Thursday, July 31, 2008


Happy Almost Friday!

My newly updated forms were sent off into the USPS wonderland on Tuesday am. They're bound for Ann Arbor, MI, make one more stop and then eventually off to Vladivostok. Because these have to be notarized and apostilled, they can't be "scanned" and sent via email. They have to go the good old fashioned snail mail -- ALL THE WAY TO RUSSIA. Man, technology sure makes us impatient, eh?

It makes me think about my future son's generation and their exposure/life with technology. Remember when there were no cell phones? People in the house fought over who HAD to answer the phone, because no one wanted to. Flash forward to now -- what happens when you forget your cell phone? AACK! Let's not even talk about it.

So what do you think future holds in store, technology-wise for these youngsters? Let me know what you think!! Inquiring minds want to know... (or in a shameless shout out to Project Runway, "holla at cha boy").

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Forms!

I can't believe it's been a week since my last post. Hopefully these next few weeks will fly by as quickly and before you know it, I'll have a referral!

So here's the latest update. Since I am officially in the "waiting" mode, there really isn't much to update sometimes... so just nudge me if you think I am getting too lax in my reporting. Last Friday I was reading another Lighthouse families blog (Hi Angie!!!) and got wind that our agency contact in Vladivostok had visited the MOE (Minister of Education - the big office of all things adoption in Russia) and the MOE had requested some of her documents get re-done. But I hadn't gotten that call.

Well you can probably guess the next part. I spent most of Friday night and Saturday digesting this (read stressing over this). Why the re-do? Why didn't I get the call? I made Rhonda (she's almost famous here at this point) go to a Mom 2 Mom sale with me out in Ypsilanti to get out of the house... just to get my mind on other things! Then Saturday night, just as I am about to go to bed, I read the blog of the other family that is potentially headed to Vladivostok (shout out to Chandra lol) and read that they do had gotten the information on Friday about redoing documents. So I stressed a little more that night.

Then for some reason, I settled down. Might have something to do with Tamara, who has been through all this twice now and is my new voice of reason, talking me through everything. I also thought back to Jessie, who I talk to occasionally on the forums. She's about to go pick up her two kidlets in Russia within the next week - but I remembered her signature/timeline stamp on her posts. She had to redo her dossier documents FIVE times before finally getting registered (see Rhonda, there is some good in those timelines!!). This stuff does happen! So I am hoping certainly to NOT have to repeat this again... but in the scheme of things, this too shall pass! So while I am annoyed that I had to find out about this mess through other families blogs, it's really not that big of a deal.

So cross your fingers for me, say a prayer, light a candle - whatever you believe!! Our latest round of paperwork should make it to Vladivostok late next week... I am not holding my breath, but I'd love to be able to report around 8/15 that this 3rd time was the charm !!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Room With a View...

The little guys room is really coming together. This weekend my friend Rhonda and her friend Tina came north to the thriving metropolis that is Croswell. You've heard mention of Rhonda before -- she "makes the blog" frequently and will likely be traveling on trip 1 (and hopefully part of trip 2) with me. Both Tina and Rhonda are quite creative (although Rhonda will tell you otherwise about herself) and take AMAZING pics. If you are a flickr fan - look them up: and
Tina worked her magic in the little guys room and recreated the jungle creatures from the $8 comforter set. I really loved the color of that room (Behr paint "Fresh Praline"!) as it was in it's original state -- and was hoping to keep it. Well Rhonda and Tina agreed - and Tina's artwork totally brings everything together. I LOVE IT! Here's some various shots of the room and comforter. The challenge is that it's a very SQUARE room -- and not the biggest (old 1950s house), so it's hard to take pictures that capture a big amount of space! Enjoy...
The comforter
Roo "helps" Tina paint
Under the window
Closet corner
Bedroom door

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid

Not to quote old Presidents, but I just have to pass this along. You've probably read, and figured out by now, that I occasionally (HA!) stalk blogs in my spare time. OK "stalk" is a bit harsh, but I can't get enough reading about other families journeys. It makes me feel more normal (is that possible? LOL) and I have learned a TON...

So when I am bored at night - since it's summer and the TV shows for the most part STINK (apologies of course to Project Runway, Monk etc), I'll catch up on folks I know blogs, and then click the links to the blogs they follow. Cyber-stalking in the best manner possible! See, to quote another famous American -- Tom Petty was correct... "The Waiting Is the Hardest Part".

So one night I hit the jackpot and stumbled on a bunch of really neat people, including Rachel and Troy (see to the right in my blog role: Journey with the Williams Family: I first stumbled on their adoption blog and while reading about their adorable little guy, I also found Rachel's 2nd blog...

This is SOOO cool! Rachel's got this blog FILLED with shopping tips and also, a BUNCH OF FREEBIES (well links to sign up for freebies!). I have been following this blog for a little over a week or so now and already got my first free sample - a 12oz size of Enfamil!! WOW! You've got to check it out -- it's VERY cool!!

I am not sure how, but I seem to have gotten the "super-saver" shopper gene from someone in my family. I don't think it's my mom, not that she blows $ by any means... but I have also been passing the time during this WAIT with garage sales. My little Russia bubba already has a bunch of clothes waiting for him in a variety of sizes - none of which have been purchased a full price. About 75% of them have been great garage sale finds and the rest have been clearance from Meijer, Target and Old Navy. My mom has also been the recipient of some great garage sale finds: $7 pack and play; $10 slim fold high chair and a $35 reversible toddler car seat (technically from a resale shop, not garage sale).

In other completely un-related blog news... my friend Rhonda sent me this blog today. For anyone that is a fan of the show "Jon & Kate + 8", it's an interesting read. I don't think to completely taints my view of the show and the family -- but it's VERY interesting!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Post Graciegate '08

Things are starting to settle down here after last night's feline version of "Girls Gone Wild". Which is a good thing... I can only handle one major panic attack at a time! Miss Gracie snuggled into bed with me within an hour after her return from the deep dark jungle backyards. I think despite her wild, stray background, she really does like it here!

Slowly but surely I have started working on the little guy's room. It's been my guest room since I bought this house 3 years ago. The color has been a praline color -- and I really like it. I was able to find a "jungle creature" quilt (ok, it was my cousin Jenni's and I snatched it up pre-garage sale) in PERFECT condition. I tease her and say her crib sets aren't LIKE new, they are new, because her kids never spent much time in their cribs... The tiger in the jungle creatures is just a little darker than the walls.

The IKEA dressers are DONE. My aforementioned rocking neighbors (see last night!) put the dressers together for me. He's very handy - so I knew they'd be put together well. Best neighbors ever, I swear! I have already lined up Audrey, the female part of the triplets as a future babysitter!

For the crib, I started in a little bit of a quandary. Jenni was planning on selling her crib at the garage sale we had back around Memorial Day. That was the week I signed with my agency, so she offered to let me use the crib instead of having to buy one. Bonus! I really didn't want to spend a ton of $$ on a crib that the little one wouldn't really use all that long anyway. I would love one of the new really super cool ones, but I also feel like I am bleeding $$ these days, so being frugal I really think this is the best. Then Jenni and I ran into a snag - she couldn't locate the hardware to the crib. She's searched, I've searched... no hardware. So another cousin Gary and his wife thought they could get her brother's youngest crib for me. Their nephew was moving into his big boy bed soon... so it was a solid option #2. Then while we were moving the white IKEA dressers in, the world's best neighbors say "is your crib white"? I relayed the crib saga to them and guess what. They saved 1 of each of the triplets cribs etc and the one they saved? WHITE. And did I want to use it? Uhhhh, YES! I have a serious matching complex -- so this is heaven to me! I'll add pictures later...

See - told ya, best neighbors in the world!

Oh What A Night...

Where do I start? Lately I have been feeling like a big, giant JINX. My new shiny HD flat screen TV that I got as a bonus from work last year has been on the fritz (the screen goes black and then it turns off - and won't turn back on); my desktop computer won't go past the XP screen; the light in my bedroom doesn't work, yet the fan attached to it does; and my Garmin wouldn't work for a bit last week either. I even joked to a friend that I think I must be emitting a bizarro electrical field to have all these problems going on.

So tonight my huge 25 lb beast of a cat Roo decided he wanted to go outside. First, let me say that my (very spoiled cats) don't go outside. My dad made me a bench that is screened in all around the sides and has a door at the end. A virtual outdoor palace for the kitties. Roo LOVES to go outside. Gracie, my newest addition (long story short she was brought home from a non no-kill shelter if you get my drift during my mom's search for a new kitten last winter), was a stray - and hasn't really desired to go out much, but she does LOVE to watch the birds, etc. So a couple of times, when she lets me, I'll put her in the cage with Roo and they are two peas in a pod, happy as clams out there. This is Gracie pictured above.

This was the scene tonight. I got gabby on the phone with my good friend Suzy and noticed it was getting dark - time to get the babies in the house. Roo -- not a problem, he jumps out of the cage, I pick him up and in he goes. Gracie, tonight decided she didn't want to come in. So as I am trying to reach and grab her - she shimmies out of the cage and darts across the lawn. Around to the front of the house she goes - and under the GIANT pine tree in the front yard. And by giant, I meant GIANT. I tried crawling under the tree -- very painful, and it just scared her more. In a total panic, I called my mom, who arrived just as one of the neighbors next door was coming home - and also figured out what was going on. My neighbors rock -- more on them another day... a great fun, couple (Rick and Marie) and their triplets (2 boys and a girl) heading into their sophomore year in high school. Marie and the kids, my mom and I tried to wrangle her in. But alas, it just scared my girl more to be "chased". At one point, we had all the doors to my house open thinking she might run in - and she got close, but my mom was sitting on the porch and potentially scared her. Mind you my mom isn't scary at all -- and Gracie associates her with being fed... but EVERYTHING was scaring her at that moment.

By this time I was COMPLETELY panicked. I told my mom I didn't think I'd see her again. With her stray background, not knowing the area - and it being so dark -- I thought I'd lost my sweet, cuddly girl who loves to sleep with me all night. My neighbors must think I am NUTS -- carrying on the way I was -- because I was pretty much insane - crawling under trees etc.

We decided, after she CLIMBED the 2nd giant pine tree in yet another neighbors backyard, that we needed to let her calm down. The risk in walking away and letting her come to me -- was what if she DIDN'T come?? I put some food out (she's total pig) and are you ready for this? No seriously, you need to sit down and prepare yourself for what I am about to say. I got my aerobed out of the basement and set it up on my back porch. Again, she loves to sleep with me and I couldn't go in and go to bed without her. So mom left, neighbors went inside and I set up camp on the backporch in aerobed land. I'd call to her, shine the flashlight (I could see her glowing eyes, even 100 feet away) and clank her food bowls together.

Then after a bit, I saw her eyes on the ground. She was out of the tree!!! I snuck over to the other back door on my house and opened it again, just slightly. Back at my aerobed post, I could hear her crying - and it looked like she was headed to the front of the house again... and giant pine tree #1. So back I went, but I couldn't locate her. I went to go assume the position again, and as I past by the now open back door -- guess who had wandered in and was on the basement steps... yup -- my little calico girl, Gracie.

So laugh at me all you want, with twigs in my hair, and sap on my legs. My kitties are my family - and will be even with the additional little Russian around. While I know it's different, I guess it shows me that if I'll go to those extremes for the little furry ones, this little guy will be ever so cared for!

Night all -- I'm going to try to sleep now, even though my adrenaline is still racing from Graciegate '08!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wetting My Pants At the Mailbox

Throughout this whole crazy adoption process, I have been pretty much addicted to reading various forums, blogs and basically whatever I can get my hands on regarding the adoption process. One of the steps I have mentioned before, and have read about is sending your application into U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services (also known as the i-600a form). This application, upon approval, allows you to bring an adopted child into the country and makes him your immediate relation.

In each state, there is a local office where you submit your paperwork to. In Michigan, it's the Homeland Security office in Detroit. Wait times for turnaround vary by office, from literally a couple weeks to months and months. Detroit runs about 3 months on average - if you have no hiccups. Since I have a WONDERFUL Agency representative who knows ALL the ins and outs, I was told to wait to submit my i-600a until my Home Study was completed. This is what the Detroit office prefers. So I did... and I am officially on the clock in Detroit as of 6/30/08. Other states, as I mentioned occasionally go faster. And as I have mentioned before, I have the patience of a fly... so I read about other adoptive parent's receiving their approval in like 4-5 weeks with envy!

Today when I got home and checked my mail (expecting maybe something exciting like my phone bill.. ooohhh), guess what I found in my mailbox??? If you guessed an official looking letter on watermark-type paper from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, you were CORRECT! Immediately, my mind starts racing. Could it be....
A) My approval in as little as 2 weeks, making me the fastest person in Michigan history to get approved?
B) A letter asking me for 1,000 more notarized and apostilled documents?
C) A letter saying "ha ha - DENIED"?
D) An appointment to get my fingerprints done?

Well, you can relax now... it's the fingerprint appointment. Which is good news -- we are moving in the right direction!

The appointment that was assigned to me is 7/22/08 @ 9am. Yipes -- good thing I don't live up north, 'eh? Little Yooper talk for those of you Michiganders.

And since I know you're all still wondering... yes, my phone bill came too! :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Dog, errr Cat Days of Summer

With all this talk of bringing home a little baby boy, I have NOT neglected my other babies... the four furries that let me share their bed. Well, Murphy may tell a different tale...
Murphy is my "grandpa kitty". He is a 15 year old flame point Himalayan. He is a gorgeous cat with the most beautiful blue eyes and the BEST personality. I like to call him Murphy Poppins because if you remember the line in the movie, Mary Poppins, he is "Practically Perfect in Every Way".
One thing to note about Murphy, he absolutely HATES thunder. Thunder and anything closely related to thunder - which includes, you guessed it, fireworks!! So while the 4th of July may be one of my favorite holidays, for Murphy, not so much. Now when I am talking about hates - I mean get your cat body as close to the ground, run and hide in the basement hates. Yup, he's a big, fat, furry thunder wimp!
So Sunday night I came home rather late from the weekend's final festivities - a family BBQ and some late, tame, legal in Michigan, (can't leave the ground) home fireworks at my cousin Jenni's house. She's about a mile from me, so the pops were probably heard here. To add to that, the partiers across the river who had been celebrating with their own fireworks were still celebrating. So Murphy was none too pleased. Before heading to bed, I decided to check my emails real quick and was apparently followed into the office (un-noticed) by Mr. Murph. I finished emails and went off to bed, closing the door behind me as always. It's my way of closing off the "work room" so it doesn't stare at me and call to me all night.
I got up to go to the bathroom at around 2:30am. That's what I get for buying the 44oz beverage at Speedway... but all sizes are the same price this summer, so you HAVE to -- it's a bargain! As I am about to head back to bed, I hear Murphy talking to me from what I think is the living room. This is very typical behavior for him - if he hears me up, he'll come find me, talking the whole way. So since he hasn't found me, I go looking for him - but he's not in the living room and I still hear him. Hmmm -- maybe he's in the kitchen -- as I am heading back to the kitchen I hear him crying still "far away". So I head back to the living room (it's a big circle, so we could be playing tag here)... but no Murphy still. As I pass the office again, that's when I heard him. Yup... poor Murph was locked in the office from his earlier hiding gig. Thankfully, because he's Murphy, he was totally unfazed by this entire incident. He definitely makes the Top 10 List of Best Cats. However, as I type this, Roo, the 25lb beast is sitting with me - and has to touch me, so I think he has little cat eyes in the back of his furry head and wants to be reassured that he's on the list too.
Yea for Murphy and no more fireworks!!! (For now!)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

This Week In Review

Where did the week go? Seriously, has it been since last Sunday since I posted? Wow -- time flies when you are .... well, really not doing too much!

Just kidding -- small updates this week. I don't suppose there will be too much to update until the BIG news of a trip. So let's see what happened in this week in review...

1) Little guy's room: The queen size bed is gone. There was a struggle getting into the new owners abode. I haven't heard a status update, we really just needed like another 1/2 inch! Hopefully it's being enjoyed elsewhere. So now it's just a cleaning out process and loading in. My neighbor is putting the dressers together for me. BONUS!
2) Documents: I had to add a last minute document this week. It, thankfully, arrived in one piece! So it will make it's way to Vladivostok with some other paperwork as well. The Dept of Homeland Security has received my paperwork for the i-600a form approval. They've cashed the check - so I am officially on the clock here as well. Cross your fingers that it truly doesn't take 3 months!

So that's really about it. I had a great 4th just relaxing around town - including some (lame & slow) fireworks, some hot garage sale-ing, and general summerness. Hope yours was great too...