Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Notaries and apostilles

Yesterday we made it down to the SoS again. We were able to get all of our notaries done in 25 minutes (there were 18 documents to notarize; 38 documents total) and we left everything to be apostilled. Hopefully they'll be ready today and I can pick them up after work, if not Mark will pick them up tomorrow. Either way, barring any more unexpected events our dossier should be on its way to Ukraine the end of this week. Of course, there's a lot that can go wrong between now and Friday. :) Please pray for our paperwork and that it would be done quickly and--most importantly--correctly!!

This wonderful state we are in has that cap on apostilles, and the SoS does notaries for free if you are also having the documents apostilled so yesterday's adventures didn't cost us anything. Oh, we did actually put a quarter in the parking meter. It should have cost us $380. Wonderful, wonderful blessing!

From what we can gather, all of the head people at the SDA in Ukraine have resigned, but things seem to be moving as usual over there. Dossier submissions have been continuing and it appears that appointments are being given out as well. I'll keep you posted as we know more!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Have you ever wanted to just really really REALLY scream but you knew it wouldn't be very polite? We got to the SoS office building yesterday at a little after 4 (they close at 5). The security gueard asked where we were headed and we told him, to which he responded that the office had moved. To another building 2 blocks away. So we hoofed it over a couple of blocks and found the new office. We got there a little bit before 4:30 and went to sign in, only to see a sign that read:

"No notary services today."

Hmph. That was about the point I was ready to scream. Why is this so hard? They asked if we could come back on Monday. No, we can't come back on Monday. Maybe Tuesday, we're trying to figure it out. We could have left some of the documents for apostilling, but it's just as easy to give them the whole packet at once. So at some point in time, we'll be going down again for apostilles. I guess the nice thing is that we still don't have our HS addendum (should be arriving in the mail today I think) so that one was going to need to be done anyway.

On the plus side, the weather is great this weekend. Nice and warm, which means I can open up the house and do some spring cleaning. :) And bake more bread. :) :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Apostilles today

Today we will be taking all of our documents minus one to be apostilled. We're waiting on that HS addendum still, but it should be in the mail and we will most likely receive it tomorrow. Mark will have that one apostilled when he picks up the other finished apostilles on Monday. The Secretary of State office will also notarize (for free!) any documents that you are having apostilled, so our letter of intent, letter of obligation, power of attorneys, and certification of BCIS will all be signed there today, notarized, and then apostilled. What an efficient process--I love being in a large city that has these things available!! I know many people have to drive, sometimes a few hours, to deal with all of their paperwork.

Neither of us have slept much the past few nights. Mark's been working on projects/papers for school, and I've done the taxes and our Ukraine paperwork. AND I've been baking bread. Not just any bread, friendship bread. I had never made friendship bread before, but one of Mark's classmates gave us a starter. You grow the starter and then divide it into 4 new starters plus you make 2 loaves of bread with the remaining batter. Great, until you leave for vacation for a week. :) We had a friend of ours who was watching the house monitor our starter, but then when we got back it was time to divide it. We didn't have time to pass it out, so we grew 4 more starters. I did some research and found out you can actually bake the bread directly from the first starter (you don't need to do the grow and divide), so I've been baking loaves and passing them out to the neighborhood. By the time I finish, I will have made 28 loaves from this one batch of starter. I know the math is weird--I gave a couple of starters away and made loaves from the rest. Of course, I still have 10 loaves to go. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


It's been a busy few days and frustrating as well, which it why I hadn't posted. :) We've been waiting on a couple of pieces of paper to finish up our dossier. We received one on Monday and the last one is in the mail. The tentative plan is to get apostilles done this Friday. If we've got everything, we'll ship the dossier to Ukraine this weekend; if not, it will go out the beginning of next week. There's not a huge rush, as our facilitators just submitted several dossiers and are at the end of the line to submit again. Besides that, the SDA director and several others have apparently resigned (yes, again) so we don't know if that is going to have any affect on adoptions yet. However, the dossier that we are sending should be good for several months so we are hopeful that it will be able to be submitted at some point in time this spring.

On another note, anyone want to go on Mark's birthday surprise trip with us?? It's here in the St Louis area but I can't tell you what it is as it's a surprise! If you're interested, send me an email at frogcourt at yahoo dot com (take out all of the spaces, of course) and I can give you more info. We'll be going the evening of Friday, March 30. You would need to have from about 6:30pm until 9:30pm free. It should be really cool (and no, it's not the City Museum).

I did finish the bathroom and it looked so much better that now I want to paint the hallway. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rose-colored glasses

I now know why I love the pink tile that covers 3/4 of the surface area of our bathroom. Less wall to paint!! Yes, I painted the bathroom this weekend. I still have a little bit of touching up to do, but it is almost done. And don't even ask what color I painted it--when there's that much pink a room, the only option is white. We literally have pink tile on the floor, pink tile 2/3 up three walls, a pink tub, and a pink tile tub surround. When you're talking about a 6'x5' space, that's a lot of pink. But, like I said, less to paint. :)

The weekend was pretty typical for us, with a few curves thrown in. Mark had his first vintage base ball practice of the season on Saturday after rehearsal for the musical. Saturday night we went to a game night at our church and Mark learned how to play canasta and we both learned how to play something without a name that involves a die and a pencil. You start with a pencil on the table and each person playing gets a blank sheet of paper. Someone starts by rolling the die and then passing it to the next person. If you get a one or a six, you pick up the pencil and start writing the numbers 1 2 3... Whoever gets to 100 first wins. BUT, the die is still going around the table, and when someone else gets a six or a one, they steal the pencil from you and work on writing to 100. So the idea is to write as fast as possible, but the numbers have to be legible. NOTE: this is not particularly good for any handwriting skills. :) Our pastor and his wife taught us this game, and the great thing is that you can play it anywhere, and the rules are so simple anyone can play and catch on really quickly.

Sunday after church Micah and Tiffany dropped me off at home while Mark volunteered. When Mark got home the four of us went on a 2-mile hike through the neighborhood. There have been a lot of new businesses opening up around us, and we found some new coffee shops and antique stores we want to check out.

Last night we gave blood for a church/Red Cross blood drive. This was the first time I've given blood in the bloodmobiles. I think I prefer the chairs at the actual Red Cross centers. Regardless, it went fine and hopefully they will be able to use our contributions.

We're still waiting on our HS update, but I think that and the marriage license are it, and then we can send everything to Ukraine!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

We're back!

I actually tried to post in Mexico, in Mazatlan, but I couldn't get the "new post" page to load. :)

Yes, we're back, and Mexico was wonderful. And warm. Did I mention warm? We had a wonderfully relaxing week and really enjoyed our time there. Quick summary:

--Saturday: left San Diego onboard the MS Oosterdam with Holland America
--Sunday: at sea; myriad of activities and making lots of new friends
--Monday: Cabo San Lucas; we wandered all over Cabo looking for a place to exchange money. This was a great experience and we saw a lot of the city. We finally went to a bank to exchange money and then to a grocery store. After that, we wandered the beach for awhile.
--Tuesday: Mazatlan; in Mazatlan we opted not to pay for one of the cruise ship excursions and instead created our own. So we took a taxi to a different pier and took a water taxi to Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island) with some of the locals. We walked a long way around the island and popped out on another beach. We wandered the beach for awhile, helped two guys put their boat into the water (thus using two of the few Spanish words I remember) and then went horseback riding on the beach and through part of the island. It was so beautiful.
--Wednesday: Puerto Vallarta; here we opted to do an excursion to go hiking in the Sierra Madre mountains. Interesting, but not nearly as beautiful as hiking in Alaska. The highlight of that excursion was the "tourist tree" or "gringo tree". This is a tree that has white bark which turns red in the sun--and then peels off!! :) :) :) That's my new official tree, even though I managed not to get sunburned this trip.
--Thursday and Friday were at sea and Saturday we arrived back in San Diego

The sea days were great and we participated in several activities on deck. Mark displayed his amazing skills at hole-in-one putting (he actually made 9 in a row!) and I displayed my lack of ping pong skills. :) The things I miss the most about being back home are the people, especially the crew. I miss seeing Agus every morning at breakfast, Vlajko taking lots of pictures of us, Jaya at our table at night, and the many other crew members we saw so often. They were so friendly and helpful--they really made the cruise a wonderful experience!

Update on adoption stuff:

Tonya, no we haven't heard anything about our dossier because it's still in the US. :) We're waiting on updates (still) and Kostya can't submit our dossier until he has them. On the note of updates, all we still need are our marriage license and our HS addendum (to reflect my job change). I picked up my employment letters today. I sent off to Texas for our marriage license before we left for Mexico. They needed to go to Ft Worth for the license, then to Austin for the apostille, then back to us. They skipped Austin. *sigh* So today I sent them to Austin to be apostilled, and hopefully we will have those back by the beginning of next week. Our HS addendum is coming along but she needed my employment letters before she could do what can I say? It's a process. :)

Ideally, we would have all of our documents by the middle of next week, take them to be apostilled (here in town--very convenient!), and send them to Kostya at the end of next week. Then MAYBE (that is a huge maybe--I should probably put it in 40 font) our dossier will be submitted by the end of this month. *sigh* I don't really know if that's a possibility--it's just wishful thinking on my end. I'll keep you posted.

And, on that note, congratulations to Beth and Steve whose dossier was submitted!! They're waiting to hear back from the SDA as to whether or not it's accepted, and I'm quite sure they're on pins and needles. Prayers for their dossier and their peace of mind are much appreciated! :)