About Jennefer

Jennefer, married to a military doctor, is mom to three boys and one newly adopted Russian princess. She will share her feelings and thoughts about juggling four kids while she prepares for yet another military move.
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« March 2006 | Main | May 2006 »

Green Clean

O.K. My house is totally clean. Well, mostly. I finally finished my last writing assignment yesterday (next week are my tests- so I am not done yet), but to celebrate finishing my last paper I devoted today to cleaning my house really well. It is such a good feeling to be in a clean house. There is something to that spring cleaning thing. Spring really does motivate me to clean. And we needed clean- especially after my son Adam decided to throw-up last night from the top of his bunk bed. We are talking exorcist vomit from a high place. It covered the walls, the floor, the blankets, the TV stand, videos, cords, inside and outside of fans, V.C.R., etc.

I was so stupid. He had complained of a stomach ache and I just told him to drink some water and lie down. I could have given him a bucket next to his bed, but did I? Of course not. I was in denial that this was very serious. A stomach ache? I hear that all the time. He is still sick. Poor child. After cleaning it up I sprayed so much Lysol in there no one could breathe. This worried me because my writing assignment was on environmental problems and aerosol spraying is not O.K. according to my report.

This writing assignment has actually made me think about becoming an environmentalist. I never considered this before, but they do have some VERY good points and I could be doing a lot more than I do. I do believe that we have a responsibility to future generations. The main issues are that pollutants from cars, industrial plants and other sources are contributing to global warming, air-pollution and the thinning of the ozone. Basically if I wanted to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle I would just need to do the following:

1. Drive less and walk or ride a bike more. (I like this one because I hate to drive and I love to bike. The only problem here is that I don't own a bike and nothing I need to travel to is in biking distance to my home)

2. If you must drive, drive a fuel-efficient car. (This is a great one because I really like the Toyota Prius and it is a fairly reasonable price. The great thing about it is less trips to the gas station and I hate having to get gas all of the time, especially in winter. The only problem here is that it seats five and with our new daughter we will be six. Thus, I will have to keep my current car that seats seven. Is there a fuel-efficient car that seats more than five? If so, it is probably out of my price-range.)

3. Plant trees. (Well, I love trees. If I had my way my home would be surrounded by trees and you can take my lawn right away from me. However, since I live on rented property I don't think she would appreciate us planting a lot of new trees about. Not to mention that I wouldn't want to pay to put trees in somebody else's yard.)

4. Conserve water. (O.K. I should take fewer showers. I wouldn't mind this really. Unfortunately everyone who lived with me would mind. And aren't they telling us we all need to be drinking more water? )

5. Have one kid or less to cut down on overpopulation (Oh. Too Late) and use mass transportation. (Can you imagine- dragging 4 kids on the bus everywhere?)

6. Don't use electricity- or at least don't use very much. (So- I have a problem with this one. Does this mean no internet, CD player, cable TV? What does don't use it very much exactly mean? Does this mean I have to sit in the dark if there is any sunlight at all coming through my windows? I hate sitting in the dark. When I see others doing this I think there is something wrong with them- or creepy about them.)

7. To cut down on the chlorofluorocarbons don't use a refrigerator or air-conditioners. (Warm milk anyone? Has anyone ever owned a car without air-conditioning in a hot climate? We have, and believe me- NEVER AGAIN.)

Well, I guess I have pretty much talked myself out of becoming an active environmentalist, but I am not a completely lost cause. I do recycle and I don't litter and when I brush my teeth I never let the water run. Can I have a gold star on my forehead?

Funk

My Children's Home Questions have been updated, yet again. If you are tired of recopying them- so am I, but here they are again NEW and IMPPROVED anyway- the Russian translation should appear more recognizable to you all now.

The Silent Wait

For the most part M is a clean person. He never leaves his clothes about. He cleans up after he eats anything and he just doesn't make messes in general. He enjoys organizing the recycling bin and our grocery cart. In fact, I am not allowed to put items in the grocery cart when shopping with him because I might mess up his organized plan for arranging the items in the cart (to maximize space). I have to hand the item directly to him and then he will put it in.

However, his organizational interest, for some reason, does not cover his medical books and papers. These are scattered all over our bedroom floor, on his side of the bed. I have been told that I am not allowed to move this mess. Apparently he is able to locate what he needs easily as long as the mess stays exactly like it is.

Recently; however, I mentioned to him that every time I have ever been in any other home and have seen the adult's bedroom- it is clean. The floor is never cluttered with books and papers. You may be thinking to yourself, well- they just cleaned up before I saw the room, but as you recall, I am not allowed to clean up this mess for any reason- guest, or no guest. So, we decided on a solution- we would purchase a new book case for our bedroom.

So, today we spent several hours going from store to store looking for the ideal bookcase for our room. We finally found it. It was a sort of modular, abstract book case, but I found it to be high quality, the right color, etc. So we got a store worker to help us out. He stood there for a long time while we debated over whether this was the bookcase for us or not. We decided that we could purchase some wicker type baskets to go on the shelves to hold papers and then just put the books in. So after a great deal of discussion we told him that we wanted it. He said that he would have it all ready to go for us at the front counter. So off he went to get it ready for us. We tried out some various shaped baskets and determined all was well with the book case.

Then it dawned on me. In a few months we are going to have a toddler in the house. You can't have an open book shelf full of stuff with a toddler in the house. She will just toddle in to our room and get into everything she can reach. Eventually, all of our organized baskets and piles will be all over the floor. Only the things on the very top shelves will survive and that is just not enough room for everything.

I realized that I needed to completely change my way of thinking and think like a toddler. We needed an armoire, not a book shelf. It has to be closable and lockable. I started to think about all of our lower kitchen cabinets and how everything needed to be moved or locked up. Where am I going to put everything? I started to think about how our lives are going to change. It doesn't seem real. How easy it was for me to not think about the potential problems of an open book case because it is just so quiet on the adoption front. It is not like delivering a baby with the 9 month count down. It is a lot of work and anticipation and then the wait is just quiet for so long- at least it is at this house. No paperwork, no news, no nothing. Just the silent wait that makes me feel like it is never going to happen.

But being the optimistic people we are, we brought home an armoire.

Water skiing with M

Mike_ski Waterskiing with M

(click to enlarge)

Tagged

Thanks for the tag- Stephanie and Rhonda. All of this tagging is bringing back elementary school memories. I thought I was so fast- I was never IT. I guess I am getting slow in my old age - I got tagged twice and didn't even realize it. So, I better get started.

Actually, I already wrote a list of my weird things a while ago, even though I wasn't tagged. Yes, I know that makes me an IT wannabe poser. But now I am legit. I am sure that I can come up with 6 more weird things. Let's see...

1. I used to frequent dance clubs every weekend when I was single, which is not weird. What is weird is that I would arrive right when it opened, when nobody else was there. I would spend my time talking with the bar tender and the other workers, i.e. the cleaners, D.J.'s, bouncers, pool attendants. Then, about the time people started to arrive (a couple of hours later) I would leave and go home to sleep. Sometimes, friends would try to encourage me to stay until it closed and then go out to eat afterwards. I tried this a couple of times and was so miserable and tired. I could barely keep my eyes open at the diner. I know you are thinking- you party animal you.

2. I don't like to talk on the phone for a long time- like a guy.

3. Our neighbors think we are weird because we are poor (relative to them) and want more kids and they are rich and feel like one is too many.

4. M had an adventurous group of friends when we were dating. Recreation was top priority in all of their lives He took me out waterskiing with them, so imagine how appalled they were at me (and how embarrased M was for me) when I started crying because I thought the water was too cold. However, M should have been warned after I had previously started crying and screaming for him to stop when he gave me a ride on his bullet bike (motorcycle), much to his surprise. His previous girlfriends used to ask for rides. I didn't ride a roller coaster until I was 12 and I thought it was the worst experience of my life. I still don't like amusement parks.

5. When I was a kid I was very scared of the dark, which is not unusual. The weird thing is that I assigned certain of my stuffed animals and objects as "good" or "bad". This was sort of like the Star Wars force- the bad force and the good force that emanated from each object, so I had to have a greater number of "good" objects in the room at night to fight off the "bad" ones during the night. At bed time after doing my routine check of under the bed and in the closet, I would say my long prayer of asking protection from a long list of possible monsters and predators, then I would hide under my big stack of blankets (I had the most blankets in the family). I still can't sleep without blankets, even if it is really hot.

6. Sometimes I just wish that I could escape modern society and live up in the mountains like a mountain man- No societal pressures, no responsibilities, no one telling me what to do. We could all just live in a little self-sustaining cabin and enjoy nature. I am thinking Walden's Pond here. However, if I am honest with myself I think I would get bored after a few hours of no internet connection.

You are tagged:
jencc.blogspot.com
bringmemia.blogspot.com
mymeanderings.typepad.com
sunshinedaily4me.blogspot.com
knowlesadventure.blogspot.com

Margaret Quote "If you've been tagged, you know the drill. Write 6 weird things about yourself on your blog and then you're supposed to tag 6 more people. Yada, yada, yada."

Accept the Challenge

I did this really difficult aerobics workout video called "Firm Parts- Tough Aerobic Mix". At the beginning of the tape the instructor says- you may think you are an advanced exerciser, but that doesn't mean that you are advanced for this workout.

It was really hard- after the first 10 minutes I had thoughts about every 2 minutes that it was time to quit. No one was around to tell me I had to keep going, which is the beauty of exercising at home- total flexibility, no pressure. But at about the time that I was going to hit the runner's wall with half of the workout still left to go I thought to myself- what if I finish this? Can I finish this? What if I actually did this entire tape? What if I pushed myself until I accomplished the workout?

So I decided to take on my inner challenge. I just kept pushing myself to the end. When it was over I felt amazing. I felt exhausted beyond belief, but alive, invigorated. It is like the feeling of competitive sports when you really throw yourself into the game- giving it all you have. I thought- I never feel this alive. I think it is because I live my life trying to get out of hard things, not taking on challenges- or at least not embracing them, but rather grumbling through them. I felt I needed more of this type of motivation and drive.

I started to think about how the adoption process is like this. We can either grumble through it- whine about it- stress about it, etc. or we can take on the challenge and make it through to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Adoption can push us to the edge. So can child rearing sometimes, but this is what is so great about it. The challenge can help us feel alive and vital.

We are doing a good thing here. We are making a difference- doing something in the world that matters. I hope, if you are feeling like you can't go on, or you want to quit, that you can make it through. Take on the challenge. Think of it as a race and you just need to get to the finish line. Just push yourself a little bit longer, and while you are at it- enjoy the journey.
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*Note: I have added a new fundraiser website. Please visit this site here . There is no need to type in a special number or key- we get credit for anything purchased from this site- everything is very high quality. Thanks for visiting! Oh and Margaret, I purchased those same perfumes for caregiver gifts, thanks for the great idea!*

We Are Back

We had a very nice trip. We attended my brothers wedding party, we stayed at a nice resort in the mountains and I got to meet my two little toddler nieces. I really enjoyed playing with them, but I noticed how nice it was to give them back to their moms when they were tired, hungry, and whiny or needed a diaper change. My sister and sister-in-law would say to me, "Are you sure you are ready for this?"

I can honestly say, that yes, I am ready- because all of the good times are so worth it. I know this is true because none of my niece's families wanted to give them to us. Oh well, we tried.

One thing I learned is that life doesn't stop when we are away. We got home last night to find our fish swimming in their food. Our neighbors graciously said they would come over and feed our fish; however, apparently we had different ideas of what a pinch of fish food means. The good news is that our fish are still living, only our snails that eat the algae on the sides of the fish bowl died. So, after scooping out the 10 gallons of fish food in the tank, our fish seem to be feeling fine. Next, we proceeded upstairs to find 200 emails waiting for us, not to mention a huge stack of mail to sort through. The unpacking is still looming ahead of me.

The unpacking can wait though in favor of addressing emails and writing my blog post of course. I got several emails from native Russian speakers and translators informing me that my Russian translations are horrible. I used a translation program and not a person, so this was the reason. They warned me to never trust a translation program. A couple of them graciously helped me redo my children's home questions.

Please see the completely revised version here.

We got an encouraging email from our agency saying that things are really picking up and moving along quickly since being reaccredited. I saw some news articles about the possibility of some Russian adoption agency closures. I am sure this will be the talk of the Russian adoption world. http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/04/18/adoptionagencies.shtml

The selfish part of me is saying, whew, it is not my agency, but I didn't say that out loud. If one of the agencies this concerns is yours, I am so sorry. I have been through the waiting to be accredited delay, so I know how horrible this news can be. The caring part of me is concerned about what this might mean on every side of the issue- the kids, the pre-adoptive parents, the agencies. I think we all want things to work out for everyone, especially the kids.

I will tell you one thing; I am going to do all of my post placement adoptive reports. I am going to do them on time. I am going to do them right and I am going to do all that is required because I know that my actions affect future adoptions. With that knowledge, how can any of us be slackers?

*Note: Post placements are reports that tell the Russian government that their children are being taken care of and are doing well. They usually contain a letter and photos, etc.*

Spring Break- Vacation Time


I am going to be taking a little break from the blogger world. We are going to Utah to visit the cousins. So, if you would like to break in and steal stuff from our house, please make an obvious forced entry, so we can make an insurance claim. And could you please feed our fish while you are here. I know I know we don't have anything worth stealing in our house, so coming all the way out here would be a giant waste of your time. Too bad.

Anyway, I am very grateful to my parents who gifted us these tickets to come out and see them. I am so in need of a vacation! This is also helping me not feel sorry for myself while most of the Russian adoption blogger world has pending referral and court travel dates. This trip will help this month pass by quicker for me. I don't know what kind of computer/internet access I will have there. I am hoping to be able to borrow a computer here and there to catch up on everyone's news. I will try to leave comments as possible. I have a feeling this is going to be a very eventful and exciting month among my blogger adoption friends. I know that my Mom has scheduled our days to the hilt, so I am excited for this adventure. I hope I don't go through blogger/internet/email addiction withdrawals. I will return soon with more meanderings and updates on our Russian Adoption journey.

Missing

We have 6 seats at our kitchen table. This means that one chair is always empty. You would think that I would just remove this chair (our table is a large oval) but I just leave it and think about our child who belongs in that chair is missing.

We also installed an extra seat in the back of the car for her. Not to mention her empty bedroom. It is strange to have all of these empty places where a child should be eating, playing and riding along with us.

Somebody told me that a good reason to have an even number of kids is so no one rides alone at amusement parks. I know this is silly, but I think about this sometimes.

I feel like I miss her and I don't even know her.

My Son's Birthday

Ender April 2006

Not my best photography, but it was like pulling teeth to get these photos.

Today is my oldest son's birthday. He is officially old enough to baby-sit now. You guys may not realize that this birthday milestone was an important step in our adoption process. With four kids we are going to need all of the help we can get!
We had his birthday party last Saturday, which was interesting. M and I had the privilege of entertaining about thirty 11-13 yr. old boys at our home. It is really hard to come up with birthday party ideas for older kids. Costumed characters are out, McDonald's Playland is out, so is Chucky Cheese. So we resorted to- a video pizza party of course. It went pretty well.

However, I need to add one thing to the Protesting Stupidity Campaign. We went to pick up our son's birthday cake from Safeway and it said in big green frosting letters: "Happy Birthday Ender" With a big 13 on it for turning 13 years old.

But, it didn't just say 13. It said: 13rd. I am totally serious. HELLO!!

Fixed list

Sorry- I don't know what I was thinking on that part of the list below that said- Spring: light jacket, dark hat. What is the deal with that? Dark hat? And I had written very warm gloves for spring and just gloves for winter. I am not sure what I was thinking when I typed that whole line. Anyway, I fixed it.

If you didn't read Leggy's additional suggestions in the comments they are here: DVD player & DVDs (for parent downtime, and for distracting kid), some sticky velcro stuff that you can buy at REI to wrap up stroller during travel, plastic sleeves to keep visa, etc, accessible but neat during travel, pants with a deep pocket near the knee to put passport in (instead of a money belt). These ideas were taken from nungesser-russia-adoption.blogspot.com. Check it out!

Also, Lauri added: Wash cloths/laundry soap are a must as well as peanut butter- can't find PB anywhere in Russia and we often bought loaves of bread to make sandwiches. I wish I would have packed a pillow- we packed a travel neck pillow- Im talking a regular bed pillow- all of our pillows were feather pillows and hard as rocks. Thanks!

Suggestions from the Crowd- More things to Pack

With all of this exciting referral and court travel news in the Russian adoption blogger world I thought I would throw up this post:

Day Light Savings

I guess I was the April Fool. This is what happened. My computer clock automatically adjusts to day light savings. So I did not even notice the time change. I was going off the computer clock and everything seemed right on schedule. I had just changed the battery in my Flypen reminder system Sunday afternoon and so had reset the date and time to the computer clock, still not knowing that we had "sprung forward" an hour. I got my kids up for school Monday morning as usual. Everything seemed normal.

I was driving the kids to school and I noticed the clock in my car said: 6:45 AM. "What!! We are in hour early!!" And then I pealed out a u-turn in the middle of the road, much to my children's dismay and started heading back home. "Mom," came my kids from the back seat. "It is day light savings. It was daylight savings yesterday."

There is silence as I slowly turn the car back around. Whew. Thank goodness for my computer clock and for the fact that my kids are more informed than me.

The greatest thing though is that I never got around to changing the clock in my bathroom shower when it was daylight savings last Fall, so I was so pleased to take a shower and see the correct time after all of these months.

Isn't it great those little things that brighten our day?

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

It is rainy and it is Monday, so I had to write a bad day post.

You know it is going to be a bad day when:

(A Few of My Real Life Personal Bad Day Scenarios)

� I can't find the lid to the blender, so I try using my hands.
� My husband or best friend has something really stressful coming up and is taking it out on me.
� I open the dishwasher and the "clean" dishes are covered with dried black spots from an unknown source.
� My husband or child has deleted my emails and/or phone messages before I had a chance to check them out.
� I forget to be my child's tooth fairy AGAIN.
� Well-intentioned people are telling me what to do all day.
� Everyone is painfully aware that the laundry hasn't been done in a while.
� My favorite jeans are feeling tight.
� I see the photos that my friend took of me at an event and I think to myself, "No way that's me."
� I am serving leftovers for the third night in a row.
� I am super tired and about to fall asleep when I suddenly remember some horrible chore that absolutely has to be done tonight
� My child uses our broken toilet
� I am sentenced to a life wherein I can no longer compile lists

Very Possible Adoption Bad Day Scenarios (now this is real- no jokes!)

� You just get home from traveling several hours to get documents apostilled and your agency calls and says, "Hi, we need just one more document apostilled." You finally get that document completed and your agency says, "Oh, just one more thing."
� You look at your adoption fund and you see the balance is close to zero, with thousands of dollars still due.
� You lose your first referral
� Long lost grandma or relative decides to drop by and visit (delay), your child right before your court date
� Your luggage that was supposed to meet you in Russia is headed for Japan
� A flight delay causes you to miss your court date which is then rescheduled a couple of months away
� Your driver doesn't show up at the airport
� Even though you made hotel reservations, they say they are all booked up and you can't find a hotel room available anywhere except at Cockroach Motel.
� You get mugged, you use a compromised ATM or your credit card gets illegally skimmed
� Your electrical adapter doesn't work
� You accidentally drink the water you are not used to and get really sick
� You have been in- country so long you are starting to get addicted to foreign language soap operas
� You must travel several hours in grueling heat or freezing temperatures in your "car" to get to your orphanage
� Your excitement over your newly adopted child is dimmed when you notice he or she is sick, so not only do you feel horrible that your child is feeling miserable and crying uncontrollably, you also get clean-up duty on both ends (throw-up and diarrhea)
� You try to treat an infection or sickness in your child, are unsuccessful and catch it yourself
� Your child throws screaming temper tantrums in the airplane on the way home and acts like you are aliens from another planet
� You lose your passport
� You are still in-country and notice your visa expired yesterday
� You call your adoption agency in an emergency and they say, "Who is this?"
� But the worst yet is- you lose your mind waiting and waiting and waiting for any news or hope of going to get your child!

I am so sorry for any of you that have experienced any of these adoption bad days. I feel that as long as I am prepared for these type of worst-case scenarios I can only be pleasantly surprised�. And if I'm not pleasantly surprised, than this is where all of those lectures my parents gave me about having a good attitude will pay off.

And whatever we have to go through to bring our new daughter home will be worth it!

Good Jokes Anyone?

Thanks for all of the nice comments about my adoption fundraiser and thank you so much to those that have purchased something. For those of you that are planning to purchase something in the future please don't forget to type in IBO# 4585934 and the key which is: wal when you register your address for shipping, etc. This is the only way we get credit for anything bought at the site. Any amount helps. Thanks!
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Did anyone play a good April fool's joke yesterday? When I was growing up my mom would always make a silly dinner. Once we had dinner backwards- with dessert first and salad last. Another time we had dyed green eggs and ham. There was always something.

Unfortunately the extent of my creativity was that I told my youngest son, Kirby that it was snowing outside. He said, "It is!?" and ran to look out the window. (Aren't I a mean mom?) He came back with "No it ISN'T!"

"April Fools!"

He didn't think it was funny. However; when I sent him off to play the same joke on his older brother he looked pleased to be armed with this weapon. And my older son, Link fell for it too! Geez my kids are gullible. Or maybe I should say- trusting, which is a very good trait.

Kirby (my 7 yr. old) has become more and more interested in the adoption lately. I got a whole bunch of children's adoption books from the library and he wants me to read them to him. He wants to understand about adoption. I think I might review these books on a later post. Also, I have purchased a few baby books (I got a Clap Your Hands (Puppet Book) from Amazon for .03 and a Baby Faces board book for like a dollar) He wants to look at those too and tells me how much his little sister will love them. I have also purchased some bubbles- called gazillion bubbles. He wants to open them now, but he knows he has to wait.

I am finding that I am starting to tell people that we will have our daughter by Christmas. I know this is dangerous, but people are always, always asking me. I just want to tell them something!

This is Not an April Fool's Joke

Happy April!

I was inspired by Lisa and Margaret (please check out their fundraisers by clicking on their name!) to come up with my own adoption fundraiser plan. You can see the link to my fundraiser above my photo to the left. Also, here: Jennefer's Adoption Fundraiser Idea. If you have a fundraiser I don't know about please give the link in the comment section. Thanks for helping out if you can; however, I know we are all poor, so don't feel obligated. Especially because we are going to be planting a money tree in our backyard soon. My parents used to say that to me when I would ask them for money, "Do you think we have a money tree in our backyard?" It is one of those really stupid parent comeback lines that you might find yourself saying one day. Seriously though I know the Adoption machine sticks the expenses to all of us- so thanks for checking it out, but don't feel obligated.

Since I made this site on yahoo's geocities I recommend you have a pop-up blocker, so you don't get any of yahoo's pop-up ads when you go to the site. Thanks again for checking it out!

If you like to shop on line I have to also recommend, in addition to my fundraiser site of course: Lands End. I know you are all thinking that this is not a great discovery- LandsEnd.com- Who cares? We have all heard of that before. However, this is the cool thing. If you go to their site and click on Overstocks at the top right it takes you to these really great deals. You can specialize your search by clicking on the gender and size of clothes you are looking for. It is the perfect place for getting inexpensive children's clothes. However, the greatest thing about ordering from this site is that anything that doesn't work out can be returned to your nearest Sears store. So there is no repackaging and paying for any return postage. That is a sweet deal.

I love shopping online. It is so convenient and when the packages arrive, it feels like Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas- that is my goal- that our little adopted daughter will be home to celebrate Christmas with us. I don't think this is an unreasonable hope. I don't want to set any other deadlines, like for a referral or travel. I just want her home by Christmas. That is my hope.

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