March 31, 2008

Check out that ticker...

Less than two weeks until our court date! Deep breathing...shoulder rolling ensues...this is really going to happen. Exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

That is all I have for you today.

Except to say that the nesting bug has hit big time. I'm currently taking Ella's bed apart. It is not pretty. I always wait for Seth to leave town to start some insane project like this. Later today I plan on picking up Salome's mattress. I will single-handedly wrangle it out of Moby and through the corridors that we call living space. I am certain that I can handle that.

Ella is quite excited about adding another bed to her room. If only she could remember that pesky sister's name. Right now she is known as, my-sister-whats-her-name-again? Such a long name for such a small little girl. Ella and I will be spending the rest of the week wrestling with these beds; it will provide ample time to quiz her on her sister's name. I told her she could call her Sally if she wanted (since ALL of her babies are named Sally, I thought that would be easy to remember). That overachiever refuses to take the easy way out.

March 27, 2008

General Excitement

This week our agency has called several families with referrals. Before this, we were the last family to get a referral--so a week like this has been long anticipated. We heard news a while ago that 9 children were moved into the transition home--and this week their families got The Call. Go visit the Wests, the Kidds, and the Cordells if you'd like to relive the excitement of getting the news. There were also referrals of four older children. I was wondering if our little girl had lost all of her playmates after the last few families travelled and brought home their children. I'm glad that she has some older kids to play with. I keep trying to picture what they are doing, but it's nearly impossible!

On the preparation-for-travelling-in-hopefully-a-month front...We have made some very serious progress. Well, I haven't made any progress. My dear relatives have. My aunt, cousin, mom and grandma spent last week furiously sewing, assembling jewelry, and baking. The baking is unrelated to the preparation-for-travelling-in-hopefully-a-month, but it was a blessing because I didn't have to make a cake for Ella's birthday. Well worth publicly thanking them AGAIN, because they did a much more excellent job than I ever could have. My cousin is so sweet to spend her spring break working her fingers to the bone. Not very many 15 year olds would be willing to do so, she's a very *special* girl. To avoid any jealousy amongst the family--You are all special! You've blessed me beyond words! They worked on a quilt that has been in progress for over a year. That is another post in itself and definitely requires pictures, so I will wait on that.

Here's the progress...

earrings made: 19 pairs (extras to avoid being without a gift when we need one)

bracelets made: 14

aprons made: 14 (though this wasn't the sewing I referred to)
lotion sets purchased: 4

Still working on the gifts for the men--thanks for the ideas that you guys have given us. I'm going to try to find some inexpensive all-in-one tools. Perhaps our fall back plan will be t-shirts and/or hats.

Here's our birthday girl modeling a much too large apron (this one is lacking the pockets on the front) for the AW house nannies. She obviously isn't going to pursue a career in modeling as she is perpetually grumpy about being forced to have her picture taken.
These are some of the other aprons. We are bringing jewelry for the ladies in addition to the aprons, because I couldn't bear the thought of just giving them some "work clothes". My hope is that they will be happy to have kiddos spitting up on the apron and keeping their clothes clean. Trying to be practical here!

March 26, 2008


I may or may not have mentioned it, but every other Friday I get an update on our kids. Rachel is an America World employee who moved (with her husband) to Ethiopia in January. She helps run the transition home, where both of our kids have been for just over a month. This Friday she sent photos of both kids and a little blurb on their well being.

I have to say...our daughter looks like she has some attitude. She's so adorable, wearing these Dora-turned-JLo glasses trying to be serious. Very glam. I'm looking at these pictures and I am praying, praying, praying that she and Ella are best friends. You can only learn so much from a few lines and a few photos, but she seems to have some personality (as if we are wanting for personality around here). I'm so anxious to finally meet them and it's only been a month since we got our referral. I can't believe how different our son looks from the referral picture. Babies change so quickly--I feel like we are missing so much. I know, it's only been a month.

Rachel also sent an email listing off some of the needs of the transition home. I would love to pack one suitcase full of these things. If you live around me, let me know if you are interested in helping out with donations. I guess, if you'd like to pack a few things and mail them to me, that would work, too!
Here is the list:
Multivitamins (Tri-vi-sol, Poly-vi-sol, Chewable multi-vitamin (2 years to 9 years), Adult multivitamin)
Tylenol (acetaminophen--Infants, Children’s,Suppository)
Syringes for giving medicines (5mL)
Bulb syringes
Baby nose saline spray
Desitin or other cream for diaper changes
Benadryl liquid/elixir
Permetherin for scabies
Lice kits
Hand sanitizer
Moisturizing lotion: (Eucerin or aquaphor or cetaphil)

March 25, 2008

When does spring start anyway?

Two days in a row Eli has gotten out of bed and asked to wear shorts. We still have snow on the ground. A pretty good amount of snow. Yesterday, after I told him it was still snowy, he replied, "I hate snow." I agreed. It's been a LONG winter. Our snowy days are still around, even if the calender says that it's spring.

There are loads of reasons why I'm...done...with...snow. We are suffering from a smidge of cabin fever. To avoid constant bickering, I endure the "going outside to play" routine.

This is a little taste of what goes down in our house on a day like today...

The kiddos start going stir crazy. I cringe and tell them to put on a sweatshirt then two pairs of socks. That gives me enough time to lay everything out in appropriate piles. I've got this down to a science.
After wrestling on snowsuits, boots, gloves, hats, and coats are donned (in that order--I tell you, it's a science). Approximately 20 minutes have elapsed since the mention of playing in the snow.

I send everyone into the backyard and I stay inside. At the beginning of the season, I was a good mom. I had my own pile of things to wear and scrambled into them so I could join in the fun. But, I've honestly HAD ENOUGH OF THE SNOW.

I can never tell how long the playing will last so I grab a cup of coffee and start to make phone calls. While on hold with a doctor's office, I hear the first grumblings that someone is ready to come in. I shoo him away, but pretty soon all three kids are ready to come in. The fun of snow is wearing off for them too.

I relent and let them all in and we begin the undressing procedure. Which means they shed everything on the front porch with wild abandon. I'm not sure if the 20 minutes of stillness I enjoy is worth all the work.

I'm thankful that it doesn't USUALLY snow in May, since I'm not sure how well our two new kiddos will take to the snow. I have big plans to stow all of our winter gear in the closet tomorrow. If I pretend that spring has sprung, maybe it will happen. Perhaps Eli is under the same delusion. Putting snowboots away is one thing; I draw the line at letting him wear shorts while snow is on the ground.

Totally unrelated to adoption

Seth showed me this trailer on Youtube yesterday. I was THRILLED to see it because this is something near and dear to my heart. I'm keeping you in suspense on purpose, because I want you to click on the link. Perhaps you'll get sucked in and watch the trailer. IF you watch the trailer, then you'll have to watch the documentary.

March 20, 2008

Life in a sitcom

Sometimes my life seems like an episode of "I Love Lucy". I had a few of those moments this week. Moments when I actually felt like I stepped into TVland. All that's missing is red hair and Ethel.

Monday morning I noticed a bit of black ooze under my fridge. I immediately thought about how expensive it would be to replace our fridge. Then I wondered why motor oil would be leaking out of the fridge. Hmm. How doofey can I be? In an attempt to try to solve the riddle, I opened the fridge door and was greeted by a gallon of homemade tomato soup. Dripping from the second shelf, filling the lower level then oozing in small streams onto the floor. There it sat oozing and turning black, all...night...long.

Where do you even start? First, I took the offending bag of soup out of the fridge.

"Bag?!" You say.

Yes, a bag. A big ol' gallon ziploc bag. One of those nice sturdy ones that I like to fill with soup then freeze. One of the kind that they do wacky stuff with in the commercials. One of the kind that has an inch long slice in the side to allow foodstuffs to spew out in your fridge...wait...

Yep, upon examination, there is a perfect inch long slit in the side of the bag. I gulp and call my cleaning crew. Which consists of Ella and Eli. Everett is heavily entrenched in the American Revolution right now. He's unaware of the horrors going on in the kitchen. One kid dispenses papertowels to me, the other holds a Wal-mart bag for the trash. I have to sop up the soup (say that 5 times fast) then empty the lower racks into the sink. Sadly, my fridge needed to be cleaned, it's unfortunate that it took this to make me do it.

The fridge looks grand. I didn't bother cleaning the upper racks. It is the middle of the school day, you know.

Then lunch comes. We eat. I momentarily forget that I am a responsible mother. I pass out hard candy to my children. I leave the room. I return to find my youngest choking. I'm not talking about an I-will-be-okay-cough. I'm talking about a DIAL-911-he's-going-to-die-choke. I rub his back and encourage him to cough if he can. I realize I'm a complete fool because I don't know how to properly Heimlich a small child. He is in a situation that would require this, I fear. He's slobbering, I'm maintaining a facade of calm. I feebly attempt a heimlich when he spews a piece out. He spits up in my hand a bit. Then he turns to me and full on retches. All over. I honestly don't care, because he's okay, allbeit covered in vomit. But that makes two of us. So we hug a vomity hug and I cry. Long and hard. I thank God that the nasty piece of candy came out. Rule #278 is born. "No hard candy, large lollipops that can be broken into small pieces, or anything that slightly resembles hard candy allowed in our house."

As I'm changing out of my tomato soup and vomit clothes, I wonder, "Why?" You know? Why did we need to sop up the mess or see Eli almost die (he was straining to breath so hard that he popped blood vessels in both of his cheeks). I don't feel like a better mom because we made it through 'A Day.' Getting into clean pants I pause and think, "God, is this your refining fire? Because I didn't expect it to be so messy. I don't feel refined. I feel nasty and tired."

Yeah, I'm spiritual like that.

Since I didn't learn the intended lesson the first time, you will never guess what greeted me Wednesday morning. Black ooze under the fridge, again. I'm pretty laid back about it this time, just figuring that I hadn't got it all the other day. I'm kind of slow in the morning. Cut me some slack, I get up EARLY. I open the fridge and blast it all if the second bag of tomato soup hadn't tipped over and leaked from the top shelf down. Let me interject that there wasn't a hole in this one, it just leaked, and this leaking has never happened to me before. Evidently, I really need to learn something from this, because it didn't just leak along the edges of the fridge this time. It filled up each shelf, saturating every item on the shelves until it reached the drawers then filled them too.

Now, I've got some experience in cleaning tomato soup out of fridges. I've also got some experience with not trusting advertisers of gallon ziploc bags. What else shall I learn from this? That I can make time in the middle of my day to scrub the shelves of the fridge? Ella and Eli make good helpers, if I give them detailed instructions? Perhaps the lesson would be that Everett, once 'into' a book, may not notice if a nuclear bomb dropped in our kitchen and he certainly would not help clean up any mess leftover from it.

My fridge is certainly the cleanest, prettiest it's been since it left the showroom. Here's a picture to prove it. And, yes, there was food in the fridge before 'the incident' and we went to the grocery store to replace it all that afternoon. Sigh.

March 18, 2008

We have a date!!

We are scheduled to have court April 11!

We are NOT there for court. Our agency representative takes our place and we pray that all the paperwork will be okay and our case passes. Then we will get to pick up the kids 2 or 3 (or more) weeks later.

April 11 seems kind of far away. In reality its just 3.5 weeks away. Not that I'm already to change the Lilypie counter..

I've been tagged...

That sounds so bad. In the strange world of blogs, it's comparable to getting a forward from a friend asking you to list things about yourself. Surely you know what I'm talking about.

I feel loved.

Here are the rules:
You have to tag 5 people and you can't tag the person that tagged you. You leave them a comment on their blog letting them know you are tagging them and why. Also, direct them to your blog for instructions. It is also asked that you notify the tagger when you post your list so that they can enjoy reading the responses.

Here are 10 things about me:

1. Yesterday, I came to the sudden and terrifying realization that I don't know how to properly dislodge candy from kid's throats. Thankfully, after much struggle, Eli spewed out the forsaken candy and proceeded to vomit all over both of us. I've never been so happily covered in vomit in all my life.
2. I have since become as familiar with the dear Heimlich as I can (the internet is a wonderful thing). Watch here.
3. I keep remembering that I have 5 children. That sounds really weird.
4. This morning Seth and I finally, sort of, decided that we will name our two youngest Josiah and Salome. For those of you who hate those names, there is a remedy. We give full permission to use Jo and Sally, May, Sal as alternates.
5. We reserve the right to change our minds before we get to Ethiopia.
6. I'm really, really excited to meet our new kids. Our old kids are really, really excited to meet them too. I'm not so sure if our new kids will like our old kids. They are pretty loud and obnoxious.
7. Sadly, I think they get that from spending so much time around me.
8. I'm the oldest of four daughters. That should suffice as an explanation for #7.
9. I live in a rather dreary part of the country. Last year, I kept count of how many days went by without the sun shining. This year I was too busy and now it's almost spring. Sort of. I won't probably get my crocs out of the closet until May (that one is for you, Shari).
10. In the past month, I have spent more time crying than in all my life added together. Some were tears of joy, some sorrow, and some utter, sheer relief.

March 16, 2008


I'm sorry to have left everyone in the lurch. I was hanging out at death's door for a few days this week. Oddly enough, I was the only one sick. I thought as a rule moms don't get sick unless infected by their children. I was wrong. I managed to teach from the sofa in a germ induced stupor. During a moment of clarity, I remember Eli asking if I would "just take the day off".

I probably got sick because I've been unusually stressed out and sleep deprived. I won't go into details, but having two kids halfway around the world is pretty hard on a mom. We sent another care package with the Steiger's who are in Ethiopia picking up their baby girl right now.

I've had a few questions because of the reimbursements that I mentioned. So I need to clarify some things. The reimbusement is through our county but offered to those in our state. To see if your state offers such things visit here.

Second point of clarification: our daughter's age. She is a 3 year old. When we accepted the referral, she was listed as a four year old by the doctor who did her intake medical report. When we had to clarify her birthday, the agency found that the orphanage had her recorded as a 3 year old. So now she's three. No biggie.

Also, my dear friend is driving me name crazy (she obviously needs to adopt again since she has names coming out of her ears). I didn't consult Hollywood as we complied our list. So, yes, a few of the names may be linked to horror films, villians, etc. We thought about names we liked, we checked the Bible, and then we put them in the poll. For clarification on the names:
Miriam-Moses' sister
Salome-one of the three ladies who goes to the tomb after Jesus' resurrection (the other two were Marys).
Silas-Missionary with Paul
Josiah-Boy king in the Old Testament
Asher-One of the 12 tribes of Israel
Isaiah-Prophet to Israel

Now that the poll has officially ended, I'm surprised with you people! I really thought Salome would have fared much worse, interesting... I'll let you know what we decide to do. Seth came home from work and said he had thought of two other names-Lily and Pheobe. Mull those over. If anyone out there wants to make my father-in-law a happy man, name your daughter Delaney. He's been begging us for 6 years to use the name. It's a nice name, really, it is.

March 9, 2008

Making up birthdays...

Three posts in one day! I'm setting records here!

I'm filling out paperwork to apply for 'non-recurring adoption reimbursements'. It's a bit tricky because you have to apply for the money after you get a referral but before you have court. It seems like they are trying to sabotage your chances of being approved for said reimbursements. I wouldn't dare suggest that our government would do such a thing though. It totally makes sense that AFTER the kids are ours we wouldn't be eligible to apply for these reimbursements. Right. Somehow that makes sense. Somewhere.

Though Seth has been riding me about completing the forms; I waited until now because we weren't sure what our daughter's birthday would be. Duni told us that Kids Care had determined our daughter's birthday to be July. So we don't have to redo ANY paperwork! She's three, we requested two kids 3 and under. We match. The government is happy. We don't have to spend more money on paperwork. We are happy.

We will have to revisit the birthday thing at a later date though. Our little girl resembles a five year old more than a three year old. Let's just keep that on the DL for now.

Upon filling out the paperwork I noticed that our little boy is 5 months old today!

Names--take your pick!

I think picking a name for a child is an impossible task. I really wish they just came with a little name tag around their neck.

So here we are, with two kids who have names. Their names are unique. Their names aren't heard in the good ol' US of A. I can't even find the meaning of our daughter's name on Ethiopian websites. Do we keep their names, do we change them, do we just alter them a bit? What shall we do?

I harbor a bit of regret because we completely changed Ella's name. She was Margarita Georgina. Seth and I hadn't spent loads of time discussing names (see the first sentence I wrote to understand why). When the sturdy, scary Ukrainian notary asked us what we wanted to name our daughter, we were startled. We had only met her that day. We weren't sure what American names we liked, or if we should try to alter Margarita to suit us. So we balked, then quickly decided we would toss her entire name out and rename her Ella Grace. Don't ask me why we picked Ella Grace. I'll seem like a total wimp. Over the past three years I've wished that we somehow kept her first name. It was HER name. It didn't come from her birthmom, it was the name of the doctor at the hospital where she was born. Somehow that negated it's importance in our minds. We could have easily named her Margaret, Rita, Georgia...but we didn't have time to think about it! Am I making excuses? You betcha! So we are going to redeem ourselves by adding Margarita to Ella's name.

Now you understand where we are coming from in this decision. Add to the confusion the fact that Seth loves really weirdo names. To complicate it more--I'm the queen of indecision. So I'm going to try and figure out how to poll you, dear readers. I can't promise that we will heed your advice or that the names I list will even be on the list when we actually determine our children's names. But it will be fun to see what you think.

This is where we are TODAY: keep the kid's names as middle names so that they have options later on. That limits us in choosing first names, because VERY few things sound okay with the exotic name our daughter wears. Give us your opinion by voting, just click on one name for each kid ONE TIME (I'm typing that for Seth since he may try to sabotage the whole poll).

Cooking Madness

Did my last post sound frantic?

After I posted last, a dear friend called and told me that she was coming over. I must have scared her with my rantings. Imagine that.

Since plans had changed for her, she was free to spend the day cooking. Those were the big plans on our agenda once my mom arrived. I waded through school then the doorbell rang and mayhem descended in the form of three more kiddos and their take-charge Momma. It was a very productive morning. We put together 2 dishes of stuffed shells, a lasagne, 2 black bean casseroles, 6 loaves of french bread and a pot of vegetable soup. Then the phone rang and my mom, ever-determined to help, was on her way. By the evening we had added a mexican casserole, a pot of chili, and a gazillion waffles to fill my freezer with enough meals to keep my family fed for at least 2 weeks after we get home from Ethiopia. I honestly thought it was going to take two days to make all of the meals I had listed to freeze. Since we got done on Wednesday, that left Thursday to start on another for the nannies at the transition home.

I have gone back and forth procrastinating about what to bring these ladies. Finally, we had to just make a decision--so we are making colorful aprons. We are still trying to figure out what to give the rest of the folks who work with our kids. Men probably aren't interested in lotions or aprons, right? If you have any wonderful ideas, please leave me a comment, I'm open to suggestions!

March 5, 2008

Who are these kids?

Seth is out of town. That alone should strike terror into my heart (and the heart of my kids). It's not that I can't function without him, but after a day of schooling and momming, I need a respite in the form of a chipper, whitty helpmate. He's my knight in business casual. On good days (most of them are) I'm surprised when I hear the garage door open. Other times I'm checking the clock wondering why in the world my relief chose TODAY to stop and get gas.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Unfortunately, there was no relief coming. I had to bear the brunt of my children's anarchy alone. I made them take naps. I made let them watch a movie. I pulled out crayons, pencils, and journals and let them draw for hours on end. Nothing helped. Yesterday, the rascals surrounding me were not my children. They were loud, obnoxious, rude hellions. I found myself staring at the three of them as they laughed maniacally at some rudeness that had erupted from one of their bodies. I wondered if 5:30 was too early for bed. I decided I should probably feed them dinner first. Perhaps full bellies would calm them. Alas, after dinner I finally admitted defeat and sent them to bed early.

My only hope was arriving today. My Mom. Dear, sweet Mom is coming to my rescue.

She thinks she's coming for the rest of the week to prepare for the upcoming arrival of our newest anarchists kids. I want her to come so she could save me from insanity. My kids will be enthralled with my mother and give me a break. They will become the children that I know and love. I hope so. This morning I squeaked when I woke up. It has snowed all night long. Schools are cancelled, roads are icy. This means no Mom. This means I may be alone again today. I hope that the little creatures who arise in a few minutes are my children and not the wild monsters that were visiting yesterday.

I may go on strike.

March 3, 2008

News from afar

Today I got a surprise email from Erica, a mom in Ethiopia. She sent me PICTURES of my kids!! I was thrilled! Two pictures of each kiddo. Our son already looks so different from the only picture we have. His cheeks are so squeezy...I can't wait to see him. Our daughter is smiling a gorgeous smile.

I pulled the three kids to the computer so they could see our gems. Everett's first reaction to his sister's photos?

"She looks like a boy in this picture." This sounds awful, he wasn't upset or nasty, just commenting.

I covered her recently shaved trimmed hair, allowing only her face to show. Then he replied, "Well, she's going to have to wear a bow or something. Maybe if she wasn't wearing that blue t-shirt..."

Picky, picky. This from the kid who idolizes pirate/colonial/grunge garb and teases his hair.

Our baby boy's pictures got an "awwww" from all parties present. But, oh, they are both so cute. I can't wait to share pictures of them with all of you!

Shortly after that wonderful surprise, Mel posted these tidbits...
Your little girl is just adorable and loves loves loves to have her picture taken!! She will smile ear to ear for you to take her picture and then say "Look, Look" so you will show her the picture!! Adorable!! Your son just never stops smiling and is the cutest little guy with the best belly laugh!!! He is so very happy!!

The families over there have been in our shoes and I am SO thankful that they understand how much the news and the pictures mean. Thank you Erica and Mel!