Friday, February 27, 2009

Waiting waiting waiting waiting

Oh my gosh, waiting is hard. Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE waiting.

Our dossier was sent to be translated two weeks ago and I'm itching to email our adoption agency to see if they've heard anything. I must exercise some restraint and at least wait one more week before checking in.

However, our good friends over at just got their traval approval and they are leaving in 19 days to pick up their son in China. Just a little countdown for you Shannon - you have 19 DAYS to go!!!!! 8 )

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beach Party!

TinyDancer turned 4 this week and we had her party over the weekend. This year, she wanted to have a Beach Party and go swimming. In February. Yeah, I know! So, we did our best to transform our house into a Beach. Here is what it looked like outside:

Just a light dusting of snow.

Here is the temperature outside vs. inside. This was taken a few hours before the party. I think the house got warmer than 64 before the party started. Our indoor daytime temp is usually 62 or 63. We cranked up the heat to 68 for the party though! And we had some space heaters for the basement and pool area.

Here is the cake that TinyDancer helped me make (no fires this time!). TinyDancer did the mixing of the batter and helped dye the icing. She directed what colors the bathing suit should be and I did the piping.

Something for the moms:

The living room - aka - Beach Ball Heaven!!! 25 beach balls and a handful of balloons.

The basement - aka - the Party Room:

Notice that the rocking horse is wearing a tube. 8 ) That cracks me up!

And last, but not least, the pool!

For dinner, Stranger grilled turkey burgers (Yummy!), hot dogs (for the kids) and andouille sausage. The kids had a good time splashing in the pool and we had an indestructable pinata that was fun to hit over and over and over again.

It was a LOT of work to do the party - we moved some toys out of the basement to make room for the pinata and Stranger and his dad moved our entire laundry room around to make room for the pool - but SO worth it to A) see the sheer joy on her face when she jumped in the pool in the basement and was splashing around with her friends and B) when later that night after the party, she exclaimed "I had so much fun at my party! Thank you!". All on her own!

It was fun, but I sure hope that she picks something a little bit easier for next year!

Friday, February 20, 2009


If you ever step into our house and it smells like something - like plastic for instance - has burnt, well, it probably has. Like, this weekend for instance. If our house smells like marshmallows - sadly, it is not because we have been enjoying them. I'll get to why at the end. But first, in the six years that Stranger and I have been married, we have gone through - not one - but two fire extinguishers. That's right. Two. Most people never get the chance to use theirs, but we are on our third.

Our familiarity with kitchen fires stems from items being left in the oven - pans of brownies covered in plastic wrap, tupperware filled with cookies. Isn't that where everyone stores their treats? It keeps them handy for when you *need* them, but out of site so that you aren't tempted by seeing them. It's genius! In my house growing up - treats were stored in the oven (or microwave). I have been trained to always check the oven before turning it on. It's just in my genes. You don't want to burn perfectly good baked goods! Apparently, Stranger's mom did not know about this wonderful hiding spot, because he never checks the oven before turning it on - even if HE was the one that stored something there! This has led to countless batches of baked goods being forever lost. After about five years, we decided that we would have to find another spot to hide our treats.

I bring this up today, because apparently TinyDancer has inherited the "fire in the kitchen" gene. TinyDancer is my little helper in the kitchen. She loves to help measure and stir. She can't wait for the day when she can chop and use the mixer by herself. She has her own little apron and for Christmas this year, she received her own little baking set with a mixing spoon, a whisk, and measuring cups and spoons. Lately, she has asked to help take things out of the toaster oven and off of cookie sheets. Side note - We *LOVE* our toaster oven. We reheat almost everything in there. It heats things so much better than the mircowave - everything gets hot, but not soggy like the microwave makes things. All of this is, of course, done under parental supervision. Perhaps I am not the right parent, because today she almost caught her pot holder on fire! Since she did so great getting cookies off of the cookie sheet last time, when she asked if she could take her sandwich out of the toaster oven today at lunch, I thought, "Why not". She put on my giant green pot holder and got her stool and I helped her up. I was holding her free hand so that she didn't forget that she was handling hot stuff and accidentially use her free had. She tried to reach in to pull the tray out, but since the mitt was soo big, the tip of the mitt touched the heating element on the bottom and Whoosh! She didn't even notice, but I started shouting "Get your hand out! Get your hand out!". Luckily, the mitt didn't catch fire. There is just a nice black mark where it touched the heating element. And the smell. After I got TinyDancer down from her stool and recovered from almost allowing my child to set herself on fire, I took out her sandwich. And I hear "What is that beautiful smell? It smells like marshmallows!". No sweetie, that is just the burnt oven mitt.

Perhaps we'll wait another year before attempting that again! 8 )

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One step closer

We received our INS approval in the mail on Friday! Hooray!! We are "done" until we get the call that our daughter is ready for us to meet!

Our dossier is in Russia now being translated. Our agency says that this will take about 4 weeks or so. And then, we just wait until a child that meets our criteria is available. Russia is a blind referral country, so once our child is ready, either we will just get THE CALL and travel to see her without knowing any information about her, or we might get some basic medical information and maybe a picture. If we don't know anything about her, we will meet her in the orphanage and receive copies of her medical information. We'll send that information and pictures back here to the states for our IA doc to review and then we will make the decision on whether or not she is the one for our family. I think that we get about 4-5 days to decide. Then we will come home and wait some more while all of the paperwork gets processed and work on dossier # 2. Eventually, we will travel back for our court date and hopefully, if the court approves us, receive legal custody. Then there is a 10 day waiting period before everything is finalized, sometimes it is waived, often it is not, and then we can start the process to come home.

If we do get information, then we can have our doc review it and then decide if we want to travel to meet her.

So, we have more waiting ahead of us, but now that we have all of our paperwork in order, we can relax a bit and wait for the call!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Will you be my Valentine?

I woke up this morning to the sweetest card from Stranger. We had decided that since we are struggling a bit right now (thank you $500 electric bill!) that we weren't going to do anything special for today. I feel totally guilty right now because I stuck to our plan. I think I might have an un-used card that I can surprise Stranger with tonight. I keep all of our cards in a special box, but this message is so sweet, I'm posting it here to make sure that I have it forever,

My (insert name - The Mom),

Our love is not always easy. It isn't always pretty. But it is stronger than any love any two people have ever known. There are not many loves or marriages that can weather what we have and still laugh, still hold each other when they cry and still look into each other's eyes and know with every fiber of yourself that there is not one other person who they were ever meant to be with. You still take my breath away with every kiss and every touch. My heart still races every time you walk into the room or I hear your voice on the phone. You are the love of my life. Will you be my Valentine today?

Yours always,

Isn't that the sweetest?

Happy Valentine's Day to all of our family and friends.

Friday, February 13, 2009

We have a region assignment!

I've been trying to post this since Tuesday, but this week has been crazy at our house!

On Tuesday night, I checked my email and learned that our dossier is going to be registered in the Tyumen region in Russia! We were very excited and a little stressed. We had three pieces of paper that we needed to get signed, notarized, certified and apostilled and to the agency in Georgia by Friday morning. Thank God Stranger and I work at the same place and that he wasn't on call on Wednesday!

Two of the papers I had just fedex'ed to the Secretary of State office at the capital with instructions to apostille it and then send them on to our agency in Medina, Ohio. So, on Wednesday afternoon, Stranger left work early (unheard of!!) and ran downtown to get it certified and then drove to the capital to get it apostilled. He was able to intercept the two documents that I had mailed the day before (Yay!) so we were able to get everything overnighed to Georgia.

On Friday, all of our stuff is being sent to Russia for translation. And then we wait. And wait. And wait.

Tyumen is a huge region (but only like 9% of Russia's total land aread)- and the region runs from the top of Russia to the bottom of Russia. So, the top is arctic-like and then the region progressively gets warmer as you go South. It'll be fun to pack for our trip!

So, we don't know *when* we are going, but at least we know *where* we are going.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The wheels keep turning

Feburary has brought more snow. Yay! Maybe we can finally realize our dream of sledding down a *really* big hill! TinyDancer and I are both disappointed to be at school and work today, but today is our "Friday" and we'll be home tomorrow.

Our dossier is still in work. I received notice from our agency yesterday that we have a few documents that need to be fixed. Why did I send them in to be reviewed before spending a bazillion dollars and time to be certified and apostilled if the review wasn't going to catch the errors??? I'm not running downtown and then driving to the state capital again so we'll just snail mail these.

Stranger's moved to the NICU of sorts at his hospital. It's been tough for him because, well, we thought that SleepingAngel was going to be a resident of the NICU but then she never made it there. I'm sure that is also fun to be surrounded by tiny babies all day while you yourself are unable to have one. Tiny babies whose parents often don't bother to visit them. And he has the same attending right now that he had when we found out that SleepingAngel's chances weren't that good and they did a lot of talking about options. Its bringing up lots of fun memories for him. He's even had a set of parents that chose to decline heroic interventions that would only slow down the dying process for their infant daughter and instead, take her home under hospice care. It's nice to know that we aren't the only ones that have decided to stand back and watch our child die, but jeez! Hasn't he suffered enough? Haven't we suffered enough? Please keep him in your thoughts and pray that Feb. 26th comes quickly!