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today's the day

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today is the day all normalcy flies out the window.
We're packing the U-Haul.
My brother and sister-in-law are coming up to help us load this morning. Most of the house is packed (probably around 70 percent), so most of what's left is just getting all the stuff outside to the truck.
Our goal is to pull out of here early tomorrow morning. I'm not sure it will happen, but we'll give it our best shot.
I doubt I'll have time for much internet access over the next couple of days...but I HAVE recently discovered something cool. I can post short posts via my phone...so check back for updates.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with some photos of our day yesterday. We had a great time on the field trip...undoubtedly the best field trip I've ever been on.
And take a close look...there are even a couple of pictures me in here. And, NO, this time they're not from behind. ;)
Enjoy!



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change in plans

Friday, May 29, 2009

I've always wanted to go canoeing...haven't been fishing in ages and am anxious to relive my archery days at Bible Camp in the early 80s.

Alek has another one of his awesome field trips tomorrow.
Last fall he to
Vedauwoo...
This winter he went
skiing...
Tomorrow his class gets to go fishing, canoeing and archering (?)...sorry, I had to finish the 'ing' endings...just to keep the flow. They're going to go shoot some arrows.
He is giddy with excitement. He's been talking about nothing else over the last few days. Driving everyone nuts with all of his questions and assumptions about the trip.
The plan was Shad would go with him. It sounded like a great father/son day...fishing, canoeing and shooting arrows at straw bales.
That WAS the plan. Until today.
Today wasn't a good day on the packing front. It took us all day to track down the truck and the car trailer...then Alek had a baseball game (which they won and he did awesome, BTW)...so by the time we got home around 8 p.m., there wasn't much daylight left to get any real loading done.
Soooo.....
I'm going instead.
Alek is disappointed...and I don't blame him. It would be a much cooler thing to do with Dad.
Shad is INCREDIBLY disappointed...he's been looking forward to it for quite awhile...and feels like he's letting Alek down. But what choice do we have? He's the big lifting guy...he'll get twice the amount done than I ever could.
Me? I am thrilled! I've always wanted to go canoeing...haven't been fishing in ages and am anxious to relive my archery days at Bible Camp in the early 80s.
And besides...I'm getting out a yucky day of packing. Woohoooooo!!!!
The only thing I'm worried about is embarrassing the daylights out of Alek. He's a good kid who would never say a thing, but think about it...a fifth grade boy, hanging out with his late-30s, overweight mom who is trying to do all kinds of really cool things and looking like an absolute fool in the process.
Sigh.
Oh, well. I'm sure I won't be the only nerdy mom there.
Besides, did I mention I'm getting out of packing?! :)

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where did you say my truck was?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is a racket, people, I'm tellin' ya. I should go into the moving truck rental business, I would make a fortune renting trucks to unsuspecting idiots who are desperate to move.

W e're in full-fledge moving mode now.
Boxes line the walls, plastic tubs clutter bedrooms and paper plates and plastic cups litter the trash can.

We can't find ANY. THING.
And have I told you Murphy is sicking his law on us?
First it was the boys accidents on Monday...then today U-Haul tried to pull a fast one.
This afternoon I was busy doing whatever I could to avoid packing using up all the groceries in our house by baking chocolate chip cookies, when the phone rang.

'Hello?'
'Yes, is Shad there?'
'Not right now, may I take a message?'
'Umm...yeeeeessss. Could you please tell him to call U-Haul as soon as possible?,'
'What's wrong,' I demanded.
'Ummm...there's a slight problem with his order. We have a 26 foot truck and a car trailer, but they aren't in Grab-Your-Lasso. You'll have to drive to another town to pick them up. If you want a 26 foot truck you'll have to go to Cheyenne - (50 miles away)...and then you'll have to go to Ft. Collins for the trailer (70 miles in the opposite direction.) Of course if you'd like to pick them both up in the same place you can drive to TORRINGTON (which is two and a half hours away!)

Are they insane?
Evidently this is all in the small print. They promise they'll have the truck for you...they just don't promise where it will be.
Soooooo....they want us to drive 2 1/2 hours each way to get a truck, which will then eat not only into the time we have available to rent the truck, but also the mileage they allot us.
Yea. Right.
So I called Penske...they said they could get both of them for us...tomorrow morning...for TWICE THE PRICE!
This is a racket, people, I'm tellin' ya. I should go into the moving truck rental business, I would make a fortune renting trucks to unsuspecting idiots who are desperate to move.
Sigh.
Thankfully, Shad is calm under pressure, and has a few more negotiation skills than I do. He called U-Haul back...got them to knock off $100 off the price, give us 300 more miles for free, three extra days for free, and a couple of dollies at no charge.
But we still have to drive an eternity to get our truck.
Yea. Take THAT U-Haul!

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the old look is back

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I give up.
I've spent the last two days tweaking.
I've scoured the internet for a new look.
Loaded and reloaded template upon template.
But alas, (again with that word), I just can't find anything that works for me...or for Sunflower Seeds. And since I'm too cheap to pay for a new look and can't find anyone crazy enough to design something at no charge...I'm going back to the 'old' look, at least for now.
It'll take me a little while to reload the template...I'm hoping that, along with removing some of the elements, will get rid of some of the glitches.
If it doesn't let me know and I'll rethink my options.

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let the countdown begin

Monday, May 25, 2009

I LOVED Beth Moore. Would you mind if I just become her roadie and follow her from city to city? No. Seriously.

W arning: The following is completely off the wall. I suppose you could call it a stream of consciousness kind of thing, except I'm barely conscious, so I'm not sure how much streaming is going on here.
Anyway...its random.
Forgive me.
I'm blaming my messy house. I need a relatively clean, uncluttered house in order to function properly. And my house is a mess. Shocker I know.
What makes it worse is the kids are going crazy.
The dog has escaped twice.
And the hubby is packing anything that isn't moving.
That's means its moving time in Grab-Your-Lasso.
In six short days we will no longer be living in the great state of Wyoming. We'll (hopefully) be on our way back to the Sunflower State to the Emerald City.
I can't wait. Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?
Yea. I'm not proud of it.
Its not that I don't want to live in the Emerald City...I just don't want to MOVE there. Its the process, not the result, that I'm not looking forward to.
I can't stand moving. Hate it. Despise it. Abhor it. Loath, dislike intensly and detest it!
Augh.
I wish there was a moving genie I could call who could snap her fingers and it could all be done...Alas, (how often do you see THAT word in a blog these days) its not to be. We're going to have to do it ourselves.
*sigh*
You've probably already realized, chances are this week and next that my posts are going to be rather few and far between (as if they haven't been already). I'll be losing internet sometime this week here in Grab-Your-Lasso. Remember when we fist moved here and I didn't have it for like three weeks and I had to sit on my livingroom window sill, stick out my tongue and hold my computer just so?
Yep. That's where I'll be again.
We're set to pull out of Grab-Your-Lasso on Sunday morning. I'm not convinced we'll make it. Shad's already complaining saying we won't have enough room in our 26 foot U-H@ul...so we're tossing stuff left and right.
I've already gone through the kids closets and pulled two trash bags full of clothes out to give to my nieces and nephews. I'd like to do the same with toys. We'll see if I get it done.
This moving stuff has limited the amount of time we've been able to spend in the great outdoors. That's one of the things I've LOVED about Wyoming...all of the great outdoor stuff it offers.
But we've done the last of our sightseeing...we didn't even leave the house today (except to make a Wally World run for laundry detergent.)
The thing I'm most upset about leaving in Wyoming is the weather. Yes, I complained about how long winter lasted, but do you realize that its starting to get absolutely beautiful RIGHT. NOW.
I've been foolishly keeping an eye on the Weather Channel and watching my friends from the Emerald City comment about the temps there. 85 with high humidity there today...60 with no humidity here.
I'm still wearing jeans and sweatshirts here people...and I'm LOVIN' it!
We should have stuck out the summer here and waited until right before school to move. I'm thinking after putting up with the never ending winter up here, we deserve the absolutely beautiful summer as a reward.
The good thing is that we have absolutely beautiful weather for Aleks' baseball games. He's down to only two games before we move. He's pretty disappointed that he won't be playing with his friends in the Emerald City. I'm disappointed for him. I keep having flashbacks to my own childhood when my family moved from Illinois to Colorado during the summer of my fifth grade year.
I had just been drafted by the best softball team in the city after waiting THREE aganizingly long years for my chance to play with the big girls.
Then we moved.
I think that's where Alek is.
He's finally getting a chance to really shine in baseball...and we're moving.
Sigh.
Anya and Nick, however, are on the opposite side of the spectrum. They along with Maddie will be starting their season the week we get to the Emerald City.
Anya has a game the day after we pull into town. To say she is excited is an understatement. She's stoked! She found her glove this afternoon (which has been lost since our move last August) and drug Nick outside to play catch!
I'm excited for them both.
Speaking of exciting...Karl Rove is following me.
No, really, he is! :)
On Friday I signed up to follow him on Twitter, and I just got an email this morning saying he was returning the favor.
Cool huh? Karl Rove is interested in little old me! :)
Although I have wonder what it is about my tweets that he loves?
Is it my snarky little tweets about the nuts at Wally World?
Or how about the play-by-play I give on Alek's baseball games?
Personally I think he's absolutely blown away by my running commentary on the moving process. Maybe he'll be so moved he'll stop by and help us unload the U-H@aul! What do you think?
I'm also considering occasionally sneaking in a dazzling political tweet, just to get my two political cents in to someone who matters.
Now if I could just get Glenn Beck to return my emails, I'd be all set. ;>)
Speaking of not making sense...we're experiencing a bit of moving jinx around here.
Remember when we moved to Grab-Your-Lasso last August and I had to take Nick to the emergency room when he dislocated his elbow the very first day?
Yea.
We've had two near misses just today!
This morning Alek was in the back yard, cleaning up the yard, when he went to come back inside. He tried opening the door to the garage and it got stuck. So he pushed a little harder...it wouldn't budge. So he pushed even harder...except he put his hand on the GLASS. WINDOW.
His hand went straight through.
He came upstairs crying, holding his hand, blood covering his face, hand and arm.
I almost fainted.
No, really. I did.
I've never had one of my kids get that bloody...and it was almost more than my mommy heart could stand.
I grabbed him, pulled him into the bathroom and screamed for Shad to get in there.
He took one look at Alek and his face went white. My doctor husband had the same reaction I did.
We rinsed off his hand and thankfully found out that Alek is just a prolific bleeder. He has a 4 inch long scrape running from his palm down the outside of his arm...but its just a scrape. Not even remotely close to needing stitches.
I have sent up prayers of thanksgiving all day that the cut didn't run down through the middle of his wrist.
Scary stuff.
Then...as if that wasn't enough drama...
While Maddie and I were at Walmart running an errand, Shad called.
Nick had been eating an apple as I left on my errand. He had complained that he couldn't eat it very well, because he has a bunch of loose teeth (seriously, like four. My child is going to look like a character off of the Beverly Hillbillies when they all finally fall out of his head)
After I left, he decided he needed the apple cut up so he could eat it better.
Without talking to his dad, he grabbed a knife out of the drawer and started chopping up the apple.
Yep. He cut his finger.
Shad said he bled like a stuck pig.
What is it with my boys?!
Again...thankfully, no stitches necessary...but I've decided I need to wrap my boys in bubble wrap for the duration of the moving process.
I'm so glad the boys decided to wait until today to chop off their extremities...because I'm not sure I could have left the Beth Moore concert to go to the E.R. (KIDDING PEOPLE!)
I LOVED Beth Moore.
Would you mind if I just become her roadie and follow her from city to city?
No. Seriously.
That woman is amazing. Actually, I know its not the woman...its the message. Except her delivery kept me absolutely transfixed.
She's goooooood.
The message was meant especially for me, I'm absolutely convinced of it.
God sent her to Grab-Your-Lasso, just to speak to me. The whole thing...just for me. ;)
Everybody else was just along for the ride. ;)
Her message was out of Psalm 66...being willing to be trained by God...and FOCUSING on our part of the 'race'.
Good stuff, I'm tellin' ya.
If I had more time, I'd type it all up and share. But I don't.
So...you'll just have to got to a Beth Moore event yourself.
You won't regret it.
And then there was the great girl time. Valerie and I had an awesome time just visiting. After the Friday night event, we escaped for awhile to Applebee's where we had a sinfully wonderful dessert...some brownie, ice cream and fudge thing that was absolutely divine. We sat in our booth for two hours, nursing our sodas and chatting.
Good stuff.
What's not been so good is evidently my blog page.
Sorry about that!
A few of you have let me know you're having trouble with my page loading...and reloading...and reloading.
I've decided to go back to a simpler design and see if that helps things out.
Let me know what you think. I'll be paring back quite a bit.
Okay...I think that's all. If I come up with anything else I'll let you know.

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it is 6 o'clock yet?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lucky for my kids, I have plans tonight. Plans that don't include spending the night in jail for violating child labor laws.

R eally.
I need it to be six o'clock.
That's when Shad gets home and I get a few hours to myself.
And today...I NEED it.
Guess what my two angelic middle children just did?
They vacuumed my brand new K-State jacket. The one Shad picked up for me the last time he was in the Sunflower State. The one that I wear ALOT, especially to Alek's baseball games, not because its something straight off a Paris runway.
I'm too practical for that.
I wear it because its warm.
Yea. Except I have a feeling it won't be so warm anymore, because THERE'S A HOLE WHERE THE SLEEVE USED TO BE!
Its times like these when I start to fanticize about selling my children off to the highest bidder.
Okay, not really. But I could hire them out as slave labor.
Oh, wait! I just tried that and I got a HOLE IN MY JACKET!
Sigh.
Lucky for my kids, I have plans tonight. Plans that don't include spending the night in jail for violating child labor laws.
I'm going to a Beth Moore event.

I'll pause, so you all can reign in your jealousy. ;>)
I am seriously stoked to spend the next two days with a bunch of women...with no children in sight.
Aaaaaaaaah!
I won the tickets. No really, I did. I entered a contest on KLOVE...and I WON!
I know! What are the chances? I never win ANYTHING!
I have been dying to see
Beth Moore since I found out last August she was coming to Grab-Your-Lasso, but I couldn't justify forking over the $60 per ticket. Not when we're getting ready to move. So I entered the contest instead, knowing perfectly well I would NEVER win.
Whoops. Hee-hee! I won.
The tickets showed up unexpectedly on my doorstep yesterday afternoon. So I made a quick call to my sister-in-law, Valerie, and she is now on her way to Grab-Your-Lasso to come spend a couple of days with us and to go with me.
GIRLS NIGHT! WOOHOOOOO!!!!
Too bad we couldn't make it a road trip.
Oh, well. Beggars can't be choosers. I'll take it. A few blessed hours with other women, laughing, learning and worshipping our heavenly Father.<
No children in sight.
After the day I've had it sounds like Heaven to me. ;)
So in preparation for my two days of blissful worship, I've decided to spare my children's lives, not to sell them off to a traveling circus or make them work for their keep.
I'll let their dad do it.

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journey to the center of the earth

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I promised you some pictures from our trip to the Cave of the Winds, so here they are.
There are a lot of pictures of the kids in here...mainly because we had to wait for 45 minutes for our tour to start...I needed some way to pass the time.
I don't have anything really profound to say about our field trip. What can I say? It was a three and a half hour drive each way so we could take a mile long hike underground.
The kids thought it was fun...so that's what matters.
And I guess we've created some good memories for them - and that's what REALLY matters.
Hmmm...let me try to come up with something else.
Ummm...It was dark in there.
There ya go.
Enjoy!


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big brother helps out

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shad, the kids and I have had a wild last two days. We've taken a break from packing to try to cram in all kinds of things we soon won't be able to do.
One of those things was a whirlwind trip to Colorado Springs for a trip through the Cave of the Winds. Its a place Shad and I have fond memories of from our childhood (we haven't been there since we were married), so we wanted to share it with the kids before we move.
I'll share the pictures with you tomorrow, but while on the trip, we had another memorable moment.
Maddie has had a loose tooth for quite some time, but she wouldn't let anyone near it. That was until we were in the van on our way back from COTW. She finally let Alek mess with it...and this was the result.
What's funny is that even with four kids, I have NEVER pulled a single one of their teeth! :) Not that I have a problem with blood...it just feels a little weird to actually pull it. I guess I'm a little squeemish that way.
Enjoy. The look on Alek's face is priceless! :)

Squeemish alert - If you don't like pulling teeth, you may want to skip this video...although you'll be missing out. ;) There's no blood...no crying...and you can't really see him pull it, but I do show a shot of the tooth at the end. ;)



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quick, hold me back, I'm gonna blow!

Friday, May 15, 2009

My job as Maddie's parent is to make sure they do THEIR job. And I take MY job very seriously.

Well...you can't say I didn't warn ya.
Or that we hadn't warned ourselves.
My worst fears about moving back to the Emerald City were confirmed yesterday morning...and I'm tellin' ya it was all I could do not to absolutely lose my cool.
We had Maddie's transitional meeting yesterday. It was a conference call between the Emerald City school district and Grab-Your-Lasso.
It went just about as well as I expected. Not that I'm a sooth-sayer or anything, but I know the Emerald City. I know the kinds of services my kids got there, and while I'm sure the providers have the best of intentions, its the bureaucrats I'm not so sure of.
It all started out well enough. There were several friendly, familiar voices on the line...which was wonderful. Everyone listened to my spiel about Maddie's history...where's she's been, where she's at now, blah, blah, blah...
Stephanie, Maddie's speech pathologist went over her part, Melissa, the preschool teacher went over hers..and we skimmed through the PT and OT recommendations because its all written out in the plan and both of those are obviously not a HUGE concern.
And then it happened.
The director of the county educational cooperative mentioned the district will only provide two weeks of extended school year education this summer. Two weeks...out of 12!
And he's not even sure if Maddie would qualify. They have to show regression, after all. And what kind of proof do we have that Maddie would regress?!
All of my fears about moving back to Kansas were confirmed in that one little sentence. In Grab-Your-Lasso Maddie would be getting weekly speech help over the course of the summer. In Kansas they said they would need documentation she would regress over the summer and not just stay stagnant or miss out on some good progress just in order to get ten days worth of help - even though her speech pathologist had included it in the report...and confirmed it by phone...he still refused to budge.
I didn't react well.
'Four years in an orphanage,' I calmly replied. 'Is that not proof enough?'
Yea. Not one of my better moments.
'Mrs C., are you yelling at me?'
'No sir,' I snidely replied (see I told you it wasn't my finest moment). 'I am not. I am trying to get you to understand what you are doing to my daughter. She has been fighting an uphill battle for the better part of a year. Trying her little heart out (insert sob here) to learn a language and make correct speech sounds, despite a severe hearing loss. And YOU'RE PUTTING ANOTHER BOULDER IN HER PATH. If you lived with this child on a day to day basis you would know the enormity of the pitfall you are about to drop her into.'
'Mrs. C. as a Wyoming resident you couldn't possibly understand the financial strain this school district is under. The state has cut back on all kinds of education funding. Things aren't the same here as they are in Wyoming.'
'Sir...I was a resident of Kansas for 20 years..I lived in the Emerald City for nearly six. I'm still a homeowner, and a tax-payer. My tax refund was nearly withheld because of Kansas revenue issues, so don't tell me I don't know what's going on. I am perfectly aware we are leaving a Utopian situation here. If we were to remain in Grab-Your-Lasso my daughter would have all of the services she needs...no questions asked. My husband and I have debated and argued, pleaded and agonized over this decision. Do you think any parent in their right mind would WANT to leave Wyoming and come back to a state where their child wouldn't receive the same quality of care? I think not. So please don't sit there and tell me I don't understand. What I understand is that my child will not have the same opportunities afforded her here in Grab-Your-Lasso and despite what I am sure are everyone's good intentions, we are setting our daughter up for, if not failure, at least ultimately not reaching her full potential. As her parents we have had to choose between (insert big sob here) putting a roof over all of our family's collective heads or staying in a city where our special needs daughter can have all the opportunities she needs...but our family goes bankrupt."
Silence.
After a moment one person on the other end of the line asked for some data....

our speech pathologist started talking...
and I sunk back into my chair.
The preschool teacher patted me on the shoulder, the speech pathologist sent me a sympathetic look and Maddie blissfully played with her puzzle, completely unaware of the mean, mean man on the other end of the line.
Sigh.
I called later and apologized for my outburst. Don't get me wrong. I didn't apologize for standing up for my daughter - and I reiterated some of my finer points - while leaving out a lot of the emotion. I simply apologizing for losing my cool. I mean after all, I wouldn't be doing Maddie any favors by getting on these people's bad side. She NEEDS these services.
I made sure they know I'm serious about helping my daughter reach her potential...and while I'm sure they have the best of intention of helping her, my job as Maddie's parent is to make sure they do THEIR job.

And I take MY job very seriously.

I went half-way around the world to find my daughter...I'm not afraid of doing what is necessary to make sure she has EVERYTHING she needs to succeed.
He thanked me for being such a conscientious parent...blah, blah, blah. And mentioned that after our conference call they had talked about sending the kindergarten teacher to a sign language class...and possibly contracting with a private agency to give Maddie a couple of extra sessions of speech therapy over the course of the summer.
So ALL is not lost. They seem to be willing to work with us.
At least we've won part of the battle.
I'm just afraid this won't be the last.
But you can be DARN sure we won't lose the war.

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play ball!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alek rocked it!
While he didn't end up pitching tonight, he did have a triple, a single, three RBIs, an unassisted double play and a couple more awesome plays. And that included playing second base for the first time in his career.
What I'm most proud of though, is that unlike his mom, who is gushing all over the place, Alek remained truly humble. The kids kept telling him how great he did, and patting him on the back...and Alek just smiled...not saying a word.
Have I mentioned lately that my kid is awesome? If so, I don't say it often enough.
All in all a pretty good night.



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bringing grisha home

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The first time I saw Grisha's picture I couldn't help but think, 'Wow! What a handsome kid...and what a great smile.'
And then I started reading his story.
Grisha is a 13 year old boy from Odessa, Ukraine - the same city as Maddie...and there is way more to this little guy's story than just being an orphan that wants to find his forever family.
I first found Ashley's blog three years ago when we started our adoption journey in Finding Maddie. Ashley and J.C. had just found out about Grisha and were in the beginning stages of trying to get him registered with the SDA so he could be made available for adoption.
Over the last THREE YEARS Ashley and J.C. have worked tirelessly to bring Grisha home. Their determination is unbelievable and the story of how God is working in and through this adoption will bring you to your knees...in prayer and thanksgiving.
Now this awesome couple is getting ready to leave tomorrow morning for Ukraine to adopt Grisha and finally bring him home. Please pray for them as they leave on this journey. They still have a number of obsticles left in their path...
- Ashley is pregnant and it hasn't been an easy time. Please pray for her and the baby's health during this round the world trip.
- Pray for a smooth process. After working on this thing for three years, the last thing they need are more delays.
- And pray for their biggest hurdle...financial provision. They still do not have all of the money they need to complete this adoption...they're taking a HUGE step of faith and are trusting God to provide the last few thousand dollars. I am in awe at their faith!
Please head on over to Ashley's blog - Our Adoption Journey - and wish them well on the trip...and consider giving a donation - no matter how small. Every little bit will bring Grisha one step closer to home.

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yeeeeeeee-haw

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photobucket


If you're not in a mood to be reading something written by someone in a mood, just step away from the computer now. I'm on a roll...and I'm not apologizing.

Okay...so its not Friday. I get that. But I was busy on Friday - birthday party preps, people looking at the house, summer baseball...
That's my excuse.
So instead of Friday we're going to try a Monday version of the roundup. But I'm warning you now - I'm in a mood. If you're not in a mood to be reading something written by someone in a mood, just step away from the computer now. I'm on a roll...and I'm not apologizing.
That's all I have to say.
If you're still with me, grab your ten-gallon, nab your horse, cinch up the saddle and don your favorite pink, paisley bandana. It's time for the Lazy T Roundup.

This one's a long one too...you may want to bring provisions.
Oh! And add a nice treat for the cows, because Anya says we've been mean. Mean, mean, mean...and we need to say we're sorry! Those cows didn't do anything to get chased after, tackled to the ground and shot in the butt with a needle the size of your arm. They have feelings you know.
I'm thinking Anya's daddy needs to have a talk with her. A vet's daughter can't go around talking like that. Its bad for business. ;>)

1. SPEAKING OF MEAT -
Since we've decided to move back to Kansas I've been trying to limit my grocery shopping - using up the stuff we have here. No use in packing up a bunch of boxes of macaroni and cheese if I don't have to.
In my effort to conserve, I started emptying out the downstairs freezer the other day when I came across four packages of hot dogs...that's on top of the four I have in the upstairs freezer. Good grief - we don't even eat very many hot dogs. I just bought four packages the last time around because they were on sale and its almost summer - although you wouldn't know it in Grab-Your-Lasso. Now I have to go through eight packages of hot dogs in less than a month.
Guess what the kids are having for supper tonight? :)

2. ON THE SUBJECT OF FOOD - Something arrived on my doorstep the other day and it was the best thing I've seen in a VERY. LONG. TIME.
I was so excited!
It finally came...my Excalibur Dehydrator.
I know, I know...it doesn't sound that exciting, but I have been coveting one of these for quite some time now...since I first saw a video on
Nancy's blog a few months ago.
I watched the first video on dehydrating...then the second...then the third...and before I knew it I had spent two hours watching YouTube videos on dehydrating apples, potatoes, onions and bananas.
Who knew you could make yogurt in one of these things?
Lame, I know. But I was hooked.
I'm using the excuse that I want the kids to have some healthier snacks after school...and that's partially true, but I'm also worried about finances.
While I'm not an economist, and definitely don't play one on TV, I do have enough life experience to know that as much stimulus as the government has been throwing at the economy lately can only mean one thing...
Rampant hyper-inflation.
I'm not trying to be political here. I am not saying this with ANY political bias. I promise. I save my political writing for
All The News That Fits.
With that in mind, consider this...

"The government had virtually lost control over economic conditions. Government spending increased sharply as an increasing number of unprofitable enterprises required state support and consumer price subsidies continued. Tax revenues declined because republic and local governments withheld tax revenues from the central government under the growing spirit of regional autonomy. The elimination of central control over production decisions, especially in the consumer goods sector, led to the breakdown in traditional supply-demand relationships without contributing to the formation of new ones."

Hmmm...sound familiar?
Its a Wikipedia entry on Russia's attempt at Parastroika in 1990. The Russians did something very similar in the 90s to what we're doing now. The only difference is that they were trying to switch TO a free market and we're trying to legislate ourselves out of one.
The results were huge lines at bread stores...and if it wouldn't have been for price controls it would have taken a wheel barrel full of money to buy a loaf.
AND WE DON'T HAVE PRICE CONTROLS - not that I want any.
So, in an effort to protect my family...and to try to eat a little healther and be more self-sufficient, I've bought a dehydrator.
Shad thinks I'm nuts...but he loves me anyway.
I've already made apple, banana and pineapple chips and am thinking about seeing what I can do with dehydrating potatoes.
The ultimate goal is to put away a significant amount of food.
I'm also planning on starting a garden - which seems to be the rage right now - with the plan of using the dehydrator to preserve most of it. I'm not big on humidity and am thinking canning may be a bit out of my league. So I'm drying.
Wish me luck.
Hmm....I'm thinking that last one was long enough for its own post. ;)

3. CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN - All we do is clean. I'm tired of cleaning the house we're living in so someone else can sell theirs.
The people who own this house decided to put it back on the market - while we're still living in it. As a result, real estate agents from all over Grab-Your-Lasso have been showing this thing in the last two weeks.
I had seven showing on Friday alone.
ARGH!
I don't even know why I go through this much trouble...except for the kindness of my heart...which at this point isn't really kindness so much as the fact that I don't want to have to fight with a real estate agent about why I don't want people walking through 'my' home.
Sigh.
I can't wait until they sell this place.

4. SPEAKING OF HOUSES - We're all set to move. We'll be pulling out of Grab-Your-Lasso on May 31...well, that is if we can get the U-Haul packed in time.
I'm actually starting to get a little excited about it. Sick, I know. But despite the whole packing of the boxes and cleaning everything bit, it WILL be nice to be living in my own house again.
And I loved my house! ;)
Maddie's situation is still a big concern, but I'm learning what needs to be done and am determined that she get the best possible help she can.
It all starts with a meeting this Thursday.

5. MADDIE'S IEP - Maddie's team of specialists met with me last week to go over her IEP and to document what services she would have received if we would have stayed in Grab-Your-Lasso.
It was a long list. I hope the Emerald City is prepared.
Here's the list for posterity's sake.

- 30 minutes Physical Therapy a month - to help her catch up on some minor orphanage delays. (This may be waived...the PT has been saying she thinks Maddie is caught up now. YAY! We're waiting on the test results.)
- 30 minutes Occupation Therapy a week - to again help her catch up on some minor orphanage delays.
- 30 minutes Speech-Language Therapy a day - for obvious reasons.
- 120 minutes Teacher of the HEaring Impaired A DAY - because they're awesome.
- Extended school year to keep her from regressing over the summer - which is a distinct possibility. She is on the cusp of learning so many new skills that a summer break would be a detriment to her. I'm fine with that.
- Personal FM System - which is like a speaker system attached to Maddie's hearing aid...which can follow Maddie from classroom to playground to P.E. to music.
- Classroom FM System - so no matter where the teacher goes, Maddie can hear her.
- Sign language - The school would need to continue teaching her sing language and to use sign language with her so she can effectively communicate. While Maddie is quite verbal, she uses sign to help if there is any confusion over what she needs. She needs to be able to continue doing that.
- Visual supports - you know, little pictures around the room to tell what is what and what the schedule is. The Emerald City does a great job of this anyway.
- Daily Hearing Aid Checks - I'll be checking the hearing aid before she goes off to school...they're supposed to check it again around noon to make sure its still working.
- Audiologist/FM Consultant - The district is supposed to provide an annual hearing screening with an audiologist to make sure her hearing hasn't changed as well as 30 minutes per month for the audiologist to come in to evaulate the classroom environment to make sure its optimal for Maddie's learning.

Whew! That's a lot of stuff...but its really quite reasonable, I think. Especially for a child with as much history as Maddie.
We're scheduled to have a conference call with the Emerald City this Thursday. So far they have been very receptive to everything...we'll see if that continues.

6. THE HAIRCUT FROM YOU-KNOW-WHERE - I have to say, I'm looking a little butch this morning. Not that I have anything against women getting their hair cut like men...its just not me.
But evidentally it is me, this week.
I went into a local chop shop last Thursday and asked to have my hair trimmed. Now does that sound like I wanted something life-altering?
I didn't think so.
I made the mistake of not really paying attention to the first couple of snips and by the time I realized how much she was taking off it was too late. I looked like just a bit like Jamie Lee Curtis...although not in a good way.
Sigh.
I will never be so glad to see my Emerald City stylist, Di. Hold me a spot honey, I'm comin' home! :)
And, NO, there will not be pictures!

7. BIRTHDAY BLUES - Is it just me or does everyone get teary on their kids birthdays? I don't know why it is. I have months to prepare for the next big day, but a part of me gets incredibly nostalgic on their birthdays.
And I wasn't even present at the birth!!!!
Its not so much that I'm sad for the time I've missed...although I am. I think its more that my kids are growing up WAY too quickly.
Sigh.
Alek's 11. He's not my baby anymore...not that he has been for quite some time. Its just that 11 seems a lot older than 10.
Nick's next on the list. He turns eight on August 1.
At least I have another three months to prepare.

8. SUNFLOWER SEEDS TRIVIA - Just a little trivia for you. Did you know that each of my children's birthdays are three months apart?
Yea. Weird. Almost exactly.
Alek - May 7
Nick - Aug 1
Anya - Nov. 5
The only one just a slight bit out of order is Maddie. She's Feb. 13 which is still three months in between Anya and Alek, but she's the second week of the month as opposed to the first.
Strange, but true. I couldn't have planned it better myself.

9. SPEAKING OF BIRTHS - I did something really bad last Friday.
I skipped a baby shower.
Yea. I know.I thought I was over the whole jealousy thing too...but I guess I'm not.
Well, I am, but I'm not. I have no desire for biological children. I think I got the better end of the deal. My kids are way smarter, funnier and prettier than Shad and I could ever have produced.
In fact, I think they're smarter, funnier and prettier than ANYONE could have produced...I mean really, look at them. Aren't they the best looking kids, EVER?!
But I do have one regret. Not being able to carry them myself. Protect them from the very beginning...from day one. And for that, I am still INCREDIBLY jealous.
Well that, and the bio mom club thing. Is it just me or does it seem that we adoptive parents - the parent who haven't had any biological children - are excluded from some sort of secret society? Its like since we didn't give birth, it somehow disqualifies us for membership to the mommy club.
I'm tellin ya, when women start talking about epidurals, hard labor and stretch marks, I half expect to see them yell 'boo-yah' and do a chest-bump!
I personally think their club involves a secret handshake - something only taught during LaMaz class.
Somehow a baby shower just brings all that insecurity right back to the forefront for me. Its one more reminder of our decade long battle with infertility. And while the wounds have healed, there's still some pretty nasty scar tissue left that gets inflamed every now and then.
And I'd rather just avoid that if I can.
So, if you're a friend, who's thinking about inviting me to a babyshower go ahead an invite me but just know, while I'm happy that you'll be a mom - really, I am - chances are I'm not going to be able to work up the gumption to come celebrate with you.
It still hurts too much.

10. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - Okay enough doom and gloom, besides this thing is getting long enough as it is. How about some fun stuff?
I finally did it.
I remembered to type of a Maddie-ism before the rest of the day erased it from my memory.
This morning as I was putting on my makeup, Maddie waltzed into the bathroom.
While she waited for me to finish my routine, she spotted the scale.
She jumped on...and as the digital thing did its thing she got all excited.
It popped up the number 32.6
'Ooooooh...,' she squealed. 'I like it. I like it Mommy!'
I wish I could get so excited about jumping on the scale. ;>)


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happy birthday alek!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Its been 11 years since I had the dream.

Eleven years since my little guy came into this world.
Where did the time go?
Have we truly been his parents for almost 10 years?
I swear it was just yesterday Shad and I met a scrawny little boy named Bogdan who couldn't walk at 14 months old and ate absolutely everything in sight.
He used to pull his arms in close to him, like a turtle, when he was overwhelmed.
He rocked himself to sleep every night and refused to look in our eyes.
He pulled away from hugs and couldn't tell when he was in pain.
Now our little guy is not so little anymore.
He's tall and muscular.
He's friendly and funny.
He doesn't get overwhelmed very often.
He falls asleep quickly and quietly now, gives us big hugs freely and climbs in our laps any chance he can get.
(Of course, now he's getting too big to do that! - or maybe it's us that are getting too big! ;)

He's adventurous...he lives for flying in any plane he can find, loves football, basketball, baseball and any other sport where a ball is required. He loves to swim, ride his bike, play tag and skateboard.
He's a math whiz...acing all of his multiplication tests on the first try...not even blinking at fractions.
He's kind, compassionate, loyal and brave.
He's handsome, charming, quiet and humble.
We waited 10 excruciatingly long years for this guy to join us so we could become a family.
He was so worth the wait!
On this day I'm also remembering someone else.
Alek's biological mom.
Her name is Lubov. I don't know much more than that. I know she's younger than me...and she must have been beautiful. After all, look at her boy.
The only things I truly know about her, I glean from Alek's face.
I imagine she has the same amazing blue eyes that twinkle with mischief.
She may have the same soft brown hair with a crazy cowlick in the front...and she may possess the same ready, easy-going 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 eleven years ago. Asking herself, 'what if...'
So in honor of Alek's birthday, I would like to ask you to give his bio mom a very special gift...your prayers.
Please pray she'll find peace. I've been praying for it for a long time. I can't imagine what it must have been like to leave her child behind.
Only God can give her that peace.
I trust He already has.
Happy Birthday Alek!

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wordless wednesday

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


The Madster enjoys reading....anything. Even if she has no idea what it says and there are limited pictures. I find her in this position ALL the time. She loves to grab one of her sister's 'big girl' books, curl up in her favorite pink chair and 'read'. (Please ignore the messy hair, we are, after all, in Wyoming. ;>)

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this is where I start feeling old

Monday, May 4, 2009

The boxes are saved...
The tape is bought...
The black marker is making us all high...
Its packing season in the _______ household.
Some days Shad, God love him, drives me nuts. He has a philosophy that the whole world will collapse and we will never get moved if we don't start packing and sorting a month before the assigned date.

I've done what good wives the world-over, who want to save stuff but don't want to fight it out with the hubby, do best - I've ignored him.

I'm all for being organized but we moved less than eight months ago. Half of our stuff isn't even out of boxes yet. Its not going to take a month!
Better yet...even though we just went through this process nine months ago, he thinks we need to sort and toss...AGAIN!
ARGH!
Most specifically what is driving him nuts is the boxes upon boxes of kids stuff...namely, 'the toys'.
Shad's a minimalist by nature and I suppose that's a good thing, but I like to keep mementos - things to remind me of when the kids were small. You know, like baby bibs with food stains on them and half chewed pacifiers...that kind of thing. Its not that I'm a pack rat, really. I just want to keep a little bit of stuff around to hand back off to my kids someday.
Besides who knows how much that Tickle Me Elmo will be worth someday. It could pay for my kids education!!!
Shad thinks it should be tossed.
So I've done what good wives the world-over, who want to save stuff but don't want to fight it out with the hubby, do best - I've ignored him.
Until yesterday.
I finally got tired of the nagging - which by the way, who said wives have the corner market on nagging - and went out to the garage where he was dragging all of the stuff that was still in boxes into the garage so it could be sorted.
Toys were the order of the day. All the toys the kids have collected since the beginning of time. Toys we haven't seen in eight years, since Shad graduated from vet school and we packed up Alek and moved to Iowa.
Man, there were a lot of toys, so here's where I sheepishly admit that I probably should have done this years ago if for no other reason than to save on the price of up sizing the U-Haul so we could haul all of this stuff around from state to state.
Seriously...there were seven BIG boxes of toys. And that doesn't even count the toys the kids actually play with that are in their rooms!
Boxes upon boxes of dump trucks and Lego blocks and old dolls with ratty hair. More boxes upon boxes of wooden blocks, Rescue Heroes and lost pieces of some Noah's Ark puzzle.
I whittled it down to two.
I think I did pretty good...and Shad admitted surprise at the voraciousness of my purging.
Most of the toys were the happy meal toy variety. Who knew we ate out so much? I suppose with four kids it adds up pretty quick, but I think I need to do more of this to keep these things to a minimum.
Others were old broken toys that should have been tossed a long time ago...still others were the huge toys that we should never have bought in the first place. Whoever invented those inflatable tents with the plastic balls needs to be taken out and strung up by their toys. And whoever bought them for our children (ahem, Shad) had better darn well never do it again.
So we sorted and we tossed and we boxed and we set aside for eBay...
And we argued. Augh...why does it always come down to the arguing?
Do we keep the big, plastic, Little Tikes workbench or the Pop-O-Matic push toy? What about the See-n-Say Farmer Edition or the Fisher Price Baby Playzone Stand Up Ball Zone.
We just couldn't agree.
Finally I said it.
'Shad, I want to keep this stuff around so we have something for our grand kids when they come over to play.'
He stopped dead in his tracks, turned, looked at me for a second before shaking his head and walking away with a big grin on his face.
Grand kids...I'm thinking about grand kids. I must be getting old.

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life is a musical

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I saw this over on Christine's blog and just had to share.
Obviously it was choreographed...but its fun to think that at least a few of the participants may have joined in just to have some fun.
I hope it brightens your day as much it did mine. :)



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on this side of things

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I'm choosing to believe the reason he brought us out here was to not only have some time with our families, but to find out what needs to be done to help Maddie.

L
ife has gotten so much clearer since I last posted.
I don't know if it was the catharsis of getting out all of those pent up emotions and confusion, if your comments helped put everything in perspective (thank you by the way) or if time just has a way of bringing everything into focus, but I can honestly say I'm feeling a lot better about where we're at in this decision.
Sure, there are still a lot of unanswered questions, but my consolation lies in the fact that none of this is a surprise to God. Not our decision to move to Wyoming a year ago...or our decision to move back next month. Just as He wasn't surprised by our decision to adopt Maddie. He knew all of it would happen before the foundations of the earth...and His plan will be accomplished in the end.
I can rest in that.
I'm choosing to believe the reason he brought us out here was not only to have some time with our families, but to find out what needs to be done to help Maddie. To give us a standard to shoot for...to not only help Maddie, but other children in the Emerald City and possibly Kansas. (BTW - Don't you just love the new nickname for our old town. I felt especially inspired. ;>)
I'm doing some preliminary research to find out what's available in the Sunflower State and I have to say not much. But that doesn't mean I can't do all I can to make sure other parents have these opportunities.
Before we brought Anya and Nick home in 2002, Iowa (where we were living at the time) had a law that REQUIRED parents to readopt their foreign born children.
It made me ill.
To think after all of the hard work, money and time we went through to bring our children home and that the state wouldn't recognize our kids as our kids - how could they?!
So I got to work.
I called my representatives and finally found one of them that would give me a call back. He worked with me to write legislation that would not only not require the readoption - but would automatically give us birth certificates, with just a small fee and one paper to fill out.
And we made it retroactive. It passed unanimously in both houses and was immediately signed by the governor.
I plan on taking that same approach with this issue. SURELY there are some resources that we can find that can be used to help these kids. If nothing else, we can start up some advocacy groups to help other parents find their way through the IEP stuff. I don't know where all of this is going, but I am hoping to use this experience to help other families.
At least I hope that's what God has in mind! :)

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