Thursday, November 27, 2008

Awake at 1:49 am with a Rumbly in my Tumbly

Miss Paloma usually awakens us at least once in the night for some request. Usually involving a liquid. The child, although small, can hold her liquids like a camel (meaning our bedsheets stay dry), so we usually acquiese and then we're on our merry way back to Dreamland.

This past week, the Mister has been burning the midnight oil on paperwork, even though he's had to leave each morning by 4:30 am to drive his way up to the U.P. So each evening around 1:30 am when the Thirsty Beast Awakens, I've let him sleep.

I sound like a pretty selfess wife, don't I?

Does it count as selflessness when I happily flounce downstairs so that I can sneak a handful or two (or ten) of these?

My dear friend Anne Marie is moving. And after her going away party last Friday night, she sent me home with a bag of these. Which being the Good Mom that I am, hid from my children so they wouldn't suffer long-term, Frito-induced hypertension or bad cholesterol.

Or Frito breath.

So each night for the past week, I've been scarfing these down. Washed down by old, flat 7-Up that the Mister hides from the kids for his occasional Seven 7. 'Cuz he's a Good Dad and he doesn't want them to suffer from long-term, flat soda-induced tooth decay. And he doesn't want to share.

But I digress.

So guess what? I'm awake now, and there are no Fritos.

Poor Me. I am hungry and my tummy is rumbly. So I'm making all of you suffer through this with me.


So my Mister, in his moment of empathy (because he's been 7-Upless before) tried to cheer me at 1:49 am up with his adventures at the video store tonight. He went to rent a UFC dvd with "classic" UFC fights (because apparently, those exist). I asked what fun is it to watch a fight in which you've already known the outcome for the past how many years?

Apparently, it still is a lot of fun.

But anyways, so he goes to the counter to pay his dollar and he whips out a baggy of change. 'Cuz we're cool like that. And you know what else was mixed in his bag, which he didn't notice until he actually unknowingly gave some to the cashier?

Play money.

I laughed pretty hard.

It helped in me in my Frito-less times.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Metaphorical Dam Breaks

Countless challenges have built a rather large dam, holding back our ability to have our DNA tests taken.

This morning, the dam broke.

Can I get a loud Hallejulah?

I am forever grateful to several other adopting families who took time out of their busy schedules to forward me information to pass along our adoption pipeline. The direct result of it is that we are going to get our DNA tests done, without passports.

Thank you, you dear families, thank you.

Our DNA test will be done today, IF they can round up the birth mom. If not today, tomorrow, or perhaps the next day. And since passports don't seem near ready, I'm not complaining about any day this week.

Of course, this is something that could have been done all along. Like 40-some days ago. Maybe that could have been the difference between having my boys home for Christmas and spending it without them. But maybe not, as the Consulate is seeming pretty slow in their rate of handing and there are countless other challenges we could encounter.

And yesterday, Small Town Girl's comment really rang true:

"Lately I feel I am in danger of becoming bitter, and I just really don't want to go there. So keep writing. We'll keep reading. And I'm not going to let this process make me bitter."

Nothing can be done about the cudda/wudda/shudda's. And I am really, really tired of feeling crappy. And I really, really don't want to be a bitter person. Because life is too short. And there are far worse things I could be going through. And because who likes to be around bitter people?

So today, I am going to CELEBRATE the fact that we made a POSITIVE step forward today. That the damn dam holding us back gave way, and our file can once again begin to baby step forward.

One step closer, my boys.
(Photo taken August 2006)
One step closer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anger Management Issues

The Hague Convention had it ALL WRONG when it mandated a gazillion hours of "Adoptive Family Education and Training," while failing to include a mere nano-second of "Pre-Placement Process-Related Anger Issues."

We have been on the receiving end of news and information this past week that has me seeing red. Add that to the fact that we received our (still-unfulfilled) DNA request issued Oct. 10th and I'm x'ing days off the calendar with abandon (FORTY-SIX DAYS AGO), nearly into December, and sometimes my frustration feels like it is literally going to smother the life right out of me.

I feel like we are being attacked in every area of our lives right now. Financial. Health. Relationships. Home. Sanity.

Right now, I'm struggling BADLY in terms of getting a grip on it all.

I'm always so humbled and surprised that you all keep coming back to read my blog, when I spend a lot of time whining about the adoption and sharing a never-ending stream of bad news. I spend a lot of time being such a downer.

I used to think the miracle of the adoption would be a fast process. We kick and scream and scratch and claw our way through this system so I thought my 'miracle' and 'reward' would be a super-speedy adoption.

The miracle, I know realize, is just getting them home at all.

But that's going to take awhile.

For now, the miracle will be getting my blood pressure safely down from the Red Zone.

That might take awhile, too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snow Day!!!

This morning we awoke to this wondrous sight to behold:

So Mom, Head Teacher of the Five Frozen Chamorro Academy, officially declared today a


One of the great many privileges of homeschooling (yes, I am one of *those* crazy parents who actually likes being with their kids all day and even, gasp, thinks it a privilege), is that on the FIRST day of substantial snow (meaning you can make a snow angel, pack a snowball and need to shovel), I can declare a Snow Day Holiday.

What do we do on a Snow Day Holiday (hey, don't roll your eyes, I'm not sure if my Guamanian readership knows!) Something like this:

Play in the snow

Drink hot cocoa and listen to Christmas music
(Mom dries snow clothes in dryer)

Play in the snow

Eat homemade vegetable noodle soup
(Mom dries snow clothes in dryer)

Play in the snow
Drink more hot cocoa and watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
(Mom dries snow clothes in dryer)

Play in the snow

All done.

(Mom breaks out the drying rack for fear of the dryer blowing up into a huge blazing fireball)

Happy Snow Day Holiday Everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thoughts on the holidays

I watched this on my friend Small Town Girl's blog and loved it.

Money is tight in our home this holiday season. Really, really tight. The adoption and subsequent DNA testing (despite the fact that it still has not yet happened) has really drained us. Coupled with the reality that we still need to pay for the boys' Visa's (over $700) and airfare, we are feeling an evertightening visegrip on our budgets. I spend a lot of time trying to alleve my anxiety with the mantra, this too shall pass.

A few Saturdays ago, Pastor Sandy preached at our church (Pastor Dennis is the usual preacher, and Pastor Sandy treats us to her teachings several times a year). She stood up to begin her sermon, but felt something tugging at her heart a message to parents about the upcoming holidays, which I will try my best to eloquently paraphrase.

In our day and age, she sees a lot of very spoiled children. Children who do not know the meaning of the word "wait" or "no" or "budget." Children with no work ethic and who have no understanding of what is waiting for them in the real world.

We parents are doing them a disservice. We are not preparing them for the real world. We ourselves live in a society with credit cards and instant gratification expectations. We feel as if we are denied a right if we cannot get something when we want it.

This year she is praying that we all just stand up and say no. No to the excess. No to the neverending cycles of overspending. All she wants for her own holidays is sharing warm, homecooked meals and spending time with family and friends.

As encouragement, she shared that when she and Pastor Dennis were a young married couple and young parents with young children, they had nothing. Nothing. Countless others were in the same boat. No credit cards to fall back upon. No home equity loans to bail you out. They drove clunkers. They had what was in their checking and savings accounts, and very often it wasn't much. If there wasn't money for something, then that was that.

And they all survived. Their kids survived. They made it through those years and came out of it just fine.

Anyways, I know that her sharing a message was a bit of a risk because it certainly isn't a popular one. And I know that not everyone agrees with it, but that's okay. For me, I nearly had whiplash from nodding my head in fervant agreement, feeling so damned relieved that someone else not only shared my line of thinking but was telling me that we'd be okay for it.

As for our family, we will take things one day at a time, and in then end, we will be fine. I cling to the hope and encouragement in that message. And oh how my perspective changes when I think of those in this world who lack even something so basic as clean water.

We have provisions for today, and we lack for no need. We are blessed beyond measure.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making a deal with the devil. . whoops, I meant dentist

How to have a very successful dentist practice.
by The Mrs.

1. Have a warm waiting room.

Not hot, not cold. Cozy and warm. A fireplace is a lovely touch.

2. Have a great selection of children's toys which are clean and unbroken.

I'm talking crayons here.
No nubbies.
No peelies.
No dullies.

3. Have a pi├Ęce de la resistance.

A great suggestion: a SOUNDLESS child-sized video arcade game with easy, non-violent games.

Did I mention it is SOUNDLESS?

4. Have a great selection of magazines for those surprised parents who find themselves twiddling their thumbs because their kids are happy, peaceful and occupied.

Magazines that are current, clean, with no curled edges or questionable organic matter sticking the pages together.

Our pledge to you, the dentists: Offer the above 4 items and you will have happy, loyal families who will keep coming back every 6 months, provided their insurance will cover it. Keep my kids happy and you can knock me out with a club before you drill my fillings or use an ice pick to scrape off my tartar.

Okay, I'm kidding about that last part.

Seriously though, we found this exact dentist office yesterday morning. All thanks to the referral of my wonderful friend Jill, whose four children and husband happily skip to this dental clinic.

It is so wonderful that I even made an appointment for myself.

The last time I went to the dentist for a cleaning was . . .well, my 6.5 year old son was around 8 months old.

Of course, I didn't admit that to the receptionist.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Mess so BIG that I can't even think of a title for this post

A while back, I wrote this post, about my need to reclaim the cluttered and/or neglected and/or abused inches in my home.

So far, my only big deed in this challenge has been to turn the dining room into the office. Otherwise, I've just managed to keep further clutter/neglect/abuse at bay. For the most part.

I think that's called "treading water."

Our basement is a disaster zone. Even the *thought* of trying to organize it makes me so tired that I can't get myself down there to make an attempt. My past attempts to unclutter have resulted in the Mister and my children going through the garbage and/or giveaway piles, all panicked, to reclaim old stuff that they hadn't used/touched/laid eyes upon for the past 3 years.

For the past two months, the basement door has stayed shut. I rarely allowed the kids to take anyone down there, for fear of someone tripping and breaking an important bone (aren't they all important though, really?)

So, to my great JOY, later today SUPERJIMMY and BOPPANATOR will come to my rescue.

I love my stepdad. He can fix anything and install any sort of appliance/fixture/gadget. I love my mom. She's like Martha Stewart's long lost twin. She lives in a smaller, perfectly organized condo which leaves her high and dry when those strong decluttering/reorganizing/decorating urges hit her.

And when those urges do hit her, she's damn lucky she has a daughter like me who always happens to have a huge disorganized mess or two for her to fix!

I can't believe I posted the above picture, but I did. I shall sacrifice my own vanity so that, when y'all see the after photo, you know just how darn amazing SUPERJIMMY and BOPPANATOR are.

My goal is to turn the basement into a second family/craft/game room of sorts. I found that I much preferred to homeschool at the kitchen table or in our upstairs family room, and since then the basement has collected all the toys/games/stuff that I didn't want to clutter up my kitchen. Some great logic there, I know. As a result, every time I set foot in the basement, the chaos would give me a headache and I would feel a weight was on my chest.

But logic be damned and the headache be gone, for my two awesome parents are on their way. This may be their greatest challenge yet. Hopefully, it will make them thirsty and coming back for more decluttering projects.

And being the perfect, firstborn child that I am, I can happily oblige.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Five Hundred Forty-Eight

Our huge dossier landed in Haiti 548 days ago. Here is a picture of the gal at the UPS Store weighing it.

See how amused she looks? I think it's because my huge UPS bills gave her store the revenue boost needed to earn her the free trip to Hawaii.

I last held my two little boys 543 days ago.

Our files made it out of the Haitian process 108 days ago. Kinda sorta. I guess our files loved the passport office so much that they decided to go back for a third visit.

I remember back in March, when things started to seem endless as we were approaching the 10 month mark (my naivety makes me blush), I clearly remember blogging that I was going to put a "date" out of my mind and just be glad that they'd be home by Thanksgiving.

Crap. Why the heck did I have to write/think that? It should have occurred to me then how I would feel at this moment now, sitting here and knowing that Thanksgiving is around the corner.

My boys are not.

I have NO idea how many days until we get our boys. None. I'm no longer green enough to predict how long it will take us to get correct passports, or when the DNA test will be done, or when we could get Visas.

Counting all these "yesterdays" is a morose thing, but some days I can't help myself.

Most days I breeze right through. Wondering if it is my faith or my clinical psychological detachment that keeps me level and sane.

Some days I think about what I am missing, and I get weepy. Or mad. Both, really.

Some days I wonder if they will ever really come home.

Some days I sit and think about all the awful things that could happen to our files and prevent them from coming home.

Some days I think of all the potential trials, problems, issues we face in bringing home "older" children and I wonder, What the heck am I doing??? Fear will try and control your life, you know, if you let it.

I have no point to this post. No eloquent or uplifting thought to end it.

It's just a post about numbers really.

18 months.
548 days.

The Smell of Home

Every Sunday we eat an early dinner, take early baths and settle in as a family for Funniest Home Videos before putting the children down for an early bedtime.

And every Sunday, the Mister makes from scratch, by hand, two loaves of bread. He removes them from the oven, piping hot, perfectly timed for Bedtime Snack.

It is the smell of warm, cozy Home and our togetherness as a Family.

It is the most wonderful smell in the world.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Q & A with The Mister

The Mister has developed quite a cult following, due to our 5FC blog, and his fan mail is arriving in record numbers. In addition to requests for autographed photos or locks of his hair, we often receive questions from his curious admirers. This morning, he is taking time to answer a question or two.

Secret Admirer in the Midwest writes:

Dear Mister,

What do you think is the most under-rated Saturday morning activity?

The Mister responds:

"Excellent question, Secret Admirer! I am so glad you asked.

Waking up to find 3 inches of standing water on the 2nd story bathroom floor, courtesy of an overflowing toilet, which then is draining into the kitchen light fixture on the first floor, (think of a cascading waterfall)

and further draining into the basement ceiling and onto my wife's arts and crafts table in the basement, is an GREAT way to start a morning. Particularly in the 6 am hour. HIGHLY UNDERRATED, in my book.

Any more questions?"

I would just like to say that My Mister is my Ultimate Super Hero. He is a man who has cheerfully cleaned up toilet water on 3 different levels of the house, all the while teaching our son that unexpected things might happen and we just have to make the best of them and laugh. My Mister is so boss, and I love him.

Thank you, Mister! I love you!
Your adoring Wife,
The Mrs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ye Olde Poetic Justice

Paloma is our sneaky child. She will try her darnedest to get away with outrageous acts of mischief right under our own noses.

But she's 3.
So she's not very good at it yet.

The other day, 'lil Miss Sneaky stealthily snuck into her big brother's room and stole these from his candy stash:

Bernie Bott's Beans.

If you're a Harry Potter fan, you know what I'm taking about. If not, let me explain.

Bernie Bott's Beans are jelly beans of two sorts. One sort is the super-yummy Jelly Belly traditional beans. Blueberry. Cherry. Green Apple. Yummy.

The other sort is not. Grass. Ear Wax. Vomit. Not yummy.

So 'lil Miss Sneaky stole Atticus' beans, dumped them out on my bed, and began popping them.

That's when Ye Olde Poetic Justice kicked in.

I don't know what flavor she got.

But it wasn't yummy.

Poor Paloma.
She wants us to feel soooo bad for her.

But we don't.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Teenage Sniper Penguin, Canine Royalty and Lessons from Home Ec

My first night back in the workforce went very well. Both at the job and at home.

The Mister did great on his first night of solo parenting. I realize this is no big thing at many a home, so if you're rolling your eyes, bear with us. We're just not used to Mom being away night after night, so it's a BIG change 'round here.

We both knew the tricky part of the evening would be bedtime. Paloma has a rather elaborate bedtime routine, so the Mister came up with a great idea to keep the big kids busy without the help of tv. I guess there is some PS2 game called 'Toon or something of the sort? Where you create your own cartoon character and adventure plots? Well, I'm not sure what it is called or what it's played on, but the Mister decided to take 'Toon back to the basics. . . good ol' fashion pencil, paper and coloring markers.

Voila! Before the end of my first shift, Teenage Sniper Penguin came to life, courtesy of Atticus:

and Hatfield created her very own Canine Royalty Kingdom, entitled Maggie & Friends:

Kudos to the Mister on some very wholesome. . .well, scratch that, because I think the whole Sniper Penguin thing kinda eliminates the wholesome thing. . . some very creative kid activities!

Plus he earned huge points with me because he did ALL of our laundry (and it wasn't even our laundry day!) and MOPPED the kitchen floor!

Admittedly, my late night last night has left me very tired today. I was a little weary upon waking, until I realized that it was Home Ec Morning

and as such, Miss Hatfield's turn to make breakfast.

She handled scrambled eggs solo.

They turned out perfectly. Buttery, lightly salted, heavily peppered. Perfect.

Someday in the future I will elaborate on our Home Ec program and wax philosophic on why Home Ec is desperately needed to save our future generations (I'm serious here, folks.)

For now, I'm just going to enjoy our quiet Pajama Day at home.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Lovely Surprise

A Smiley Hello from Haiti

Unexpected photos are always treasured.

Glimpes of soulful, wondering eyes and smiling faces sustain me, strengthen me in this harrowing wait.

A small yet very real reassurance that they are still there, healthy, living life, as they wait to go Home.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Thank you for the photographs, my friend.
Thank you.

Back to Work

Tomorrow, for the first time in a very long, long time, I will punch a timeclock and rejoin the monetarily-compensated work force. I will now add the title of "Working Mom" along to "Stay-at-Home Mom" and "Homeschooling Mom," just in case the two latter titles somehow infer that those roles do not count as "work."

Since "Household Control Freak" is also among my numerous titles, you can imagine the magnitude of my freak-out today while trying to plan/coordinate/prepare/prevent every probable and possible meal/activity/chore/disaster that will occur for the Mister during his Solo Parenting Duty Hours.

Every weeknight for the next two weeks will find me out of the home, training for my new position as a Payment Processing Associate for an online-catalog retailer. Their office is less than 2 miles from our front door, and they pay well. The seasonal position ends January 3, and hopefully our two little guys will be granted Visas shortly afterwards, and we'll whisk down to bring them home, courtesy of the adoption savings account padded by my hours spent working outside the home.

Kind of cool how that all kind of works out, isn't it?

So far, I have spent the day writing out the evening schedules and weekly menus. I found this crockpot cooking blog through Aves' blog. The crockpot lady decided to blog about using her crockpot for 365 straights. Wow. I've been combing through her archives and found some promising recipes. I like meals where I can use the leftovers from the day earlier (like day 1: a baked, whole chicken. Day 2: crockpot chicken tortilla soup with the chicken leftovers). This afternoon I'll hit the grocery stores once the Packer game starts. Our city becomes a ghost town during a Packer game, and I'm ensured front-row parking and no-wait lines during those 3 hours of gametime.

Being prepared helps quiet my Inner Household Control Freak. It also ensures that my children will not eat Halloween candy for dinner 5 nights in a row.

Kinda cool how it all works out.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Hurricane Paloma is ready to strike

Hurricane Paloma is about to hit the Caymans.

Or, depending which Hurricane Paloma you are taking about, her older brother because he isn't playing dinosaurs the right way.

I knew I should have patented my "I Survived Paloma" t-shirt shortly after her 2nd birthday.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Question with an Answer that I really do NOT want to know

How many of these cute little fellas . . .

are the equivalent to ONE of these

big bad bars???

I'm hoping the answer is not 5 or 6, but more like


IF the answer is 10,000,000,000 than I can sleep soundly tonight, knowing that in the past 48 hours, I've only eaten a mere itty bitty 1/billionth of a king-sized Snickers bar.

IF the answer is 5,
maybe 6,
well. . . that is bad
news for me.

A Warm and Sunny November Afternoon

What does a Mom do when it is the month of November and the temperature outside hits

70 degrees?!??!

Does she:

a) hire a babysitter so she can hit the local beach by herself with a good, non-adoption related book;
b) hook up the PS2 to babysit the kids so she can mow the overgrown lawn; or
c) realize that the lawn will still be there to mow next spring, throw the kids in the van and head to an awesome park.

"C" was exactly what we did, as headed to a park to meet our best buds', Melanie and her Three Little Princesses

We arrived first, so Hattie and Atticus warmed up the slide while they were waiting.

They practiced their "Mean Faces," just in case any playground bullies showed up (none did besides Paloma.)

While Paloma took a quick snooze to ensure PPP (Peak Playground Performance).

Once the Princesses arrived, Atticus and Stella jumped right into a game of Star Wars.

Paloma was so not going to allow Miss Stella to pose pretty for a picture all by her lonesome.

Lyddie and Paloma spent a lot of time hanging out in the "Guinea Pig Tunnel," where they oinked at us for imaginary guinea pig treats.

The littles are BFFs.

The big girls only stood still long enough for a photo op during a Group Huddle.

And the littles, shortly after Melanie and I announced that the fun was coming to an end.