Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Heart These.

In a major way.

I saw them on another Russia adoption blog. And I instantly started drooling. [link]

Okay, so this company, Fred & Friends, has all kinds of awesome homey/officey/kitcheny gadgety things.

A Pac Man oven mitt?

A salt and pepper person?

Totally awesome.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Adoption Story

This won't come as a surprise to anyone, I'm sure, but let me just say that I LOVE hearing about other people's adoption stories. I've talked to numerous relatives, coworkers, and friends, and each time I'm so encouraged by learning about the journey others have gone on this crazy road to bringing biologically unrelated kids into a family.

And, in the wonderful world of bloggyland, I find blog after blog of adoption stories. In typical blog-stalker fashion, I dig in people's archives to read the accounts of the day they met their kids. The first time they saw a picture. The first days back home. I love it.

When we first made our big announcement, a family I know from the church I grew up in contacted me and sent me the link to their adoption story.

I thought you might enjoy reading it. It's extremely tender and heartwarming (not to mention eloquent), and their heart toward their kids and adoption in general is very much in sync with how we feel.


The de Haan's adoption story

Friday, February 19, 2010

The baby B Update

Baby B 2

Whew - it's totally been awhile since I've mentioned this crazy, hairy process we're in. But I get asked about it all the time, and I figure that you all might be curious, too.

And by the way, THANK YOU for asking. And for your excitement. And for your prayers. No, there's no "belly proof" that we're bringing a baby into our family. There's no specific timeline. No one can buy itty bitty outfits, because no one knows how big he'll be. And his looks? Who knows? He could look Scandinavian, Chinese, Gypsy, or anywhere in between. Oh, and we don't even know for sure that he is a he.

But it warms my heart to think that our friends and family are so thoughtful and supportive. We're really excited about this baby around here, and are thankful that the community around us is, too.

Okay, back to the update.

1. Paperwork.

Yes, there is an overwhelming amount of paperwork. Everyone warned us about that. But I was under the impression that we would just sit down, fill out a zillion forms, and send them in. And that then we'd be done.

Not so much.

For some forms, we did just fill in a bunch of [highly personal] information regarding our income, assets, health, and family history. But for others, it was much more of a process. Like applying with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS. We sent in an application, got verification that it was received a week later, and then a week after that received a date and time for a fingerprinting appointment. Then two weeks after that headed downtown on a Wednesday morning to get fingerprinted. And now we're still waiting on our final "OK" which will officially say that the U.S. government will allow us to adopt a foreign orphan.

2. The Homestudy

Here in Ohio we have two homestudy visits. I think in other states you just have one. Not sure why different states have different rules.

In any case, our two social worker visits are now complete.

As much as I'm irked by some of the hoops we have to jump through for this process to be complete, the homestudy visit part was actually quite nice. Our social worker was sweet, goodnatured, and understanding. And it was obvious from the first that she wasn't there to look for reasons to "fail" us. No white glove treatment to the house - thank goodness! No expectations of flawless parenting - whew!

Basically, she was an ally in all of this.

She simply collected all kinds of information about us and our home. Yes, she did verify that we take out our trash - and mentioned just how ridiculous she feels that question is, too!

It was a breath of fresh air.

She has recently typed up a big document that includes all of the information she collected while meeting with us in addition to what was in our [you guessed it] homestudy paperowrk. The final homestudy will be sent with a bunch of other information to the Russian government. This is called the dossier. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

3. The Fire Department Inspection

Um, we failed our first one.

Prior to visit #1 we went through the checklist. We put up smoke alarms on the two floors otherwise missing them. We covered up all of our outlets. Yes, even though we won't have a child living here for many months. We bought a fire extinguisher. And we wrote out an evacuation plan. As in, "if upstairs in the bedroom, walk down stairs and out front door."

And why did we fail? Well, the evacuation plan needed to be a floor plan diagram. Instead of a written plan. Because the 14-month old child will be able to read a floor plan better than a written plan, right? *sigh*

Thankfully we passed on round #2.

So where does that leave us?

I think the end is in sight. I'm hopeful that we can submit our dossier to Russia by the end of March. Sooner would be great. We have more paperwork to fill out. More doctor sign-off's to get. More documents to get notarized. But we're close. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And then?

Who knows? We could wait 6 months for our referral. We could wait 18. We're hoping for the former. But that is 100% out of our hands.

And 100% in the Lord's.

Remind us of that, okay?

So there we have it. Once that dossier is submitted we're going to A) celebrate and B) start working on the baby's room. You know how we love home projects!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter Wonderland, Take 2

It just keeps snowing around here, by the way. I hear we're not alone.


But as I wipe it off my car each day (our garage doors are BOTH broken at the moment)...


...and stomp it off my feet when I get inside...


... and watch Riley bunny-hop through it since it's so deep he can no longer just walk...


...I'm reminded of this:

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
blot out the stain of my sins.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:1, 7 (NLT)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Scenes from a Winter Wonderland

So you might be aware that a major storm rolled through the Midwest this past weekend.

We certainly got our share. All day Friday, all we saw was this:

And this:

Take a bush that's right outside our front door.

9 am: No snow. Greenish grass behind it.

12 pm:

3 pm:

Take us.

Friday night: Normal

Saturday Morning: Shoveling our driveway for an HOUR. Wet, heavy snow a foot deep on a small driveway will apparently take two adults working for 60 minutes each to clear it.

Sunday Morning: Very, very sore.

And a tree in front of our house? See how high it stands - somewhere between the top window and the bottom window?

Well, this is what it currently looks like:

Thank goodness I never liked that tree. I don't know if it will ever recover.

And then there was the issue with the car. We drove to a restaurant to have brunch with friends. No problems. We drove to their house to borrow a tack gun (to use on our kitchen project). No problems. We were leaving their neighborhood, driving on a busy street to head back home, and we stopped at a stop sign. And this happened:
Yes, all of the snow that had collected on top of the car chose that moment to slide down onto the windshield. I seriously had to stick my head out of the window and direct Josh on how to drive 200 feet and turn into a church parking lot. We couldn't see a thing. Thank goodness we didn't hit anything or anyone.

Let's just say it was the perfect weekend to stay inside and work on our kitchen!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Kitchen

The cabinet painting project is finally complete. [fist pump]

The shiny 80's oak? Gone. The very fake-looking wood paneling? Gone. A contemporary, cottage-y feel on a limited budget? Achieved.

First, the before shots. We took these pics when we were still house hunting.



And here's one from just a couple of weeks ago.


We never liked the cabinet color and finish. But we REALLY never liked the wood paneling on the sides and back of the cabinets.


So we took the kitchen apart. We sanded. We painted. We bought new hardware. We spray painted hinges. We put the kitchen back together.

Then we rested. And enjoyed a visit from Josh's parents.

And then? We took off the trim and old paneling. We bought beadboard. We got it cut at Lowe's. We bought a jig saw. We cut a hole for an outlet. We sanded. We painted. We put it up. We put on the old trim (painted white to match.) We caulked. We touched up the paint.

And now? Here is what our kitchen looks like.


Our cheap-o kitchen makeover ended up costing around $400. The total includes the purchase of an electric sander and jig saw, in addition to hardware, primer, paint, liquid nails, "real" nails, and beadboard.


To us, it's $400 well spent.


The fake wood paneling is GONE. Replaced by crisp beadboard, painted white. This might be our favorite part. But we're suckers for beadboard.


Before and afters, for your viewing pleasure:

kitchen 2

kitchen 3

kitchen 1

Whew! It's done! Now on the next project. Any guesses what it is?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

D.C. at night

Jamie took me, DeeDee, and Noah to see the Lincoln Memorial at night.

Night. WHAT a great time to see it. I had no idea. The monuments were beautiful, all lit up against the dark sky.

And we got to enjoy it without being surrounded by throngs of people.

Oh, and we had to laugh because Noah looked awesome in my mittens. But they kept his little paws warm.

DC at night