful of sugar
- sugar tablets
- a piece of bread and jelly
- orange juice
- and leftover Easter candy
Finally I said, enough messing around, we're pulling out the big guns.
I made him pancakes with tons of syrup.
The next morning his sugar was 205!
I guess it worked. ;)
Saturday morning we got up bright (but not early) to leave for KC. My dad's (and my) favorite financial expert (geeky, I know) Dave Ramsey was in town doing a live event.
I've been listening to Dave for years and love his sense of humor and no-nonsense approach to getting out of debt. I am convinced if Meshack and I had been able to follow his plan precisely we would be out of debt by now.
The adoptions have delayed us a bit.
Dave was amazing! I highly recommend going to his live events...even if you've listened to his radio program for years. It was worth the price of admission just to watch him jump around the stage! I knew just about everything about his debt snowball plan, but it was still fun watching him present it! (Geeky, I know!)
After church on Sunday we headed back to KC. We wanted to take in a Royals game in honor of Q-Balls birthday, but it's been raining cats and dogs here, so we decided to visit T-Rex Cafe instead.
Q loved it!
And the food wasn't that bad either.
The restaurant has a bunch of different 'rooms' that are set up as different dinosaur living environments. We sat in the Volcanic dino room. The dinosaurs were robotic and kept roaring and moving the whole time we were there. It was pretty neat! There was an ice-age room, an under the sea room and some other really neat stuff.
We got back into town around 5 p.m. and I asked the family to drop me off at Wally-world so I could finish up some shopping. My dad came back and picked me up about an hour later...and I still wasn't quite done.
It's not that I went overboard with the present buying...it's just that it's getting harder and harder to buy presents for him...and those presents are getting more and more expensive! UGH!!
Mom and Dad picked out a fish tank...complete with six fish. They let him open it up last night since they were leaving this morning and Q's been mesmerized ever since. The first thing he did when he got up this morning was feed them and then this afternoon when he got home he had to go upstairs and make sure they were still alive! :)
Mom and Dad headed back to Colorado this morning...taking off just after the kids headed to school. They'll be back in about three months for JacJac's birthday.
I hope I've recovered by then.

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i'll be right back

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Sorry I haven't posted lately, but it's been a busy few days. We've got the homestudy, my parents arrived a day early and I've been swamped at work. Now we're in the middle of birthday weekend and I have an hour to get my house cleaned before a babysitter arrives so my parents and I can leave to go to a Dave Ramsey live event! Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!

I'll fill you in when I have time to breath!
Have a great weekend everyone!

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full circle

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I love this picture. Somehow it just seems to wrap it all up for me.
It's a picture of our oldest son, Q-ball when he was just four years old.
Q, Meshak and I were walking down a path behind our apartment in Syktyvkar, Russia. He was a few steps ahead of us and would look back every so often to make sure we were still there, and then turn around and stroll on.
I am amazed every time I look at this picture. I reminds me of just how far he has come since his time in the orphanage. He was a little boy who had been around the world and back. Just three years before, we had brought him home from the southern part of Russia. He spent the next three years growing, learning, loving, trusting and flourishing. When we returned to Russia three years later, we were on our way to meet his new brother and sister. And he confidently walked on the soil of his motherland.

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i'm back from the ledge

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It's Tuesday...
The day I wanted to have everything sent to the social worker.
The day my initial paperchase was going to be over.

The day I wanted to check a bunch of stuff off the list.
By 8:30 this morning it didn't look like it was going to happen. That didn't sit too well with me. I was a mess...so I called my best friend Lynda.
Lynda is my best friend for a reason. She gets me. She knows me. She understands me.
And she is nothing like me.
Lynda is calm, patient and level-headed.
I'm not.
She has six kids, all under 12 and somehow she still has her wits about her.
I have three kids and lost my mind years ago.
Besides Meshack and my parents, she is the one person I trust most in this world to give me an honest but loving appraisal of a situation.
She's my rock.
Today was no different.
Lynda quietly reminded me, that the deadline was self-imposed. No one was forcing me to get this all done today.
'Yeah,' I complained. "But I waaaaaaant to get this done todaaaaaaaay."
She asked me if I wanted cheese to go with my whine.
Then she did what all good best friend's do - she listened to me rant and vent before talking me down from the ledge.

By the time I hung up 30 minutes later, I felt much better and got back to work.
- I made it to the 11:45 appointment on-time and got our medical papers signed and notarized.
- I emailed another batch of information off to the social worker.
- and I sent the first packet of dossier papers off to the agency.
By the time I was done, I was able to check a few more items off the list.

I still don't know when I'll hear from the USCIS. I don't know how much longer it will take to get the next stack of paperwork. And I don't know if the social worker has everything she needs to complete the homestudy, but if she doesn't she's awful close. And that's good enough for now.
There's nothing like the love of a good best friend to help you get back on track.
Everybody needs a Lynda.

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