Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Photos

The joys of trying to get that perfect Christmas picture in front of the tree. I have a dozen more pictures all of which were not quite Christmas card perfect. I took all the pictures and put them in a little albumn to save. They are priceless. They may not be the perfect photos, but they make me smile. This is Levi, in all his silliness and glory. Who could ask for more than a happy, healthy, bright and active child. (OK, me, I can ask for more. I want Ahren and PBJ too!)

The girls and Levi and I have been running around all week doing fun stuff, even though we all have colds and are a bit cranky. Of course, we can't go anywhere without at least one or two friends coming along, so I usually have a full load of kids everywhere we go. Yesterday we went out to lunch, meeting one of my frineds and her two boys. We took one of Katie's friends with us, plus Nanny and the other little girl she watches. So we had 3 adults, 2 14-yr olds, 1 (almost) 12-yr old, 1 6-yr old, 2 3-yr olds, and 1 16-month old. Needless to say, we picked a very family oriented restaurant where we are well known and noise is not a problem. Here are some of the moments I remember: The 3 little boys having a sword fight with their silverware, someone stealing Nanny's shoe under the table, ice flying, the baby spiking a fever suddenly complete with red cheeks (poor little thing), Levi licking the queso off of his plate, umpteen trips to the bathroom, someone falling off their chair, and a little crying. What I don't remember is what we talked about or what my food tasted like. Hah! We still had fun and I think we will be welcome back!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Odds and Ends

Here is my new pantry. Well, what will be my new pantry. It's hard to tell how big it is, but it is significantly larger than my current pantry. There will be room for the broom/mop, cleaning supplies, too. Wahoo!

The puppy was a huge hit. He has a name now, Scooby. What a funny name for this little guy! Ashley let Levi name him. I am just glad he didn't say something else.....
A couple of Levi funnies:
Levi has a cold and when he blew his nose I commented on how green it was. He looked and me and said, "Oh, that is NOT my color!"
Chris called out to Levi, "I love you" and Levi chimed back "I love you more than ketchup".
Christmas morning, Levi stood in the middle of the room surveying all that Santa had brought, and holding his arms out wide, he looked up and said, "Santa brought me everything. Oh thank you Santa. Thank you!" As he opened each gift, he would exclaim, "It's just what I wanted!"
I will have actual Christmas photos up soon. I am off work most of the week, spending time with the kids and trying to relax. Our internet at home still doesn't work (they have to replace our modem-connector-box thingy. Ours is defective. Can you tell what a computer expert I am???? It has only taken 2 months to figure this out! It would have been sooner if I could have understood the heavy accent of the help desk person)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blackmail photos

Ooooh, my son is going to hate me!!! This photo is from over a year ago. We were diligently attempting potty training with Levi. One day I got a panicked call from Nanny and Levi had tried to wear his potty seat as a hat and it had slid down over his head and now would not come off. Poor little guy was extremely upset about this. Apparently the edges on the bottom of the seat were sharp and where the cushioned slid comfortably down over his head, going back up was painful. Nanny and I worked for quite a while and I thought we were going to have to take him to the emergency room to get it off (oh what a sight that would have been) I finally managed to use some tin snips to cut away enough of the plastic, then soaped him up good in the tub and got him free. Fortunately he did not associate this with the actual potty training. We bought a different kind of seat, one that cannot be used as a hat and he was fine. Every time I see this picture (I HAD to get a picture! What else would I have to show his Prom date????) I crack up. I guess by kid #3 you just don't freak out about the prospect of strolling into the ER with your son stuck in a potty seat.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Trying so hard

If I could wish him home, if I could pray him home, if I could will him home he would be in my arms. If tears could make it happen, he would be home.

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
--- Unknown

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The house

The 'men' are inspecting the framing and the lumber. This is an imporatnat part of the process. We must do many manly inspections, kick a few boards and measure everything. It is good to be men! You can't see it in the pictures, but Levi has his own tape measure hooked on his pants. A smaller version of Daddy's. Chris already has plans for all the things he will do with 'his boys'. The funy thing is, anyone who knows Chris knows that once he holds PBJ, the manly man is going to be one great big gumby that is wrapped around her little finger. I bet she will be his little shadow, so he will be doing things with 'his boys and a prncess'. He is such a good Dad!
Guess what came in the mail yesterday? No, not more candy (but that would have been good!) The very last documents for our dossier! We are done, finished, complete, ready to rock and roll. Everything else is already translated and in Guatemala. I will Fed Ex these last 3 docs to them today. We should be submitted to Family Court by the end of the week. This is all new territory for us. We have never gotten this far with Ahren's case (shoot we haven't gotten anywhere with his case....) It is so exciting! It's starting to seem real. We could have our little girl home in just a few short months. I haven't bought hardly anythig for PBJ. I just couldn't. I keep remembering all of the things I so lovingly picked out for Ahren and he never got to use them. This time I am waiting. When we get out of PGN then I will go on a shopping spree the likes of which the world has never seen. I will need a teflon credit card just so it doesn't melt down! Until then, I will wait not-so-patiently. I will knit little hats and blankets and outfits for my babies. I will keep myself busy busy busy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Updates and tidbits

This is the foundation of our house, as it looked just over a week ago. We went by there on Saturday, expecting to see the lumber for the framers sitting in a pile, but to our surprise they were already framing the house. They had started on Friday morning. They had the downstairs almost done by the end of the day Saturday. I will post pix later this week (once I get them downloaded) We spent a good while yesterday walking thru the rooms to see if it's what we expected. The good news is nothing seems to be too small. We did catch a couple of framing mistakes and they are going to fix those (windows the wrong size) Now if the rain will stay away, we should have the second story done this week and be ready to get the house enclosed.
Ashley loved her puppy. I tried to get pix of her getting him, but there was so much wiggling and jumping around (both her and the puppy) that all I have are photos of random arms and legs. She is thinking of naming him Moose (all 3 pounds of him!)
We found out on Friday that Ahren's file was found and re-submitted and this time we have the official case number to prove it. The only hting is that it is now in a separate section of PGN that handles 'clarifying the legal status of the child'. At first this threw us. This was different than where we were before. Not knowing what was going on or why it was there had us very worried. Our extra lawyers looked into it and they told us that the regular PGN offices are swamped and this office is helping now with cases like ours. Let's hope that's the case and not that they have deemed Ahren 'un-adoptable'.
I am in the midst of Christmas baking and wrapping, the usual last minute frenzy right before the holidays. I haven't felt very much in the holiday spirit yet, but it's getting better. Levi wrote his letter to Santa, and the post office here will write a letter fro Santa back to him. I had never heard of that before! I'll let you know what Santa says.... We also have the phone number to Santa's workshop where he leaves a special message for children every day. Levi loves listening to it. This is the first year he has really understood the whole Santa concept. The girls are having a wonderful time watching him be so excited over everything. This year they are with their dad for Christmas, starting from yesterday, so they won't be here Christmas morning. Next year, though, they will be here, and we will have 2 more little angels in our household! That is going to be the best Christmas ever!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sweet Hope Chocolates

I got home yesterday and there was a box waiting for me. Inside the box were 2 dozen hand-made truffles and 4 dozen hand made caramels from Sweet Hope Chocolates. Guess who was the first to try them? Levi, who normally doesn't like candy, went bonkers over the caramels. (He wasn't the only one) These are made by a woman who set out to raise money to help people adopting. She and her husband had gone through a very long and traumatic experience to bring their son home recently (Hi Pickle!) and she wanted to help others who are adopting. She took orders for truffles and caramels and set aside part of the proceeds to give to someone who is still in the process. Honestly, I think she should keep the money because I can't think of anyone who deserves it more. She made all of these delectable (legal crack, really) candies with the help of her 2 year old son. Anyone who can do that and keep their sanity is a Goddess in my book.
I'm sorry to say the chance to get some of these is long gone. I hope she will make them again, but I can't blame her for not doing it soon. This was a major project. When she does, I will let everyone know how to order some for yourselves. Then again, if she makes more I may not tell anyone so that I can get them all for myself. (Yes, they are THAT GOOD!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

But, You Said You wanted a Puppy!

My daughter Ashley turns 12 years old the first week of January. It's always so hard to buy for her because she has just gotten so much for Christmas and really, how much does one kid need? I try and get creative but I am seriously lacking in that department. She has been saying she wanted a small dog for along time now. We had to put our dachsund down last summer and Ashley has been missing her a lot. So, everyone meet Puppy (his unofficial name) He is (apparently) a chihuahua crossed with maybe a fox terrier or other similar terrier. He looks somewhat chihuahua in the face, but is longer legged and bodied and has slightly longer wiry hair. He is the best puppy. He doesn't bark, he is potty training well, and he loves little kids. He is absolutely adorable. Ashley hasn't seen him yet. We are giving him to her on Saturday. (What, wait until her birthday? It's been too hard to keep him a secret as it is!)
Ashley called me a little bit ago and announced that she knows what she wants for her birthday. She wants a limo party with her friends as her present. Uhhhhh, what? Not a puppy? Nope, a limo party, complete with a sleepover. But, but, said you wanted a puppy! I couldn't actually say that becasue then she would know I got her a puppy. So I had to be all interested in a limo party and pretend I was going to think about it. Argh!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

He gets it now....

Our second set of attorneys, the ones we hired for lots of extra money to help figure out what the first attorneys weren't doing, gave us an update on the missing rectification file. Here is what they said:

Good afternoon Wendy,
Okay, we spoke to the facilitator's office again today, they recognized they have a big mix up with the lawyer on this, they are presently onto solving this.They don't know yet either what has happened here, but now they recognized that something isn't as stated. Of course, we re-affirmed them this because there is no re-submission record in PGN yet. But at least they now recognize there's something wrong and are onto it.
Best regards,Edwin & Manfred

So, although the file has been missing since early in October and this has repeatedly been pointed out and asked about, only now does the facilitator get it. He now understands there is a mix-up, a problem. Praise the Lord, he gets it. (Heavy note of sarcasm) This doesn't mean he will find the file, this doesn't even mean he will actually LOOK for it. In fact, it doesn't mean a darn thing. He told us in November he was looking for it and had found it and re-submitted it himself. I have finally figured out how to tell when this man is lying - his lips are moving. Absolutely everything from his mouth is suspect. He couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it. He is a total waste of human flesh and the last thing he needs to be doing is handling the adoptions of innocent children. We will continue to be nice to him only as long as it takes to secure our son, and then he had better watch out because I plan on going all Mama Bear on him and it ain't gonna be pretty!

Monday, December 11, 2006

New Pictures!

We got them! In fact, we got eighteen of them! That's right, 18 glorious pictures of our baby girl. She is changing so much I almost didn't recognize her. Her little button nose and kewpie-doll mouth gave her away. The head band cracks me up. They have it pushed so far down it's making her ears stick out. She looks kind of concerned about whatever is going on there. Maybe she is telling them to keep pushing that paperwork cuz her Mama needs her!

Hanging in there

We are hanging in there, waiting on more information about the missing files and what can be done about it. Poor Ahren. His case has been nothing but mistakes, problems and road blocks. I think rocket science must be easier than this has been...

In other news, we got pre-approval from the US Embassy today for Peri Brynn! This is an important step that says the US Government has approved our adoption of PBJ. We didn't expect to get this until next week sometime, given how fast other people were getting theirs. Our little PBJ is just flying through. Don't think the irony of that has escaped me.

We are still waiting on new pictures and an updated medical on both kids. I am beginning to think about visiting again, once the airfares drop back down into the acceptable range. Maybe January or February? Maybe not. I do a lot of wishful thinking.......;-)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Pathetic Snowman

Poor pathetic snowman. He looks so sad. I am going to leave him like this though (partly because I can't figure out how to fix the blower) because he just fits my mood this holiday season.

Yesterday we got some devastating news about Ahren's case. To recap for you, we accepted his referral last January. Ever since then we have been in a process called 'rectification' to fix errors on his birth certificate. Until he has a valid birth certificate he is not legally available for adoption. So although we are matched to him, he is really unavailable to adopt. The rectification process is lengthy, requiring severral different gov't offices to cooperate. We had made it to the final step in July. The overseeing office, called PGN, received the rectification file and all the reports showing what the investigation found. PGN was then supposed to review it, approve the fixes and then we could have a new BC and move on. In October, the PGN reviewer asked our attorney for one additional signature on the file. The attorney picked up the file around October 10th and was supposed to get the signature and resubmit the file by the following Monday. We have been told the file was resubmitted on Oct. 16th, November 6th and November 13th but after extensive searching the file has not appeared in PGN. The attorney and the facilitator both swear up and down the file was resubmitted but there is no evidence of it in PGN. It has officially been declared missing. If it is found, it can be submitted to PGN and we can proceed. If they don't find it we start all over again. It took 6 months to get to the point where the file is ready to submit. It may go a little faster this time, but maybe not. If they do find it, it will still be January before PGN re-opens after their holiday break and could review the file again. January is our best-case scenario. That is 1 year. One year of no progress. One year in a baby's life. One year of heartache, wishing, praying, hoping, hurting. I have decided to keep the pathetic snowman, and now you know why. If Ahren is not with us next year either, then the pathetic snowman will reappear for the holidays. The pathetic snowman will be the beacon to bring Ahren home.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

11 months old today

Our beautiful boy is 11 months old today. We are no closer to bringing him home than we were 11 months ago. Everyone asks me why? Why is his case so stuck? Why can't you do anything? Why do they let this happen? I wish I knew those answers. It's definitely not fair. Ahren has a home and a loving family. He should be with us this holiday season. We should be spoiling him rotten, smothering him in kisses and hugs every day.
In other news, today is a great day! We got our PBJ dossier sent off to Guatemala this morning. It is short 2 docs, but they are getting started on the translations. The last 2 docs are our birth certificates. I had to send them to the Guat Consulate in Chicago instead of Houston to be authenticated. Everything else is on it's way!
Also today, they are pouring the foundation of our new house. They were scheduled to do it next week, but managed to move it up to beat the rain that's headed our way. Yahoo!!!
Now if we could just get a smidgen of news on Ahren, today would be perfect. We love you little man! I hope you can feel it all those miles away.....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Prayers for Brayden

I am asking everyone to pray for our little buddy Brayden who is undergoing open heart surgery today. Dear Lord, Brayden is a special little guy. He is very loved and has brought joy to so many people. Take special care of him for us. Get him through the surgery today, make his recovery smooth and uneventful and make his little heart all better. Take care of his Mom and Dad through this trying time, too. This we ask of you Dear Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More random pictures

Levi in the middle of the island while I am trying to cook dinner.

Levi was supposed to be at the table eating a snack (Cheetohs - note the orange face) Instead I found him sitting on the couch like this.

Bubble boy

Crazy hair
House update: ready to pour the concrete. Yeah!
PBJ update: still waiting on new photos
Ahren update: still waiting, no news

Monday, December 04, 2006

Still waiting on new pix

No new pictures of PBJ or Ahren (sigh) so I will just post some new pictures of various people places and things.

1st: Levi and Grandpa Jim, taken over Thanksgiving (notice how they both have a smile that says 'trouble')

2nd: Levi and Katie all dressed up.

3rd: A picture of me that Levi took. I have to say this is one of the best shots of me I have seen in a long time!

4th: This is what has happened on our house since the Wed. before Thanksgiving. They added dirt and trenched for the footings. The foundation will be strong, but at this rate we will need wheelchair ramps to get into it becasue we will be so old!

5th: Our new neighbors. I have made friends with these two little ladies. The people next door raise thouroughbreds and I am hoping they need/want someone to ride and exercise them.