Sunday, December 30, 2007

More Christmas Pictures and Adoption Update

Well here are a few more Christmas pictures. I have been really busy this last weeksince I had to drive to Raleigh (3 hours away) for the 2nd time in a week! For international adoption documents you need to get a state seal called an apostille on the documents. This is done at your state capital's secretary of state's office. It is basically a state seal that says that the document has been verified by the state. (So they have checked out the notary or whomever certified it, etc.) Whatever state that was done in needs to apostille it. We have had to send some of them to Sacramento (like our marriage license) and this is the fourth time that one or both of us have made the trek to Raleigh. Once we mailed them, but that takes longer. I went up on the Friday before Christmas to get the (hopefully) last of our paperwork taken care of and unfortunately they made several errors in the apostilles and I had to go back as soon as they reopened after Christmas (Thursday) to get them redone. Luckily I was able to speak to the supervisor and we will get a reimbursement for all our troubles. (In about 6 weeks of course :D). Hey, you take what you can get.

I have also been really busy getting ready for our New Year's Eve party. We are hosting a murder mystery party for our church small group. It is a 20's theme and I think it will be really fun. I post pictures of Kev and I in our costumes soon.

The tree. I really need some drapes, don't I?

Kevin tries on his new beanie while opening his stocking. Can you believe that beanies are called toboggans in North Carolina? Where we come from a toboggan is something you ride in the snow... not that there is snow where we come from.

Me holding my favorite present. Well, the box my favorite present came in. My favorite present was taking the picture. Isn't it lovely? ;) Now we will have pictures of our kids that aren't blurry and/or yellow.

Some of the aftermath. Keaton really likes to tear up wrapping paper so it always looks like a tornado rolled through when we are done unwrapping.

It is really tiring though. Little dude takes a nap.

I will spare you most of the Christmas morning pictures since I am not a morning person and they are not very exciting anyway.

Here is one more though...

My village. I get a new piece or two every year and this year it kind of outgrew the space. I didn't get to use all my trees, lights, and bushes because it was just too crowded. I will have to find a larger space for it next year. I am thinking there will be more space for the cords on the air hockey table, but then it will be upstairs. We'll see.

Doing dishes after Christmas dinner.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends. We had a very nice Christmas, though not with much family this year. First off, Merry Christmas to the family and friends that we usually spend time celebrating with but will not see this year: Dad, Barbara, Maya, Kevin, Noah, Maggie, my adorable nephew Henry, Jeff, Melissa, Bill, Charlotte, Phil, Shirley, Brandon, Lelah, Sarah, Gene, Baby Eleanor (well this would have been the first), Emily, and Kyle. We missed you today and talked about you all! Hope you had a great day if we didn't get a chance to wish you a Merry Christmas on the phone!

We had such a good Christmas. We went over to our neighbor's house last night for our annual cul-du-sac, out of staters party. We get together every Christmas Eve (this is the 4th!) with our neighbors who are from out of state and have a party together. The food and conversation are always great and the kids are always SO excited. It has been a real blessing to have such wonderful neighbors here in North Carolina.

Then we got to deliver the gifts to a family that our small group "adopted" for Christmas this year. A single mother of four who goes to our church had a hard year and we were able to give them some special surprises to help them celebrate the day today. It was such a privilege for us and I had too much fun shopping for them. What a sweet family. The kids were all in bed (we went over about 11:30 at night) and they were surprised I am sure to see what Santa left them when they came down stairs this morning.

We unwrapped our traditional Christmas pajamas and slippers last night before bed and Kevin gave me one of my presents so I could use it on Christmas morning... a Nikon Digital SLR camera! It is amazing and it will be so nice to take to Ukraine! He really spoiled me this morning as well. I got a bunch of nice things from Gap, lots of bubble bath, bath bombs, and salts, DVDs, etc. I got him a rolling garment bag, nice dress clothes for work, running clothes, a running watch, cologne, and all kinds of other wonderfully boring things that I am sure no one really wants to read all about. ;) We slept in this morning, opened our stockings, got breakfast in the oven, opened our presents, and ate while we watched a new DVD Kevin got me. Then we picked up the mess we made and Ryan (Kevin's brother) came over. We played Clue and got dinner ready and then we stuffed ourselves and played more games and opened presents. It was such a nice day.

Some of the presents that we got this year have to do with our adoption! My best friend and her husband sent us several of her favorite childhood Christmas books with a special note I am going to tape inside about them. (Aw.) Ryan got us travel books on Ukraine and a Ukrainian recipe book which will be great to incorporate some traditional Ukrainian recipes into our family's diet. Kevin's parents gave us Best Buy gift cards so that we can buy the video camera we were hoping to get before we travel! We were very spoiled by everyone who made or bought and sent lovely cards and gifts and sweets for us this Christmas! We have such nice family, friends, and neighbors. Thank you all!

Okay, let me see if I can download some pictures from the new camera so I can share some of our pictures with you. (You do not even want to know how many pictures I have already taken. I was shocked, but the camera is so quick that you take about 10 pictures in the time it took to take 1 on our old camera!)

In front of the tree last night in our Christmas pajamas. Keaton was going to wear the antlers but took them off and ran away. We were going to take the picture without him but he ran in with the antlers in his mouth and plopped himself right down in front as the camera clicked. We were laughing so hard!

Okay, I will have to add the rest later. It is way too late and the computer is moving very slowly.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Rush

I finished student-teaching on Friday! (Hooray!) I thought it would be bittersweet but mostly it was just sweet. :) I am not a morning person and this second school was nearly 40 minutes away with morning commute traffic. I was only there for three weeks and my cooperating teacher was great and the kids were adorable but I didn't get attached to them the way I did with my 11 week placement so thankfully it wasn't as hard to say goodbye. I am going to visit my 11 week placement class next week and I can't wait to see them!

My body thanked me for finishing by getting a huge cold that kept me in bed all weekend. It was wonderful to sleep and sleep and not worry about getting the laundry done because I didn't have to be anywhere come Monday morning. Of course I am now in mad Christmas mode. We have places to be all week and I have to finish the shopping for the gifts that need to get in the mail and be sent to all our friends and relatives who live in California (and Kevin's grandparents who are now in Texas). I hope to have everything off by the end of the week so that I do not have to pay for quick shipping. Then I can relax a bit. Did I mention that we have our tree decorated but haven't finished the other decorating yet? This was supposed to be done last weekend but I was asleep!

On the adoption front, the SDA (State Department of Adoption and Families - or something like that) in Ukraine put out the quotas for 2008 and the American numbers have declined. I am just hoping and praying and trusting that we will still be able to adopt in 2008. There is still a lot of unknowns and we won't know much until they officially reopen. That should be February but even that can be unpredictable. We are updating the paperwork in our dossier that has or will expire during their close and we will be sending it to our facilitator (in Ukraine) in about a week or so. Please pray that it is done correctly and that our dossier will be accepted by the SDA for a 2008 appointment. We are hoping to travel this summer. So many unknowns, but we remain faithful that we will be put there at just the right time to be matched with the kids who were meant to be ours. :)

All our leaves are now gone but here are some pictures we took this fall. Enjoy! (Did I mention it was freezing last week and this week we have broken record highs? It's no wonder I am sick! It was in the 80's yesterday and the high for Saturday is 45. Bizarre.)

From the day we drove to Grandfather Mountain and had the unfortunate run in with the fog:

Keaton had so much fun bounding through the leaves that he was a blur in most of the pictures. I am thinking that since neither one of us is very good with our camera that we may need to get a new one before we go to Ukraine. I am guessing the kids will move around a lot too. ;)

Our own fall colors:

The trees in our front yard looked like the were on fire. The colors were even more vivid than they are in these pictures. This is one thing that I LOVE about living on the east coast. Look at that view we had out our front door!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


These are for our friend Jeff. This is the property on a lake that Kevin's parents bought a couple years ago to build on. They should be starting the house and moving here sometime next year. (Perfect timing to move from California to North Carolina to be closer to the kids and coincidentally right when the grandkids will come home. :) ) Well the drought we have had this summer has caused some of the lake to dry up and the property isn't really lake front anymore. They will need quite a bit of rain to get a boat by this dock!

The water used to go up all the way past those plants that have grown there and up to the tree line. The dock is usually floating about a foot or so higher as well. My pictures do not do the fall colors justice, but it did seem like most of the leaves there had already fallen where ours have started to fall just this week. These were taken last weekend.

It was a good chance to clean out the lake bottom near the property though. I think there were about 8 tires in the water right in this one area. Here is Kevin's dad hauling some.

And Kevin standing out in what used to be the lake looking at what used to be a little island. Usually ducks and geese are on the island in the summer. We have seen people camp there as well. Now it is a peninsula. :)

From the "island" looking back to where the shore and house will be.

This is where the water line starts now. The dock belonging to the neighbor is still barely in the water. The water line down here is where I took the pictures that have little raccoon(?) tracks in them. There were lots of shells as well. We had seen tiny ones on the shore of the property before, but the ones out where the water was deeper were bigger than a fist.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ain't No Mountain High Enough...

I have had this song in my head lately so I decided to use it for the title of my post. We have known for about a week that the SDA has changed their minds again and they decided to stop accepting more dossiers after all. Sigh. So if they do keep the list we will still be close to the front of the line. If not we are still the first family that our facilitator will submit when he gets a chance. The SDA will reopen in February. We are guessing that the soonest we will be there is June. You just never know though, do you? So in one week we went from going to Ukraine to in the dead of winter (brrr) to possibly the dead of summer (uck). I have a feeling these old soviet buildings will not be equipped with modern day air conditioners and I have heard the bugs can be bad as well. Oh well, we will be there to get our kids. :)

I was a little sad because our original dossier submission date (tomorrow) is the anniversary of my mom's passing 8 years ago. It would have been so special to have our dossier submitted on that day. It will be special when the time comes though. I know it will be.

Anyway, that is the latest. I am turning 29 on Tuesday and I am hoping that my twenties will be finished on a high note.

We drove up to the mountains today to look at the fall colors. The websites all indicated crisp, clear, fall weather. We got to the top of the mountain (where the viewing bridge and lookout are) and it was cold, misty, and you couldn't even see the bridge, much less the view. We didn't even eat our picnic. It was too cold to sit outside. We got hot snacks inside the lodge and had a great walk in the leaves. We did get great views from lower elevations where it was much clearer and a bit warmer. This is the second year our leaf looking plans have been foiled but we kept talking about going back next year. Third time's a charm? I will post pictures later. Keaton loved it! He literally bounded through the leaves that covered the ground where we walked. We took tons of pictures but we are both terrible at picking the correct setting on the camera and we have lots of blurry ones. We should really work on that. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What's up this week.

Not much has changed since I last posted. Our dossier submission may not happen a week from tomorrow, but it should be soon after. So that is good.

Yesterday we went out to breakfast with a family that lives in our neighborhood who adopted 3 kids from Ukraine. They had two kids and went to Ukraine in hopes of adopting two more. They came home with three more. :) It was so nice to talk with
them and hear their stories. They were very encouraging and so nice. The kids were darling, all 5 were sweet, well behaved, and really cute. The youngest one reminded me so much of my best friend when she was that age. It will be so neat to continue to get to know this family and to have someone near by who knows what Ukraine adoption and bringing internationally adopted kids home is like.

Today we were supposed to drive up to the mountains to hike, picnic, and look at leaves. When the alarm went off this morning Kevin decided that we should go next weekend instead. We have to be back here before 2 anyway because we made a commitment to be somewhere this afternoon. So the plan is next weekend. Kevin is colorblind and can't see the colors anyway so the fact that this weekend is the peak weekend doesn't phase him. We were a couple weeks late last year and most leaves were dead. I am hoping next weekend won't be too off-peak. I will post some of the "picture of the day" pictures from this month, taken from the place we were supposed to be on the way to now. These are for our family and friends on the west coast. Enjoy!

Hopefully next weekend I can post our own pictures. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I have been way too exhausted to post lately and since I hadn't shared my blog address until now there was no point anyway. Good news though, we will probably have our dossier submitted in Ukraine in two weeks. It is looking like it will be submitted on the 29 which will be a nice birthday present to me. :) (My birthday is the 30th.) There are so many things that will need to continue to go right there between now and then, and that will be a small miracle.

If all goes well we are looking at traveling over there about March next year though. From there we will be able to go meet the children we are referred to once there and see if they are a good fit for our family. That is a dramatically simplified version of what will happen, but that is it in a nutshell. We will probably have to stay there for at least a month to get through the legal process but we should be bringing the kids home with us next spring! For those who don't know, we are hoping to adopt 2 kids (biological siblings) from Ukraine. We are approved for up to 3 kids, either sex, ages 6 and under. We have kept our options open because you just never know. We could come home with a 2 year old boy and a 6 year old girl, a 5 year old boy, little ones, older ones, 1, 2,or 3. We do not know. We are thinking 2, but we will see. :)

I will try to keep this blog up to date with our progress, but student-teaching is so tiring that I can't make any promises. Feel free to ask questions and leave comments. I think I have it set so that you can leave comments without signing in, but at least sign your name. Also, remember that since a blog is on the web we would prefer to keep our last name and specific location off the blog, for privacy reasons. Hope to hear from you soon!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School Days

Wow, I can't believe how tired I am from school. Getting up at 5 in the morning is not very fun for a night person. Standing out on the playground in temperatures in the high 90's plus humidity is also not fun. Eating lunch in the cafeteria with the kids and not getting even a bathroom break all day is not fun either. Waiting outside in the previously mentioned weather for the school buses to take the kids home while our school district is 90 bus drivers short is also not fun. The buses were over an hour late for some kids on the first day of school. Poor little kids waiting out in the heat. Are you starting to catch on? Actually, I love it overall. I love my students, my cooperating teacher, the overall atmosphere of the school and our classroom. The little details are so tiring but the classroom experience is so wonderful. Okay, I am up late. Must go to sleep. Tired...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm too excited to sleep...

Okay, it's an old Disneyland commercial and Kev and I say it all the time. But I really am. I don't sleep well anyway, or at least I have trouble getting to sleep. I start student-teaching tomorrow morning. It is the first day of school. I am going to work in 5th grade with a great teacher at a great school. I got to meet most of the kids and their parents on Friday and it is going to be a fun group!

I had a wonderful trip to California and got back last Tuesday. I would have stayed forever because I was having so much fun but I missed Kevin and I had to get back to start school. Trip highlights: a family dinner where we told crazy stories from our childhoods, eating a Balboa Bar (yum) and walking around the island with Jeff and Melissa, getting my nails done with my best friend Lelah (it was quite an experience where I had to ask the lady to redo my big toes after she painted bamboo shoots diagonally across them - yikes), going to Universal Studios with Jeff and Melissa, walking to coffee and the park with my SIL Maggie and my nephew Henry, the bonfire that turned into a pool party when Sarah and Gene rescued us by moving the party to their pool when the fire pits were all taken and the beach was packed, hanging out at Lelah's school with her, meeting the girls (including sweet baby Eleanor) for lunch and walking around the mall, having dinner at Mi Casa with my whole second family and having dessert and playing games at Lelah and Brandon's house, scaring Grant by showing him the picture of Emily on the trolley in SF, eating at Wahoo's twice, driving up to Lodi to hang out with The B's, driving down to SD to hang out with a friend and her cute kids, going to the orange balloon at the Great Park, and eating Rite Aid ice cream (mint chip and chocolate malted crunch). Okay, those are really just some of the highlights. It was a great trip! I can't believe that the next time I go back it will probably be with kids! (Possibly next year for my 10+1 high school reunion.) Did I forget to mention that my flight through Phoenix was late and I had to spend the night in a hotel room by myself? That was an experience.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rules for the Blog

1. Be nice.
2. No mean comments or you are breaking rule #1.
3. We don't want to share personal information like our last name or the city we live in one the Internet, so please don't put any of that information in your comments.

Testing - Posting a Picture

These are the kinds of things you need to know when you have kids. :)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, August 3, 2007


Just testing this thing out and seeing if I remember how to use it. I am almost finished with school. I turned in my last assignments last night after two days of almost non-stop work. I only got an hour of sleep, so I slept in today. Now I feel great. Going to California in a week. I'll be there for a week and a half and then start student-teaching in 5th grade as soon as I am home. It has been a nice summer.

Friday, July 6, 2007