Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nothing new to report on the adoption front. :(

Our documents are still being translated. Apparently the translation of the documents takes a long time, and court happens fairly quick after that. I had thought it was the other way around. Doesn't really make a difference, but I feel better knowing that anyways.

Today a Kohl's opened up near us. I love that store. My hubby does too. He always gets his work shoes from there, and they are always the exact same ones every time. A pair in brown and a pair in black. Change is hard for some people.

Anyway, Owen and I went because Ava needed a white shirt for a leaf project and because it was a grand opening of a new store, they sent us $10 bucks free in the mail. You know how they have that awesome book/stuffed animal kiosk right by the checkouts? The one where all of the money sold goes to charities? The books right now are Dr. Seuss, hard cover for $5. Amazing deal. Owen and I grabbed the two we didn't have, looked longingly at the stuffed animals and then walked away. I always want to buy the stuffed animals with the books, but I never do because stuffed animals drive me insane and my kids like them for about 10 minutes and then they move on.

Then we were in the dressing room and Owen starts to get upset and is on the verge of tears because he doesn't want to die. I was not prepared for that from my three year old. So I gave him a huge hug and talked to him about how he knows that Jesus died and then rose again, and that even though we will all die someday, if we love God and are in his family that we will be together again in heaven too. He seems to think that he is going to die soon, so then I tried to explain how people usually live to be old and that he has a super long time. After a little bit when he calmed down and seemed like he was doing okay, he asked "What if we have go to the bathroom in heaven?" I told him that I didn't think we would probably have to do that, but he told me that he figures heaven will have toilets.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chris didn't get a deer this weekend. I am a little bummed because we eat venison most of the year and are totally out, so I have to buy meat from the grocery store, which I typically don't do. And man, it is expensive!

On the other hand, he did get a squirrell, which we then had for lunch. Below is Owen with it.

At my parents house I saw the tv show "Swamp People". I can't remember what station it is on, probably discovery or something like that. Anyway, the premise of the show is that they follow people around in the bayou who catch alligatiors for a living. People who are named Junior and JimBob, and are missing front teeth.

Then I realized that my squirrell eating family could be the Northern US equivalent of Swamp People. Yikes!

P.S. Squirrell tastes like chicken!

Friday, September 24, 2010

For both of my kids I have made blankies for them. I can't really sew that well, but baby blankets aren't super hard, and it felt like a tangible way to do something special for them. Both of them loved them, which of course, made me feel awesome.

Ava developed the habit of sucking on one particular corner with her thumb in her mouth. She would turn the blanket until she found that one corner, which got nasty over time, and even after washing it, it became brown colored on that corner. Eventually, we had to take the blanket away, because it contributed to her thumb sucking. She didn't suck her thumb unless she had the blanket. It was a fairly traumatic event at our house. She was desparately sad without her blanket, and going to bed those first few days was not a fun event. For me, it was hard to watch her be so upset and know that I could just give the blanket back. But I didn't, and still, she has to go in next month to the orthodontist to get an expander for her upper jaw that is way out of wack, likely due to the thumb sucking.

Owen didn't have quite the same reaction to his blanket. He still has his at 3 1/2. Ava's was gone around two. (well, we still have it, but gone from her) He is still attached to it, and calls it his "little blankie". He actually has three blankets that he wants on himself at night. The "little" blankie goes on first, and then we have to put the other two on.

Yesterday, I decided to make a blankie for our little boy in Africa. I had this fun elephant print that I bought last year and never did anything with. Owen "helped" me, and we got it done in just a little bit. Hopefully he will love his as much as my other two did, and hopefully it will not cause him to suck his thumb!

This is the back of the blanket.

This is the front of the blanket.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I know I already gave an update about how our adoption information was at the correct country. But I just wanted to state it again in case anyone reading this switched countries.

The first country embassy sent me an email today telling me that they did, in fact, forget to send our information on right away. So, if you switched countries, you may just want to confirm that your information got forwarded on to the new country.

It was nice that they sent me an email admitting their mistake.

In the meant time, while we wait for a little girl, I am starting to come down with my first fall cold. The kind where my throat is all scratchy and you know it is going to develop into something huge and yucky. I am trying to combat it by drinking large amounts of tea, but so far all it is making me do is go to the bathroom a lot.

I would gargle with salt water, which is what my hubby does, and always seems to make his cold shorter. However, gargling with salt water makes me gag. I am not sure why this is. I can gargle with other things. Plus it enevitably gets up my nose and that never feels good.

We continue to sleep with our son's blanket, but so far it is not smelling like us. It still smells like Target. I am afraid that it will skip right past smelling like Chris and I, and right on to stinkiness. And then the wonderful people who volunteered to take it to him this fall will get a smelly blanket in the mail and think that we are more than likely unfit parents. Plus I have to remember to cover it up during the day because I am afraid our crazy cat Stella will sleep on it, and then we will send a blanket to our son covered with cat scent, and I am paranoid that he may be allergic to cats.

I also got a blanket and a lovey for our little girl, even though we don't have a referral for her yet. It helps me think that perhaps she will come soon. Or at least I think about who she might be everytime I walk past it and see it.

Praying hard that this is the week for her!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I broke the kitchen faucet last night. Que water all over the place. It went something like this: We have one of those great faucets with the head piece that pulls out, so we can fill things up with water that are resting on the counter if we wanted to. I needed to quickly thaw some shrimp, so I tried to turn the faucet. Apparently I am much stronger than I thought, because I snapped the head right off. (my hubby said there was probably calcium built up, not that I wonderwoman) Water shot out at me full force right in the face. For a second I panicked because I didn't know where the main water shut-off is, but then I calmed down and realized all I had to do was turn the sink handle off.

So here I am, trying to cook supper, with water all over the kitchen. It even shot into the living room, which I was not aware of for over an hour because I was cleaning up the kitchen. It's when I almost biffed it on the wood floors that I realized there was water there too.

My hubby came home and looked at it, then got some gunk on his fingers, and decided to rinse them off. In the kitchen sink. Round two of water all over the place. This time it was funny because I got to see Chris get drenched!

I had a meeting last night, so Chris took the kids on an emergency run to Mendards, where we spent a lot more than we thought we would have to to get a new faucet. They got back late, the faucet didn't get in, so I am now washing dishes in the bathtub. Well, actually in a huge bowl in the bathtub. Washing them in the bathtub would be gross.

Let me just say how much I appreciate a sink with working, running water.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Comic Relief

So I have noticed that my postings for quite awhile have been fairly serious. Which is great and all, but I am a rom-com type movie person, not so much the serious drama type person. So. In an effort to make this blog a little more user-friendly (who wants to be depressed all the time!) I thought I would share a recent story on my son. About poop.

About a month ago, he had been complaining that his stomach had been hurting him, on and off for a couple of weeks. I didn't really think too much about it, because he has used that before to try and get out of eating things he thought were questionable. Then I finally realized that I hadn't really seen him poop in awhile. Thankfully, Miralax is now over the counter, and we saved ourselves a pricey trip to the pediatrician. I snuck it into his milk in the mornings and evenings, and in a couple of days we were rolling like normal.

Then a couple of more days happened, and rolling like normal turned into green slime, not like normal. Now that he was "fixed", it was time to stop the medicine. Of course, green slime poop made him quite squeamish on wiping himself, and now he yells "Mom, I pooped come and look at it and wipe my butt". (this post might be more than you bargained for!) I probably need to clarify why he wants me to look at it- I kept telling him every time he went poop I needed to see it so I could tell if he was doing better, that that was how mommy could tell if the medicine is working.

Unfortunately now he is still a little paranoid that his poop is going to be green, and is terrified of wiping his own butt in case it gets on him. I sort of feel like we are potty training all over. Telling him it will, in fact, be okay if poop gets on him, because that is why they invented soap. That usually does the trick, and he can get past his fear! Oh the things we do as parents!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Carter's Children's Store

Yesterday, Owen and I went to a Carter's store to try and find a cute bringing home outfit. I know that it is probably way early to be looking for this, especially given our bringing him home time is somewhere between 4-6 months, but we went anyways.

And of course everything in the entire store was absolutely adorable. I sort of fell apart. It was so hard to see all of these tiny baby clothes for the size he is now, and then see the still tiny, but so much bigger clothes we will be buying for our son when he comes home.

I was on the verge of tears the entire time I was in the store, and probably was walking around with a pinched, weird expression on my face that scared other mothers. There was a little baby in there who was 3 weeks, not much younger than our son, and I had to walk away quickly before I started bawling. (After I told the mom how beautiful her son was, so she didn't think I was a crazy!)

I may have to stay out of baby stores until it is much closer to bringing him home.

For those of you who have given birth, remember how 10 months seemed like such a long time, and the impatience was almost unbelieveable? That is what waiting after a referral is like, except for me, it is worse. He is here, we see pictures of him, we could fly there and see him, but we couldn't bring him back until we have gone through all of the procedures. Everyday he is growing, and everyday I am missing it.

A long time ago, I remember talking about how when you ask God for patience, he doesn't give you patience, but opporunities to be patient (Evan Almighty). I guess this is my PhD level course on becoming patient!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Eagle has landed....

Yesterday we were informed that the appropriate embassy has all of our documents for our adoption and we are good to go. We (and by we, I mean me) were panicking big time because it did not appear that they had received our info. after the country switch, and I have been terrified that it would delay our adoption, but no longer!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yesterday we received our first picture where we could see our little boy's face.

He is absolutely beautiful, more than I even imagined! Huge beautiful brown eyes, gorgeous lips. He looks amazingly healthy, and perhaps a little disgruntled that someone dressed him up and took his picture. He looks exactly like his mother, who is a very beautiful woman.

I am completely over the moon.

My heart is filled with joy, but also sadness because we cannot bring him home yet. We are thinking best case scenario 4 months, worst case 6 months. I am already praying for smooth sailing, and for the time to go by quickly. I cannot wait to have my little boy in my arms.

Mommy is coming as fast as she can.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Update on the crazy govt. stress: the National Visa Center did send my info. for the country change, however, policy apparently states that they send the change to the old country we filed with, and then that country sends it to the new country. So, I contacted both embassies to see if one has sent it, or the other received it, and haven't heard back from either of them. How rude. Don't they understand that there is a borderline crazy mom over here waiting to get this information? If I had all the money in the world I would fly to the first country, watch over someone's back until they sent it to the new country. But I don't. So my plan is to pester people as much as I can until I get an answer. :)

On to better stuff. This afternoon I read a blog that I follow, and they had just bought a blanky for their little girl they are waiting for. Their plan is to sleep with it and then send it over to her once they have a referral. I had to smile. Today was blanky day for us too.

My son and I went to Target with the intention of getting our little boy a "lovey". You know one of those teeny, blankets with some animal head attached to it. We found an adorable little monkey, then I happened to look over and see all of the matching accessories. Uh oh. I think Owen and I spent about 35 minutes in that aisle, trying to find the ones we like best. Of course they bundle them up all tight so you can only see part of the pattern. But I want to see the whole thing, so I have to admit, I am taking the ribbon and the plastic connector thing that holds it together off, so I can see what it looks like. Apparently Owen thought this was a good idea too, because I wasn't paying attention and he had a blanket out of its wrappings. (I bet Target hates people like me!) I have to admit these blankets are so soft, it makes me feel like the blankets I had for our other two kids were made out of burlap!

I couldn't decide between two of the blankets, so I got both. My plan was to have Chris help me pick out which one to keep. But then on the way home, I thought we could sleep with one now, and send it to him. And then sleep with the other until he comes home, that way he has two blanekts that smell like mom and dad. We'll have to see if I can swing that excuse to keep both with Chris. We also got matching receiving blanekts, which I love to use for burp/throw up cloths.

I managed to stop myself from drifting over to the pacifiers and picking out cool ones for him. I got the "bling" pacifiers for Owen, but then they became the only type he wanted, and apparently they weren't a huge hit with the majority of the population, because all of a sudden I couldn't find them anymore and I started to panic.

Probably I won't buy too many more things for him. I don't think I could handle having to return all of the items we so carefully picked out for him if, God forbid, something should happen and we not bring him home. But it does lend another level of excitement to it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Government Stress

So, the acid in my stomach is having quite a moment. Last week I learned that families were receiving emails from the embassy at our country we are adopting from once they have received the information on the families adopting. We haven't gotten an email, and have had our approval since May. Panic overload.

So, I did what any parent would do, and that was start calling all of the numbers that had anything to do with the govt. and adopting. I called the first number I had. oh no, they said, that is the US State Department's division, you will have to call them. This was Friday at about 4:56. Well, that was a huge bummer, becase now I had to wait the whole weekend to call today.

Then I decided that I would just email the embassy in our country we are adopting from. I was pretty proud of myself for thinking of that one. Except when I woke up this morning, there was no reply.

Decided to give the good old State Department a call. The woman there was very helpful, who put me in touch with another woman in charge of our country. Turns out, they don't really do anything with documents being forwarded after your approval. It's more of assistance as you are in the process or over there trying to get back. She did however tell me that the email address I used to contact the embassy in our country was the wrong one. She gave me the correct one, and I quickly re-emailed, hopefully with the time difference I will still get it looked at, probably not, but I am hoping anyway.

Finally I decided to call the first number again. Turns out I wasn't actually talking to the National Visa Center like I thought I was. But they did give me the phone number for that, and tell me that they are the ones who would forward any documents. For some reason, that phone number just beeps at me like it is busy, so I emailed them, and will continue to obsessively stalk their number until I get through.

Yikes. The good news is, now that I know who to talk to, and I feel like I have covered everything by emailing just about everyone in the US govt. related to adoptions, I think it will hopefully be taken care of soon.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today is a gorgeous day. Soooo, we kicked our kids outside all morning. They have been outside having a blast, and actually getting along for the most part. Except for the moment when Ava came up behind Owen and shoved him down to the ground for stealing her stick. I am thinking they are getting along so well because it is due to the fact that they are missing each other now that Ava is back in school. Regardless, it has been pretty adorable to look out the window and see them happy to be together. These are the types of moments that lead families to choose to have more children!

On the adoption front, we will be petitioning for a court date at the end of next week. Regardless if we have a referral for a little girl or not. We are waiting for our documents to be translated and then off to court we will go. I am thinking it will take about one month to get our ruling. In the mean time, we are trying to decide if we don't get a referral for a little girl before we apply for court, what we are going to do.

Our options are:
1. only adopt our little boy
2. travel twice

Traveling twice would be hard for us, we could not afford to both go, both times. We have considered my going twice, but then Chris can't see where they are from, and we always imagined we both would be together. The other option is for me to go once, and Chris go once. Ideally, we would love to be able to just go one time, and not have to do it again. It is hard on the kids, and us, and all around. Plus the stability factor of the country makes a play in all of this.

Hopefully, we will get a referral next week. I am truly not counting on it, or holding my breath, but you never know. We will continue to pray and see if perhaps just our son is what we are supposed to have.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Teaching the Alphabet

So I was reading a blog that suggested the DVD: Leap Frog, The Letter Factory. I have been trying to teach Owen his alphabet. It hasn't been going great. The only letter he knows is O. I bought this cute placemat with Sesame Street characters on it and we have been going through and pointing at the letter and trying to get him to memorize them. For each letter there is a picture of something that starts with that letter. He knows the pictures but not the letter. Although some of the pictures are a little challenging for him- like U for unicorn, which he says "U for horse", and I say no, it's actually a unicorn, and he says which is a "horse with a thing on its head". How can I argue with that? I have been a little nervous about this, because by this time, Ava knew all of her letters and what they said, and could write out a fair amount of them. Blame it on second child syndrome (yikes! what will happen with our 3rd and 4th!) but I haven't really been too worried about it until now. He has to take his kindergarten pre-screening in about 6 months (when he is the ripe old age of 4), and I have this fear that he will be the only 4 year old who doesn't know his alphabet. Not to mention this bizarre test where they tap out a rhythm and the child is supposed to tap it back. I never, in all of my parenting Ava, did "tap the rhythm and repeat it" with her. I felt like a ginormous Moron at that test. The teacher tapped out a little pattern, in which Ava responded with a blur of taps on the table with a huge smile on her face. To which the teacher said "Let's try it again with something simpler....." (repeat happy tapping in no pattern at all)

Anyway, saw that this DVD was recommended, so I rushed to Target and bought it. He has seen the video 3 times, and this morning he saw the letter X and told me what noise it made. Hello! My child is a genius!! I am way excited about it. I always thought that I would never be the mom who taught my children with videos- we don't even watch tv (movies yes, tv no). But I think for the alphabet I am going to be "that" mom. The one who uses pre-canned entertainment instead of devising her own plan to introduce him to the letters. Why mess with what works. I will have to come up with my own lesson plan for the "tap the pattern" however...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We got the medical testing results back today. Everything is good and he is healthy. It was such a relief to see that, even though it was in French. Now we really have to consider how long we want to wait for a girl. The longer we wait, the longer our son sits there.

We really don't know how long we want to wait for a second referral. Two trips would be very hard financially for us if we both went. Possibly we could each go alone, or I could go twice by myself. I feel fairly comfortable with that idea since I have already been to Africa, but it is not an ideal situation to go by myself. We just naturally assumed we would go together and experience everything as a couple. The problem is, we really want a daughter as well. Logistically, it is looking harder for us then we first anticipated to bring them both home.

Any thoughts on me traveling by myself?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today was the first day of school for Ava. Last night she was so excited she didn't think she could sleep. We picked out her outfit down to the type of underwear she wanted to wear, along with the earrings and how she wanted to do her hair. I can't believe she is in second grade already.

It was raining and freezing cold out, so we all had our umbrellas as we walked down to the bus stop. There was a couple of older boys, probably 9th grade, and I could see her watching them closely. She looked a little intimidated. The good news was, their bus forgot to pick them up, so they won't be out there when we go out in the morning. She perked up after they left and it was just us waiting.

After she got onto the bus, I looked at Owen. He looked up at me and said "Are you going to play with me mom?" Giant foreshadowing on his part.

It has been several hours since she went to school, and Owen pretty much has not left my side. I tried to tell him all of the things that he could do. I don't think I realized how much he depended on his sister to play and interact with him. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I can't constantly play with him all day long, but he doesn't seem to want to be alone at all. Right now I can only write this because he is watching a movie!

I think after a few days we will both adjust. Poor kid, he told Ava how much he was going to miss her. Hopefully he will enjoy the semi-quiet the next few months. Once we get our babies home, it may never be quiet again!

Friday, September 3, 2010

I love reading. With a passion. Currently, I am in the middle of 4 books. I normally don't like to read that many books at one time. It is too hard to divide my time between them, and how do I pick which one should be read when? I know. It is slightly pathetic. Espeically considering the books I am reading. They have no connection whatsoever!

Book #1 is Great Expectations. I read this a million years ago in high school. Honestly about the only thing I remeber is the swamp, and something to do with paintings. I have not been great with this book. As an adult, I feel like it is okay, but I am having not much luck with it holding my attention. So as of yet, I have no idea if my "memory" of something to do with paintings actually rings true for this book. I am not that far yet. (I am ashamed to admit that I have been reading this book for over a month. This is the one that gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. I need to bite the bullet and get it over with!)

Book #2 is The Three Musketeers. For some reason that he can't explain, my husband thinks it is absolutely hilarious that I am reading this book. One day in Barnes and Noble, they had their classics buy 1 get 1 free. So I got this one and The Man in the Iron Mask. I love the swashbuckling stuff. I admit, it is a little out of what I normally read, but I am just going to chalk it up to branching out.

Book #3 is Radical. This book is changing my life. Run to the bookstore, or order it off of Amazon. It is an awesome book that will rock your current thoughts on America's version of Christianity and the "American Dream".

Book #4 is The Hard Way. This is one of my CIA type books. For some reason, I am in love with all things CIA/FBI/Covert Ops. I have said this before, but I will repeat it again, this is my dream job. Not going to happen with 2, soon to be 4 kids, and a loving husband, but I would have made an awesome secret agent! The fact that I read these types of books also makes my husband laugh.

It is quite possible that he may actually be laughing at himself. He once made a comment that when we got married he perhaps didn't realize how strong willed I was!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back in Business!

We learned that the woman who is holding our son in the picture they sent to us is his biological mom. We are thrilled to be able to have a picture of her to show him, but her face is so sad and tired looking. Now that we know who she is, I find myself looking at the picture many times a day wondering what happened to her, what her life has been like. What led to the decision to give up her son. Sometimes I just hold the picture and look at her and cry. Our blessing is her sorrow, our wonderful gain, her huge loss. It is both sides of adoption, staring me right in the face in a single picture.

We have not received our son's medical testing back. Hopefully we should know something early next week. No news on a referral for a little girl either. Crossing our fingers that she doesn't take too much longer to come to us!

The kids are really getting antsy about their new brother and sister. They want then home NOW! Just like their parents. We patiently try to explain for the 975th time why they are not here already, and how long we think it will take until they do come.

They seem to have a lot of pent up energy. Not quite sure where it is coming from. This morning I kept hearing these loud noises coming out of Owen's bedroom. I sneak up to the door to see what they are doing without them seeing me. They are wrestling, both in orange shirts and black shorts, which they coordinated just for the "game". When I asked them what they were doing, they said they were playing "Tarzan". Okay. Unfortunately, I had to put the kabosh on Tarzan, because what usually happens when my kids play wrestling games is that one of them takes it too far and the other gets hurt, and then there is a retaliation.

Other than that, it has been a slooooow week. Probably due to my huge hope that a second referral would come so soon after the first. The anticiaption is driving me nuts! On the other hand, I found an interesting reply on a blog that I was reading yesterday. A woman who is adopting from Africa has been constantly asked why she isn't adopting a child from the US because the need is so huge here and why would she go overseas? I am sure any adopting family has heard that one. We have mulitple times. Anyway, a friend of hers suggested the reply (and I'm kind of summing it up) "You are absolutely right about the need here in the US. And please don't take this the wrong way, but what are you doing about it?" Brilliant, slightly rude, perhaps. But I love it anyways. I am always a little irritated when people feel the need to lecture me on my choice to adopt from Africa. I don't know that I have enough guts to say it the next time I am asked. But I may just have to give it a whirl.