Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas

I should have posted a couple of days ago...but I haven't downloaded pictures...how unlike me...I know. I still haven't downloaded pictures but we all know how long that can take! haha.

Christmas was surprisingly orderly and exhausting. On Christmas eve we watched some of the Rankin and Bass classics and had hot chocolate...old fashioned milk and Hershey's heated up in a pan with marshmallows and whip cream. The kids went to bed around 8...except O of course...O and his dad stayed up playing in his room until 10pm when I finally had to put an end to that. So then there was about 7 hours of putting things together and wrapping the last of the presents. We watched Holiday Inn and WHite CHristmas...Holiday inn is my favorite...although I enjoyed WHite CHristmas more this year than in the past...I must admit.

Around 5am when we were finally finishing putting things together and started laying things out...we saw Alex peaking through her window into the Pheonix room where the Christmas stuff was. We had told all of the kids to stay in bed and not look out of their rooms..I know it is hard for kids to do that...but she had to climb up on top of an armoir that is in front of the glass door from the girls room to the Phoenix room...on top of a 7 foot armoir to look out a window. UGGGG!!!!

We finally got to bed around 530 and my parents got here at 7 to open presents..I was hoping to sleep in a little bit longer...but Keith was ready to go...so up we got and brought kids down. We headed out to the phoenix room and all the kids found their Santa presents (they each got 2 unwrapped santa gifts that were set up waiting for them). They played with their Santa gifts while my mom and I made breakfast and Keith started a fire.

After breakfast, we all went to the tree and everyone picked out one gift and we took them back to the fireplace in the adjacent room and took turns opening gifts. After everyone was done with that gift we went back and got another. We took a diaper changing break and Keith took toys out of boxes for kids. It was remarkable organized....way less pandemonium than Christmas 2 years ago when we had Lilianna, O, Zeb and Baby..baby Ben.

I got a super killer book display stand for my dream children's reading room from Santa...now I just have to get that room rolling...I got Sattelite radio for the house and my car...yeah...now I can listen to some new Contemporary Christian music...I love the songs on my ipod..but I was getting a little tired of the same songs. I can't get the local Christian Channel at our house or in the car. In continuation of a long standing tradition...Keith and I got each other the same DVD...Caprica...I can't believe that show got cancelled...it was a good show.

Alex's favorite present was a little doll that has a bottle, eyes that close and open and it makes sounds like gaga goo and waaaaa. It is a classic and she loves it.

Lilianna's favorite was Squinqies and the nintendo ds game mama's cookin.

Zeb's favorite was his bike ( a car's bike) or any present that belonged to any of the other kids. Every 10 minutes he was bringing someone else's gift to us and saying "will you open this for me"...ummm No Zeb it's not yours.

Zoe's favorite gift is a plate of plastic vegetables that you can cut in half with a plastic knife.

Ben's favorite gift is a buzz lightyear. Although he also got a Larry Boy hat that looks like the top of larry boy's head with super suction ears...and that is MY FAVORITE gift Ben got. He is so funny wearing it singing the Larry Boy heavy metal song by SHux. haha

I am not sure what O's favorite gift was...once they are all preteen...it is probably hard to tell! haha. Keith says it was a game...4 way chess.

Keith's favorite gift was the Pacific DVD ...of course I just turned and asked him what his favorite gift was so he kind of had to tell me it was one of the ones I got him! haha.

After we finished opening gifts, I started the turkey...13.8 lbs of deliciousness. I made stuffing this year for the first time too. After I put the turkey in....I took a nap! I was TIRED. We ate around 330 and it was delish. I have about one more leftover meal left and I am sneaking it work tomorrow for my lunch. I made some really delicious gravy too...yummmmm.

Christmas is really a haze of exhaustion...as it probably should be. We still haven't found places to put all of the new toys...so our phoenix room and the central living room with the fireplace is still a disaster zone. I am hoping to have caught up enough on my sleep to actually clean up the house for the new year.

On SUnday, Keith took Lilianna and O to Birmingham...O home and Lilianna to meet her bio dad. The snow kept him from making it home SUnday night. I was up all night with 2 sick little boys. My red chocolate cake was delicious going down...but a little disgusting regurgitated on Zeb's pillow! It was also the night our washing maching died....so I threw puke clothes and bedding in there and the washer didn't spin out the water....gross.

This must be the longest post ever....that was our CHristmas. Do I feel exhausted, overwhelmed by toys and dirty clothes...yes....but I feel really blessed to have my sweet family especially my mom and dad here to share all this fun stuff with us....and I am super blessed to have all that we have.

Now I am going to finish the dinner dishes and try to catch up on some more sleep! I am still soooo exhausted!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My little black dress

The first year Keith and I were married....2007, I bought a dress to wear to our Christmas parties..it was a size 4. Then I had Benjamin and drank a lot of 2 pump mocha's with whip cream. This April I had to dress up for my graduation party and my only party dress was too small....by a lot...like couldn't even get it on to try to zip it...so I had to buy a new dress.....it was a size 10.

Tonight, we went to my Christmas party. I had nothing to wear....nothing. The dress I bought in April was too spring-y....so in desperation I tried on the Christmas party dress of 2007....and it fit.

I knew I had lost 8 pounds since we started the Dave Ramsay Financial Peace budget a palooza...and my one pair of jeans (that are 10's) didn't fit well...but they were cheap and never really fit well. Apparently, walking 100 times a day from preop holding back to the or has paid off. woohooo.

The Christmas party was nice...it was very, very cold and we had to walk about 2 blocks from the car to the expo center. It was decorated nicely with a bunch of tables and they had a buffet with Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing...you know all the usual characters in a holiday meal. Keith and I sat alone at a table, ate talked a little bit and left. It was one of our most unsocial party every. Usually we at least sit with people we know but not tonight. We were there about an hour and a half.

...but at least i was size 4 for a couple of hours tonight. Now I have to go eat the rest of the chocolate chip cookies...hahaha.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I just love this picture

This is Ben's first picture after 33 weeks of waiting...2 years 5 months later...he is now this fiesty genius.

I love all of my kids - I love them all equally but differently. Benjamin is my baby. No matter how old he gets or if other kids come to our family that are younger than him....Benjamin will always be my baby! I just get reminded every once in a while how much I love my kids and love watching them grow into the crazy little guys they are meant to be. What joy this little boy brings me!

bits and pieces

I am on call today....the weather has been really crazy lately. School has been cancelled almost every day this week so we are on cabin fever overload. I was post call monday, came home sick on Tuesday, off on Wednesday and am on call today..so I have been home a lot this week too.

Keith and I went out to dinner last night which was totally awesome. My mom watched the kids while we went on a half date night. We haven't had a date night in almost 3 months...this is after we promised ourselves we were going to have one every week! We really, really, really have to find a way to do that. It was nice. We had been saving up our "date night" envelope money so we could go to the hibachi place and it was very tasty. Then we went to praise band practice. Keith used to work the lights at our old church so he is joining up with the sound/light team and went Wednesday night.

It was an intersting practice...I have been very frustrated lately at praise band. I am not really a musician, but I love to play and I really like the songs we are playing but I feel super inadequate. I am hoping that will change now that I know where to get the chord charts and I have figured out I need to practice everything in B and Bflat!

I think we are finally done with our Christmas shopping...although I can't be sure! I DO know that we have pretty much reached that window of things getting shipped here by Christmas.

Not a whole lot else going on. I was just glancing back at the last couple of posts and marvelling at how cute Benjamin is with that fork...and of course, how handsome my husband is. I am one lucky girl.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas pictures

This year is Zeb's turn to put the star on the christmas tree....I didn't realize it was a new family xtreme sport. Next year I am getting a harness.

We also hung stockings with care on the spiral staircase!





It was all around good fun! Every time I took a picture of something going on Ben and Zeb would both scream "take a picture of me!"...it was a little ridiculous...although they both are so cute it is hard to resist.
School is cancelled tomorrow because of the snow and the Christmas program scheduled for Wed has been rescheduled for next Tuesday...so I need to look at the call schedule and see if I can make it. UGGG. I totally had Wed off to go to the Christmas program and I am probably on call on Tuesday.
In other news...I totally have a miserable cold....I am going to go crawl into bed now!

Pictures

All of the snow from last weekend melted over the week...the head melted off the snowman...but his body remained. Today, today it snowed and snowed and is still snowing.....we tried to do a head transplant....but the snow was too powdery! poor snowman. Lilianna tried her hardest...she kept in there the longest trying to roll a new head! So school was cancelled today and will be cancelled tomorrow. I don't remember getting school cancelled this much for such a small amount of snow! Oh well it is a little hillier here than in Kansas!

At dinner last night Benjamen threw a fit that he wanted a big fork not a baby fork...so this is what he got!



He means business.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This was my favorite place today...

Chocolate chip cookies (a double batch with m and m's), a fire in the conversation pit and Christmas music piped around the house on our very decadent full house speaker system! We had a great weekend and now I have to go back to work tomorrow....oh well!

First Snow

This is the most snow my husband has ever seen. He "helped" the kids make a snowman. ahemmmm... where are the kids? It snowed like crazy we have probably like 3 inches so it is not a super huge amount...but did you see that snowman?
I love the truck in the snow...next year's Christmas card picture is totally going to be kids around the truck with a Christmas tree in the back of it....snow would be nice but not necessary.
Our house looks like some crazy ski lodge.

So why does Keith totally rock. When it started snowing he went out and cut firewood...like from a tree he cut down a couple of months ago. A chainsaw, and an axe thing called something else. I know I am sure a lot of people cut firewood from their trees...but I don't so I am impressed. Then we had a great fire in our fireplace...the wood is holly and it burns bright and hot...it rocks.
Keith also plays in the snow with the kids and helps them build snowmen...which I don't do because I get cold! He spends hour figuring out crazy electronics from 20 years ago so we can watch movies with our projector thingy with surround sound and then running cables through the ceiling, cutting old speakers out of custom built in entertainment centers. There is literally nothing around the house this awesome husband of mine can't fix. I don't know how I got so lucky!


Zebby's birthday cake

Here it is in all of it's puzzle cupcake lopsided glory! It looks like the rocket is shooting ketchup and mustard out of it's engines!

Keith rocks

I have some great pictures from this weekend that i will post in a couple of hours...but I have been reminded how super awesome my husband is and wanted to shout it from the blogger rooftop....haha

Friday, December 3, 2010

exhausting...

I haven't written a post in almost a week. There is always such a huge to do list that I can never get to the bottom of. In fact, for the last 2 weeks I can't even get to writing my to do list. It is like I am forever engaged in surviving. There are 5 little people who need something all the time. It has settled down a little bit and at times I can manage to get them involved in one activity or at least similar activities in the same room.
I know it will get easier and I will get better at organizing the kids...but for now I am barely holding on!

I know i need to improve my planning and my ability to stay on point with routines. I am working on it and I think it will help the kids remain focussed and organized if I exude organization! haha. Now all I have to do is find my dormant organization/routine gene!

We have our Christmas tree up and the lights on it. We were going to decorate tonight after dinner, but the boys were soooo tired we just watched a movie instead. Tomorrow we are going to decorate and I have to bake some chocolate chip cookies. Tomorrow evening is a parade in Prestonsburg and our church is having an open house with hot chocolate and cookies. I am really looking forward to it. The kids are really looking forward to it too.

The praise band is playing again on Sunday and I have to get some practicing in over the next day or two...I don't know this song as well as I should. it is a great song though - just some tough timing on a part or two.

Christmas spending is like a giant monster of doom stomping through our checking account and leaving a trail of destruction behind it. I love Christmas, but every year the spending is out of control and overall makes my Christmas a lot less enjoyable. I love watching the kids get excited about opening presents they like...but I want my kids to get as excited about things at Christmas that don't involve materialistic things. I definitely have an increasing resentment of stuff and every month and year my disdain for stuff grows. I am working hard to find a way to reconcile my conflicting relationship with stuff because I don't have the option of selling everything I own, filing for bankrupty and moving to Kenya. Although sometimes that is the most appealing option! haha.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

change of plans

So I didn't actually go and frost Zeb's puzzle cake last night....I went to bed. It was very nice. Of course when I woke up at 5 am and my husband and daughter still weren't home it was difficult to get back to sleep! They finally made it by 530 am and I swear this...never again will I let my husband make that kind of plan again. EVER!





I didn't sleep very good and pulled myself out of bed to get to the soundcheck by 9 this am at church. It was the big debut of the praise band...by big..I mean we did one song! But we did have a fog machine - does that count as pyrotechnics? Zoe was up and wondering the halls when I got up so I just got her dressed and took her with me. She did really good she just kind of hung onto my leg while we practiced and then ran around all cute. Deborah took a cute picture of us as we were waiting for church to start. Well, at least it is a cute one of Zoe! haha.

She definitely spends more time with that little sparkle in her eye than she used to!

I remembered the song and didn't fall down in the middle of it so it's a win for me! haha. I really am enjoying playing so I am looking forward to Wed nite practice and playing next Sunday.

Today is Zeb's birthday so after church we went to McDonald's. Now that we are all dave ramsay financial peacing...a trip to McDonald's really is a big deal! The kids played for a little over an hour and had a great time. We got home around 230 and I still had to frost Zeb's cake. It took me a while. I don't really know how to decorate cakes - but I do a pretty good amatuer job...nothing good enough or bad enough to be on cake wrecks. Although the first birthday cake I made for Zeb was a lion and I unthinkingly placed the giant one right in the ummmm...groin? of the lion (see it here!). Still not really cake wrecks material. We did take pictures, but since my computer died I am at a loss on what to do with them!

We barbecued...which is always fun when it is super cold or rainy out since our grill is INSIDE in a little built in pit in the phoenix room...LOVE IT! Then opened presents...Zeb got a ton of cars things...because he just loves cars...still. He also got a Toy Story 3 leapster 2 game which made Ben run around going "Buzz Lightyear...I'm buzz....zzzzzzzzz" insert 2 year old holding his arms straight out in front of himself bearing down and gritting his teeth (trying to fly). I was worried he might valsalva himself into unconsiousness.

Then it was off to bed. It was a pretty good day! I am on call tomorrow so I don't have to go into work until 11. I promised Lilianna I would take them to school tomorrow though so I am going to have to get my exhausted butt out of bed. Which is probably where I should put it now!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankfulness

I have had a really, really crappy week. The internet abounds with happy and gratefull posts...everyone is thankful for something and I am writing this post to remind myself that I am thankful for things too. This week has been crappy...did I mention that already!?

I could drone on and on about all of the things I have to complain about...but just know I am exhausted and even though Keith has let me sleep in at least 2 days in the last week - sleep is not changing my exhaustion level by much.

SO...here goes the power of positive thinking.

I love my job...even when I am in a foul mood I recognize that this job I have is pretty sweet. I love what I do and the people I work with are pretty great, the hours are fantastic and I get paid pretty well. So that is a win in the job category and I am very thankful for that. I think there are very few people who enjoy their jobs as much as I do. Usually the people that enjoy their jobs this much work a lot more hours and are work - a- holics which is definitely NOT me!

I love my house. It needs some updating and there are definitely things I could complain about..but the kids get to drive their bikes up and down our long driveway and we get deer and turkeys in our yard all the time and rabbits and turtles and who knows what else. Our pool needs some updating but it was so awesome to spend time with my family in the pool and be able to see and hear the birds while floating in it. My house is a total win too. There are definitely things that could be improved upon...but the stuff that really matters...the location and the topography of the property is super wonderful.

I love my church. Everyone there is sooo super nice. Even though Keith and I are really shy and really overwhelmed by our kids right now...they still make an effort to include us in things. I get to play bass in the praise band which has been a huge source of joy in my life in the last 3 weeks. I forgot how much I totally love playing with people. Our church really cares about our community and has great projects we can get involved in...when our kids are not drowing us..haha. Oh yeah...and they have french vanilla creamer at the little coffee stand (love it!). Mostly I love the people, the messages are ones my soul needs and the community activism speaks right to my heart.

My husband is hot. That's right. I am still ridiculously in love with my husband after 3 1/2 years of marriage, I still like him and think he is a babe. I could complain about him all day...as all wives could...haha....but I could never face a day without him. My husband is THE number one biggest blessing in my life.

My parents are right next door and that is awesome. My mom saved me from totally losing my mind tonight by laying with Zoe while I laid down with Ben so the 2 year old cry-off could cease before my head exploded. Then she hung out while I went to the store to buy the stuff to frost Zeb's birthday cake. He turns 4yo tomorrow...my baby boy is so mature (and yet sooo not).

The kids...ok I am thankful for the kids and it is days like today I have to remind myself how much I love them and how cute they are. Seriously, today they were not so much with the cute. I know I am blessed with wonderful kids and when they work me as hard as they have been the last week I feel like I have been blessed with way more than I deserve. Ok that wasn't sarcasm in the way that I usually write it! What I mean is that I feel that I do not deserve to have these great kids - that they have gotten the short end of the stick! I am not nearly as patient as I need to be and as I should be. I sometimes imagine how awesome they would be with a good mother instead of one who barely gets by!

Ok...I am feeling a little bit better. I am exhausted, it is 11pm and now it is time to start decorating Zeb's birthday cake for tomorrow. I can't sleep anyway because my blessing of a husband spent 8 hours in Birmingham today playing at the mall with Lilianna and Owen and now won't be home until 4am. How am I suppose to sleep with 2 of the things I am thankful for are on the road (after being awake for 18 hours and only 4 hours of sleep the night before!).

So frosting, decorating and worrying. Also, church tomorrow is the big debut of the praise band so I have to be there at 9am for sound check and final practice.

I am thankful and lucky and grateful for all I have.

It may have worked.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas

Cindy Lajoy has a wonderfull post today on the meaning of Christmas. Last year they were in Kazahkstan bringing home their newest 2 additions and had a very different Christmas. This year they are approaching Christmas from a place of giving of themselves not giving STUFF.

I have such a resentment of all things stuff and my resentment grows at Christmas time because we buy so much stuff for our kids. Don't get me wrong - I love to see my children excited and happy - I just don't want Christmas to be all about getting stuff. I know it is my responsibility to teach them to find joy in other things. So that is going to be my goal this holiday season...to work on taking the dependence on stuff out of the Christmas recipe for good cheer.

Read Cindy's post - it is really a good topic to talk about and I hope to have some time to talk about it with Keith tonight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Small rant...

The church we went to in Birmingham was great - I really liked it. I had some spare time (believe it or not) and I wanted to get involved and do things at the church..but there wasn't a whole lot of opportunities that called to me.

My church here (what up DCC) is soooo totally fantastic and has things all the time that I really want to get involved in and participate in (like the Operation Christmas Child packing tonight)...but I have too many kids! haha. I don' t think I would have been much help if I had shown up with 4 kids (3 under 3yo!). I guess i should be thankfull that my husband lets me go to praise band practice once a week!

I wish I could go help with set up on Saturdays, I wish I could spend more time being involved there because it is fun. Things will be a lot easier in 2 years. Two 4 yo, a 5yo, 9yo and 11yo will be an entirely different story! I am way over diapers, bedtime battles and not being able to decipher 2yo speak. yes...I am over all of those things. When we were getting ready to move I was all sad and weepy about getting rid of baby clothes...especially the super cute preemie carter's puppy outfits that Benjamin wore..."oh no more babies - how sad" i said....yeah umm...not sad anymore! I can always give those as gifts.

Ok my rant about being a prisoner to my 2 year olds is done...at least they are in bed and I have the luxury of time to myself to blog on the matter!

awkward Usborne moment..

Day 2 of homeschooling Alex and we whip out the Usborne People of the World book for page 8-9 or something like that. The first sentence is People from Asia are mongoloid and the dark skin people of Africa are negroes. UM...I don't use those words...I don't want my children to use those words and I am pretty sure I am offended by those particular labels - i certainly don't want my children called either of those. I read in my head way faster than i read out loud so i did some quick editing. Guess I need to do some reading ahead and make sure I really approve of all of the parts of the books!

Am I crazy or does anyone else take exception to those terms?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Class is in session

Ok - I just couldn't wait to dive into the Sonlight books so Alex and I started today. She seemed to stay a little more focused today with actual books in front of her. We didn't have any Math because we are still waiting for out math stuff to get here. We worked for just under 2 hours not including bible study and reading aloud book (Charlotte's Web!).

Zeb kept asking if he could get new schoolbooks and wanted to do Alex's workbook pages. I am in...the P4/5 looks pretty good. One of my favorite books of all time is on the reading list for that curriculum. It is one of Keith's too - we randomly hit upon the topic of that book when we were dating (ok we only dated for like 3 weeks - so not a lot of things fall into the category of things we talked about while we were dating!).
Before I start filling up our bookshelf with Sonlight curricula...I should probably wait and see if Keith likes it and if it works for us longer than one day!

Besides school today we had a pretty fun day. The weather was beautiful so we spent quite a bit of time outside. I managed to keep the house clean (it is a miracle) and everyone was in bed asleep by 8pm. Zebby is sick...he has a terrible cough, is uber run-down and has a little fever. If it were not Saturday night I would probably be preparing to take the little guy into the doctor tomorrow. I feel pretty confident he has a pneumonia...I hate trying to decide if I should call in an antibiotic for him. I would just rather take him to the pediatrician...but it is a Sunday tomorrow. UG! I will probably call in some high dose Amoxicillin. Maybe I will send my friend Ryan a message on facebook and see what she thinks I should do!

I am rambling so I should probably go to bed! Good night all...looking forward to day 2 of school tomorrow!

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Books!

Today we got our new Sonlight curriculum for Alex. I am soooo excited about it. There are so many fun books. Lot of Usborne books and little fiction chapter books- worksheets and schedules to organize in a big binder (love doing that). It is very exciting.

Alex helped me check all the books with the invoice and started picking out her favorite books that she wants to read. She is really excited and I hope that sticks for a while!

Keith is going to do most of the homeschooling - but I am jealous and might start some this weekend before he has a chance to get his grubby little paws on my cool new curriculum....I mean Alex's cool new...oh who am I kidding. I want them! haha.

We got the core 1 which is for K-2 and ages 6-8. This is our first foray into the world of Homeschooling - but I am really excited about it. We didn't get the math program through Sonlight...I think they use Horizon's - I can't remember. I think we are still discussing Saxon vs Math U See...although I am pretty sure we are leaning toward Math U See for this year at least. Until we make a commitment we will probably just keep on with the Time 4 learning.

I need to head off to bed...it is getting late and this week wore me out!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I killed it...

I killed my computer. Yes, my husband will attest to it...I am a computer killer. This isn't the first computer I destroyed...but it is by far the cutest. My cute little pink acer is dead. keith may be able to bring it back to life...he is good like that!

I had my first practice with the new DCC praise band. Our director had sent me an email to practice one song .. so I practiced it and felt pretty comfortable with it. It was Matt Maher song "Love will hold us together"....great song! I showed up at practice and he handed me a chord sheet with the song in a different key...so the first time we played it through I kind of stood on the stage and fidgeted uncomfortably hitting one note...it was awesome. Then he pulled up the song in the key I had learned it in and said...oh we are going to do it in this key. So the next time through I was able to play it. I am so not a bass player yet! haha.

It was really fun though - I had forgotten how much I like to play with other people. I am really looking forward to this wednesday when we practice again. I am on 2nd call so I may not make it - but I am going to try really hard. We are working on another song...that I totally love...Chris Tomlin's Our God. I love the part "if out God is for us who can ever stop us and if our God is with us then who could stand against". I have been struggling to drop it a step... but I just got an email that he wants to play it in E (which I think is going to be easier..yeah me!)

We had a great weekend. O was here and Lilianna was at her bio dad's house. I think Lilianna had a good time and she came home with new shoes...yeah! She also amazingly didn't get into trouble at school on monday. Normally she comes back and her behavior is all out of whack...but she had really, really good behavior yesterday.

We have been having great luck with everyone going to sleep at night...except Benjamin of course who would rather eat nails than fall asleep and miss anything! He is still a huge struggle to get into bed...Lilianna was the same way.

We finally ordered our Sonlight Curriculum for Alex...I am so excited about that. We have been doing an hour or so of Time 4 learning with her a day to kind of get her used to doing school work and to keep school in her vocabulary so to speak. She is doing better with staying motivated and actually trying to do the work. She really wants to go to school with Lilianna so that is motivating!
I can't wait until the stuff gets here!

Lilianna and Alex got new bikes from Grandma and Poppy last night and I know that they are so excited to ride them today...it is real gloomy and rainy this morning so I hope it clears up before this afternoon. Lilianna has ballet tonight so she won't have much time to ride her bike anyway.

That's about all going on here right now...we are still plugging along with attachment with Zoe...but it is going amazingly well. Actually, even though I ranted a couple of days ago about being exhausted...our transition is going amazingly well. Don't get me wrong...there are still many moments of ummm...pandemonium...in my home - but overall, it could be soooo much worse and I am very grateful and feel very, very blessed that everything is going as well as it is! Of course, I am mostly well-rested and at work right now! haha.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a quiet night...so far

Keith is out of town this afternoon - home soon..thank goodness. He went to drop Lilianna off with her bio dad for a long weekend and to pick up O for a long weekend here. O doesn't have school Th and Friday so it is a good deal for us!

I got home from work around 1ish and watched Underdog with the girls and then Alex worked on some Time 4 Learning. She is zooming through the Kindergarten level stuff now that she has decided that learning is fun not work! At least the kindergarten stuff is fun. I think we could probably do first grade and start moving up...but I want to keep it fun and I think there are still some simple kindergarten type concepts that she hasn't been exposed to.

Zoe didn't get a nap today so she was starting to get a little tired when we headed out to get the boys around 4. We stopped at poppy and grandma's on the way home from school for about an hour and then headed home. Had some dinner (and there are lots of left overs...yeah!) and sat down to watch Cinderella at around 630. Ben and Zoe were out cold by the time it was over so I sent Zeb and Alex up to get ready for bed and then carried Zoe succesfully up and laid her down followed by successfully carrying Ben up and laying him down. Which means at 809pm all of my kids were in bed! WOW

SO for the last hour I have been practicing my best rock and roll moves with my bass....I mean umm...practicing ...ummm...some of the songs for the praise band at church. We have a brand new building and the first meeting for people interested in being in the praise band is tomorrow. I am not a real bass player - but it is fun and we will see what happens. Hopefully no one that is actually a real bass player will show up so I will be in! haha. It is amazing how easy it is to remember when to kick and jump in the air...it is a lot easier to remember that than to remember what the notes are!

I always hate it when Lilianna leaves to go to her bio dad's - I miss her! It has been a really long time since she went to see him. She will come back on SUnday and then leaves again the following weekend for the week of Thanksgiving. Then she will be back and it will take us a month to get her behavior back to acceptable! She always backslides after visiting New Orleans. Maybe it will take less time to get her back up! We shall see. Be that as it may...she is the sweetest most compassionate little girl. I am such a lucky mommy.

Back to the bass....what fun. Of course it would be more fun if I wasn't huddled in the corner of my dimly lit (half of my light bulbs in the bedroom are burnt out!) bedroom with my computer playing songs at the most minimum volume audible.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Issues creeping up...

This morning we made it to church...yeah! Our church just moved to a new building so it was a pretty exciting morning there. Did I mention that we have French Vanilla creamers at the little coffee bar...yummm.
We got up around 8ish (after a 45 minute prelude to up-ness by Benjamin at 322am) and had bacon and eggs for breakfast courtesy of me....mom rocking the hot breakfast. Then we ran around crazy and tried to get ready. While Keith was in the shower, my job was to get all clothes out and ready and start dressing the girls. For some reason the girls took a really...really long time so the boys were not directly supervised...I heard them running around and playing. When I was finally done with the girls I headed out of their room to a naked 2 year old boy and Keith picking poop up off the hallway floor....oops. Mom gets a fail for getting the kids dressed this morning.

Benjamin had taken off his diaper then pooped, then walked through it onto his and Zeb's bed and then sat on the bedspread and tried to wipe the poop off his feet with his hands...want anymore details - yeah me either. It is a good thing Keith found it. If I had walked out of the bedroom and found that I would have totally lost it. I think my head could very well have exploded. We have had problems with Ben taking off his diaper and running around talking about using the potty chair...getting on and off the potty chair a million times and not using it. We have been a little permissive of it because we want him to start using the potty chair. However...the hammer has now come down about walking around without a diaper on!

Somehow though, we cleaned everything and everyone up and still left the house on time. As we walked out the door keith made the comment that we were getting the hand of advanced parenting...HAHAHAHA.....however, we did make it to church on time!

In other news, Alex has been very quiet and it has been hard to get her to speak loud enough to really hear her. Today we discovered that she can talk loudly, forcefully, and look you in the eye...but only when she is lying to you. At least we have clues as to when she is lying. She also likes barbie and doll clothes. She likes to take them forcefully, horde and hide them and doesn't give a second thought to hurting anyone's feelings in the process. Oh the opportunities we have to help Alex grow. She is full of energy and I know her soul is sweet - she is going through so much right now and I think she sees our house as a new place to survive in. A new place to try to learn how to beat the system, get what she needs, get what she wants and try to be in charge. I know she doesn't get the family thing yet.

As far as parenting goes, we are kind of strict. I am not sure how this is going to play out - we are prayerful for sure.

Zoe is doing better - she is starting to act like a 2 year old - being playful and getting into trouble - haha. Today she actually got up from lunch and instead of being glued to me - followed the other kids into the playroom for about 45 seconds. Then came running back. Her temper tantrums are still manageable and redirectable (we are on day 2 of successfull redirection - hurray). Her love tank is still close to E though....we are praying for that love tank to fill. She is saying a lot more words and is saying "thank you" when we give her anything...which is big in our house!

Lilianna is as sweet as ever and full of love for her sisters. I think her feelings were very hurt by Alex today and she is just baffled why her sister wouldn't want to play and share and why she would hit her hands away from her own doll clothes pile. Lilianna gets special mommy time today and tomorrow for that one.

Zeb is acting out a little bit at home and being an annoying little brother where he used to be Lilianna's number one playmate. I foresee that Lilianna will start spending more time playing with Zeb again - so I think that Zeb's acting out is going to decline. He is still sweet little zebby zeb with an annoying little brother twist!

Benjamin is doing better too - Keith and I spent extra Ben and Zeb time on Saturday thanks to the help of my awesome mom and Ben really responded to that. I am also a lot more thoughtfull about carrying 2 2year olds instead of just one. Ben and Zoe are actually getting alot pretty good. Even though Zoe is a month older than Ben she is functionally younger than him. They run around and play peekaboo and tickle each other and do that great thing where they just chase after each other and scream.

Mom is going back to work tomorrow...weird and sad. I am exhausted and feel like somethings are getting better, some things are getting worse. I am questioning every parenting decision I make and worry about all kinds of things ( I think that is what mom's do - right?)

Keith has it all under control. That is just the way he is built I suppose.

I read a blog once that was brutally honest about all of the issues her daughter was having. She said she wished she was one of those adoptive parents who had a wonderful easy time of it and was ready to start another adoption. Instead, she said the adoption of her daughter had disrupted their family is so many inexplicable ways that she was just heartbroken. Zeb's adoption was sooo easy and he attached and integrated into our family so well that there is no comparison to his adoption and the adoption of his sisters. They will be work and it will be work for everyone in the family. Even though I knew in my heart that it would be hard work and it would be advanced parenting - I don't think I fully appreciated the kind of work until today.

Bootsy, Smokey, Jeb, Tiger, and Pumpkin...ok they are fine and they have a new cathouse that Keith built for them last night to keep them toasty warm I totally have to take a picture because it is totally amazing and really toasty warm inside. They have definitely adjusted to the girls..haha.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just to clarify...

The girls are doing remarkably well...much better than I had anticipated actually. Everyone is sleeping well at night and eating well and starting to laugh more and just be happy more. We are not trying to run a full school schedule for Alex or anything crazy like that. We are reading books and doing Time 4 Learning because our other kids think that online site is fun and it is educational too so that is obviously a plus!

Today, Alex and Lilianna spent time hanging out in a fort they made in their room reading and Alex is getting a lot more excited about reading mostly because Lilianna is infectiously in love with reading and it is contagious.

I ventured out with the girls today to a birthday party for the only other little girl in Lilianna's class. It was kind of a bold move - I took all three girls to the party. It was at a photography studio. When the guests got there everyone got little cheap black tank tops, tiara's, feather boa's and put their name on the list for makeup and photo shoot. Alex and Lilianna both were models for the afternoon and Zoe just cuddled with me (we had one melt down which resolved rather quickly).

We really pushed our luck by eating dinner at my parent's house after the party. When we first got there I was sure we had pushed the excitement of the day a little too far when Zoe had a melt down the first 5 minutes we were there. However, she pulled it back together really quickly. Today, I seemed to be able to work the meltdowns so they didn't last as long...we will see how my strategy works tomorrow I suppose! haha.

There are moments when I am exhausted emotionally and I just remind myself how lucky we are....

Now lets talk about skin lotion because I have got to find something that works on my daughter's skin! Suggestions?!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Yes...we are still alive.....barely!

So today is my last day off of work - I head back on Monday. I really do like my job, but I wish I had a little more time to spend at home with my family - it has been nice and hard work of course!

Zoe's lovetank is on empty. She just follows me around and has to be in the same room with me at all times. This is much improved from touching me at all times a week ago. Sometimes I can leave the room to run get something as long as I am not gone too long. It is wearing me out. I don't mind it when we are out in public with just the girls because this type of child is way easier to handle in the grocery or the doctor's office. Someone asked me if she is this good all the time. You know sitting quietly on my lap playing with my hair and babbling to me and laughing. She is so good on the outside in those situations.

If she were the baby, the ONLY baby..then there wouldn't be any problems. But she is not - there is Benjamin who up until last week was my baby. My one and only little baby and he was a mamma's boy (in the good way...the independent do everything myself but love to give my mom hugs more than anyone else kind of way). Ben used to just say my name..Mommy, mommy, mommy and when I said "Yes Ben" he would say " I love you". He used to say "I Love you mommy" 50 times a day. Now he doesn't want me to change his diaper even and is hitting people at school and even spit on a little girls toy at school. YIKES!

Today, I dropped the kids off and Keith stayed with the girls and I just spent 20 minutes alone with Ben and Zeb at the school playing with them and cuddling with them. Benjamin finally started giving me hugs and kisses and saying "I Love you, mommy". The boys are just babies and the Zoe attention grab is really hard on them.

This evening Benjamin wanted me to carry him so I picked him up and sat him on my lap on the couch. Zoe was across the room and saw Ben in my lap and came running over and crying in her super annoying to the point of infuriarating two tone whiny cry (no seriously...let me tell you how I really feel about that cry...it is working me..please pray for me!). I kept holding Ben and Benjamin said "No mommy...Zoe on your lap instead...I like this pillow" and scooched off and laid his head down on the couch pillow and patted it. I tried to move him back onto my lap but he said...NO MOMMY - ZOE Lap. My poor babies...all of them...I need more mommy and bigger lap! So I am eating more M and M's to do my part! haha.

Alex is a challenge in a whole different way. One of her BH classmates is in about 2nd grade per her mommy..but after working some with her...she is about Kindergarten and totally and completely uninterested in learning. In fact, after working with her for 2 hours on very simple concepts - she told Keith that she didn't want to learn anything. She puts forth zero effort most of the time. She has very limited reading..she can sound out very simple words but if it gets even remotely difficult she just starts guessing and completely quits trying to actually read the word. We are using Time4Learning and if we don't go through every little exercise with her she just starts clicking and doesnt even try to listen or answer the questions. She is sooo sweet and sassy and I know she is smart..we just have to figure out a way to motivate her...so pray for her education motivation too!

Today was a good day mostly. Everyone has been going to bed the last two night so that is a total blessing...I hope I didn't just jinx the rest of our weekend!

Zoe's stool came back with Giardia and Campylobacter. Campylobacter is reportable to the CDC so I am expecting a phone call from the CDC any day now.HAhahaha. Campylobacter is one of those bacterial infections you get with food poisoning. I seem to recall it is the one you get from the egg salad at the 4th of july family reunion picnic. I could be wrong...if anyone is studying for USMLE step 1 or 2 you can correct me! haha.

I am off to balance checkbook and see how bad it is.....ug!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Around the House

The girls have taken to climbing partway up the hill (mountain) that is our backyard. keith and I hiked it up to the ridge last week and it took us about 35 minutes to get all the way up and about 45 to get down. It took the girls like 45 minutes to get 100 feet up the hill and about an hour to get down...oh the hilariousness of the conversations yelled back and forth that we could hear in the yard!
Zebby displaying his pout for the camera while Keith was cleaning the nine million pounds of leaves off the pool cover. Zoe being cute as ever


Benjamin deep in thought about something sneaky and super cute



Zebby posing for the camera. He said..."mom take a picture of me" and then he ran over to the table and laid down and said "hurry..I am cute". yes he is.


I LOVE our house and our great big yard. Every time the kids go outside and run around and play I am reminded just how lucky I am and how much I LOVE our house.

We finished off our night with a delicious grilled dinner in the bbq pit in the phoenix room, and one piece of candy from trick or treating for dessert (I am sooo stingy with the candy).
Everyone went to bed pretty good tonight...I guess all the running around and no nap worked to our advantage (so far...the night is young)

Halloween costumes.

A little princess right before I put her coat on her...brrrr it was a brisk 68 degrees
Lilianna ladybug putting her emergency pants on!
Zebby...oh that smile!

Benjamin and Zebby had matching monkey outfits...they were toasty warm while my princesses froze!


There is a toasty warm princess before we left the van!


We went up to prestonsburg for about an hour of trick or treating. The kids just love to dress up. Next year we hope to have a nice warm trunk or treat somewhere!




Siblings meeting each other...

Ben refused to join the fun on the couch...he is lounging Everybody loves Fairytopia

Alex listened to Lilianna's ipod until it ran out of batteries



The Girls first day home!

Mom, Alex and Zoe vegging out in the media room watching Barbie Mermaidia Zoe playing in the Phoenix room

Alex playing with the dollhouse in the Phoenix Room

Getting ready to leave the airport in Charleston, WV





DId someone say pictures?











A sign that you are barely holding it together!

This morning we woke up...everyone got dressed, clean clothes, brushed teeth, had breakfast...we were on a roll. We all piled into the car and rolled into the church parking lot at 10 minutes until 11...almost a record time for us.

We all got out of the car, walked inside. No one hollered for a donut. Alex had decided she wanted to go to kid's church with Lilianna...so off they went. the boys went to the nursery with no major meltdowns. Zoe, Keith and I went out to pick up some coffee (Yes my awesome church has French Vanilla Creamer)...and we strolled into church during the first song.

Yes it went without a hitch. After church we got back to the car and had left both doors on the driver's side WIDE OPEN. I laughed so hard.

Friday, October 29, 2010

a new day

Today I am like a new woman....clean clothes, brushed teeth. A trip to the Dr's office for the girls and then to Ben and Zeb's school room for a halloween party. They trick or treated to all the classrooms of the olders kids. They were both dressed as monkeys....so cute. We went for the halloween parade and party.

When the boys got to Lilianna's classroom she was soooo excited to see them..."I am giving candy to my cute brothers" she hollered and then ran up and hugged them. Then she saw we were there with her sisters and she was even more excited and gave alex a great big hug.

Then we went back to the baby room and the stickifying sugar hep up began. Yikes....when is that sugar crash supposed to be?

This morning we did some work on basic math with some flashcards, a little bit of geography with Alex. She did NOT want to do any schoolwork today...that girl is stubborn and melodramatic when she wants to be that is for sure!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Glamorous life...

So...the real reason I wanted a big family was the glamour. Seriously, what is more glamourous and changing dirty diapers every 20 minutes? What is more glamourous than cleaning up the same room 5 times a day? What is more glamourous than being so exhausted that you can't even find the energy to pull together a new outfit (that hasn't been worn every day for the last 3 days)...ok...I only own like 2 pairs of pants that aren't scrubs and I still can't come up with a new outfit.

I never knew how difficult it was to sweep, cook, do laundry etc with a 2 year old wrapped around your left leg. I am exhausted. I am doing everything wrong...seriously. I read all the books - yet I am sure I am doing everything wrong. OK everyone is mostly happy and mostly following the rules of the house...but I am still sure I am doing everything wrong.

I felt totally sick today most of the day...maybe because I am overtired, maybe because I am a little jet-lagged, maybe I have malaria since I totally forgot to take my malarone yesterday and didn't remember today until like 5 minutes ago (OK I really doubt that...). My point is I am a mess and that is the opposite of GLAMOROUS!

Yes...I know I should be posting how perfect everything is and then finally post my pictures....but come on...I can't even remember if I brushed my teeth today...I am a ways from posting pictures.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meeting new sisters

We got home around noon and my parents stopped by to pick up the mini van and meet the girls. Then they went to pick up Zeb, Ben and Lilianna from school.

I was changing Zoe's diaper when they got here, the kids all came in and shyly said Hi to Alex and then came into the next room where I was. Ben was just excited to see me and gave me a big hug. Alex and Keith were playing on the thomas train table and Zeb and Lilianna went and started playing with them. Zeb said "I like your bracelets, Alex" and Alex just smiled shyly. Lilianna is such a social butterfly and immediately engaged Alex....want to play with wedgits...this is how you do it. Then she asked Alex if she wanted to go play in their room. When Alex and Lilianna left the room, Zeb turned to me and said "Don't worry mom, Alex is just kind of nervous".

I do think that Zeb felt a little bit left out - despite his startling insight. Zeb was sooo excited to have new sisters. I am not sure if Zeb or Lilianna were more excited. Zeb started playing with Zoe and ..as you all know....Zeb is about 2 years older than Zoe so he couldn't figure out why she wasn't playing with him like another 3-4 year old does. I was reminded today...again....how completely sweet and loving my little zebby zeb is most of the time.

The kids also bought a cake that said Welcome home to our sisters Alex and Zoe. We had jambalaya tonight and introduced the kids to hot dogs...one of the staples of the diet here at the cox-byrne house. The kids seemed to go to bed really easily tonight....the night is young though!

On the airplane

Yes...bad blogger...pictures tomorrow - i promise.

yesterday we left the hotel around 6 and got to the airport a smidge early - apparently that is the way we roll. My biggest worry of the entire flight was going through customs in Ghana. I had visions of people asking for bribes, people yelling at me that I was stealing babies and trying to take my children. I suspect thatone of my daughters bio father's works at the airport...so I worried about us running into him. I think she was looking for him....very weird. Yes, I had some worries. We did have to go to the back room and clarify documents, they asked to see the copies of all of our documents which I gladly showed them. The whole process took about 15 minutes. So off to the terminal. After 4 hours of waiting around we finally loaded onto the plane. It was over half empty. Which of course meant it was over half full of empty seats! Keith and Alex sat in a row of 3 empty seats and Zoe and I sat in the 3 seats in front of them. Our plane was done loading at 1030 so we took off early. Zoe and Alex were both out like lights by about 1100 and slept most of the night.

Zoe had a clean diaper to start the flight but had drank a ton of water out of her new sippy cup. I guess water tastes that much more delicious out of a sippy cup - who knew. So she ended up peeing so much while she was asleep it soaked her clothes. I knew it was getting full...but I didn't want to chance waking her up. She finally woke up around 4 am and so I changed the diaper

Alex had to go the bathroom around 530 - right before the plane landed so I went back with her, opened up the door and told her I would be standing right outside if she needed anything..it was our second trip to the bathroom on the airplane. A few minutes went by and she didn't come out, a few more minutes went by and she still didnt' come out so I peaked in and she was standing there and had peed in her pants because she didn't know how to lift the lid. It is soo easy to forget all of the seemingly easy concepts that might be foreign. So the moral of the story is that We did some serious pee stinking travel in the last 24 hours. I did have new clothes for her, but no new shoes....oh well. It was by sheer coincidence that I had a spare pair of underwear.

The craziest moment of the night happened around 3 am...Keith leaned up to tell me something that Alex had done..a way that she was acting that was definitely showing a pattern of behavior that is going to be very challenging. So at 3 am I sat there by myself (with a sleeping 2 year old!) and for the first time ever in growing my family I had a brief feeling of "What have I done to my perfect and blessed life". All of the scary possibilities ran before my eyes, all of the worst case scenarios, I couldn't believe that I had burst forth into this adoption without seeing so clearly how devestating and terrible the worst case scenarios are. What had I been thinking. I was tired, I was alone, I was hungry and exhausted at 3am over the Atlantic Ocean and desperately trying to figure out how to handle all of these worst case scenarious. Nevermind that it this is one of the most emotionally exhausting days of my daughter's lives, nevermind it was 4 hours waiting in the airport at 11pm, I was ready to start planning therapy, interventions...I was making diagnoses. Yes, I was teetering on the edge of complete insanity.

I am not a great parent, I have the good fortune of parenting great kids. I had the feeling that my cover might be blown now! So I did some serious praying and was reminded that I was being crazy. I may or may not be equipped for advanced parenting....I may or may not need advanced parenting skills. I will figure it out and will find the skills I need.

It was just a totally odd, new and somewhat disconcerting feeling to have such a strong sense of self-doubt....even though it only lasted about 3 minutes....the longest 3 minutes in my parenting history for sure.

We got to Dulles and spent about 20 minutes at immigration. There was no backroom, the agent at the booth ripped into our immigration envelopes and then proceeded to tell us that there was a form missing from the paperwork regarding immunization history....ok now the longest 30 seconds in my life as I pondered the possibilty that she may say...sorry...the girls can't come into the country. Then she said "it's not my problem" and stamped us in anyway. However, she did warn me that immigration was probably going to call me and not issue their citizenship papers. Well....we shall see what happens...all I know is that all 3 of my daughters are sleeping upstairs in their bedroom right now....I am tempted to sneak in and take a picture of it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gotcha morning....

I will upload pictures later...the girls and Keith are taking a nap before ou ovenight trip home.

We got to Beacon House a little late (we are consistent with that!) and Alex came running over in her school clothes to say hello and even Zoe walked towards us. We sent Alex back to school and Zoe got a quick bath and changed into her new outfit we brought. The shoes we brought are about 3 sizes too big. We just kind of guessed that she and Ben would wear the same size...but they don't.

We met with Bernard and got all of the original documents they had been using to gather all of the priceless pieces of paper in our sealed immigration packet and signed the discharge paperwork. Then we took a ton of pictures.

Around 11, Alex took a shower and changed and all of the kids met in the big living room of the house for the ceremony. I cried like a baby. All of the kids gathered around with Alex in the center and Momma Shelter led the ceremony by asking the kids if they knew what they were doing...and they all hollered out...praying. She asked why? and the she told them that when your friends are leaving you pray for them to be well...
So then 7 of the older children took turns praying for Alex and for Zoe....they spoke so softly that I couldn't hear what all of them said.
After the prayer they all sang a song and hugged Alex, Zoe, keith and I. Some of the kids were crying.....I am sure they were crying for many different reasons. Some were crying because they were going tomiss Alex and Zoe...some were crying because they were tired of waiting for their own prayer ceremony.

I know that I was crying because there were so many little children that my daughters would miss, and for many of those kids...my daughters became another person they cared about that was leaving their life. So much loss and sadness in the world. I was also crying because this is what meant my daughters were really coming home. As I type this...of course I am crying again...this is what mom's do right?!

We went to Simple Brother's for lunch and brought them the pictures we took last time of them. Then we ate and Alex watched her favorite movie on the computer....Barbie and the Diamond Castle....while Zoe took a nap. After the movie, Alex crashed too and Zoe is still asleep.

We leave for the aiport in 3 hours and we are all packed. I am hoping the kids sleep for a while longer so that they are well rested and pleasant for the check in and waiting. Our flight leaves at 11pm and then I would love them to sleep.

I just acquired my no caffeine headache...so I will be glad when we get to the airport and I can get a coke!

Next blog post will be from home (I hope!)..and i will post some pictures.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The trip

We left the house an hour late...to this look of displeasure...hahaha. We always get stressed out when we are leaving the country ...usually because we are running late! Thankfully that look didn't last too long! We got the Charleston, West Virginia airport way too early. We went to Target first and got some hoodies for the girls so they wouldn't be cold when we got there. We also got Alex a booster seat and a couple of odds and ends. Then we decided to head to the airport because we didn't know where we were going and didn't know how difficult the airport would be.

let me tell you what...the airport was not difficult to find or difficult to get through. We were there WAYYY too early!

Our flight to Washington DC was on a propeller plane that was sooo loud it gave me a headache and I get a smidge sick to my stomach from it. The airplane parked at what can only be described as a bus stop. It looked exactly like a bus stop. We booked it into the airport and had to go up and down about 20 escalators (I am not really exagerating here) and ride a subway thing to get to our terminal and we got there just as they were starting to board - so we checked in and then Keith ran to get a sanwhich and made it back to the line when they were on seating section 5 (we were 3) so it was an amazing airport sandwhich turn around!

The flight was pretty good. I sat next to a woman from California who was headed to Nairobi to help set up a farm for an orphanage - she was pretty interestig but I learned way more about her than I usually like to learn about people flying next to me. I enjoyed our conversation - but I am not really an airplane conversationalist! The whole in flight movie situation on united kind of sucks. They have channels that have like 2 movies and acouple of tv shows that just keep looping. I prefer the free payper view style movies where you get to choose what you watch and when you start it.

We arrived around noon and all of our luggage made it! Yeah! Our hotel van didn't though - so we had to take a taxi. No big deal...just 15 cedi's we couldn't use at Simple Brothers! Which is exactly where we went for lunch after we got to the hotel. It was delicious. We had taken pictures last time we were hear but I forgot to bring them today. So when we eat there tomorrow for lunch i will bring them their pictures.

Then it was off to Beacon House







We had a great visit. We took them 8 solar lanterns, 2 hand crank washing machines and flashlight and some diaper covers, baby formula and books that some really great people had donated. We picked up the visa paperwork, passports with visa's and spent some time hanging out with our babies.
Alex took a bunch of pictures while we were there of kids and things around the house. We will take a lot more pictures tomorrow. We head back there at 10am.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

running late...

Keith is making us late again. haha. I am closing up the computer and packing while Keith is taking a shower...in his defense, I made him go to the store because we were about to leave the kids with my parents and no food in the house...or any trashbags.

We are off as soon as my husband is decontaminated.

Friday, October 22, 2010

tomorrow!

I did a ton of packing last night. I was on call but made it home by about 730 and wasn't called in all night...yeah!

We are almost done...we have basically 3 1/2 suitcases of donated items and some stuff we are carrying over for an internal medicine dr at my hospital for his daughters who live in Ghana...and then a 1/2 a suitcase of stuff for us! We are only going to be there for 35 hours.

So the girls are getting one Ghana (warm weather) outfit, two travel outfits, their dolls and some airplane distractions...including benadryl! We will by flying mostly at night with them so hopefully it will all go smooth.

I have to bake 3 trays of brownies for Lilianna's fall festival tomorrow (that we are going to miss). We are also going to miss Lilianna cheering on Monday night...but I got her schedule for cheerleading and we will have lots of opportunities to see her.

I am off to finish packing, bake brownies, pick up money, and try to clean up the house so we will return to a clean house...however, he kids will be in the house while we are gone so I have not a whole lot of hope that we will come home to a clean house...oh well! It won't be clean for a while!

I am very excited...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

$13 billion

I don't know if any of you watched the video I posted at the top of my blog. It is great. I have seen lots of moving videos designed to educate and impassion viewers about orphan care. This one is so spectacular because it really address the last few words of James 1:27....Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

OK....American Christians spend $11 billion on coffee and $21 billion on soda pop when it would take $13 billion to feed the starving people in resource poor areas of the world. I personally don't spend $21 billion on soda...but I am sitting here drinking a diet Dr Pepper and we have an entire refrigerator devoted to soda and capri sun. Since there is no Starbucks in Pikeville...I have dropped out of the big coffee spending zone.

I think it is safe to say that I have not successfully kept myself from being polluted by the world. But change starts with realizing there needs to be change in your life...in my life.

I LOVE giving money away. Most people don't love it the way I love it. I keep trying to tell Keith that my spiritual gift is giving away money...he keeps trying to tell me that my spiritual gift is saving money and doing laundry...haha..not really....although I do fold a mean fitted sheet.

I am digressing...my point is that even when we are impassioned about orphan care and have our eyes and hearts open to the plight of so many hungry, hurt, exploited children in the world...we forget the part about keeping oneself free from being polluted by the world.

I am going to work on that. What do you think?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

one more week

Call is still going smoothly...I have to go in for a 4pm case....a short case.

Just posting quick note that in one week from right now we will be at Beacon House seeing our daughters! I have sooo much to do in the next 6 days...I really have only 5 days to get ready and packed. I think it would have been easier to just hop on a plane the day after we got our visa's and get them. Preparation is like a gas...it will fill up whatever space is there....2 weeks, one month, or 12 hours!

Ben is fighting his nap...must go and be monster mom. His superpower is cute so he is going to get away with a lot in this world,,,but not he is NOT going to get away with no nap today! too much to do!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

one week

I am on call this weekend and so far it has been great. One epidural and no cases (yet!). As I was driving back from the hospital I drove by the turn off to Charleston, WV. That is where we are flying out of in one week.

I am having a hard time believing that we are actually going to go pick up our daughters in one week.

The weather is soooo beautiful. I took some pictures of the mountains from our yard that I will have to download and post...but everyday the colors get more and more beautiful.

I am just kind of stream of consiousness-ing here....but just wanted to say that i am sooo excited to have real travel dates. We have our flight's booked, I have a big pile of stuff in the corner of my room to pack, and I am getting ready to start my to do list. I have to call in our malarone and get our travel first aid kit together, make our packing list and then pack clothes etc. I have to decide what we are going to try to bring for Beacon House. Have to make doctor's appointments for the girls, double check that our new health insurance has the right info.

I want to double check that the girls' room is ready, I want to look through my Global Mama's cookbook and make some things on Friday that will keep in the fridge until next week after we are home...you know like peppe sauce.

I am still working on what we should bring to keep the girls occupied during travel. Keith and I have been very preoccupied this month with all kinds of stressful situations and now some of them are finally starting to ease off and I can actually enjoy the excitement of bringing home my babies!

OK...off to make lists, find my cookbook, go through my packing pile...hopefully I won't have to go into the hospital!

Friday, October 15, 2010

bad blogger...

I hve gone an entire 5 days with no blogging...bad blogger! There is nothing too exciting going on around here this week...mostly waiting for next week!

We had a clean a thon at the beginning of the week and the house has stayed manageable all week...that is a miracle! haha.

The biggest miracle this week is that I passed my board exam...so I am one step closer to being a board certified anesthesiologist. The oral exam is all I have left and that will be either in April or the fall...likely the fall.

Zeb and Ben got haircuts. I will have to get some pictures. We were sitting at dinner and Keith and I starting commenting that Ben looked like he had a mullet. He did have a mullet..I don't know who we were kidding. Jessica (our super awesome neighbor who is buying our house in Alabama) used to cut Ben's hair and his hair is really thick and bodifull(a word?) so she would layer it and style it....it grew out into a mullet. So before getting down from dinner...I chopped the mullet off...no it is not straight and yes...if you look at it closely...it looks like maybe Ben did it himself...but there is no longer any hit of mullet-ude.

So then Zeb got a haircut by dad and his clippers. You might notice that dad shaves his own head so I am not sure why I thought he would do anything different with Zeb's hair. Poor zeb is like that poodle that gets the summer buzz cut...only it is just getting cold and his little ears have no protection at all. I am not a fan of the zebby buzz cut and he will not be getting it again even if I have to beat dad away from him with a hairbrush and a spritzing bottle. However, Zeb loves his haircut and walks around telling everyone how daddy shaved the hair from around his ears. I guess Iam lucky that Keith didn't shave a lightning bolt or nike symbol into the side of Zebby's head.

The best part of the haircut night was when Lilianna freaked out with jealousy that Zeb didn't have any hair anymore and asked Keith to cut her hair....Lilianna is not a fan of keeping her hair brushed! She was totally serious about shaving it off...I am definitely going to have to keep an eye on her...she has crazy hair ideas encoded in her dna!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Suckerpunch

Don't you just love it when you go to church and hear a message that you totally need to hear. Today it was about being prepared so when you get suckerpunched (which will happen) it will hurt less.
We have been suckerpunched in the neck in a couple of ways in the last couple of months. From the outside our lives look great. I know they do. But when we got hit with a $29,000 bill (unexpectedly) from the contractor doing the home renovations...we went down like a 90lb weakling with a glass jaw. We were totally unprepared. We lived on the ragged edge before we moved and we kept on with the same behavior.
There are lots of areas in our lives that are going to get whipped into shape because of this. When we first got this bill...there was a ton of anxiety, regret, and the big one...GUILT!
and NOTHING GOOD comes from guilt...EVER!

Now we know we have to be prepared and we have to GET prepared...financially, with our time management, with our activities.

We are so committed to making our lives right...making ourselves lean and mean and totally prepared for anything. But man it sucks to get up and dust yourself off after that suckerpunch...and that is what we have been doing for the last 2 weeks.

So suckerpunches suck...but what a blessing to be lulled out of that false sense of security so we can be prepared enough to prevent a bigger suckerpunch later!

OK...NOW move on to the next post and see the awesome pictures of my daughters!

Pictures.

I Can't believe how much older Zoe looks. She is even more beautiful and has sooo much hair! She looks huge...I am not sure that all the 18m 24m clothes are going to fit her! She is just soooo gorgoeus! UG!!! Here is my biggest girl...ok for real...this picture made me cry...she is so full of attitude it is great to see a real and soft smile.

I just can't get over how much babyfat Zoe has lost...she is like a little girl not a baby anymore!



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday morning flag football

We went to flag football this morning for Lilianna to cheer and there were 2 other girls there to cheer and no coach. So ...yes... I stepped in and did some cheerleading coaching. It was pretty funny..I even did a cartwheel. I haven't done a cartwheel in several decades. I do think I pulled something...but I didn't fall on my head. I thought it would hurt my wrists - but it did not. So maybe I will work on my cartwheel some!

The girls cheer for about an hour and then we headed home for lunch and playing outside. The kids are watching finding nemo right now. I have probably seen that movie about 300 times (without exaggerating) and I still cry at the part when the pelican flies in and tells Nemo how his dad is battling sharks and jellyfish and swimming all the way to Sydney to save him. Don't we all want our children to know what we would do to save them? Don't we all hope that we would do what Nemo's dad does to get to Nemo? Anyway - I love that part and I cry like a baby! haha.

My parents are stopping by tonight and bringing us KFC...yummm. I bet they will do some other very important things too...like Laundry..since our rip off contractor lied about plumbing the closet they were supposed to use as a laundry room!

Friday, October 8, 2010

abundance..

Yeah I totally have that. The weather is super beautiful right now. We picked the kids up from school and about $100 worth of Schwann's goodies that we ordered through a school fundraiser.
We got home and the kids had some ice cream and then all headed outside to play. We are going on hour 3 of unbridled outside kid playing. Bikes are being ridden, acorns are being collected, imaginary animals, babies, rocketships and houses are in full effect.

I LOVE that my kids can run around our 2-ish acres of flat ground - ride on our ridiculously long driveway and I don't have to worry about the street, cars, neighborhood child kidnapping perverts...you know the usual stuff. I don't have to worry about that and my kids can run around and be kids. We also have about 12 ish acres of wooded hills for the older, more adventurous trouble maker (insert Zeb's name here)...for later.

The sun is starting to go down, I am almost done with dinner, the kids are going to be exhausted for bed and it is Friday.

I booked our flights to Ghana, our POA has the visa's in her possession - yeah!

We are leaving on Saturday Oct 23 and arrive Sunday Oct 24 around noon. On Monday Oct 25th our little girls will be on their way home. I just found out about 10 minutes ago that someone who has been slugging it out with an independent adoption from Ghana will be on the same flight home with her new children that we are going to be on. I am soooo excited to meet her in person and share the trip with another family. It is really exciting!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nesting....

Things to do...things to do! We have entire rooms of our house that are not fully unpacked even though we moved like 3 months ago.

I can't even think about packing yet...I tried last night and just felt like I wasn't packing enough and too much at the same time. We are only going to be there 3 days. We leave Saturday night (Oct 23) and arrive on Sunday around noon. We can visit the girls between 4 and 6 pm.

On Monday we will have their going home ceremony and 330 and then they will come home with us.

Tuesday our flight leaves Accra at 11pm and arrives in Washington DC at 6am and then we arrive at our nearest airport at 10ish on Wednesday morning...a 2 hour drive home and we are home for lunch on Wednesday Oct 27th.

So really HOW much do we need to pack. I don't know sizes of clothes so I am going to pack an assortment of sizes for Zoe...she was wearing 9mo clothes in February...but she looks a lot bigger now...so I am going to bring 2 summer outfits each at 12m and 18m and one 24m. I am going to bring 4 wintery outfits (2 18m and 2 24m) and one pair of jammies.

I have no idea what size Alex is in ...she was in 7/8 in February and anyone who has bought clothes of that size lately will notice that there is no 9/10...it jumps from 7/8 to 10/12. It is very frustrating. So I have 2 pairs of pants in the 10/12 family and 4 pants in the 7/8 family because I think it will fit her better...she is so slim but very tall. She asked for red dresses...I am not entirely sure why...but we have 2 red dresses for her.

We have the dolls we bought like 6 months ago and some Uncle Funky's Daughter curly magic, a tangle teezer is on the way (I had to buy blue because they were out of pink!), a little lavendar lotion pack from Carol's daughter and some diapers for Zoe.

We are ready.....too bad I can't leave tomorrow! haha

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

VISA'S!!!!!!!!

Yes this is the real post....our visa's are approved and the passports are at the Embassy. Thank you to everyone who prayed with me!

Hopefully our POA will have them in her hands by Friday. I have started scouting out travel plans and we hope to have our babies home this month. Of course, my passport expires in less than 6 months so I have to get a new passport!

I am just so relieved to have some new problems to deal with instead of waiting...waiting ....waiting!

I can go buy clothes for Alex and know that she will get to wear them, I can make plans for November and know all of my children will be here.

I am alternating between relief, excitement, joy and sneezing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Desperation..

Ok...how many times has our POA gone to the embassy to try to get visa's. Tomorrow is our most desperate attempt.

Our appointment is at 10 am our time (2pm GMT). She is bringing more "evidence" to prove to the embassy that our daughter's bio mother is truly dead. She is bringing every piece of evidence that could be found...death certificate, hospital bills, affadavit from family head (they already interviews this family head 6 months ago). If we don't get a Yes tomorrow - I don't know what we will be able to do.

My knees are hitting the floor tonight and I am going to be praying hard - if you feel compelled please pray for my family, pray the consul at the embassy will grant us visa's for my girls, pray their little hearts are not broken by this cruelly long wait. At 10 am (EST), throw up a little prayer for my daughters.

I don't want to have to move to Ghana - the commute to work would be very hard!

20 minutes

Whenever I am having a marginally bad day and may be a little sad or depressed or whatever...it takes about 20 minutes of playing with my kids outside on our long driveway to snap out of it.

They just play with so much abandon. Who knew that running down a driveway could be so much fun....or that rolling backward down a shallow hill on a tricycle could produce such 3yr old glee.

Bicycle riding outside with the kids is the best remedy for a sad heart!

The weekend

We worked a lot this weekend. We are trying to get my parents house move in-able. There are so many things I would like to get done before they move in...but we are not going to get there. I really wanted everything to be finished before they got here...but it wasn't and I wanted everything to be done before they moved in...but it won't be. I really feel like the contractor we used totally hosed us.

It kind of goes along with how I feel the US Embassy in Accra has hosed us. But...what can I do? The family that is in Ghana right now...the family that went to court on the same day as us...has a blog and they posted a picture on their blog of their familiy hugging and goofing around. My daughter is at the side of the picture just watching them. When I look at that picture my heart just breaks thinking that she is wondering why we aren't there too. I am amazed at how our lives just keep going on....going to flag football, making plans for school events, putting in vacations requests etc...while my daughters are sitting there and I don't know when I will be able to bring them home. It is kind of surreal.

Our POA has an appointment tomorrow and three things could happen:

1. they look at the evidence, approve it and issue visa's for Friday
2. they take the evidence and say they will get back to us...and we wait for like 4 more months to hear anything
3. they look at the evidence and say it is insufficient and they need more evidence

I am not entirely sure what further evidence we could provide - they have a death certificate, interviewed the familiy, have an affadavit from the head of her family, and all the hospital bills.

I will just wait until tomorrow and see what happens. When we went to court in February, I never ina million years thought I would be praying they would be home by Christmas. It is becoming increasingly difficult to not be depressed about something in every aspect of my life right now and that stinks!

I think I need some more coffee! Coffee makes things better if it has French Vanilla creamer in it!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power