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wonders never cease

Friday, February 27, 2009

'I want to clean the bathroom' - Anya

Y
esterday afternoon after all the homework was done, it was clean-up time.
We usually wait until the weekend for the family clean-up time. That's when we REALLY clean the house. I just keep it tidy during the week by myself. But since my schedule is all messed up because of the freelance work, I decided to 'let' the kids help me tidy up a bit.
The boys were on to my scheme.
They didn't complain about having to clean their rooms, dust and vacuum...its just that I wasn't getting them to volunteer for anything.
Thank goodness I have Anya.

"I need you guys to clean the upstairs bathroom,' I called over the sound of clanging plates and running water.
'I'll do it,' Anya called back.
With suds up to my elbows, I tracked Anya down.
'Honey, you don't have to do it yourself, I just need you all to work together to get it done.'
'Oh, no Mom. I WANT to do it. I WANT to clean the bathroom.'
'You do?'
'Oh, yes! Its fun!'


Of course I was more than willing to take advantage of my poor, dilusional child.
She's the only one I can trust to get it done right! :)


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goodbye hilda...hello...?????

Thursday, February 26, 2009

'Hilda', who has been giving me BIG fits for the last several months...finally gave up the ghost.

I 've got a surprise for you...
Here's a hint...
I am typing to you from my kitchen...something I have never been able to do.
Yep! I got a new computer.
Okay, so the surprise was more for me than for you.
Sorry about that...
But YAY me!
The old beast which I secretly called 'Hilda' and who has been giving me BIG fits for the last several months, finally gave up the ghost. I doubt she can be fixed, so she has been replaced by a brand spanking new Dell...which I am already in love with.
Does anyone know how to run a webcam.
Wait! Do I really want to know how to run a webcam?
I mean, after all...isn't one of the joys of working from home, working in your jammies?!
And I definitely don't want anyone seeing me in my jammies.
Anyway...
I need to seriously thank my parents here for helping me out on this one. I have a BIG project due next week and since Hilda was giving me fits and I was pulling all of my hair out - and since we haven't gotten our tax refund back yet, Mom and Dad spotted us until the refund comes in a couple of weeks.
Thanks Mom & Dad! (I think they read the blog.)
So anyway...I'm thinking the new laptop needs a name, so here's where you all come in.
Put on those thinking and give me your best suggestions.
If you come up with a winner I promise to be very grateful and send up extra prayers of thanksgiving for you. ;)
Who knows...I may be even willing to mention you in my blog and make you famous.

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return of the wacky woman

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I want her
to get to know Maddie
so she can realize
how WRONG she is!

I got some interesting news this morning.
The presenter who drove me crazy at the hard-of-hearing conference I went to a few weeks ago is coming back to Grab-Your-Lasso.
This nationally reknown audiologist lives in FLORIDA.
And she's coming HERE....

To Grab-Your-Lasso...
To visit Maddie's class.
It seems the preschool invited her in to evaluate what their doing and to find out how they can better help Maddie.
I'm impressed.
And despite the fact that I can't stand the woman I'm not her biggest fan - I'm excited.
Why?
Well, because I want her to meet Maddie, of course.

If you haven't read the post about her visit earlier this month, go back and do it...
Now.
Really. Go. I'll wait...
Okay...
Now do you get it?
I want her to get to know Maddie so she can realize how WRONG she is! :)
Petty, I know.
I also really want to get her input so we can pass it along to the school district next fall. An evaluation coming from a nationally reknown specialist should carry some weight, don't ya think?
This ought to be interesting.
I'll let you know how it goes.

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mind, body and soul

When we love God, we listen to Him. We care what He has to say. His heart is important to us, much more than our own. We regard Him as higher than ourselves. And life becomes all about Him.

Y
esterday was one of those days...

The kind you'd rather forget.

The kind where you're thiiiiiiis close to losing it - and you can't decide if you should laugh hysterically or cry uncontrollably.

Yep. I was there.

I can't really put my finger on what set me off.


Maybe it was the 'discussion' Shad and I had about our yucky health insurance and about how I'm tired of evaluating each of our kids on whether they're sick enough to make it worth our while to take them to the doctor...

Or how crummy it is for an employer to lure us all the way out here to Grab-Your-Lasso with the promise of 'health insurance for the whole family' only to find out their idea of paying for 'insurance' means get it as cheap as you can and not worrying about whether it does the family any good...

It could have been the thought of how it would have saved the employer a WHOLE lot of money if they would just pay us and forget about this crap...

Or possibly the feeling of paddling upstream, without a paddle...or a raft...a life vest...or even a swimming suit...every time I start looking at the bills.

It may be the sick feeling I get about leaving our house in Kansas empty...and every time I think about the four bedrooms, fireplace and huge yard we had there I get weepy...

Or how I really just feel like crawling in a hole with my resume and never coming out again after the job fiasco of last week...

And how if I look at another help wanted listing I'm going to throw up. Literally.

Whatever it was, I was at the point yesterday where I knew if one more thing happened, I would lose it.

And I did.

And in public too.

I headed out yesterday afternoon to gas up the mom-mobile and wash it.

Kill two birds with one stone, ya know?

It was a muddy, yucky mess...as Maddie has been telling me for the last several days...and I was sick of looking at my first-grader's artwork on the driver's side that said, 'wash me' in letters as big as my head.

I wanted it done as quickly as possible, but the kids begged me to wait until they got out of school. They LOVE to go to the car wash.

So being the awesome mom, I am...I did.

As I was gassing up the MMB and talking to my friend, Lynda on the phone about my horrible, no-good, very bad day...it hit.

Instead of getting a receipt with the car wash code on it, I got a nice little message directing me to go inside.

Grumbling under my breath, I headed inside, where I found the clerk chatting with his college buddy completely ignorant to my foul mood.

'I need the receipt,' I mumbled.

'Sure,' he said, waaaaaay too chipperly. 'Oh, you got the car wash. Sorry, its busted.'

That was it.

The last straw.

"What," I asked incredulously. 'It's what?'

'Broken,' he said, looking at me like I had lost my mind.

'Broken. Okaaaaaaay...when will it be fixed?'

'If we're lucky, tomorrow.'

That. Was. It.

"Do you realize this was the only reason I came to your store?! Your gas is 10 cents higher a gallon than I pay at Albertson's! I could have saved a buck across town, but I came all the way over here to get a car wash!!! And you tell me it's not working?!!!"


I huffed, turned on my rubber-soled heel and stomped out of the store...just like my five year old.

Yea...not one of my most stellar moments.

And its no wonder. Just like the mom-mobile, I've been feeling a bit spiritually dirty and empty lately.

A little run down.

Its my own fault. I haven't been spending time in the Word.

And when I let myself get spiritually empty, I end up with days like that.

How can I expect it to be any differently? I'm not getting the spiritual food to create the energy I need to keep going.



Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. - 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

I'm just like that spiritual baby...but I haven't been craving spiritual milk, let along tasting it.

In order to have the peace the Bible promises...in order to have the grace He offers, I have to be obediently drinking in the Word.

It is only through that obedience, through Jesus, through my surrendered heart, that I can truly get to KNOW God.

I need to be intimate with Him.

I need to have a close personal relationship, one that is thorough and complete.


I need to have an extensive knowledge of God. Be experienced in His grace and peace. Be connected through getting to know His innermost nature - mind, body and soul.

And how can I do that without having a quiet and personal time to praise him, talk to him and communicate with him.

When we love God, we listen to Him.

We care what He has to say.

His will becomes so much more important than our own.

Life becomes all about Him.

I want that.

How much better it would be to rely on Him than to worry about where the health insurance will come from, or the money to pay the bills? How much more peace will I have if I can hand over my dreams of a fulfilling job to His will for my life?

I want to be just like the people described in Isaiah 58:2 -

For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if

they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near

them. -(NIV)

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self pity and self evaluation

Monday, February 23, 2009

If I look at another help wanted listing I'm going to throw up

Okay...I'm taking myself back to my happy place now.
Not really, but lets play pretend, shall we?
Besides, I'm not really up to rehashing the 'discussion' Shad and I just had about our yucky health insurance and about how I'm tired of evaluating each of our kids on whether they're sick enough to make it worth our while to take them to the doctor...
And how crummy it is for an employer to lure us all the way out here to Grab-Your-Lasso with the promise of 'health insurance for the whole family' only to find out their idea of paying for 'insurance' means get it as cheap as you can and don't worry about whether it does the family any good...
And how it would save the employer a WHOLE lot of money if they would just pay us and forget about this crap...
And how I feel like I'm paddling upstream, without a paddle...or a raft...a life vest...or even a swimming suit...every time I start looking at the bills.
Or how sick I am about leaving our house in Kansas empty...and every time I think about the four bedrooms and huge yard we had there I get weepy...
And how I really just feel like crawling in a hole with my resume and never coming out again after the job fiasco of last week...
And how if I look at another help wanted listing I'm going to throw up. Literally.
I just don't want to talk about it.
Besides...I'm sure its just PMS.
ARGH!!!
Anyway...
By now I'm sure you've noticed all the changes I've been making to Sunflower Seeds.
There was no real reason for it, honestly. I was just bored and wanted to change the look.
Okay...that's only half true. After last week's job farce, I seriously considered taking ads on this blog because I need to make money somehow. Even if its just a few bucks.
But I'm starting to have some second thoughts about it...and I need your honest opinions. So I have a million questions for you...and I need a million and one answers.
First...
I've put an opinion poll up on the look of the blog. Do you like the new look or does it make it less personal? Does it make it more appealing...or more confusing? Check out the sidebar to cast your ballot. PLEASE vote...even if you don't comment. Although I'd really like to have your more specific comments.
Secondly...
What do you think about reinstating my blog log? I have some new blogs that I have found on the sidebar that I think are really interesting...but they're not adoption related. I'd love to have an adoption blog log as well. It would be really cute if I could get buttons from everyone...although I know that's not realistic (although I'd be more than happy to make a button for you! :) But I could add a list to the sidebar again.
What do you think?
Next...
What are your honest opinions on the whole advertising thing? My writing wouldn't be changing (for better or worse). I won't be writing reviews for pay or anything like that. This would be strictly ads along the rails...and hopefully some people would click through for me. What do you think?
And lastly...
Are you getting anything out of my blog at all? I mean, is it serving a purpose...really? I fell like I've been disconnected from the international adoption world. And not by choice. For some reason I don't feel like my blog is connecting with people who are in the adoption process...probably because we're not there ourselves right now.
Well, that and I lost three Sunflower Seeds followers, one DIYer and another Sage Brush reader this morning and I'm feeling like I've been dumped.
I haven't felt like this since high school.
I don't know...
I'm feeling a bit discombobulated lately (I love that word) about my blogging and I'm needing some feedback.
So have at it.
The comment lines are open.
I want your blogging critique.
As always, I ask that you be honest...but nice.
I could really use nice right now.

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changes are a comin'

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm going to start using Sage Brush as more of a spiritual journal.

When I started Sage Brush six months ago, the idea was for it to be a journal.
A diary of my reactions to daily life.
I haven't done a very good job of journaling, have I?
So I think its time for a change. Not a complete overhaul...just a subtle tweak.
I'm going to start using Sage Brush as more of a spiritual journal. One where I can share what God is doing in our lives - what He's teaching us.
And boy is He teaching us! :)
I hope it will remind me as the days and months go by of all of the ways He has touched our lives...and give me the courage to share those things with others.
I'm also hoping it will help me do a better of job of spending time in the Word.
I'm really, really bad at having a quiet time.
No. REALLY.
Maybe this will help.
I know some of you may be a little squeamish about spiritual things...and I respect that. But I hope you'll stick with me anyway.
I'm up for a good, respectful discussion. Besides, I could really use the sounding board.
Blessings.


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no can do

Friday, February 20, 2009

We're back to square one.


Whoever said...

'There's no shame in coming in second,'

needs to be taken out and strung up by their toes.
They were wrong.
Sigh.
I didn't get the job. And there aren't any more on the horizon.
We're back to square one.
Enough said.

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meeting of the minds

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Maddie has a much better chance of succeeding in kindergarten if we give her two years to finish it.


Today was a day for answers.
A day Shad and I had been waiting for, for quite some time.
This afternoon we met with a bunch of people from Maddie's preschool and the Grab-Your-Lasso school district to talk about her future...t
o figure out what should we do with her next fall.
And we've come to a conclusion.
Maddie has a much better chance of succeeding in kindergarten if we give her two years to finish it.
So she's heading off to kindergarten in the fall.
I have mixed emotions about it. I know its better for her. She'll get an incredibly amount of one-on-one attention.

But she's my BABY!
Thankfully we live in Wyoming, a state which has NOT mortgaged itself to the hilt. They have enough resources to let my daughter have a 'teacher-for-the-deaf' - hereafter referred to the TFTD - because I'm not typing that phrase another 20 times through out this post. :>)
The TFTD will be in Maddie's building...giving her as much help as she needs.
The teacher explained it this way today...
Some of her kids need her services every minute of every day. Others only need her for an hour or so. Maddie could fall anywhere in between.
(I'm thinking it will be all day every day at least that first year).
A one-on-one teacher. It doesn't get much more personal than that!
The TFTD will help fill in the gaps Maddie has in her expressive and receptive language. She'll work with her on everything from basic academic stuff to helping her understand what her friends are doing.

She'll guide her through the complicated world of checking out a book from the library, picking out her lunch in the lunchroom, understanding what the kids are singing about in music class.
She'll teach her not only what an L, O and G are, what kinds of sounds they make and what happens when you put them together. She'll teach her what word those letter make, means.
Maddie has a lot of gaps to fill in. Huge gaps not only in receptive and expressive language, but also in concepts.

Remember...she couldn't hear much of anything for the first four years of her life.

Imagine how much she missed.

Traditionally this would mean she wasn't anywhere NEAR ready for kindergarten, but with the help of this teacher we can not only have her go to kindergarten to get started on her academic career, she'll get the help she needs to start filling in those gaps.
I can't imagine Maddie won't have to repeat kindergarten. There's just too much to learn. But at least with this teacher's help, Maddie will get a year to build a foundation on.
She'll have a chance to work on all the skills she needs to succeed.
So my baby will be in good hands. She'll get all of the attention at school that she could possibly need.
Sigh.
I'm going to need you guys in September.
My baby will be heading to kindergarten.
Sigh.
I need to start stocking up on the kleenex.

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tidbit tuesday

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I know its Wednesday, but today's post fit more of a tidbit Tuesday format. Besides Tuesday was just yesterday, so what do you say we just forget what day of the week it is? Okay?
Okaaaay!
Lots of little things going on...just nothing worth writing a whole blog about...so here's your semi-weekly tidbit Tuesday.

Still jobless - I still haven't heard a peep out of the people I interviewed with last week. I've sent a couple of emails saying 'thanks for the interview' and 'what is the status?' but haven't got so much as a 'don't bug us' kind of reply. Since they said they were going to make a decision early this week, I'm assuming I'm out of luck. Sigh.

Freelance free-for-all - Even though I am jobless, its not like I'm not working. I have three free-lance writing jobs on my plate right now...that's good. One of them is for my former employer who is finding out my department (which they dismantled) actually did a lot of work and they're having a hard time figuring out how to get our stuff done. Payback stinks. ;>)

Making Amends - Nick made amends this week with his teacher, principal and the kids that he pushed down last week. Last night we spent the better part of two hours writing apology notes to the kids, their families, the teacher and principal. Since Nick HATES to write I think this was a pretty valuable lesson...and it got him some much needed practice on his penmanship. He is still spending each recess with his head on his desk - at my request. At times I feel a little sorry for him, but then I remind myself of what he did....the feeling disappears pretty quickly.

Clear Ears - Anya is feeling better. She said her ear hurts a little today, but its much better than Sunday. But just when one is getting better...another falls victim. Maddie is fighting a cold and cough now. Sigh. Spring can't come soon enough.

Grab-Your-Lasso Benefits - There are big benefits to living in Wyoming...like ski trip field trips! Alek gets to go skiing next month with his 5th grade class. HOW. COOL. IS. THAT?! And just in case you're wondering what in the world this has to do with education, let me just quote my kid's permission slip...

"This activity meets the movement Standard 8.1.1c,
'students will demonstrate skill in lifetime activities.'
Yea...whatever. What I want to know is why in the world didn't we have these kind of field trips when I was a kid?!!!
I'm planning on sending a small digital camera along so Alek can chronicle this awesome field trip for you. Who knows...maybe I'll even let him guest-blog that day as part of my 'you've-got-to-get-something-educational-out-of-this-experience' Mommy Standard 2.17.09a. ;>)

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beware the really, really cranky mommy

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm in a mood today.

A pretty foul mood.
It may be best if you keep your distance.
Unfortunately for the kids, they have no choice. They're stuck with me. ALL. DAY.
What, you ask, could possibly have put me in such a cantankerous mood?
Hmmm...let's see...

1. Little to no sleep - For some reason I've been having a hard time sleeping lately. Can't fall asleep when I want to...then don't want to wake up when I have to. Me plus no sleep equals really cranky mom.

2. Maddie's Midnight Mop-Up - Maddie had an accident last night. No big deal, honest...but I have a feeling its been going on for awhile and I just figured it out last night during my battle with insomnia. When I went to put new pj's on her they all had a very suspicious smell to them. Argh. I'm heading to Wally World this afternoon to get some pull-ups and see if we can't get to the bottom of this. I'm dreading the process.

3. Nighttime shenanigans - Maddie has been doing a lot of playing around in her room at night lately. We are constantly hearing her running around in her room in the middle of the night...and having to deal with her accordingly. Unfortunately, for some reason my usually compliant child just isn't learning the lesson.

4. Movie Madness - As silly as it sounds, the movie thing is really driving me nuts! I've tried just about everything known to man and I'm getting a sneaky feeling its my wacked out computer. I've been having a lot of problems with it lately. I'm ready to toss it out the window, unfortunately its in the basement and it won't give me a big sense of revenge just chucking it out my garden level windows.

5. Bully on the Playground - My son...my sweet, youngest son did a horrible thing on Friday. He was a bully on the playground. Nick was playing tag with some other kids on the playground when one of the kids asked him to stop chasing him. Instead, Nick shoved him to the ground, bloodying up his hands, knees and tummy. Then during another recess Nick shoved a kid up against the brick wall because Nick didn't think he needed to wear his coat...and the kid had the audacity to disagree.
Sigh.
Every once in awhile we have troubles with Nick and his temper, but up until now its been something we've dealt with at home. He's never pulled anything like this at school before. Nick's weekend has been horrible (for him). He's spent hours sitting next to me, doing absolutely nothing....gone to bed early every night...couldn't play at Chuck E. Cheese's for Maddie's birthday party...worked his tail off...hasn't watched any TV...lost every privilege known to a seven-year-old boy.
And got a very LOOOONG sermon on being nice to people...and NEVER pushing, hitting or shoving.
I have also asked his teacher about not letting him have recess all next week - and she agreed.
Sigh.
I hope it works.
The only bright spot in this ordeal is that he admitted to it...a little nonchalantly perhaps...but I'll take it.
I'm dreading Tuesday.

6. Job Jitters - I'm supposed to hear something this week about the job. I've been a nervous wreck all weekend (which, I guess, could explain the insomnia) talking myself in and out of a job a million times. Sometimes I think I'll get that call any minute...at other times I'm positive they'll find a reason not to hire me. I sent an email last week thanking them for meeting with me. I haven't hear so much as a peep. ARGH! Enough already...just call and tell me one way or the other.

7. Insurance Insanity - Anya got sick this weekend - the first time since we've had this yucky insurance - and I found out just how yucky it is. Not only did the urgent care office not file the visit for us, so we had to pay for the whole thing out of pocket...but when we went to get her prescription the only discount the insurance gave us was $1.48 off the antibiotic. Okay. How is it that Shad's employer pays $1400 every three months for insurance that can't even save us a few dollars on prescriptions?!!!!!!

8. Anya's Ears - Anya is fine...she just has yet another ear infection. This poor child has been fighting ear infections since the day she was born - or at least I imagine she has. She literally had them every few months between the ages of two and four. Finally, we found an ENT willing to put in tubes and take out adenoids and tonsils. Still...every once in awhile she gets ear infections.
Now...remember a few months ago when I told you the school district had tested Anya and told us that she had a mild hearing loss in her right ear? And how I had a sneaking suspicion it was fluid from our swimming excursion the week before? How every time Anya had the hearing screening every year at school, she failed the test only to have me take her in to her ENT to have her pass the tests with flying colors?
Well, guess what? Anya had a follow-up screening last week...and guess what?! She failed?! And guess what? She now has an ear infection!
I may just lose my ever-lovin' mind.
I can't win for losing when it comes to her ears.

One spot of good news...we heard back from the home owners and they've agreed to continue the contract until June. Not only will we not have to move...we can keep paying our below-market rent.
That helps.


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attention really good at techi-kind-of-stuff people

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I need your help.

I have this great 1-year-anniversary video of Maddie that I have been desperately trying to upload to blogger or You Tube for the last week...
AND. I. CAN'T. GET. IT.
Its driving me nuts.
Can anyone tell me what's going on?
Its saved in an AVI format.
Blogger acts like its uploading, but it doesn't give me the progress count like it usually does.
You Tube gets stuck on the page where its supposedly starting up the uploader.
Augh. I sound so incredibly technologically incompetent just typing up this description.
Anyway...if anyone has any suggestions, I would be forever grateful. I've been working on this darn thing for the last two months and I'd hate for it to go to waste.
Well, it wouldn't actually go to waste. My family can watch it on the computer, but I can't get it to play on the DVD player...but that's another technologically challenged post.
Sigh.

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happy birthday maddie!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My baby turns five today!
A year ago she was speaking only Russian...today she can chew out her brothers in the most colorful English terms.
A year ago she wasn't able to hear much of the world around her...today she doesn't miss anything, often bringing our attention to the little things we take for granted.
A year ago she didn't even know her new name...today she not only knows her name, she can spell it...and SIGN it.
A year ago she was absolutely terrified of dogs, cats, anything that moved...today she is hugging and squeezing Lulu and Wonka...and handing out puppy and kitty valentines.
In the last year our Maddie has grown and changed so much she barely resembles the little bundle of energy we met a year ago.
On this incredibly special day I'm remembering someone else.
Maddie's biological mom.
I don't know her name.
I don't know how old she is.
I have no idea where she lives.
And I may never know.
The only things I know about her, I glean from Maddie's face.
I imagine she has the same brown eyes that twinkle with mischief.
She may have the same brown hair with just a hint of curl.
And she may possess the same smile that lights up a room.
I can only imagine what she's feeling today.
Wondering what happened to the child she gave birth to five years ago...with a disability too much for her to handle.
Asking herself, 'what if...'

Wishing she had handled things differently.
At least I hope she does.
So in honor of Maddie's birthday, I would like to ask you to give her bio mom a very special gift.

Your prayers.
Please pray that she'll find peace.
I've been praying for that for a long time. I can't imagine what it must have been like to leave her child in the way she did. Only God can give her that peace.
I trust He already has.
Happy Birthday sweet Maddie!

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excuse the dust

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I know...I know.
Its a mess around here.
I gave in to my OCD tendencies earlier today and thought I'd create something really cute...something personal. Instead all I've managed to do is royally jack up my blog.
I'm working on it.
In the meantime rest assured I've learned my lesson.
I won't do this again until I actually know what I'm doing.
Sorry.

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well, that was easy

Why do I get myself all worked up over these kinds of things?
I mean really, you would think I would have learned by now.
The visit from the real estate agent was much to do about nothing. I don't think she was here five minutes. She walked in, made some comments about how cute the place looked...said something about the owner really wanting to work with us...and then left.
She didn't even look in the laundry room.
And I spent two hours last night cleaning it!
Note to self...don't sweat the small stuff anymore.
Yea, right. ;>)

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playin' the game

I'm a little irritated this morning.
Just a little.
After two weeks of waiting to hear what the owner's of this house want to do, we still don't have an answer. The couple can't decide if they want to let us to continue the contract to buy the house for another three months, if they'd rather just rent it out to us outright...or want us out of the house altogether.
They can't make up their mind.
Sooo....they're sending in their real estate agent.
She's coming by tomorrow morning to check on the condition of the house. I guess they're worried that we're a bunch of malcontents, so she's coming by to make sure we're not trashing the place.
I'm really tired of playing this game.
You know, now that we've been living here for six months we know the house really is too small for a family of six.
Its not working for us, in any way...but we gave our word and so we're willing to continue the contract.
But let me tell you...there are some days when I hope they tell us No.
In the meantime, we let the agent in to make her judgements.
Sigh.
I'm getting real tired of playing these games.

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i don't know

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

That's the answer I've given everyone who's asked today.

I really just don't know how the interview went.
It seemed good. You know the vibe you get when everything seems to be going your way...there was a lot of smiles, head-bobbing and general good feelings this morning.
BUT...
I'm one of six people they're talking to this week...
And I was the first.
So here's the question...
Was it good to be first, because I set the standard?
Or was it bad to be first, because they'll forget me by Friday?
That's what I can't figure out.
The job itself is perfect.
I would be writing...a lot...which as you know I like to do.
I would be coming up with copy for print and broadcast, which is good because I have plenty of experience in both.
The hours would be flexible...which is awesome! In my last job my boss gave us the flexibility of pretty much setting our own hours. As long as I got my work done and she knew when we would be in, she was fine.
I can't say this job will be the same, but it sounds like they'll let me set my hours at least to a certain degree...which is a huge bonus when you have four kids! :)
And then there's the clincher...la pièce de résistance...
I would have my own office!
I've never had an office all to myself before! :)
Pretty cool, huh?
I thought so.
The committee is finishing up interviews this week and hopes to have someone selected by next week.
I just hope its me.

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miracles do happen

Monday, February 9, 2009

Haaaaaaalleeeeeelujah!!!

I have a job interview!
TOMORROW!!!!!!!!
The woman just called me a few minutes ago and asked if I could be there at 9:30 tomorrow morning!!
Aaaaack!
Talk about last minute.
Pray...please, please, please pray!
This job would be a HUGE answer to prayer.
Remember all that stuff I wrote about last week?
The not being able to buy a house?
The not knowing if we should stay or go?
The not having health insurance?
ALL of that would go away if I can get this job!
Not only would our family finally have decent health insurance...I would be earning twice as much as I have ever earned in my lifetime.
Hmmm...that says one of two things...
Either I have always been grossly underpaid...
Or this job is way more complicated than I'm thinking and I'm in huge trouble!
I'm leaning toward grossly underpaid...but ya never know.
Anyway, I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, but I have to tell you, just having an interview after six months is a HUGE ego booster.
I have a million questions running through my mind right now...
How am I going to find the time to color my hair?
What kinds of questions are they going to ask?
Who's going to take Maddie to preschool?
Do I need to take a portfolio with me?
Will they like me?
And most importantly...
WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!!!!
I think this calls for a trip to Koh!s.

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taking notes

Thursday, February 5, 2009

That was fun! I love hearing from you all! :)

Unfortunately, you won't be hearing from me for awhile.
I'm off to a conference.
Actually, the meeting is in Grab-Your-Lasso, so I'm not really 'off' to anywhere.
My commute is all of five minutes. I'd much rather be flying off to Cancun or something.
Oh, well, I am out of the house and learning something new.
Anyway...The conference is for parents, teachers and anyone else who interacts with hard-of-hearing kids. Today was the first day, and I learned a TON!
For instance, did you know that when we bring our kiddos home from overseas and they're learning the language, its as difficult for them as it is for a kid with a moderate hearing loss? THAT's how confusing it is!
Wow! That explains a lot.
I'll try to give you all a run down early next week, but I will tell you it wasn't all kicks and grins.
I had a bit of a scare.
It all started when one of the presenters said if a child doesn't get help for their hearing impairment by the time they are three years old, its too late, they'll never be able to catch up...resulting in a serious cognitive delay.
Maddie didn't have any help until she was almost four.
She had the orphanage staff convinced she could hear everything but whispers. There were no hearing aids, no tests, no help at all.
Was it really too late?
But then I got to thinking...
This lady doesn't know Maddie.
She has no idea what this child is capable of.
She just threw out that blanket statement like it fit every child under the sun.
I understand there are a ton of hurdles Maddie has in front of her, but she is not cognitively delayed.
She's fine.
Her tests have come back cognitively on target...pretty good for a kid who's only been out of the orphanage a little over a year.
Just because she may have a more difficult time with language, doesn't mean she is not and will not function at her full potential.
I made a point of talking to the presenter about it after the session and I got the distinct impression she wasn't taking me seriously. I mean, after all, she's a Ph.D. and I'm just a recovering journalist, stay-at-home mom.
I can't stand being patronized by know-it-all academic types.
It ranks right up there with being lied to by my kids.
Thankfully, Maddie's speech and language pathologist was also at the conference and made a point of reassuring me...Maddie will be fine.
She is bright, works incredibly hard on her speech and refuses to be ignored. She won't be left behind. Her spunkiness will see to that.
Later in the day, the presenter did get a few points back. She clarified her statement saying the delay usually shows up in kids who withdraw. Extroverted kids tend to beat the odds.
Well there ya go!
Maddie is the definition of outgoing.
I told you she was going to be fine.
Anyway...tomorrow's another day.
And another presenter.
Let's see what else I can learn.

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

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thanks for your commiseration...
Things are MUCH better today.
Maddie is back to her energetic, non-stop talking self...and I'm feeling much better too. I think I was battling a touch of whatever she had yesterday. I was just a touch queasy...this morning I'm feeling a million times better.
Now, we wait to see if the other shoe drops.
I do have three other kids, afterall. And nothing spreads better than a nasty stomach bug.
I'm storing up on Sprite and Ginger Ale just in case.
In the meantime...
Its time for my annual head count.
'Come out, come out, wherever you are...'
Everyone who reads my blog say, 'Aye'.
I make a habit of checking the stats on Site Meter every once in awhile (okay, every day) and it says I'm getting 180 plus hits a day...but since comments don't add up to anywhere near 180, I'm left wondering...who's really reading my blog?
So to curb my curiosity I need you to say hi! :)
I also want to update my 'Favorite Blogs' list so this will give me a chance to check in with everyone. ;>)
And while you're checking in, let me know what you're thinking. I am desperately addicted to the 'You have comments' email I get from Blogger so please help satisfy my dependency.
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 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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FYI...

Monday, February 2, 2009

If your almost five year old is battling stomach flu...
And its been two hours since she last hurled...
And she says she's hungry...
And you're trying to get fluids into her...
DON'T...I REPEAT...DO NOT give her blue jell0.
You're welcome.

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where's that bucket?

Batten down the hatches...
All hands on deck...
Somebody bring me the Lyso!.
Maddie is sick...with the stomach flu.
And on her one-year anniversary to boot!!! (For a recap of last year's festivities, head on over to Sage Brush)
Poor thing...she's been hurling since 1 a.m. this morning...and there's no end in sight. She even gave me something to clean up in the van on the way to take the other three to school this morning.
THAAAAAT was fun! I was THIS close to having four times the mess, if you know what I mean.
So I guess you're going to have to wait a few days for the one year anniversary video. It's still not done (its taking me way too long)...and I seriously doubt I'll get much more done today than rocking in the rocking chair while watching Blue's Clues...
...or maybe Dora.
...or if I'm lucky some highlights from last night's Super Bowl if Maddie falls asleep. (Wooohooo! Steeeleeeers! :)

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the looooooong flight home

One year ago...
---------------------------------
I remembered to set my alarm last night. But I didn't needed it. I couldn't have slept more than a couple of hours. I was just too excited!
We were going home!
As we got dressed and ate some breakfast, I kept telling Maddie, 'Tonight we're going to be home, and you'll meet Q-ball, Punky and JacJac and see Papa again. Isn't that great?!'
She just smiled and gave me a look that said, 'Please give me more banana.'
Sigh.
I guess I'll just have to be excited enough for both of us.
No problem!
The driver showed up a little early which was just fine with us. He helped us get to the car with our bags and off we went.
As we raced through the streets I couldn't help be a little nostalgic. I mean, after all, this probably will be the last time I'll see Ukraine. I can't imagine having the money to ever come back...at least not until Maddie is older. I had met so many wonderful people here. It was a little sad to say goodbye to it all.
But it was more wonderful to know that in just 18 hours I would be home.
HOME!
We pulled up to the airport curb, the driver jumped out and helped carry our bags into the terminal. Then he pointed in the general direction of the ticket windows, said, 'good luck' and walked away.
Maddie and I were on our own.
No problem. I had been through here before. I could manage.
We walked through a throng of locals who were obviously waiting for the boarding call and went to find the Luftansa desk. When we arrived there was a line.
Great! I thought. Maddie is never going to put up with this, but ya know what? She did. She stood like a little trooper and waited and waited and waited.
Finally it was our turn.
Here is where I have a little piece of advice for all of you PAPs (pre-adoptive parents). Make sure all of your paperwork is in your carry-ons. And if you're traveling by yourself, it's even more important.
The ticket asked for my sworn statement from Meshack saying it was okay for me to take Maddie out of the country.
I said, 'You're kidding me.'
'No ma'am. I need to see the statement from your husband.'
'But he's in America. We're traveling to America. We live in Kansas. We're traveling to Kansas City. We're going HOME. He is at HOME. We are going to see HIM. I think he wants me to bring his daughter HOME!'
Oh...so you adopted her?
'Yeeess.'
Well, then I need to see the court decree.'
UGH! (I don't know why it mattered - Maddie had her passport with her name in it!)
Anyway...after a few frowns from her and some muttering underneath my breath she gave me the boarding passes for the flights all the way through to Kansas City.
I don't think I had ever seen anything so beautiful.
We made our way up the escalater and up to passport control.
There was a little hiccup at passport control. I'm not exactly sure what it was about, but they pulled Maddie and I aside to another officer. I asked what was wrong, and the nice lady said, 'oh, nothing. She just needs to see this.'
Okaaaaay.
The other woman scowled a little then signed off on something. The first woman smiled and said congratulations and we were on our way.
Security was a breeze. By the end of the day Maddie knew exactly what to do.
Then we waited for our flight.
The flight to Munich was uneventful. I thought Maddie might be a bit scared, but she actually laughed hysterically when we took off and thought nothing of the landing. She kept busy coloring and eating snacks. We made it through the first two hours without any problems.
Until we reached Munich.
We only had 40 minutes to change planes.
I don't know why they even offer this connection. For heaven's sake. It was waaaaay too short. The lady at passport control said it wouldn't be a problem...that we would make our flight.
She was right...but it was close enough to give me a heart attack. If you're flying on the 6:50 a.m. flight from Kiev to Munich and then going on to Chicago...be ready to run.
If the flight to Munich was uneventful...the one to Chicago was another story entireley.
Maddie was incredibly restless. I couldn't get her to settle down for anything, not that I could blame her, but we were sitting in the middle four seats (on the aisle) and there was no containing her. She was infatuated with the man sitting next to her, which thankfully had a granddaughter about her age, so he was used to it.
But I wasn't.
She couldn't sit still...didn't want to play with any toy for more than 10 minutes. Wasn't interested in the movies. The only thing she was interested in was her juice cup.
She drank way too much juice...which meant frequent trips to the bathroom.
And she had absolutely NO desire to take a nap.
Not ever.
I tried Benedryl...which I had experimented with during our passport wait. She showed no signs of hyperness during the trial and did take a nap that afternoon so I figured we would be alright.
Um. No.
While she wasn't hyper, she definitely wasn't tired. Not even close.
She didn't sleep more than 30 minutes of the 10 hour flight.
THIRTY MINUTES!
I about lost my mind.
We had a couple of screaming fits which required trips to the bathroom to 'correct'. Thankfully after the second one all I had to do was point in the direction of the bathroom if she got out of hand and she quickly shook her head 'no' and quieted down.
Thank goodness for small favors.
I thought we would never get to Chicago...but finally, we did.
American soil.
It was so sweet. We were finally 'home'.
Okay...not technically, but close enough.
We made our way through the 'American citizen' line in passport control, then grabbed our bags and went to the new immigrant desk.
Five minutes later my newest little citizen and I were on our way to recheck our baggage.
It was, again, easy peasy.
Before I knew it we were in Terminal One on our way to our gate for our five hour (yes, you read that right, FIVE hour wait). We tried getting on an earlier flight to Kansas City, but United Airlines in their unlimited wisdom decided to cancel that flight. So we had to wait five hours.
Five hours in a terminal with a three year old, by myself.
Yea. Tons of fun.
I tried, unsuccessfully to get her to take a nap, so we went for a walk. That was when I found the BAGEL shop!! Woohoo! I hadn't had a bagel in what felt like eons.
Maddie and I had a sausage, egg and cheese plain bagel with juice.
Mmmm-mmmm.
So good.
Then we made our way back to the gate to wait some more.
I thought about taking Maddie for a walk - but there's this whole don't leave your bags unattended thing...and my bags were way to heavy to carry all over O'Hare.
So we sat...
and we sat...
and we sat.
Finally, five hours after we touched down in Chicago it was time to leave for K.C.
The minute we got in our seats on the plane, Maddie fell asleep.
Finally.
Our one hour flight to K.C. was uneventful. I let Maddie sleep as long as I could before taking her to the bathroom. (I didn't want to interrupt the homecoming with a potty break.) Then we started our descent into K.C.
Kansas City looked amazing from the air.
I never noticed how pretty it looked before.
Finally...we were home.
---------------------
Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, feels better than walking off the plane and into the arms of your family.
I cried.
Out loud.
I didn't care.
We were finally home.
Maddie wasn't quite sure what to make of everything at first. She had a death grip on my hand and stuck pretty close to me, which is so unlike her.
The kids were estatic. Each armed with a stuffed animal, they gathered around her and tried to get a better look, all talking at the same time.

'Does she speak English?'
'Hi, Maddie. I'm your big brother.'
'Mom, can you tell her I'm glad she's home?'

It was all I could do to get a hug out of them! :)
Maddie just stood there taking it all in. Not moving.
The girl was a walking zombie.
It took her quite awhile to get comfortable enough to even look at Meshack who she had met before. But by the time we walked out of KCI she had found her new favorite spot...in her daddy's arms.
My brother, sister-in-law and three of their kids drove all the way from Colorado to welcome us home. It was so wonderful to see them...and heartwarming to know they wanted this child in our family just as much as we did.
I have the best family.
And our family is complete.
I know I mentioned when I started this blog the reason Meshack and I were on this journey was because we felt like someone was missing. There was a empty space in our family portrait and we needed to go find her.
When I looked at my husband and my children huddling together in the Kansas City airport, there was a deep sense of peace and fulfillment.
It had taken us 363 days to accomplish what had been asked of us.
But our family portrait was complete.
We had found Maddie.

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easy peasy

Sunday, February 1, 2009

One year ago...
------------------
I overslept.
How could I oversleep today of all days?!
The cab was supposed to get there at 7:30 a.m...it was 7:15!
Aaaaaaach!
I jumped out of bed, yanked some clothes out of the suitcase, ran a brush through my hair and put on some foundation.
Then I got Maddie up.
She wasn't too happy with me...until I showed her a banana.
The kid is nuts about bananas.
She got dressed and we ran out the door.
Nikolai, the driver, was waiting at the gate. I hope we didn't keep him waiting too long.
The streets were relatively quiet. It's amazing to me..even in Kiev, things don't really get moving until around 9 or even 10 in the morning. And on weekends, you can count on the streets being deserted until 11...at least.
We zigged here and zagged there. Turning corners, going into areas of the city I had never seen before, until finally we arrived at the American Medical Center.
As we walked through the doors, a nicely dressed woman walked up to us and introduced herself as Lev's mother. She also is an adoption facilitator, although she doesn't do any translating...just organizing. So this part of the process she's wasn't to familiar with.
Great. Just what I needed...a rookie.
We sat down and waited for the clinic to open. It opens at 8 a.m., but the doctors don't show up until 9 a.m. Who knows why. But we were there so early to make sure we were the first clients of the day.
We were.
It still didn't help.
An hour and a half later we were still waiting for the report.
Aaach.
The U.S. Embassy only takes appointments until noon...and they made sure to tell me over the phone the sooner I got there the better the chances were that I would be walking away with a visa today.
I HAD to get that visa. I just HAD to! There was no way I was sticking around through the weekend just waiting for Monday.
NO WAY!
I pushed and prodded Mrs. Lev. I bugged and thought about bribing just to get her to MOVE IT!
It didn't help.
The woman, who of course was as nice as could be, worked slower than a snail. I finally had to flat out tell her I needed her to check and see if it was done. We had to leave NOW!
It was.
Sigh.
On the way to the embassy Mrs. Lev said Lev insisted we needed to get copies of our passports taken for the embassy. She said Svieta insisted it wasn't necessary, but Lev was positive we needed it.
I was willing to take Svieta's side...but there was no stopping the woman (finally). She said there was a copy center near the embassy, it would only take a few minutes.
If you have been on an adoption trip to Ukraine you know there is NO SUCH THING as an errand that takes a few minutes. Especially a trip to the copy store.
It takes FOREVER!
Surprisingly, only 10 minutes later she came out with copies in hand. Still...those 10 minutes felt like an eternity!
I was a nervous wreck by this point. It was 11 a.m. I just knew there was no way they were going to get Maddie's visa done today.
No way.
We reached the embassy and I jumped out and grabbed Maddie. We wogged our way down the hill, with Mrs. Lev trailing behind all the while saying things like, 'I'll wait for you out here,' and 'Good luck.'
'Thanks.'
We ducked inside.
We breezed through security and walked into the building.
It was like going home.
Everyone was nice.
Everyone was helpful.
Everyone was SMILING!
Everyone wanted to see us succeed at getting this visa as badly as we did.
What a blessing.
For the first time in weeks I felt like I was amongst friends. One guy even asked me if we had met before. He looked familiar, but I couldn't place him.
Forty minutes later I walked out with Maddie's visa.
I KID YOU NOT!!!
FORTY MINUTES!!!!
It almost made up for the horrible time we had getting the passport. ;>)
That was it.
We were done.
Maddie was ready to go home.
It was surreal. I had to ask three times if that was all.
They just laughed with me.
I had the little manilla packet, I had the receipt for payment and I had the little visa glued into her passport. What more could I possibly need?
I guess after all this time it felt too good to be true.
Maddie and I are finally going home.

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