Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas

no..I don't have the pictures downloaded  yet...no surprise really haha.  I am going to do it soon though!  I am off this week so I can get it done I hope!
This was the best Christmas ever.
Christmas eve we had Grandma and Poppy over for dinner, then we had what Zeb likes to call "Jesus Circle Time" .  Keith talked to all of the kids about the great gift God gave us on Christmas day and why we give gifts at Christmas time.  We shuffled the kids off to bed around 830 after setting out Christmas cookies and milk (with homemade whip cream and marshmallows in it).  yum
Around 930 Keith and I had our annual Christmas eve fight #1 and then the real work began.  Violet refused to sleep until about 145 so there was gift assembly with baby in lap for part of the night..then I lulled her to sleep and took a nap until 345am...at which time came annual Christmas eve fight #2 which is usually the frantic exhausted husband dragging sleeping wife from bed so I can carry boxes out to the car and I probably did something else too..but was too exhausted and delirious to remember what I actually helped with.  I climbed back into bed at 345 at which time violet woke up and started screaming...I do remember giving her a bottle and crawling back into bed at around 450 am.  Keith followed at 530 am.  Thankfully our early riser....ZEBBY the Rooster kept quiet until almost 830 am.  Which was unfortunate for my parents who showed up at 7 for gifts and the like....they just hid out downstairs until we got up. 
So, Santa brought 3 gifts for each child and a couple of big family gifts.  Santa went over the top this year and we will never be able to top this Christmas that is for sure.  Keith used to do a lot of discount toy shopping when we lived in Birmingham...so there are things we have been keeping in our closet since literally before I even met Keith.  In an effort to save money I suggested that this year we just empty the closet....wow did we have a big year.
Christmas literally took all day.  We played with santa gifts for about 2 hours...then had breakfast.  Benjamin had asked Santa for 2 boxes of monkey bread...he even showed Santa exactly how big each box was supposed to be.  So we had monkey bread, bacon, sausage, and eggs for breakfast which we actually didn't eat until about noon.  After breakfast we opened presents.
At our house gifts are tricky...each kid gets 3 gifts.  One from mom and dad, one from the boys and one from the girls.  At Thanksgiving we make a wish list for each kid on Amazon.com and then one at a time they leave the room and the boys buy a gift and the girls buy a gift for each kid.  It seemed to work out pretty good.  We are always on the look out for suggestions on how to work Christmas - but this seemed to work pretty good.
After gift opening...we let kids play while I worked on dinner and dessert.  We had a 22 pound turkey...yikes maybe overkill..but I love leftovers so far! haha.  Mashed potatoes, rolls, canberry (which is Zeb's absolute favorite we discovered at Thanksgiving...who knew!) and some poundcake.  It is a really good thing I forgot about our 8 lb ham...we will eat it later in the week. 
After dinner we watched Cars 2 and chilled out.
Lilianna and O got here today and were very excited to see the Santa gifts.  They didn't get here until almost 10pm so we let the other kids stay up to greet them, show them the presents and watch them open up gifts.  Ben was a total wreck but everyone else handled the late night pretty good. 
It was such a relaxing Christmas and I have the rest of the week off to just relax. 
This is really the best Christmas ever.  I have new resolve to treat every day (especially Christmas!) like it will be the last one I have.  I am just resolved to relish how totally abundan my blessings are.  How darn lucky can one woman be...seriously.  This was the best Christmas ever and today was the best day after Christmas ever.  It is so much easier to be patient with my children, smile, and by joyous when I feel truly grateful, thankful and blessed. 
So pictures tomorrow...and maybe some more details!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What if...

OK I am not sure if this a healthy thing or a politically correct thing...but sometimes I try to imagine what my adopted children's lives would be like if they had not been able to be adopted.  I do this usually at things like Christmas programs...as luck would have it...there were 2 Christmas programs this last week to ponder that.
It makes me a little teary when I think that Zeb could be at belevodsk right now in like 20 degree below weather without the warm socks he had on with his little donkey outfit on Tuesday for his program.  He has such a sweet disposition and heart and a great desire to make people laugh.  I wonder how much of that spark he would have if he didn't come home with us when he was 8 months old.  How different would he be? 
Watching Alex in her Christmas program reminded me of the Christmas after we got the girl's referral but before we travelled to meet them.  The kids from Beacon House sang Christmas carols at a hospital and I remember watching the video like 100 times trying to see Alex.  I remember pouring over the pictures on the Beacon House blog trying to find pictures of Alex opening up her Operations Christmas Child shoebox.  There was like one picture.  Later Alex told me she got a Barbie doll in her shoe box and one of the older girls took it from her and broke the head off of it and she cried and cried....ok how heartbreaking is that story!?
Zoe is such a ham - she is so quick to laugh and just wants to be loved.  If there was no international adoption from Ghana would she even be alive?  Without adoption would Beacon House have had room to take her in and save her life?  Probably not. 
Our motivation for adopting our children was not to save them from anything...it was just to grow our family with kids who needed families!  However, sometimes I do ponder the question...Where would my beloved babies be if UNICEF had been able to stop international adoption.  How darn lucky am I that we got to bring these great kids into our family!?  OK that is rhetorical...we are very lucky! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Seriously?!

So I don't talk about it too much, we have been trying to adopt a little boy from Kyrgyzstan for the last 3 years.  We got his referral 3 years ago and he was 5 ..now he is 8 and he will be 9 in June.  Kyrgyzstan is evaluated the credentials of 5 different agencies in the US and will pick 3 to work there.  Our placing agency, Adoption Alliance, is one of the agencies that put in paperwork to try to get accreditation there.  The decision is scheduled to be made on the 20th...next week.  Things have been moving really good for the last 6 months or so to get the process rolling again in Kyrgyzstan...starting with the waiting families.
Yesterday I got an email that Adoption Alliance was actually closing....bam.  Another snag in the already ridiculous process we have gone through in the last 3 years to get a little boy out of an orphanage.  UG

I am not entirely sure what this is going to mean for our process.  There are more than 3 agencies that had waiting families so there had already been a spirit of cooperation between the agencies and JCICS was in the mix to help protect the interests of the waiting families when the accreditation list comes out next week.  It is my understanding that Adoption Alliance had the most number of waiting families and now we will have to switch agencies and I am not sure what all that will entail...I don't know if we will be able to choose which agency we will go to and what kind of cash outlay will be involved. 

Strangely, I am completely at peace with this whole thing.  I am so NOT stressed out about it.  It will work out or it won't.  As a point of trivia this will be the second agency I have used that has shut down!

In other news, I work this week, but then I am off the week between Christmas and New Year's and I am going to do some serious baking...I am going to put together my shopping list tonight.

Keith made up his ginormous list of stuff to get done between bedtime on Christmas eve and christmas morning...I am not entirely sure how that is going to get done.  We may need to call in reinforcements..haha.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snowflakes?

File this post in things I know with my brain but never really connected with.  Let's talk IVF.  Families that undergo IVF, harvest eggs, fertilize them and then implant some fertilized eggs...the rest of the fertilized eggs go into the freezer for future IVF attempts or just go in the freezer.  Apparently there are 500,000 frozen embryos in the US.  OK...I am a doctor and that is medicine.

Tonight I was looking around at some adoption stuff for a friend at work who is just starting to consider adoption.  I was perusing Nightlight's webpage because they have acquired the agency in Lexington that we did our homestudy with.  I had never thought about embryo adoption.  Tonight I read the page on it because it might be an option for my friend.  I am reading through it...with the brain of a doctor...then I get to this picture....snowflake #208.  A year ago this was a 48 hour old cluster of cells in a freezer...just sitting in a freezer indefinitely.

I am not critical of anyone doing IVF or leaving frozen embryos sitting in a freezer...but this little baby is somebody's little bundle of joy and a year ago it was stacked up in medical lockdown.

That is messed up. I am not really a writer so I can't really express how profoundly disturbed I am by this situation.  However, let me add how absolutely and completely wonderful it is that there are parents out there who care enough about their frozen embryos to try to find them a literal chance at life and who want to be involved in making a plan so that a frozen ball of cells can grow into a little blessing like snowflake #208.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly update

So what is new around here?  hmmmm....We have our Christmas shopping 100% done.  I keep saying that and then we buy a whole new line of items for Christmas...but for real we are done now.   REALLY. 
In the process we went way over budget and bought a bunch of crap we didn't need and was not on our Christmas list.  Oh Amazon.com how evil art thou!
Speaking of Amazon.com....we joined prime a couple of months ago and I have been buying episodes of shows right and left to watch while I am feeding Violet up at night.  Bad consumer.  I am really, really enjoying watching the shows though.  I have been watching Once upon a time and Grimm...can't wait to see tonight's episode of Once.  I have also been catching up on some of my fave USA network shows.  I am becoming kind of a junkie.  I was thinking about getting a kindle fire so I could better support my amazon prime habit! haha
So lots of shopping that is our week.  haha
Violet - she is still on the baby growth charts...you go girl...sure she is only 10%ile of height and wt, but it's on the chart!  She got some shots and was super duper fussy for 2 days...like not sleeping more than 30 minutes at time...totally sucked.  She had been sleeping really good.  She is starting to settle back into her good sleeping routine but those 2 days sucked.  It reminded me of when Lilianna was a baby! haha.  She is sitting up in her bumpo seat and loves to sit up.  We are going to start rice cereal sometime this week...we have the cereal and the new spoons and the little bumpo tray.  I feel soooo darn lucky to be able to spend so much time with this little baby.  We weren't planning on any more babies but what a huge blessing she is if I had known what a great big huge amount of joy she would bring I would have planned her! haha.
Zoe - She is kind of an enigma....we think we have her figured out and then we don't. haha..just like a girl.  First we thought she was really, really delayed, then we thought she just had speech delays and was catching up...now I think she is developing normally just about a year behind.  Her speech therapy has been so successfull.  She is really attempting to say a lot more things and she repeats a lot of the things her brothers and sisters say (which is soooo totally annoying...really) in the same way a one year old might.  I know it is good that she is repeating things and working on saying things...but it is driving me bananas!  She is sooo darn playful it is hard to stay mad at her even when she is sneaking out of her room in the middle of night and dismantling electric outlets and bringing coaxial cable connectors into her bed for me to find in the morning...oh goodness!  What to do.  Well...this is what we did.  Keith balanced a weighted hula hoop against her partially closed bedroom door so if she opened the door to wander around it would fall.  She did stay in her room all night last night....which is more than I can say for Zebby the midnight toy and pencil collector!
Ben - besides throwing up all over the media room last night at my dad's birthday party...he has been doing good.  He has been a super-cuddly mamma's boy this week...and I do love it!  He is so smart.  I have been doing circle time with him and Zoe when I get home from work and he is always so excited to do it.  With Lilianna at her dad's house I have some extra homeschool mojo to help me whip our preK program into shape.  I have some videos coming for the preK kids and have been working some of the Building Thinking Skills curriculum with the PreK-ers during circle time.  Fun stuff.  I think that Ben makes me laugh out loud more than once everday with his hilarity. 
Zeb - he is the unexpected genius.  I love Zebby and think of him as our lovable class clown.  However, he is really freakin smart.  he brings home his little abeka booklets from K4 and rocks them.  He is doing really good with his letters and the phonics.  He has some trouble with putting the sounds together as words because I think he doesn't trust himself.  We just ordered a set of PreK dvd's that I think will help him too.  He loves school and asks to do homeschool computer just about everyday (that is time4learning.com) he is doing great at it.  He is also huge.  He is in 5T and 6/7 clothes.  He has a little girlfriend at school.  he asked yesterday if he could buy her a christmas present and wrap it...her name is Paisley.  Love it.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that none of my kids are allowed to date or have boyfriends or girlfriends until they are 30yo (hahaha). 
Lilianna is still in New Orleans - i have only talked to her a handfull of times..she isn't really a very talkative phone girl..I know that will change! haha.  I am also not very good at having my phone handy (or charged for that matter!)  I will probably try to hunt her down tomorrow.  I sent her with about 30 hours of homeschool just some grammar, vocabulary and logic worksheets and of course, free reading.  Hopefully it will come back completed...but if not no big deal.  We are working on a year schedule so I am not stressed out about it.  I read on the Lajoy's blog that they only need something like 700 hours for their year...KY requres 1062....that is soooo not fair! oh well.  I actually have so much I want to do it is hard to fit it into 1062 hours a year!  I am soooo totally in love with homeschooling I wish I had more time off of work to spend doing it.
Alex....oh where to start.  She is doing really well.  She comes home from school everyday and is excited to sit down and work on her homework.  She also is excited to work on her homeschool work when time permits.  We have some explode the code workbooks, language smarts for 2nd grade from Creative Thinking Co, and she is working on the cursive writing without tears book.  She does some time4learning too...we have her working mostly at the 2nd grade level at home.   Her IEP at school is looking like first grade reading.  She brings home a lot of reading homework and I think it is helping.  She has really improved a ton since the big incident at school (late september).  We are trying to trust her more and give her back some privileges.  I hope she isn't working us...it is just so hard for me to trust her and we are still  in the fake it til we make it stage with her.  At least I am in the fake it until it is real.  I have always been a little challenged with the attachment thing with all of my kids...biologic and adopted.  I have always gotten there..so I don't expect Alex to be any different...I am just still climbing that mountain.  She really is so sweet, and silly and funny just a little spacey and having some difficulty with making good choices at times!

That's about it.  I have the week between Christmas and New Years off and I am totally psyched about it.  Can 't wait.  I am on call a ton this week though.  Monday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and next Monday and Thursday...yikes...then I am off for a week...yeah vacation!  Alex has a Christmas program this friday, Zeb's is next Tuesday...good time!

Hoping to hear something about the agencies that get accredited in Kyrgyzstan around the 20th of December...maybe there will be some kind of dossier thing to work on during my week off...that would be some kind of awesome.  ok that is all that is going on...pretty much nothing.  I am going to post some stupid pictures soon though!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Breakfast with Santa

With a post title like that you would expect pictures...ok none yet...I have to do some downloading.  Maybe tonight.  However, we did take the kids to breakfast with Santa this morning.  Everyone was so well behaved!  Yeah! 
Benjamin just froze.  Santa asked him his name and what he wanted for Christmas and Benjamin (for the first time ever in his life) was speechless.  He just stood there half scared, half dumbfounded.  Zeb had practiced all night what he was going to ask for....He wanted an optimus prime and a bumble bee and he wasn't going to share with his brother.  He was ready to tell Santa all of that.  When Santa asked him his name he said...ummmm..."ben".  I said Zeb your name is Zeb.."oh yeah...Zeb".  Then he forgot what he wanted.  After I reminded him he got on a roll though and just kept naming things he wanted. 
Zoe was all business.  Santa asked her name and she said Zoe and then he asked what she wanted and she said "your hat". 
It is amazing how much more calm everyone is when Lilianna isn't here.  She just radiates energy and the other kids soak it up and start bouncing around like her!  haha.  That being said...I miss my little firecracker!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What a week!

Woooh what a week! Lilianna was a toy soldier in her dance school's production of the nutcracker.  dress rehearsal on monday, 2 shows a day tuesday, wed and thurs.  I am exhausted.  We made it all the way until the very last show until we forgot something at home....her tights and leotards...are those important?  haha
Her bio dad came to her last performance..he drove all the way in from new Orleans.  He got her a little bit early and wanted to take her to the show and said he would put in her bun....hahaha.  After seeing all of the bobby pins he did finally concede that perhaps it might have been little too difficult for him..haha.
She did great, however, her bubbly energy (also known as uberfidgetiness of doom) in the backstage area just about made me certifiably insane. 
One of the good things that came out of this experience (beside my ability to put a bun in her hair), is that Lilianna likes ballet a whole lot more now.
In the midst of this crazy week, we also got our fingerprint appt for our I600A.  I hated to reschedule, but there was no way we could fit a 2 hour drive each way in between nutcracker performances!  Yikes.  So we have to wait to hear of a new appt.
Also Alex started her weekly therapy sessions where they offically burdened her with the diagnosis of RAD (even though I don't really believe that is really her problem).  Oh well, we just go with the flow.  I have no doubt she will benefit from counselling...I think everyone does!  She does have issues with grief and permanency but I just don't see RAD as the issue.  I know I am certainly not a therapist.  In any case she has been doing great lately. 
Lilianna is gone to new orleans until the day after Christmas so that is always tough on everyone.  Lots of good things have happened for me at times when Lilly is away......I started the adoption process for Zeb, I met my super awesome hubby, picked up Zeb, I had Ben.  I feel like something good will happen for us in the next month.  It is so great to be optimistic!
Speaking of optimism....my friend, Shannon travels to Ethiopia on Monday for court on 2 super adorable children.  I have been doing a lot of praying for her court date....That both of the cases go through easily and quickly!  I have a lot of optimism that her family will grow by 2 next week! 
Perhaps my optimism is related to the peanut butter pie I made (and ate a piece of) and the scones I made (and ate one of)  sugar = optimism maybe.  Ooh..I should have some coffee with French Vanilla creamer now too...
My plans for the night include eating more of above mentioned goodies, watching my favorite christmas movie (holiday inn) and wrapping presents.  Of course, if Violet doesn't follow the plan of going to sleep my plans will change!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We had a super thanksgiving weekend...I know it isn't technically over with yet...but tomorrow will be a busy normal kind of Sunday.  On Friday, I had to work but got out pretty early so we packed up the bus and headed to Lowe's for a Christmas Tree.  We are such a production when we all go to the store.  Keith was walking next to Owen and Zeb and holding Zoe's hand, I was pushing a cart with Violet in it, walking with Ben and Lilianna and Alex were somewhere in the middle...we all headed out to the Christmas trees. In a Christmas miracle, we all picked out a great (and great big!) tree in like 30 seconds, there was no line...they bagged it up and I paid while Keith went to get the bus.  He opened up the bus door, the kids climbed in, then he opened up the back door and slid the tree in the back (right down the middle of the aisle) and off we went. 
Lights went on last night and teh decorations went up today all the while with Holiday music from Sirius XM blaring in the house.  LOVED IT.
Today we also celebrated Zebby's birthday.  He turns 5 on monday but we had his party while O was here.  I made a dump truck cake...pictures to follow....and we ate the entire thing in one sitting.  We are about to take food shopping and consumption to a whole new level for us!  Once Violet starts eating food and once Aaron is home (another 8 year old boy!)   wow are we going to go through some food!  Love it.
I am going to try to get some pictures of tree decorating and Zeb's birthday out of the camera and into the computer. 
We have the nutcracker coming up for Lilianna.  full run through is tomorrow with dress rehearsal on monday and the 2 shows a day on Tuesday, Wed and Thursday.  Yikes!  I am not a very good stage mother...I watched about 20 youtube videos today on how to make a stupid bun and what kind of makeup to get for her.  Good times.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

Yes, today is thanksgiving.  I tried to write 5 things I am thankful for everyday of the month...but I failed miserably!  Oh well...there are at least 5 times a day I find myself giving thanks for something.  I just forgot to write them all down.  There is probably a lot of repeaters though.  I am so thankful for my husband like multiple times a day.  He is just so darn amazing.  He can fix just about anything and just does projects around the house.  Today he decided to put up the Christmas decorations by our side door - we didn't put them up last year.  They look super.
OK..this is probably a silly thing to be thankful for....but Keith changes the light bulbs.  When one goes out....he just changes it.  It is almost like magic...it doesn't matter if the light bulb is easy to get to, hard to get to...whether the bulbs haven't been manufactured in 20 years...he just changes them. 
He does the dishes...big dishes, small dishes, caked on dishes, pots, pans, cake pans etc...they just get clean. 
He spends all day almost every day with 2 three year olds, a 4 month old and an over the top unregulated 8 year old - he takes them to appointments, he gets everyone up in the morning, they get breakfast and he even makes lunches and snacks for Zeb and Alex to take to school.  On days when I have to fill in....it is a hungry day indeed haha...kids eat but not as well as when dad is home. 
Of course I am thankful for other things in my life....I LOVE my house..well at least my yard.  There is so much room for my kids to run around and play outside...I LOVE it.  Today was a beautiful day...a little bit muddy...but the weather was awesome and I got to see the kids running around outside.  Violet got to stroll or be strolled as the case may be for hours outside and I know she loved it! 
I really, really like my job.  Yes there are things that I don't like...but mostly it is really great.  I like the people I work with and that is something I haven't been able to say about a lot of the jobs I have had! 
I love my kids and I feel so lucky to have them...all of them.  Some may be more challenging than others in many ways but I am so gratefull to have them.  I also feel really lucky to be working on bringing Aaron home.  Who knows how long it will take, how much it will cost or when we will be able to get it done.  Who knows what kind of challenges we will face when he gets home, but I am really gratefull to have the chance to start thinking about it and to dare to start thinking about our family of gasp....10. 
I have plenty to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Paperwork

I hate paperwork. I can never seem to get caught up on it...I have sooo much in every area of my life. I hate paper and work associated with paper. I hate paperwork that then has to get scanned into a computer to become electronic paperwork. Yes...I have to finish a bunch of postplacement reports tonight..it is true I am behind on paperwork and instead of blaming myself for not having gotten it done already I am blaming the poor helpless paperwork. Off to fill out forms. Speaking of forms, we received notification that our I600A was received at the lockbox...we are waiting for our fingerprint appointment.... Speaking of fingerprints...we have to redo our stupid FBI fingerprints again uggg. I'm done complaining because now I have reminded myself of more stuff I have to do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Benjamin's hair

My little benjamin is such a trouble maker. We took all the kids voting with us on Tuesday and one of the women in the polling place asked us how old Ben was...but she kind of pointed and said "how old is this one" and I said..he's three and she said surprised..."it's a boy". Ummm yeah. In fact he was probably wearing an outfit like in these pictures...jeans and a orang long sleeve tshirt...totally bad-news bears -ing it. So I guess that is the tip off that I need to get my little floppy haired napoleon a hair cut. These pictures highlight his "gee-your-hair-smells-terrific" hair style. I really need to take some pictures with a sweatband in his hair. Perhaps I am giving him some sort of complex by letting his hair get long. Today keith sent me a text that Ben was making Zoe brush his hair. I am a little bit behind in the things I am grateful for....I am grateful for Benjamin's bouncing and behaving hair.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One little thing I really love...

After all the kids go to bed...except Violet. We jump into our big chair and a half, with the computer sitting on the table next to it. I pull up Hulu or Amazon Prime and we restfully watch movies, eat popcorn, drink diet dr.pepper and formula (ok I don't drink the formula and she doesn't do the popcorn and diet dr pepper...but still...). It is sooo relaxing. She is chilling out, I am chilling out and I get to watch movies without having to refill sippy cups, pull kids apart or fight for the fuzzy red blanket..haha. I only get to do it on the weekends, Keith gets the weekdays. It is great fun.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pictures...what are those?


Who could resist throwing candy at these guys!

did someone say pictures?



I believe I have some of those!

Gratefullness day 2 and 3

I already missed a day! haha...I am busy what can I say! Today I was on second call and we had a meeting at 7this morning. So I got up and left for work at the normal time and said goodbye to all the kids...then I came home around 9am. Then I left for work around 1030am and said goodbye to the kids again. Then I came home around 6 so that Keith could go to his first local boy scout roundtable meeting (woo hoo..keith is getting out of the house and making friends!). He got back at 830 and i had to say goodby to Lilianna who was the only kid up and she said..."mom...you had to go to work 3 times today! Lets try to only go to work one time a day ok?". So funny because I always start things with "let's try ____________" when we are doing school work.

Nov 2
1. watching the kids play in the backyard....this one might come up again and again because it is one of my most favorite things in the world.
2. deer in our backyard eating acorns
3. a freshly swept kitchen floor
4. Benjamin's badnews bears floppy haircut
5. Zoe talking non-stop and narrating everything she does in words I can understand (today she was helping me clean the media room - she was picking up socks and kept saying..."I see you under the table sock...I'm going to get you" - it was hilarious)

Nov 3

1. Violet sleeping soundly with her arm draped over mine...I just love those little baby snores!
2. Foggy mornings when you can't see over the tops of our little mountains
3. sound of steady rain on the 20 skylights in the library...a room that we have almost finished unpacking haha!
4. nights when zeb and ben actually go right to sleep
5. the tucking in ritual with Zoe that actually works and keeps her quiet and in bed all night

Pearl of wisdom from Lilianna today....
"Mom, do you want to know how I quit biting my fingernail? I keep them dirty...then when you look at them you are like ewwww I don't want that in my mouth. That is why I like to dig in the dirt and make mud snow men" (the mud snowman thing is a most unfortunate idea that has pushed me to the point of outlawing mud. Yes it is now verboten for my kids to make mud or use nature-made mud to build small snowmen looking guys with sticks and rocks for arms and facial features....oh the horror the day they discovered making mud snowmen)

Pearl of wisdom from Benjamin the other day:

"I didn't poop in my diaper...my butt did. I made my butt sit in the corner...bad choice butt"

perhaps I need to go to bed now!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One time at the casino....

I am not sure what made me remember this story last night when I was driving back from dropping Lilianna off at dance class...but I did and it was hilarious.

When I worked at the casino, I worked with this very nice couple. The woman was a floor supervisor like me and worked in the craps pit a lot with me. The man was a casino host. One night the woman and I were talking about stuff while we worked...where we used to work that kind of thing. She was talking about another casino and I asked if she and her boyfriend had both worked there and she said....

No, my boyfriend used to be a regular player in the craps pit...he would come into town to gamble at the casino I worked at because of his job he couldn't really go anyplace near his home. "Oh," I asked..."did he work at a casino there?". "No," she replied..."he was a priest." I was a little surprised. "that's not something you hear everyday" I replied.

"We dated for a long time before I went to visit him in Florida where he lived. It was really weird. One time we were hanging out on the beach and he got a call that one of his parishoners was in the hospital and we we headed to the hospital. He changed into his little priest outfit in the car and then we went into the hospital. I waited in the cafeteria and when he was done he picked me up and went back to the beach".

"sounds weird" I replied.

"Yeah, he finally decided being a priest wasn't for him". she said matter of factly.

No kidding, I thought.

Like i said, not sure why this story popped into my head. Maybe some people are just meant for certain things in life and sometimes you just aren't supposed to be a priest.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A month of gratitude

I am a little bit late starting this...but I saw it on facebook and I firmly believe that a thankfull heart is a happy heart (OK I may have stolen that from Veggie tales...but it is true).
Every day list 5 things you are grateful for...I am starting a little bit later (by like 30 minutes...so sue me!)

1. Zebby's excited face when fall leaves blow off the trees and into him
2. Benjamin's very over-exagerated attempt to repeat "pillow" after I sound out the LL's in great detail for him.
3. Lilianna showing me her hip-hop dance and singing the song at the same time.
4. French Vanilla creamer in the coffee at work (it is really delicious) and the perfect mixture of coffe to cream making it a creamy light brown color. one of my coworkers accidently threw away my coffee and then tried to replace it by putting a doppelganger coffee in the place I left my old coffee...but it was NOT the perfect color!
5. Pulling into the driveway and seeing my husband sitting on a chair holding the baby while the rest of the kids are playing rambunctiously on the domeclimber with lots of sun and a nice autumn breeze.

This is going to be a good month.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dave ramsay

Keith and I have been working the Dave Ramsay financial peace thing for a little over a year and we still don't have it right. We are getting closer though. Even though we aren't 100 percent following all the rules it has helped us soo much emotionally to get our finances in perspective!
Things we should do better on.....
1. We need to sell our stuff we are kind of half hearted in our attempts to sell things. We do have a ton of stuff we can sell and want to sell we just apparently don't want to bad enough! I am sure I have told the story of the yard sale I had before leaving New Orleans to go to medical school that ended in me throwing everyone out of my yard.

2. Using the envelops for what they are designated for....we kind of just raid the envelops when we need money for something. We were really good when we started but now we just use it all! There are certain categories that we try to accumulate money in...you know like school extracurricular activities or clothes so that we have enough money when we need it for those activities....sooo that money all goes to eating out. Really lets face it we are junkies for McDonalds when the monopoly game is going.

3. Second jobs...ok..I have half-heartedly looked for locums work during my vacations..but I haven't found any. I need to get off my butt and get medical licenses in more states. I really don't want to work more, but it would help a lot and I do love what I do so it won't be that bad. The problem is the market is kind of dry right now for locums anesthesia and I only have 9 weeks off a year so it is kind of hard to find things that fit in the weeks I can take off.

4. We are still spending money on projects..money that we should be using for our debt snowball...but there are projects we just really want completed...I mean really, really. That is no excuse, I know, there are a lot of things we could cut out of our budget but we just aren't ready to. We did cut out day care for the 3 year olds which is saving us a ton of money and that was a big step.

OK people, let's face it...we are not Gazelles in the wild...we are more like the Gazelles at the zoo...ok we see a cheetah over in the next enclosure..but we are not in a life or death race with the cheetah.

I digress, but seriously, the whole Dave Ramsay program totally helped us to take control of our money and has shifted the way we look at the way we spend our money and I am SOOOOOOO glad we have moved away from the way we were before. Some of the myths Dave Ramsay talks about I totally bought into! I remember firmly believing that I would always be paying someone something so I might as well have ________ (fill it in with whatever item I couldn't really afford and shouldn't have!). The best part is that keith and I talk more about the budget now and there is very, very, rarely any kind of disagreement about money or tension caused by money stuff and that is huge in any marriage. So, we love Dave Ramsay.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

where have i been?

I don't think I have ever gone this long without a post. I have no excuse..except I have been really busy. Yes, I know I have been busy before...when I think about how busy I have been in the last 10 years..it is kind of funny because I am really comparably not that busy!

Having a baby...baby is really exhausting. It is pretty hard to get anything done. I had forgotten how exhausting that is! Violet is starting to sleep better and is able to entertain herself a little bit with her little activity matt so when she is kicking and cooing away on the matt I can get some work done around the house. Amazingly, we are starting to actually feel moved in up in this big old house. It still needs a lot of work, but we are keeping most of it clean and we are slowly shortening the list of areas that need to be REALLY CLEANED out...you know, closets and rooms that have just had stuff shoved in them for the last 18 months!

Lilianna's homeschool is going really well. Since we have switched to a full year schedule and are not using the icademy...but just an a la cart K12 sprinkled with logic, bible, and some super cool enrichment things from the super cool critical thinking company (which I totally, totally love!!!!!) we have really gotten into our groove. I am also scheduling a day off of work every 2 weeks to just workshop some subjects with LIlianna. It is hard to set up a lot of the science projects and get it done with our schedule of taking care of so many kids at one time..so Art and Science have become "workshops" where we just sit down and work all day on one subject and get a bunch done at one time. That is working out really well for us.

We started keeping the 3 year olds home all day about 3 weeks ago...I think that has been the hardest part of the last month. Keith is super awesome though. It was a really had decision to make because we LOVED our daycare. They did a ton of really great art projects and were really focussed on education and thinking skills..but we had to get super serious about saving money and day care had to go. I think it is going to be better for Zoe and Ben to stay home. Benjamin is so ridiculously cute he was running the show at daycare and getting away with just about anything so being home is helping him build character...ie..get used to not getting his way! haha. Zoe is being pushed to talk more at home and I can already tell that her speech is improving in the last 3 weeks. I think they didn't push her to talk at school quite as much as we push at home.

Zeb is still at Wesley Christian in 4K and he is doing really well. He likes school a lot and loves to come home and do homework. I love to see him excited about it.

Alex has been a trouble maker in the last couple of months..she is probably one of the main reasons I haven't posted anything. It is hard to figure out how much of my life I want on the internet...really. I started this blog and I live my life as an open book. I don't really believe in keeping any secrets because it is stressfull to have secrets really! I am just too lazy to try to be secretive! haha. Alex has been causing trouble for the rest of the family and for herself both at home and at school so that has been difficult to deal with. One of the things we worried about when we started Alex in public school was that she would be able to manipulate and fool teachers into believing she was more scholastically advanced than she is and that she would get away with lying, stealing and avoiding homework. Well...she has been busted and the school has her number now to coin a phrase. It was not pleasant to get to that point, but I think now that we are there...the resources at school are becoming more apppropriate for her. She is NOT at a fourth grade level for any subject and they have finally realized that. Without going into detail, she is now getting the amount of supervision at school that is more appropriate for her and we have a way to communicate to her teachers. Oh the stories I could tell but I just feel like I shouldn't. Needless to say...it has been an interesting couple of months with her. I am really hopefull that things will calm down now with her.

Things are heating up with Aaron's adopting and Kyrgyzstan adoptions in general. We sent in our I600A last week and pretty soon we will send in our I600 and be totally ready when things start moving. It seems weird to think that after all of this time (3 years) that we might actually be able to bring him home. Weird. I kind of think a lot of the issues we have been having for the last 2 months...money, work, Alex, etc..have been the enemy trying to beat us down to back out of Aaron's adoption. I know I was really questioning whether or not we could complete it...whether we could find the money, whether we really could expand our family one more time...we are 2 bigger than Keith and I had decided on when we got married. We were worried whether we could logistically get to Kyrgyzstan for the time we need to both be there. I think as we persevered though, things are falling into place. As much as Keith and I want to travel at the same time...we are just going to have to travel separately for our bonding period and then only one of us will travel to pick him up. We just don't have anyone to watch all of the kids....what crazy person would do that!? HAHA. I was so relieved that we will have that option..although it totally sucks to not be able to travel with Keith. Let's face it, adoption travel is the only time Keith and I get to work on our marriage with some alone time!

I think I hit everyone in this update. we went down to birmingham last weekend and stayed at the KOA down there, went to a pumpkin patch at the train museum and hit the mall. It was really fun. It was the first time Alex saw a real mall and she was in love! it was worth the whole trip. She kept saying...when I am a teenager can you bring me back here? so funny. I have a couple of pictures to post of that trip and of a super cool book shelf we bought from the school supply store in chattanooga on the way back. I am going to be better about updating!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Empowered to COnnect

We spent this weekend at the Empowered to Connect conference in Nashville. There is good news and bad news.....We really got our money's worth....that is the good news AND the bad news! haha. I would have felt a lot better if we had gotten there and discovered that we had actually been doing everything right for the last year....(un)fortunately, that isn't what happened.

I think the child that is going to be the most difficult in terms of implementing these techniques is going to Benjamin. He is a little dictator with his father's stubborn ness and hard head and a budding napoleon complex and an IQ probably higher than mine already as a 3 yo. He has some control strategies down. Is he our child from a hard place....ummm...no he is just a little control freak!

The conference was full of hope which I loved. We took Violet with us and left around bedtime Thursday night - arriving in Nashville at 3am. Then we hit the conference full force on Friday and Saturday and left to drive home at 5pm (central time) on Saturday. We finally got home at about 2am early this morning.

So far so good. Violet started social smiling this weekend...so cute. I am pretty sure she is going to be a redhead...although there isn't a whole lot of hair right now. I love seeing these little guys turn into big kids...so fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It is always something..

The last week or so has been a very trying week to say the very least. I was off of work last week to theoretically study for my oral hoard exam. however it turned into a week of advanced parenting that required my attention. It was exhausting. Then on Saturday I headed to salt lake city for the exam...which I took this morning. I am pretty confident that I will have the pleasure of retaking it!
Although it has been an emotionally exhausting week...it has really been a great week for painfully cleaning out a lot of things in our life that just hasn't been altogether right for a while.
1. We have 4 mortgages....ouch. We had a family friend who was renting one of our houses...and I use the term loosely because she was paying half of the agreed upon price occasionally. So we finally agreed she should move out and we would put the house on the market. Keith visited the house this weekend and our trustworthy family friend had trashed our formerly beautiful home. It hurt and it will be expensive to get the house ready to sell...but at least we know, they are out and we can move forward. God put a trustworthy acquaintance in Keiths path while he was there and we have someone who can supervise repairs...blessing!
2. We had an incident an over the top incident with Alex that made us realize we had become complacent with getting her everything she needs to be happy and well adjusted. It was quite an interesting night that I am not ready to share all up in this internet! As a result we are now able to go to the empowered to connect conference in Nashville this weekend and I am sooooooo totally excited about it....blessing!
3.I just finished me oral board exams...yeah. Sure I might have to take them again but I don't have to worry about it until I find out if I failed in November!

I have all day today to relax in salt lake city because I couldn't catch a flight home today. It is a beautiful city, the weather is beautiful and I know this week will be Aton better than last week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Bus...

Today, I drove the bus. Yes, I have been putting it off. I was almost able to get out of driving it today too. I had pink eye yesterday...don't know where it came from...but it was the the worst case I have had since I was 5 yrs old! Ouch. Then I woke up this morning and it was basically gone...so I had no excuse.
I loaded all the kids up in the bus and headed out. Benjamin kept saying "did we hit anything yet?" and I kept saying Not Yet. Amazingly, the bus was very easy to drive. Marking that off my list of irrational fears..haha.

Now to talk about something that I haven't really talked about a lot. Aaron, the little boy in Kyrgyzstan that was referred to us for adoption 3 years ago. He had just turned 5yo when we got his referral. The country shut down before we could get him home. We have had friends in Kyrgyzstan visiting him, following him from orphanage to orphanage as he has been moved. He is 8yo now (he is one month older than Lilianna) and started school last year. Theoretically, there is someone teaching him English twice a week arranged through the super cool John Wright.

I bring this up, because I am feeling very optimistic about us actually being able to complete his adoption. Although, I have been optimistic before. When Keith and I decided to start an adoption from Ghana, literally the day after we decided to do it, we got a call about hurrying up and submitting a ton of certified paperwork to the Kyrgyzstan embassy(which we spent like a thousand dollars on) only to have it never even sent anywhere.

So now, we are optimistic again. There were new regulations that were finally signed by all of the many powers that needed to sign it. Agencies have to be reaccredited and we have to redo our dossier (yeah we are talking about $4K). We still have to submit our I600 too. We have been working on our homestudy since like January...but we always kind of felt so pessimistic about it we didn't really haul butt to get it done. We are picking up the last piece of our homestudy on Monday so then we start throwing money at this adoption again.

One of the reasons I think things might happen is because we are soooo broke. haha! The new process looks alot like Kazahkstan's process was before they shut down. We would have to travel for 10 days before court, then go to court. There is a 30 day appeal period before you can travel outside of the country. It is unclear if one of the parents needs to stay in Kyrgyzstan with Aaron for that 30 days. Obviously, it would be easier if someone didn't have to stay in Kyrgyzstan for 30 days...duh...but it is something that we could conceivably do ..Keith would stay with Aaron and whatever other kids went...if my parents would take the kids to school for me and be back up Keith's...haven't asked them yet! Surprise! Haha...of course, we have no timeframe. We were thinking Zeb and Lilianna might like a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Lilianna has been working on her Rosetta Stone Russian...she and I are about tied for the pathetically small amount of Russian we know!

I figure that we will get the go ahead when we have less than the $143 we have right now, and we will have to travel in the dead of winter. However, I will take it.

I look at one of the pictures we have of him ...one that was taken after we had sent him a care package that had our family picture in it. It just breaks my heart that he probably thought we were going to come for him like the other parents had been coming for some of the other kids at his orphanage and we never showed up. UG!

Anyway, in the past couple of years, we had been actively building our family...you know researching and seeking out adoptions and having bio kids. Now we are in passive family building mode! haha. Just getting our homestudy current and do whatever it takes to be ready for Aaron to come home. If he doesn't...I don't have any plans of finding a use for the homestudy! However, I heard someone speak at an adoption conference that said..."we always have a current homestudy because my family is open to whatever God has planned and we want to be ready for whatever blessing might come our way".

So, we are finishing our homestudy and will be submitting our I600 next week. We are skipping the I600A step and going straight to I600 because there is a special USCIS Kyrgyzstan representative and options. We are waiting for Adoption Alliance to get their Kyrgyzstan accreditation. There is some discussion on how long this will take. Elisabeth at AA has sent us an update that they have a bunch of paperwork ready and the in country rep has copies of it all and they will be ready to submit it as soon as they get the actual official requirements. Then we will need to get the new official dossier requirements that we will have to power through. Then the rematch, travel, court, immigration...it sounds easy doesn't it?! I feel like if we actually can get through the first step of agency accreditation then the other steps might happen too. Like I said cautiously optimistic!
We have a bus with a couple of open seats..we will have to get creative with seats at the table and bedrooms...but we are creative people.

Right now the kids are playing outside..they have been playing outside all afternoon even through a brief rain storm (with no lightning!). I just love watching them play outside.

I know it seems like we have a lot of kids but it doesn't seem that way to me. It isn't "our 7 kids" it is just O, Lilianna, Alex, Zeb, Ben, Zoe, and Violet. They aren't overwhelming when you look at them running around in the front yard....maybe a little at bedtime since no one wants to go to bed haha! When we go to adoption conferences we are the lightweights with only 7 kids haha (wimps). There are a lot of dishes and laundry and peanut butter sandwhiches - life is good.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

time flies

when you are totally exhausted by a newborn who refuses to sleep at night! I can't believe I have been off for 3 weeks and never got the house completely cleaned or posted anything on this blog! So bad. I also haven't gotten a full night's sleep.

Violet is a chow hound. She was back to her birth weight by 4 days old and at 14 days had gained 6 ounces. I think she might be my first child who is actually ON the growth curve. haha.

Lilianna had so much fun at her camp. She went to Camp Crestridge, which is the girl's camp associated with the Ridgecrest Center in Ashville, NC. She loved it. She wanted to go back next year for a whole month...that is a little bit too long for my baby to be away so we registered her for a 2 week session next year. I told her that she could go for a month the summer after next if she wants to. Lilianna also started dance classes 2 weeks ago. She goes from 430 until 830 on Tuesdays and is taking Jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical and hip hop. She is going to be in the Nutcracker in December which is going to involve a ton of extra practices I think (there is a nutcracker packet that comes out in November...that is ominous! haha. She has been doing really good (as far as I can tell) She really likes it and noone has called me to complain about her behavior so that is good!

Alex started back to school at the public school here. We have a meeting for her IEP on Tuesday. Right now she meets with her assistant for 30 minutes a day and has been expected to complete 4th grade work in all her subjects...ummmm...right. Everyday we asked her if she had homework and she said no everyday the first week. Then on Thursday she brought home a calendar and said "my teacher said you should sign this"...what do you think was in the calendar...all of her homework that she never did because either she is that much of a space case or she was hiding it from us so she could play. As a result, she didn't study for her spelling test on Friday until Thursday night.
On Friday we picked her up and asked her how she did on her spelling test and she excitedly told us she got 4 right. Lilianna said, if I only got 4 right I would cry. So this week, she has been a lot better about telling us her homework and she got 100% on her spelling test...yeah!
Of course next week she has a math test on division, multiplication, math terms and commutative and associative properties and she can barely add...and a test on a story they read in class that is testing nouns (proper, common, possessive) narrative styles and 8 vocabulary words that she "forgot to bring home" all week. She also forgot to bring home the story so we could help her study for her test. I don't know what is more frustrating her NOT bringing home the material she needs to study "on accident" or the thought of trying to study subject matter that is so far beyond her academic abilities right now that there is truly no hope. Oh well, we will see what happens at her IEP meeting.

We took Zebby to his 4K orientation this afternoon...it was fun. Zebby is sooooooo excited to be in 4K. All summer Benjamin has been sure that he is going to 4K too...even though we keep telling him he can't because he is only 3. Today, it finally sank in that he wasn't going to 4K and boy was he pissed. it was very sad. It is going to be difficult for them to be apart. Benjamin has never been apart from Zeb...literally. They have been at the babysitters, and in preschool together since Ben came home from the hospital. I suppose it will be good for them to be apart a little bit...but they are soooo good together (except maybe at bedtime).

Zoe is doing good...nothing to really update on her. She has been going to speech therapy for a couple of months now and has made such huge improvements in her speaking...I am very proud of her. She is really a smart cookie. I think she has some problems self-regulating a little bit, but she is really bright.

OK I go back to work tomorrow and yes...I do love my job...but it has been ssssooooo nice to spend so much time with my husband. Our anniversary was Friday. We have been married 4 whole years (and added 5 kids in 4 years...is that a record?) He is totally amazing. I am pretty darn lucky.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Violet Joy



Yeah....baby time. Friday afternoon I went to the dr and I was dilated to 4, 80-90% effaced and NOT in labor. I was supposed to be on call this weekend but luckily had found someone to cover for me on Friday and Sunday but was still scheduled to work on Saturday...and boy did I NOT want to work. I was definitely feeling miserable and pregnant. After my dr's appointment she told me to rest in the office for a minute because I might go into labor right then. Of course I didn't!
I ran home and did laundry, packed Lilianna for camp and tried to pay bills and balance the checkbook. Around 930 when I was almost done paying bills....so close....I started with some wussy contractions so off to the hospital we went.

I was having contractions when we got to the hospital but they were sooooooo wussy - they didn't even really hurt but I was so dilated and sooo miserable I wasn't going to take no for an answer haha. Luckily, my OB was here doing a csection so I got my epidural (yeah epidural) and we augmented those wussy contractions with some pitocin...all that got kicken around midnight. Around 4:20 Saturday morning I was still only dilated to 4 and almost completely effaced so they did an amniotomy and literally in 10 minutes I went to complete and we had Violet at 518. She had some buising on her face because I went to complete and she was delivered so quickly. She weighed in at 6pounds 12 ounces...a whole pound heavier than Lilianna!

I felt soooo terrible yesterday because I had been up all day and night and I was cramping so much worse than after my other 2 kids. One of the post-partum nurses told me that mom's always complain more about that the more kids they have had. Seriously, I don't remember the cramping being so bad...and it was really bad while breastfeeding yesterday. I feel SOOOOOOO much better today!

As usual I have been a terrible patient. Yesterday morning I threw up after a cup of morning medications...so I proceeded to call one of my friends while the nurse was standing there and ask him to talk to the nurse and give verbal orders for iv toradol and zofran. Then I refused my labs today (seriously, those numbers would not affect my care plan at all), and I also pulled out my iv today..it was kind of annoying me and I don't need it. Proven once again....dr's make the worst patients! I am sure I would have left yesterday (a day early) if I hadn't been feeling so terrible!

I already posted that LIlianna headed off to camp today. Keith brought her by the hospital to see Violet before she headed out. No one else has seen her yet. The parking at the hospital is a mess right now and I am sure my mom is at her wit's end with the other kids! It was soooo nice to not have to worry about somehow taking care of them and being in the hospital at the same time......THANKS MOM! I know it is tough for her because grandparents like to spoil grandkids and while my kids are great and mostly well-behaved. If you give an inch they try to take a mile and they can smell the opportunity for boundary pushing a mile way and turn into frenzied sharks ...especially at bedtime! haha.

Home tomorrow and 3 weeks off.....yeah!!!!!!!

The cake


this has cake wreck written all over it! But I gave it a good girl scout try! haha. I was covered in powedered sugar, frosting and sweat by the time it was finally frosted! yikes.

Lilianna loved it though...anyone want to buy a slightly used Wilton's powerpuff girl cake pan...cuz it won't get used again! haha

Lilianna's Birthday




I think this might be my first official cake wreck! boy will I NEVER make this cake again! There were like 100 different frosting colors and every single one of them needed the same decorating tip and I bought black in a can that was totally impossible to control and made all the black lines completely funky.

I can't believe my baby is 8 years old. She went to camp today and is sooo excited about it. She is growing up so fast!

Monday, July 25, 2011

37 weeks

Well...I made it to 37 weeks and I am fine if I don't make it to 38! haha. I have not been the best blogger in the last year...oops. I was going to try to be better and try to blog a little bit about being pregnant. While it started out shakey...um....like being so worried about telling Keith that I didn't tell him for 3 days. I quickly became very excited...so I was going to blog about it.

it is funny I had no problem blogging about the adoption process...but really haven't had that much to say about being pregnant. There are certainly many things to be excited about and many things to complain about...especially right now!

Things to be excited about:

1. Little girl baby clothes...come on... way cuter than boy clothes. Although, I must admit I did acquire a taste for cute boy baby clothes. By the way preemie baby clothes are much cuter than newborn babyclothes...looks like we won't need THOSE this time through!

2. A new little baby to cuddle with

3. Sleeping for more than 2 hours without needing to use the bathroom.

4. Taking 2 weeks off of work - boy do I need a vacation!

5. Seeing Keith walking around with the pink baby sling...so cute.

6. I totally love having a bus and #7 totally pushes us out of the minivan seating.

Bummers:

1. Yet again...we don't have enough rooms to make a nursery. Even though I have almost 7 children, I have never gotten to decorate a nursery. This is my last chance (someone knock on something wood) and what I get is the nook in the master bedroom. Oh well, the 3rd hand crib did get some brand new girl-y baby blankets!

2. Changing diapers for another 3 years.

3. The realization that by the time this little girl heads off to college, our oldest will be almost 30 and could be dropping off grandchildren for us to babysit.

4. Changing diapers for another 3 years. Oh did I say that already?

The joy behind the reasons to be excited totally outweigh the bummers...I know that is for sure. I am still kind of in awe or denial about some of the weird bummer things....

Like I can't believe we are likely going to have grandchildren before we have an empty nest. I guess the 3 years between Ben, Zoe and #7 isn't really all that much..I don't know why it freaks me out so much more.

I had also come to terms with no more babies. When we moved I got rid of a lot of baby things and said goodby in my mind to baby stuff and now we are about to re-invest in baby mum-mums (I had totally forgotten about baby mum mums .....YUM!....put that on the excited list).

So I will be walking along in the store or at home and will remind myself in total disbelief that we old 40 yo fogeys will be having a baby soon (ok keith is the only 40 yo fogey..I am still 38). It just seems very surreal.

Yes, we have finally picked out a name. It will, of course, remain top secret until there is a cute little face (and I am betting on a full head of hair) to go with it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Homeschooling

So I found out that we can officially start Lilianna's school year on July 1. Our K12 icademy year doesn't end until August so what I am going to do is use all of the hours from july 1st forward for this next 2011-2012 year and keep on with the icademy until August 22. After the icademy year is over we have a new and improved (and cheaper!) homeschool plan.

I really, really like a lot of the curriculum from K12. I like the math, language arts, history, science and art so we will keep those without teacher support. I hate the teacher support. Seriously, it is nothing but annoying to have to email in work samples and have conferences. I think I don't like supervision...it is part of my rugged individualism..haha! The language arts includes Grammar, Usage and Mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, analogies, literature, and test readiness. We have actually finished the analogies and vocabulary for the year...oops. it was just so easy for Lilianna to do on her own! I foresee test readiness going the same way!

The History is really well-rounded - I am re-learning a lot of really interesting stuff so I love teaching her that! She is also very good at getting through History assignments all by herself. She LOVES the art - it is kind of a pain to set up the art projects, but I have been using art as a reward and that has been working pretty good.

We have purchased a Rosetta Stone Homeschool version of Russian we are going to start soon, dance and guitar lessons are upcoming when she gets back from her visit to her bio dad's.

If we run school year roundish from July 1- June 30 I think we won't have some of the time stressors we have had for in the last 2 months. We need 1062 hours of instruction or 177 instructional days of 6 hours each to be compliant with Kentucky law. That is soooo doable!

I am really impressed at how much better Lilianna is at getting her homework done and she has calmed down so much at home since we pulled her out of school.

My big weakness....handwriting and composition. Lilianna hates to write so if anyone has any suggestions on composition programs or exercises...let me know!

In other news...I am as big as a house and every night I go to bed hoping to go into labor so that I can take 2 weeks off of work! I am sooo tired!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Where have I been!?

I have been really busy and really exhausted! Work has been very time consuming lately I must say. It is almost like a real job..haha. Seriously, I have been working and I have been staying up too late...way too late trying to get things done around the house.

I haven't gotten a whole lot of stuff done, but things have definitely been looking up on the house front. It has been really frustrating to have not really had the time or money to complete any of the projects around the house that we have been trying to do. We wanted to build a giant playground in the backyard...Keith has been making the plans for it for like 2 years and we have been purchasing the toys for like 2 years. We still have all the slides, swings...everything in the stable ready to be built...but we can't afford to prep the land in the back yard. We tore down a big patio thing-y, but there is cement underneath that needs to be jackhammered and hauled off and then the ground has to be levelled. It is so frustrating that we are ending the second summer of not being able to afford to build the playground for the kids. UGGGG!!!! We found a contractor that will do the jackhammer, removal and levelling thing...but we can't come up with the piddly amount of money it will take...they are also going to take some of our old furniture as payment...but we still can't come with it....so frustrating.

We have been trying to spend more time in the pool, because it is such good family time. It has been fairly cold around here at night though so the water is COOOOOOOLLLD. We wanted to put a heater in the pool and last year we decided we would do it this year....no such luck. So our pool is still freezing and we still can't afford a heater. I am still hoping that we will be able to pull off the playground...but I have no hope whatsoever that we will be able to eek out the heater in any way shape or form. Of course, these are things that I want..but I want them because I think it would be so nice for the kids and every year that goes by I just get more frustrated at myself for having gotten us into this stupid financial mess! UGGGGG!
Please don't get me wrong, we are choosing to spend our money paying off bills and other adoption related type things and we are happy with our choices it just gets frustrating to keep pushing these longstanding goals to the back of the line!

We have been able to get some things done though, we were finally able to get all of the crazy, overgrown brush around the house and pool taken down - which is super fabulous. We may be able to afford to actually buy some smooth white stones to fill up the beds around the pool and some black or red ones around the house...that would be really nice.

This weekend we are going to powerwash the weird 1970's cemented pebbly deck around the pool and totally empty the pool house and powerwash that baby so we can try to use it a little bit. There is a covered wood deck out there with a big brick charcoal grill thing (filled with plants and empty bottles and planters) that we are going to try to clean up too. So maybe after this weekend I feel a lot better about our home projects.

I have been pretty good at keeping up with the laundry, although I was on call last night and got a little bit behind when I slept all afternoon instead of doing yesterday's laundry! haha! It was a great nap! We cleaned a little bit today and actually vaccumed and steam cleaned 2 rooms downstairs....it is a miracle! haha.

Lilianna has been at dance camp all week and hasn't gotten in trouble yet...yeah! Tomorrow is a little recital that I will, of course, miss. Keith is going to record it with our 8 year old Hi-8 sony recorder...it is so outdated...haha...kind of like me! I am so glad we have it though because it is the difference between Lilianna being upset about me not being there and excited that we can watch her recital anytime we want. hurrah!

We have been working the Financial Peace U/Dave Ramsay thing since about October and we are slowly making progress...but it is sooo frustrating. We are about to start our kids on a "commission chart". So the kids are going to have to work to earn money. Lilianna has been doing adhoc chores around the house on a pay per chore basis trying to earn enough money to replace the computer she accidently broke so she has been really on the ball earning money. We are going to start a new chart system over the weekend - I am excited to see how it works.

Is this the longest post ever? maybe

Had an ultrasound today for measuring, weight estimates etc. She has a lot of hair and weighs about 4lbs, 10 oz...already bigger than Benjamin when he was born. She looks just like Ben...it is hysterical. Her head is huge too...it is measuring at 35w6 days and her femur is measuring at 32 weeks..haha. We are 33w0 today officially.

Now...I am off to fold 3 loads of laundry and try to get some sleep...the extra 25lbs makes it awful hard to get comfy at night and fall asleep...even though I steal every single pillow on the bed!

Monday, June 20, 2011

pictures




We have a couple of pictures from the Kyrgyzstan Heritage Festival we went to in Bethesda in May....Keith is looking very dashing and my picture hog children are hamming it up!
Zoe and Ben are modelling some of Zoe's birthday presents. They play together pretty good I must admit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birthdays continued...

Today is Aaron's birthday - he turned 8. When we started his adoption we were sure he would be home when he was 5....he had just turned 5 when we go this referral. In fact, he still thought he was 4. We orchestrated a birthday party for him when he turned 6. Maybe 9 will be his swimming birthday party. Actually, I bet he is more of a jumping castle kind of little boy. Hope we get to find out. We can only do what we can do I suppose!

In other news...ok there isn't that much other news..haha. oh wait...we bought a bus. I full on bus with a wheelchair lift, 10 seats in back, 2 seats in front..the little automatic bus door.
So we kind of need more kids to fill it up..haha.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Birthdays..

Our busy birthday season has officially started. Wednesday, Zoe turned 3. Although she still seems very early 2years old. She is such a girly girl it is hilarious. I do have pictures and I am really going to post them...really.

On Saturday we celebrated Zoe's birthday...but it was someone else's birthday too...Keith turned the big 4-0. He got a seven man crew of brush clearing magic for his birthday for 3 days of miraculous brush clearing. They totally cleared out the back yard, driveway and pool area on Saturday and it was like magic. Seriously, our yard was being reclaimed by nature...our house was empty for 3 years and then the maintenance and just trying to get through small projects was bordering on impossible even for someone as amazing at everything as keith is. Now we will have a manageable baseline to start from...yeah. I think I will take some pictures of the pool area today to show the comparison..it is an amazing difference.

The next June birthday is Aaron on June 12..maybe it will be his last birthday without a family...only time will tell I suppose.

Then it is Ben on July 5th, Alex on July 10, and Lilianna on July 31.

Of course, #7 could pop up anywhere along that timeline..could be June or July or as late as August.

I have about 45 minutes of naptime so I had better hustle if I want to get anything done!
O is coming up today for a week so I am trying to get the house a little less disastery because we all know how much housework Keith likes to do when O is here! haha....who wants to wash dishes when you can put together legos, play geeky strategy board games and video games?...ok I would rather do dishes than those things...but not Keith! haha.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our weekend..

This weekend we drove up to Bethesda to go the Kyrgyz Heritage festival hosted by the Kyrgyz Children's Future.

5 kids, one enormously pregnant and grumpy mom, and treacherous driving weather = a very, very, very long drive there! The kids really handled it well though...much better than I probably behaved...haha.

We got there on Friday night at about 830 and as we pulled up to our hotel I recognized another adoptive mom in the lobby from her blog. It was a pretty exciting time to meet people I have known online for years...literally...most of them I have known online since 2006 when I started the process to adopt Zebby.

Saturday, we went to the main day of events. Lilianna and Alex did some sewing and learned about musical instruments and Zeb played cars with another little boy who was a little bit younger than him. Then we bought a bunch of stuff at the "boutique". We listened to (ok I listened and the kids were in the same room as...) the telling of some Kyrgyz folktales. We had lunch from a buffet of traditional Kyrgyz dishes.

We had to leave before the after lunch festivities because the kids were just too worn out (and so was mom!) So we missed some music and dancing. We will catch it next year! haha.

Saturday night we walked over to the Mongolian Grill (yummmm!) with the funnest farm family there.... and then went for a walk around Bethesda! It was fun...and delicious. One of my more successful Mongolian Grill creations so far!

Sunday there was a picnic with some grilled Kyrgyz food. We went to the park early and rode the train there...kids loved it! We also played for a couple of hours at the park and they had some KILLER toys (killer meaning good not killer like merry go rounds from 1981 surrounded by cement and barbed wire). We got to the picnic around 130 and they were supposed to be serving food at that time but they were running a smidge late. The kids played and we gabbed for about an hour and then grumpy, hot, hungry kids (and possibly a mom) necessitated an early departure before the shashlik was served.....a bummer for sure!

It was a great time and I can't wait to do it again. It was an 8 hour drive and just a little much for me and some of the kids...ok maybe just for me! haha. Next time we will have to have a bigger car and stay for longer than one full day! We will take the time to make it into a homeschool field trip to the fun sights in Washington, DC.

We did take some pictures...believe it or not! Not as many as most people but some! Someday I will post them!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

End of the world

Ok....I think we have all figured out we are still here! I read an article on Friday that interviewed a family. The mother and father believed that Saturday was the end of the world and their three teenage kids didn't believe it. The mom and dad and made the kids leave school and drive to times square to stand around with signs about "judgement day". What I thought was strange about the family dynamic was when the mom was interviewed she said something like....well it is the end of the world and wish my kids were going to go with us to Heaven but apparently they aren't I guess some things aren't meant to be. Ummm....that is a pretty messed up way to parent. I mean if these parents truly, truly believe that their children are going to spend eternity in Hell...they should have been at home trying to convince them of whatever it was the parents believed was going to keep the kids out of hell. Seriously, what kind of message does that "whatever" attitude send to the kids! Instead the parents wanted to stand in Times Square wearing sandwhich boards....priorities people!

The kids were embarassed and the teenage daughter was talking about a party she wanted to go to Saturday night but thought her parents probably wouldn't let her go. I would think after they were willing to let her go to Hell they would be willing to let her go to a party.

I want to know what happened to that family! Did the daughter get to go to the party?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Random Zeb

Last night a worn out Zebby asked me if you only get adopted once. I told him yep and in a joking way grabbed him and gave him a big hug and said "my zebby" which is from his adoption story ( I grab him and say "my zebby" and then daddy changes his poopie diapie - yes it is a glamorous gotcha story!haha).

He said he wanted to go back to Kyrgyzstan and get adopted by us again only this time bring his star doll and then he started crying saying he missed his star doll. Ok. We bought him a sage minkee twinkle baby bonding doll that Shannon took over for him ( I think it was Shannon) when she picked up her son in April of 2007. We have some pictures of Zeb with his doll that plays on a screen saver on one of my computers. We picked him up at the beginning of August and the doll of course was no where to be found and even if it had been we wouldn't have insisted on bringing it with us.

He has mentioned that darn star doll more times than you can even imagine. Sooo last night I finally ordered him another one. Bad mom...I should have ordered one and brought it with us when we picked him up at the babyhouse. If we ever do an infant adoption again (ummmm....never....but I don't say that...you are just asking for it if you do! haha), that will be the way I roll.

Anyway, our sage minkee twinkle baby bonding doll is enroute...I also got a Lilac one for Zoe. They have tan faces, but none with dark brown faces...that is unfortunate it would have been really cute for Zoe. I probably should have gotten one for Ben too but he just got a super awesome monkey from babies r us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Faking it...

Ever have one of those moments where you feel like you are still a kid and faking being a grown-up?

I totally had one of those moments after I started Alvin and the Chipmunks for the kids and popped some popcorn. I was walking to the drink fridge and had that moment.

I spent most of my 20's feeling that way, but I haven't had that kind of moment in a long time!

Today is the last day of my vacation and it is the first day in 2 weeks that it hasn't been rainy and cold. I picked up the kids from school and we played outside. The pool people made it to our house last night around 6pm to open our pool..so our pool is officially open and it looks sooooooo inviting. Well the pool part at least. We are still in the process of clearing out the insane overgrowth around the pool - Keith cut down a ton of trees and brush around the pool, but there is some more refining to be done....all the crazy ground covering juniper and cactuses (cacti?). Why exactly they planted cactus around a pool is beyond me! I might take the kids out tomorrow to play and clean up around the pool. We never actually cleaned out the pool house last year and it may be missing part of a wall in the back where the pump goes into it! haha. It is a mess. We might clean up around the pool house if it is not inundated with wasps...I don't do stingy things!

Pumpkin (one of our 6 cats) joined us outside today...he brought down a little squirrel to play with so he could hang out and play with us. Then a little bit later we rescued (for the time being) a chipmunk from one of our other cats. Hence the big push by Zeb to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks. Wednesday night Keith and I came home to Jeb (another one of our cats) eating a bunny. A BUNNY! I didn't even know cats ate bunnies. I was very disturbed. Anyway...this summer our little predators are in full swing. This is their first Spring/Summer...they are young and apparently they are going to keep our rodent and bunny population down. I hope they take out frogs too...because I hated having frogs in our pool last year.

For Mother's day, Keith and the kids got me a new Purple Martin Bird house. We have one in the front yard and they bought me a new one that Keith put up in the side yard and it appears that some of the puple martins have moved in over there at the new pad. Hopefully the cats don't take out the purple martins!

So here is the evidence that I am actually a grown up:
1. I am excited about puple martins moving into a bird house I got for mother's day
2. I am excited about cleaning out a pool house
3. wrinkles, gray hair and maternity clothes..haha
4. I am getting ready to balance my checkbook and that oughtta do it
5. I got the room assignments for work on monday...bummer! I do LOVE my job...but I could really groove on staying home a little bit longer!

Pictures must be taken this weekend for postplacements so maybe I will get some of the pool house and puple martins. Then in like 6 months I will get around to posting them..haha!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some pictures






Yes...these were taken a long time ago too! Zeb and Lilianna built a snowman all by themselves. I made lagman all by myself and Zeb didn't like it! haha. I think I am going to make it again on thursday if I can find my awesome recipe from Shannon. I was just craving it today.

I might post some more pictures. I need to take some for Alex and Zoe's postplacement.

The world's longest delay





this is the world's longest delay in posting Christmas pictures!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

by the way.....

It was interesting to be at a gathering for the last 2 days where WE were the lightweight parents with ONLY 6 kids! haha. I think Keith was getting a little bit competitive....like "I am tough enough to handle 14 kids too"! hahhaa

Orphan Summit

Keith and I went out of town from Tuesday morning until Friday night. It was lots of fun. Tuesday we drove up to Lexington and met with our social worker to work on finishing our homestudy. We only have a couple more things to get together..our medical forms and the cats' medical forms (seriously ridiculous if you ask me!) and two more letters of reference.

Just a quick gripe here.....apparently to include in our homestudy that we are open to special needs...it will cost us $150 more. How backwards is that. It is $150 more to be open to special needs...In my opinion an adoption agency should try to make it easier for a family to be open to special needs...not more costly. It actually really makes me mad that a Christian adoption agency has the gaul to charge it's clients more for that. It doesn't seem very Christ-like to me.

Anyway, after our meeting we went SHOPPING! Did we shop....oh yes we shopped. We got a little cuddly bunny papasan swing which is the newest generation of the lamb swing that was the best baby investment I ever made with any of the kids....Benjamin would probably still be sleeping in it today if we could have figured out how to reinforce it for a 30 pound 2 year old. We bought a new infant carseat....we decided to retire the orange chico carseat after it's 4 year run as the official pumpkin seat. We bought a ton of clothes with a couple of preemie outfits to ward off evil spirits. We bought a couple of outfits for some of the other kids at the Carter's store....I hate that kids eventually grow out of Carters...it just doesn't seem fair!

I also bought 3 pairs of shoes. Keith wanted to buy some shoes so we went to like 4 or 5 different shoe stores and he didn't find any....but I bought 3 pairs....oooh yeah!

On Wednesday we headed up to Louisville for the Orphan Summit. I enjoyed the general sessions a lot but we made some poor break out session choices I think. We went to one Empower to Connect session which was really, reallly good. I think we are going to try to head to an Empower to Connect Workshop in Nashville later in the year. We could certainly use help with Alex! Of course, as all good parents, we left that session feeling like the worst parents in the world! haha. We also went to a great lunch session addressing the politics of international adoption with a panel from JCICS, CCAI, and NCAF. The representative from JCICS opened talking about the waiting Kyrgyzstan families...how surprised were we! haha!

On Wednesday night we ate at the Melting pot.....mmmmm. It was super good. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot of room in my stomach for food. This was by far the most delicious trip to the Melting Pot for us though. yum.
Thursday we crashed out after the conference and watched some tv.

Friday we drove home and got here right before bedtime so we got to spend some time with the kids. My parents stayed with the kids while we went out of town and they did awesome with the kids. We are soooo lucky that we get to do this every once in a while. I am thinking that finding a babysitter for a 3 day trip for 5 kids wouldn't be all that easy! haha.

It will definitely be a while before we can afford another shopping trip!

Monday, May 9, 2011

my vacation...

My 2 weeks of vacation started with my pager going off at 516 this morning and the house supervisor telling me that one of the surgeons was calling me in for a pediatric appey.....ummmm...I am on vacation NOT CALL! I am glad I had my pager on so I could straighten out the mix up...but then I turned it off! I was sleeping so good too. I finally went back to sleep but had a dream that I had to go in and do an epidural. Got up and got the kids ready for school.

Now Lilianna and I are trying to get a weeks worth of Math done today and a couple of hours of Science, Art and History. All of the language arts stuff can be done away from the computer and my mom can work with her on those while we are out of town! I am very excited about our short vacation.

We are leaving tomorrow for Lexington after we drop kids off at school. Tuesday will be a meeting with our social worker, then shopping for baby stuff, and dinner at a Mongolian BBQ (LOVE those). We might even go to a movie.

Wednesday morning we will meet with out social worker again then drive to Louisville. We have a preconference meeting at 1-4pm...then dinner and a free concert at the church our conference is. I am really excited. Then the conference is on Thursday and Friday. We had such a great time at Together for Adoption 2 years ago. There isn't going to be a day for sleeping in but that is ok!

The last breakout session on Friday ends at 415 and then we will head on home. We won't get home until after bedtime probably. It is no trip to Playa del Carmen like the other anesthesiologist who is on vacation this week..but I am really excited!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Christian Alliance Orphan Summit

I am officially on vacation for the next 2 weeks....yeah! Next week we are heading to the Christian Alliance Orphan Summitt in Louisville and I can't wait. We are taking some break out sessions on starting adoption/orphan care ministries and we are taking some break out sessions on the empowered to connect pathway. I am seriously looking forward to those sessions.
Every time we seem to make some progress with Alex we find more issues. We had been having problems with finding toys in Alex's bed. She would steal them from her brothers and sisters and hide them in her bed. Very institutional I know. That has diminished and then in the last week, we had been noticing toys randomly showing up places and messes magically appearing overnight...so today we figured out that Alex has been getting up in the middle of the night to go play.
I know in the grand scheme of things and older child adoption this isn't that big of a deal. But of course there is the lying, and acting out that accompanies the discovery of these events. The question is what we should do about it? Is it a big deal?
The thing that is the big deal to me is the lying and the disrespectfulness to the toys she played with at night...a lot of them have mysteriously turned up broken in the last week (before we discovered her nightly visits to the land of unsupervised toy breaking). Most of these toys are Lilianna's toys that were delicate and for older kids so we moved them out of the playroom and the girls' bedroom to keep them from getting broken or stuck in little 2 year old trachea's! So it was another of many examples where Alex has negatively affected Lilianna's life.

Honestly, it is really difficult working on attachment (my attachment to her) when she keeps doing things to hurt the other kids. I know it is not something that people talk about...but it is hard for me to bond with my kids....It has been hard with all of my kids bio and adopted. It has taken me months with most of my children to really attach. It has been even harder with Alex because she does these things which create feelings of protectiveness in me towards the other kids. I am doing the old tried and true fake it til you make it. Everytime we figure out another layer of lying I have to question and revisit who I think Alex really is...how much of her "personality" and her behaviour can I believe or does she have an elaborate plan of manipulation in progress.
Then, of course, is the inevitable perception of everyone outside our immediate family. You know the ones...the "oh she is sooo sweet, how can she possibly be in trouble...clearly you are strict, over reactive, and mean mean parents....Alex is such a poor baby". Keith actually got into a fight on the phone with one of Alex's teachers when we refused to let her go on a school field trip to the movie theatre. OK...what chaperone is going to watch Alex (a large 9 year old) as if she were a 4 year old. Alex is more likely than our 4 year old to walk right out the front door of the movie theatre and into traffic.
That being said, I really do believe that Alex is a sweet little girl who loves her brothers and sisters. She has been through a lot and has issues to process so to speak. She has lots of things to learn and hurts to heal so that she isn't sad on the inside. I do not for one second have any regrets about how are family has come together. It does, however, get frustrating at times. Our issues are small in comparison to some of the issues other parents have....and I am not talking about adoptive parents...I am talking about all parents.
I know we will get there and everytime we have a problem I do remind myself of the problems we HAVEN'T had to deal with and that in itself has been a true blessing. We decided to adopt older children and more children because we love being parents and it is such an amazing blessing to see kids grow and change and become these special and different little people. Sometimes I wish we had a litte more free time and less stress so we could enjoy them a little bit more! haha.

Critically looking at our life right now...are we ready for the arrival of another baby....ummm...NO! Are we ready for Kyrgyzstan to reopen and for Aaron to join our family....um....NO! Are we ready to even plan for company.....ummm NO! but I have an ace up my sleeve. That's right....I have 2 weeks off. I have a cape that says "Super Mom" on it and I am not afraid to use it. We are going to come back from the Orphan Summit with plans and goals and new tools. Then I am going to whip this house into shape and whip our household into a well-oiled machine. OK....that might be a little bit unrealistic...but I am going to pray and plan and make my expectations match what is actually possible. I am going to clean and I am going to organize my house, our clothes, our time. It is going to be a productive 2 weeks.

I have rambled on for quite a while! I am disappointed and overwhelmed at times...but apparently I am also pathologically optimistic!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power