Monday, December 31, 2007

It's gonna be rough

Well, I guess from my previous posts you've already guessed it's going to be rough overseas. But this morning I got a little taste of just how rough it's going to before my kids here at home. Yes, I know that they'll miss us, but both my kids are very resilient and very easily adapt to change, so I know that they will be fine while we're gone. Plus they're better off here than in the unknown conditions we'll face overseas.

But this morning Kristopher woke up and as he walked through the house he started saying "Daddy, I'm up, I'm awake, let's go watch cartoons!" Then he got to our room only to discover that Mike had already left for work. He's been off since the 18th or so, and K has really enjoyed having him home! Kristopher left my room and came out to the family room, presumeably to watch cartoons and I dragged myself out of bed (after all it WAS almost 8am!).

I found this pitiful scene when I got to the family room: Kristopher lay curled up in a ball on the couch. No toys, no books. The TV was off but he was awake. When I came in he said nothing like a 'hello' or a 'goodmorning' and instead said "I miss him..." with that tiny sad voice that your kids can turn on and melt you with :( So we called Daddy and were happy to hear that the office will be closing at 12:30 today and he'll be home then :) But man, this is going to be rough!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A prayer request

Tonight I received a call from a friend with an unusual question. A little background info first... I had shared with this friend that Mike and I were deciding whether we were going to try to find someone that would meet up with me overseas after Mike comes home. Partially for security, partially for an extra set of hands and some company- especially on the flight home. We also had discussed (and mentioned to a few students) the possibility of seeing if there is a college student that would like "out" and would like to move in to our guest room and essentially 'rent a room' from us in exchange for a few hours of help with the kids each week. This would be especially helpful during the first few months we are home with many doctor's appointments, etc. that we would rather not bring all the kids to. And although we have wonderful family and friends, we recognize that this will be right after taxing our resources and our friendships by depending on their help while I am away.

Ok... so the phone call... My friend said that her former childcare provider (who works as a 1-2-1 with children with special needs in Maine I believe) would like to adopt some day- a child with Down syndrome- from overseas! Pretty neat I'd say! But... there's more... This girl is not yet married or finished with school (partially done with college) so her adoption plans are not going to happen for a few years. She would, however, LOVE to come along on our trip overseas to help us and to see for herself what things are like. She also might consider coming back with us and helping us out at the house until August.

Sounds to me like it fits like a glove... but I have a few hesitations. One is whether this person I've never met is going to REALLY want to spend that much time with my husband and I (or even just me if she comes after he leaves) and whether she is going to be happy about offering to come and stay in my 'urban camping' apartment (I've been promised 4 walls and a toilet and told to be ecstatic if we get more!). I'm sure there are a few more thouhts but those are the only ones that come to mind.

So my request- would you please pray that "M" as well as Mike and I are able to clearly know whether she is supposed to be a part of our international adoption journey and possibly our family thereafter for a time? It is a big decision and needs to be made before we book our tickets... probably.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

The most original (and treasured) gift I received

This Christmas I got a BIG surprise. My sister whom I miss because she moved to MN almost a year ago is down for Christmas. And although I knew she'd bought the children each a small gift and she brought me down a 'surprise' because I couldn't buy it here, she also blessed me with the most original and treasured gift I've gotten in a long time.

She took the time (LOTS OF TIME) to print out each of my blog entries since late August when I started this blog along with all the pictures onto scrapbooking colored paper. She then assembled a scrapbook and made me a REAL BOOK with all these entries telling of our adoption journey this far!! And it has room to grow (LOTS!) as we complete this journey so I can add to it until Aleksa is home!

I'm sure there was no way that I could really get her to know HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS GIFT, but let's say I have it on my dresser and each time I walk by it (at least 5 times a day) I open it up and just look. It's amazing! I can't think of a better way to have made these electronic entries into something that we can sit and look at and read together and remember the journey. I can't find an "adoption book" for older children (like a baby book but with adoption benchmarks instead of first tooth and birth weight, and even better would be for kiddos with special needs!).

And just as a side note this is the same amazing person that is taking 3 weeks off of work to fly back down here in 3 weeks (she'll only be home for 2!) and watch my kids while Mike and I are overseas. Isn't she wonderful?? I LOVE YOU ELIZABETH!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


YAY!!! What a wonderful late Christmas gift!! Our SDA appointment in Aleksa's country is.... JANUARY 21st!!!

Not just a Christmas gift, BUT also a great early birthday present as well! I will be 26 on January 22nd! :D :D

Start praying please! More later...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

I'll have to post the picture of the kids with Santa after Christmas unless I find a miraculous minute in the next day or two, but I still wanted to wish all of my blogging friends a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Brianna Update

Although this is supposed to be our "adoption" blog, there's no real news there. So here's a little about what Brianna has accomplished lately...

Brianna is AMAZING. That's the only way I can put it! She pulled to standing once about 2 weeks ago and although she hasn't accomplished it again yet, she is getting into a tall-kneel and putting one foot up :) She's on her way and I bet she'll have it figured out in the next few weeks. Also, some of you may not know that Brianna's primary mode of transportation is on her fanny. Yep, she scoots everywhere on her butt! We tried for a while to get her crawling but to no interest of her own. Well... while I was on the phone today sitting on the floor, she looked at me, grinned, then CRAWLED on all fours! PERFECTLY! It was only about 3 or 4 feet, but she did it! I'm so proud of this little munchkin!

And in communication she has just blossomed lately! Just a few weeks ago we'd ask her questions with no reply or a grunt or nod. She has some words, has some signs, but used them sparingly and not always on-demand. This kiddo has come out with 3-part signs now! She'll ask for more-eat-please or more-milk-please or more-play! She's waving hello and goodbye and even saying bye-bye every time now. She also is saying please and thank you pretty consistantly and loves to blow people kisses when they're leaving (although it's pretty much the same as thank-you ;) ). She's also learned a lot of animal signs lately and in addition to her dog and bird signs she is signing (granted not all the time...) cat, sheep, cow, and pig, and has attempted fish and a few others.

We used to have a hard time with me being around during therapy because she just wanted to be held or cuddled when I was around so I started leaving and watching from the other room while involved with something else. I usually stick around a few minutes at the beginning just so she knows I'm not running away and then I slowly slip out. On Wed when she had speech she looked at me, waved and said bye-bye, and pointed out the door! She then signed 'play' to her ST! She was ready to play and ready for me to leave.

Her absolute favorite sign is baby. She loves her baby dolls but even moreso loves the baby I watch during the day. Little AB is 9 months old and I think she has had a big hand in teaching Brianna some of these recent gross-motor milestones. She crawls and pulls to standing, so although we haven't been able to convince Bria that it's a good way to go- AB seems to have done that for us! Thanks baby girl!!

Brianna will be 2 in a week and along with her big brother is the joy of our days!

I love you Tiny!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

God's provision

Well, today is day 21 of our 20 day wait... and yes, we're still waiting!

On a side note, today was a very long day. It began when the baby I watch was brought to me with a mild case of hives. Not a really big deal because they started yesterday and we just went through this with her a few weeks ago and this looked EXACTLY like it had then... it was an allergic reaction. About an hour after she was dropped off we all pile into the van to go to the church where I (usually) drop off the kids for a few hours to get a little Mommy break :) But, this morning it was going to start a half hour later so I planned to drop by the post office to get Kim's monkeys in the mail.

When we were finally all ready to leave I realized that the little one's face had about 10x as many hives as she got to me with, and her feet were really patchy and swollen as well. So I called her dad and instead of hitting the post office (sorry Kim!) I dropped her off to her Daddy. Then off to the church for what could-have-been a morning off. Except today was Kristopher's age group's special mommy-day and they were making ornaments, singing Christmas carols, and icing cookies for 2 hrs instead of having regular class. Parents must attend (not that I wouldn't... :) ).

So I brought Brianna to her class just in time for her PT to come and have a WONDERFUL session with her (Bria stood unsupported for 3-4 seconds two different times! YAY!) And Kristopher and I headed over to the gym for a little running. Then we listened to the Christmas story, made ornaments, iced cookies and sang carols. Eleven o'clock rolled around and Kristopher and I snuck off to the post office (see, I really did get the monkeys out!) then headed back to the church to pick up Brianna and to have lunch with Mike. About this time I called the baby I watch's dad and arranged to pick her up from their house after lunch. An uneventful day at the doctor- they pronounced her free from STREP and decided it must be another allergic reaction-- no idea what!

We swallowed down lunch, picked up the baby, got home, unpacked the van (including children!) and got everyone to lay down for a little rest. Somehow this time went by and I'm not sure WHERE it went... but it did. And then everyone was up and bustling around and playing HARD. Four o'clock came around, the baby got picked up, my tutoring student showed up, and I somehow breathed twice in the midst of it. That's about when the fun began.

Kristopher decided that it was a good idea to 1) scream loudly from his little snack table and see if he could talk Bria into getting in trouble with him by screaming back 2) throw little balls at Brianna's head and continue to do so after he's been told not to just to see what would happen 3) talk back and generally "mouth off" to his mother when he was told to go to time-out for hurting his sister 4) throw things at the walls in his room when he was finally sent there for a time...

Needless to say I felt really bad for my student and apologized when his mom was back an hour or so later. He did great in the midst of the chaotic house and Mike did get home sometime in there and rescued me from the little monster-boy (Kristopher, not my student ;) ).

Whew. I'm tired just writing that... but here's the cool part- did you make it this far?? :)

When I'm done tutoring I asked Mike what he'd like for dinner and like a sweet husband that KNOWS that I'm spent and really don't want to make ANYTHING for dinner, much less starting at 6pm, he says "Why don't we go out?".

Well, that's the question, isn't it? And I had a reply on the tip of my tongue just WHY we shouldn't go out-- it's the WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, we're trying to ADOPT, we have a HOUSE ON THE MARKET, Mike's in GRADSCHOOL... all these seemed like good reasons why we don't go out to eat. But... I was spent. So we spent.

Mike suggested Sonny's and I thought, "ok, I have a coupon for $5 off and we'll just get something inexpensive". So we went out. And when we went to pay our bill it was $26, then the coupon brings it down to $21, and a tip back up to $26. Mike hands the casher the slip and coupon then stands and waits for her to ask for his card. She needed a manager 'card' to scan to input the coupon so she went and got one, then when she asked Mike for his card she instead looked down, saw what looked like a gift card on the counter, and swiped it. OOPS! It was the "manager's card". It MESSED UP their system!

So 10 minutes later we were finally able to pay our bill and they had to get the ?owner? out there to fix the mess that this card had made. And guess what? He reduced our bill by 50%! So now our $26 dinner (including tip) was $12! We added the tip back on to that and dinner for 4 ended up being $17. What a night. I guess God knew how much we needed a night out. Even if it is Christmas and we have other financial responsibilities. Isn't God's provision great?

Monday, December 10, 2007

I need a nap

Many of you who know me well hear this phrase as my anthem :) But did you know that I have another blog? One more family-related than adoption-based? It's called, ahem, "I Need A Nap" and you can view it at :)

And after you read about my day today, you'll know that I really DO need a nap ;)

After my littlest one gets picked up by her folks I'll post the picturs and song that I learned from my son's closet today :)

Christmas lights and Coral Snakes- Maybe FL isn't so great after all

Yesterday I finally got the lights on our Christmas tree (it's been up over a week) and I even convinced Mike to get up on the roof and put lights on the house :) So Kristopher went to play on the swingset on the side yard in the fenced area with the dogs and I set Brianna down in the grass to play while I pulled weeds, cut bushes back, and handed new strands of lights up to Mike on the roof.

After almost an hour Kristopher very calmly came around to the front of the house and said "Mom, there's a snake over there." Ok, we live in Florida. We live in a pretty wooded area, and we have black snakes pretty often. No big deal. So around the corner I go and ask K to show me the snake. He walks RIGHT UP TO IT and points. IT'S A CORAL SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I quickly rehearsed the short "Red and Yellow kill a fellow, Red and Black a friend to Jack" and said, oh yes, this one is poisonous! I grabbed Kristopher (yes, before rehearsing my little poem :) ) and called Mike off the roof. Yep, he was on his way already. Luckily my super-wonderful-ever-protective-saved-my-kid's-life dogs had already killed the snake.

When Kristopher and I walked back out to the front yard he said to me "Mom, I hit it with my shovel!" WHAT?? Yes, fearless. Oh, to be three again, but how do you put a healthy fear in a little boy??? He and Mike had that nice little chat and by the end he was at leas saying things like "I shouldn't touch snakes" and "If I see a snake I need to walk away and find Mom and Dad"...

Ugh. Thank God Kristopher is ok. And here's a little pic of my heros :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Day 15 and Cyrillic

Tomorrow is Day 15 of our 'supposed to be' 20 business day wait to hear of an appointment date. Maybe this week?? Maybe?? Poor Charissa has already been waiting longer than I have and still no date. Bummer!

In the mean time I am attempting to learn some Russian. At least how to pronounce their alphabet, which, may I say, is REALLY confusing??

For instance-- something that looks like a P is pronounced like an R. And what looks like an n is really said like an l. An r sounds like a g, and something like a u? or a y maybe? sounds like 'ts'. Then there's this letter that looks like an X with a vertical line through it and it makes the 'zh' sound... Oh, my favorite? The #3 and the #6. 3 is a letter and sounds like a z. And 6 (although this makes a little more sense) is a b. Hmmm... guess I have a LOT to learn!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Thank you everyone that has been praying for our decisions. However difficult they were, we are now at peace with what we have come to. Please continue to pray for all of the waiting angels as well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Speaking of Angels...

The first picture is Daria. A sweet angel still waiting for a family. And the second? My Brianna. The rest of the story? Here you go...

Daria will soon be FIVE years old. Yes, that is a recent picture. Taken this year. Can you believe she is four in those pictures?? Brianna likely outweighs Daria at a measley 18lbs. Daria is estimated to be 15. She is holding on. Barely. And time is closing in on her.

My heart is consumed for this little girl tonight. She needs some strong arms to protect her, and a strong heart to keep her going.

Please say a prayer for little Daria tonight. You can also visit her on the Angel Tree.

Books, and Kristopher

Yesterday Mike and I took the kids to Orlando and went to a quick dinner at Panera's. Then we went to Barnes and Noble and found 2 pocket phrasebooks, a book about the culture and history of Aleksa's country, a book suggested to us by the Reece's Rainbow moms called "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk", and a book called "We are Adopted". I can't seem to get through the kid's book without crying so far, so I'm not sure how that'll go over, but we wanted to get something that will explain the process a little with Kristopher.

Also, speaking of the big boy, we've been having these little spikes of "jealousy" with him lately at the idea of adoption. Although these are VERY normal, we're trying to help him understand his place in our family a little better- that he'll always be loved and always be our "big boy". He's helped pick out some clothes and things to give him a little bit of ownership, but I suppose it's just going to take some time. In the next few weeks our "rest time" is going to be spent with a little more 1-1 time with K and hopefully that will help some. Today at rest time he wanted to lay down and watch his little movie though (which is our usual routine) so we'll see what happens.

Monday, December 03, 2007

There are no orphans

Wow, that's all I could say. Avalon sings this song "There are no Orphans"...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Birthday Aleksa!!

Well, we don't know of the date of Aleksa's birthday, so I guess we will celebrate this entire month! This is likely the first time that anyone is celebrating Aleksa's birth and her life, and the last time that she will have to be alone for it. Although this birthday isn't going to be a special day for her, nor will she likely even know that there is a reason to celebrate, but SOMEONE should be happy, and SOMEONE should be celebrating, and from this point on--- it's ME!!! I'm looking forward to having a "Homecoming" party for Aleksa when she has been home for a short time so that we can celebrate each of her 5 years.

In the next few weeks I'll be posting a few new fundraising things that we're going to do to raise money to bring home Aleksa. Here are a few ideas I've received, let me know what you think:
1. a "virtual raffle" of a handmade lap quilt (buy a chance for $5, I'll make a lap quilt and mail it to the winner)
2. an online Princess House party where the amount of "product" earned for us (a portion of the total amount sold) will be donated to our RR account instead of being redeemed as product.
3. e-bay auction with the total amount benefitting our family adoption fund

A few other great ideas- several of which I may consider still, but those are the top of my list this far :)