Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I need some help friends. I have been in a major funk.
Have you ever had to make a decision that would ultimately effect the rest of your life?
My brain is like a ping pong ball. As soon as I make up my mind, it makes a lightning fast ping move in the opposite direction.
Lately it's been stuck between two pins. You know when it goes "pooooo--innnnnn, pooooo-innnnnnn" so fast you can't even see it?
Last Tuesday a friend ask us if we wanted to adopt her baby. Like, her still in the womb till November baby.
Heart says "YES!!!" Head says "NO!!!!"
Maybe it's because we fought for 2 years to get Charlie home. We don't know what to do with ourselves when something like this drops into our laps.
Last night I was ready to call her and explain 1,000 of the reasons why we can't have a baby right now.
I didn't call.
This morning I was going to call her and say "We can do this. When's your next ultrasound?"
I didn't call.
My little brain is stuck between those pins, back and forth at lightning speed.
When do opportunities like this arise? Well, for us, once in 11 1/2 years.
Are YOU CRAZY? You can't afford a baby right now. Charlie has been home 7 months. Homestudy? Paperwork? Insurance woes (we haven't gotten Charlie's even figured out yet) Doesn't Charlie deserve to have a Christmas all to himself? He's been sharing and vying for attention his whole life. Could I love another baby as much as I love him? What about the health concerns? What if she changes her mind?
Are YOU CRAZY? Your family would be complete. Charlie would have a brother. They would be a perfect 3 1/2 years apart. You could have a baby. Lots of people have babies. There is never a "perfect" time to have a baby. Babies are so cute and precious and small. I could buy those tiny socks. You know the ones that look like shoes?
I have been trying to keep this private because I know it's a decision Chad and I need to make together. What's right for Charlie and our family.
But I am failing miserably going at this alone. I am making myself sick.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Conversations with Charlie

Cast: Charlie and Me
Scene: We were in the car going over to a friend's house we had never been to before
Mama: Charlie, guess what Sarah and Eddie have a dog. His name is Elvis.
Charlie: Dog have eyes?
Mama: Uhhh....Yes, Elvis has eyes
Charlie: Two eyes?
Mama: Uhhhhh.....Yeah. He's got both his eyes.
Charlie: They purple?
Mama: Uhhh.....No, they are probably brown
Charlie: Oh. Not purple?
Mama: Nope. Brown....
Charlie: Huh.

So where has my child seen a purple one eyed dog?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tight Wad Wednesday

My trusty couponing helper! Charlie holds my coupons and
"matches" them up to the items after we put them in the
cart.  He was proud of our haul too and jumped into the pic!

What we got:
12 rolls Scott Paper Towels
1 pack of Pull-Ups for bedtime
(5) 2 ltr. bottles of Pepsi
Always girl stuff
2 boxes Kleenex
Free CVS Bandaids
Free CVS Body wash
Free Revlon Nail Polish
Revlon Bronzer
Revlon Mascara
(2) Revlon Eyeshadows
Free Chocolate Bar (didn't make it into the photo, because I pay my helper in chocolate)
Total out of Pocket $11.59. Great day at CVS and Walgreens (AND....I'm not done yet! I got a few rainchecks for items that didn't come in and after I purchase $9 more dollars, before coupons of course, I'll get a $10 gas card. Yipppeee!!!) I like to think of it as buying two packs of paper towels  as I would have in my old "non-couponing" life and getting all that other stuff for free.... 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Am I offending you?

I just got finished reading a blog post called "The Secret is in the Sauce" (you can read it HERE too if you so desire.....) But it all boils down to getting people to 1-read your blog and 2-stick with you. I don't know if you noticed, but I've started to change the face of the blog ever-so-slightly. Of course, yes, this is a blog about adoption. Hence the title "From Russia With Love", but as many of my fellow adoption bloggers can testify, I think at some point you get a little tired of adoption, adoption, adoption. You (make that I) don't want adoption to be the only thing that defines our lives. Chad, Charlie and I are so many other things. We are Christians, we are a family, I love to cook, read, and buy things with coupons. We love football and Halloween and dressing up like Pirates. And I LOVE SHOES. Lots of shoes. Sometimes I want to go off on a tangent about just how much I love shoes, but I felt in the past I am doing you a disservice if you came here to only read about Russian adoption. I thought about stopping the blog. I thought about changing the blog. Then I thought-who cares- I'll just write about what I feel like writing and hope no one is offended and stops following me.
Because if you know me personally, I am a kind of love me or leave me kinda gal. But for some reason when I mysteriously loose a follower it makes me a little self conscious. Is it something I said? Was it something I didn't say? I know, I am taking this blog thing WAY too seriously. But it is important to me. I love blogging. I love you, all 76 of you that follow this blog and the many, many more that lurk in background and stop me on my way into church and say "oh my gosh, I can't believe you cussed out a government agent"
So, I say all that to say this. Things are changing a little bit around here. If you don't like my posts like "Tight Wad Wednesdays" or how I am addicted to Zulily please let me know.
Oh my goodness that was a HUGE tangent! (See I'm getting you use to the new From Russia With Love....) Anyway, the secret in the sauce article. In order not to offend or annoy you I should do a few housekeeping items which I won't bore you with the details of. Some of them I'm not doing either because it annoys me too (like music playing in the background....) But one of the top 5 major complaints:
Ooops. I've been blogging for over two years now and I never even thought about doing that. I read EVERY one of your comments. I LOVE comments. It keeps me moving in the right direction from a writing standpoint, but more than that it lets me know there are people out there that support me, think I'm not wasting my time typing huge posts like this one, or that I am providing useful information to you. I wish more people would leave me comments. But writing back to them? Have I totally offended you if you wrote me and I never said anything about it? Yikes. I mean if you take it from the point of view that if someone calls you or emails you, of course you would write them back.
So, just some food for thought. Sorry if you commented in 2010 and are waiting for me to respond to you. I didn't know I could do that to be quite honest with you. When I comment on other blogs, I don't go back and wait for a response. Maybe that's just me. Sorry if I let you down and you think I'm all stuck up and stuff. But I am turning over a new leaf. If you would like to leave a comment, I will write you back now that I know you were all offended and stuff. Please don't leave me. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lost Post!

So I typed this post while we were in Russia and I just came across it today. I originally journaled these thoughts because it was a weird experience and I wanted to record it to Charlie someday, I think teenage Charlie will get a chuckle out of it. That and if he ever says "you never do anything for me!" At this point I would pull up this post and say "oh yeah this."

We arrived in St. Petersburg on Sunday afternoon at 3:45. Of course, we were exhausted as not have slept on the plane at all or for the last 24 hours for that matter. We had a soup broth and ravioli supper at the apartment in St. Pete around 4:30. Our host didn’t have any beverages in the house, so we only had hot tea after supper, and you can’t drink the water out of the faucet, so we were thirsty! Then our translator says we must fast for our medical exams tomorrow, including no water (what kinda fast is this?).  Well by 3:00am (as I lie wide awake in bed) my mouth felt like the desert. In my head I am quite unhappy at the “no water” rule. I think this is false medical advice, as I remember thinking “isn’t my body like 70% water?” To me it was like saying “you can’t breathe oxygen until your medical exam” Ridiculous. If there was water in the house I definitely would have rebelled against this rule, but alas, bad water and the thought of eminent death if I partook of the water outweighed by desire to drink or bend the rules to prove a point.
So the next day we leave the house at 7:00am and drive to the Medical Institute of St. Petersburg, a sort of teaching hospital as I understand it. Apparently, it was built by Americans, so they told us we should feel at home. Notsomuch.  It was a foreign concept- to be poked and prodded by people you don’t understand and don’t understand you.  8 different people to be exact.
So we arrive at the Institute and check our coats at the door. The funny thing about being in a different place is that the people familiar to these types of situations take for granted that you have no idea what’s going on. You just do what they do and hope you are right. Anyway, coat checking, foreign concept, but follow their lead. (We were driven by a new guy in a van there, accompanied by our facilitator, her son, (who was very sick and wanted to see the doctor), our translator, who was there, well, to translate but also hoped to be examined for her chronic nose problems and allergies. Our regular driver was there when we got there. He is always “mysteriously” showing up places, making the way smooth for us. He is a guy who “knows guys”. So here we are, an unlikely brood, two Americans (one giant sized and one for some reason people like to stop and stare at, in any case, not the most popular kids on the block these days) a tiny Russian lady, an artsy translator with a runny nose, a sick pre-teen with a Mohawk, and a driver with connections. They hand us these tiny blue plastic foot covers for our shoes. I guess checking your shoes is too much to ask.
Our driver we'll call him "Vinny"  informs us that they will accept our American medical exams we had done before we left including blood work for sexually transmitted diseases, EKG, chest x-rays and we won’t have to do them again. We are ushered by Vinny to a large office, no windows (an important part of the story for later) There is a man with a coat and tie inside, no blue shoes. He invites us to his tea party set up. We are so happy- finally drinks! As we are getting ready for tea, the doctor asks “where are your beliruben results?”Excuse me? He says I see all the other tests- HIV, Hep A,B,C, Syphilis, but no beliruben? We weren’t told about that. Our translator is confused. I am trying to explain what beliruben is, except, I don’t really know either. I know I have it and I think it has to do with my liver. He says “sorry you will need to get blood work done again and must continue to fast.” I am more upset about not being able to drink rather than getting poked with needles in a foreign country. That’s how thirsty I was.
He continues his interview, a man and two women walk in and sit next to us. Who are these people? Are they doctors? He continues to ask us questions about our fertility and if we have ever been to Africa. Apparently there is no HIPAA in Russia.
The couple next to us starts having tea and eating cookies. I don’t know who they are but I instantly dislike them for drinking in front of us.
We go to the blood room. It is stark and the nurse looks like she could totally take Chad in a fight. Hands down. After we are drained of the appropriate amount of blood, an attractive brunette walks in. We are told to walk with her, she is the neurologist. All of the conversations with all of the doctors start like this “Would you like to tell us about any health problems you have?” Kinda vague, right? By the end I wanted to say “no” and see what happened. But I refrained.  We were ushered back and forth between several rooms with several doctors. All the rooms looked exactly the same except for two. The psychologist’s office had white puffy cloud wallpaper. He was done talking to me in 5 minutes. He had a heyday with Chad and his parent’s divorce when he was little. Lots of “how did that make you feel?” and all of that quacky stuff.  The only weird thing he asked me was a follow up question to if I was a good girl growing up. I said yes, good grades, stayed out of trouble, all that jazz. He asked me “Why were you good?” That was like asking a tiger why it has stripes…Uhhh….because I wanted to? Our translator kept smiling at me the whole time, like at any moment she was just going to burst into laughter. But we couldn’t….this guy took himself VERY, VERY seriously.
The last stop was a room with a huge open window facing the street and neighboring apartment buildings. The only room with a window. The room where we undressed. Awesome. It was also the most crowded room to add to the awkwardness- us, our translator, and three lady doctors- cardiologist, dermatologist, and oncologist. I will spare you the details of all the touching and feeling that went on in this room. I just kept thinking- I can see people out there, I am pretty sure they can see me.  When they asked “do you have any health problems?” that scene from National Lampoons Christmas runs through my head. “Yup….I got a metal plate in my head and when Katherine runs the microwave I pee my pants and forget who I am for 30 minutes” I think it was just the naked awkwardness that makes your brain think of silly things to keep you from thinking about the situation at hand.
We finally make it to the end of our exams after about 3 hours. We can finally have tea and cookies. They tell us our beliruben was just fine as were our blood sugar levels. (Of course they are BECAUSE I AM STARVING TO DEATH!) We meet with the head doctor, a pleasant plump lovely lady that is a dead ringer for Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith show.  The other people walk in too. Turns out they are a Finnish couple adopting a boy and a girl from St. Petersburg. They say it was only a 40 minute flight and I kinda dislike them all over again. Despite that, they were actually really nice people. They said Torry Hansen’s actions affected them as well, slowed down their process quite a bit; it’s been almost a two year process for them as well. They will make 3 more trips before their adoptions are finalized. They hope to have their son and daughter home before March.  Aunt Bea is very sweet and kind, of course…she gives us a postcard as a souvenir so that we will always remember our time here. I smile and nod, but want to say, trust me, this is an experience I will never EVER forget.  We pay an absorbent amount of money, sign some papers in Russian that we have NO IDEA what they say (maybe they can make clones of us?) and they give us a paper to take to court stamped with a hundred seals, stating simply that we are perfect specimens of the human form and are in satisfactory health to raise Charlie. Good thing I didn’t say the joke about the metal plate. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Arrggghhhh.....Pirate Charlie

Charlie was REALLY into character at our Pirate Scavenger Hunt at the Church tonight. He was so excited to dress up and run around like a maniac! He did tell me he was a "nice one" (not like that mean ol' Captain Hook) in his Disney Sing Along video. They sword fight on there and I guess that's where he learned his jousting form! More pictures to come- I am having technical difficulty and could only get the video to load! Until then- Yo Ho Ho!
P.S.- The unfortunate matey at the end of the hook is Charlie's Aunt NeNe (my sister Brittany) We had a great time!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pop Quiz....I failed.

Question 1
We had speech therapy evaluation through RITE CARE (Through the Scottish Rite/Masons) on Monday. Last Monday Chad and I went to the parent interview and yesterday was Charlie's turn. The facility and the therapist is top notch. It was so nice just to have him evaluated to see what we need to be working on and if his delay is English as second language related or something more complicated. So, I brought Charlie alone because Chad had a big event planned with the youth. For about a week we've been talking about "school" and Charlie going to school since the evaluation was in a school setting and we talk quite a bit about "big boy school" since he will be going to Pre-K in the Fall. We took him down to the Pre-K in April for a visit (which happens to be located in the same church building where Chad and I work) and Charlie had a bit of a freak out since it looks exactly like an orphanage. I didn't want another freak out during the evaluation, so we've really been talking about school A LOT. Teachers, listening, following directions, etc. May I add- to no avail.
During the evaluation I am sitting behind two way glass with listening headphones, watching this whole thing unravel. It starts out really well. I am beaming from ear to ear. Yes, my child has been home 6 months and he is a genius. Yes a genius. He didn't cry when I "dropped him off" (to go spy on him from next door) He warmed up to the therapist right away (Thank goodness, he's not a big fan of strangers....) and he was actually responding to what she was asking him. Then Charlie got REALLY comfortable with the therapist. Like climbing all over her and trying to get to her "bucket of tricks" for correct responses. I went from watching a star pupil to watching the act with the monkeys at the zoo. I know what the problem is. She is too nice. Don't take me wrong, I am pretty nice when it comes right down to it but I also know the "sit down, straighten up and fly right" Mama voice. She apparently 1-was still getting what she needed despite my child using her like a jungle gym 2-didn't want to make his first experience unpleasant or 3-was really, really, nice and this wasn't the worst evaluation she had done.
POP QUIZ: Do I go interrupt this circus and bust into the room, putting on my mama voice and threaten to take him away from school? Would that interrupt the flow of therapy? 
ANSWER: I interrupt therapy for a "potty break". I bribe him with a trip to the Zoo after we are done and threaten him in my best mommy voice.
SCORE: Fail. 
We go back into the room and I return to my little post and it's pretty insane. Does he always act this way when I'm not around? I am fairly certain she isn't going to qualify us for therapy because my kid is acting like I gave him 4 Red Bulls and a bowl of sugar for breakfast that morning.
Well, sweet therapist must be a glutten for punishment. She is going to do a little research on Russian phonetics (because she is a little leery to "grade him" on a traditional English speaker scale). I can really appreciate that. So, she decided to take us onto her caseload- YEAH! and will put us on a waiting list.
She was amazed by his comprehension, but felt he was lacking in pronunciation and mimicking. She asked me if he said any words that start with a "W". Uhhh....drawing a blank. Now that I've had time to think without the pressure of the Pop Quiz, he says "Working" ALL.THE.TIME. Who is working, where do they work, etc. He also obsesses about "Woo-woos" ALL.THE.TIME. Second question: fail. I think I'll call her tomorrow. Or is it even important? This is uncharted territory.

Question 2
We are at the Library today. He is acting a little squirrely again, but we are managing. I ask him if he wants to check out a movie before we go home with just books. He refuses to answer me, so we get in line to check out our books. Que first temper tantrum. Sure, Charlie has acted out and cried in public. BUT NOTHING LIKE this. I'm talking back arching, eyeballs bulging, husky man-voice screaming, drooling, spitting, throwing punches temper tantrum. This is so out of character for him.
POP QUIZ: What the heck do I do? 
ANSWER: Drag him to the car while every employee, librarian, and patron gives me the evil eye. Get to the car and try to get him into the car seat. Decide this is ridiculous and try to get out of the car and let him scream it out while I stand outside the car. Remember the child locks are on and I have to climb out through the front seat. Get out. Wait 2 minutes. Decide it's too freaking hot to wait this out. I drive home in silence while the demon that possessed my sweet boy are screaming "Maaaammaaaaa" in true Linda Blair fashion. Go home, give him a LOOONG talking to, and put him in time out while I make lunch. Is he too young to be "grounded" from the library?
SCORE: C-. I was NOT prepared for this. 

Question 3
QUESTION: What happens when you forget to pay the water bill?
ANSWER: They shut your water off, while you happen to be de-boning salmonella carrying raw chicken. 
SCORE: Fail. 
On my own personal account of failure this week, I totally forgot to pay the water bill and they shut our water off! Without so much as a nice little warning! I mean, not to pass the blame here, but the stinking thing is due ever OTHER month. I always forget and wait until the last minute. I guess they are tired of my lack of concern  for this ridiculous way of billing and decided to teach me a lesson. So noted.

On another non-quiz related tidbit of fun, someone stole Chad's debit card number after we pumped gas on Friday night and made fraudulent charges. Now our checking account is in limbo and our cards needed to be canceled. Awesome.
It's been such a fun week and it's only Tuesday. Yeaaahhhh....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You've come a long way baby!

I almost missed it! We've been a family for six months!
Trying to capture a smile for the court paperwork. At this
point we were both close to tears. Our boy was one
miserable kid, with some wrecked skin. These 50 pictures
(with NO smile) breaks my heart. 
We're doing much better now! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

10 things nobody tells you

"Helping" make Brownies
When you are expecting, whether through adoption or the biological way, people like telling you how much your life will change once you have a child. To them I say "duh" of course my life will change- early mornings, waking in the middle of the night, no more late night parties or strange food on the dinner plate. Those are the things I expected. Here are a few no one warns you about:
1-You talk about poop all the time. Did he go today? Color, consistency? I've never talked about poop so much in my life.
2-Your mindset of being able to locate things in the store pales in comparison to being able to locate a BATHROOM in the store. As you venture away from it, it's like a tiny alarm in your child's bladder activates. As soon as you are, geographically speaking, at the furthest point away from said bathroom, the alarm sounds. Emergency! You have 15 seconds to find a toilet or we'll know the true meaning of "cleanup on aisle 6"
3- Clothes that modestly covered my bosom are now dangerously low cut due to the fact someone is always hanging off of them. In all my pictures, I look like I am auditioning for the next big Vegas show. The only acceptable cut of shirt with a toddler is a turtleneck.
4- Likewise, the only acceptable color of clothing is grey, brown, or other "army colors". Black shows boogers and yogurt. White? Fa-get-a-bout-it.
5- When they "help" it takes you 10 times longer than doing it yourself with a bigger mess to clean up at the end. See attached photo.
6- They only wake up at the crack of dawn on days you don't have anywhere to go. On days you have to be somewhere in the morning, it's like waking the dead.
7-No more casually browsing for anything. You start to shop online. A lot. The UPS guy probably thinks I am a recluse.
8- People start telling you " look so tired" At first, you wear it like a badge of honor. Then it starts to wear on your self esteem. After that stage it makes you mean. Response: "Ooohhh.....and you're looking old". The thing is you are tired, all the time. Not only physically, but mentally too. Having a toddler is the ultimate test of multitasking. If you don't bring your A-Game every waking moment of the day, you will find yourself with a missing child, a HUGE mess, or a complete and total meltdown (from him or me). This would make anyone tired, then you add in 5 hours of sleep and looking tired is a given.
9- You forget things. Like simple words. It's like all your good thoughts have been taken and you're left with a brain full of mush. You start using "filler" words a lot like "uuuhhhh" and "you know....." People's names. Forget about it. I saw someone I used to work with at the grocery store. It took me 30 seconds to realize where I knew this person from. I'm still trying to remember her name. P.S.- I worked with her for close to 5 years. Oi.
10- Kids have no working gauges.'s 108 degrees outside, sweat is pouring off of both of us and he is begging to stay outside. Likewise, there is no "warm up" to hunger. Ask at 12:05 if he's hungry and the answer is "not yet" (His new favorite phrase) but at 12:10 he wants to eat....NOW! Same applies for pottying (see no. 2)

All that being said, motherhood is more wonderful than anyone even begun to tell me. It is such an amazing gift to have this little person in your life that loves and adores you. The simplest joy is listening to him laugh or the way he lavishes his affection on me with his sweet kisses and hugs. On your worst day, you  look at this precious little person and your heart just melts. Then he throws some food at you and you snap out of it. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tight Wad Wednesday

So, I had a light week at the grocery store this week and got these pretties instead (for Christmas gifts....I wanted to make one for myself soooo badly!) Check out
You can personalize three makeup bags (any size) for $8 shipped when you use code 8BUCKS43 at checkout! If you don't want to use the "canned" patterns, use the "Silverlight" editor to upload your own design- the prints are fabulous!
Here is the one I made for my sister, sorry I ruined the surprise Aunt NeNe!