Sunday, March 23, 2008

Figuring out my camcorder

Check out this video...


video

Friday, March 21, 2008

The things they say...


Have I told you about my children's obsession with doughnuts these days? A few months ago, I took them out on a Sunday and drove to the Krispy Kreme shop near me to get them for breakfast. Well, Matthew (my non-eater) ate 3! Since then, I've gotten some glazed doughnuts every week during grocery shopping. This has degenerated into Matthew ONLY wanting glazed doughnuts for breakfast. I buy 3 dozen each week (the cheap Food Lion brand...$2.99) and we can pretty much go thru them all. Matthew routinely eats 2 or 3 a morning. Logan wants one (before going to daycare where they feed her breakfast) and Riley eats 1 or 2.

Anyway, Logan and I have some alone time after the bus picks the boys up for school while I drive to the daycare. She is usually prattling to herself and most of the time I cannot hear what she is saying but today I hear this very distinctly...

....blah, blah, blah...when I grow up I want to be a doughnut...blah, blah.

It was the funniest. When I asked her what she just said, she repeated it, so I wasn't just hearing incorrectly. We got to have a nice discussion the rest of the drive about how she could NOT grow up to be a doughnut but that if she ate TOO many doughnuts she might LOOK like one!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

One of those days...

Today started off great. We all (including Riley) slept until 8:30. Then I finally got up around 9:00 and go the kids into the bathtub while I took a shower. We all got dressed and went downstairs to get breakfast...



Ants had found the new doughnuts I had bought yesterday on the counter and we had a veritable ant farm in the box - UGH!!! So we did a quick clean up of the kitchen and family room (they had to do something while I was cleaning the kitchen and the toys needed to be put away!).

Luckily I had bought 3 dozen of the doughnuts hoping for a weeks supply but I guess I'll have to get some more later in the week. I made coffee and read my email and we got ready to go.

Next we went to the new public library near us. I had been promising the kids to go and with
Riley starting to read (very) basic words, I was looking for some books to help him. It is a beautiful building. There is a coffee shop and a movie theater in it. Also, the largest kids room you have ever seen. We all got library cards and each of the kids got 2 books.

After that, we went to this store called Five Below - everything is $5 and below. I had seen a couple of ads for Crocs (Gators they call them) for $5. I got a pair for Riley and Matthew. They also had these clip on wheels that go on your shoes (like heely's) for $5 too and I bought a pair for all of the kids (and me).

Then we went to get the boys haircuts and I decided to get Logan's cut too. She really hasn't had a haircut since I cut it last summer after the Riley and scissors debacle! She has a cute little bob that is absolutely adorable.

Then it was home to rush and get changed to go to a party at Maggiano's (an Italian restaurant at the mall). The party was to celebrate the Jewish conversion of a little boy adopted from Kazakhstan last November. It was great and they had this guy who was going around making balloon "animals" for the kids...I use the word animals lightly cuz he made this cool Picachu mask for Matthew, a Cinderella balloon for Logan and a lightsaber for Riley.

So far so good. But, you knew someone was going to hit the wall. Next, since we were at the mall, I decided to go see the easter bunny. Actually, that part went well though there were some tense moments for Mommy while we were waiting.



So, what could we do next? We went home! I slept on the couch for about 1/2 hour and Riley fell asleep for about an hour and then I made dinner. Logan and Matthew had stayed up and played while we were napping and she had a complete meltdown at the table. Spilling her milk, then throwing food and finally I took her upstairs to bed. Well, after an hour of screaming and kicking and scratching, she finally fell asleep only to wake an hour later and do it all again. Boy am I beat!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 14, 2008

What's new?


I have very little to talk about on the adoption front. I did get my FBI clearance in to the agency last week. I am on pins-and-needles waiting to hear about a my court date. Also trying to decide what to do about the time away...

On the one hand, I have always been thinking that I would come home during the 10 day waiting period and do a total of 3 trips. During my first trip, the facilitator said that he would prefer to me to stay because he is confident we will be able to get the opportunity to do the paperwork during the 10 days and that way we can leave on the 11th day to go to Moscow. He told me (which I didn't realize) that I had to be there to sign the paperwork for her new birth certificate and then to take her birth certificate to the passport office and so...if we have the opportunity to do that, I will have only about 6 days to go home and come back before the 11th day.

So? is it worth it? I am struggling with whether it would be better for my kids for me to leave and come back for that brief time or should I stay the whole time? Will they be better not having to go through the going and coming home for such a short time? Will they be better served having me back for even that short time? And what about my newest little girl? what will be better for her? She certainly will be faced with a huge change once we arrive home. Would it be better for her to have me for (even) a few hours a day for a concentrated time period before she is "thrown into the fray" of the family and family dynamics.

Everyday I change my mind back and forth at least 5 times. UGH! anyone have any words of wisdom?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

America's Favorite Mom Update

A while ago I told you about my friend Keith who nominated his wife Donna for the America's Favorite Mom Contest sponsored by Teleflora to recognize the 100th anniversary of Mother's Day. Anyway, we need your help.

We are trying to win $ for Donna's cause, "Challenged Child and Friends", a local non-profit preschool serving disabled children and their typical peers in Gainsville SC. Donna has pledged to donate any money she wins to her cause.

You can read about the contest (and Donna ) at... www.americasfavoritemom.com


So, here's where you can help. Winners in the contest are determined by the number of votes each nominee gets in the month. You can vote once a day everyday .

We have had a lot of people express support for the cause, but are either too busy to remember to log online and vote everyday, or do not have reliable internet access. To that end, we are creating BLOCK VOTER REGISTRATION LISTS.

If you have already created an account on the website www.americasfavoritemom.com, and would like to be placed on the block voting list to ensure your vote gets cast daily, please provide me with the e-mail address you used to create your AFM account:________ and the
password you created to access the AFM website:______________. (email to ddaldridge@charter.net)

If you have not yet created an account on the website: www.americasfavoritemom.com,and would like us to both create an account for you and then vote for you daily, please provide us with:

birthdate:___________________ e-mail address:______________

password: votedonna

Full name:______________________

full address:_________________ phone # ____________________________________

(and email to ddaldridge@charter.net)


We have people who will be placing votes daily to try and make sure we can help this cause.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The last thing...

Got my FBI clearance yesterday. This is the last paperwork I need in order to get a court date for my newest. I am so excited. Hopefully the fedex will get to my agency in order for them to be sent to Russia tomorrow.

Life has settled back down into our routine and hopefully I will have some time to get things together before I get my travel dates and have to leave again.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Homecoming...

I'm home (whew!)...it was a long trip and an uncomfortable one, but the homecoming was worth it.

I left my hotel in Moscow at 9:30 am (their time - so around 1:30 am EST) and got to Richmond at 8:30 pm EST. So, after being in airports or airplanes for almost 20 hours, I was beat. My friends W and P were supposed to bring my kids to the airport to meet me and I was surprised to get to the waiting area and not see them. So, I headed down to baggage control. While waiting for my bag, I called W's cell phone to see where they were, and she had just gotten into the parking garage and they were looking for Matthew's eyeglasses - which he had taken off in the car for some reason. As I was talking to her I heard Riley in the background yell "Here they are!".

So, I'm standing at the carousel and I turn around to the door to the outside just in time to see the group of them walking across the street. Just then, Riley sees me thru the glass and takes off at a full on RUN. The sliding glass doors almost didn't open in time and he comes barreling into me and jumps at me from like 5 feet away...knocking me off of my feet onto my rear. Logan and Matthew are about 2 steps behind having started to run after Riley did and they jump on top of me and hug me. Matthew has these tears streaming down his face - as if the relief of seeing me back was too much for him to bear. I start to cry and all of the people in the airport are laughing at me (on the ground) with 3 kids on top of me.

It was the best homecoming I could have gotten...now, how am I going to go back to Russia and leave them again!? UGH.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Coming home...

I am sitting in my hotel room in Moscow and am coming home. I can't wait to see my kids. I have missed them terribly. I am tired and (as those of you who have done this know) spent. It is exhausting being in a country where few speak your language and where (apparently) you say the word "water" with such an accent that no one can understand it. When you can not get the simplest things...it is hard.

This trip I have learned more Russian than I did on all of my previous visits. I found this program (called "before you know it") which is computer based and has lists of "flash cards" with the transliterated Russian word and a picture on one side and the English word on another. This has been invaluable to me this trip.

My hotel in Rostov was a typical Soviet hotel. Long dark corridors with 50 or more feet Persian runners along the hallway. I stayed in the "comfort" section which (I guess) has slightly higher security ...in each section there is a "floor lady" who sits at a desk and who guards the keys. You get a card which you give to her each time you come to the room and she gives you the key. Instead of a minibar in the room, there are large refrigerators at the entrance to the comfort section where you can buy things - more expensive than in the store, but much less than what you would spend at a US minibar.

Russia has had much economic growth. Everything is much more expensive than my first trip. The US Dollar has devalued. During my first trip in 2002, I think it was almost 40 rubles/$. In 2005 it was 35rubles / $; this trip....24 rubles/ $. The hotel I stayed in in 2003 in Moscow (Marriot Grand) was $250/night - which I thought was outrageous but worth it after doing a homestay in Rostov, I was so ready to have some Western pampering. I understand from a girl who just completed her adoption that it is > $750 (US) per night now!! I don't need pampering that much anymore!!

Breakfast is included in the price of the hotel stays. I don't think I will ever understand these breakfasts! On the hot buffet; fried fish, fried chicken, sausage (but not like we would consider breakfast sausage). On the cold buffet: salami, ham (that looks like salami), and sausage (I guess pepperoni); sheep cheese; bread and butter (and jam in Moscow), caviar, peas, broccoli, pickles, a typical Russia carrot salad and coleslaw - - A veritable feast made for a king!!

Coffee in the region was "instant"! I had read about this in 2002 when I was first looking into adopting from Russia but I hadn't encountered it until this trip. There is no: blue packets or yellow packets or even pink packets of sweetener...only sugar! And they only have cream-10% milkfat and in the little containers - though most people drink it black with sugar. No wonder more Russians drink tea than coffee!

It snowed last night in Moscow but the roads look okay. The weather was nice in Rostov. I'm looking forward to going back and it being spring - though with no snow and apparently only rain in the previous week, everything is mud covered. I saw a lot of signs of "potential" flowers though with people out in the 40-50 degree days cleaning out the flower beds (old painted tires with dirt in them) along the sidewalks. There is a nice little park with a playground behind the hotel which I hope to be able to take my daughter to ...but we'll have to see if I will even have her for that long in Rostov!

Here is another sneak peak for those of you who can't wait to meet her. She still is a little camera shy so...