Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve

I was reminded by another bloggers post...that this blog is kind of like my journal or diary. I do like to go back and see what I was doing and what mundane things were happening in my life. Lately, I really haven't just rambled on about things....ok...maybe I have...no comments from the peanut gallery!

Today is New Year's Eve. 2010 is going to be a super amazing year. 2009 seems kind of like it was a placeholder...you know the book in a series that is all fluff and nothing really happens. 2006 i finished medical school , 2007 Zeb came home and Keith and I got married, 2008 we had Ben, 2009 we ummmm...got fat. Yes....2009 was the year to eat too much and become what i like to call "hammy". Seriously, my clothing size has doubled from right after I had Ben until now....no excuse except I do love to eat junk and now I am old and my metabolism finally realized it....darn you. I am digressing because getting fat does not make 2009 a substantial year - it just makes me a more substantial person!

2010 though....this is going to be a big year. I finish my residency in June and will start my real job in July which will mean a lot more money and lot more time with my family. I pray that the girls will be home in 2010. I have to believe they will be and that is really exciting.

By this time next year Benjamin will be talking up a storm and we will know what is going on inside his great big head and I think it is going to be good stuff. He is mischevious, far more mischeivious then the other kids. He will also become a raging 2 year old this year....although I do suspect he will be more low key and mischevious. Where Zeb was a screamer and tantrum thrower...I think Ben will quietly spread toothpaste all over the bathroom floor, stick things in his ear, eat coins, and sneak out of the house in the middle of the night. At least, that is what I am preparing for!

Zeb will be 4....that is the age that marks ascension into big-kidness for me. Although, don't get me wrong, when Zeb clawed his way out of the terrible twos that was a great big important age too! Whoa was Zeb a terror tot....however, he had nothing on lilianna the Queen of the terror tots!

Lilianna will be in Second grade. Wow. Now is probably not the time for me to write about her because I miss her so much. She has been at her father's house for about a week. She will be home on Saturday and we will redo Christmas and open some more presents. Next Christmas we will have all the kids and it will be sooo much fun. But back to Lilianna....The older you get the less things change in one year I suppose. She is so full of love for her brothers and so sweet to them. She is also soooo excited to have sisters. Hopefully her gentle heart doesn't get hurt by the attachement process....it is easy for me to read about and understand when things are hard in the attachment process of an older child's adoption, but I think it will be hard for a 7 year old who has been looking forward to loving an older sister.

O is a decade old right now and will be in 5th grade next year. The way he mimics his dad is so wonderfull. The main reason i think that is because I think his dad is so wonderfull! He says things his dad says even though he has no idea what it means...come to think of it I sometimes don't know what his dad is saying! haha. He is starting to become a little teenager....complaining when Zeb messes up his stuff....but still loves his brothers and sister so much. And boy does Zeb love O...we all walked over to pick up the boys at Ms Dee's house and Zeb ran by both Keith and myself to give O a hug. People talk about when you send your kids off to college you just have to let them go and hope that you have raised them to make good decisions. I already know that we can trust O to make the right decisions. Yeah....I know he will make some bad ones with cars and girls...but what boy doesn't!

By the end of 2010 our lives will look so different and yet still be the same...I joke that I fear change. Usually it has to do with what I am ordering at a restaraunt (hey I find something I like I don't want to mess it up!). You have to change to grow and you have to be willing to put yourself out there and take some risks. Maybe instead of making a list of new year's resolutions that I won't keep...I should make a list of risks I am going to take this year. Not things like bungee jumping...but other more personal risks. Things like:
1. reconcile with my sister.
2. Be more vocal about my relatively new found faith
3. Just go on a small mission trip - I have been all talk on that one for years

I might try to think of some more.....I just came up with this risk idea while I was typing so I need to take a nice long bath (with choc chip cookie dough) and think about it!

There is no growth in comfort how bout joining me in taking risks for 2010....what risks will you take this new year?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas morning

The boys went right to their toys...Ben loves widgets...i was hoping he would like the Bilibo a little bit more...I think it will grow on us all!
pre-kid pictures

I can't wait to hang more stockings!


O's birthday








In case anyone ever wants to put skittles on top of a cake...please take my advice and eat the entire cake before the skittles dissolve into a gooey, cough syrup-tasting mass of goo...that is all I am going to say about O's birthday cake.
We had a great birthday though...he loves his presents and we all had lots of fun!


Hot Chocolate

We totally got into the make your own hot chocolate thing this year. I made hot chocolate with milk and Ghiardelli's powder (yum!) and the kids piled on whip cream, chocolate chips and marshmellows.


Ben just got the toppings and he likes sugar as much as the rest of the kids...look at that smile!


the Christmas program

Lilianna and Zeb are having a pouting contest and they are enjoying it a little bit too much to continue pouting.
Unfortunately, the picture where Zeb breaks down and starts tickling Lilianna didn't turn out..it was too fuzzy...what fun kids!

This boy can work a crowd






decorating!

Mashed potatoes decorated the baby
Zeb's year to pick out the star and put it on top of the tree....Next year will be B's turn (not Benjamin...our other B).

more decorating

Benjamin's idea of decorating is putting a lot of mashed potatoes in his hair...he is, by the way, the only one of my children that likes mashed potatoes....amazing.
This red beaded garland ended up hanging fromLilianna's bed instead of the xmas tree.




Christmas decorating!

yeah...I have no idea what Zeb and lilianna are doing...I think it has something to do with pretending to be on a boat with a shark in the water .
Very intently decorating

I told them to all whine and cry like Benjamin was doing....but Zeb just can't help himself...he sees a camera and he has to smile!


Snow!

The snowman....it is impressive in its enormity...I know!
Even Ben Helped...although he was a little surprised at how cold snow is!

Lilianna just wanted to throw snowballs..but she got on board..I think she could be a snowbunny or at least do a chapstick commercial!


Zeb is not so excited about cold weather

It snowed in early december and I am just now getting around to posting pictures. Amazingly, we all had gloves and hats...although Ben's head is so darn big he probably could have worn Keith's hat and it would have fit. I totally missed my last chance to get Ben some ridiculous Christmas reindeer outfit this year...oh well!


Monday, December 28, 2009

virtual community..

I know...I have like a million pictures I need to post...i really do. PIctures of Lilianna in her special Christmas Program outfit (she was one of 6 children that sang with our adult praise band for the Christmas program), the kids playing in our massive 1 inch snow storm, our Christmas lay out and kids on xmas day....but until I figure out what cord hooks Keith's camera up to the computer...we are all out of luck!

Today I am wallowing in a small puddle of self pity. I think it is because I am really tired...really, really tired. Not like I need a nap tired, but I need a vacation tired. I have worked a lot this month to try to earn a little extra money...for Christmas and for the first half of our fees for the girls....we had most of the money saved in our dependent care account just waiting for us to get our refund...but some of it I had to work for. When we first started this process, I fully intended for us to adopt a single, HIV+ child....as everyone knows...that is not how it has turned out....so the dependent care refund was not going to cover the whole thing. Then about $1K in overtime didn't turn up on my most recent check...seriously.....so it will come on my next check. So now I am tired and I am wallowing! If you are going to wallow...you might as well do it online right! haha.

When I was adopting Zeb, I had a couple of good online friends who were going through the process too and spent a lot of time emailing them. I don't really have that with Beacon House. The forum is really quiet and I would feel silly if I started just posting random stuff to it...asking questions about who has been recently who has seen my girls, does anyone know what B's favorite color is? Has she lost any teeth? Does V like to play with dolls? What does B's bedroom look like? Where has everyone stayed, what airline did they use..heck...what kind of clothes did they pack when they went and of course...what kind of shopping has been done! I am so excited about the shopping. I know there are people on the Beacon House yahoo forum who know all of these things...but for some reason...I don't feel like I can ask these questions and be just sociable and frivolous. I feel way more isolated in this adoption than I did from Kyrgyzstan.

Maybe I will just post a frivolous message to the Beacon House forum and see if anyone responds...I barely know anyone going through the process and when my girls come home, I really want to network and connect with other families and the other kids that my kids lived with, played with, prayed with and loved. So I have just convinced myself to make more of an effort to get to know the families in process with Beacon House. I will try not to be as self-pitying though....no one likes a whiner!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The xmas Lilianna schedule

Lilianna left for New Orleans last night with her father. I hate whenever she leaves...it is getting harder the older she gets...I am not exactly sure why. Maybe it is because the older she gets the more I enjoy her company. That is not saying I didn't love her and enjoy her company when she was younger...but lets face it....this age has got to be the easiest age. There are no diapers, you can reason with them, they will still do what you tell them to do and there is very little teenage sass. Lilianna is just a total joy to be around.

She is sweet, and has remarkable insight into people and events. I think it is great to be a grown - up and every once in a while be reminded of the simple truths of life by a 6 year old.

Yesterday, she got a new little cuddly critter puppy dog...so now she has 2 of them and she was playing make believe with them. She has a black one she named "flowers" and a white one named "Blondie". Flowers is the older sister and Blondie is only 4 so she can't go outside...so even though Flowers wanted to go outside and play she stayed inside to play with Blondie and to teach her how to be a good house dog. Then Lilianna was teaching the puppies how to walk and she was super supportive teacher..."good job, you are doing great....here is a tummy yummy".

It makes me so proud of her when she displays her sweet nature.

To make a long story short..I will miss her so much while she is gone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

my far away babies..

We don't really have a time table for B and V coming home. We had toyed around with the idea of going to ghana in january and then kind of decided that we should save the money and that visiting wouldn't really move things along any quicker. In fact, we thought it might make the girls feel like it was taking longer...you know how kids are with waiting!

Today, I heard that one other Beacon House family was able to get through court largely due to having visited their child and providing pictures and passport stamps. So....that got me thinking that maybe we should go visit in January. I am waiting to hear back from our coordinator to see if she thinks it will help. We would need to get our visa applications in like tomorrow...so we shall see!

In other news, I unexpectedly received pictures of Aaron today....a couple of him in front of the orphanage xmas tree. He looks so sly and smiley and it broke my heart. These are kids that should be home by now..he should be home working on his English and getting ready to eat all of the crazy xmas baked items I am getting ready to bust out! I make light of it...but it truly made my heart so heavy looking at the pictures of these kids who should be home right now....I truly blame UNICEF for them not being home....so I am angry. I feel helpless, and I feel such sorrow for all of the time these kids have spent without mom and dad. These kids could have been home well over a year ago. If y'all are prayer's....lift these kiddos up and pray that Kyrgyzstan parliament gives the go ahead and starts signing some adoption decrees!

My husband jokes with me that we can not adopt all 147 million orphans in the world. If we could just bring home my 3 far away babies..I would be satisfied....for a while at least! haha.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blind Side

I finally got to go see this movie on Monday. Nothing to say about it except that I cried through like 90% of the movie and if there is anyone that can watch this movie without being moved...they are broken.

I understand a lot of people have seen this movie, and I hope that 100% of them leave the theatre asking themselves how they can change a child's life. There are 147 million orphans...we all know that. The only number that matters is ONE....if every person that saw Blind Side decided that they would change the life of one child...that is a lot of kids. I couldn't find a statistic on how many people have seen Blind Side in the last month...but as of Dec 6 it had made $129million. You average $10 a ticket ..that is 12.9 million people...12.9 million children whose lives could be changed. Ok, that is optimistic, but if only one person who sees this movie makes a choice to foster, to adopt, to donate money to a family that is adopting. ..then this movie has made the world a better place. That is more than I can say for most other movies.

I might write more about this movie later...if anyone who reads my blog hasn't seen it....you totally have to call up the babysitter and head to this movie.

By the way...this post is in now way meant to be a guilt trip if someone liked this movie and didn't run out and sign up for the next foster parent workshop...not everyone is called to adopt, foster etc. Everyone can make a difference though...you just have to figure out how you can best do that! Donating your money, your time, your energy, your talents to any number of organizations. Heck...finish your Christmas shopping at www.147millionorphans.com. That makes a difference.

The US Postal Service..

Yesterday, I started getting antsy about why we haven't received our updated I797. All of our info, homestudy and all were into our USCIS office on Oct 23. I sent them an email on Nov 13 to confirm that they had received the homestudy....they never responded.

Yesterday, I sent another email to the Atlanta USCIS office to confirm that they had received our homestudy from our government agency (all homestudies must be approved by DHR in the state of Alabama). I also emailed my homestudy agency. My agency said...chill out it might take 3 months for an ammended I797.

USCIS finally wrote me back and said it had been approved in early November and mailed to us in early November. OOPS! So I told them we never received it and could they please send us another one.

So YEAH we have our approval...and booo it never got to us. It is no big deal because we are still wiating on court...although it would have been nice to send it over with out dossier this week.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I am mushy..

I have talked a lot on this blog about how lucky I feel and how special I feel to have my husband.....oh yes....here I go again.

Sunday, Keith and I were talking about something on the way home from church and he just randomly looked at me and said "I adore you". He does too. 100% all in, takes out the trash every week, takes care of the kids in the middle of the night so I can sleep, makes the bed in the morning, gets pepperoni pizza even though he likes supreme...loves me.

I hope our boys grow up to be like him and my girls grow up expecting ..no demanding ..to be adored the way their father adores their mother.

Oh yeah....and I totally adore my husband and just can't do enough to show him how much I love him.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blessings...

OK. On monday morning we (by that I mean Keith) was manipulating our finances to determine exactly how much money we needed to make in the next 2 weeks to finish paying the first half of the girls' adoption. Basically, I needed to work 32 hours before next thursday. In a really amazing way...extra shifts popped up and I had worked over half of it by Wednesday morning and today at 7pm...I reached 32 hours. Yeah!

The flip side to that is that I am sitting at work waiting for my patient for my next case instead of home with Zeb and Lilianna sitting in the fort they made on the play room couch to watch Christmas movies. I got home and Z and L were hugging me standing around me downstairs...I was home for 3 minutes and got called back in for another case. The kids were not excited to see me go...although they were very excited to get to wave goodby to me through the garage door. They don't usually get to wave goodby. I was very, very, very sad to have to come back to work tonight.

I got here around 930pm and here I sit at 1030 waiting for the patient. I could have cuddled and watched rudolph the red nose reindeer...put the kids to bed and come back to work after they were asleep. UG!!!!!

I am very lucky that we have this opportunity to make extra money! In addition, Keith got a bonus (completely unexpected today) and we got a reimbursement of our mileage to go to Kentucky which was like twice what we expected. Our cup runneth over this week...so I am cranky and sad about being at work so much this week...but feel and know I am incredibly lucky. This money falling out of the sky (kind of)...seems like reinforcement that the girls are supposed to be in our family.

Gonna go eat some more chocolate xmas candy to keep awake!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One of my favorite blogs

A Bushel and a Peck This had been over in my side bar for a while....She is an adoptive mom whose family is dealing with trauma in adoption issues. She is very open about their life, and the way they are helping their children work on these issues. I love...love ...love the clear and concise way she lays out what her family is doing and where it has worked and where it hasn't. It is an honest how to blog and she has beautiful pictures of her kids to boot. You may have noticed all of my pictures are blurry! It must be my camera's fault (haha). Her most recent post is about avoiding burn out. It totally moved me because it is so important.

I am right now in a working overtime push to make money for the girls' adoption and know I am on way to a holiday burnout...I have to push myself like this every once in a while. After my big crash which will come sometime in mid January...I am going to start following her advice! I am also going to try to start reading her recommended books...especially about truama. I have a feeling those books may be very helpfull when our girls come home.

I am gratefull for a lot of things in my life and I am very vocal about that most of the time...I am also really gratefull for this blog....It is one of the few blogs I stalk that I would email a request to be a reader if it went private...that is saying a lot!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Exhausting...rambling weekend in mylife...

Friday, I picked up the kids at the babysitter's after work. It is always crazy when I go get the kids...they are all so excited to see me (which of course is awesome...but hard to get them moving in a forward motion towards home)...everyone starts talking to me...including Benjamin. Benjamin's talking at this point consists of very loud "AAAAAHHHH" with ball and cat interspersed for variety. Kids start taking off shoes to show me boo boo's...things start coming our of backpacks to show me something...jackets go flying in different directions...3year olds start running out the door with pants unbuttoned. Some days are more exhausting than others. Just picking them up on Friday about drained me for the entire weekend!

We headed over to Fox's Pizza...which is a pizza place with a small game room. The kids love to go there and play. The games give you tickets and then you can redeem like 400 tickets for a $2 toy. It has been our Friday night tradition to get take out from Fox's and watch movies. This Friday we decided to go to Fox's and play instead. Then we headed over to Home Depot to get a Christmas tree. I have to say there is a relationship between how freezing it is and the speed with which the kids agree on a tree. I think they would have agreed to a poinsetta for a Christmas tree this year it was so cold! We picked out a good one though.

After we got home, the babies went to bed and we told the big kids about their new sisters. They were both really excited. They had some questions about when they were going to come home, where they would both sleep, if they would speak English...etc. I feel so lucky that my husband is all in for this big family thing...of course...if he wasn't excited about that he probably wouldn't be my husband! I also feel lucky that my kids are totally excited about having lots of brothers and sisters. They are all extremely good brothers and sisters to each other (I don't know if that sentence even makes sense). They all get along so well it really boggles my mind. Yes...when they get tired (like at lunch today)...they bicker. Sometimes in the car, they bicker about who is going to sit in the rico suave low rider car seat - but they all get along so well.

This morning we woke up to about 1 inch of snow on the ground...pictures to follow. We also had an adoption play group at my house. I made some little gingerbread miniloaf things which were not very good...but the kids ate them up. I put extra frosting on them to disguise the blah-ness of the gingerbread! We had a new family come that have a 3yo son from kazakhstan. I am so excited about that. Kids were running around everywhere playing and I got to talk adoption with other parents. It was so fun. One of the other moms felt bad for my gingerbread disaster and brought us a gingerbread house kit! Hahaha. I really love entertraining...honestly, it is the only time I actually keep up on my housework! I need to entertain regularly in order to keep my dishes tamed.

After playgroup we took a nap and then headed over to the zoo for Zoolight Safari. It was literally 33 degrees out so we ran through the zoo...rode on the train and headed over to IHOP for dinner. Yum...nothing warms you up like hot chocolate and pancakes! When we hit home...the babies were asleep before their heads hit the pillow!

Tomorrow is tree decorating day! I am sure there will be pictures. We will also be buying some educational dvd's to send over to Beacon House. We are going to let the big kids pick out their favorite ones. We are still hoping to visit next month...but we are waiting on the specifics of my new contract. We wanted to travel around the 11th of January...but it is not looking promising. We are almost to one month out from that travel time and still no signed contract. Starting at the end of January I enter into a 2 month stretch where I can't take any vacation. So I think our precourt visit might not happen. At least if we can't travel until the end of March...I HOPE we are through court by then! Everything happens when it is supposed to happen so I totally can't obsess about that!

I have to run make brownies. Lilianna didn't like the gingerbread at all and I promised her brownies and here it is...1020pm and i still haven't made brownies...so I am off to whip up a delicious batch of brownies.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The new Girls...

Well...I kind of threw in a small blurb about our new daughters to be a couple of days ago. It is strange that this very blog was started 3 years ago to be a resource for people who wanted to adopt from Kyrgyzstan. I was all about sharing every little thing about our new process from Ghana.

This adoption has been a little more mysterious and is bordering on marathon length....we basically started right after Benjamin was born. I think our stamina puttered out with all of the burdens put on us by the state of Alabama, then Kyrgyzstan closing down. Then we went back and forth and agonized over ages, gender, special needs. At more than one point in the recent past I threw my hands up and declared it was just too difficult and emotionally exhausting to adopt. Of course...that conviction didn't last too long! I do feel like I have been running an adoption marathon for the last 2-ish years.

That exhaustion has, unfortunately, translated into an initial lack of excitement about referral time. I am scared, and Keith is scared that these two little girls will be another heartbreak of children not coming home. So...we are trepidatious about getting excited, about telling the other kids, about making real concrete plans about and for the girls.

Then, the other night...I realized I had been totally pulling the Nicholas waiting for the Earthquake. Yes....one of the greatest lessons in my life was learned from Nicholas on the tv show "8 is enough". I know I have talked about it on this blog before. Basically, worrying about something I have no control over and not allowing myself to enjoy life because of something bad that MIGHT happen is a total waste of this super wonderfull experience of bringing home my 2 new daughters. So stand back...I am officially excited...I can't share a lot about them right now...but oh the online shopping list and pictures...what fun!

We are telling the other kids this weekend and letting the kids pick out some educational dvd's to send to the Beacon House classroom. Lilianna already accidently saw pictures of B and V..so I think she knows she is getting 2 new sisters...nothing gets past Lilianna....it is pretty impressive to see her little mind go.

yeah!

Go Team Lajoy!

I am so excited to get to read the blog of a travelling family! With the shut down of Kyrgyzstan all of my adoption travelling blog hopes were flushed down the froggy potty. Now I get to follow the Lajoy's trip to Kazahkstan. I am so excited about it. Head on over to the official website of Team LaJoy and follow the fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The potty chair

Yes...it was a long time ago...but when Lilianna's preschool was potty training her (haha..) we had purchased a dvd called "Potty Power" which had singing, dancing, stories, and an animated roll of toilet paper named "TP". We have been playing it for Zeb intermittently and he loves it. On Sunday, Keith and I were making dinner and I noticed that Zeb was missing. I asked..."where is Zeb" ...and he came running around the corner saying..."I used potty chair". Occasionally for the past month Zeb would ask to use the potty chair ...he would sit on it for like 3 or 4 minutes..do nothing...and then say "all done". So...I went in to see and sure enough...there was a full froggy potty chair. Zeb had just decided now that he was 3 he was going to use the potty chair....so totally unprompted he just started using it on Sunday. He used the potty chair all day yesterday with no peeing accidents.

I am sure you are all aware of my potty training philosophy. Don't do it...haha...at some point...likely before 1st or 2nd grade...your kids will do it themselves. We talk about it..."put your pee pee in the potty" blah blah blah..and we are supportive of Zeb's efforts...I will take Zeb to the potty chair whenever he asks to go and he definitly has that little froggy potty chair for him to use...but it is all him. I already have a lot of stress in my life...I don't need to be fighting with my kids about diapers.... I was a little worried that our hands off approach wouldn't work...but now I am really proud of Zeb. We were very, very surprised and very proud of him. Go Zeb...just in time to be getting another one in diapers!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power