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Friday, February 21, 2014

Olympic Torch Relay (Day 50) - Krasnoyarsk

I won't even mention how long its been...

With the Olympics in Russia this year, I've been thinking about our adoption of Andrei.  We were told by our coordinator that because Andrei had Asian features and dark skin that the chances of a Russian couple ever adopting him was slim to none.  In fact, 30% of the children in Russian orphanages have Asian features, and foreigners are their only hope of finding a family.  And now that Russia has removed Americans from that equation with its ban of Americans adopting Russian children, I just think of the 100s of kids that "look like Andrei" who will spend their days in these overcrowded understaffed orphanages.  We were told that the babies stay in the hospitals until there is a made available space in the orphanages to move them over--space provided by a child being adopted.  With Americans unable to adopt, and the fact that America accounted for a thousand of those children being adopted in 2011, I cannot imagine what a backlog of overcrowding conditions that must amass as a result.  I sincerely pray that the other welcomed countries will step up their adoption efforts and fill the void.  We have a happy, unbelievably smart little boy that was provided for us through this Russian system. So many kids like Andrei will remain lost in that dismal existence. Please keep these children in your prayers! I also can't help but think about all the Russian coordinators, drivers, translators that have been without a job (not to mention agencies in the US).

On a more positive note...We have completed our last post placement report! Yeah! We were refunded our $1000 deposit for submitting all four reports on time. That's a nice reward! With regards to adoption, we keep the adoption talk going in our house.  Andrei knows that he is from Russia.  He will tell that to you if you ask him.  He knows that we got on a plane and picked him up in Russia and he knows he cried all the way home to the US on the plane.  With my sister-in-law recently being pregnant, the girls were asking about their births.  Andrei knows that he was not in my tummy but another mom's tummy and "she took me to the hospital."  I'm sure it's a bit surreal for his little mind to firmly grasp, and I need to get going on that Lifebook this year for him.  A Lifebook is a book for him and his emotions, his experiences of his life basically before we became a family. It's very personal to him--not our experiences or emotions, but his.  From what I've read, it is instrumental in helping adoptive kids understand their adoption. 

We also enlisted the help of a lawyer and attended court to apply for his Texas birth certificate in December.  Having a Texas birth certificate will make life so much easier.  There's nothing like having the only original Russian birth certificate in your possession and knowing that if you lose it, you get to hop on a plane to Moscow or Krasnoyarsk and get another one.  So many states simply have a form for you to fill out and give to the district clerk and for the low, low price of $40 you get a state birth certificate.  Texas does not  have a simple form for you to fill out; I suppose you could represent yourself in court, but after days and days of research of trying to figure out what forms and how to fill them out, I gave up.  We hired legal representation.  So, we're done with all the "adoption" stuff with the exception of getting Andrei a US Passport.  We'll do that at some point in the future.  That will require a bit of a nail biter because you have to send in to our extremely efficient US government the only original copies of the stuff the US Embassy gave you and said, "Don't ever lose these papers".  Yikes!

Here is a video of the Olympic Torch in Krasnoyarsk, the city where we picked up Andrei! It looks as cold as it was when we were there.  Doug and I were going, "Hey, I remember that!"

Andrei is now four! In a few days we will celebrate his 3 year Gotcha Day.  The girls are already planning a little party with cake to celebrate.  He's so bright.  We thought he might be color blind because for a year everything was the color green.  One day he woke up and said, "Mom, that's red.  That's blue." Literally overnight he learned the color wheel! He knows his ABCs, can count to ten, and can now jump with both feet off the floor. He loves guns, trucks, and the Disney Cars--and in any given order on any given day.  He loves playing in the dirt and helping Dad.  "We boys!" he is always telling me.  He is every bit the child I thought he would be when we first talked about adoption so many years ago.  He's become my buddy during the day, and I'm already not looking forward to him going to school. (2 years down the road but still....)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Hairy Story

Yesterday was an age check.  For me. 

Annsley and I are on the couch going over her spelling words for the week.  I'm in the middle of reminding her that "c" says "s" before the letters e, i and y when she interrupts me and says, "Oh Mom!"

Before I know it, she is plucking a gray hair from my brunette tresses.  I, of course, am incredulous.  "Really?"

"It's right here," and she hands me the culprit.  "Oh, here's another one," and she passes its friend to me as well.

She has now positioned herself on the back of the couch and begins combing through my hair.  I'm moaning in protest.

"Oh Mom! They look shiny silver in the sun! You should be happy about that!"

I'm cringing as I watch her hand me evidence of my aging body. 

"Don't feel bad," she says.  "That's not terrible.  It's not like you're Grandpa."  Then she muses almost to herself, "I wonder what color of hair his real hair is..."

I just moan more.  "That's not bad at all Mom.  You have fewer white hairs than you have any other color!"

She's trying to cheer me up.  She keeps finding more though. "Have you found 20?" I ask.

"Oh, I've found over 100!" She's almost giddy. 

"I'm looking through your hair," she instructs me, "and every once in a while I see a flash of silver!"  Silence as she removes it from the roots, and then the thing that did me in, "Oh gosh! Here's a whole bunch!! There are like three of them right next to one another!"

She continues her quest.  I am mulling over the Loreal commercial of "Am I worth it?" Do they say that because it costs so much?  Before, I couldn't have cared.  Now that I might need it is a different story...

"Hey Mom! This one is half black and half white.  Want my to pull it???"

"Some of them look whiter than your shirt.  Not all I see have whiteness.  That's good."

She finds three more.  Now she says, "This is sad.  Are you going to cry?--Oooh! This one is sleek white! It stands out from ALL your hairs! Mom, just go to a salon."

I'm tiring quickly of her play by play.  Thankfully my phone rings.  I take advantage of it and get off the couch. 

After supper that evening, Annsley says, "Mom, would you come sit on the couch with me? I'd like to snuggle!"

I smile.  My baby girl may be 9, but she still wants her momma.  I sit down, and her eyes quickly divert to my hair. 

"You got me here to find more gray hairs?" I ask.  She nods.

I kid you not.  She spends two seconds looking through my hair and says, "Oh wow! Who would have thought I'd find one so fast!"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Man Day

"Today is Monday.  It's Man-Day.  Man can't get in trouble on Man-Day."  That's what my husband told me the other morning. 

Oh Honey, you crack me up! Seriously!

Andrei STILL doesn't fuss in his new big kid bed. He gets up only with his new alarm clock.  I paid $30 for a stop light toddler alarm that switches from red to green when it's time to get up.  He's NEVER gotten out of bed once without the light being on green.  He's amazing. Simply amazing.

It's a heavy reminder of his early months of orphanage training. Most of the time I had to watch him on the video monitor to know if he were up when he was still in his crib.  Before we transitioned him to his new bed, he started playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors" in his bed.  One morning I heard this beating on his mattress and him yelling, "Ock, Paypa, Oh NOOOOOOO!" (Obviously he lost with himself.) "Ock. Paypa. Sicks!  Ock. Paypa. Sicks! Ock. Paypa. Oh Nooooo!" (Lost again.)  He was having a grand time all by himself.  This morning, he was singing one of our family's favorite songs, Jason Gray's "Remind Me Who I Am". "Mind me whoooo I am, whoooo I am..." and he just be-bops on the mattress.  Oh yes, the boy's got moves at his age!  Doug's so excited to think that he might clap on the down beats.  I don't understand that, but apparently it's a big deal in the music world.  Doug's always making fun of me because I obviously clap on the upbeats (along with 90% of everyone else I'm standing with but I guess we're ALL wrong!!!)

He has become increasingly bossy--Really, really bossy. (Andrei, not Doug.  I realize that I didn't identify my pronoun very well.  Sorry about the linguistic faux paus.)   I didn't think any kid could get any bossier than Annsley was, but I was terribly wrong.  And any phlegmatic personality that gets near him just hangs his head and does whatever Andrei tells him to do.  (Phlegmatics are easy going, loves to please people, etc.)  I'm in awe at how these people just let him order them around.  He's three and OWNS them....

We're working on social skills big time.  "Mom, get my my sippy cup now!"  "Mom, I need taggy."  Mom, find my socks."  "Mom, you go to bed."  And most of the time he says these things with an ever so slight scowl.   

He used to be a very polite toddler who always said please and thank you without any prompting.  He's ditched those words from his vocabulary and has commenced to just ordering everyone around. I guess because the weak people do whatever he tells them to.  His momma isn't one of the weak ones.  His daddy may be, but not his momma. 

He wears his boots with his shorts.  Every day.  Everywhere, including church. Without socks.  His feet reek. But he LOVES these boots. And tow trucks. And his rubber band rifle which he has been known to sleep with.
First night in his big kid bed.  We just moved the top bunk bed from Kennedi's room and had built in safety rails!

The boots.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Knock Knock!

One of the joys of children is all the funny things they say.  I've tried to write down as many as I can as they say them into notebooks, letters, and this blog. I've noticed over the last year that they have become few and far between.  My baby girls are growing up.  Andrei is going to have to fill in the gap! However, Kennedi did provide Doug and me with a huge laugh the other day.  Her sister was not with us, and Kennedi was enjoying being the "big man" in the car.  She was trying to copy her sister's Knock Knock jokes (which are HUGE in a 9 year old's world by the way...) Kennedi was busy making up Knock Knock jokes to tell herself, and then she got her father involved. 

Kennedi:  Knock Knock!
Doug: Knock Knock!:
Kennedi: No, I say Knock knock!
Doug:  OK, Knock Knock!
Kennedi:  I say Knock Knock! You say Who's There!
Doug: Who's There!
Kennedi (becoming very frustrated with her father): DOUG! Say it right! (Yes, she calls him by his first name when she's perturbed.) Then taking a deep breath, she says,  You say it!
Doug: OK, Knock Knock!
Kennedi: Who's there?
Doug: Doug Rawlins
Kennedi:  That's not funny. Try it again!
Doug: Knock Knock!
Kennedi: Tiger (Yes, I realize she missed the whole who's there line, but I think she was trying to nip her father's fun in the bud at this point...)
Doug: Tiger who?
Kennedi: Ask me a dumb question and you get a dumb answer.  Not THAT's funny!!!

Yesterday was the first day of school this year.  My third grader and first grader!  All Andrei wanted to know was who was going to play with him after we dropped the girls off at school. 

After yesterday Annsley thinks third grade is the BOMB! Her eyes were on fire when I picked her up.   Kennedi is just excited to get back around a gazillion people so she can chatter at recess and lunch.  Imagine that!

From photos from our back to school dinner night:

We prayed for all their teachers, grabbed Romans 8:37-39 for their Bible verse motto for the year, and colored on the table. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Joan Crawford and the Bout with Wire Hangers

Long time no see, Pardner!!

 My wheels have been turning in the back of my mind this summer about other projects--to be continued.  So any time that I have to write has been seriously occupied on my new project.  Hopefully it will come to fruition soon. 

In the mean time, here's a summer update on our family!

Andrei:  He's fully potty trained. Seriously, FULLY POTTY TRAINED.  He hasn't had an accident all summer--day or night.  If a 3 year old could be my hero, he'd be it.  He's awesome.  The only thing he can't do is wipe, but he yells, "Come and wipe me!!!"when he's finished.  I hold my breath and wipe his hiney.  Some times I have to have him flush before I get there.  It's pretty ferocious what can come out of that little body some times.  Anyway..... we're on to stop sucking our thumb.  Annsley was a thumb sucker, and this little bottle of stuff worked miracles.  She was finished with her thumb in less than a week.  It literally makes him (or my husband when he gets it in his mouth) salivate and spit if his thumb touches his mouth.  It is truly nasty stuff. It's made in Switzerland; it couldn't be made in the USA because the FTC wouldn't have allowed it to be manufactured here due to its horrid palatability.   It only has to be applied every two days, but Andrei was a super sucker, so we had to apply it before naps and at bedtime.  We've been at it for 2 weeks, and he hasn't been using his thumb (so he says...)

  Next up will be transitioning to a toddler bed.  (Yes, for you acute readers, that means he's three and half and still in his crib.) He doesn't try to climb out.  It makes my job a bit easier, but now I'm feeling guilty about him being so old and still held up in baby jail, so when the girls start back to school, we'll pull that plug on all things baby around here. 

No more crib, no more changing table, no more diapers, no more board books.  I am not sad.  Baby stuff is in my past.  I've pondered whether I should feel guilty about not feeling guilty, but  I have crushed that thought.  I must be getting old.  Excuse me, OLDER.  Any desire to have another young'n in the house has evaporated.  Vanquished.  Doug brings up adoption again every so often, but I squelch that conversation. Nada Dear. Go take your pretty little brain and think about something else.  The thought of adding another to my nest makes me shudder. Three is plenty for me.  I don't have the personality to have any more. Some wonderful people out there do; I'm not one of them.  And anyway, we're going to qualify for our AARP card when Andrei is in high school!!! Ah, we'll be so cheap going to the movies.  Two seniors, one child. GAG!

Kennedi and Annsley: They have turned 7 and 9 respectively this summer.  They had a co-birthday party one evening at the city swimming pool.  BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER! We killed two birds in one two hour period of time .  All the kids had a great time, and more importantly, Mom spent little time planning for it.  Bonus all the way around. 

They both played softball and/or T-Ball.  Annsley's team was undefeated. Kennedi's T-Ball team was a riot.  It was like watching a bunch of coaches herd wild cats.  Everyone was a winner.  Everyone got to get on base.  Everyone needed a helmet because even though a kid was throwing the ball to first base, it might end up heading straight for the second baseman. Thank the Lord there was a time limit. 

The girls get along well sometimes.  Sometimes they have some knock down drag out fights--literally.  And sometimes there seems to be peace in making bad decisions when you are with your sister.  Take three weeks ago...

I incorrectly assume that because my three children are so quiet, they must be reading together or playing dolls.  I'm excited because the house is quiet, and I'm making din-din without any interruption.  I hear Andrei yell out his "Come wipe me!" and I head to the bathroom.  I meet Annsey on her way to the bathroom.  "Can you please turn on the water for me?" she asks as she hold her hands oozing with sticky white stuff. 

It is Elmer's glue.  She and her sister have decided to pour out the bottle of glue on top of Kennedi's table, use their fingers to smear it all over the top, and are fixing to apply paper doilies to the top of her table for decoration.  

I'll admit.  I didn't handle it very well.  That nasty little Mother of the Year Medal was snatched out o my hands again.  Consequently, I noticed bright orange paint on Kennedi's carpet.  Turns out it is finger nail polish. Earlier in the day I caught Annsley painting (yet again) at her desk in her room--no drop cloth, no art smock, nothing.  Both girls know that paints (of any kind) are not to be opened in bedrooms. 

I had had it.  The Joan Crawford in me came out that afternoon.  Every single marker, paint brush, glue, scissors, arts and crafts box, stamp, you name it--if it could be googled and found under arts and crafts, I loaded it up and it was all sequestered in my bedroom.  I felt like screaming, "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!!" aka NO MORE ARTS AND CRAFTS!  ( OK, I probably DID scream it...) I locked the closet door that houses paper, glue, stamps, etc (a Hobby Lobby's crafter's dream come true) by tying a string to the doorknob and winding it around a nail. Ingenious I know.  "Trust me, Young Ladies, you do not want to find out what happens should someone try to get into this door," I hissed with gritted teeth. 

They knew I was serious.  With Kennedi's grandparent birthday party, she got a lot of arts and crafts stuff.  Annsley did too because our grandparents can't buy just for one child.  Neither child said anything.  They knew that stuff would be going to the time out pile in my room as well.  Without a word, both girls loaded up their "scores" and added them to the buckets and boxes in my room.

I found it amazing as I was quizzing them on the fallacy of their thinking.  Kennedi blamed Annsley.  She said it was her idea.  Annsley blamed Kennedi. Why? Because Kennedi let her in her room. Jeez Louis! Andrei just looked at me and whined, "I didn't do it!!!!!!" 

It reminded me of the time Annsley got a hold of the Vaseline when she was 18 months old.  The picture says enough.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Entering the 21st Century--Literally

It's been so long since I've posted anything that I realized that I've never finished Tiling Saga Part II. At one time it was a hilarious story. Six weeks later I'm not so sure, but I will write about it--soon. I know--it's more than my faithful few blog readers can handle at the moment--:)

For those of you tuning into today, I bring you our latest and greatest 21st century updates of the new year. (I'm not counting anything from my house by the way...Our 1990s couch still stands here--not so proudly anymore--but it still stands.)

First up: 1998 model:
2011 model:

We drive our vehicles around here until the wheels fall off.  That's all fine with me because it awesome not having a car payment.  However, with 3 children, it was getting VERY crowded in there.  Trust me when I say the three children were packed in the second row like sardines.  Then, over Christmas, the transmission went out while we were in Angel Fire, NM.  We towed it home, and three days later bought the Enclave.  I though surely three rows would be enough--but they can still manage to touch each other.  I'm thinking about one of those little yellow school buses.  Boy in the back, Big Girl somewhere in the vicinity of the middle, and Baby Girl right behind me, the Driver.  And just like the real school bus, you fight--you lose riding privileges and have to hoof it for a week.
Anybody need a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a brand spanking new transmission?????
Second up--From this:
To this:
Oh yeah, my cell phone has little pictures all over it.  I'm not sure how old the old Nokia is, but it was a hand me down from my husband, and I know he had it way before Annsley was born, so I'm thinking late 1990s. 
In case you're wondering where you can get one, you can't unless you try your local antique dealer.  The cashier in Walmart the other day saw my phone and said, "Gee, I haven't seen one of those in a long, long time." 
The only real, pressing reason we've decided to update our mobile technology is based on Doug's phone.  When he first bought it, it was the very first "smart" phone of the day.  Don't get too excited here either.  It was a military grade flip phone, but it did stuff that his Nokia could only dream about.  It used to get a lot of respect out in the world--not so much anymore.  The last time it broke, the guy had to order the part from Hong Kong and told him if it broke again to not bring it back.  The little flipper thing is getting loose again and his phone makes an odd crackling noise when he talks, so we thought we'd better do something fast before he loses his 1 million contacts he has stored on his phone. 
I thought I'd try to turn our old phones into the companies who buy back used cell phones. 
They don't even have ours in their systems. 
Until I can figure out how to turn on my ringer so I can hear it, I probably won't pick up on my highly intellectual phone.  It vibrates all day long, but I can't seem to figure out how to turn the ringer on. 
I need a manual. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Remake of Ken's dresser

Kennedi's dresser and night stand was a hand me down from us, which was a hand me down from my grandmother. I decided that it could use an update.  I forgot to snap a picture of the before, but here is it after I sanded it down.  It was made out a solid wood, but is had this slick plasticy finish on it, so I found some primer that says it sticks to any slick surface.  Bulls-eye 123 Primer.  The primer said it didn't need to sand, but I did any way for good measure. I let it dry for 24 hours and then painted the base coat a shade of lilac.

I then glazed the dresser and nightstand with a dark coffee brown.  If you haven't used a glaze, try it! It's so easy!  Just paint on, and rub off with a dry cloth.  Rub off how much you want until you get the look you're going for.  Leave extra in the creases and cracks!

Lilac painted night stand.  I won't talk about the dust I found when I removed the drawers. 

Finished product! Much better, don't you think?

Found these awesome knobs and pulls at Knob Deals. If you haven't shopped for hardware, beware, it's very expensive--especially cute kids' hardware.  We're talking $8-20 bucks a knob or pull.  I got the butterfly (and it's large=2 inches in diameter!) for less than $2.00 a knob.  The pull is glass--less than $4 a pull. 

The primer says for full cure takes 7 days. I didn't wait for the 7 days before I put it back into her room.  I noticed a chip on Kennedi's nightstand afterwards, so I went ahead and put three coats of polycrylic on everything a few days later.  Six weeks later and so far, so good! It's holding up well to my 6 year old!
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