Friday, January 28, 2011

I am starting to become an emotional wreck.

As we move closer to bringing our babies home (theoretically, we are still waiting for new court paperwork) I have started to get a little more detached from them. I know this doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but I am so terrified that they aren't truly going to come. I guess it is a survival mechanism I have developed. Not like it would make the pain any less if they didn't come home.

Still, I should know better by now than to watch Gotcha Day videos on you tube, and yet, I still find myself occasionally doing it. And I cry every single time. I imagine our Gotcha Day and what that might look like. I think about bringing them home to meet Ava and Owen, who love them so much already and pray for them every single day.

Everytime I am in the kitchen, which I am sure like most of you, is a lot, I see their beautiful pictures on my fridge and it makes me so happy, yet breaks my heart.

And then this past week, Owen and I made a run to IKEA. No real big deal until we got to that adorable kid section. I started to feel a little overwhelmed at all of the cute things for children, and knowing that we haven't gotten anything for the kids feeling like it is just too soon. Then I walked around the corner and this beautiful little black boy came walking past us with his white mom. It was enough to just about send me over the edge. In that brief moment, I was so clearly reminded of what we are hoping to have, and also so clearly reminded of what hasn't happened yet. It was like looking at my future, only it seemed so far away, and right now, so unattainable.

I would appreciate your prayers as we wait for our paperwork to come back. We are so close, and yet so far away. Once we have those papers, we can file with the US govt., which is the last step before making our embassy appt. and going to get our children. I am hanging in there the best that I can. Some days I feel like I spend much of my time praying that God will give me the strength to get through these last months of waiting, but it has been a lot for me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

All Things "Green"

Okay. So I really have no excuse for not trying to "green" my family's life. It is somewhere between a mix of laziness, and how expensive those green items are. I know that I should be using no VOC paint, and given the frequency of which I change colors (our teal bedroom is back to beige) I could benefit hugely from the no toxic smells, but darn it, it just costs so much more!

But after Chris scraped off the mother lode of teflon out of my favorite pan, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and look into cooking ware that didn't give off toxic chemicals. First, I will admit that google is not always your best friend when it comes to making yourself smart. Mostly I know this from googling health things that I am worried about with my kids, and of course the worst possible case scenarios are the ones that I always find, and then you take them into the doctor and they are like "we see this all the time, it is nothing to be worried about." Which I follow up with something smart like "but google said...." (can you just hear the exasperated sighs from the doctors?!)

Anyway, so I googled cooking ware. Turns out teflon is a very scary thing, especially if you heat it too high, or scratch the surface. (check and check) Aluminum really isn't better, there have been studies linking high levels of aluminum in Alzheimers patients. This left us with stainless steel, and castiron. Chris found an old castiron pan in our garage that was designated for the good will. We buffed that puppy up with some salt, although we need to scour it with one of those metal scrubbies to get all of the rust off. The good news is it works great. The bad news is the pan is too small.

As fate would have it, the one big soup/boiling water pot I own is stainless steel- I had no idea, but yeah for us! Unfortunately, stainless steel is uber expensive, and because we already have a huge pot that is stainless steel, it doesn't really make sense to by one of those 10 piece sets. Plus I do almost all of my cooking in a huge 6 quart deep covered pot, which is not included in any of the sets I could find. So I think we will be buying piecemeal to complete our collection. This will definitely cost us more, but then we can get exactly what we need and not have extras.

I would LOVE any advice on cooking with stainless steel, I have heard it is a big pain, (think food sticking and stains) as well as with cast iron. I would also love it if anyone has any other "green" ideas for the home. examples: kitchen stuff, hair products, etc. Somehow with more kidlets coming, I feel I need to be more responsible with all of the nasty things that can be in all the stuff we use.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The good news is that we know the changes to our court paperwork have been given to the judge. The bad news is, it will probably take 1 to 2 weeks to get it done, and then it has to be translated. We also learned from a family that traveled that the judge wrote everything out by hand on carbon paper. When was the last time you saw anybody write out pages and pages of legal documents on carbon paper? Crazy. A very good reminder that much of the world does not have the convenience of computers and lots of modern technology.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I have this thing about not decorating my house with family picutres. I know, it sounds terrible, and completely un-motherly like of me. It's not that I don't love them, or love their faces, I just don't like plastering them on the walls. My hubby thinks this is a weird trait that I possess.

Right now our fridge is covered in family pictures from Christmas cards. I think I may have reached my breaking point in time alloted for them on the fridge. They are all haphazard and stuck up any old way. Maybe that is my issue with family pictures on the wall. You have to put them in those huge frames with no real organization to them. As I am typing this, I realize that I must sound like an OCD person when it comes to organization. The sad truth is I am one of the messiest people I know. But maybe, deep (and I mean deep) down in my subconcious, "organized" Jess is dying to come out.

Anway, since I have no adoption news to report, or anything else exciting for that matter, I thought I would post the various things I have hung on the wall in lieu of family pictures.

This was made for us in Uganda by a young man we met. It is done on cardboard, and there is a drawing on the other side as well. He hoped to be an artist when he grew up. It is hanging in our hallway.

These are also hanging in the hallway on the otherside. I found this neat old book of drawings by this nature guy, so I took it apart and hung them up. They're kind of hard to see because the only way I could get the picture was to stand in the bathroom doorway and it created a huge glare, plus I couldn't get any closer because then it was too dark and you couldn't see them at all.

This is by our front door. It is a map we got on our honeymoon when we went to Belize. I wish it would have shown up when I zoomed in because there are all these cool drawings amongst the drawing, and it is so gorgeous in real life.

This is hanging above our sofa. I made it out of copper like 8 years ago when I saw a similair one in metal in Pottery Barn but wan't going to pay $100 or whatever the price was. So I went and bought a huge length of copper, put it into shape and started drilling. It is a huge pain to move, and requires several nails to hold into position.

Also in our living room. I just liked the zebras. Plus they were from Ikea, and therefore, extremely reasonable.

These are hanging in our kitchen. I got the prints off ebay and hung them up. There is another wall that has 5 hanging in a row, but I forgot to take that picture.
I also have some seriously cool mirrors that I scored at a thrift shop and spray painted black, but I forgot to take pictures of those too, and this post is probably about a mile long already. If you made it this far and read the whole thing you are amazing!
Hopefully I will get some sort of adoption news soon, so I don't have to make you wonder about what exactly is going on in my head to make me post random things!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why is it that I can never keep my kids' mittens together? They are like socks, almost worse, because where we live, you can at least shove your feet into your warm boots without socks if you absolutely had to. But no mittens on your fingers and they will definitely get frost bite.

Owen had one pair of nice thinsulate mittens. The kind made for serious cold weather. And then he blew a hole through the thumb so large that it was not possible for me to sew it back up. So I went to Target, no luck, Walmart-nada, I then went to Oshkosh, Carters, and Old Navy. I even went to thrift stores thinking that I would find some there. Nothing. Not a single store had warm mittens. They did, however, have plenty of those silly, thin gloves that couldn't keep your hands warm to save your life.

Finally, on the way up to my parents' house, we stopped at Mills Fleet Farm, which can only be described as the ultimate man store (think hunting, fishing and car stuff), and lo and behold, we managed to find a warm pair of mittens. Price $9.00- that's a lot of money in my opinion for a pair of mittens- but he needed them.

This was two weeks ago. Yesterday, Chris took the kids ice fishing. This morning, I discovered that Owen burnt a hole through one of his new gloves on the heater in the ice house. Chris said he was watching him- clearly not enough. That store where we finally found the mittens? It is two hours away. Oh, and we have several months of winter left.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Okay, so we are keeping our fingers cross and saying a lot of prayers. When they redo court paperwork, it is up to the Judge's discretion whether we have to repeat the 30 day non-appeal period. Here I am going to let my inner child come forth- "No fair!" It was their mistake in the first place, so why should I have to repeat those days?

Say a little prayer that this is something we do NOT have to do. We already will have probably a month delay to fix the papers, definitely don't want to make it two months.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We finally got our court documents to review yesterday. Unfortunately, there were a couple of things wrong on them. They had our marriage date wrong in one place (although right everywhere else!), and they had me a stay at home mom in one place, and working in two others. We think that this will probably set us back several weeks to a month while they retranslate back into French, make the corrections, get new papers, translate back into English, and then have us review it. Another delay. Sigh.

We will just keep moving forward and pray that the mistakes don't take as long to fix as we think it will. Still hoping to travel around June even with the delay, but we will see. I think it is time to pull out my mantra "All in God's timing"!

On the other hand, we received three new pictures of our kidlets, and I just can't get over how beautiful they are! Our son is sitting up now, and our daughter has yarn braids put in her hair! We were shocked, she has this massive amount of yarn hair with 3 huge white bows put in them! It makes us happy because I know that it takes quite awhile to put those in, and somebody loves her enough to take the time. She is also in what can only be described as a prom dress for infants! Our son has more normal looking clothes. They are both so adorable it almost hurts to look at them! And we aren't quite sure, but it almost looks like our daughter has bottom teeth! Our son though has a huge, toothless smile. I will post the pictures later today when I get a chance!

Friday, January 7, 2011


I have been on a role this week with posting! Don't know whats gotten into me!

Everyone knows that adoption is expensive. Most people don't even start it because the fear of money is just too much for them. I had been working for a year (when I thought it was time to start my career, only to travel to Uganda and have God tell me I need to be a stay at home mom again!) and we had been saving almost all of the money I had made. My working, short as it was, provided the funds for almost all of our adoption fees. Huge blessing.

Then I got the bill in the mail for foster care. Somehow along the way, I had forgotten about foster fees! Mostly I think it was becasue we paid the first 3 months, and then I didn't think about it ever again until the bill. Foster fees aren't huge, $300 per month total for both kids, but if it takes 6 months to still get them, we are talking $1800, plus airline and travel. And let me tell you, airline fees to Africa are not cheap! I was starting to get a little nervous about the whole finance thing. In the back of my mind I am thinking about all of the things monetarily coming up. Ava needs orthodontic work, we have a pretty large deductible for insurance, my kids usually end up in the ER every other year or so, it didn't happen last year, so 2011 must be the year, the struts on our van pretty much are non-existent, and the list goes on...!!

Last night Chris called to let me know he was going to be working late, then all of a sudden I can tell that he is talking to someone in his office. He starts talking to me again and I finish whatever it was that I was saying at the time. He then says, I just got a bonus check from my boss. What?? He was given a rather large bonus check last night, and we had no idea it was even coming. Can I get a huge amen! God is so good! This check will allow us to pay for all of foster care, plus most of the airlines and travel fees, and we still have time to save the rest and more. I am blown away about how God has provided for us. I was starting to doubt and thinking that we would have to raid some of our investments, and bam, everything covered. What a blessing!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stir Crazy

I live in a part of the US that has winter almost half the year. I tried to convince my husband that we should move somewhere warmer, but seeing as we have been married almost 10 years, and haven't moved yet, my prospects of a warm home climate aren't looking so great. When moving somewhere warmer in the US didn't fly, I tried to convince him to move to Italy. That didn't go either.

Last year at this time we were in Uganda. It was a perfect break from all of our cold, often depressing winters. If I lived in Alaska I would definitely need those lamps to help people with seasonal depression.

This year, we are home. I am already dreaming of warm weather, sitting on the beach, going to the parks and wearing capris (because I never wear shorts!) Too bad for me that type of weather won't hit until around May, and even then it could be closer to June. I know for the sake of my sanity I should probably stop dreaming about all warm weather related things, but I just can't help myself!

Last year, some girlfriends and I met at McDonalds for breakfast. It was so cold on that morning that the heat stopped working at McDonalds, and their fryers didn't work, but we still stayed and played even though the playland area was about 50 degrees because we were so desparate to get out of our houses! Luckily this extreme patheticness (is that a word?) hasn't hit me yet this year, but winter is long, and my warm wather patience short, so who knows what may happen in the next several months?

On an adoption note, for those of you who are like geez Jess, just give us adoption information, I am in that area of happy/little bit sad/envious. There are several families who have been told that they may travel in about 2 months or so. They aren't from our agency, and they will be traveling to the embassy appt. Our agency made a new policy that we can't travel until all of our paperwork is ready. So while we were ahead of these other families, now we will more than likely be significantly behind in getting our children. Please don't misunderstand me. I am SO excited for these families. I am just bummed that we will not be able to get our children as quickly as they will. But God is good, and who knows what will happen in our case?

We have one, maybe two weeks until our non-appeal period is over. They aren't quite sure of the date because we passed court on the 15th, but our judgement wasn't given until the 21st, so they are checking with the country coordinator on when the 30 days actually started. After that, we wait for a letter from the govt. that pretty much says it's official from their side, and then we can send in to our government for the orphan petition. This is taking people about 8 weeks to hear back favorably. More waiting, I am not looking foward to it. Once we hear back from the US govt., then we can ask for an embassy appt. for our kids, and FINALLY move forward with the whole going and getting our babies! Probably still looking at June. (I keep telling myself June and if it happens faster it would just be a huge blessing. I am such a glass is half empty type person!)

In the meantime, I am having a hard time trying to get ready for their arrival. Nothing is ever certain until they are on the plane and taking off back home. So how do you get ready for babies who in all honesty, may or may not come? We have zero baby items from our other two kids. And it would be silly, in my opinion, to buy things for kids that aren't for sure. I know that we will get lots of things from our friends, who are a pretty fertile bunch, but it still leaves me a little uneasy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

As I have said before, I realize that my "me" time is quickly running out. Ava and Owen are at those wonderful ages where they don't really require a lot of watching. They know how to behave (most of the time), and most of the time, they are fantastic, awesome kids. Once kidlets 3 and 4 come home, "me" time probably won't exist. My days will be consumed with diapers and bottles, and more likely than not, parasites. At least for a little while!

Needless to say, I have been enjoying the extra time where I can do whatever I want to!

Lately, due to a good friend of mine, that extra time has been reading blogs in the decorating world. I used to feel good about the fact that we don't watch tv in the Nelson household. Haven't seen a regular tv show in our home in almost 8 years. This frees up a remarkable amount of time for family activities, reading, etc. However, thanks to said friend, I have been devoting much more time than I should to those blogs.

Luckily, I have managed to get a grip on my obsession, but combined with reading adoption blogs, emails, and an occasional facebook, I probably spend a good hour on the internet every day. I really don't know if this is considered a lot, but when I write it, it sure feels like a lot, considering my day is only about 14 hours long (up by 7, bed by 9), and internet takes up 7% of it!

Anyway, where I am going with all of this is to list a couple of the blogs I love going to. Check them out if you have time. Or don't, I don't want to cause an addiction!

1. Young House Love- this is a young family who just moved into a new-for-them house. they blog about all things do it yourself. I am hooked!

2. Nesting Place love the way this woman decorates, so serene!

3. 320 Sycamore Place

4. The Pioneer Woman

5. Emily A Clark

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First post of a New Year

So, today is day 1 of 2011. I really have no idea where all of this time is going. But it just keeps passing before my eyes. We are never able to stay up until midnight and welcome in the New Year. I honestly can't remember the last time I said hello to 12:00 am. Call me a party pooper, but I would much rather sleep!

Today the kids and I toasted the New Year at lunch with sparkling grape juice called "Cold Duck". I bought that one just for the name- I feel a tradition in the making! We sat around the table and each said one thing that we wished for the New Year. Chris and I said the same thing, that our babies would come home. Ava asked to make lots of new friends, and Owen asked that trees don't blow over in the yard. Okay. Not really sure where that one came from.

It has been a super relaxing last couple of days. The kind where you try to figure out exactly what you did to pass the time, but you just can't remember. Weekends where we do "nothing" rarely happen at our house, and we are enjoying it immensely! Right now, I am quietly sitting on my couch typing this and the kids are downstairs playing. Pretty soon, these quiet moments will be a thing of the past. Two more babies ought to shake up our routine a bit!