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happy family day!

Monday, July 30, 2007

(Here it is...as promised. At 9 p.m.! Sorry it's late...but a good novel can't be rushed and as you can tell from the length of this one - I've just written the great American novel! :) Bear with me and stick around to the end...I think you'll be glad you did.)
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Some people call it 'Gotcha Day'.
Some people call it 'Adoption Day'.
We call it 'Family Day.'
It describes us best.
Last Thursday was the day we celebrate becoming a family.
It's kind of a cool story, actually. But you have to promise you won't think I'm a freak. I'm a little nervous about posting this thing...it's very personal, but it's story I have to tell in order to fully appreciate our 'Family Day.'
Nine years ago we were your ordinary, everyday couple. We had been married for nine years. We didn't have any kids...not for a lack of trying. The doctor's couldn't help us without some serious intervention and it just wasn't a road we were ready to travel. We didn't want to go through all of that pain, stress, heartache and expense only end up childless at the end of the journey.
In May of that year, I was going through my yearly Mother's Day depression...but for some reason in 1998 it was hitting me particularly hard. I had moped around all week, crying over all of the Mother's Day ads, complaining (mostly to myself) about the injustice of it all and just generally being a really grump to be around.
One night, a few days before Mother's Day, I had a dream. In the dream I was sitting in a chair in one of the bedrooms when a little boy with dark hair, overalls and a t-shirt walked up to me and climbed into my lap. His hair was soft, he smelled like baby powder and he called me 'Mama'.
It was a very vivid dream...you know, the kind where you wake up and are convinced it was absolutely true.
It was a great dream.
I took a lot of comfort from it.
I wrote it down in my journal, savored it for a bit and then after awhile forgot about it.
Mother's Day came and went.
Later that summer, Meshack and I took a vacation to northern Minnesota. While we were there we had a lot of time to talk about where we were headed, what we wanted from life and what kinds of goals we wanted to set.
It was during these conversations that we realized it wasn't biology that we were after. We just wanted to have a child. We wanted to build a family.
We didn't have any spectacular genes that we needed to pass on.
We had a faith and a home we wanted to share.
So as we were driving home we decided to start looking into adoption.
When we got home from our trip we had a call on our answering machine from our best friends. A woman from an adoption agency had spoke at their church. They talked to her about us, had picked up a packet and given us a call.
I called the agency on Monday.
A few weeks later we sent in our application.
We quickly set our hearts on Russia and started working on our I-600A and homestudy...but something wasn't feeling right. We couldn't place our fingers on it...it was just an uneasiness. I've learned in my almost 37 years, that when I get to feeling uneasy, it's usually God trying to tell me something.
So we backed off a bit. We went ahead with our homestudy and our I-600A...but we didn't start compiling our dossier...not quite yet.
Christmas came and went...and still the uneasiness was there.
I know I've told you before that I used to work in television news. I loved my job. One of the things I loved was that I had access to information and people that the public generally doesn't have.
In January of 1999 we rana story about an infant that was left on a doorstep in our town. It was a little boy...healthy, cute as a button and only two days old.
I immediately called one of my contacts, who told me that I wasn't eligible to adopt him (they had tons of people in the system ahead of us) but had we ever considered adopting from Russia? She had a friend who was a lawyer, who had just started an adoption agency. Maybe you should give her a call.
I called her that night.
We changed agencies that weekend.
Suddenly things just felt right.
Four months later we had a referral of a little boy with brown hair, beautiful blue eyes and the most serious look about him.
We fell in love.
Within seven months of signing with this new agency we had our little boy.
We were a family.
Three years later we were working with a different agency. (Our first agency had to shut down due to some new Russia regulations). We were getting ready to take our second trip. This time we would be going to court and bringing Punky and JacJac home with us. We got our court date on July 4th and the next day I called around and purchased our plane tickets.
On the 6th our agency called back to let us know the judge had pushed the court date back a week. We wouldn't be traveling until the end of the month. Thankfully the travel agent hadn't finished up all she needed to do to get us the tickets, so we were able to make the change without any extra charge.
A few weeks later all three of us were on our way to Russia.
The day after we arrived in the region, we went to the orphanage to visit with the kids and to introduce them to their new big brother. While we were there the orphanage director asked if we would like to take the kids home...before court.
Evidently the kids were going to be moved the next day to a new orphanage. The old one was going to go through some much needed repairs. Instead of having the kids move twice in less than a week, they thought it would be better if we took care of them leading up to court. She had even gone so far as to get special permission to make this happen.
We were thrilled! And of course we said yes!
A few days later we went to court...and became an even bigger family.
It sounds like your run-of-the-mill (if there is such a thing) family day story. But if you look at the details there is a very fine red thread running through our family's history...

  1. 1. A year after we adopted Q-ball we were getting ready to move to another state. I was going through the books in our room and came upon my journal. I thumbed through the pages and stumbled on my entry about the dream and the little boy. It was May X, 1998. The day Q-ball was born.
  2. 2. When we heard the message on our answering machine from our friends, it came as a huge shock. We had just made the decision to adopt on our way home from Minnesota (on Sunday morning). The guest speaker had spoken at their church that Sunday morning. We hadn't had a chance to tell our friends about our decision to adopt. We hadn't had the chance to tell anyone.
  3. 3. I found out when we got received the referral paperwork on Q-ball that the day I called that first agency was the day Q-ball was put on the Russian 'available for adoption list.'
  4. 4. Obviously, if we hadn't changed agencies we would never have found Q-ball. The old agency didn't even work in the same part of Russia.
  5. 5. And finally, the change in travel dates. Remember we were originally supposed to travel a week before. The change in travel dates put us in the region at the same time they were moving the orphanage to a different facility. Which means we would have gotten custody of the children on a different day. As it was, it ended up that we got custody of Punky and JacJac on July 26th...three years to the day that we had taken custody of Q-ball.
Pretty cool, huh?
You may be thinking this is just the ramblings of a woman who reads too much into things.
Or you might consider it a neat red-thread story.
I belive it's a God-thing.
Obviously, Maddie probably won't have the same 'Gotcha Day' as the other kids (unless we really get delayed - Heaven forbid! :)...but I can't wait to look back and see all of the neat little threads God is weaving through her story.

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i will return

Sorry I've been gone so long! We've had family in town this weekend and I've been playing instead of sitting in front of my computer! ;)

I PROMISE I'll finish the Family Day story tomorrow...and post it by nine Monday evening.
And as an added bonus, I'll leave in the stuff I almost deleted even though I think it makes me sound like a freak. But you have to promise not to think I'm a total nut-case.
The good news is I have gleaned enough material from this weekend to last the rest of the week. Between the disappearing restaurant and the Ukraine religion lesson, not to mention the delectable bagels and dinosaur museum, I have lots to share! ;)
So get your reading glasses ready.
I will return...shortly.

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family day update

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Okay...it's a long story.
And I'm having trouble finding the time to write it.
I'm about half way done, but we're headed out the door for dinner and a movie to celebrate Family Day.
So....
I promise to try and finish it tomorrow.
I know, I know, I'm a tease. :)
In all honesty, I may have over-hyped it a bit in my last post. A talent left over from my days in T.V. news! ;)

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we are family

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tomorrow is a really big day in our house.
It will be eight years since we first became parents...
AND five years since we became parents for the second time.
It's a real interesting story.
A red-thread kind of thing.
I'll tell you all about it.
Tomorrow. :)

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back to school

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Seven years after completing vet school, my hubby has gone back in the classroom.
You would think he would have had enough the first time around. It was no picnic getting his bachelor's degree and then topping that off with four grueling years of vet school. The sleepless nights, stressful days and the students loans....ugh, what a nightmare!
He swore he would never do it again!
But then something peaked his interest. He was so intrigued, he slung a backpack over his shoulders and hiked back on campus.
No, he's not learning a new hobby.
He's not changing careers. (Thank goodness!)
He's not even brushing up on his veterinary skills.
He's learning all about Ukraine.
(All of you can Oooooh and Aaaaah over him now. I know, I know - I'm one lucky lady. :)
Meshack is auditing a class being taught by a couple of college professors on exchange from Ukraine. It's an overview of Ukrainian life. They're going over all kinds of information - politics, history, language, culture and Meshack's favorite - food! :)
After 17 years, there are some days when Meshack still surprises me.
He has put so much effort into this adoption. Making the initial calls to agencies, tracking down a social worker, driving our dossier to the capital to get apostilles. And now he is taking it upon himself to learn more about Maddie's motherland.
What a guy!
This is way more than just a way to pass the time.
He has a genuine desire to learn more about Ukraine's culture, people and history.
Simply awesome.
I've always known Meshack was a great dad.
But he keeps proving it to me, over and over again.
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With Meshack being a veterinarian and going back to school, there's got to be a joke in here somewhere about 'teacher's pet'. Anyone have any ideas? :)

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recovery stages

Monday, July 23, 2007

I made it.
I survived my first baby shower in 15 years.
For the last decade and a half you couldn't drag me anywhere near a baby shower.
I would come up with any excuse I could to avoid going.
Some genuine.
Some creative.
Some inspired.
Honestly, I didn't even want to have a shower when we brought our children home from Russia. I thought it would be full of too many painful memories.
So, when I got the invitation a few weeks ago, my first thought was to throw the little blue bootied paper away.
But then I starting thinking...
Maybe it was time to find out if I had gotten over any of the bitterness of infertility.
So Saturday morning, Punky and I did what I had put off for a long time.
We went to a baby shower.
And we not only endured it - we helped set up the decorations, serve the brunch and clean up afterwards.
And I can honestly say, it wasn't so bad.
Not once did I feel that gut twisting envy I had felt for so many years.
Not once did I secretly wish the mother-to-be would gain 500 pounds so I could feel less guilty about my non-pregnancy-related expanding waistline.
Not once did I make sarcastic comments to myself about the silly pregnancy-related games or silently make fun of how everyone ooohed and aaaaahed at even the tackiest of presents.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want to make these things a weekly event...or even a yearly one...but for one morning I was able to set aside all of my selfish, jealous, snarky emotions and feel genuine happiness for another couple.
I found myself more jealous of the gifts she received than the way she planned her family.
That's progress.
I'm not quite sure what made the difference.
Maybe time.
Maybe maturity.
Maybe the knowledge that my children are way smarter, more talented and more beautiful than theirs could ever be! :)
(Evil...I know! ;)
Maybe it's that this woman and the others in our church have embraced our children and adoptions plans with genuine love and enthusiasm.
Or maybe it was the fact that since my family is just about complete, and we're almost done with the building stage, the sting is starting to wear off.
Maybe it was a little of all of the above. I don't know.
What I have figured out is that my feelings have absolutely nothing to do with biology.
As I've said before Q-ball, Punky, JacJac and Maddie are MY kids.
They're not my adopted kids.
They're my children.
There's never been a question.
There's never been a distinction between blood and water.
So it's always confused me as to why I would still be bothered by birth announcements, maternity shops and ultrasound pictures.
I think it has more to do with the experience of pregnancy, than the biology of it.
The only thing I regret about adopting, is that I wasn't able to be there with my children from the moment they were born.
I don't begrudge their biological parents anything.
I embrace their heritage.
I just wish they hadn't had to spend the first year or two of their lives in the orphanage.
That's it.
I wish I could have been there.
I guess that's why it still bothers me to hear couples talk about how they'll get married, wait a couple of years and then have a family. The audacity floors me. To just assume - to take for granted - that you'll be able to plan your family planning down to the month, throws the years of infertility right back into my face.
I imagine it will take me a little bit longer to get over that jealous twang.
That's okay.
Every illness, every injury, every traumatic event in our lives requires us to go through a recovery stage.
A coming to terms.
A rebuilding of strength.
A healing process.
Infertility is no different.
And the good news is, I think I'm finally starting to recover.

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questions...

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's been one month since our dossier took off for Ukraine.
We're another month closer to finding our little girl.
A month closer to being a family of six.
A month closer to adding another culture with rich traditions into our clan.
At times it's hard to believe.
We've been thinking about this for so long, it's almost surreal.
To think, in less than a year...I'm praying for less than six months...we'll have a new family member.
Sometimes it stops me dead in my tracks.
This time next year there should be six of us.
Three boys.
Three girls.
An even split (finally! ;)
We'll need another chair at the table.
I'll have to buy another car seat (or maybe just pull one out of storage.)
And we'll have to drag the crib/toddler bed out of the basement.
Punky's old clothes will have to be sorted.
Six months from now our family could be complete.
Wow!
And then my mind starts wandering.
Sometimes I allow myself to think about her....
I wonder where she is...
what she looks like...
what her favorite foods are.
I wonder what she's doing.
It's just before six in the morning in Kiev right now...
Maybe she's waking up to a brand new day.
Someone may be helping her change her clothes.
Or maybe they're already on to breakfast.
Is she having cream of wheat with a little bit of pureed fruit and weak tea? Is she getting enough to eat? Does she even like it?
Is she one...two...three...maybe older?
Is she potty trained...or still in diapers?
Is she a blond, a brunette or a red-head? Maybe something in between?
Are her eyes blue, brown or green? Maybe hazel?
What will her first reaction to us be? Will she be happy, sad or scared? A mixture of all of the above?
Questions...so many questions.
Sigh.
The good news is...
I shouldn't have to wait toooooo much longer to discover the answers.

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you all are awesome!

Thanks so much for all the comments in the last couple of days.

You all are awesome!
It may take me some time, but I want to try and write back to everyone who's posted - especially the newbies. Thanks for de-lurking, letting me know you're out there and giving me the blog updates.
You've given me all kinds of new reading material...
And now I've got a bunch of new bloggy friends!

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spring cleaning

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fourteen comments and counting!
I'm feeling the love.
Thanks everybody...it's nice to hear from you.
Now that I have you in a commenting mood, I need you to do me another favor.
I'm cleaning up my blog list and I need your help. Alot of the blogs on my list were old blogs, ones that haven't posted in quite some time...so I'm doing some spring summer cleaning.
If (for some unknown reason) I don't have your blog listed in my blogroll, please let me know. I'd really like to get a more updated list.
Thanks for your help!
And keep the comments coming.
You've spoiled me! :)

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come out, come out, wherever you are...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm curious.
Who are you?
I look at all of these stats on Active Meter and Site Meter (yes, I have two meters...I'm a nerd that way) and I see the 60 plus hits a day and I wonder...who's reading my blog?
I know there are several people who comment regularly...who let me know what they think about my ramblings. And I love the feedback! It's awesome to think that somebody might find my writing interesting and maybe even entertaining.
But there are so many I never hear from.
I'd really like to.
So if you are lurking...reading, possibly enjoying, but either too nervous or not inspired enough to say much...could you drop me a quick note and let me know you're out there? Just push the comments button on the bottom of the blog entry and type up a quick memo.
It won't hurt, I promise.
And you'll make my day.
Actually, probably my week.
I don't know, you might even make my month, because I'm starting to wonder if all of those hits are really just my Mom checking up on me! ;)

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i got 'em!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Perserverance pays off.

The early bird gets the worm.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Make hay while the sun shines.
Куй железо, пока горячо.
I did it!
I got ahold of 'em!
I finally got my answers.
It took a little finagling...but I did it!
Okay...here are the details.
I called first thing this morning and (of course) didn't get an answer, so I left a(nother) message on their answering machine.
Then I did what I hadn't done yet...I called our fabulous paperwork rep! I had originally balked at calling her, because her job is done. She doesn't need us bugging her anymore, but I was desperate.
And she is awesome.
I didn't get in touch with her either, so I left a message. But I know her...she's great...she always calls me back. And sure enough, an hour later she called.
She apologized for the owner, saying they'd been swamped lately, said she had a meeting with her in a couple of hours and that she'd ask the questions and call me back.
Two hours later I had my answers.
(I told you she was good!)
She also said to call her anytime I have trouble getting in touch with the owner...so yippee! I have the inside track!!! ;)
Not only that, but the owner did end up calling my cell phone (although I didn't hear it) and left me a message apologizing and said if the paperwork coordinator didn't answer all my questions to give her a call. She promised to be better about getting back to me.
Hmmmm...
So anyway...here are my answers...
1. Where are we in the process?
Our dossier has been translated and has been assigned to a facilitator. WE'RE IN LINE!!!!
2. How many people are ahead of us?
We are seventh in line for our agency alone...that means our agency will submit six other families before us.
3. How long will it take to submit us? (We already knew, but wanted to double-check)
It all depends on the Ukrainian government. If they decide to start accepting dossiers more quickly, then it could be as short as a month...if they keep up the current pace it could be two or more. (Let's not even talk about a slow-down.)
I really do feel much better...and all it took was an answered phone call.
Sigh.

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quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I love quiet, lazy Sunday afternoons. And try to plan to have them as often as possible. This weekend I succeeded.

Q-ball spent the better part of the afternoon swimming at our city pool with his friend's family. JacJac, Punky and I all took an afternoon nap in the living room while Meshack tinkered around with his motorcycle.
Now we've stepped it up a notch...the kids are watching T.V...Meshack is grilling hot dogs and brats and I'm checking blogs.
Wow! We're a busy, hard-working bunch aren't we?
I wanted to blog about something interesting today. But I couldn't come up with anything half-way cute, interesting or thought-provoking. The closest thing I came up with to prove I didn't totally veg out this weekend was to let you know I started and finished another Lori Wick book. But then I realized that meant I sat around on my keester most of the day yesterday.
Kinda proves my point, huh?

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three weeks down

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I didn't really expect to get ahold of them today...I had hoped...but didn't expect it.

I'll try again on Monday.
In the meantime, I was looking at the little ticker at the top of the blog and I realized we've already made it through three weeks of waiting. Now, that was a bit of a surprise!
I didn't realize we had already made it three weeks. That's almost a month!
A third of the way through what they expected it would take to submit the dossier.
Not too bad.
Maybe if I just don't pay attention the other two months will fly by.
Yeah...right! :)

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random happy thoughts

Friday, July 13, 2007

No news, is bad news...at least that is what I think.
All is quiet on the adoption front. I've been trying really hard this week to get in touch with the owner. I saw something on one of their other client's blogs that has me a bit nervous. It's nothing earth shattering...but if it's true it changes quite a bit.

I haven't heard anything from them...
and it's killing me.
All of it has put me in a bit of a funk. I really don't want Finding Maddie to turn into a whiny blog...after all, I tell my children all the time that people don't like whiners! But it's so haaaaard for me not to complaaaaain when I don't know anythiiiiiing and can't find anything OUT!
Uuuuugh!!!

Even work is driving me nuts right now.
So in an effort not to complain (too much) I've decided to give you five random, happy thoughts from our family's week.
1. Both Punky and Q-ball passed their swimming tests today! Next year Punky will move up to level 2 and Q-ball will swim on up to level 5! I'm so proud.
2. My sister-in-law and new niece came home last night. I talked with Valerie this morning and she sounded tired, but happy. I think I heard Kaycee in the background...she sounded so cute. I'll have to wait to meet her at least for a little while.
3. Punky lost another tooth. She has a gaping hole in her smile now. It's too cute! :)

4. JacJac finished his baseball season this week and brought home a cute trophy. (I know, I know...I've already told you...but I'm running out of ideas! :)
5. I got my hair cute...SHORT! What a relief! I was getting really tired of my hair. I hadn't changed the style in LONG time and it was just plain yucky. So I had them cut it off! :) Thankfully I have a hubby who doesn't pitch a fit when I do this kind of thing. I don't think he's actually thrilled or anything...but he doesn't complain. That's something to be very thankful about.
So there you have it. Five random, happy thoughts from our family.
I feel a little better.
But I'm still going to call and email them tomorrow (Saturday).
They're not getting off that easy.

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he's a champ too!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We're done with baseball for 2007.

Whew!
That was a looong season.
Tonight was the last night of T-ball for JacJac. He did such a great job!
He worked so hard and never gave up.
JacJac practiced for hours in the backyard, at times with his Dad, at times with his big brother Q-ball and at other times all by himself. He worked and worked to learn how to throw and hit, catch and run the bases.
And all of it paid off.
He had a great season (3 games) and made a lot of new friends and had fun in the process!
Way to go JacJac!
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Above (removed): JacJac shows off his T-ball trophy. No one keeps score and everyone gets a chance to play - the perfect opportunity for everyone to learn to love the game. And that's just what it's done for JacJac. He's already asking if he can play next year!

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treading water

Monday, July 9, 2007

It's a very busy week around here.
Everyone is in swimming lessons.
Q-ball and Punky started taking Red Cross lessons at our local pool today. JacJac has a private instructor in another town.
J isn't so much a priviledged child as he is too young for the Red Cross. Evidentally they have a rule that kids need to be six by the date the lessons begin (today).
He turns six August 1st.
A bit silly to me. He's 20 days shy of being six...and he's already swimming. I would think they'd want the kids to learn as early as possible so there would be fewer drowning accidents.
I guess I'm wrong.
Sooo...JacJac is taking lessons with a college girl I know from work. And he's doing great! As you can see here he's learning to kick and use his arms. Tonight was his first lesson and she already has him letting go of the side of the pool and swimming to her.
She's gooooood.
As far as the adoption goes I feel a bit like JacJac. I'm kicking as hard as I can, keeping my head just above water.
There is nothing new on the adoption front...and absolutely nothing on the horizon.
It's the part I dreaded the most.
The waiting.
You know the funny thing? I knew it was coming and thought I had prepared for it.
I was wrong.
I'm not any better at this than I was eight years ago...or five years ago.
The only difference is I do have my kids to distract me. And that's a really sweet thing.
The other difference is I have all of you. And that's a good thing too.
Thanks for listening to me whine and complain about everything adoption related in the last few weeks. I promise to try and do less of it in the coming weeks.
In the meantime I'm going to try and do better than just treading water.
I'm going to work on my breast stroke, my butterfly and my diving skills. Because you know, according to Google Maps, I have a very LONG swim in front of me! :)
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P.S. - Awwww Maaaaan! They took it down! I just checked the Google link I had in my blog from April 13th and they took out the instructions on how to get to Ukraine from a midwest city near me! That stinks! It was funny! ;)

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mind-reading 101

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Well, that didn't last long.

Remember what I said about putting the boys in the same bedroom - giving them the opportunity to share a room, so we wouldn't have to do a bunch of shuffling when Maddie came home?
HA!
They made it three nights.
Three nights!!!
By Friday we'd had enough.
I don't know what it is with these guys, but when Q-ball and JacJac are together they truly don't seem to think about or care about the consequences of their actions.
I just don't get it.
They can recite verbatim what they are and are not allowed to do...but then they turn around and do it anyway even though they know what will happen to them!
UGH!
We tried everything!
But no matter what we did, they ended up messing around for about three hours each night before they actually got to sleep.
This isn't the first time we'd tried to have them bunk together.
When we first brought Punky and JacJac home we only had three bedrooms...the boys had to share a room. But even at the ages of 1 and 4, they couldn't keep from messing around at bedtime.
So we ended up putting Q-ball on our bed and then moved him to his own bed when we went to sleep.
That went on for three years.
We got sick of it.
The boys got too big to carry in a dead sleep, so we separated them about a year ago.
Aaaahhh.
Peace.
It lasted about a year and then we realized when we decided to adopt, that we'd have to do something...and the middle of an adoption is NOT the time for us to think about buying a newer, bigger house.
So we decided to give it another shot.
We hoped they would be able to work through this together.
No such luck.
Now, don't get me wrong.
I love that they love playing together.
I love that they hardly ever fight.
I love that they can look at each other and just start cracking up.
I love that they're best friends.
But I can't stand the mischief they get into together!!!
Soooo...
Punky got to move into the big bedroom.
All by herself. (At least until Maddie gets home...which at the rate my agency is answering my questions, may be next year!)
Sigh.
Anyway...I spent the whole weekend moving all the bedrooms around. JacJac went back to his original bedroom, which used to be the toy room. I moved Q-ball into Punky's old room (thankfully I never got around to painting it pink!) and Punky is now parked in Q-ball's room which is painted a nice, bright yellow. (As weird as it sounds I think her decor might work. The jury is still out on that one, but once everything is cleaned up and put away I'm hoping I won't have to buy her a new bedspread or repaint...although I'll probably have to anyway so her bedding will match Maddie's.) Oh well. ;)
My muscles are sore from tearing bunk-beds apart, hauling mattresses down the hallway and my voice is scratchy from barking at the kids to move before I dropped the dresser on my toe.
Notice that I used the pronoun 'I' a lot in this blog.
That's because Meshack went on strike this weekend.
I started this whole process while he was at work Saturday morning. By the time he got home that afternoon, the kids and I had pretty much swapped all the toys and other stuff around.
All that was left were the beds.
He was not pleased.
It seems after 17 years of marriage, my mind reading skills are a little sub-par. I didn't realize he was going to give the boys an extra week to try and shape up. I thought when he said, 'That's it. Punky gets this room,' that is what he meant!
Silly me.
So, clearly being non-clairvoyant, I ruined his plans and his weekend. He refused to help move the beds on Saturday and being a seriously stubborn person I refused to ask for his help.
So...
I paid the price.
I have muscles screaming at me that I haven't heard from since my high school volleyball days!
Thankfully, he took pity on me today, and helped me move the beds, although he made it abundantly clear he thinks we should have given them an extra week to shape up.
I figure, if he wanted to do that, he should have SAID so!
The kids are finally settled in their new rooms. They still have some stuff to put away, but my job is finished.
Now it's on to other items on my to-do list...
Like working on my mind-reading skills.

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i'm getting squirrely

Friday, July 6, 2007

I like my agency...
I really do.
But sometimes...
Oooooh!
They drive me nuts!
I really checked these guys out before we signed on the dotted line.
I talked with their references...
I found tons of references on my own.
I studied their contract.
I asked a hundreds of questions.
And then I asked more questions before we sent in the paperwork and check.
They came out squeaky clean.
Everyone loved them.
And I can understand why.
They are very good at being straight forward with you.
They don't sugar-coat things.
They make you feel like you're their only client.
They go out of their way to help you. I've had the owner set up a phone call with both Meshack and I at 8:30 at night so we can both talk to her after the kids go to bed!
She's great.
WHEN YOU CAN GET IN TOUCH WITH HER!
It's nearly impossible.
I bet I've called and emailed 10 times in the last two weeks, trying to double check and make sure our check got there and that our paperwork made it to Ukraine.
(Cue the crickets)
Nothing.
(chirp, chirp)
Not a word.
(chirp, chirp, chirp)
I didn't hear anything back until yesterday...and then it was just a quick email that said, "I received your payment 06/29/07. Thank you. I will keep you updated on the submission process."
That's it.
Nothing about where our papers actually are.
Nothing about who will be translating and how long it will take.
Nothing even about the weather in South Texas.
Nothing!
I didn't even get a chance to ask any questions.
It was a little better during the paperchase, but I was working with the paperwork coordinator. She always returned my phone calls and emails. I never had a problem.
I thought I could expect the same from the owner...but it appears I'm wrong.
It's not that she's rude. She's incredibly friendly, helpful and makes you confident in her knowledge of the system.
It's not that she's cheating us out of any money. They're considerably less expensive than other agencies we looked at and haven't upped any prices or done anything else sneaky.
And they're incredibly helpful (when I do talk to them.)
It's just that I want to talk to them.
I need that.
I don't need my hand held during the paperchase. I've done this three times before...I know how to get my paperwork.
I need someone to tell me what is going on halfway around the world.
I'd like to have an idea of how many couples are ahead of us.
I'd like know when my documents have been translated.
I know right now there's not much to hear. We're just going to be doing a lot of waiting...and you know how I feel about that!
But I still need to talk.
I'd like to hear something...anything.
Am I asking too much?

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the great candy summit

I hope everyone had a great July 4th.
We did.
It was a quiet one...well, except for all the neighborhood kids who were still shooting off firecrackers at midnight!
We spent most of the day at home, doing one project or another, stopping every so often to have some fun family time.
Wednesday morning we cleaned out Q-ball's closet, tackled our own closet, moved JacJac back into Q-ball's bedroom and set up their bunk beds.
All of this in preparation for Maddie coming home. We need to paint and make some repairs in JacJac's old room before she comes home...but we're holding off a little bit to see if the boys can handle being in the same room together.
The last time we did this they messed around for hours at bedtime...and no matter what we did, nothing helped! We'll see how long this lasts. I give it a week before we split them up again and give the girls the big room.
In the late afternoon we headed downtown for our town's annual Fourth of July parade.
We have the typical small town parades complete with fire trucks, tractors, little kids on four-wheelers...
And candy.
Lots of candy.
Which leads to the point of this post.
The kids have just completed the 2007 Great Candy Summit.
We are a negotiating kind of household.
It keeps the peace.
We've held the 2005 Matchbox Car Summit...
the 2006 Legos Summit...
and now the 2007 Great Candy Summit.
All in an attempt to restore harmony and order to our household.
The kids came home from the parade with Wal-Mart sacks full of candy. More candy than they could possibly eat...or more accurately than I would ever LET them eat. And JacJac had done the most work...he needed help carrying his home!
Now, usually I'm all for hard work and tend to reward the kids when they put in extra effort. But there is no way I'm letting JacJac hang on to all of that candy!
The kids don't get a lot of candy...Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day, July 4th...and the occasional baseball game.
That's it!
So giving a Wal-Mart sack full of candy to my already hyper 5-yr-old is completely out of the question.
Hence...the 2007 Great Candy Summit.
Actually it was Q-ball's idea. (I personally think he was just trying to get his hands on all of JacJac's loot! :) As soon as he walked in the door Q-ball yelled out 'Candy Summit'. And the kids ran into the living, dumped their candy on the floor, and, without any prompting from Meshack or me, immediately started taking turns picking a single piece of candy and shoving it into their bags.
Around and around they went for about 20 minutes, quietly selecting their favorite pieces. Every once in awhile they'd stop and ask me if I'd like another Tootsie Roll. I'd say thank you...they'd throw me a piece and get back to work.
Miraculously there was no arguing...no fighting...hardly any speaking at all.
When they were done each one dug into their bags of candy and before I knew it had downed a couple of handfuls of sugar.
I'm so proud of them.
Not because they're sugar fiends! :) I'm proud that they were able to work together.
I'm pleased with Q-ball for thinking of it, although I'm pretty sure he had ulterior motives. I'm pleased with Punky for sitting down with her brothers and not pitching a fit when someone took her favorite type of candy. And I'm incredibly impressed with JacJac for sharing his loot.
I think I have some future diplomats on my hands.

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we are the champions...too!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Not to be outdone by his sister, Q-ball and his team won their championship game tonight!
This has been a tough season for Q. He moved from coach-pitch up to the fast pitch league - a huge step for these guys. It takes awhile to get used to the different pitching speed and the speed at which the game moves, but Q-ball stepped up to the plate (pun intended - I'm so clever! :) and did a great job.
Unfortunately, his coaches weren't too concerned with helping the kids improve this year...instead they pulled all of the older kids (and a couple of third graders) and put them on a traveling team that played in a different town. This left Q-ball and three other third graders wondering what they had done wrong. Try explaining that one!
It also gave those kids all kinds of practice...while our town team ended up only practicing twice before the start of the season. The town team also ended up forfeiting a game and lost a couple other ones because of conflicts with the traveling team's schedule! (Can you tell I'm a little bitter? I've been trying to let it go all season...I'm still working on it.)
Anyway it gave us another chance to be incredibly proud of our kids. Despite the disappointments, Q did great. He took advantage of every opportunity they gave him and excelled. He was eager to go practice at the batting cages and played catch with his dad every chance he had! And all of that hard work really showed up on the field.
Way to go Q-ball!
*********************
Above: PICTURE REMOVED - Q-ball holds up his championship medal and shows off his great smile! Again...please ignore the quality of the photo...I forgot my camera (again!). I think I need to just duct tape it to my wrist. Maybe that way I'll have it when I need it!

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i'm an aunt

Monday, July 2, 2007

How appropriate that my 100th post would be celebrating the joy of adoption.

I am pleased to introduce you to Kaycee Abigail Xi...the newest addition to my brother's family. Kaycee is an amazing little girl with a great story to tell. I'll let you go over to Valerie's website to see her post, but I will give you a little hint...
Kaycee is a special needs child. She was born without ears, but otherwise seems to be developing normally. Len and Valerie are prepared to handle the challenges of raising Kaycee and our family has already started learning some simple sign language to help us communicate with her. However in the last 24 hours Kaycee and God have given her new mom an amazing and wonderful gift.
You REALLY need to go over there and check it out.
God is so good.


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weeeee are the champions!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

They did it!
Punky's team won the season's championship!
And they did it with style!
They have beaten every team they've played this summer, except for one...'The Blues.'
They've come close every time.
The first game they lost by one in extra innings.
The second game (last Thursday) they tied after an extra inning.
Then today, they lost to them by one point in the battle of the unbeatens...thankfully it was a double elimination tournament.
The girls won the rest of their games and ended up in a rematch for the season's championship game. The girls ended up beating The Blues by three in a nail biter!
What a great way to end the season.
And Punky did great! As a kindergartner, she was relegated to bench warmer...but in this league after there are three outs you can substitute the bench warmers in for the starters and then everyone else on the team gets to bat. (It's great experience for these girls). Anyway, Punky did awesome! She went 4 for 6 with only one strike out. She made it to home plate (didn't score because there were already three outs) a couple of times and made some great plays at second base!
We're so proud of her.
Not because she did such a great job (although we certainly are proud of that.) But because she stuck it out and tried her best. She is the smallest girl on her team, but she didn't let that stop her from putting forth some herculean effort this season!
Way to go Punky!
*************
Above (PICTURE REMOVED): Punky holds up her championship medal and shows you who's number one in K-ball Girls Softball this summer! Please ignore the quality of the photo...I forgot my camera (of all days!). Thank goodness for camera phones!

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