Friday, July 31, 2009

The State Fair (A Picture Story)

Yesterday we spent the day at the Ohio State Fair. Dh and the girls had never been to the state fair and I am pretty sure it has been 15 or more years since I was there.

We started the day waiting in line for tickets. Look at the easy to spot bright pink shirts on the girls... Thanks for those Grandma.

We saw an 1800 lb butter cow (not pictured is the butter calf next door).

We saw lots of animals; cows, goats, llamas, zebras, a 150 year old tortoise, and many more including dh's perennial favorite-- the pigs. (Aunt Missy supplied the Tootsie Roll Pops)

Bophie has a particularly sensitive nose and didn't like the smells. This is the way she plugs her nose.

The girls scaled a giant ear of corn, almost making it to the top before looking down and getting a little scared. I think they get their fear of heights from me.
They fished in the Youth Pond and Bear made the biggest catch of the day with a 14 inch catfish.

They went kayaking in the rain. Hopefully this was good practice for the canoeing we hope to do next weekend.

JuJu got to hang out with Aunt Missy and eat goldfish to her heart's content as she watched her sisters have fun in the water.

By the end of the day, we all wished we could just crash like Bophie and let someone else push us around.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

JuJu's New Trick

Juliana has a new method of making sure whatever treasure she has in her possession is not taken by her older sisters -- she holds it up high over her head, as high as she can get it.

With a statuesque height of 23 inches she is sure to keep her precious find from their clutches, right?

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Family is Getting Bigger

When Banana and Bear were little we made an attempt to go to Mass each morning. It meant getting a later start to the day, but since we were only doing a few hours of school each day, Mass provided the perfect start to our day and it helped to give us a routine. Once a week, usually Fridays, I would take them to breakfast at Panera. We would get a few bagels, I would have a cup of coffee, and the girls would talk, and talk, and talk. I looked forward to those days almost as much as the girls. We became such regulars the workers knew us by name.

Now that school and outside activities claim more of our time, our trips to Panera have become fewer and farther between. I bet this school year we made it only two or three times. Dh has started to take them to the beyond early o'clock Mass and then they go through a drive through and bring home breakfast for all of us. So even on days when we would go to Mass, I couldn't justify the expense of another breakfast out.

Today, though, we all were feeling a little better and made it out to Mass. It was such a beautiful morning I decided to take them for bagels. I now have to order a whole bagel pack, but at least there are leftovers (I am thinking dinner of tuna melts on an asiago cheese bagel sounds delish). I really enjoyed the girls chatting. They always seem to find crazy topics of conversation. I enjoyed watching little Bophie try to finish an entire cinnamon crunch bagel with cream cheese, even though it took an eternity. Little JuJu was also very pleasant, she loved the cup with a straw and the bagel-- especially the hazelnut cream cheese.

No less than four different people commented on how I have my hands full. One well meaning gentleman joked about my free time. I don't take offense at these comments, but I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable feeling like a spectacle when I walk my well behaved children into a restaurant. On occasion, I just want to be a little less conspicuous. One woman on the way out made my day, though. She saw how helpful my older girls were getting the little ones in the car and remarked, "Four girls... Life doesn't get any better than that." This morning, it really felt like it doesn't.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Six Month Post Adoption Report

It's hard to believe Juliana has been with our family for more than six months already. It is not hard to believe we are a little late getting out our six month post adoption report.
The final steps in our adoption process are these post adoption reports. They require a brief report from our social worker at six months and one year post adoption. We finally were able to have our social worker over a few weeks ago to finish our six month report. Our social worker for Juliana's adoption is an older gentleman who has recently had quite a few health problems. For this and many, many other reasons, we have a new social worker for Joseph's adoption.

Now the report is written (I have to type it up for him as he has no computer and his typist, yes typist, retired). All that is needed are some pictures to attach to the report. The hold up with the pictures has been getting one with just dh, Juliana, and me. We have lots of family pictures, several of Juliana alone, and tons of her with her sisters, but none with just the three of us. We had to employ Banana to get one of us which was no easy feat.

Now that we have that picture, I just had to identify three or four more pictures that sum up Juliana's first six months with our family. It wasn't easy to narrow it down. How did I do? I think many of these pictures have been previously posted as it is usually my favorites that make their way to the blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bath Night

Why is it after bathing four young girls and a dog I feel as though I need a shower too? Aren't baths supposed to make you clean? And if everyone is getting clean why is it that my bathroom looks like a tornado went through it when we are done? Who knew it could take an entire evening and the bathroom is still waiting for me to pick up?

And since I am asking so many unanswerable bathroom questions, how is it my girls get any toothpaste in their mouths since I find so much all over the bathroom? It's on the sink, numerous towels (we all know I love the extra laundry), the counter, the bathmats, and the floor. I also have a clever marketing idea for toothpaste manufacturers. Why not make it clear? Why make it bright, eye catching blue so that everyone who walks past the bathroom knows what a mess my kids have made with the toothpaste? Really, I fall for every gimmick out there, I am sure I would buy "easier to clean toothpaste."

They had fun, though. Little JuJu will start tugging at her clothes the minute we walk into the bathroom. She yells too, one cannot get her in the tub fast enough. Bophie likes to stay in until her fingers are wrinkled. Even though the older girls shower pretty much on their own, an eavesdropping mom hears lots of giggles and squeals, and somehow the floor is inevitably soaked when she goes in to bathe the younger crowd. I suppose they are all clean, and some fun was had, so a little cleaning up afterwards is a small price to pay, right?

Off to clean said bathroom....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back to the Grind

I wish the title meant I was starting the day with a nice cup of caffeinated coffee, but that will have to wait a little while. Instead it means that now that VBS is over it is back to the business of summer. I wish that meant lazy days of swimming and parks, but today it means we are back to all the tasks I must tackle before starting the new school year. These include organizing the study and all the schooling materials, deep cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing down all the woodwork in the house, and a handful of other tasks.

The problem is I am down my biggest helper. Poor Banana has a pretty serious sore throat. I think something was going around at VBS. Put a bunch of kids together, have them play hard and wear them out, and you're bound to get a few casualties. Unfortunately, I am right there with her. I have developed some sort of cold that is driving me batty. My nose is like a faucet and a few days ago it moved to my chest and I have spent the last two nights hacking. I fear the younger siblings are soon going to be down for the count as well.

None of this bodes well for getting the house in order. Dh commented that the house needed a little tlc. I told him to give me a week or two. I paused then said "Remember when it only took a day or two to get things back together? Now that has turned to weeks..." At the rate we're moving here, it may just not happen.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Making Up For Lost Time

I had forgotten how tiring first trimesters can be. Although it was unintended, blogging has fallen by the wayside (along with laundry, vacuuming, and any other household chore beyond surface cleaning). In the past few weeks I have started some blog posts but never finished them. Dh has given me a birthday gift of a night off, so I am hoping to get to post a few of them.

I have also been a little hesitant to post about our pregnancy. I don't want to jeopardize anything with Joseph's adoption. I am posting these entries now mostly for my own benefit. There were a couple of milestones, thoughts and events I want to remember. Since I am scrapbooking and journally impaired this blog is as good as it gets for me.

P.S. Pictures will hopefully follow tomorrow, I am too tired to get to them tonight :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Banana

It is hard to believe my darling oldest daughter turns nine today. The wait for her arrival seemed interminable. We wanted to have a child for so long, then she decided not to show up until two and a half weeks past her due date. I thought the day would never arrive.

Now here we are nine years later and I am wondering where the time went. How can it be that the little girl who changed our lives forever is so far beyond first steps and first words? Can she already be this amazing girl who bewilders me with her virtue and understanding? I look at her and am so proud of the person she is becoming and, at the same time, I wonder how it is she is already nine!

Happy 9th Birthday Banana! I am so blessed to be your mom.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

VBS Week...

It is the girls favorite summer week-- VBS. My girls look forward to this all year round. It is hands down one of their absolute favorite activities and this year has not disappointed. I am only hoping for the strength to keep it up all week, no rest for this snack lady.

Banana and Bear are VBS veterans and can't wait to see what each year brings. Banana was able to go to church to help set-up this year and she just couldn't get over how the Moms are able to transform the Parish Center into a kid haven. She was so impressed with all the decorations. Bear is a fan of the snacks (my station), she enjoys the food creations each day. We made lion faces on Tuesday and she couldn't get over how cute they were.

This is Bophie's first year as a participant. Last year she was a part time nursery attendee (by Friday she was with me in the kitchen), so I was a little worried about her staying with her group. She did really well. There were a few morning time balkings, but as soon as I mentioned the singing she was willing to stay. You would've thought her favorite station would have been snacks where she would see her mother each day, but the girl l.o.v.e.d the singing and the little movements to the songs and snacks never stood a chance.

Juliana was supposed to be my nursery attendee this year. By Wednesday the girl cried when she saw the door to the library-turned-nursery. She spent most of the week in the backpack. With all the weight I am gaining (have I mentioned how much I dislike the hormones I must take), my back is aching from trying to manuever with her. In any case, I believe she is really enjoying the week too. I think she likes all the action. I think she also likes that I am carrying her all the time. She likes the constant snack intake as well. For a little girl, she can really pack away the snacks.

With only a few days left I have mixed emotions. I think I enjoy the week almost as much as the girls. I like seeing the excitement and happiness of the kids, I like helping them with snacks, I like visiting with the other moms. I really enjoy VBS. On the other hand, this year has been a little difficult. I am tired from the pregnancy, I think I may be coming down with a cold (200 kids in one building is bound to bring out a few germs), and I am a little frazzled with the remaining paperwork (mostly mailing documents which you would think would be easy, but of course is made complicated) for Joseph's adoption. I'd like to say next year will be better, but I think with all the changes we will experience this year, who knows what's in store....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shots-- Not the Jello variety

Part of early pregnancy for me is shots, shots, and more shots. Six a week to be exact. That means by the end of my first trimester (next week) I will have well over 50 needle pricks. These aren't just any shots either. Six times a week my body is pumped full of more hormones, as if those present naturally were not enough! The side effects of these injections include every pregnancy symptom imaginable, weight gain, fatigue, nausea, etc. It is like putting a magnifying glass on all the normal pregnancy stuff. On top of that-- they hurt.

We were moving around our third miscarriage and had no way to get to a doctor for the shots. As a result, poor dh got a few lessons from the nurses and learned to do them for me. This has turned out to be a blessing for me. Now I don't have to worry about making appointments and lugging four girls to the doctor's office two or three times a week. It isn't so much a blessing for dh. Twice a week he comes home from work and is immediately confronted by the full syringes waiting for him on the counter. I can tell by the look on his face how much he enjoys it.

Not only does he have to give me these shots, he has to deal with the after effects. I may have forgotten to mention the moodiness that is also a major side effect. The day after shot day is no fun for anyone around me :) It gets especially difficult after several weeks of this. At first the shots are a little painful and are itchy and uncomfortable. After a few weeks though, I am bruised and there are lumps of scar tissue or something at the injection site and it makes the shots all the more painful.

Thankfully, though, tomorrow is the last round of one hormone. I am down to only four shots a week. Should all go well, I hope to be off all these hormones in the next three weeks. It will probably be much longer before I can enjoy a shot (the Jell-o variety)!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Round of Certifications

We had a wonderful holiday weekend. We had just enough fun outings to stave off the temptation to attempt to finish some household project. The only goal we had was to send off our dossier documents to the various consulates for authentication.

Dh has already made two trips downtown to have our various documents certified by the County Clerk and Secretary of State. That means braving traffic downtown, scrounging change for meters, waiting in endless lines, then trying to keep all the paperwork straight. He had to make two trips because he forgot two documents the first time.

So Friday morning I had the daunting task of assembling all the documents and determining which consulate to send them. You would think they could all go to the same one, but that would be much too easy. In order to truly confuse PAP's (Potentially Adoptive Parents), you have to send documents different places based on where the document originated. So dh's birth certificate has to go to a different consulate than mine. Then we have the documents we've created and our marriage certificate. It really gets difficult to keep it all straight.

So when I sat down to assemble the documents, I realized that dh had forgotten to notarize and certify our physicals. He had to scan them and print them the night I assembled the other documents and as a result, they were in a separate bundle in the folder and he forgot about them. Needless to say he was more than a little unhappy at the thought of yet another lunch break spent downtown with more documents.

All that being said, tonight we hope to send off the documents for authentication. One step closer to finishing this seemingly endless paper chase. Little Juliana at my feet right now reminds me it is all worth it in the end.

I do have a rant post in the works. I have become increasingly annoyed at how difficult (and expensive) the adoption process is. I can't imagine the outrage that would come from various organizations if we made those procuring an abortion jump through even one tenth of these crazy hoops.