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rahbotah, finito, finished, done

Friday, July 30, 2010

That's it. I'm done. You are now officially reading the blog of a full-time, self-employed, stay-at-home-mom.
Can I get an AMEN?!
Wow! It feels good. I should have done this a long time ago. I have to admit, I was a little worried I would get cold feet - that at the last minute I would say I couldn't do it and beg for my old job back. But not only have my feet stayed unbelievably warm, I am feeling an incredible sense of peace about this whole thing...which is AMAZING!
I didn't even get teary today. Not once. And that's saying something - I get teary over tire commercials.
I did, however, stop for just a second and take a deep breath before pushing the door open as I left. But really? That was more for your benefit than anything. I needed something dramatic to write about.
The day went smoothly, relatively quietly...and thankfully quickly. Now I am free to write as I wish, when I wish and for whom I wish...and I am so thankful for the blessing.
I did have one incredibly neat moment this afternoon...that I'm taking as a God-thing.
Every year our mortgage company sends us a little escrow account statement. Its the thing that tells us how much is left in our escrow account to pay for things like taxes and homeowners insurance. Every year since we've bought this place its gone up.
Every. Year.
Significantly.
When we bought this place six years ago we were paying almost $300 less per month than we do now...and we have a fixed rate mortgage!
So needless to say we were a bit nervous about getting that statement this year. What with the cost of everything going up...taxes, insurance, the cost of band-aids, we were sure we would have another jump in our monthly house payment.
Guess what?
It not only didn't go UP...it went DOWN! Big time! Around $60 a month.
AND...
Wait for it......
They sent US a check for almost another $100 because we had overpaid last year.
So, to recap...Not only is our house payment not going UP by the amount we had already budgeted...it is going DOWN by nearly the same amount.
And we got the news on the day we took a step of faith and I left my job to come and stay home.
How cool is that?!
I thought so too. ;)

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anniversaries and THREEEEEEE

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Look at me! I'm posting on a semi-regular basis!!! Aren't you so proud of me! This whole leaving the working world to come home to be with the kids and start my own freelance writing/marketing company may be starting to wear off on me a bit already! Look out people, if we don't watch it, I may become quite prolific!!! :)
I have a bit of a hodge-podge for you tonight. A little of this...a little of that...let's start off with the really happy stuff shall we?
We celebrated Family Day yesterday. It was 11 years ago yesterday that we got custody of Alek and took him out the babyhouse. We were finally parents. It seems like just yesterday. And while I know its terribly cliche, can I just say, 'My baby is growing up!' I swear I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning and he's going to be towering over me. I just know it. He already has me in his sights. He's making little comments here and there...calling me 'shorty' and saying, 'Hey Mom! Have you shrunk?!'
I just wish he were referring to my weight, instead of my height.
We'll let him enjoy his little bit of fun. Just wait until HIS kids grow up! :)
Yesterday also marked the eighth anniversary of bringing Anya and Nick out of the babyhouse as well. Yep...all three kids have the same Family Day anniversary. Cool, huh? I think so. I've posted before about all of the amazing things that have happened during the adoption of our three oldest kids. Here it is if anyone needs a refresher.
Anyway...we celebrated with a night at the movies and a trip to B@skin Robbins afterwards. The kids were in Heaven. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures until we were home and everyone was in bed. Sigh.
Now for some cool stuff...
The magic number is three! Three days until I am officially gainfully employed as a full-time stay-at-home-mom and part-time business owner. I can't wait!
It's amazing how incredibly at peace I finally am about this whole thing. I've always wanted to do this...we finally have the insurance thing figured out...and I'll still be writing on the side. I don't think it gets much better than that.
PLUS...
I found out today that I may TECHNICALLY not be unemployed after all. Its weird how this all turned out, but the company I work for has decided to go ahead and keep me on the rolls as an incredibly part-time employee. I would still be doing a lot of freelance work for them...and since I'll be doing stuff for a bunch of different departments on a regular basis they figured it would just be easier to have me be really, Really, REALLY part-time.
That way I can go ahead and have taxes taken out of my check...and they don't have to worry about some extra accounting stuff...and I get a decent hourly wage. Well, decent is all in the eye of the beholder, but still...its a regular wage...and that's fine by me.
PLUS...There's a chance I could be eligible for the company's part-time employee's health insurance program which would be AWESOME! :) And I would still be able to do all the work from home.
Seeeeeee....good stuff! :)
It's coming together. Just three more days.

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better late than...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Its been two and a half years now since we brought Maddie home from the orphanage in Odessa, Ukraine. She has grown and changed so much in the last 54 months...in many ways she doesn't resemble the same child we first brought home. 
For just about the same amount of time I have been trying to upload the video I have made of Maddie's adoption trip. I have tried everything I could think of to get it to work. I tried uploading it to YouTube more times than I can count. 
'Surely this time will be different," I would say.
And then I would fail...again.
Finally, tonight I started redoing the video. I was desperate to finally share Maddie's story in video. As I was looking through some of the photos I loaded onto Photobucket from Ukraine I noticed they have a new video uploader. (Well, at least new to me.)
"Hmmm...," I thought. "Maybe."
Sure enough! It worked! Woohoooooo!!!! 
So while it may be 54 months late...I FINALLY present to you, 'Finding Maddie.'
Grab a Kleenex...you may need it. ;)
Enjoy!



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my future eyeglass models

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The kids' glasses are in and I have to say...the kids are absolutely adorable! 
I can say that! I didn't have anything to do with their genetics! :)


Both Nick and Anya seem to be enjoying them...no complaints of headaches so far...and both are taking good care of them.
The only fly in the ointment was when we went to get the kids fitted, Maddie started crying. She was upset because SHE wanted a pair. ;)


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three out of five ain't bad

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We were so blessed. The kids didn't have eyesight issues, I didn't have eyesight issues. Shad was the only one in the family who needed glasses.
Weren't we so lucky? 
Not anymore.
On Tuesday we took the kids to the optometrist. Oh, not because they needed glasses, oh no! We just took them out of an abundance of caution! Since I'm leaving my job, we will also be losing health insurance, why not take advantage of the insurance and get everyone checked one last time.
Oh. My. Word!!
Of the five appointments, three of us walked out of there with glasses.
And we may need a fourth! Good grief!!!!! We had absolutely NO idea that the kids needed glasses. None whatsoever. Thankfully the insurance will cover a good portion of it...and the kids were all able to find some specs that they liked. 
Anya, Nick and I will all be sporting new rims by this time next week. Anya and I, thankfully, don't have to wear them full-time. She just needs hers for school...and I only need mine for driving. Nick, however, will be sporting them for every waking hour. 
Good thing he looks absolutely ADORABLE in his glasses. I can't wait to show you pictures, seriously...he looks like one of those redhead little boy eyeglass models! Who knows? He may have a new career in front of him. ;) 
The fourth victim may be Maddie. They're not sure yet if she really needs them...it was hard to tell with the testing. I was impressed at how well she did with the tests. They insisted on doing the letter versions of the test since she had been through kindergarten...but she had a hard time understanding what they wanted of her. Above, below, smaller, bigger, wiggly, flashing...all of those concepts are still hard for her. Even so, she stuck with it, didn't get frustrated (which really isn't in her nature anyway), didn't get too distracted and loved playing their 'game.'
The doctor wants to retest her next week when we pick up everyone else's specs. I SERIOUSLY hope she doesn't need glasses. Think about it...if she has to get glasses, they'll have to have a band to hold them on her head...the sports kind. She already has to deal with the hearing aid having to be held on her head with a band...now a pair of glasses! There HAS to be a better way! 
I need to start doing some research just in case.

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so far, so good

Monday, July 12, 2010

The babysitter reported an excellent day today. 
There was no sneaking off to friends' homes...
No WWF matches in the hallways...
And the kids all listened...
That's good, because I really didn't have a Plan B. Don't tell the kids, but half the time I just do this creative discipline thing on the fly. ;)
Speaking of last minute plans...I decided this weekend, that one of the things the kids needed was a change of scenery. I'm sure they're sick of hanging around the house all summer...and since a vacation is NOT in the plans this summer, I figure we need to take as many mini-breaks as possible.
So...Sunflower Seed Break #1 was a trip to our local fruit farm where the kids and I spent the better part of a morning picking blueberries and playing on a pretty neat little playground. I thought I would share pics of the cuteness that is my kiddos...but while I have pictures of them picking berries, for some reason I don't have any of the equally cute playground. 
It may be because I forgot my camera so I had to use my trusty little phone to take my pictures...and then there was the laborious process of emailing them all to myself because I haven't figured out any other way to get them off my phone. I really need get that figured out. I have music programs, baseball games and other cute pictures stuck on there. Heaven forbid anything happens to it.
Anyway...we had fun. It was all I could do to keep the kids from eating the berries before I had a chance to pay for them. They even found a schedule of the picking season for the rest of the year and are already begging me to take them back in two weeks when the blackberries will be ready.
I guess they had a good time.
Enjoy the pictures. 


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a day (or two) or relative calm

Saturday, July 10, 2010

To say we've had a challenging summer would be a bit of an understatement. 
All four kids have been pushing boundaries the last few months, and quite frankly, we just about need a dry erase board to keep up with all of the groundings, punishments and extra chores.
There's not one child who is standing out in the defiance. Each one of them have pushed equally as hard...and in fact, probably feed off of each other to a certain extent. 
But Maddie has been especially concerning. She's back to hoarding food...she stole all of Nick's candy from the July 4th parade - eating every last piece (I'm surprised she didn't get sick). She's taking juice packets up to her room and hiding the evidence in places that we don't find for weeks...and she's crawling up on the countertops to reach the top shelf of the cabinets to look for cookies...sometimes successfully.
That is most definitely not all of her behaviors. She has become  defiant with the sitter and her father...not with me yet, but I tend to be the 'heavy' in the house. She is back to using her 'fake smile' to try to charm people into getting what she wants...and the other day the kids said she walked up to some strangers in the alley (all four were out of the yard - without permission from the sitter)...and started talking to them. The other three kids kept telling her to stop, but she just ignored them.
I can't say its all the babysitter's fault. She has actually probably been the best one we've had in quite awhile. She lays down the law...but all four kids keep trying to find a way around it. I'm sure all four of them provide quite a challenge for a teenager...and while there are some things I would like to her to do differently, I know she really is trying to do her best. Its just when she turns her back for a second, the kids take full advantage.
Last Wednesday was the last straw. When I walked in the door the sitter informed me of a whole host of infractions...from every. last. one. of them.
So...
The kids have been experiencing 'solitary confinement' the last couple of days.
They get up in the morning...eat breakfast, get dressed, clean their rooms, then grab a book and sit on their bed...all. day. long. No entertainment of any sort - except that book. No talking. No radio. No phone. Nothing. From the time I left at 8 a.m. until I came home at 6 p.m....their life was their room. We figure, if we can't trust them to obey the babysitter while we're gone, then they most certainly can't be allowed to get up off their bed, now can they? 
Bathroom breaks and lunch times were their only reprieve.
It was a good old-fashioned grounding.
The first day the kids weren't too upset about it...well, all except for Alek who had been through this type of thing before. Poor little things...they had no clue what was coming. The sitter said shortly after noon, they tried started getting up and running around upstairs thinking they were being quiet enough that she couldn't hear them.
Thank goodness for 150 year old houses and their creaky floors! :)
They did better on day two. 
And I think the babysitter really enjoyed the break. And why wouldn't she? She got paid the same amount just to sit and read a book while the kids laid on their beds. I wish I had it that easy.
This is just one of the plethora of reasons I am coming home.
All of the kids behaviors need improvement, but Maddie's is especially concerned. We are seeing a huge amount of regression. Orphanage behaviors we thought were behind us...and legitimately were while we were in Grab-Your-Lasso, are rearing their ugly heads again. 
I know its a process...that there are steps forward and steps back in her attachment. Right now we're heading backwards. I'm just thrilled that in three weeks, I'll be able to be here to stand behind her as she takes those steps back...and help propel her forward again.

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joy of adoption




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