Saturday, August 30, 2008
Since the move you all have had so many questions and I haven't found the time to answer them. So this morning I'm doing a Q&A installment of the Saturday Morning Post.
1. First Day Jitters - It's getting a little better everyday. Of course I knew it would...but you know how it is. You can know something in your brain and somehow it refuses to tell your heart.
The kids all seem to be settling into their new schools. Alek told me this morning that his teacher (Mr. Johnson) is 'really cool' and that he has made a new friend with another boy who is new to the school too.
I also watched him at football practice the other night get a little more animated and comfortable with his teammates. (I really need to get some pictures posted for you...he looks so cute in his uniform. Oh yea. He's not supposed to look cute. It's the tough look he's after. Sorry. He looks so menacing! ;>)
Anya, the social butterfly that she is, is doing wonderfully. And other than a little playground bully incident yesterday (that Alek took care of) Nick's doing fine.
So I think I can catch my breath now and concentrate on getting the house settled.
2. Boxes, boxes, boxes - We've been here almost two weeks and I still have boxes EVERYWHERE! My parents are coming this weekend to help celebrate a birthday (me - number 38) and it looks about the same as when they left us on moving day. ;>) I think I have some cleaning to do.
Elaine posted her 'To Do' list as she was getting ready for her father-in-law's visit. I'm tempted to post a list myself so I can be accountable to someone (besides the hubby). This full-time stay at home mom gig may be short-lived (I'd like to see how long I can keep it going) so I need to make the most of it. But until Maddie starts preschool it may be a little slow-going doing much more than unpacking.
3. Seven months later - Maddie is finally scheduled for an early intervention evaluation next Friday. I really am not a mommy slacker, I promise. I feel horrible that it's taken this long. Really, there is a perfectly good explanation. The problem is it's going to come out sounding like an excuse. But here it goes anyway...
When we first brought her home, life was hectic. It was all I could do to get her to the doctors appointments. The PAD I was going through wasn't horrible, but it was enough to drain me of ALL energy. I put it off saying that I wanted her to have her hearing aid before we really got going.
The hearing aids took forever in coming because we had to jump through a million hoops to find the right specialist to help us. No one really gave us a great starting point of who to turn to for help, so it took a lot of research. TRANSLATION - time and energy.
By the time she finally got the hearing aids, the school year was up. Which means she couldn't be evaluated until the fall. I signed her up on the district's list for evaluation not realizing my health insurance covered private speech therapy for children with hearing loss caused by birth defects. I assumed they didn't. They didn't cover the hearing aids...why would they cover speech, I thought.
And then of course, you know we moved.
It's amazing how quickly seven months can go by, isn't it?
She's signed up now and the local early intervention folks are doing a great job of taking pity on us and getting us right in for an evaluation. Did you know Wyoming is one of only three states in the union who don't have their special services directly tied with the school district? It took me awhile to get it all straight. But I finally got in touch with the right person and it sounds like it may be a good deal after all. They have a small preschool for special needs kids (which it sounds like Maddie would qualify for) and they have speech pathologists and audiologists on staff. Which hopefully means they really know how to help her.
I'll know more on Friday.
4. Bikes, bikes and more bikes - Everyone and I mean EVERYONE here rides a bike. And not just for leisure. I think we've moved into some sort of left-over, tree hugging, hyper-fitness loving bastion of liberalism.
Without giving too much away, we're living in a college town, which means, of course everyone here is pretty much young, totally fit and into saving the environment. EVERYONE has a bike.
And EVERYONE rides them EVERYWHERE.
Besides the usual college kids biking to class, every morning as I drive my gas guzzling mom-mobile half-way across town to drop the kids off at school, I pass moms biking their kids to school...
Executives biking to work...
And grandmothers biking to the store.
I'm tellin' ya. I'm feeling pretty guilty about not pulling my powder blue Huffy out of mothballs and peddling down the road. But do you know how hard it would be to corral four kids the twenty blocks or so to their elementary school...and then make the return trip with Maddie.
Not to mention it would take forever.
And I'd have to get four of those little orange flags to put on the back of the kids bikes so those crazy people who choose to drive their environmental hating selves to work, won't hit my precious children.
The good news is after a few months I would have buns and thighs of steel.
I think I'll let old blue hang out in the garage a little longer.
The mornings are getting colder, which means winter is right around the corner. There's no need to get all granola in the first two weeks I'm here. It can wait until next spring. Maybe by then the district will have found room in the neighborhood school we're supposed to be going to and instead of 20 blocks, I'll only have to take them five.
5. To work, or not to work...that is the question - And it's not going to get answered for a while longer. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I have put my resume in at a couple of places, but so far I haven't gotten so much as a nibble. I'm doing some contract work for my old employer, which will provide a little income over the next month. But after that I have no solid plans.
I'm thinking about substitute teaching. It would give me the scheduling flexibility I need...and provide a decent income. (Anyone who says teachers don't get paid enough should spend 10 years working as a journalist. We'll compare paychecks.) Freelance writing is also an option. It would be my first option if I wasn't so scared.
I have no idea what I'm doing.
Yes, I've spent the better part of 10 years plus writing for a living, but I had a consistent paycheck coming in. PLUS...freelance takes a lot more time and energy...both of which I don't have.
I do have one freelance gig set up...writing for the women's magazine I wrote for in Kansas. But I'm going to need more than that to make a real go of it.
We'll see. No promises.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement, support and prayers.
Yesterday was a little bit better on the school front.
All of the kids got into the van excited about their day. But they were excited for a hundred different reasons.
Anya was happy because she had made a new friend. She can't remember the girl's name...but they played together and had a great day.
Nick, too, made a new friend...at least in his own mind. He said the boy threw the ball at him in P.E. I guess in my little guy's 7-year-old mind that makes him a new friend. ;)
Alek was happy because at lunch the district offers five different options for a main course. 'It's like Ryan's (restaurant), Mom. You get to pick whatever you want!' I guess we'll take the victory in the little battles.
Alek still hasn't made any new friends, but he says people are being nice. He's just not playing with anyone.
We have done some of the things you all suggested in helping him with the adjustment. One of the first things before we actually physically moved here, was we signed him up for fall football. HE LOVES IT! He's been practicing since our first full day here and says 'IT'S THE BEST SPORT EVER, MOM!'
I'll take his word for it.
He is also bugging us to let him be in the school band.
Sooo...things are looking up a bit. I'll be leaving here in a bit to pick the kids up from school.
We'll see how today went.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I've got a really bad case of 'Mommy Guilt.'
We sent our kids off yesterday into a lion's den and I'm not sure if we've made the right decision.
It was the first day of school for my precious Alek, Anya and Nick....and it didn't go well.
Of course it's a brand new school so we expected it to be a tough transition.
AND it's five times bigger than what they're used to...so there's even more more to deal with.
But the responses I got yesterday from them on the way home had me on the verge of tears.
No one made new friends.
No one wanted to play with them.
They got lost in the halls.
And while the teachers were nice, they want to go back to Kansas.
Honestly, I'm not too worried about Nick and Anya. They're younger and outgoing. They don't have much trouble making new friends. And at their age it's a lot easier.
It's my 10-year-old Alek I'm worried about.
Alek is a sweet boy.
But he's quiet.
And incredibly shy.
He would rather not participate in something than to have to meet someone new.
It's painful to watch.
Add to that the fact that while he is attached to Shad and I, it's a very insecure attachment, you can understand my precarious frame of mind this morning.
Alek asked me no less than 10 times today as we were getting ready if I was going to pick him up by the slide today. And he had to remind me another five times that they got out of school at 2:45.
The thought of the anxiety he must be going through this morning is killing me.
I would love nothing more than to pack him and the other three kids up and run back to Kansas...but we can't.
This is where we are supposed to be.
We know it.
And the school district is our only real option.
We can't do home schooling right now. I not only need to work to keep this household from bankruptcy (remember four international adoptions), I don't have the patience to teach four kids their basics.
We've thought about private school, but we're back to that whole money issue. I seriously doubt we would qualify for any scholarships...and besides...I can't get the school to answer the phone, let alone call me back.
And then there are the IEPs. All four kids have IEPs. Private schools don't have the resources to give the kids what they need.
What I need is a small school district.
But there isn't one.
Funny, isn't it?
I move to the most unpopulated state in the nation and I can't find a small school district?
This whole county is one large school district....with large schools.
If we were an hour closer to our hometown, I would drive the kids to our Alma matter everyday.
I graduated in a class of 3...Shad had 10 in it.
A really small school.
That's what my kids need.
But it's not going to happen.
So I'm turning to what should have been my first option!
I am praying every moment of my day for my kids.
Pleading with Him to help the kids adjust and make new, quality friends.
It's amazing how God brings me back to this same place in my life over and over again.
Remember the trials we went through in finding Maddie?
I haven't felt the need to pray like this since we were in the middle of that nightmare almost 9 months ago.
Once again, I'm praying like I've never prayed before.
Seeking His wisdom, power and comfort.
Maybe that's what HE wants from me.
Maybe HE wants me on my knees.
Well, HE's got me there.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
At last...I can finally make good on the promise for more Maddie cuteness.
This video was taken by me...while I was driving the Mom-mobile down I-80 in central Nebraska.
Any of you who have traveled I-80 through Nebraska know there are virtually NO radio stations in central Nebraska. Actually, that's not quite true...there are some farm stations on the AM dial...but I wasn't THAT desperate. I was, however, desperate enough to give in to my children's begging to listen to a Veggie Tale CD.
Whatever possessed me?!
(For those of you who took the time to count my children...I didn't forget Anya. She was taking her turn riding in the moving truck with Shad. As you can see, there was absolutely NO room for another body in the van. One of the cats was riding next to me in the passenger seat in a carrier sitting on top of a cooler full of food from our refrigerator. Of course the truck wasn't much better. The cab was filled with Shad, a cat, a dog and a child, and miscellaneous other stuff that was too fragile to put in the back of the truck, but for some reason we thought would be perfectly safe in the front with said cat, dog and child. HA!)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
(Cue the choir of angels here.)
WE HAVE INTERNET!
I wanted to kiss that UPS man when he showed up at my door.
It was only 10 minutes after I posted my last blog...but it's taken me all this time to finally get it hooked up right! :)
Fast and easy installation MY FOOT!
Fast and easy to a techno geek.
Tough and nearly impossibile to a techno-phobe like myself. But Shad and I (mostly Shad) managed to get it all set up and I am sitting blissfully in front of my monitor re-connecting with the outside world.
Now if I could only get the satellite guy to show up life would be normal again.
Okay, not really normal. After all our house still looks like a war zone. There is no way I'm posting any pictures of the place until the trash guys haul away the last of the moving boxes. (Have I told you we have TWO trash days? How perfect is that?! With a family of six we are overflowing with trash half-way through the week...now I can get the stuff hauled away on Tuesdays AND Fridays! This is definitley heaven!)
But I am going to try and post a pic of my Wally World with a view. While it may not compare with Carrie's. It totally outdoes my last few WW's! I may also try to sneak in a pic of the views from up and down my street.
And for those of you who need a Maddie cuteness fix, I took some great video of the Madster on moving day.
In the van.
While I was driving.
That's it for now. I need to re-enter the real world. Laundry is calling my name (does it ever end?) and I need to make an effort at emptying a few boxes before Shad gets home from work. I don't want him to think all I do is sit at the computer all day. ;>)
Friday, August 22, 2008
The optimist in me was going to say something like, "isn't so bad"...but then the stressed, sleep-deprived, pessimist in me raised her ugly head.
So do you want to guess which of the three comforts of civilization we now have?
Here are your choices...
B. Satellite TV
The answer is...
C - Phone - The one I didn't really need or want was turned on early this morning.
As for the satellite TV - the guy called in sick this morning so I now have to wait a whole week before they can hook us up. Do you know what it's like to live in a house with four kids who have just moved to a new neighborhood and don't know anyone at all, who can't find any of their toys because they are still packed away in boxes AND who haven't watched ANY TV at all for a week?
It's not pretty.
And the UPS man has yet to deliver my internet box.
The good news is I have a view. A gorgeous view.
If I go out into the middle of my street and look in either direction I can see mountains. Big mountains. Mountains that only take 10 minutes to get to.
We may go to those mountains this weekend.
And oh yea...it was only 75 degrees yesterday...and 46 degrees overnight.
And we have the only Wal-Mart that I know of with a view. I really need to take a picture of it for you. It's amazing that as I get out of my mom-mobile at Wally World I have a view people pay millions of dollars for.
So while I don't have all the comforts of modern living (although I do have a dish washer for the first time in my married life - I am taking comfort in that) I do have a view.
A pretty view.
One that I will share with you AS SOON AS THE UPS MAN SHOWS UP!!!!!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
A quick note to let you know we arrived safe and sound.
We're living out of boxes right now...trying really hard to keep our sanity and sense of humor.
We have no phone, no t.v., no internet.
I'm only able to post right now by sitting next to the window in the living room with the laptop perched on my lap, with my tongue hanging out and my left arm over draped over my head.'
Okay, it's not quite that bad, but I am having to pilfer someone's wireless internet here in the neighborhood. I hope they don't mind.
It will be Friday before I get any of our services hooked up. So not too much longer before we rejoin the land of the living.
When I do get 'real' internet back I'll be sure to post pics of the new place.
In the meantime, keep being good...and send me comments. I need comments!
And MamaPoRuski...stop the crazy dancing! You'll get me in trouble with the new neighbors! ;>)
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Okay...not really. But these views are REALLY close by.
Makes you feel all relaxed, doesn't it?
Not so much when you are spending the day running around looking at house after house after house...trying to find
Keep your fingers crossed. We may have found something. It certainly isn't our dream home, but it will work for a few years until we're settled in the new community, get our feet under us and can start looking for the perfect place.
I'll post pictures as soon as an offer is accepted.
Now I need to go pack.
I'm flying out of here in a few hours.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Wish me luck! I'm off.
Next stop, Denver.
After that...a location north of there.
I'll be looking for housing.
Housing we can afford.
There's a little bit of hope. The real estate agent called yesterday to say she had talked with some other realtors and several home owners are open to the idea of renting the home to us until we sell ours and are able to close.
Pray for me.
It's going to be a busy few days.
If I have time I'll post some pics.
Off I go.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
- - Alek's mp3 player. He was grounded from it while we were on vacation in May. The bad thing was we hid it in a spot so remote, we had even forgotten where it was. The poor kid hasn't been able to listen to it in three months! Alek pulled it out of the back of the sofa table today. So THAT'S where it was! :) Maybe the disappearing act will teach him a better lesson than the original grounding.
- - A six pack of Zest soap. I've been using body wash for several years now. Longer, I believe, than the four years we've lived in this house. Shad, uses the manly kind - you know...Old Spice something or other and the kids have their Suave version. So where did the bars of soap come from? Who knows? And who knows what I'll do with it?
- - A box of unused checks from an account we closed 10 years ago. Now, why on earth didn't we shred those ten years ago is beyond me.
- - A Rubik Cube. I haven't seen one of those in YEARS. I forgot we even had one. The kids LOVE it and take turns arguing over who gets to play it next. Even Maddie. And I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a clue as to what it is.
- - A metal A-1 Tank pencil sharperner - Don't even ask. I don't know. Have no idea. Not sure what I'll do with it.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We just got back from a wonderful evening of fun and fellowship.
Our church family had a going away party for us. It was wonderful to spend some quality time with them before we leave (we have just one Sunday left.)
I'll blog more later about our AMAZING (and I really mean that) church family, but first I wanted to share this little video with you.
Maddie was in her element tonight.
She was the center of attention...and she loved it!
The great thing, though, was she created her own boundaries. What a difference from just six months ago! Remember the awful day in Odessa? There is such a huge difference...but that's for my six month update.
On to the video...
First a little background...
I was sitting in the same room, visiting with some ladies from Sunday School when I heard hysterical laughter coming from the other side of the room. I looked up and this is what I saw. (Bear with me...the video is over a minute long...but the end is SO worth it! :)
Monday, August 4, 2008
One day down...
Five to go.
The countdown is on.
In five days I will be unemployed.
Sorry. I just freaked myself out.
Only five days!
No wonder work is crazy.
There's only 40 hours left to get everything done.
I hauled my short-timer tail back to work tonight after dinner to finish up some stuff.
Do you know how liberating it is to walk into your workplace in a pair of shorts, t-shirt and flip flops?
I was waaaay more productive tonight. I got more done in two hours than I did all day long. And it had nothing to do with the fact that the phone wasn't ringing off the hook.
It was the flip flops.
I should have tried this years ago.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
But not for long.
Two more weeks. That's it.
And in that time I have to finish my job, fly to Wyoming to find a new house, come back, pack, get a U-Hau!, load it and leave.
I'm not going to think about it. Instead I'm going to sit here nibbling on my powdered donuts and tell you about my week.
I bought a box of powdered donuts last night.
A big box.
No. Really big.
I've eaten about half of it...
The kids have been allowed to have a couple.
Shad better not touch it.
It's all mine.
And don't get started on me!
At least it's not chocolate!
First and foremost I need to give a shout-out to my little guy who turned seven yesterday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICK!!!
I wanted to publish a brilliant post about my amazing little guy, but quite frankly I'm too stressed, tired and overwrought to work up anything coherent.
I think he had a good day yesterday, despite having to spend the whole day with the babysitter and then going to VBS last night.
We didn't do much celebrating until cake and ice cream at 10 p.m.
To make up for my mommie-guilt, today we're heading to Kansas City to either T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe or Chuck E. Cheese.
I'm quietly rooting for T-Rex or the Rainforest.
There aren't any cute kid restaurants in southern Wyoming. Unfortunately, there's a Chuck E. Cheese on every street corner.
Seven year olds don't get the concept of quality cuisine.
I have a feeling we'll be dining with the king of cheese tonight.
I need another donut.
Have I mentioned that I'm not good with change.
I used to think I was...but I've changed my mind.
Change just puts me into a really bad place.
A place that produces posts like this one.
For the last week I've been battling a headache.
Just a minor headache...nothing to blog about. Except nothing was touching it.
I tried Ty!enol.
I tried Advi!
Ty!enol and Advi!
I tried sleeping it off.
On Tuesday, Shad suggested allergy medicine.
'Why,' I asked indignantly. 'I'm not stuffy. I don't have any drainage. What's that going to do for me.?'
'Trust me,' he said.
I kept plugging away
Finally, last night I gave in and popped a pill.
I slept like a baby.
This morning, presto. No headache.
I guess I should listen to my doctor more often, huh? ;>)
Of course I had to dig that pill out of the bottom of the box in the dining room.
My house is trashed.
I would take pictures of it just to prove it to you...but I can't find my camera.
Besides, it's too embarrassing.
And Shad just keeps making it worse.
He's been on me for the last four years to go down into our dungeon of a basement and sort through the boxes and tubs we've been dragging from one house to another for the last eighteen years.
I've put him off.
He won't be put off any longer.
He drug the first box upstairs last week.
I think he hoped the torture would force me into action.
He was right.
The only problem is, my house is seriously looking like one of those houses you see on the news where 100 cats are carted out of the house in those little cat-carriers and the pictures on the inside are enough to make your stomach turn.
Okay...it's not quite that bad.
But it's bad enough.
The carpet hasn't been vacuumed in a week.
There are dishes in the sink.
And don't even ask about my growing mountain of laundry.
It's so bad I'm starting to think about re-washing those clothes for fear they've become contaminated by the junk coming out of the basement.
Shad is excited.
He says the basement is almost finished.
Good. Then he can just start carting this stuff right back downstairs where it belongs until the moving truck gets here.
I don't think I can take two more weeks of this.
Have I mentioned we don't have a place to move to yet?
Alek is really into this house hunting thing. If I could afford it I would take him with me on my exploratory trip next week. He just brought me the Wyoming version of 'Today's Real Estate' and said he found our house.
Has plenty of bedrooms.
It even has three baths.
And only costs $750K...
Your dad's a vet, sweetie. Not a physician.
Besides, the house is in Gillette...
We're not going to Gillette.
Which brings me to my next point. (Nice transition, huh? Yeah. I went to college for five years so I could write nice transitions like that on my blog.)
After my last post about moving to Wyoming I realized that I left many of you in the dark. It was intentionally so, but not really.
I'm trying to be vague about the specific location because of that whole fear of a creep reading my blog thing. But for those of you I 'know', email me privately and I'll give you the city.
Our parents live in the northern part of Colorado...we will live in the southern part of Wyoming...only two hours away. Close, but not too close. Ya know? And that's a good thing.
I just finished reading 'Russian Word for Snow' this morning. The book surfaced after Shad's mad-packing over the last couple of days.
I forgot I had it.
Shad bought the book for me on my last birthday when we were waiting for our SDA appointment date.
I got sick of looking at all the boxes, so for an escape I started reading it.
So much of the couple's journey mimics portions of each of our adoption trips. If you combine all four adoptions I could have written the same book. I'd forgotten how difficult it truly was to bring each of our kids home.
Speaking of memory problems.
Okay, it's not really problems, but it is about memory. (Hey! I needed another transition!) I'm finally working on making Finding Maddie into a book. Well...sorta.
I'm self-publishing a book just for Maddie on Blurb.
It's amazing how much I had forgotten about our journey to bring her home. Going through all of those posts and pictures brought back so many good and not-so-good memories.
Did you realize tomorrow marks the six month mark since Maddie and I got off the plane at KCI?!
Oh! I almost forgot...Maddie learned a new word this week.
Pronounced - nonnee.
Now everyone is nonnee.
Nick is nonnee.
Alek is nonnee.
Lulu (the dog) is nonnee.
The three of them have been incredibly nonnee this week.
Ah, the power of a new word.
Don't get too worried if you don't hear from me for awhile. At the rate Shad is packing this computer could disappear at any time.
Seriously, people. He's packed all of my dishes.
What I'm left with is either a hodge-podge of stuff I should really have thrown out or garage sale-d a long time ago....or a pile of paper plates which make me feel like the earth hating conservative monger that I probably am.
Have I just coined a new phrase?
Hey! This moving malaise I'm in may be good for something after all.
I am definitely epigrammatic this morning.
At least in my own mind.
This is either the pithiest (I love that word...add it to my list Kate!) blog I've written in awhile, or I'm misusing words like pithy, eco-guilt and epigrammatic.
Either way, don't tell me.
And you guys thought you read my blog because it was entertaining!
It's informative too.
Oh, by the way...on my third trip out to the box of donuts this morning I read on the box that the donuts aren't actually powdered.
They're mini sugared donuts.
See? You learn something new everyday.
I started out with five MSDs on my paper plate at the start of that paragraph, now I'm down to two.
I bet I can finish it before I finish this blog.
I told you.