Friday, October 31, 2008

The tadpoles are coming

In June, Auntie Stephie gave this birthday present to Atticus:

You send in a little order form, and they promise to mail you two live tadpoles.

To date, no tadpoles. I call that luck. I have been secretly hoping that we were somehow dropped off of their mailing list for good.

Today I received an email that these were arriving:

Those of you who know me realize this is the scariest Halloween even that could have happened to me. Well, second scariest. The first would be had they actually arrived today.


Happy Halloween!

More SPOOKY tales and HORRIFYING photos to follow, but first I must finish rifling through the kid's goody bags, collecting the "Mom Tax" they owe me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Introducing. . .Our Little Professor Motormouth

Our little guy's uncanny resemblance to his father just became a whole lot uncannier:

Our Atticus not only bears an uncanny resemblance to the Mister, the nicknames certainly passed through the gene pool as well. When the Mister was a small boy, his mother bestowed two nicknames upon him:

1) "The Professor" because the kid loved to read anything he could get his hands on, and then

2) "Motormouth" because he wouldn't stop talking about all the things he read.

Certainly sounds a lot like our boy here!

Atticus' new glasses arrived today. About a month ago he began complaining of headaches every time we worked on reading, math or violin. I would have thought it was an anxiety issue or an attempt to get out of doing his work, except that Atticus is a kid who genuinely LOVES his schoolwork and violin. His complaints soon evolved from general headaches to dizziness, and off to the eye doctor we went.

Turns out our fellow is farsighted, which is the opposite of his quite nearsighted Mum and Pop. Not only was he farsighted, but his eyes are at different strengths.

Fortunately for us, Atticus thinks it is AWESOME to have eyeglasses. He was so stoked to pick them out. He rejected every single pair that were not the exact same frame color as his Dad's. He picked out the pair himself. I think he did a great job!

Paloma also thinks that eyeglasses ROCK and is always trying to get them off of Atticus:

Upon donning his new specs at the eyedoctor, he exclaimed how well he could read with them!

Happy reading, my boy. I wish you many, many years of happy reading.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WBAY Channel 2 Stinks

Dear WBAY Channel 2 Management,

For the past 2 weeks, we have seen the commercial. Over and over and over again. Every kids' quintessential sign that Halloween is just around the corner:

My children were no exception. Heck, my husband and I are no exception. We've been planning this night for days now. We double checked the schedule in the Green Bay Press Gazette Weekly TV Insert. We double checked Yahoo's tv listings.

The children were allowed to miss their dance class. Expensive dance class. No makeups, no refunds.

We carved pumpkins. We listened to spooky Halloween music. We popped popcorn.

We all plunked down on our couch and turned on WBAY Channel 2. And what to our wondering eyes should appear?

Tuesday Night Touchback?!?!?

Are you kidding us?!? Seriously!?!? Do you know on how many levels this is wrong?!?

First of all, THIS WAS A BYE WEEK FOR THE PACKERS!!! There isn't even anything to Touchback this week.

Incredulous, I went to your website. Which, by the way, is way too "busy" and nearly impossible to find a darn thing on. But there it was, halfway down. Miniscule print, a nearly unnoticeable little blue box:

Programming Note

October 28
"Tuesday Night Touchback" airs at 7 P.M.
The annual special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
airs this Saturday, November 1, at 12 Noon.

My turn now:


Saturday, November 1 is AFTER Halloween!!!

Shame on you, WBAY Channel 2 news, for trying to pull a fast one like this. Shame on you for your weeks of false advertising.

In closing, we would just like to take this opportunity to remind all of you there,


Namely, watching the Peanuts Holiday Special prior to the actual Holiday. It is a family tradition in MANY a household, and we think you all Stink for messing with it.

The Highly Disappointed 5 Frozen Chamorros

PS- Your morning weather forecast is always the most inaccurate of all the channels. You should really watch Pete on Channel 11 and copy his. Pete's the bomb.

It's Laundry Time!!!

It's laundry time, and I'm ready to kick some laundry booty with my newly fixed, super-duper washing machine.

Okay, I just said that to try and PUMP ME UP for the inordinate amount of dirty clothes I have awaiting washing. . . it didn't work.

Fortunately, the machine repair didn't break the bank too badly. What was clogging the drain pump? Hmmmm, let's see:

-67 cents in small coin denominations (I mean nothing bigger than a dime), courtesy of the Mister
-2 bobby pins, courtesy of Hatfield
-2 Lego decapitated heads, courtesy of Atticus
-4 Polly Pocket items, courtesy of Paloma
and, the "kicker" as the repair guy called it:
-1 quart-sized Zip-Loc freezer bag, courtesy of. . . shall I say it? Oh, the shame of it all. . .

Moi and the apron pockets I often forget to empty.


And if it is really true that bad things happen in three, then I claim my three right here and now:

1) Our wonky furnace--now heating and humidifying
2) Our burned out dryer--now drying
3) Our clogged washing machine--now draining and spinning

I hereby EXEMPT every single appliance I own from falling into a state of disrepair or utter brokenness for the next 365 days from today, October 28, 2008.

Yeah, Sarah, good luck with that one!

I may not be blogging for the next, let's see, billion hours, because that's how much laundry I have to do right now. Until then, I wish you a very BLESSED day in which ALL of your appliance work PERFECTLY!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Finally, a few pieces of good news to post, and on a Monday, no less!

I went to our Fed Ex World Services office (which I just recently learned about), instead of Fed Ex Kinko's. The woman at the counter had actually HEARD of the country of Haiti and KNEW where in the world it was (a first for local Fed Ex employees!). She scheduled our package to arrive on Wednesday at the cost of $52. So, by waiting an extra day, I managed to save an entire day (delivery on Wed. instead of Thursday) and $30 (since the other gal tried to get me at $80 something).

So I did a Monday Happy Dance right there with the kids in the Fed Ex parking lot.

My second bit of good news is that I have a Job Interview next week. Wow!

I haven't worked outside the home in quite a while. Not since our Milwaukee years. I'm a bit nervous, but excited. It's a part-time seasonal position, and the hours accommodate our family very well.

The adoption has drained us financially. The cost of the DNA testing was the final nail in our savings coffin, taking the money we had set aside to pay for the boys' Visas and leaving us with a big fat "there's nothing left." We will receive a decent reimbursement from Cliff's company, plus the tax benefits, but that is only after the boys are home. Never did I think 18 months later we would still be waiting for both the boys and the financial rescue. We have managed to string ourselves along, but things like the huge costs incurred by broken appliances, a wonky furnace, rising utility bills and holiday gift expenses wake me up in the night, worrying.

The timing is working quite well for us. The boys won't be home until next year, so I can work through the holiday season without disruption. We had set aside every bit of Cliff's vacation time this year for the boys' homecoming, which isn't happening, so he is able to take some time off for my job training (if I get the job.) We switched to year-round schooling and are taking most of December off, so if I work a late night shift, I don't have to be mentally alert by 7:30 am to begin our homeschool day.

So I feel good about that too. I know that some days will be long, and I'll be tired, but that's okay. I always look to my Mister as my motivation/inspiration. For the first 1.5 years of our marriage, the fellow worked his tail off from 6 am to 6:30 pm, coming home for dinner, going to bed, and then waking up at 2 am for a newspaper delivery route. Seeing how terribly hard he worked to keep me at home to raise our children is so very humbling. He's even offered to take one on again, but I said absolutely not. It's now my turn to pitch in the income department. If the Mister can manage that insane schedule for 1.5 years, I can handle 20 hours a week for a couple of months.

The last time I went on a job interview was in my pre-Paloma years. Meaning my interview clothing is pre-Paloma sizes. Bwwwahahahaha! Like I'll get back in those suckers again!

Ahhh, what a Monday. Good for some big news. And a big laugh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

In the Moment

About a week and a half ago, I sent paperwork and a very large sum of money off to Maryland to begin the DNA testing process for our adoption. I overnighted the paperwork, and they received it on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

The following Tuesday morning they called to confirm they received my paperwork and that they were beginning to process it. They would mail papers back to me, which I would then turn around and Fed Express them Haiti.

The paperwork arrived Saturday, as I was getting ready to take a nap. I quickly ran to my computer to check with the Fed Ex website to confirm rates and shipping availabity for the afternoon. For $52, I could get it to Haiti on Tuesday.

Works for me, and I drove my tired little self across town to Fed Ex.

First their computer would not process the request. Then it would and told me it would be delivered Wednesday afternoon. For $52. No complaints.

I handed over my debit card, and just as she was about to slide it through, she frowned. "Hmmmm, now it's quoting me $86 and Thursday," she said. Type, type, type. "Now it won't even let me process it."

She looked up and smiled. "Can you bring this back in on Monday and we'll try again?"

And it hit me. A year ago I would have broken down in tears. Right at the counter. 6 months ago I would have done the same. 6 weeks ago, even.

Yesterday, I started giggling. And giggling. Into a big belly laugh.

She looked at me like I was insane. I smiled to reassure her that I was not going postal on her.

"No problem," I said laughing. "It's just that every time I turn around in this adoption, we hit delays. And I've come to expect it. And I feel okay with it. I'm not used to feeling that way."

"Oh," she said slowly. "Okay. . . we'll see you Monday."

In the past few weeks, I have felt a sense of peace wash over me (except the day we found out about the DNA. I had a major crying tantrum freak-out meltdown that day :). This adoption isn't about time anymore. It's about creating a family, and a future. And when it happens, it happens.

Please, don't think me boastful or above meltdowns here. I've certainly had my share of depressed days, with bouts of crying, existing in a haze, precariously perched between the world of the little boys which I left on Mothers Day '07, and my life at home.

Lately it has really settled in. This right here, right now is what life is about. Thinking about yesterday is okay. Planning for tomorrow is okay. Unable to live for and make the most out of this moment today?

For me, it's not okay.

If I became upset about every little thing in my life which didn't go the way I planned, then I would be upset ALL THE TIME.

I used to get upset about every little delay and problem in our adopiton. I was upset ALL THE TIME. Unceasingly perturbed, I must then ask myself:

Are the boys here? Nope.
Do I have a husband and children who need me at home? Yup.
Has even one teensy tiny little drop of all that upset changed anything in the course of this adoption?


Maybe I should have titled this post Surrendered. This morning at church we sang two incredible songs about surrendering. Somewhere along the way a light when on above my head, and I realized that I just have to surrender this entire package of angst.

Surrender the frustration.
Surrender the upset.
Surrender the expectations.

I think for a while I held on just so tightly to that frustration, to that upset, to those expectations because holding onto those things somehow proved I was a mother to my boys. That I cared for them enough to be so burdened by my heart's yearning for them.

That it could NEVER possibly be okay if I didn't feel those things, because it would indicate that I was detached and not going to be a good mother.

That if I didn't fight and claw my way through this process, that I would somehow not be deserving of being an adoptive mother.

The absurdity of those statements has sunk in.

I've banged my head against the wall, cried my rivers and sank into the well of depression long enough.

Those things will not bring the boys home a single moment before it happens. Those things have NO indication of my worthiness as a mother.

So for today, I surrender it. Relinquish. Exterminate. No longer carry.

So for today, I choose to live in this moment. And I feel that sense of peace washing over me, growing in it's strength.

I'm certain that I will not always remember this, and that I will have those moments of anger and absolute frustration in the future. Another word for tender-hearted is often thick-skulled. The feelings of my heart will often blind my reason, and at times I will lose the grip that I found for today.

But for today, I am choosing to live right here. In the now. No matter how many delays we hit in this adoption process (surely there will be more), how many appliances break (currently my washing machine), how many timeouts I have to struggle through with Paloma (really, it's best for me not to count.) For today, I give it all up and am just being here.

And for today, it feels damn good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

I read this on Schneiderville's blog, and thought this was too funny not to share.


BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!
JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.
HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure - right from Day One! - that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.
GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road.We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not.The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?
COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.
BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of crossing?
GORE: I invented the chicken.
JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am nowagainst it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.
AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.
DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that hemust first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.
OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.
NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.
PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.
DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.
JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends , that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay, too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side.' That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.
GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road.Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will belistening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of howit experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.
ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.
BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@& &^(C%..........reboot.
ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?
COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Great Start to My Morning!

Two hours ago, I created that post title in my mind with a sarcastic edge to it. 4 am (yes, that's 4, on the dot) brought Paloma into our room Wide Awake and channeling Chatty Cathy. 4:30 am popped Cinderella 2 (which has to be one of the worst movies ever made) into our room's VHS player (yes, we are so technologically advanced here). 5:11 am put Paloma's little face an inch above from my sleeping one, her warm little (loud!) breath announcing, "Let's go downstairs Mommy and have pepperoni!" (doesn't she realize her mom's a vegetarian?!?)

But my title no longer has a sarcastic edge to it. No indeed, you will not find this post a sarcastic rant. Why, you ask? Because I woke up to this email from a great Etsy seller, Pretty Organized
letting me know that I won her giveaway:

Okay ma'am, you've got the hat boxes! I was so drawn to your blog it just felt right. I think it was your very handsome boys thay you're waiting for... we check into haitian adoption as well. I know where you are. I'll enjoy checking back to see when you get those cuties. You're right, you're their mom. Check my blog for details on contacting me and letting me know what colors you want!

How COOL is that?!? I have never really won anything before!! I am so stoked that I feel that an Oscar Speech coming on. . .

eh hem. . .

I'd like to thank the Nester for her time, dedication and sacrifice in creating a Handmade Holiday Linky Party. I'd like to thank Pretty Organized for creating such an incredible product and for having such a sweet, giving heart. I'd like to thank my dear friend Melanie for her email inspiring me to enter the free giveaways. I'd like to thank my dear Mister, because he works so hard to stay employed at his company which pays for our high speed internet. But most of all, I'd like to thank the little people. . .Hattie, Atticus, Keenan, Miles, Paloma---I'm talking about you guys. Without you adorable little beings and the inordinate amounts of books, papers, toys, dolls, clothing, shoes and mismatched mittens generated by all of you, I never would have been so unorganized that I would feel the need to enter such a giveaway.

When my beautiful trophy. . .errr, hat boxes arrive, I will be certain to post a photo in which I pose with these treasures in a very Vanna-esque style. Maybe I'll even where heels for the photo. If I can find the one pair I own. Which I bought before I had children. Which I have no idea where they are located.

See?!? See the disorganization here? Yes, indeed, I so deserve this little bit of pretty organization :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Last night I took this photo of Atticus.

Two twisty baby teeth, perched precariously on his gums by minuscule threads.

And I realized it.

Never again would I put my baby boy to bed with all of his baby teeth.

I cried.

I've been a bit weepy and sentimental these days.

Ever have those moments--be it a minute, or day, or maybe even a string of days--where you are just so in love with everyone and everything in your life.

Like so in love it nearly hurts?

I've been experiencing that feeling a lot lately. Probably because I spend time thinking about time and waiting and life. A Haitian adoption will kind of do that to you.

Reading NieNie's blog will do that to you as well.

Right now, in my home, I have 3 precious children.

My 10 year old daughter loves to read, loves her pets, loves her dolls and toys. She loves to make up stories and plays. She can spend hours outside riding her bicycle or roller blading. She visibly becomes gleeful when we hunker down to read our Nancy Drew each and every night. She thinks it is fun to wash her baby sister's hair salon-style. And if you ask her one of her favorite things to do, she'll tell you to have a sleepover in Mom's room where we watch movies and bead each other's hair while Dad is away on business.

My 6 year old son asks me about a zillion questions a day. He loves Robinson Crusoe and Star Wars and drawing elaborate military plans of attack on paper. He's learning to read and last night read me two Clifford easy reading books. All. By.Himself. The cool thing is that I have the PRIVILEGE to teach him to read. Me. I covet this privilege. And I love it. He thinks he is the bomb because he can skip count by 2's and 10's. He zooms around the driveway and yard on his 2-wheeler. He rollerblades and never cries when he falls--and he falls hard-- but he'll cry at the drop of the hat if he feels wronged by a sister.

My 3 year old loves life. She loves to sing, to dance, to holler, "Ta-Da! It's Tinder-nella!" She has the most wonderfully expressive facial expression. She comprehends so much that she never misses a beat, even in our parent-big kid conversations. She loves potty humor, which we all know she did not get from me (I abhor potty humor, seriously). She has no fear of anything except airplanes flying overhead, and she can beat out the big kids in tricycle races. I spend hours each day playing house/pets/dinosaurs/little ponies, where we are each a character who greets each other, over and over and over again, in high falsetto voices, "Hi! How are you today? Come and see my house!"

And my Mister. . . well, there's a lot to say there. I truly realize how incredibly blessed I am to have him. We've faced some dreadful circumstances and kicked its ass down the block. We clawed our way (not at each other) through the trials and have demonstrated that when we took our vows and said, for better or for worse, we meant it. Tested and proven. We don't doubt it, and there is an overwhelming sense of love and security there. We can spend hours just talking and laughing and never get bored with one another. Every night when I know he is about to come home, I get excited and put on fresh lipstick and blusher. He is my best friend.

And these two little guys. Not much longer before they are home. Whether it is next week or 3 months from now, it doesn't matter, because I am their Mama and this is their HOME. Each day brings us one day closer to their homecoming. They are worth the wait.

I don't know what tomorrow holds. That thought alone lets me sink a little deeper into the bliss I'm feeling for today.

And today, I wish for you a little wonderful bliss of your own.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pimp My Ride

To all my HomeBoyz over at MTV, yo. . .

Eat your heart out, fellas. . .your Escaladez don't got NOTHIN' on my Oh-Two Ven-Ture.

Word to your mutha.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Mr. and Mrs. Have a Date Night

Last night, the Mr. and I went on a Kid-Free Date Night.

For some, date night automatically implies the evening is Kid-Free.

Not so for us.

We have a super short list of babysitters, and so for the likes of us, sometimes we must have a Date Night in the vicinity of our children. In the past, we've ordered Take Out, put candles on the table, poured wine and tucked the kids upstairs in our bed with a bowl of popcorn and a new movie on the dvd player. When necessary, we've traded in plans to see a rated R movie for the likes of 101 Dalmations II and Cars. Heck, we've even brought the kids to super fancy hotels for Cliff's company holiday parties, ordering room service while the Mister ducked out for a brief hour or two to make the mandatory work appearance.

These things would upset a lot of people. In the past we've been told we're crazy. We call it, making the best of the situation. Those who fall within the ranks of Short Babysitter Lists know that sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I'd rather have a modified Date Night to accommodate for our children than no Date Night at all. After all, the kids are only little once; we have many years of empty nesting when we can have Date Nights to our hearts' content.

So, the Mister and I went out for some Guinness and fish 'n chips, and then headed over to the movie theatre. Fish 'n chips probably doesn't sound overly romantic, but last night was a home Packer game, and the movie theatre is located within 1.5 miles of Lambeau Field. The movie was to start within 20 minutes of the game's end, and anyone in this town knows that you don't dare go against Packer traffic and expect to make it to a movie on-time. So we ended up at a spot on the same property as the theatre, and we only had to navigate parking lots instead of Holgrem Way. The food was darn good, and we had the restaurant to ourselves prior to the post game rush.

The Mister and I went and saw this last night:


We LOVED it. I would highly recommend anyone seeing it, with the caveat that the movie is about marriage and Christianity. If you aren't interested in marital topics or care not to see a Christian movie, then it probably wouldn't hold a high ranking on your To-See list.

For us, the movie was something we needed to see. I love the Mister with all of my heart, and I have great faith in our marriage as we have survived things that make other marriages crumble. We laughed, we cried--well, I cried, I'll let the Mister make the call as to whether or not he cried-- and both of us found the message of the movie to be very profound.

We left the theatre wanting to love each other more and better. Wanting to strengthen our marriage. Being excited about our marriage and the sacred bond between us.

A better Date Night could not have been had.

Thank you, my dear Mister, for a very lovely evening. I am so lucky to have you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Extra Pumpkins + Black Spray Paint + A Really BORED Mom=

Seriously, though, how cute did these turn out?

The kids love Mom's crafty creation. Atticus was more than happy to sit beside the pumpkins to pose for a pic of his cuteness.

Then Paloma intervened, in true Paloma fashion:

Oh, those little sisters!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Atticus and Paloma miss Hattie very, VERY much

Jimmy (aka Grandma, aka Sarah's Mom) just came and took Hattie out for a very special Girl's Night Slumber Party.

Atticus and Paloma miss Hattie very, very much. In the 5 minutes she has been gone, they have already informed me:

Playing Webkinz is no fun without Hattie.

Playing Hide and Seek is no fun without Hattie.

It is a sad, blue afternoon.

To cheer up Atticus and Paloma, I told them that I would play Guitar Hero with them. They found the plan acceptable, but just barely. While I was in the kitchen pouring us ice waters, I heard a small, sad, muffled cry. Much like a little baby bird:


And this is what I found:

Poor Atticus was trapped inside our Halloween decoration tub. Paloma was holding the cover down and just would not let him out.

After I physically pried Paloma off of the tub, Atticus emerged.

Upset, he won't go near Paloma with a 10-foot pole.

Now Atticus is crying.
Now Paloma is crying.
Soon Mommy will be crying.
Only Ernie our 3-legged beagle remains composed.

Hattie, hurry home. We MISS you!
Your Very Sad and Lonely Family

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Miss Ella Jane

Introducing, Miss Ella Jane

Miss Ella Jane is the beautiful first daughter/third child of my dear friend Nola. Nola and I met nearly 7 years ago in Lamaze class. I was expecting Atticus; she, at that time, was a single Mom expecting her first, Alec. I had been a single mom when I was expecting my first, so Nola and I had the instant bond that only those who went through a stressful pregnancy alone can understand. She has since married a WONDERFUL man Matt who we adore, and gave birth to their son Jake 9 days after Paloma was born.

Me and the crew of our kids:

And with just the youngest 3:

Nola is the sweetest of friends. This is the kind of friend she is:

Nola: Your family is now healthy. My family is now healthy. Let's have you over to meet Ella!
Me: Wonderful!
Nola: It will be great! I'll cook you guys a ham dinner, and we'll have mashed potatoes.

Now, you might think that this is a plan only a woman in the state of IISD (Infant-Induced Sleep Deprival) would create. Not Nola. She is just so generous and giving and welcoming to everyone. To continue the conversation:

Me: ABSOLUTELY NOT! I am bringing YOU dinner. You just had a baby, for goodness sake!
Nola: No, really, I'll make a ham. It's just heating up the oven, popping it in...
Me: NO NO NO! I'm bringing pizza. If you want to pop something in the oven, make another baby. I'm bringing dinner.
Nola: Well, okay, but I'll bake brownies and make a salad.

That is just so Nola! I absolutely love her. Nola has this crazy happy energy about her. I have never met a mom who is more attentive to her children. Never. I have many friends who are all wonderful mothers, but not one of us comes close to Nola's skill of attentiveness. Being around Nola, you can't help but become infused with her excitement and energy. It's contagious.

We had a wonderful dinner and fabulous time visiting. I was very generous and let Matt hold and coo at his daughter for 3 minutes after a long day of work. And I tried not to pout when I had to hand Ella Jane back to Nola so that I could assist Paloma in the bathroom.

Nola's boys are very into military. They love everything military, and never have I seen more military hats, uniforms and toy guns (they were all the true 'toy' guns that looked like toys) than at their house. Right after dinner, we bundled up the kids and Matt took them outside so they could play "war." Running around their dark wooded lot, only lit by the full moon and the glow of their porch's Halloween lights, our kids had an absolute BLAST!

Paloma made even the military hat look quite en vogue!

Jake, 9 days younger than Paloma, takes the military life very seriously.

Jake and Paloma were hysterical. Very much similar in temperament and personality, Matt and Nola were howling at how Paloma bossed him around and how he did everything she said. At one point she put her fingers over his lips and said, "Shh! Be ky-et. Hattie's talking," to which he said, "Okay. Don't hit me!"

Atticus loved the break from Littlest Pet Shop!

Alec, who is one month and four days older than Atticus:

Thank you, Nola, for the lovely evening and for being so patient as I hogged your daughter all night! I love you, my dear friend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October Smooches from Haiti

Talk about a ray of Haitian sunshine on our gloomy grey Wisconsin Day!

Our two boys are looking so big!

Miles' smile makes my heart melt!

Keenan is looking quite GQ, if I do say so myself.

I have Fed Ex'd the completed DNA request this afternoon to the lab in Maryland. One step closer to bringing these two home!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Found: 120 sq. ft of organized space

In addition to Hattie finding my camera's missing memory card (hooray! thanks, Hattie), we also managed to "find" 120 sq. ft of organized living space which we like to call, "The Mister's Office."

Okay, "find" is a gross misnomer, as the Mister's aching back will likely tell you. One coat of primer, two coats of paint in the shade of Willow Leaf, and the relocation of a rather large, heavy and cumbersome bookshelf "found" their way into the room, and a short day and a half later, voila! The Mister's Office is born.

I am so happy to give the Mister his very own working space. He's an incredible salesman, but struggles with the paperwork end of things. Fortunately for the two of us, we balance each other out. Whereas I feel shy by nature, the Mister encourages me to be outgoing, and he is my rock in those times where I feel uncomfortable. When he has a hard time figuring out how to organize or manage paperwork, I have the ability to pull it all together in a system. We're good that way.

Short on desk space in our house, we're using the very first kitchen table that my mom and dad bought when they were married as the Mister's desk space. Have I ever posted about how much I LOVE filling my home with pieces of furniture that have history and meaning to me? I have very few physical possessions of my father's, so it is such a gift to have this table that they ate at every night in the first years of their marriage. It's a drop leaf table, so it doesn't take up a huge amount of room, yet can provide big-time table surface when those pesky expense reports need to be worked on.

Boppa and the Mister lugged this beast from it's location from the family room into the office. Never a huge fan of it while in the family room, I LOVE it in it's new home.

Our homeschool materials took up residence on the top (I created labels for each shelf so that the kids and Dad know where to place each item.)

And I moved my favorite piece from the family to the office, where it is better utilized in the office, and helps remove the furniture clutter from the family room (but that's another post!). The Mister has a typewriter collection, so I placed one of his favorites on the top, and adorned each side with typewriter/writing prints.

It is such a relief to have the cluttered, chaotic mess that this room had become turn into something organized and uncluttered. Physically, I can feel the reduction in my stress. This project has completely motivated me to tackle our next big project--the family room--this upcoming weekend. I'm not sure how much it has motivated the Mister, but at least now he has his own space he can hide out in when he's trying to recover from the latest home makeover.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Have You Seen Me?


My digital camera's memory card.


Miss Paloma "Sneaky Deaky" "Who Me?" Elizabeth


Some miniscule, obscure location inside the 5 Frozen Chamorro Abode.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not the news we wanted to hear

The good news: Our birth parent interviews are complete.

The bad news: They requested DNA on one of our boys.

DNA is easily an 8-week process, and it's very expensive (like $500+ expensive). Then, it's safe to say that it will be a month or so to process the actual visas.

Technically, we could bring one of our sons home, and leave the other behind. I refuse to do that. These little guys have lived at the orphanage for 2.5 years now, and are all each other have. I will not do that to them.

The bottom line: Our boys will not be home this year.

I feel like I've been punched in the stomach. I just cannot understand this.

I am so mad. And angry. And sad.

Devastated would be the closest word to describe it.

My heart feels shattered. Do you know how many versions of our family Christmas letter I had composed in my mind, all announcing our two new additions? How many visions of a Christmas tree with presents for 5 little ones? Or how my heart breaks when I see just how much my little guy so badly want his brothers home?

I just wish I could understand why this has to be so difficult.

All I want is for my babies to be home.

An evening rally

was a day when:
*news, that was not-the-news-we-wanted-to-hear, was heard,
*little Atticus had a fever and a cough,
*miss Paloma's ear hurt.
*the Mister came home sick from work (which he never does, so I knew he was *really* sick),
*Hattie's closet innards and desk guts exploded over the rest of her room while she worked hard on making a room 'library.'

But at the end we rallied, refusing to let the blechy things get the best of us. The cure?

Pizza party!

The Mister tried to look debonair,

but we think his smile is a much better look.

The girls huddled with happiness!

The kids settled down with a family room Pepperoni Pizza Picnic and watched a movie.

While the Mister and I sat down to this healthier beauty at the kitchen table.

Even Mom managed to pull off a big tired grin at the end of our helluva day.