Wednesday, December 31, 2008

darn

As I am sitting here looking for bedding and cute 6 year old boy clothes....I just saw that Zutano's totally has preemie clothing that is soooo super cute....I totally missed my chance to buy expensive cute clothes for 4-8 pound babies darn it.

homestudy

Could it be that we are finally going to have our home visit?! Yes it is true.

We have until next Tuesday....less than one week to clean the heck out of the house, buy mattresses for the bunk beds, bedding for the bunk beds, and did I mention clean the heck out of the house. We need to do a lot. There is the everyday, run of the mill cleaning that needs to be done....picking up as I like to call it....you know putting everything in it's place, laundry, dusting, sweeping, vaccuming. Then there is the spring cleaning component....you know....mopping, cleaning baseboards, walls, shampooing carpets (yes we have our own), the more easily seen windows. Then there is the real to do's - originally I wanted to repaint some of the walls.....there are color crayons on probably all of the walls downstairs....thanks to 2 rather inattentive babysitters who shall remain nameless and works of art on 2 of the upstairs walls. I think we may get to touching up the upstairs walls...but we are just going to have to scrub the downstairs ones and hope our sparkling personalities distract from the horror of the colored on walls.

there are a couple of little projects that need to be completed as well....I have got to get all of Z's pics and stuff into his life book. Seriously, can you get approved for a second adoption if you failed to compile a life book for your first adoption....I think there is a check mark somewhere for that on the official home visit form....it is probably right next to the "took for santa pictures" box.
We also need to hang about a million family pictures we have. Our house literally has one multi-picture picture frame hanging and the rest of the walls are blank (except for the color crayons - of course!).

I am on call every second night this week...monday, wednesday, friday, sunday. I picked up an extra shift yesterday, and on thursday and Lilianna comes back from her dad's house on Monday...can i get everything done? I say yes.

As for Lilianna coming back on Monday....she has been gone since Xmas day and I can't wait for her to come back....I just home she doesn't have a difficult transition. Sometimes it is tough for her to get back into the routine here. She goes to her dad's and doesn't have to go to school, eat 3 big girl bites of eveything on her plate, go to bed at 8pm, cooperate with stinky brothers, nor is she expected to be a big girl at all. So, as you can imagine, she sometimes has a few issues getting back into the groove away from Lilianna-is-the-center-of-the-world-ville. I think there is probably a check mark for having to nap all of your kids during the first home visit.

I have so many things to obsess about it is great! Of course, my favorite thing to obsess about right now though is the bedding for the boy's bunk beds and what to bake right before the home visit to make my house smell homey....I am up for suggestions....maybe snickerdoodles or good old fashioned bread.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas


Z is piling his presents into his trailor. I had too many favorite pictures to post so I made a flikr set:
It has some of my favorite pictures. It was a really fun morning. We were very orderly for the first 2 presents that everyone opened then within like 5 minutes it was like a tornado flew into our living room...everybody was talking and ripping presents open - wrapping paper everywhere, babies howling, it was literally pandemonium as every kid tried to get help with a new present and each person was running in at least 2 different directions at one time. We had to abandon present opening and the parents had to retreat and regroup. Thank goodness Santa had the good forethought to completely open and hook up presents so we could initiate the emergency parent protocol...operation redirect to distract the older kids.
You will see from the pictures that our family now has Rock Band for O's PS2...and I am officially a junkie. O said today...."are you sure Santa brought this for me and not you....there wasn't a name on it....maybe it was your present". All I can say is that I made Keith and O go to walmart today and buy a second guitar for it. You would have to if you would have heard Keith singing Mississippi Queen...haha...no seriously.
It was a great day. I hope y'all had as wonderfull a day as I had. Of course, by Christmas baking plans (pound cake and norwegian kringler) fell to the bottom of my to do list as Rock Band world tour dominated the day. I am trying to catch up....everything is cooling now...but I think I burnt the pound cake. Oops.
As you look at pictures....just imagine how much better they would have been if everyone had been in matching footed christmas pajamas.....oh in two years watch out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ready for Christmas



I just finished wrapping all of the presents and decorating my first cookie cake....my circle is a little lopsided but so am I! We spent way tooo much money on presents and it doesn't really look like that much...of course it will look way more magical tomorrow. It will look especially magical with the christmas tree lights on.
We didn't make it to sit on Santa's lap this year....does that make us bad parents....maybe our social worker won't recommend us as adoptive parents if we are missing a year of Santa pictures...

Benja-deer


A little more Christmas spirit....all I can say is the rest of the kids better by glad that the Carter's outlet store didn't have this in all of their sizes!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The baby formerly known as cyberbaby


goodby old friend


Today my family said goodby to a part of the family that has been going with us everywhere for the last 5 months. Goodby apnea monitor. We were glad you were there so we could bring Benjamin home from the hospital 5 months ago. But I am so happy to say goodbye to cyberbaby. in the last 28 days Benjamin has grown 20 oz and had 0 episodes of apnea...he is decaffienated (for at least the next 10 years) and is a regular old baby. Merry Christmas to me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

tagged

I've been tagged by Mala (since I don't know how to embed links in my text...see at the sidebar!). I first met her online when she emailed me from a post on adoption.com forums for kyrgyzstan. I was able to psychic-ly guess who her son was.


Rules of the tag: list these rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their name as well as a link to their blog Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.





I will be honest...this is really hard....a little over a year ago I did the 100 interesting facts about yourself and I could only think of like 70 so I think it is going to be really hard. All of the fun, crazy things are already out there. If you want to read them...I could embed it here...but I don't know how so instead click on the label tagged!


1. I love listening to the Christmas Music chanel on the radio -who knew so many people covered O Holy night. My favorite are the songs by Neil Diamond....he is Jewish and has Christmas albums...love it! Seriously, though I do love Neil Diamond.


2. I am going through a serious bout of nesting right now. Things are still stopped dead in kyrgyzstan ...but there seems to be a ray of hope of things starting to move in January. I talked to Karen today and have been baking since about 4 this afternoon...it is now 1020 and I am about to head to the store for more supplies.

3. I totally hate that stupid elf thing that all the kids have right now. My step son turned 9yo yesterday and tonight he had to put out crackers and water for his "elf" to eat. Santa clause...fine...put out some cookies....but he is totally a 9 yo boy playing with a dolls. Actually, I don't have a problem with a 9 yo boy playing with dolls....but he better not be calling my 2 yr old boy wearing my 5 year old daughters purple dress up shoes a sissy. Yes that was a run on sentence.....today at dinner O called Z a sissy because he was so excited to put on Lilianna's purple dress up shoes. Then O turns around and has to put out crackers to feed his doll.

4. I'm really whiny tonight....oh that is obvious...i don't need to put that on the list! So I totally am annoyed by teachers pets.....especially teachers pets that are the mom's of the kids in the class. Dude, you are 30 yo ...you don't need to suck up and try to be the favorite mom of your daughter's kindergarten teacher. By the way...that suck up brought her daughter's elf to the class christmas party "look so and so...your elf is here....up on the shelf". I really can't explain my irrational dislike of those darn elves. I am sure they (teacher pet moms and elves) all hate the rebel mom who thumbs her nose at the "man" or the 40yo, 4 foot tall, 100kg , rainbow glass frame wearing school marm.....whichever the case may be. ooh I feel better already.

5. The first car I ever bought all on my own was a 2 door toyota echo...silver. I totally loved it. I don't think I will ever have a small car again though....too many kids. Although, Keith and I did talk breifly about getting a smart car for our 40 mile commute. I suppose it is a lot more likely we will get an even bigger vehicle of some sort.

6. I totally love being a land lord - even though we fell into it by necessity. I would like to keep it going.

7. I love reading celebrity gossip magazines and I think that Angelina Joli is super cool

Just about everyone I know has already been tagged either by this one already... so if you are reading this, have a blog and haven't been tagged by this one....please post here and then tell us 7 interesting things!

Friday, December 5, 2008

OB call

I have got to post some pictures of Zeb's birthday party...he full on put his head in his bowl of cake...I guess all 2 year olds do it...it is definitely an obligatory toddler birthday shot! I am at work with no photos to post..so I will muse on another thing I have been pondering lately.

Although we are not yet paper ready ... not even done with the insanity that is our homestudy...I have been very dismayed at the progress or lack thereof of other families adopting from Kyrgyzstan. Basically, there has been none. These things happen and I am not complaining about it....what I am going to complain about is my lack of foresight when we told the children about Aaron. They have all seen his picture and we have talked about him a lot. When we first got his referral, we weren't going to tell the kids until after our court date...I wish in retrospect we had stuck to that. We could have told the kids about adopting again and even about his age...but we should not have put a face and name to their new brother. Let's face it, in international adoption things happen. Things happened last time and they could very well happen this time.

If Aaron does not come home...if Kyrgyzstan doesn't reopen...if we lose his referral to another family who can travel sooner...whatever...I will be able to take it in stride because I understand that those things happen. I will think about him sometimes as I do my last lost referral and wonder about him and hope he is happy and healthy, but I will not be distraught and angry. I worry a little bit that it will be hard to explain those things to the kids though. I am just a little angry with myself that my excitement and desire to share details with my kids overran my better judgement to keep it more amorphous when discussing it with the kids.

We recently got family photos which are tremendously cute and O is so excited to pick out pictures to send to Aaron. I am glad he is excited...but I feel really guilty that he might not understand if anything goes wrong. It can be hard for adults to accept that kind of bad news, I am afraid it will be even harder to explain it to the kids if we have to.

All of this pondering aside, I am still feeling very positive that Aaron will come home, that adoptions will shortly resume in 2009 sometime. I am feeling the beginning of March for us...hopefully sooner for those waiting families with locked up dossiers!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

20/20 story

Although we haven't officially had Z's birthday party yet....I have made the cake and it is my best one so far. We are planning on devouring it tomorrow. I had to work later today than I had anticipated. I tried to watch the 20/20 story on international adoption of older children last night...but strangely our cbs channel doesn't carry 20/20....so I just watched it online.
As you can imagine, I was very interested in it....as we are adopting an older child. Also, they looked at the Ranch for Kids in Montana and I read about that Ranch years ago and was very interested in all of the details. It seems like such a great resource.

So what did I think about the show?

The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind I noticed in just the preview. The oldest daughter is wandering around the house having a total anxiety attack and all the parents do is film it and pull her out from under the bed. I have not ever been in that situation...however, if we come home with Aaron and he has an anxiety attack like that the first thing I am doing is finding someone who speaks Russian and letting him stay under the bed and I will sit with him. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to all of a sudden have this ginormous house with so much stuff....wow talk about sensory overload...I would probably go hide under the bed too.
I am not passing judgement on the family in the story - they said it themselves...they were ill equipped to deal with what happened when they got home.

I guess you can never totally be equipped or know 100% what to expect - but I think all agencies do their best to make you aware that your new child may have undiagnosed issues...mentally, physically, emotionally. The family in the program has filed a lawsuit against their placing agency...I am guessing they are arguing that the agency was fully aware of their children's diagnoses and hid these from them at the time of referral. There is really no other justification for a law suit.
That reason is the number one reason you have to do really, really good research when you are looking for an agency. I 100% trust my in country facilitator.....I mean it 100%. When Keith and I were deciding on our adoption the biggest factor in deciding to go back to Kyrgyzstan for an older child was the fact that we trust our facilitator so much and know she is a truly good person who cares about the kids and who cares about the success of the families she places these kids in.
I received an email from someone who is a first timer with adoption alliance several months ago basically asking me about the character of our in country facilitator and I really can't rave enough about how honest, caring and dedicated she is.
I am digressing...I know....but when you adopt internationally...especially an older child....you need to 100% trust your agency and your facilitator. Even then, there will be times when your child has undiagnosed issues...and that is parenting.
I must say that I was as impressed with what little I saw of the Ranch for Kids as I thought I would be. I totally agree with a lot of what the owner (I forgot her name already!) said. She wants a place where it is easy for the kids to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing. She is also very straight forward and doesn't candy coat things when she is talking to the kids...I liked that. She also warned about spoiling kids. I honestly believe that will be the hardest thing for us when we finally get to bring home Aaron. We have a lot of stuff...we have way too much stuff and when Aaron comes home I am worried he will be completely overwhelmed. Keith and I have talked about this already and whether or not we should put up a lot of the kids' stuff before we bring him home. It is hard to say what preparations we need to make because every kid really is different. That is really the beauty of having so many kids...everyone is sooo different and has such a different set of joys and difficulties.

Overall, I didn't think the program was too terrible. I think the quoted amount of disruptions on the show of 15-25% may be a little high...but I have no concrete data to look at. I did hear from an agency I talked to when I was researching Liberia that adoptions from Africa have a ridiculously high disruption rate that is closer to the 25%. I am not really active in that international adoption community so I can't say if it is believable...but then again 20/20 also said they don't have any concrete data either...it was just a guess that someone gave them...so let's not dwell on this unsubstantiated number.

I'm not scared 20/20...I still can't wait to bring Aaron home...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving a day late!

So many things to be thankfull for...seriously. I wouldn't even know where to start. I find it virtually impossible to ever truly complain about anything....well...don't get me wrong...i can still complain about little things every day....expecially on the work front right now. There is nothing in my life that really sucks. In fact, the only thing that could truly get better in my life would be more time at home and more money. Those 2 things will significantly improve in 20 months....i can't wait.



So for Thanksgiving we went to Crackerbarrell instead of cooking and we had a $25 gift certificate...hurray! It was really good, we had Turkey, ham, and every form of potato on the menu. The ham was excellent and everything else was good as usual. Lilianna is at her dad's house so it was just me and the boys. Zeb did really good...it was a long wait and he did great. I know I shouldn't compare kids....but I couldn't take lilianna out to a restaraunt until she was almost 4 because she was just an impatient little lady who was not interested in eating at all. Zeb is just super mellow and happy to eat. It was a nice dinner. Right before they brought out our food...a woman came up to us and started telling us that her daughter lives in california and had adopted a little boy from Korea and his name was Zeke and then she started giving Zeb kisses on the forehead and saying little baby compliment type things and calling him Zeke... then she left...it was really weird. I thought maybe Keith knew her or something...but um...now he didn't. It was a little weird.

Today is Zeb's birthday, but we are celebrating tomorrow..I am making a cake tonight. My one expression of domesticity has become baking cakes and decorating them for birthdays. I like to bake....maybe because I like to eat desserts. I will be sure to post pictures of the impending second birthday of Z. Unfortunately, Lilianna is at her dad's this weekend, but I have promised to save her some cake.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

internet = procrastination

I used to have to watch tv or talk on the phone and procrastinate. Now I can shove chocolate and diet dr.pepper in my face and surf the internet and type on this blog...I love it.
I mentioned that we had pictures on Sunday. The photographer goes to our church and we see her occasionally at church. There are other people we see at church much more regularly....for instance Lilianna's teacher at Sunday school. We see her almost every week. What do these people have in common you might ask. Both of them thought that we had adopted Benjamin.

One of the reasons we had decided to adopt from kyrgyzstan again is because we thought it would be nice to have another child who could share some of the same experiences of Z...a brother or sister who looked like him and came from his country....whether that is right or wrong...I really don't know. Anyway, then we were referred Aaron who is ethnically Russian. In my mind, when we accepted Aaron's referral, I made the assumption that because he is white like us, his adoption would be less apparent than Zeb's. Obviously, when people see my family out, it is clear to see that Zeb looks different and the obvious conclusion is that he is adopted. What I didn't realize is that really....when people see my family out....the conclusion that they make is that all of my children are adopted. I don't mind this in any way nor am I complaining....but it just recently dawned on me. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked what part of Russia Lilianna is from. Benjamin, however, is assumed to be a newborn domestice adoptee because he is so young and the question I get is how old was he when we got him. The irony for me with Benjamin is that I was clearly pregnant and I know these people saw me pregnant...all summer long in my Gap maternity tank tops. I suppose if I had lost more babyweight in the last 5 months it would help delineate the pregnant/not pregnant versions of me but what's a girl to do - especially with so much Halloween candy around!?

I am digressing...but my point is that transracial adoption has had some interesting implications that I totally did not expect.....oh yeah and that I was not just fat for the last year...I was pregnant.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Picture day

Today was picture day. We had the photographer we used last year come over today for our photo shoot. We needed pictures of the whole family for our dossier...we needed a picture of our whole family standing in front of our house. So we took some pics there and some on the swingset and a couple inside. Then Lilianna had a little photoshoot in her christmas dress because she really wanted to wear her christmas dress in the family pictures....but frankly she would have made the rest of us look like slobs.
I super bundled up Benjamin in a hat and a romper so the Kyrgyz MOE would know that I believe in bundling my kids up right! It was like 60 degrees here. I probably should have put a hat on Zeb now that I am thinking about it! Z also has a huge bruise on his forehead where he bonked his head. The photography said she could totally photoshop that bruise out....hurray! Maybe she could photoshop in a hat, scarf and gloves.

Everyone was really, really good for pictures. Zeb totally hammed it up, Benjamin even started smiling at the end and we got some more good shots of him in his bumpo seat. Lilianna was the star though...once she got in her dress. She was totally not feeling the model vibe in her dress down outfit. I can't wait to get them back. This photographer posts the pictures to a website and we log in and order...I can't wait. Last years pictures were totally awesome. We are hoping to make a Christmas card out of one of these pictures.

We did thoroughly clean our house in case we needed to take pictures inside...so I am going to walk around and take pictures for the rest of our dossier. I can't do Aaron's room yet because there are still no mattresses on the bunk bed. But we are working on it. We totally need to get Zeb into the real bed...at any moment he is going to figure out how to get out of the crib. I think he will be fine in the bed. Probably we will have to put a safety gate in front of his door to keep him from wondering out...but we can do that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Benjamin and Zebby...my babies



The Bumpo seat. He loves this thing. I think he feels like a big boy looking around. Another added bonus is I think it wears him out more to be sitting upright and working those neck and core muscles a little. He seems to sleep better when he has spent some time upright. He is not so in love with tummy time. I know we need to do more of it...but he no likes. It is hard to appreciate his pale blue eyes in this picture. Lilianna had deep, dark blue eyes when she was younger and now they are slowly turning green - like my eyes. I think that Benjamin is going to remain a blue eyed heartbreaker like his dad. He is a lot more fun now that he smiles and laughs and has a little tickle spot on his chest. You can see his little apnea monitor leads...I am hoping that the next time we visit the pediatrician we can stop his caffeine and then start getting close to losing this annoying monitor.

We started at the new babysitter on Monday, who I think is going to work out sooooo good. I have been so busy that I haven't had a good chance to talk with her about the kids...but she did leave me a message that everything was going well and everyone appears to have settled in. She told Keith yesterday that she is completely amazed with how smart Zeb is. She has been in childcare a long time and she is totally impressed with his problem solving skills and she feels like he plays with the toys in a much more advanced way than a 2 year old normally does....so now I can officially say it...Zeb is a genius. It is confirmed. Haha. Lilianna is a gorgeous model with unique insight into human behavior, Zeb is a genius and Benjamin is going to have to be the blond one...oh wait that is Charlie's Angels.

I was thinking about that today though (while in the shower marvelling at how clean the shower was.....actually the only clean section of our house right now!)....Having a large family is fun because I get to see these kids developing into special and very different little people. I think with just one child or even with 2 kids you don't get to see the magnificent diversity of childhood. I am not sure if what I am going to say next is politically correct...but whatever. With our biologic kids I purposefully look for certain things to be developing...Like with Lilianna. One of my greatest joys in life is dancing. I don't dance anymore...but I derive a great feeling of freedom and joy with movement and intention in my movement if that makes sense. Lilianna has started dance class and I look for that in her and have this expectation that she will enjoy moving and dancing as much as I did. Her dad is a musician so I look for her and expect her to have an appreciation of music. I will say that she has definitely prospered into a little singer...she love to sing. I recognize that is totally her thing..but I watched her in her dance class on Tuesday and she is pretty good.

Zeb is completely and 100% devoid of these expectations that have developed for Lilianna. So every little thing with him is a huge surprise and I encourage whatever it is he is doing. That being said...this little guy is a dancing machine. Seriously, he will bust a tricky move to anything that even remotely has a beat. He is definitely my little dancer and he loves to move to music. I wish I could remove those little expectations I have for my bio kids, but they are there.

Keith has recently been talking about O is lanky and uncoordinated just like he was when he was a kid. I definitely see similarities between O and his dad, but is it a dangerous trap to fall into projecting our experiences, short-c0mings, and successess on our kids just because they have our eyes or our uncoordination? We are and will be 100% supportive of whatever our kids want to do or try...dance class, basketball, singing class whatever. There are these little unavoidable expectations we have though and it is hard to try to ignore them.

I am rambling on and the more words I use the more diluted my thoughts are becoming...I know. The gyst of my musings today is that when Lilianna sings and dances...I smile, enjoy and encourage her. When she throws a temper tantrum and slams her door....well lets face it....that was me when I was 5yrs old until.... ummmm yesterday. When Zeb sings and dances it is an unexpected, unanticipated, and wonderful surprise. Everything he does and all that he is becoming is all Zeb with no baggage of this was mom when she was 5. I fully anticipate him to throw temper tantrums and slam doors too...but when he does I know I will find more joy in it with him than I do with Lilianna because it is not anticipated.

I have never suffered from infertility, I know many people in the adoption community come to adoption through stuggles with fertility. I understand that many people who travel that path feel like they may be missing something by not having biologic kids that they will be able to see their own eyes, or lankiness, or love for music in. I find so much joy in the surprises of Zeb's development. I am writing this part with tears in my eyes because every day he surprises me with some little quirk that is so wonderfully Zeb. Adoption is such a super-wonderful way to grow a family and has added so much joy to my life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

oops...i was tagged

I almost never get tagged...I was reading Leigh's blog and saw that she tagged Michelle....but I totally thought it must be someone else...I guess that is the curse of the common name! SO.....

6 things that make me happy! I don't know if I can limit it to 6 things!



1. My husband. There is a short story I read in school a long time ago about a guy who paid 8 cows (I think it was 8) for his wife. Everyone in her village thought he was crazy to pay so much for her....To him, she was worth 8 cows for several great reasons. Of course, woman purchasing themes aside....I feel like an 8 cow wife. I never in a million years would expect any person in the world to do all that he does for me...I am constantly surprised at how caring, amazing he is to me. I can not imagine my life without him. I know I am always mushy about Keith...but he is really, really, really great. He is the kind of husband every parent wants for their daughter...that is for sure.



2. My kids....they are probably tied with number 1...although it is close. Lilianna is a bundle of joy and energy and drama. She is a little firecracker that has so much love in her little heart to share with the world it is amazing to watch her interact with her brothers. Zeb wears his little heart on his sleeve and just wants to make everyone around him happy...even when he is sooo tired he can barely walk. It is so fun to watch him pat Benjamin on the head and say what loosely translates to "brother"...I think, at least. Benjamin gets sooo happy to sit up straight - his smile is from ear to ear when we set him up in his bumpo seat...I can't wait to get to know him better. O is his father's son for sure....he is so unassuming yet so smart at the same time - if Bill Cosby did that crazy...Kid's say the darndest things show ...O would be a star. I am super lucky.



3. My commute....I know that sounds crazy....and when I was facing the impending 40 minute commute I thought I would hate it. I was totally dreading it and complaining about it for weeks. Now I totally love it. There is one part of the drive when I am about 6 miles from my exit and you are at the top of a rolling hill and there is a slight curve to the left in the road and you have a spectatular view of rolling hills and trees and right now all of the trees are beautiful reds and yellows. Almost daily, when I get to that part of my drive I think to myself how much I love where I live. Now if like Rick Springfield is playing on the radio....I am totally in happy.

4. My job.....yeah...I like to complain and I do have a lot to complain about. There are a lot of things I don't like about my job....mostly it is the politics and some of the attitudes of my attendings. I love what I do. I think my job would make me even happier is I only worked like 32-40 hours a week....I mean really...there is only so much happiness one person can take!

5. Coffee....specifically a grande 2 pump mocha with whip cream. OOOH and coupled with piece of Lemon pound cake at Starbucks. Maybe on a crisp autumn day with a magazine.

6. Rainy, dreary days. I love them. I love the feel of humidity on my hair and face and I love splashing through puddles. Something about dreariness and rain makes me feel warm inside. You know....coffee goes really good with rainy days too!

I can't really tag 6 people, becuase I don't think I know 6 people who haven't been tagged yet...I will investigate this further and find some people. It is fun to take the time to think about all of the things in your life that make you happy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shopping is now even more fun

I ran to Target for a few minutes today....I don't have any long sleeve shirts...so I was going to buy one or two. I realized as I was walking through the store that no matter what clothing section I walk through....if I see something cute...I have a child to buy it for. I really like having a large family...of course....with a large family...if I see something cute I don't really have the money to buy it! Although that really hasn't ever stopped me in the past...huh Keith?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Zeb and Aaron

Zebby is sooo totally in the terrible twos. I am now reminded of what a wonderfull time two is (that is just a little bit of sarcasm). What I do remember is how one morning I realized that Lilianna was no longer in the terrible twos and what a fun little girl she was. That realization is what sparked the desire to start the whole process to get Zeb.

As far as terrible twos goes...he really doesn't hold a candle to Lilianna. Z still does what we tell him to do for the most part...he just gets really uncontrollably upset when he doesn't get his way...not in a pouty, I want my own way kind of way....but in a my heart is broken kind of way. My house is full of little drama queens - seriously, my house is totally full of drama queens....I don't mean just the kids!

I was putting Z to bed tonight - the routine is that Z says goodnight to everyone and everyone gets a head bonk or a kiss goodnight then I take him in his bedroom and play the little rainforest music box thing and hold him and his pink star blanket and rock him back and forth until he is ready for bed and he reaches for his crib. While he has never fought attention, it took him almost a year to totally dissolve into my arms to be rocked at bedtime. As I was holding him tonight, rocking him, I was wondering how long it would take Aaron to cuddle with me or if he ever would. Lilianna is still a total cuddle monster and Aaron is only one month older than her. In our brief medical, we were told "He loves caress, attention; the boy is kind, sympathetic. He communicates well with children and adults". It really is a small thing to hold onto isn't it? Somehow, I am really holding onto it though....I am naively hoping that he will be a cuddler and want to melt into our arms.
Trust me, I know that that will probably not be the case and I am the kind of girl that expects and prepares for the worst case scenario...but as I was rocking Zeb to sleep tonight, I allowed myself the luxury of imagining Aaron falling asleep in my arms on the trip home from Kyrgyzstan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Disneyworld

We are planning our first (of many I'm sure) trip to Disneyworld. My friend Ryan is getting married at some point over the weekend we are there. We are going for 9 days and staying at Port Orleans Riverside. Turns out Ryan is staying at that hotel too....it was just a coincidence that we booked rooms at the same hotel...but I am very excited about it. I don't get to hang out with friends very often...not that Keith isn't my friend...of course he is...but I think I get to take Ryan out one night just the girls for a bachelorette party of 2. I am thinking it might be hard to find male strippers in Disneyworld so she may have to settle for something less than that!

I am very excited about going, but I am very guilty and wistfull about how much money we will be spending and the fact that Aaron is sitting in Belovodsk. Seriously, what kind of blankets, fresh veggies and clothing would 9 days at Disneyworld buy for the kids at Belovodsk. Of course, I know that there is nothing I can do about Aaron coming home quicker and certainly not going to Disneyworld is not going to move things along any quicker...but I am a finely tuned sense of maternal guilt for all of my kids. In fact, I even asked our coordinator if we could send items or money to help keep the kids in Belovodsk warmer this winter and she said she would ask and get back to us....but hasn't. So I can't even justify feeling guilty about that.

When Ryan told me she was getting married at Disneyworld - I immediately thought that there is no way we can afford to go. Then I remembered something my dad told me not too long ago. He told me that his biggest regret was not taking more family vacations when we were smaller. I remember when I was in 3rd or 4th grade we sat around the dining table planning a family vacation to Disneyworld...I remember we were going to stay at the Polynesian village...at least that is where I wanted to stay. Unfortunately we never made it. So even though we don't have a lot of extra money....(oh that is rich...extra money...hahaha I have never had extra money!) we are going to Disneyworld.

I have started begging people for their homecall shifts to try to make extra money. We are getting one of the dining options...so for 9 days for 4 kids 2 adults...I need to work about 55 hours of overtime. That isn't including spending money...just the hotel and the included dining. I think that is totally doable before January. I do, by the way, feel very lucky to have the option of homecall to make overtime money. There are very few residency programs where you get paid to work overtime - I am very, very lucky.

Friday, November 7, 2008

hysterical things



I came home from a late night run to the grocery store to my husband wearing my pink sling with benjamin , his apnea monitor and his cell phone putting the clean dishes away.....I made a b-line for the camera....it was pertty funny. That is a dedicated dad.

We took Z to get his surgery today...we opted for just the ear tubes and adenoids and nixed the circumsicion....no pun intended. It just seemed like the universe was conspiring against us having the circumsicion done...first I was on call that day, then the nurse thought we had called to cancel it but hadn't, then I wasn't on call, then I was on call...so we just quit fighting and skipped the circumsicion.

Z is super sleepy but doing well and snoozing the afternoon away. We are still not done with the enormous amount of paperwork for our stupid homestudy...the dossier to kyrgyzstan is like nothing in comparison. It is starting to piss me off at the state of alabama even more.

I am not getting too pissed off because I know there is nothing moving in Kyrgyzstan so I don't feel the anger and frustration I would feel if Aaron could come home right now pending this stupid homestudy. So left on my list of homestudy crap is:
1. a guardianship form...someone our age has to sign a letter saying they would be the guardian is we both died and how much money they make...which has to be notarized.
2. I have to finish 10 hours of hague.org training and then wait 2-4 weeks for a stupid certificate
3. the financial form and the front page of our last 3 years of 1040's which is no big deal for me to get together...but I have sneaking suspicion that Keith doesn't actually have copies of these...I could be wrong...either way this won't take too long we just haven't done it yet.
4. the thing that is pissing me off the most is that 2 of our letters of reference are not in yet. Now if you are not going to have time to answer some questions and get it notarized (yes that part is totally annoying), don't agree to do it. While I know that Kyrgyzstan is not processing adoptions...our letter writers don't and for all they know their decision to lollilag is keeping our son in an orphanage...that is just rude.

We did get everyone to all of the doctors they needed to get to and our dossier medical form is just waiting to be notarized...which we will do closer to dossier submission time.

Benjamin is calling....

Too cool for school



I was home from work the other day and took Lilianna to school. We got her all gussied up...mainly because I forgot to wash her hair the night before...so I tried to disguise it with jewelry and flower barretts. She has been doing much better at school. She almost made it the whole week without losing a balloon. On friday though, she lost a balloon for sitting in the wrong chair in music class. She was sooooo sad because she said it was an accident and not fair to lose a balloon for an accident when she didn't have any bad behavior. My dad visited school with Lilianna and swears the teacher picks on her. I believe him...I have never liked her teacher....literally from the first time I met her at drop off your school supplied night. But, unfortunately, that is life and school is supposed to prepare you for life right?!
Keith is so funny about it....I expected him to be very level headed about the teacher being a big bully....I expected him to talk me down from my "I am going to write the principal" hissy fit...instead he was all indignant with me...it was fun. In fact, I think he may be even more pissed off about her teacher than I am. The only reason we are not finding a way to switch her out of her class is because she really likes Ms Cole and her classmates..but if Aaron gets her as a teacher he is soooo moving out of her classroom.
She got her progress report and got all good grades for academics and bad grades for the following directions part. Evidently she is also graded on knowing her parents names...it is literally on the grade card...knows parents names. She said she got confused and didn't know what name they were asking for for her dad's name. She just kept saying my name and Keith's name.
In other Lilianna news, she started dance and gymnastic classes on Tuesday's after school and loves them. She wants to do girl scouts too...but we are waiting to hear back about that. We got all of out winter shopping done and it was super fun. Whenever we go to Target...L is all about going to starbucks...the girls always go to starbucks in Target. The boys have to start shopping without us. It is nice to have girl time - I must admit. When the boys are old enough to appreciate that starbucks means chocolate chip cookies...I am sure it will be everybody but dad time at starbucks. The chocolate milk shirt in this picture is part of our winter clothes shopping bounty! If there were ever a little girl who should wear a chocolate milk t shirt it is Lilianna!

Halloween







So for Halloween we dressed up 3 times...once for boy scouts on Monday, once for church on Wednesday and once for trick or treating on Friday. These pictures are from cub scouts. Lilianna won the costume contest last year as a pumpkin fairy, but didn't win this year...it was a totally different contest. Last year everyone watched the contest and clapped to determine the winner...this year no one in the audience paid much attention and the daughter of one of the judges won...mmm ...not that I am a bitter backstage parent..but don't you think one of these cuties should have placed!
It has been a ridiculously long time since I posted anything here - I know. I have been ridiculously busy at work. I have been in the ICU for the lst three weeks and I have 2 more calls in there. There is just so much pain in the ICU....physical, emotional, intellectual....being up there takes way more energy than I truly want to spend at work. Call me lazy, but I don't want to come home to my family completely drained off all will to be awake.
I am digressing...Keith and I went as Mr and Mrs Incredible and thankfully I have no photos of it! Although I did buy some awesome boots off of Zappo's for "my costume"hahaha...i love that excuse. My costume came in one size...that size was 7 sizes bigger than my normal size so I was more oversize baggy girl instead of elastagirl. Keith's costume had built in muscles which were absolutely hilarious. He ran his pack meeting in his smooshy muscle costume it was hilarious....did I mention it being hilarious.
We were excited about trick or treating in our neighborhood this year becuase a lot of new families with kids moved in during the last year....but there was only one 2 year old girl that came to our door and then us. O had a "party" where one of the 8 people he invited showed up so we went trick or treating. When we went out trick or treating, the kids cleaned up...I say the kids like I am letting them eat all of their candy...hahaha. I am eating all of their candy...my big 10 pounds overweightness loves them for it! Lilianna gets halloween candy for her snack at school and a couple of pieces for dessert after dinner and lunch if she eats her veggies, and maybe a treat if she is being a good listener...everything else goes in my tummy....hahahah....I love halloween!
Benjamin went in the lion costume that really all of the kids have to rotate through! He was pretty cute.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

bad mommy no pictures

I still don't have any pictures...I have been frantically reading and studying anesthesia everyday and it is just a struggle to stay one step ahead of the house disasters that occur while our Nanny is there. There has been more child related destruction to our house in the last 2 months than in the last 2 years. There is crayons on walls, chocolate milk on walls and floors, gouges in walls, crayons on appliances. It is also truly amazing how much food and soda 2 two year olds, a 4 month old and one nanny can consume. Of course, my 2 year old is not consuming any soda.....if I find out he is it will be the very last straw! Seriously, the nanny goes through like 12 cans of soda a day. I wouldn't mind the food and soda if I didn't have to scrub dried on chocolate milk off of my wood floors yesterday instead of spending time playing with my kids...I have vented..but I am looking for a new nanny because my house can't take much more destruction. UGGGG.

I was on call friday night and had a workshop until noon on Saturday and now I am on call today...so it has been a busy weekend and my housekeeping has suffered. I was able to catch up a lot on it yesterday...but there is a lot to go. I fell behind last weekend too because we super cleaned out our garage...it went from so much stuff we haven't been able to park in there ... ever to being a carpetted room with table games, shelves and desks. We also have a full size bed in there we need to gussy up into a daybed. There is a lot of gussying up that needs to occur in there. Unfortunately, this weekend is 100% working weekend and next weekend is our first full family camping trip ( with a 4 month old and an apnea monitor....it could be interesting).

There is somewhat of a rush on gussying up the house...the new preteen play area and some new walls we have to paint...thanks to the nanny...the rush is because we finally got our state clearance. We have to take everyone to the doctor for medicals and get 2 more of our references to send in their letters to Villa Hope...then it is home visit time. We are also having a super cool photographer come to our house on November 16th for our family pictures so I want to have some sort of picture - worthy place to take them!

Keith and I spent some time last night trying to find last minute...super cheesy couples halloween costumes. We didn't really find anything we liked...if anyone has a recommendation I am all ears! We looked at cinderella and prince charming, the incredibles, even Ketchup and mustard...nothing seemed quite right. I think our favorite one so far is either cheerleaders or giant penguin outfits.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pictures

despite the title I don't have any to post...but I am going to go home tomorrow and take some. Benjamin started social smiling...like a little flirt yesterday. All day long he was a smiling happy baby. I loved it! Zeb has started showing tiny hints of sibling rivalry with the baby. Yesterday we went to Costco and I had to carry Benjamin and feed him and Zeb was having a come apart trying to climb out of the cart and onto me. I know it is wrong...but I was a little pleased that he wanted to give me some lovin! I never felt that Zeb ever expressed any attachment issues, but he has been about 150% more cuddly in the last couple of months and I love it. I have kind of always felt like second fiddle to fun daddy...so it was nice to see that he likes me too!

I feel so lucky to have my life. I know I say that a lot, but I come to work and see lots of bad-ness. I see how tenuous health and life is and I want to enjoy my good fortune instead of spending all my time cleaning out the stupid garage. I was talking to Keith tonight about taking a weekend and just spend it doing something with the family relaxing...then we had to look at our calendars to schedule out family weekend in between my stupid ICU work schedule and a boyscout campout. So we may have time for a family outing sometime in early december...awesome. I love my job, but I hate the sheer time commitment residency takes up. I think I still feel guilty and somewhat angry towards work for Ben's early arrival. I worked 63 hours in the 4 days preceeding Ben's birth and then returned to work 3 weeks later only to be told that my residency director didn't think I was working hard enough. Evidently when you are 30 weeks pregnant working 80 hours a week in the ICU you are supposed to offer to do other people's work too...if you don't you aren't working hard enough. Ever since that episode, I really haven't had the enthusiasm for my job that I possessed last year. That being said...I really do love the work I do. I can't wait to be finished with residency and find a job that well....just isn't here!
We cleaned out our garage and made a preteen boy haven of table games...I will have to post a picture of that too. It is awesome. There is still some organizing that needs to get done down there...but it should be done very soon. I am hoping to get it done and try to have some sort of party...maybe try to meet some of the local FRUA members...I never get any invitations to any kind of local Birmingham FRUA events...maybe I have just been blacklisted...I dont' know! I wish I could start a local Kyrgyzstan adoption group...but it would be very small right now!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Scary alligator

Lilianna has a little green alligator stuffed animal that has a eerie green push on light for it's belly. I am going to have to take a picture and post it. Anyway, it has been out of batteries for literally a year. Keith put a new battery in it yesterday and Lilianna was so excited to sleep with it...she kept calling it her cool nightlight. So bedtime came and she got her alligator and turned it on and asked me to shut the door all the way because she had her nightlight. About 10 minutes later we hear terrified screaming coming from Lilianna's room...so I went running in...and she is lying in her bed..stiff and paralyzed in fear. I ask her what is wrong and she sobs "I'm afraid of my nightlight".
Actually, the alligator is kind of creepy and the green light it emits is really eerie. I bet the entire room bathed in that green light was super creepy. Her dad had given her the stuffed animal and she said she wanted me to send it back to him.
I promised we could go buy her a new nightlight tonight...one that isn't scary.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Growth chart

I am such a nay sayer on the whole topic of growth charts. I know there is a certain amount of information one can read into growth charts....but I am just not a believer. A.....heretofor referred to as Aaron...his soon to be new name.... is almost exactly the same size as Lilianna. He is also exactly 45 days older than Lilianna. Now, do you think it bothers me that both he and Lilianna are less than 3rd percentile on that precious growth curve? Ummm no.

In fact, Lilianna was on the growth curve and then fell of it around a year. It happens...sometimes kids are just built small. i have an inherent distrust with infusing a number with some sort of authority ....Yes, it is based in experimental data...that is true...but the human body doesn't always read the books or the data. Furthermore, even small kids need families and I believe that there is a bigger force at work when it comes to who joins my family.

Aaron is small, either he will stay small...or he will leave Lilianna in the dust after he is home for awhile. Of all the things to worry about when adopting a 5 year old...his size isn't really one of them. I suspect figuring out how to keep enough food in the house may be though!

Our child abuse back ground checks are back..only 2 more clearances until we can schedule our actual homestudy. Oh...it is painfully slow....we have lots to keep us busy though!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No real updates

So nothing much is going on around here. I am counting down the days until I am no longer a resident....I have been very miserable at work lately. It is only going to get worse before it gets better...that's for sure. If I were to win a lottery I would quit. This is the first time in my life when that is actually true. If you would have asked me that question last year or two years ago...I would have said that I would not have quit...just taken some time off for a fabulous vacation. Now I would quit and never look back! So 22 months...maybe I will put some sort of count down ticker on my blog to remind myself how much time I have left.

I talked to our coordinator, Karen, yesterday and officially accepted A's referral. We have been talking about names. I know that many, many people think a 5 year old should keep his given first name as his first name, but we are planning on giving him a new first name and keeping his current first name as his middle name. I would love to hear your opinion on the matter either for or against the renaming.

Speaking of opinions, there was a very good comment posted on my blog entry regarding Z's circ.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

individualized parenting plans....

I was thinking today how different this adoption is from Zeb's adoption. I was posting multiple messages and reading the yahoo forum religiously...and there were a lot fewer posters back then! Look back at my blog....if you care too....I was posting like every day and very consumed or at least very preoccupied by the process. I think part of the reason I was so present online for Z's adoption was because I was doing it alone and I really, really needed the comraderie and community available online...maybe I just needed to express myself and talk about the whole process to make it real and well...to enjoy it.

A's process is so much different - there is an entirely new set of frustrations and I have a really wonderfull person to share it with. When we decided to really start this process together, I had envisioned the same process as with Zeb...except when I got that phone call and emailed referral I would be able to share it with someone who was going to be feeling the same types of things as me. Then it became such an entirely different process...not just the nuts, bolts and logistics, but everything else too. The fact that we are adopting an older child with a personality and self awareness that goes with being 5yo, the fact that we got a referral before our homestudy was finished...ok before our homestudy was barely started. Maybe it is the fact that we can't go forward gung ho and just knock out all of the paperwork like I did last time. Literally, if I was in Arizona, my homestudy would be done and I would just be waiting for my child abuse clearance to mail off everything.

Yes there are differences between A's adopting and Zeb's adoption...but there are tons of differences between Lilianna's birth and Benjamin's birth. There are tons of differences between how and when I fell in love with each of my children. Just as there are differences in me based on when each child came into my life. I have pondered the differences between my kids and what my kids need endlessly. They each need different things and I give them each different things. I love them all, but I came to love them differently and for different reasons. I am maybe a little too self aware because I wonder if it is really me that needs different things and I just transfer onto them...who knows.....I think I really just need a little bit of sleep...which child is going to give me that!?

I received more info on A from a travelling parent tonight and I am more hopefull than ever that he really will make it home to be our son. I guess I don't feel like it is safe enough to start believing that he is going to join our family. I think I need to wait until after the first trip, then I will feel better introducing his picture and his presence to the rest of the kids. I am also longing to be able to tell him that he has a family that is doing what they can to bring him home. More waiting for everyone.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lessons from work and home

In the last 2 days I have worked 18 hours of overtime...that is one third of my agency fee paid! It is exhausting and seeing some of these unscheduled OR cases...ie emergency, unexpected, trauma etc....reminds me that your life can literally change in a second and it is sooo important to enjoy every moment of your life....no matter how bad a day you may have had!

Of course that is easier said than done when one of your pipes bursts and there is literally poop running down your basement wall! At least we have indoor plumbing...right?! I think we are going to be investing in some sort of deep cleaning vaccuum cleaner in the near future. Any suggestions?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

UAB international adoption clinic


So today Keith and I went to the adopting the older child seminar at the UAB international adoption clinic. It was pretty interesting. My biggest worry is about school. That has been my biggest worry since decided to adopt an older child. I love school and I think it is really important to learn how to do well in school and I think it is really important to a child's sense of self worth to feel like they are successfull in school. So one of the things I obsess about in the whole slow motion process we are going through in Alabama is the effect it will have on A's education process.
So it was nice to hear these issues addressed. Obviously, we don't know for sure where his language skills are right now in Russian or where he is developmentally. The general rule, according to the seminar today, is that academically kids are about 2 years behind. So, we will really just have to wait and see. I was very encouraged by the traveling PAP's description of A and his ability to hold a conversation about his favorite toy and color and to point to something yellow.
The most entertaining part of the day, however, was when Keith shared with me that one of the pediatricians giving the seminar had been sent to him as a match on Eharmony before he met me! They had emailed a couple of times, but never met face to face. He was getting matched with doctors, lawyers, etc. I was getting matched with losers who live their lives for their corvette club. Well, Keith wasn't a loser - I suppose! So the entire day I wondered if she recognized him.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yellow

I just received new pictures of A from a family in Kyrgyzstan now. Better than the pictures....I know what could be better than pictures.....she talked with him through her translator and told me about watching him play with the other kids. He likes toy cars and his favorite color is yellow. I love yellow - it is the color of happiness, sunshine...solnishka...if you will.

It was difficult to wait before. Now it is even more difficult. She said that he knew he was being observed so he was nervous. That kind of breaks my heart....how stressfull to a 5 yo to know that someone is watching you and I can only surmise that he must have known why he was being observed...was he thinking that based on how he acted he may or may not get a family. That seems like a lot of pressure. However, I know very little about his life before January so maybe there are a lot more stressfull things he has been through.

This personal information is making it very hard not to get attached although we understand that if Alabama drags it's feet - we could totally lose A's referral to another family. That also makes it a lot more difficult to be patient. It is a good thing I have a lot of faith in the process and the universe that everything will turn out right.

Tomorrow we are going to a workshop on international adoption of children 4yo and older put on by the University of Alabama International Adoption Clinic. Before yesterday we thought we were just going to a regular seminar that was required by our homestudy agency - I didn't necessarily feel like we needed an introductory lecture on IA, since we have already been through it once. Then I found out they have a 4yo and older track that discusses language, and school among other things...now I am way more excited about going.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First day of school


I can't believe I have such a cute daughter! Ok I may be a little biased. She definitely doesn't have Mala's daughter's Top Model moves...but we are working on it - maybe a couple of episodes of the price is right might help.
She just spent the weekend in a hotel with her dad up here as he and his mom evacuated from Gustav. I think she really enjoyed seeing him. I always worry about the aftermath of his visits because he is not quite as structured with her as we are so it can be a challenge to get back into the swing of things.
We shall see what happens - her dad headed back to New Orleans today and I will be picking her up at school in an hour and a half with my fingers crossed!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Yeah, I'm selfish

I know I sounded whiny yesterday. I really am not depressed or angry...just frustrated. I know if you have been through an international adoption, or if you have had your first trip to meet your child...or even if you have been to an orphanage - you can understand the frustration.

For people who have not ever been to an orphanage and held an 18 month old who locks eyes with you in a searching way...eyes that truly are looking for someone to love them. I have never seen eyes with such quiet desperation...."are you going to love me and take care of me". I am not trying to be dramatic or poetic...I am just telling it like it is. There are wonderful kids who just long for and are searching for love that requires a family. My life was changed completely when I visited Zeb the first time and I held so many kids who thank god have families now.

So is my frustration at the long alabama process selfish...yeah. I don't want A to have that emptiness and longing that I saw in the eyes of the kids in Bishkek. Do I love my current family and enjoy every minute with them.....absolutely. There is room in my house, my heart, my family for more children. Just because I am longing to get moving on bringing my next child home and start showing him what a family means and watch L, and Z and O show him what a family means - doesn't mean I am not revelling in all of the wonders of my family in its current size.

Seeing these kids reaching out for love and attention opened my eyes to so much sadness and pain in the world that I intellectually knew was there, but didn't really internalize or feel. You can't unlearn that and I can't ignore it. I am not really in a position to make a difference through volunteerism - although I hope to be able to sometime soon! So I do what american's do best...I throw money at the problem. It doesn't take much - I am a big fan of Worldvision and Samaritan's Purse right now and being an ugly american - can't wait until I can take L on one of the Possibilities International shopping trips! Of course most international adoption agencies do non profit work in the countries they facilitate from so you can donate money through them.

I am digressing - I just wanted to address how my experiences in Bishkek were totally transformative and I think it is hard for people to understand me if they have not been emotionally awakened to the reality so many (too many) kids face. I am not trying to be dismissive of or belittling to anyone's experiences or opinions....I just want to try to explain that if you haven't seen and felt what I have it is hard for your advice to really be applicable to my life....although I know most advice is well meaning and comes from a place of love and concern.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Time



I may have a little too much time on my hands at work today. i should be spending it reading about cerebral physiology....but...i'm not. Instead I am blogging up a storm.

I have spent today thinking about "A", 5 year old boy in the Belovodsk preschool house in Kyrgyzstan. I have one picture, which makes him real to me - no real information about him. When I talked to Karen she didn't have his medical yet or know too much about him. I don't know if she has that info yet. It is going to take so long to get through this stupid Alabama system for homestudy approval - it is ridiculous. So there really is no rush to get that info to us...we can't officially accept a referral until we are at least close to paper ready.

When I decided to adopt in Arizona I was done with my homestudy and dossier in 10 weeks and then it was on it's way to Kyrgyzstan. Now in this stupid state I have to wait 10 weeks for my fingerprints to come back before we can even start our homestudy. I have to proceed slowly because it might look bad to the state board that reviews homestudies that Keith and I have been married only a year and have a new son and want to adopt another.

I am sure most of you readers can relate to the wanting to get through paperwork quickly....well wanting to get through the whole process quickly and get your kids home. The whole waiting 3 months before I can even start my homestudy gig was a little easier to handle when there wasn't a real face at the end of this tunnel. Where I was thinking about in terms of what it means to me to have to wait 3 extra months...now I am thinking about what it means to A to have to wait 3 extra months to start the homestudy; what it means to have to wait the extra 2 months for the homestudy to get approved by DHR - all in all, because I live in Alabama I have to wait almost 6 extra months that I wouldn't be waiting in Arizona. In Arizona I would be paper ready by the end of October. That will mean an extra year behind in school, an extra set of holidays spent without a family....it is definitely frustrating.

I think I am more frustrated at this waiting than I was when I had to wait an extra couple of months to pick up Zeb. For some reason it is easier for me to accept and excuse extra waiting related to another country's government than to excuse beurocratic red tape and ridiculous hoops from my own state. Seriously, I pay taxes so the state government can make my life that much more difficult. I got people that will make my life difficult for free!

Knowing I am so far away from our first trip means that I really have to remind myself that I can't get any kind of attached to the face in the picture. There are no guarantees with referrals, especially when you can't travel for like 6 months...ug. It is also very anxiety -provoking to know that in 6 months who knows what changes there may be in the country process! It is hard not to let plans seep in every once in a while though. Every once in a while it is fun to look at bunk beds for the boys' room, to look at 5 yo boys clothing, to think about the bigger rough and tumble swing set we are going to need!

We are making some preparations that aren't A specific - like working on our Russian...ok it is way limited right now! I am meeting with a native Russian speaking woman I met on Craig's list on Tuesday to start planning our family Russian lessons and we are starting next Sunday. I am taking more homecall to try to bulk up that saving's account...that somehow we keep dipping into (oh yeah because I am a spending machine that's why), and Keith keeps doing the most impressive home improvements I have ever witnessed.

I am usually ok with the waiting and pushing the whole thing to the back of my mind so it isn't torturing me...sometimes I am reminded of the ridiculousness of the amount of waiting we have to do for the state of Alabama and I get frustrated all over again. I am going to push it out of my mind until October 20th...that is the day I have marked to start getting the info for the dossier and homestudy done.

Ready to retire!

I only took 3 weeks off of work after Ben was born. He came home from the hospital on a friday and the very next monday was my first day back at work. I worked a week and then took a week vacation. Luckily, however, I didn't have any call for that month. Starting on Wednesday last week I was on the call schedule. I was on call Wednesday night. It was my first call as the OB senior...woohoo.
All last year I was the junior resident so I answered pages for all of the floor problems and was reponsible for putting in the epidurals. It is hard to explain the depth of my dislike for OB call as a junior. There is the fact that you get very little sleep, but the actual act of pushing around a 75 pound cart of epidural supplies all night was just annoying. Doing the actual epidural is kind of fun but 4am, exhausted, pushing that cart around was something I dreaded. I seriously tried to get out of OB call last year as much as possible - I would switch for general OR call - which has more work and less chance for time to sleep...but there was no epidural cart to push around.
I am digressing, because now I am a senior resident over here - so I don't usually have to push the epidural cart or answer all of the annoying minutia pages that keep you up all night. So, in general call for the OB senior involves time to study and sleep.
Wednesday night, however, was like one of the circles of hell over on the OB floor. We were in the OR all night doing C sections and they were all difficult to manage - for anyone reading who is familiar with obstetrical anesthesia - we had 5 csections - 4 were general's, one was a spinal that went to a general for a c-hyst, and 2 of the general's had such bad airways we used the fiberoptic and one aspirated - we had to transport 2 to the unit....for anyone else who doesn't understand how crappy my night was....it was crappy.

Friday night, I was on again and it was much quieter - I got to enjoy the extra comfy senior call room bed for about 5 hours of page free sleep. I am on again today and so far it has been really nice...obviously I have time to blog! I am hoping that it stays relatively quiet - although funny thing about babies..they kind of just show up when they want!

Thursday I took Ben to the dr and he has gained 22 ounces in 3 weeks..he is now 6# 4 oz....hurrah - he is officially at term and has a respectable term weight. He also smiled in what I think was a social way yesterday...so cute.

Zeb also went to the dr on Friday....the pediatric urologist in anticipation for his impending circumsicion (which I think I am spelling wrong!). I have thought about whether or not to do this for quite some time...one of my flaws is that I am remarkably judicious and can argue with myself endlessly.

On one hand, an uncircumsized penis is hard to care for in terms of diaper changes and in terms of infection risk througout his life - please forgive me if I don't quote studies here! However, the infection rate isn't that much higher. I must say I believe that Z has had at least one UTI that we treated with aggressive hydration secondary to a couple of days of very foul-smelling urine! There are social reasons - eliminating another difference between him and his dad, between him and the majority of boys in the locker room with him in high school. Women with sexual partners that have uncircumsized penis(es) have higher rates of infections, including hpv, and abnormal pap smears - yeah I am thinking ahead....way ahead...way...way...way....way ahead!

On the other hand - the infection rate isn't that much higher and good hygiene practices can really minimize that. Am a severing another tie to kyrgyzstan and his relationship to that culture? I have to worry that he may resent that when he is older. However, children resent their parents for something no matter what we do..it is human nature.

I was really in a deadlock and decided that I wouldn't get him circumsized unless he needed anesthesia for another procedure. He now needs tubes in his ears and his adenoids out so we are going to do them all together. I know this used to be a controversial subject - I don't know if it still is, but I can see both sides of this one.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Three years ago today



I know that hurricane Katrina changed a lot people's lives. I evacuated from New Orleans the saturday before the hurricane hit...so about a day and a half before it hit with my daughter, her dad, his mother and our dog. It was not really a big deal at the time - I thought we would just have a long weekend in College Station, Texas (the closest Hotel we could find!). I was surprised when the levees broke and instead of heading back on Tuesday - we drove on to Tucson to stay with my parents until the whole mess sorted out.

Although my first marriage kind of had the writing on the wall by about the second month of my first year of medical school....hurricane Katrina was the death knell.

L's dad went back to New Orleans three weeks later and we went back at the beginning of October. L's dad quickly left for North Louisiana and it was me, a 2 year old, a dog and a big box of MRE's. That is no way to live if you don't have to live that way...although i can't complain about the MRE's talk about easy preparation and a full balanced meal...mmm.

I may have talked about the night I decided I was taking L back to Tucson. I picked her up at her day care and she really wanted chicken nuggets...I spent 2 hours driving around a dark city trying to find a grocery store or restaurant open at 430pm with a crying 2 year old.

So why do I mention this - I was overwhelmed, lonely, and spent my time in the post-hurricane New Orleans really being introspective-trying to figure out what was important to me. I think if it hadn't been for Hurricane Katrina coupled with that time I spent alone with Lilianna in post-Katrina New Orleans - I wouldn't have the wonderful life I have today. My first marriage would have staggered on in a totally dysfunctional but doable way for who knows how long and I purposefully was not interested in bringing another child into that dysfunctional situation....

So..what I am trying to say is that without Hurricane Katrina's influence on my life I wouldn't be nearly this happy, there would be no Zeb, Ben, O or Keith. Like many people from the gulf coast, Katrina changed my life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

one year ago today

So today is my anniversary. It is also Keith's anniversary too....although you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at the gifts each of us got. I got Keith a cool little frame with pictures of the kids in it for him to take to work. I was thinking ...be cheap...we have homestudies and other assorted adoption expenses to pay for.....I also was thinking...I have no idea what to get him! He got me way too much. I am officially an eight cow wife. He got me an espresso machine and a super beautiful pearl necklace....and I got him a picture frame.

Our fabulous new nanny stayed late and we went out to Dinner at KOBE. I love watching someone set my food on fire.

It is so weird to think that we have only been married one year. Seriously, I feel like we are an old married couple in a good way. I can't imagine life without him around. I can't believe how hard my life used to be and I didn't even know it. 2 years ago I thought I was happy...I was the happiest I had ever been and now, looking back, it was hard work and I wasn't nearly as happy as I am now.

I feel like finding Keith was some sort of reward for something good I may have done in my life - not that I feel like I deserve any kind of reward for anything. In fact, I frequently feel like I don't deserve my life right now. I am just so lucky.

You would think that I might feel overwhelmed - 4 kids (2 under 2yo), and a job that requires 60-80 hours a week - but I just feel lucky...ok and somewhat tired! 90% of the reason I am not overwhelmed and I feel lucky is because of Keith.

Thank you and I love you.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Extra prayers?

If you have some extra time, check out my friend, Shannon's blog http://bringinghomeourangel.blogspot.com/
and if you feel moved, please add her daughter to your prayers! That is a little girl that needs to come home from Kyrgyzstan.

True confessions - out of the closet

So, I have always known that Keith and I are going to adopt again. We were led to Africa last fall and we were set to start the process to adopt from Ghana when Villa Hope told us that the state of Alabama would not approve a homestudy for us since we hadn't been married a year. Well we decided to put it off and thought we would just start in early summer to get everything ready and then trudge forward when our anniversary rolled around in August...then we got pregnant. AAI is one of those agencies that believes you need to wait one year between adding children to your family...I am not criticizing this policy - it certainly makes sense...you want to make sure you haven't reached your tipping point, you need to make sure that everyone fits in the family ok...you have to get your routine down.

Because we are crazy...and because we have to do a brand new homestudy to readopt Zeb (I adopted him as a single mom in Arizona), we decided to go ahead and start another adoption and move slllooooooowwwwww. In Alabama you kind of have to move slow - at least with Villa Hope. We have to have our background check fingerprints done and back before they will even schedule a home visit. We also have to have all of the paperwork (like medical exams) turned into them before they even assign a social worker. So, we thought we would just take it easy without all of the crazy rush from last time. We thought that we would try to have our home visits near Christmas and try to get our dossier ready to go by like January or February.

The biggest discussion was where we were going to adopt from. I still love Ghana, I have a monthly recurring donation to an orphanage there and would love to do more...but our hearts are calling us back to Kyrgyzstan. So we put in our application with Adoption Alliance to adopt a girl 9yo or younger with minor special needs. We filled out the preliminary application in July and had been kind of dragging our feet with the formal application. We have so much time before we can finish our homestudy there was really no big rush.

There really is still nothing we can do about our timeline....but last week our coordinator called me. I saw on my caller ID it was a call from adoption alliance, but I was at work and I thought it was someone from the agency calling to see where our formal application was...so I didn't answer it. Then I listened to the message later and it was Karen, asking if we would consider another boy instead of a girl because they have 5 year old Russian boy who is ready for adoption and she thought of me. When we sent in our postplacement pictures for Zeb's post placement reports - one of them was Z with Lilianna....and she thought the little boy looked so much like Lilianna that everyone would think they were twins. I think they also may have thought of me because of the lost referral I had last time was a 2 year old Russian boy. Maybe they didn't really think of me for any reason other than we indicated we were open to any age child under 9 yo...I don't really know.

So we discussed it....a lot.
1. This is going to be it for us until someone moves out for college...do I really want another girl and will I miss not having another daughter/sister for Lilianna?
100% Honesty here....my boys have been sooo much easier than L....and they continue to be easier than L. Girls are high maintenance..I know I am one (barely!). L does talk about wanting a sister and wanting there to be an even amount of boys and girls in our house. However, she has also talked about wanting to be the only princess in the house and keeping her own room.

2. Can we really afford this right now? Ben's bill from the NICU was $143K...they totally charge about $20K for the stupid circumsicion...luckily so far we haven't been charged more than our cap of $2K and his apnea monitor has like $50 monthly copay. Luckily, all of my time off was paid and we had a killer tax refund...overall, the amount we are responsible for with Ben is a lot less than we thought it was going to be....a lot less. My house is rented so we don't have that burden and we had to switch nannies which was stressfull but financially better because we had just given our last nanny a raise. Also, we are way better off financially than when I started Z's adoption. I do have really great moonlighting opportunities at work which I can really double my salary if I work an extra 30 - 40 hours a month. There are so many opportunities in our lifestyle for cutting back expenses it is really and truly ridiculous. I started last week with no coffee and no eating out for lunch at work....it was killing me...but I just stopped cold turkey. Now Keith bought me some coffee while we were waiting to get into the jail to get our fingerprints done on Friday...but it wasn't at work! That starbucks at the hospital is just bad!

We talked about it..slept on it...talked about it some more. For anyone who knows me...I really do make a lot of decisions with my gut. It has to feel right and I trust that your gut is led by a higher source...the universe ...God... whatever higher power you believe in. I also believe that I am not omniscient enough to know what is best for me and my family...seriously. Who am I to say that to complete our family we need a girl. Karen's phone call reminded me that family planning does not mean choosing every single variable like you are decorating your living room or something. I think that when you open your life up to international adoption you do so with a certain degree of faith...that you have a child somewhere out there who is going to make your life and your family better and I don't know who that child is...but they are out there.

So we are interested and are waiting for his medical...there is obviously no rush because we can't be paper ready for several months and the Kyrgyzstan adoption committee is not setting a world record with adoption decrees. Of course, because we are not paper ready and can not travel on our first trip before 2009, there is always the possibility that another family from another agency will adopt him before we can get to that point. There is always a certain degree of uncertainty in international adoption, but I have faith in the process and I have faith in the universe that if this little boy is meant to be with us he will be.

It is funny, when I was adopting Zeb...I posted just about everything I felt or thought without reservation...but this time around I am a little paranoid. I am not 100% sure why...I will have to delve further into that another day.

However, I am out of the closet...we are officially starting.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

cupcakes = happiness



Gotcha Day



Well, Keith and I went back and forth for a couple of days trying to figure out what to do about Z's gotcha day. Lilianna and I baked cupcakes and decorated them with his name. I got a little bit closer to finishing his lifebook (I know I am terrible!). L and Keith and I talked about picking him up and looked at pictures. Z was mostly interested in eating everything in site. I think we will do something special every year on that day - something that Z will get to choose for himself and we will talk about his story and look at his book (because it will totally be done by next year!).

Gotcha pics



mmmm cupcakes....an unexpectedly messy! Yes, I expected a mess....but I can't even believe that all of the crumbs came out of one cupcake!

More birthday



This is my pathetic attempt at decorating the wall-e cake....I am seriously in over my head with the whole cake decorating thing! L is acting surprised and happy ....we missed the actual shot. This is the birthday party at home on her actual birthday that her dad was able to make it to.

Lilianna's birthday



Finally my camera quit giving my computer the cold shoulder....maybe i can catch up with Mala's August picture challenge!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

clothing


All my kids get this tshirt from Pokkadots.com. Seriously, though I got a sale email from them and their little boy tshirts are soooo darn cute! If only I had enough money to buy clothes somewhere other than target! Not that I haven't gotten some totally ruling clothes at Target. L and Z have matching red r2d2/c3po shirts...so cute. L had a yoda shirt too that I would give my right arm to have also found in Z's size....someday Z will be a 4T....someday very soon and that tshirt has his name written all over it!

Calling all nannies!

Last night our totally awesome and wonderfully laid back nanny gave us one week's notice. She is a teacher and was offered a job at one of the local middle schools starting on August 6th! I am off next week to take care of L starting school, but I am a little worried. We really liked our last nanny, and when she had to quit we were freaking out...but our current nanny was soooo much better for the kids especially L. She is just really laid back ( but not a push over). When L would misbehave, she would go into time out and her frog would drop to the bottom log. Our first nanny would have a total freak out if L misbehaved.
Anyway, so we are now looking for a new nanny who can start right away and is comfortable with an apnea monitor on Ben....good luck right! I am not going to hyperventilate.

Today is L's birthday...she is 5yo. Last night before she went to bed, she expressed to me her belief that when she woke up today she was going to be as big as a 5 year old. I remember having that thought when I was a kid....that when I woke up on my birthday, I would have grown overnight. It was funny. I am decorating a Wall-E cake after work today and hopefully will have it done by dinner time. I baked the cake last night so it is all ready to go. I bought several different colors of frosting that just need the little Wilton's decorating attachments put on...I am hopefull...and I am not going to hyperventilate.

So if anyone knows a good nanny in the birmingham area that is looking for a job.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gotcha day

OK....maybe I am a little emotional coming off of my estrogen high....today I was obsessing about Gotcha day. As some of you may know, next week is the one year anniversary of when we picked Zeb up in Bishkek. If we were to celebrate a gotcha day, I would celebrate it on August 6th, when Z really came home (in a figurative sense!). However, I am torn about the gotcha day thing....the idea as well as the name.
I thought maybe a family day would be better - but we plan on adopting again and I can't imagine that the family days will be on the same day. Then I thought well maybe we shouldn't have a gotcha day....after reading a blog by an adult adoptee who reminisced about how much she abhored her adoption day celebrations every year. Seriously though, having a day to celebrate adoption and talk about adoption - Z's story, culture, etc could be a very important way for him (and the other kids) to process any issues and become more self-aware about feelings toward adoption. That is my thinking, however, I am not an adoptee and I learned a long time ago that unless you have experienced something first hand you can't know what it is like.
How do I make August 6th about adoption, the entire family, Zeb, and Kyrgyzstan? Should the focus be Zeb? I googled gotcha day...I did...I will google anything. Lots of ideas about how to make the day special for Z. Will that make the other kids feel slighted - they only get a birthday. Of course they will never have to process the loss of a birth family, birth country/heritage etc. Somehow, making a paper crown for Z once a year doesn't seem like it will make up for that loss anyway. I am not trying to be glib. There is a lot of pain in adoption and I think I am trying to find a way to separate the happiness of Z becoming part of our family from the sadness of him needing to become part of a new family. The problem is I can't seem to separate it in my mind - maybe I have googled too much on adoption! Will it lessen his pain later if we are proactive about addressing the sadness of it from the get go. How to be solemn and happy at the same time....should we be solemn about the day or just happy?
So the question is...how do I frame August 6th?
Is your gotcha day celebration called something else?
What exactly are you celebrating and how are you celebrating it?
Do you address the loss of adoption at all on this day?
Am I just all hepped up on estrogen and caffeine and obsessing about something that is not an issue?
And....will I ever figure out what is wrong with my camera so I can post some pictures of whatever event takes place on August 6th?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Work

I started back to work today. Ben is doing good, except he had "loose connection" alarms going off all night. I kept waking up and retaping or pushing the leads back on instead of taking the 2 minutes to just replace them and I paid the sleepiness consequences today.

Z is so sweet with Ben - it was a little unexpected on my part. I think I was underestimating Z's maturity. I didn't think that at 20 months Z would be all that interested in his little brother. Boy was I wrong. Last night I was home alone with Z, L and Ben. L was chililn out watching tv, I was feeding Ben in the rocking chair in our living room and Z was running around crazy trying to eat as many wipees as he could get his hands on and he came over and starting gently rubbing Ben's head saying what was very close to the word baby. Which was great because Z is having some speech delayment issues - right now he only says mom, dad, ow, uh-oh and peekaboo...not the best vocabulary for an almost 2 year old! He was very interested in Ben and was very sweet. For all of his "i am now entering my terrible 2"- ness that he has been displaying lately...he was very, very sweet. Reminding me again what a good kid he is and how lucky we are.

Starting work again kind of sucked....I will be honest about it. I love my job, I really do....but it would have been nice to stay home for a few more weeks and get the house organized (right like that is really going to happen!), spend time getting L ready for school and her new room (that is all her own!) organized. Also, Keith is home this week and it would have been nice to spend some time with him. Oh well....at least I don't have any call scheduled for this month (yet!).

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power