Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here's where we are

So now that everyone is finally healthy again and my house is clean again...even clean enough for a visit from the mother in law this weekend! Bring on the white glove Rhons! I'm ready for ya!

...I finally have a few moments to write about whats been weighing on me so heavily lately...

Every one's asking what's going on with the adoption, have we heard anything yet...and the truth is we had decided about two months ago to wait to send in our dossier so we actually aren't even "waiting" yet.

Some where along the long the process of getting our final paperwork ready we happened to hear about two little girls in our local foster system who were in need of a family.

Kind of surprisingly, Jud and I didn't hesitate for a second. We both wanted to know more. We wanted to understand the situation. We wanted to be the family for these girls.

I say surprisingly, not because it's something I didn't think we could do, but because it's something we hadn't previously really thought much about. We talked briefly about domestic adoption this time around but hadn't really ever visited the foster system as a possibility.

But when we heard about these girls, heard a little about their lives and their struggles thus far, we both felt compelled to try. To try to be the difference in these girls lives.

You see, Jud and I know and appreciate what a wonderful life we have, together and with our extended families. So we both immediately thought of the difference we could make in the lives of these two little ones.

So we made the decision to hold off on sending in the dossier for the Ethiopia program and pursue the quest for more information on adopting through the foster system, in hopes of adding these two little girls to our family.

I started calling everyone I could think of. I talked to the caseworker, I talked to the caseworker's supervisor, I talked to the Guardian ad lietum, I talked to several people at the Children's Service Society of Wisconsin, I attended a meeting on becoming licensed in the state (which we'd have to do in order to adopt).

And the result was, we found this system is so screwed up!

I understand, with privacy laws, they can't give us much information. But the thing is, no one that I talked to had any information! No one knew what the situation was, no one knew what the plan for these two girls was, and no one seemed to know who was deciding their fate.

Still we have no answers on what is happening with these two...

I feel so frustrated.

I know the life we could give these girls.

I know how we as a family could change their lives.

And I know how loved we would make them feel.

But the system is what it is...

And hopefully it is helping someone.

We've tried not to get too emotionally involved in this case since we really didn't have much information to go on, but still it's been really difficult.

Aren't you amazed?! Me, who can't keep a secret, really held that all in for two months? (Well, maybe a few people knew!)

So now you have the story...

And after much thought, discussion, and a great conversation with our social worker in the Ethiopian program, we've decided to go ahead finishing up our dossier. I realized the notary we had used was going to expire in a few months so we need to get the documents re-notarized! So a few little things, and we're still waiting for our CIS approval but that should be soon. So not too long and then we'll be officially waiting.

I think one of the reasons we decided to explore foster/adoption is because of the increasing wait times for the Ethiopia program. This program has grown so much in the past three years, since Emma came home.

It's not to say that there isn't still need or that there aren't children waiting for their families, because that's obviously not the case, it's just the processing all of families and getting their cases through the Ethiopian court is very time consuming.

As much as I love the idea of Emma and a new one (or two) sharing their Ethiopian heritage, the idea of waiting in line so to speak...while there were children here, in our neighborhood, waiting for a family... really weighed on my heart...

But in the midst of all my doubts...last week I read several articles on the severe drought that is happening throughout Ethiopia right now, and in a way I feel reassured that now more than ever, there is a great need for families in the Ethiopian program . Sure there are a lot more families now compared to three years ago, but there are still literally thousands of children who need families. So it may take a little waiting, but I have faith that it will all work out...however it is meant to.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We've been hit by the flu again!

I don't know what it is, I think we're normally a pretty healthy family. Normally we deal with a few colds maybe an ear infection every once in awhile. Normally we're able to break the infectious cycle before it spreads to everyone in the house!

Well not lately!

This week honestly has to have been the worst week in the history of our family! This horrible bug started last Saturday with Sam, and has quickly passed on to everyone else, leaving us all feeling like crap for the full 5 day duration!

Well, everyone except for Emma that is. Emma proves once again that these little pesky American viruses don't even phase her mighty Ethiopian immune system!

Even Jud took two sick days! In the ten years that I've known Jud, he has never taken a sick day!

This was a bad one! I can't even describe how terrible we felt, let alone exhausted. We definitely found out it's not easy taking care of sick kids when you are sick yourself! This was probably my most difficult week since becoming a mom.


So, here we are one week later left cleaning up the disaster this bug has caused!

The house was a mess, the laundry was overflowing, I can't even begin to describe the horrible conditions of the bathrooms!

Ah yes, too much information!

Anyway, thank goodness we seem to be on the mend. But now we are home (instead of being at the cottage) on Memorial weekend with no plans...Which has actually turned out to be wonderful!

Here's a few pics of the boys playing football in the backyard today!



















And of course my gorgeous girls!










Monday, May 19, 2008

Finally! It's happened!

Big excitement tonight!!! Caroline has lost her first tooth! She is over the moon ecstatic!




Sunday, May 18, 2008

Time to say Goodbye!











It was time to say goodbye to our neighbors Jake and Josh. They're moving back to the UK

The kids were all so sad to see them go! They really love Jake and Josh and always loved playing with them. Both of them are such hilarious boys! Sam especially admired their "funny talking" and general silliness! He definitely picked up a lot from them!

















When it came time to actually say goodbye...Jack is the only one who would come outside. Caroline and Sam were just too sad, they waived from the window!






Other big happenings this weekend...


Caroline had her first sleepover Friday! (here of course! but I was still nervous!)

Jack got Heely's! (his reward for attending Sunday School every week, without having any meltdowns!) I'm sure there is a broken bone in his near future!

Sketcher (one of the puppies) blew out his knee jumping of the couch...will be having surgery on Tuesday!

Lots of progress is being made at the cottage! The old deck is gone, and the new one will up this week! the plumber is finishing today! (Why didn't we just hire someone 4 years ago?)

Oh, and of course, my superstar big sister finished the Green Bay marathon in such great time, she now qualifies for the Boston Marathon! Way to go Jean!


That's all I've got for now!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Changing colors again!

I don't know why I keep changing the look of the blog.

Maybe because it's much easier than painting another room in this house!

Really, I've been thinking that all my crazy little habits, like painting and repainting rooms, or constantly rearranging furniture and now always changing this blog, is really just a sign of how happy and content I am with the things in my life that are really important.

I have been so blessed in my life to have found a wonderful mate whom I adore and who loves me unconditionally.

To have four beautiful and healthy children. Who just amaze me every day. They are such great kids!

To have a huge loving extension of family.

And of course with all of these kids, I am very grateful for our great insurance coverage with no co pays!

I guess with all of these, I don't have much to worry or complain about. So instead, I use my time obsessing over paint chips...There's nothing wrong with a little obsession is there?



This is me and the kids last night. We were watching Tom and Jerry. ( A big hit these days!) It was the perfect ending to a perfect day! We went out for dinner, the kids all did great so we treated them ice cream afterwards! And then we came home to cuddle on the couch and watch that darn Tom! I just don't think my life could be any better! Well, maybe if Jud would just let me paint the kitchen cabinets!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day...all you mother's!

We are having a very nice day... I was able to sleep in this morning... 7:45! I know what a treat right? Well, at least all of you mothers out there know how big that is!

Then we had the usual Sunday morning craziness of trying to get all four kids fed, dressed and ready to go by 9:00 to drop off Caroline and Jack at Sunday school.

Then Jud and I and the two "littles" were off to Starbucks to enjoy a little bunna and peace...it's amazing how easy being out with only two seems! It was really sweet...Sam and Emma were both feeling very cuddly so Jud and I both sat with an incredibly cute kid on our laps!

Then we headed back to temple to watch the "bigs" mother's day concert...

Here are all the stars!

































The last few days have been so busy, it's nice to have today to just be home together...

Last thursday was Grandparent's day at Caroline and Jack's school. Nana and Papa made the trip down! Caroline and Jack got to show off a little! It was nice for all of us to have some time with them. Sam especially loves to tease his Papa!

Then on Friday we all went to meet my sisters and cousin and one of my brothers and all of their kids, for a little fun at another water park! The kids had a blast! Caroline got to hang out with her big cousins, Mari, Meghan, Abby and Sara who she absolutely adores! And the boys got to follow around their own idol...Kegan. (another cousin)

Jud and I had a "divide and conquer" sort of mission! one of us stayed with the "littles" in the kiddie pool...and the other took the "bigs" down the slides! Which worked out well for me because Jud is not a big fan of slides! I on the otherhand thought they were a blast!

Once again, we weren't able to socialize with the adults much...but I guess that's what having four little kids is all about!

Heres a peak at the fun that was had!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jack's Party

Well I did remember to bring my new camera, unfortunatly I forgot to bring the battery!


Here's a pic my friend Em took!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Buster is 6 !























Can you believe it? Six years old! It's unreal how fast these years are flying by. It doesn't seem that long ago that he was my chubby little mamma's boy, with the biggest cheesiest smile! And now he's six.

Jack has to be the sweetest, most loving little boy you could ever meet. He loves babies and little kids and he is really great with them. He's such a gentle and afffectionate little boy, which makes for a wonderful big brother! He knows that Sam looks up to him and so he is very patient when he is explaining things to him... In the morning when Emma wakes up, Jack goes into her room and tells her a "Queen Memmer story" It's the cutest thing, and Emma just adores it!

Jack is turning out to be quite the sports buff and loves any and all things sports...and he definately plays hard! He is the only kid I know who can fall asleep the second his head hits the pillow!

I always joke that Jack is such a little Jud...I guess because many of the qualities I saw and fell in love with in Jud, I see in Jack. He's really the perfect kid! He's sensitive and empathetic but he's also very outgoing and funny. His smile can light up a room!

Lucky for me he is still my little cuddler...every morning he stumbles into our room at 5:45 and says "can I cuddle?" He climbs into bed puts his arms around my neck and falls back to sleep...although this morning he was a little excited for his big day so he came in at 5:00 and did not go back to sleep....yawn!



















We're having a party for him today after school with some of his class and some old buddies! He's really looking forward to it!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

These are the Days!













We had such a wonderful day today!

We took a trip up to our cottage...the kids had a blast!

splashing in puddles...walks in the woods...looking for worms...what kid wouldn't love that?

For some reason, I was feeling quite nostalgic...watching my own kids play and have so much fun in the same place doing the same things that I have such wonderful memories of doing as a kid... It was really something.















After the cottage we stopped by to see Nana, Papa, and Nana Ree! We haven't seen them all winter. And the kids have really been missing them...

The boys made out with new Prince Fielder Jerseys for their birthdays from Nana and Papa... and considering that Kristin and Mel gave them Bucks and Badgers ones too, I'd say their pretty much set! Score!


Sam and Papa didn't skip a beat and where right back to the same old games!




















Emma had lots of Lovin for the Nanas!














And Caroline even time for a game or two of cards with Aunt Kristin!













After our busy day we headed back home...
while we were driving, I turned around to admire our crew and just had to laugh...because here's how we ride! The girls each have a puppy on their lap...and the boys are deeply engaged in their leapsters!














These are the Days!

Friday, May 2, 2008

WHY?

Why does every kid do it? Cut their own hair that is! Awhile back Caroline gave herself bangs...Emma cut a big chunk out of one of her piggy's and I'm certain Sam's done it, I just can't remember exactly when...so yesterday, it was Jack's turn! While at school he decided to give himself a trim...The reason is not quite clear...his story keeps changing! But he did take one hefty chunk out the back! We had to be a little creative with a new haircut to hide the missing hair yet keep it long! Because he still did not want really short hair... Here's what we came up with! Jack is very happy with it because he thinks he looks just like a friend from school!

It turned out pretty cute...it was my first ever "bowl" cut, so maybe not the straightest but still cute!


















And these pictures are for Zaide...for reminding me how much I love Emma's hair like this! Isn't she just gorgeous?