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!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power