Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pre-Vacation Insanity

Here is a sampling of the course of events from the past few days:

* I have come down with a Sniffling Sneezing Coughing Aching Stuffyhead Fever With No Time to Rest flu bug. And I'm not good at taking it easy and resting. Especially when faced with packing for 16 day trip.

* One child has already predicted being carsick "a ton."

* One child has already asked about 356 times, "When will we be there?"

* The baby has taken to climbing out of her crib, and now we are trying to "train" the Escape Artist to sleep in a toddler bed.

* While airing out our rarely used Pack-n-Play, one kitten mistook it as a litter box.

* The first house/pet sitter bailed on us.

* The backup house/pet sitter is allergic to dogs. We have a dog. Arrange for a long-term stay at the local doggie Hilton, and nearly drop dead at the cost.

* Bring the dog to the vet, only to find out that they will not update his vaccines (K9Hilton requires up-to-date vaccines), because Ernie is on strong steroids for his dermal allergies. Have a mild freak out. Take the 3-legged beagle and cute baby into K9 Hilton, with a note from the vet and his records, pleading that that they take him. They kindly oblige.

* Upon returning home from K9 Hilton, the vet calls and says that he can come in Friday morning for his vaccines. All that groveling for nothing. I LOVE having vet appointments the morning of the day we leave for a major vacation.

* Husband evaluates, re-evaluates and then draws a 'map' of how he is going to install his satellite radio for "optimum" satellite reception on the cross-country journey. He also continually asks for the wife's opinion of his satellite plan, as she is trying to plan out the clothing, toiletry, food and random supply packing lists for one husband, two children and one baby. All she can say is, "Sirously?!?" Husband is so satellite-absorbed that he fails to notice the absolute brilliance of her witty, play-on-word response.

* After honing her shopping lists and tirelessly running trip-prep errands, husband then remarks to the wife, "I don't think we'll be able to fit it all in."

I will gratefully accept any prayers, good thoughts, kind wishes or tranquilizers that you can send my way.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fancy Footwork

Today we worked on the most adorable Halloween project, an idea courtesy of Family Fun, a magazine which I LOVE and recommend that every parent get.

Whoever thought up vinyl tablecloths was a genius, I tell you! The kids had a blast smushing their little feet into white paint and plunking down a big slippery footprint.





With the little ones napping, Hattie and I carefully painted on the ghosts' eyes and mouths while contemplating what their "Halloween" names should be.

The result!

"Ghostfield," "Booloma," "Creepycus"

Always one looking for that special finishing touch, Hatfield decorated the envelopes we're using to send our Halloween Greetings.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

News from Haiti

My adoption buddy Laura is in Haiti right now, visiting her daughter and all the other children. I met Laura when I was there in May, and I am so glad that she is in my file group. I look forward to seeing her while on our vacation in another week or so, and again when we go to pick up our children in Haiti. While there are really nice parents adopting, as with everything else there are always a few cuckoos in the group, and I'm fortunate enough to be waiting with a nice group of families.

With Haiti, you can be fortunate enough to have a lot of information about your children's birth family, or you can have very little information, as we do. Coupled with the fact that even the little amount of information can often be inaccurate (for instance, our boys were first thought to be brothers, but now are cousins; and both boys are called by names which aren't their legal names), a big hole of sorts exists.

Our boys, August 2006


All afternoon I have been trying to figure out how I should write this. Long story short, our awesome adoption agency, CCI, sent us a HUGE package: their "Adoption Toolbox." Complete with roughly 8 books on adoption, a number of Haitian children's books about their culture and folklore, a Haitian coloring book, a cd, a really cute angel teddy bear, a water bottle, wristband, etc. Awesome! Well, Cliff and I dug into those books, and we now both feel that it is very, very important to guard their personal family history.

Joel and Merisier's history is not mine; it is theirs, and really, it is one of the few things they have coming into our family. And it is painful, truly painful, as are most adoption stories in an impoverished third world country. Their stories are special, their stories are private, and Cliff and I agree that it is their decision when and where to share their stories; not ours.

So with that being said, I'm going to try not to release too many specifics, but yet try to blog my own feelings and reactions on this matter.

Today, Laura posted that when she arrived to visit, my boys were down in the waiting room with one of their birthmoms. The birthmom was holding them, and feeding them boiled eggs, crackers and candy. My dear friend Laura captured photos of the three of them together, for which I am forever grateful.

This news completely caught me off guard. In May, when I questioned Marie of their families, she said that they live "a bit far away," and were only able to visit once in the 13 months that they were there. Children are brought to Marie by a variety of circumstance, and many of them have birthparents who visit on a fairly regular basis. Others had birthparents who were able to meet the adoptive parents on their visits. We were not that fortunate.

So to learn of the mother's visit took me a bit by surprise. Honestly, my first thought was the worst: she came to get them back. I felt a bit woozy, and anxiety gripped my stomach. Then, a moment later I became elated with a grand daydream: that maybe she was there to do the Parquet interview, and Marie just forgot to update us about our file. Of course, Laura would be shouting from the orphanage rooftop had that been the case. Finally, I focused on the idea that maybe she was there just to visit. To touch, to hug,to breathe in this child she so bravely gave up out of love, out of a great want for him to have a better life. Perhaps even to find out if they were successfully placed, and if so when they would be able to go.

As I got my bearings, I began to realize what a beautiful gift this is. That she came to see them. That my boys spent a few quiet moments with her.

My boys are quiet and, in Marie's words, "nice, well-behaved" boys. They don't cause a ruckus, and as such, I think they are often overlooked. Cared for, most definitely, but I don't think they are any nanny's pet favorite. So I think that many days, they just go about their days, at their home, but without receiving any special attention.

This is part of my urgency in getting them home. I don't want them to EVER go a day again without being hugged, kissed, tickled, told how special they are and how much they are loved. As their mother already in my heart, it is very difficult for me to even think of this. For the most part, I have done a pretty good job of compartmentalizing the emotional aspect of it all, at least the painful aspect of it.

Today, however, it came rushing back. That moment I realized that I could perhaps be losing them (which has happened more than once to people--in Haiti, parents have until the 11th hour to change their minds), I realized once again just how much they mean to me.

Our Boys, May 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Change of Attitude

Confession Time: I have had a BIG BAD attitude about our family's upcoming road trip vacation to Florida. Staying in hotels, a long car ride, tackling Disney, trying to get Paloma to nap and sleep at night---all of it made me want to crawl into bed and hide.

Today, after Atticus asked me for the 65th time in a 5-minute period, I took out my hotel information so that I could pull up their website and show him the photos of the big pirate ship in one of their pools. My eyes zoned in on the date.

I was off! We are due to arrive a full TWO days earlier than I thought.

Really, this is no big deal. It means that instead of leaving at the end of a weekend, we leave at the beginning. I can handle that. But, it creates a sense of urgency since I now have effectively lost that weekend to prepare.

This was the smack upside the head that I needed. Immobility serves no good purpose. I need to step up my game. If we are going to do a road trip, then by God I am going to turn it into the best damn roadtrip with kids ever! Or at least die in a valiant attempt.

So, I am spending my evening, surrounded by Disney/Florida/Family Travel books recently checked out from the library, and the planning begins...anyone with advice, I'll gladly take it! And Jen, I'll preempt you here: we are bringing our own little mini-bar with us; not for while we're on the road, of course, but to celebrate making it to Florida. . .and if it is really turns out to be that bad, then we'll just celebrate making it to Florida without leaving anyone on the side of the interstate somewhere ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Tale of Two Kings




My husband feels a strong kinship with "The King," because the two share the same birthday. They are both Kings in their own rights. . .one, "The Rock 'n Roll King." The other, "The Drama King."

Tonight I took Hattie out for a little girls' night on the town, first to an awesome local education store, where I purchased a few new primers for the kids, and then on to Barnes and Noble. Cliff's duties were fairly simple: to man the house, put Paloma to bed, hang with Atticus, put him to bed. As a bonus, he lovingly offered to clean the kitchen (which, in all my wifely wisdom, I realize was probably a ploy at securing some fun tonight but hey, if he thinks he needs a clean kitchen thrown into the bargain, I'm not complaining!).

25 minutes after Hattie and I left home, Cliff phoned to proudly announce that the baby was already in bed! One down, one to go! He and Atticus were going to have a bit of father/son bonding over a motorcycle racing game, and then off to bed for the little man.

Upon leaving B&N, I gave a ring home. Cliff answered, and I could hear Atticus in the background. "Babe, it's almost 9! Time to get that kid in bed!" I reminded.

"Oh," he said.

Then feebly added, "I got motion sick from the motorcylce racing game, so I've been lying on the floor for the past half hour. I'll put him to bed now."

For real?

I came home, and Cliff greeted us at the door. Hunched over. Like a 100-year old man. Panting. Just like they do in Lamaze class, which is totally funny, because he certainly didn't remember one lick of it when I was in the midst of labor!

Drama King? Let's see. . .

I walk into the kitchen, and am greeted by this mess:


I turn around to look into the family room, where I gaze upon this atrocity.


"Sorry about the mess, hon." Cliff pants, leaning against a kitchen chair.

I mean Full Weight-Bearing Lean. As in the last time I have seen anyone lean against a chair like this was when I was in the throes of backlabor, trying to keep myself upright while vomiting into a hospital's wastebasket, just prior to delivering the Drama King's son, who came out with a head circumference in the 150th percentile.

I smile nicely and say nicely (man, how I have matured in just 7 years of marriage!), "Don't worry, honey. . .if you could just take Hattie upstairs for her bedtime routine, I will gladly clean this up in a jiff," (yes, I used the word 'jiff.' No, I'm not making any of this up.)

So 10 minutes later I wrap up in the kitchen, head upstairs and find this sorry sight:



I put Hattie to bed while Cliff crawls downstairs. Literally. Crawls. I saw him, but didn't have my camera out in time. I go downstairs to find him in the family room:


D-R-A-M-A K-I-N-G

Who Needs a Teddy Bear When. . .




you have a toy vacuum cleaner!!!

Paloma delights in taking different toys to bed with her each night. Sunday evening she decided that it was her vacuum's turn.

When I went in Monday morning, she was standing in her crib, vacuuming her pink flannel bedding. Good girl!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quiet

Quiet. Things are quiet in my head, and I have no desire to speak (or write/email/blog). Nothing much to say, really.

We have a good thing going in our homeschooling. Routine has taken over and I'm even in control of my home, to the extent where I'm not feeling uptight or panicked over its condition.

Our file has been in IBESR 4 months now. So we'll wait. And for once, I feel fine with that. Complacent. And it's nice to feel some peace in the adoption department.

The only thing I'm not feeling 'quiet' on is our upcoming 2-week vacation to Florida. Vacation is a huge misnomer. So 'unquiet' am I that I have launched myself headfirst into a big case of quiet denial. No prep work has been done. No desire to do any. I am a bit aggravated by the comment: "You must be so excited about your trip to Florida!" People must be insane. How is taking a strong-willed, loud 2-year old who has no ability to sleep anywhere but her room fun? And don't forget the roundtrip Wisconsin-Florida-Wisconsin road trip. It seems like an insurmountable amount of work.

Just thinking about the whole thing makes me feel really, really tired. And quiet.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So Close, Yet So Far. . .

As found this morning posted on the Five Frozen Chamorro kitchen refrigerator this morning:

"We, the members of the Board of Various Household Items, both of large and small value, all existing within the confines of the domicile of the Five Frozen Chamorros, do hereby demand humane and dignified treatment. It has come to our attention that the aforementioned humane and dignified treatment is currently lacking, and so our requests are as follows:

Mr. Discarded Band-Aid Wrapper says, "Although I may be just garbage, I have the right to congregate in an area with other members of like value(aka the trashcan). In other words: COME ON PEOPLE! It's only 3 feet away! Let me decompose in peace!"



Ms. Displaced Student Tools requests: "In exchange for my important work as a Student Aid Device, I demand a clean, dry shelter, away from the dangerous elements which could negatively affect my resale value (ie., Paloma the marker cap thief)."


Mr. G. Twoshoes affirms: "I have the right to live in a peaceful environment, removed from the constant fear of being blamed for tripping someone who just walked in from outside while carrying a bag of groceries, an armful of library books, or a baby."


And last, but certainly not least, Mr. Toothbrush admonishes: "If you expect me to do my job of keeping your mouth clean and germ-free, then I demand the right to live in a sterile, stainless-steel environment (and NOT in a bacteria-infested pool of your own saliva!)"


"Resolved, if the Members of the Five Frozen Chamorro household adhere to the board's above recommendations, this board then promises that, in return, the Head Female Frozen Chamorro (aka MOM!) will transform from a grouchy nag whose hair is turning grey due to constant repetition of household rules into a smiley, apron-donning, pearl-wearing June Cleave-wannabe who will happily continue to create a peaceful, nuturing environment for all to enjoy."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Please VOTE!!!

Over 80% of children in Haiti suffer from intestinal parasites. These parasites can take over 20% of the nutrients from the child nutritional intake. Many of these kids cannot afford that type of dietary depletion.

CNN is holding their 2007 Hero Contest. Mr. Aaron Jackson has dedicating himself to healing Haitian children of these intestinal parasites. PLEASE go to this site and vote for Mr. Jackson. By voting for this man you are allowing for the possibility of a $25,000 award going to his work in Haiti.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/cnn.heroes/

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Life in Wisconsin



Life's been hectic. Between homeschool and Cliff's constant traveling, we have come to realize just how precious and important family time is. For the past two weekends, we have done little getaways to decompress and have fun together.

Apple season has arrived here in NE Wisconsin, so we took advantage of a beautiful sunny, WINDY day and went apple picking in Door County.

Paloma had fallen asleep in the car for about 20 minutes before we arrived. A bit groggy and cranky, Cliff got her giggling with her favorite form of land transportation.



Atticus and Hatfield discovered the joy of climbing trees.




And Atticus was proud to announce that he is 5 pumpkins tall!

File Update

We have heard from Marie, and I'm thrilled to say that our file should be out next month and that it is "being worked on" right now. Hallejulah! There is always the fear that the file will be lost, or forgotten, or placed under a large pile of other files, months away from seeing daylight.



Here is the latest photo of our boys, taken by Jenny K. while she was in Haiti, picking up her adorable little boy, Jeff. With all the children at the orphanage, clamoring for visitor attention, it is rare we see photos of just our two boys. THANK YOU so very much, Jenny! I am so appreciative of you having the thought to snap this.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

So close

This morning I found out that a family whose file went into IBESR within a week of ours is out. Our beloved CCI casemanager Sara is going to be checking on the status of our files for us.

We are getting SOOOO close! Please say a prayer that we get our good news soon.