Tag : You're It
Name four jobs you have had in your life:
  1. Web designer

  2. Nanny

  3. Computer support specialist

  4. Fundraiser for abused/neglected children

Four movies you would watch over and over:

  1. City of Angels

  2. What Dreams May Come

  3. Serendipity

  4. Napoleon Dynamite

Four places you have lived:

  1. Spain

  2. Wisconsin

  3. Michigan

  4. The State of Denial

Four TV shows you love to watch.

  1. Lost

  2. ER

  3. Boston Legal

  4. The Office

Four places you have been on vacation:

  1. Canada

  2. New York

  3. Vegas

  4. Pittsburgh

Four websites I visit daily:

  1. Yahoogroups

  2. Adoption Blogs (all of 'em - so post daily you guys!)

  3. My Yahoo

  4. Live Journal

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Tiramisu

  2. Shrimp, any way

  3. Sushi

  4. Asparagus

Four places I would rather be right now:

  1. Vietnam

  2. Vegas

  3. Target

  4. Does an altered state of consciousness count?

Four friends I am tagging that I think will respond:

  1. Emily

  2. Erin

  3. Tony

  4. Jane
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/30/2006§
It's Friday, It's Friday
The last day of June! The end of this hellacious month has finally arrived!!!

Yesterday Dh kicked my butt outside and got me to do some landscaping. That led to someone's brilliant idea to build our new trampoline. We've built trampolines before - it is grueling work. But whatever. Hubby soon went inside for a work phone call leaving me and two whiny kids to help build. I finally sent them in - working alone in peace and quiet is better than help-with-whining. Then it started to pour. And most of the trampoline required two people, so I quit. Later, when hubby was available, we made progress - with only one trip to two different hardware stores for tools - but we still have to finish today. Man, what a job!!!!!

We went to our favorite fireworks show last night. Neither of us wanted to go but I committed by asking the kids if they wanted to - knowing they would. I knew I'd regret it if we didn't go.

Usually this particular fireworks event is attended by a hornet's nest of political signature-seekers and proselytizer. I don't like proselytizing of any variety but these seekers, themselves, happen to be firmly seated on the opposite end of the political spectrum as my family. So it is either unfun or entertaining (depending on if I'm in a debating mood or not) but this year I wasn't looking forward to it. I saw them, like vultures, waiting as we headed to find our seats. So I was prepared. But when one poor unfortunate soul approached me alone (the family was off seeking snacks) - I let him have it. I wanted to put a stop to his schpiel immediately. The look of stun on his face was priceless. He stuttered and stammered and finally, slowly, kept on with his schpiel. Having said my bit, I had nothing left to do but listen to him and, as he droned on, my skepticism melted into open-mindedness and I was soon horrified to discover that he represented a cause that I not only believe in but consider myself to be an active advocate for! It is a cause I write articles about frequently and have actively advocated for in the past. I was mortified!!!! So consider this a lesson learned, the hard way. When the vultures did, eventually, attack I was much kinder than I have been in the past. And I have a new strategy, now. Next year I'm wearing an "I heart Buddha" hat. We'll see how it works.

It was beautiful perfect weather - we drove in the rain but it cleared by the time we arrived. When the first star came out, Noah wished that his baby sister would come home soon. ::sniff:: Other holidays have come and gone but I admit that this one is the most poignant for me. The Fourth is when I met my hubby for the first time, eight years ago. We talked about how she would be with us next year and Noah was very excited. Almost as excited as me!

In adoption news: I have a hunch we will not see referrals until after approx the 20th of July. Just a hunch. But we have a busy July so we'll just have to hang in there. You all can expect to read a brand new Nicki starting tomorrow when I come alive with positive energy! haha. Seriously, I know July is my golden month (and not just because of our referral). I can't wait! I am going to celebrate July by picking up my knitting needles. I haven't touched them since I packed away all the baby stuff - clothing, toys, scrapbooking supplies, etc. last month. I left the knitting out but did not touch it. But tomorrow is a new day and I will knit again.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/30/2006§

Is it Friday yet?
We survived the Memorial Service. I'm glad I had mentally (and physically) prepared to be pulled to the front in the whole parade-of-families thing because that is exactly what happened at the last possible second. I didn't even get to grab my purse (which turned out to be a good thing to keep our 4 year old occupied during the one hour service). It is always a strange thing for me to be part of any religious ceremony because I don't share the religion. I feel like a fake, an imposter. I was my Uncle's only niece. Being in the front row - mentioned during the service - made me feel even more so.

I managed to not cry. This was really important because all I do is cry these days. And once I start, I can't stop. And anything can get me started. A movie, a commercial, seeing the old highschool in my home town closed down (it wasn't even MY highschool)....it doesn't much matter. Everything makes me tear up and then I can't stop. So I went to the service with one goal - not to cry. I had it in my head that if I could succeed in finding the inner strength and resolve to do this one thing, I could make it through the rest of this adoption business with my sanity intact. I tried every coping mechanism I could think of - I focused on everything BUT the service. I know now every minute detail of the church alter including the weird etched little heads at the top of the chairs and the odd horseshoe-shapes etched at their feet. I know how many organ tubes (or whatever they are called) are in each section and how many wooden panels are on each area of the wall. Finally I found that if I could just make figure 8's in my head, I felt instantly calm. Weird, huh? But since I have literally been searching for a coping mechanism for months now, I am relieved to have been forced into the position of finally finding one. Others pray, some smoke or drink, I have figure 8's!! I almost lost it during the bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace but I stood strong and made it through. And it was no easy task surrounded by my Dad, stepMom, Uncle and Aunt and my brother - all of whom I love so much - while they sobbed. And it did give me a strange bit of comfort to know that I succeeded!

As suspected, there was drama. A lot of drama. Drama involving the FBI, the police, lots of lawyers, the IRS and more that I'm not even privy to. There was anger, resentment, hostility - both open and under the service. I suspect there will be more drama to come in the next week. I don't want to post it all here in such a public forum, particularly since my deceased uncle's wife is still none the wiser but it's quite a story.

I don't schmooze so these family-and-friend get-togethers are uncomfortable for me. I did run into some family friends and got to talking. Through an odd twist of fate, their close friends' daughter is my next door neighbor!! And boy did we get some amazing gossip there! Turns out my neighbors have quite the marital history! haha. If you've read my blog long enough to know how I feel about my neighborhood, you will see how humorous this was to me. So see...it wasn't a totally painful experience to schmooze after all!

And now it's Thursday. Still no info that we are desperately waiting on from our agency. Not surprised, still disappointed. Even though the info would take them a grand total of about 10 minutes to compile, still we wait (and wait and wait). Tomorrow will be one week since we were told it is a top priority and will be dealt with immediately. Do I sound unhappy? I am.

Is it Friday yet? Or, even better, Saturday? Two more days until June is over!!!! Done! Bring on July.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/29/2006§

Thank Goodness It's (almost not) Tuesday
Scratch what I said yesterday. Today has been pretty stinky too. But I'm proud of myself - I plowed through the day and didn't let my almost-all-consuming desire to break down stop me.

We are having some, um, communication problems with our agency. One might call that an understatement. I'm just trying to push through until we get our referral and focus on the positive while enjoying Chel's travel to get her baby, vicariously. I have also started researching for our future (and final) adoption. I have been looking into Rwanda and Belize. Two very different countries with two very similar themes: neither have adoption agencies! Oh my how this appeals to me today, especially!

Today was "video day" which meant that I had no real commitments or places to drag the kids for fun and entertainment. A few days ago I suggested to Noah that he needed a haircut. He thought about it and said "I'd like to go to the salon". I have always cut his hair - he has literally never had a hair on his body cut by someone other than me. Not that I prefer this, mind you. He's just a little temperamental stubborn hesitant. So this was good news. He later explained that "he heard salon cuts are faster". Yes this is a personal reflection on my speed and efficacy as a makeshift beautician and not an inaccurate one, to be honest! Finally, today, we made the trip but not before he managed to finagle a bribe that included feeding the Rainforest Cafe alligator some of my hard earned pennies and buying some ball he had his eye on at the cafe gift shop. I threw in Dairy Queen for good measure. What use is running errands if DQ isn't involved? The haircut went swimmingly. We picked up Hoodwinked for Video Day on the way home and called it a day.

Tomorrow is my Uncle's funeral. I am dreading it completely. And I'm wearing open-toed shoes. And dressing my kids not-in-black. None of this would be a big deal except that the last funeral I went to I made the mistake of dressing in a color-other-than-black only to discover upon arrival at the service that I was expected to be paraded in front of the congregation as immediate family of the deceased (the rest of whom were all wearing black, of course). I stuck out like a sore thumb. Of course this isn't all that concerns me about this particular funeral. My mother is going. In fact, I am her ride. And I was put in charge with the task of ok'ing this with my father (they are divorced). I failed in my duties. She's nervous, I'm uncomfortable but faking it. And then there are all the strange family issues to contend with. I bet you are all giddy with anticipation! Plus funerals are very sad and I don't particularly like the dichotomy of going from a very emotional funeral to the very upbeat funeral reception. I thought I mistakenly called it a reception the other day until my Mother reassured me that they are, indeed, called receptions now. Odd. Regardless, in my experience they tend to be pretty jovial affairs. In our family that old adage holds true that the only time we see each other are weddings and funerals. I'm sure my blog entry tomorrow will be a doozie.

Ok, if I can just wade through this week, get through this funeral, iron out all these problems with our agency and get through my Dad's visit this week, I will be home free. July will be a great month, I can feel it in my bones. But June - man oh man. Maybe you have to hit rock bottom to really appreciate the rest. I promise I'll appreciate July, ok? Any month that starts out with the anniversary of the day I met my best friend and husband has got to be great.

posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/27/2006§

Mondays Suck
I was going to be witty, funny, jovial, but really Mondays just suck. No two ways about it. Some people love Mondays for the renewed hope, for the revitalization of routine and structure. I despise Mondays. I love weekends and Mondays have just never been kind to me.

We had a great weekend. Very busy, very full, extremely long and tiring. We didn't get to do all the fun stuff we wanted. We ran out of time. But man, we fit in a lot.

And then it was Monday.

Early on I had the "it won't be a great day" vibe which usually sets the pace for the day, whether I then try to change it or not. I did try to change it, as it turns out. I wanted to spend the day in bed curled up with a good back - The Waiting Child, as it happens. My hubby had agreed to go with me to the pool and coerced me with promises of Dairy Queen - the key to my heart! So I reluctantly left the safe comfort of my home and headed off for the pool. It was alright right up until the point where sweet hubby had some odd allergic reaction and couldn't see for the rest of the day as a result. That's Monday.

Today brings no adoption news. While we don't expect word of a referral until July we WERE expecting a call from our agency bright and early. Why would we be expecting such a thing? Well they assured us, in no uncertain terms, that they would make our situation a priority first thing Monday morning and we could call first thing to make sure of it. We called. They didn't answer. We tried all the other numbers we had. They didn't answer. We tried a half dozen times from 9am to 9pm. No return call, no answer, no nothing. And so we wait. Maybe we will be a priority tomorrow.

Yep, it's Monday.

Some people may say TGIF, I say TGIT - Thank Goodness It's Tuesday :-)

In slightly better news, I did finish The Waiting Child, after all, today. I highly recommend it. It is a terrific book. Of course this came at a price - it meant not planting my perennials, not taking apart our old trampoline and building our new one, not reorganizing the livingroom like my hubby slated for this evening. But it's Monday. These things will wait until tomorrow.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/26/2006§
Common Adoption Abbreviations

I created this list of common abbreviations in Vietnam Adoptions for the MAP list and thought I'd share it here along with a few others I've picked up along the way:

posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/26/2006§

Week One: A Smashing Hit
Well we are done with Summer Vacation: Week One. I'm exhausted but it was a fun week. Today was "video day" and I had hubby go pick up the video so I spent the day running errands by myself. Rough, huh?

Thanks for all the thoughts and nice emails yesterday. I really appreciate it. My uncle was in his 60's, very active, in good health, the epitome of "larger than life". His organs will be harvested and I feel pretty good about that. I'm very worried about my Daddy, though. I wish there was something I could do. The funeral will be next week, I assume.

I'm feeling temporarily optimistic on the adoption front. I know it comes in waves so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. I don't expect a referral any time soon but today, at least, I feel like some day a referral might come. Usually I can't even imagine it. So that's something.

Yesterday the kids made dinner. They spent all week planning, looking up recipes, shopping and cooking. They decided to make chips and homemade salsa for the appetizer, beef nachos (with homemade guacamole) and corn bread for dinner and real (as in not chocolate pudding) french silk pie with homemade whipped cream for dessert. yummm. They did a fabulous job and even made us eat on the good plates instead of paper! haha. High class! They were all about presentation. And the salsa was to die for!! They spent all day today cleaning up their mess and I'm pretty sure they all have a decent idea, now, of what goes into planning a meal, shopping for it, cooking it and cleaning up.

Our 4yo has been quite a character lately. He has to break everything apart and decipher it. He told me recently that he hoped I'd never ever become pregnant. When I told him it wasn't a possibility he was visibly relieved. Turns out he saw some discovery channel show where someone or something died in childbirth. Apparently it weighed heavily on his poor 4 year old mind. Yesterday I also forced myself to take him to the community center pool for the first time. On the drive there he announced that he'd like to learn a new shape every day and wanted to start with the cylinder. Today it's the sphere. He has had a lot of questions, lately, about his "baby sister" and babies, in general. He asked if they all come out naked and if our baby would be naked when we picked her up in Vietnam. He wanted to know if she has already been born (and is convinced she has not) and if she would be walking and talking by the time we pick her up (convinced that she will). At one point during the conversation (all of this on the drive to the community center) I guess I responded with a hint of sadness and he picked right up on it and demanded to understand why I answered his question in "a sad tone".
I just told him that waiting is hard and makes me sad sometimes. I could learn a thing or two about patience from him. The community center was a blast. He had a lot of fun pretending to be a pixie seahorse and sliding down the water slide. He even let me dunk him once. He did ask if I would buy him ear plugs, nose plugs and goggles! He absolutely hates to get water in his ears. So I think he'll learn to swim as long as every orifice that can be blocked or plugged gets blocked or plugged!

So that concludes my week. A lot of good, a little bad, but we'll keep on keeping on.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/23/2006§

Bad Day
Today is not a good day.

I got bad agency news. Again.

And I found out that my uncle had a sudden brain anneurysm and will be dead in the next day, most likely.

If bad things happen in threes, I'm wondering what our third will be.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/22/2006§

First of all - now I know the key to getting lots of comments! You have to be mysterious and cryptic!!! I'm sorry, I hadn't meant to be either but I did enjoy the comments :-) So now you all have me convinced that this is the way to go. Maybe I'll leave every post with a tiny mystery!

I don't have any referral news, I don't have any agency news. I don't know where my dossier is. I don't know when I'll get a referral. I don't want to share more than I know is fact. And I promise you that this info really is trivial to anyone but me and my grasping-at-straws need for ANY news at all.

I am still not expecting a referral for at least another week or two. I have secret fantasies that our facilitator, who is traveling to Vietnam next week, will be able to pick up referrals and take pictures of our daughter. I would be so happy! Of course I think he won't be home for weeks - not great. But I might take that trade for some of those great agency photos that I've seen in the past! So now you all know how shallow I am - I want good referral photos! But no, it isn't a deal breaker :-)

Today is rained. All day. Storms constantly rolled in and out. What I wanted to do so badly was crawl into bed and read a good book and snooze off and on. No such luck. I had standing plans to take the kids to the community center pool for the first time. 2.5 hours, 4 kids, 1 mom, 2 water slides, 1 twirl pool and 1 diving board. You do the math! Thankfully they can all swim. Our 4yo was so distraught to be left at home so tomorrow will be his day alone with me at the pool. Two days at the pool in a row, I can hardly wait! I already stink like chlorine!

This week I decided to have the kids make dinner on Thursday. I had them make up a menu on Monday, a grocery list on Tuesday and tonight they went grocery shopping. Tomorrow is D-day (D standing for dinner OF COURSE!). It should be interesting. I'm pretending the goal is to have them all learn to work together as a team and to make important decisions as a group and to learn what it takes to put together a dinner. Really, it's just a no-effort meal for hubby and I! haha - don't tell the kids! I figure they can't do much worse than we do. We make our dinners at places like this so we don't have to deal with shopping at all and only have to prepare meals once every 2 weeks. Even so, as was the case tonight, we still burn them when all we have to do is throw them in the oven and set the timer!

So I'm water-logged but I'm happy that I'm not alone. All those flowers we bought yesterday? They are still sitting in their pots, not planted, water-logged along with me :-) The one we had managed to actually hang up didn't hold well under all that water weight and bent our apparently very cheap shepherd's hook in half.

And for my cryptic message of the day: our baby daughter has a new name and it is not Madeline!

posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/21/2006§

Another day, another adventure

First of all, this is an adoption blog and so you know I can't pass up the chance to share adoption news, no matter how trivial. Today we called for another reason and the phone conversation lasted 30 seconds, literally, before the called was dropped but in those thirty seconds we got some good news. We learned that all our eggs aren't in one basket anymore, so to speak. This isn't just good news, it is VV GOOD news. It makes me feel so more relaxed and I know you were all hoping for any news that might make me less neurotic! Also, today I got my first ever quilt square from a quilt swap. Theme: year of the dog. So cute. I better get working on my own now.

In other news, today we went berry picking. It was fun but a reminder of just how efficient a large family can be. Our indentured servants kids managed to pick enough berries to fill up two huge boxes in like fifteen minutes flat. It took us twice as long to drive to the farm than to pick the berries!

Then, on a whim, we decided to stop at the farm's nursery to pick out some hanging baskets and various other flowers. Nothing like waiting until mid-June, huh? This took about an hour of hubby and I circling baskets like vultures trying to decide if we truly wanted to commit to these living things. We have a track record - we have yet to keep a bunch of annuals alive - ever. We finally decided to just throw caution to the wind but failed to have the foresight to decide where we might keep our new flowers on the drive home. The van, filled with kids and now berries, didn't leave much space for three huge hanging baskets, a flat of flowers and 2 pots. But we sacrificed a few kids laps and made it home in one piece.

Once home, we unloaded the flowers only to learn that the baskets were way too heavy for our shepherds hooks. So now they are sitting in the landscaping beds where I am tempted to just bury them, pots and all. While collapsing in frustrated exhaustion right smack in the middle of our landscaping beds, I noticed that those patches of grass that had sprouted in our beds - the patches I neurotically sprayed with grass killer last week - had not only failed to die but had grown! Why is it that I can't kill grass with poison but I can kill petunias no matter how little or how much I water them? That left no choice but to pull the patches out, by hand. I pulled and I pulled. I darted around to each strangely-placed patch of grass. And by the 10th path out of 12, a theme occurred to me. All these patches were sprouting up around our Day Lilys. Just the day lilys. And, oddly, they looked an awful lot like baby day lily leaves. I consulted with my equally brown-thumbed hubby and yes, folks, I spent the afternoon pulling out perennials. Not grass. It is particularly pleasing that I figured this out when I was almost finished!

So to drown my sorrows, I had a big bowl of strawberries with homemade whipped cream with dinner. Or at least I held a big bowl of strawberries right up until the point when I saw a big green worm crawling across my berries, at which point dinner was over for me. And thus ends another exciting summer day!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/20/2006§

Summer Vacation: Day 1
I took all five kids to the library this morning to sign up for the summer reading program (I usually hate these things but delusionally fell off the wagon this summer) to pick out books and play. The verdict is still out but I think I survived.

I knew it was not going to be the easiest trip when our 4yo announced that he could not wait to go get a new prize from the treasure chest. The treasure chest (hereunto known as TC) is where prizes are given after each hour of reading one does. We hasn't even signed up much less logged reading. Nothing could dissuade him, though. He even suggested we just stay at the library long enough to read for an hour straight so we wouldn't have to go home empty handed (because leaving with books apparently qualifies as empty handed).

But he did ok once settled in. He only freaked out once when some rogue 3 year old tried to snap a fake picture of him with her fake camera and he ran off sulking. When approached he said "I don't want to talk about it". Ok.

Then his eye caught a tiny palm-sized shaggy dog complete with tiara and jewel-encrusted necklace. He was allowed to play with this special item but eventually asked me to remove it from his sight because looked at it made him feel very sad. Ok, again. Nothing like library before lunch!

Removing the dog wasn't good enough, after all. Apparently he couldn't get it out of his mind. I know this because he kept saying, more and more loudly, "I can't get it out of my mind!". At one point he declared in the melodramatic way only a 4 year old can muster "Anything white reminds me of the dog!" as he stared miserably at the expansive white ceiling in the library. I only had to tell him to hush once when he screamed in the middle of the library at the top of his lungs. So I think that makes this visit an all-around success. Plus I only lost a few kids a few times! Definitely success!

We got way too many books. I wasn't even offended when I was asked to pay my fine (.90 - an all time record low, thankyouverymuch) and offered a library magnet for free that says "My books are due back today...." with an error pointing to the receipt I'm supposed to stick under the new magnet on my refrigerator :-)

In other news the jackhammer friends have not paid us a repeat visit. This might seem like good news for my sanity but it is bad news for my laziness as our driveway has been blocked off for 3 days now. So we did what any patient law-abiding desperate citizen would do and pushed over the blockades and drove over the whole thing into our driveway! Hurray!

After the bigger boys' work was done, they asked if they could ride bikes to the local ice cream parlor and off they went. A half hour later some weird torrential storm blew through. And when I say blew, I mean gale-force winds with hail and rain so intense that you would think you were in the middle of a hurricane if you didn't know you were smack in the center of Michigan. Thankfully the boys made it home just before the eye of the storm hit otherwise they'd be in Oz right about now.

And it's only 4pm! This is going to be quite an interesting summer!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/19/2006§

Things are slowing down
By that I mean for the night, not in general. Because the last few days have been a virtual whirlwind.

It is 10pm on Father's Day and I miss my Daddy. He is currently Riding the Rockies which I am incredibly proud about. I left him a voicemail and a message with my stepMom but it's not the same.

Hubby and I had a relaxing enjoyable day. I decided I wanted to get him a 4 cu ft refrigerator for his office. It is one of those things he would never ever buy himself because it is so frivolous and meaningless. I did my research, found the exact one I wanted at Costco and planned to go get it this morning (too heavy to unload myself and too difficult to hide - I swear I was not procrastinating!). Of course I saw this thing last week and it was gone this morning. I ended up going from store to store looking and got lost only once and needed a chocolate peanut butter protein shake as a pick-me up since I failed to eat breakfast before leaving for this "quick" errand. I finally found something acceptable at Sears and made my way home. Where I rested for a few minutes before heading out to get a bunch of ingredients to make homemade guacamole and homemade strawberry shortcake including homemade whipped cream. Did I mention I don't cook? I don't. But when I do, watch out. So after slaving cooking for a few hours, we had a wonderful dinner and played some obnoxious loud annoying enjoyable family games and had dessert. The End. Good Night.

Tomorrow starts Summer Vacation A La Anal Mommy. I have every day planned out but not every hour of every day. I'm going for balance which would be a nice change of pace :-) I'm excited, actually. Usually I dread summer vacation. But THIS year will be the fun one, I am sure :-)

posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/18/2006§

One Month
Not that I'm counting or anything (haha) but today is exactly one month since we were DTV, 5 weeks since we got our 171H and been referral-ready. At that time our agency quoted 30-90 days for a wait until referral. We are on day 37 of that wait and not expecting anything for at least another 2 weeks. Not, you know, that I'm counting or anything.

For those who I offended with my beer comments, please understand it isn't about the beer, it's about the neighbors :-) I am not crazy about beer, I don't get the appeal. I think it tastes like urine (or at least what I imagine urine would taste like). And this opinion, alone, makes us enough of an outcast for our neighbors to think we aren't cool enough for their club. It's the beer-chugging, tobacco-chewing, Hummer-driving, ignore-your-kids and gossip-about-the-neighbors club. We just aren't dues-paying members, it seems.

So today is a new day. It started off swimmingly when, at 7am (yes, A.M.) the jack-hammering began again. I swear this is illegal and if I wasn't such a slow waker, I would have called the cops to buy myself another hour of sleep. But I was groggy and off my game.

Ironically, the resident 4yo slept until 8:30. He's usually the 7am waker. Does jack-hammering qualify as white noise?

So I blew this popscicle stand, walked the 10 miles to our car (ok, more like 100 feet but whose keeping track? All I know is it isn't in my garage OR in my driveway and access to the front of my house is completely out of the question, thanks to jack-hammerers) and went to JoAnn's for their big Firefly sale. Bought some quilt fabric for one of the five Asian quilt swaps I insanely joined all at once. Then I bought some F-Day gifts and various other meaningless token items. I picked up my negs, now nicely transferred to CD for the low low price of $6.50. Now I have digital wedding photos to share - hurray! Stopped at the local quilt shop where they don't provide 50% off coupons and coughed up the dinero for the expensive bamboo-print fabric I need for another swap. 2 down, 5 to go.

Came home, went to beach with all six kids, regretted this instantly, headache and itchy eyes prevail.

Came home, went to dinner and more errands with my 3 sons and hubby. Semi-productive search for furniture for our front porch ends, to be continued at 7am tomorrow morning. Bought yet another swap fabric - 3 down, 2 to go. Bought a new beach chair with canopy so beach visits are more enjoyable for me, bought a new picnic bag which will remind me daily of all my flaws and limitations since it will never get used. But hey - it was 50% off! Who could pass up that deal?!! Stopped for ice cream no one needed but we all sure enjoyed. And now it's bedtime.

Thanks to anal-retentive kids who must know every detail of every minute of every day, tomorrow is all mapped out. Nacho Libre (which may or may not win us cool-neighbor points but as soon as the neighborhood gets wind that our 4 yo aspires to be Nacho Libre when he grows up, maybe we'll finally be cool enough!), more swimming at the beach, more F-day shopping, a trip to the nursery for some flowers and single parenthood for me while I lose my husband to his second wife his writing :-)

Hope everyone has a great Father's Day weekend! On the big day, hubby has already chosen to go bowling (brownie points in the cool neighbor club) and grill dogs. I volunteered to do the closest thing I do to cooking - make guacamole. Ha.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/16/2006§

Guess what happened today?
Absolutely NOTHING of adoption interest! Believe me when I say this is good news! I'm exhausted and war-torn from trying to decipher questionable and bad news for way too long to keep track of. No news truly is good news, today.

So what DID go on in Nicki's life on this fine Thursday in June?

- I bought and used grass killer because I am just THAT lazy that I didn't want to bend over and pull grass out of my landscaping. We also spent a small period of time contemplating buying some mulch and having landscapers lay it down to top off our mulch from last year. Then we got some prices and suddenly Tony thought maybe that is something he might like to do, himself, after all. Which would you prefer if you had to chose - sand to top off the beach or mulch to top off the landscaping. Both have their appeal, neither is truly important in the grand scheme of life!

- I got news about our home equity line of credit we are working on that will pay for the deck we badly need. No more 20 foot drops to get out the back door, what ever will we do when the kids are misbehaving?!

- We had the entire first foot or two of our driveway and frontage sliced off with a jackhammer and a heavy saw. I'm a lot more grumpy about the jackhammer pounding for 5 hours straight than I am about the driveway. But it means we can't park in our driveway OR in front of our house OR across from our house for the next THREE days. Where will we park? I dunno. Maybe now's a good time to have our vehicles serviced!

- I delivered every single negative I own to the photo center to be scanned onto cd. Ready in the morning. I'm excited!!

- while at the photo center, I zipped over to the grocery area and discovered yogurt with chocolate pieces in it. This, I have decided, will be my ice cream substitute! After reading the label I guessed it probably has the same fat, calories and sugar as ice cream but justified the purchase because ice cream doesn't have those live cultures and probiotics. It's a health food!

- I took a trip to the pet store because we needed very important things like destinker for our turtle tank. Yes, this qualifies as very important and there is a reason it was listed before even the dog food that we were running low on!

- I lost my kid when he decided to bike away from home during an angry fit of rage. Ok I didn't lose him because that would mean I actually went out looking for him and I didn't. Until my neighbor knocked on the door wondering where "the boys" went. The boys? Would that be my boy and his boy? Just one of my boys or more than one, I wonder while quickly scanning the room to count heads. I gave him one of two ideas (both of which, I later found out, were dead on) right as the boys were returning together. Whew! Neglect-by-proxy averted again!

- I sat on my porch and contemplated being social with our neighbors long enough to switch gears and contemplate why it is that every person who hangs out in front of their home in the evening on our street has a beer in their hand! Is it from the long day at work? Or do they want to seem all white-trashy cool to each other? If they always have beer in their hands outside, how often do they have beer in their hands inside? Do I want to know? And then I remembered why I'm not social with my neighbors.

- While sitting on the porch I also contemplated how it is that the local 5 and 6 year old boys - who will not say hi to us even when we say hi first but often WILL grunt at my kids while riding past on their bikes - learned to ride their bikes? I never saw their parents out running along side them, I never saw them practicing. The weather turned 65 and suddenly they both knew how to ride bikes. I also contemplated why it is insulting to get snubbed not only by the neighbors but also by the neighbor's 5 year old kid.

- And in big news, I unwillingly-and-full-guilt gave up my Super Mario Bros for DS game to the kids. I already won it but it is still my friend. The kids are trying to teach me to share nicely with others. I'm still learning. I also checked about 10 pages of math homeschooling work and started pounding out our summer schedule that will begin next week. Now I'm going to go write a profile of a local mall and call it a day.

And this, my friends, concludes another thrill-a-minute day in Nicki's world :-)
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/15/2006§

New News
We had a referral update today. Our agency is hoping to have some news by the end of the month, give or take. So we'll reconvene then and see what, if anything, is new. On a positive note (or is that already a positive note?) we got word that our dossier has been translated and hopefully that means it is on its way to be filed. So that is another thing we need to follow up on at the end of the month - a filing date. Not sure why - it just seems like something we should follow. And having our dossier filed means, I think, that we no longer need to worry about our docs expiring. Which is great news since DH's medical expires in like 10 days. Whew!

Tomorrow is the last day of school. We'll go from 3 to 5 kids all day. It'll be nice. I'm planning a fieldtrip a week for the bigger kids and something separate for Noah. I hope this makes it easier on everywhere. He is at an age where he really wants to do certain things (like go to the farm and spend all day watching the pigs) and the bigger kids want to do things like rent a boat and go fishing for hours on end. You can probably imagine how fishing in a boat for hours with a 4 year old might go over. Not Well. And, let me tell you, the bigger kids are surprisingly immature and vocal about their distaste with hanging out around pigs all day. So we'll give this a whirl.

We are also signing up for a membership to a community center nearby with a very cool pool and plan to go twice a week (again big kids/small kids). So that will keep us pretty busy. My three homeschoolers will continue homeschooling through the summer (I hear the principal is a royal b*tch!! haha). Then we will do a weekly movie day and rent a video/pop popcorn. Plus we'll go up north for a week and before we know it, summer will be over. I'm actually a little sad to think about it.

Well, best laid plans. Let's hope it all works out. On all accounts.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/14/2006§

You got to know when to fold 'em
Since I seem to be on a run with these great music lyric titles, there you have it.

My ability to wait has come to its painful conclusion. This weekend I packed up the baby stuff, bagged it and sent it on it's way. We have not had a good time of it in Adoptionland, these past several days. After some bad news on Saturday - another one of those weird days I woke up knowing and waiting for the bad news to arrive - I started doing some thinking about distractions.

How many distractions do you have in your life? How many things do you participate in to distract you from life? What about email? Blogging? Watching TV? Going to the bar after work? I feel like my whole life is one big distraction and I'm deeply sad about that. Deeply. So sad that it took me four days to speak the words out loud. But there they are. I feel like an addict - but my addiction isn't drugs or alcohol (although, believe me, trading up about now is tempting!), it's distraction.

One by one, I've been removing these distractions from my life in an effort to focus on what is most important to me - my three beautiful boys and my husband. It hasn't gone swimmingly, I'll be honest. I'm sad, still. I'm going through distraction-withdrawal. I'm not improving in any of the areas I want to improve on. But it needs to be done. You got to know when to fold 'em. And my time has come.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/13/2006§

You get knocked down, you get back up again
I'm feeling much better now even though I"m sure today is still not Some Day Soon. I want to say thank you to those who have followed my blog and written me personally or commented. People have NO idea how helpful it feels to have people sympathize and cry and share along with you during this process. It is *immensely* helpful. Thanks to you all, I know I am not alone, I know there are babies in our orphanage right this minute that are almost old enough for referral, I know that the wait is emotional and I'm not just being a baby :-) It feels great to feel justified :-)

So that said, I'm trying to keep busy. Don't get me wrong - I would be lying if I said that The Call isn't the first thing on my mind when I open my eyes and the last thing on my mind when I shut them. I would be lying if I didn't bring it up 1000 times a day and continually ask my husband when HE thinks we'll get The Call (Wednesday, he says. One day after Nicole's prediction of Tuesday - both far too many days away from TODAY).

I'm trying to lose weight and get in shape. The first is going swimmingly. I won't weigh myself so I have no idea how swimmingly. I know I lost inches on week one but more importantly I gained a new craving for healthy foods - particularly fruits and veggies. This is a first. The getting in shape part isn't working out. But I'll keep plugging ahead. I had desperately hoped to develop an exercise addiction.

So not wanting to eat away my sorrows I did what every reasonable girl would do and went shopping :-) Just for me and to help me endure my wait, Michigan opened it's first ever IKEA two days ago. Folks camped out for two days before that just to be one of the first ones in. Women cried. I'm serious. I'm not a fanatic or crazy so I waited until day 2 to go. :-) It was nice and peaceful and enjoyable. I spend under $200, thankyouverymuch. And got myself a new chair for the baby and I as well as a bunch of other organizational stuff, some VERY cool chopsticks the boys have been begging me for as well as some matching Vietnamese spoons. I tried to find something for baby but gave up and headed on over to Babies R Us for round two. I got two baby gates and found The Perfect Stroller. So now that I've conquered this major headache (I've been stroller searching for over a year!) I just need to decide on The Perfect Carseat and the major baby purchases will be decided on (if not purchased). Hurray.

So today, to punish me for my indiscretions, I have to build furniture all day. This will keep me busy. But it won't take my mind off baby. No sir.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/09/2006§

My Glass is Half Empty
I remember reading about other people's wait for referral, how they'd jump out of bed in the morning convinced that that day was The Day and jump every time the phone rang, hoping it was The Call. You people, you happy positive optimistic people!!!

I have no optimism, no positive outlook. I feel like we will never get a referral. I wake up every single morning with a pit in my stomach and lay in bed hoping it will go away. It doesn't. I get up, I go through the motions. I, too, jump with the phone rings and then I curse the caller and tell them not to call until we get our referral. Ok, not really but I do say this out loud to my husband, it feels cathartic.

I want something to make me feel like this adoption is real. Like there is an end in sight. Like I'm waiting to hold my child, not waiting to see if there IS a child. I want proof that all the stress, hard work and drama of the last 7 months has paid off. I'm not coping well, or at all. Adoption zen? What's that? Things get easier as the day moves on but referral is never once out of my head.

I know she exists, I know she has been born, I know where she is at this very moment. But she hasn't been matched with me, I'm not her Mama. I don't know what she looks like, I can't even give her a name until I see her face. I want to start her lifebook and I can't. I'm stuck. I want to make her a baby carrier but I can't bring myself to do it yet. We have shopping to do for her - clothing but also important big stuff like her car seat. But I just can't. Because it all does not seem real, possible or likely. It feels like a big fat joke right now.

Our agency guy is sympathetic and apologetic and says all the right things and for about five minutes that helps. He tells us what he can, and for a second it feels like something. But then it's nothing again and the wait is indefinite (to me) again. I ask my friends for predictions and they throw out dates - maybe next week, maybe mid-Month. Those seem like plausible dates. I'm not sure I'll make it that long. My logical head says that's silly. What is a week? It's nothing! I have 3 kids to keep me busy, summer to plan, beaches to go to, summer planting still not done. But every day moves by so slowly. And my heart says it'll never come to pass.

Good morning everyone! It's yet another day in No Referral-ville!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/07/2006§

Well, I jinxed myself with my last blog entry. I'm not so zen these days at all. Doesn't it seem to always happen that way? I guess that's the rollercoaster part of the process, huh? I could do without it, to be honest.

Nothing big happened, we were expecting a referral within a certain time frame and that time frame came and went. Not only that but someone else from our agency received a referral during that time frame and THAT is how I came to realize we were not getting ours. It sucks to be so simultaneously happy for someone else and miserable for yourself. But I know it is coming. In June. Sometime. And with that knowledge I can get back on my zen wagon, I hope. My strategy: assuming today is NOT the day and moving forward. Assuming the day is at the END of the month, not the beginning. So far it is only working a little.

But I can tell I am starting to feel better, my pity party is ending. I have picked up my knitting again - a good sign. I'm back to thinking about packing lists and buying a car seat. We are discussing names again and have them narrowed down to two - Madeline and one other. Unfortunately for the title of this blog, the other name will likely be the chosen one :-) We are on a hunt for a great middle name. I want it to be one syllable and not end with a 'y' or 'ie'. Any suggestions?
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/05/2006§

Zen Again
See how I rhymed?! :-)

We went to the Asian Festival this weekend in Columbus. It was great. Hot, but great. We ate amazing food and talked to some really neat people. We also attended our agency picnic which we really enjoyed. In the process of all of this, we got some adoption news that temporarily threw me off kilter. It was good news and there is nothing like good news to sweep away that adoption zen!

It took me a day or two to come down from it but now that I'm firmly replanted in Everyday Life, I'm back to the blissful zen-ful place of waiting peacefully. Or rather, not waiting. The phone rings and I don't jump. Sometimes I scroll through the caller ID but that's it. I don't wake up and rush to my email. Well, maybe I do but it doesn't occur to me until later that I should have been expecting something. It feels really good. No anxiety, no stress, no expectations, no disappointments.

This morning, while laying in bed, I thought about how it is June, now. While technically not summer, June is a Summer month. One of three here in Michigan. And I thought about how this season will change my life. How I will become a Mom again and bring our daughter home likely before this season is over. I thought about how quickly seasons rush past and how shocked I consistently am when it is already summer or already autumn or already spring (yes, I intentionally skipped winter!!!). I know what to expect. I know summer will fly by. I know we will spend our time at the beach and out fishing and geocaching and the kids will drive me a little crazy and, in turn, I will knit a lot :-) It will be a normal season in so many ways. Except one big one.

For now, I embrace the normalcy, the predictability, the drone of the summer season and everyday life. It will all change soon enough.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 6/01/2006§

Name: Stepping On Legos
Stepping On Legos Stepping On Legos Home: TX, United States
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