Thursday, November 29, 2007


Actually, it should be more of a sucking sound since we just drained our bank account. ;) Yes, we have the money! I picked it up this afternoon and with only some minor glitches with the background check (because it's a large withdrawal), I was in and out in 30 minutes. Thanks, National City! The tellers were so excited about the adoption. I walked in and said who I was and that I was there to make a large withdrawal that we had scheduled with them. One of the tellers (not the one I was working with) said "Oh, is that for--" and stopped herself because she realized that it was obvious they had been talking about us. I said yes, we are adopting and they plied me with questions. :) :) It was a lot of fun and I had to promise to either send pictures or bring the kids in when we get back.

In lighter news (depending on the whipped cream you use ;) )...

You Are Pumpkin Pie

You're the perfect combo of uniqueness and quality.
You're able to relate to many types of people with many different tastes.
But you're by no means generic or ordinary.
In fact, you're one of the most original people around.

Those who like you are looking for something (someone!) special.
You tend confuse people when they first meet you. You're not as complicated as you seem.
Even though you have a lot of spice and flavor to you, you're never overpowering.
You are a calm and comforting force in people's lives.

So those of you who know me, how accurate is this? :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A night of prayer

Last night, a bunch of friends from church got together to pray for us. What an incredible time of fellowship! God has truly blessed us with many people who love and support us, and we cherish their involvement in our adoption. It meant a lot to us to have friends gather around and pray for us and our children, and to know that they will continue to pray while we are gone.

So far we've done the important stuff: had people pray for us and borrowed DVDs. ;) I'm still working on moving the furniture. :) :) Yesterday Mark also made underbed drawers for the kids' beds. He's quite the handyman, and we both like the drawers so much that he's probably going to make some more for our bed. I've already starting filling two of the drawers. :) They're 2'x3'x8", so lots of room for toys, books, clothes, etc. We live in a little bungalow so storage is at a premium--we have to make the best use of every available space.

Tonight Mark packed up the kids' clothes which made him feel productive, and also helped clear out the living room. My plan is to lay out what we're packing on the twin beds, but in order to do that we need to unbunk the beds, and that won't happen until I finish painting, which won't happen until tomorrow night at the earliest (maybe not until Friday night). Nothing like leaving things until the last minute. ;) As our friend Micah says, I'm not a procrastinator, I just work better under a tight deadline. :) :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving thanks

It was a bit of a busy week/weekend as we left on Wednesday to head to Denver. One of our dogs is staying with Mark's parents while we're gone so Thanksgiving was the perfect opportunity to take her out there. We usually don't travel for Thanksgiving--it's such a short holiday--but we made an exception this year, and managed to fit a lot into the weekend!

Wednesday night we stopped off at my sister's apartment in KC where we spent the night. She actually wasn't even there but let us crash on our way through--thanks, sis! We arrived in Denver Thursday afternoon after neverending Kansas. Kansas' motto right now is "As big as you think." Correction--it is about 2 hours of driving longer than I think, and would like. Please make the state smaller. Thanks.

Denver was wonderful and we got to see all of Mark's immediate family and a few extras as well. :) We ate way too much food, of course. Mark's family went in on a gift card to Target for us, and we made short order of it by going shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I don't know if I've ever been shopping on Black Friday, but it really wasn't too bad. Of course, we didn't go anywhere near a mall and that probably helped. We left Denver early Saturday morning to make it to Topeka for a wedding reception for a friend of ours. Wonderful food and so great to see her and her new hubby--congrats K&K, you've been waiting a long time for this! We stayed in Topeka Saturday night and met up with my sister for lunch today in KC. Since we had some time this morning, we visited the Target and Walmart across the street from our hotel and picked up a few other items. However, it should be noted that I am not a morning person. That's an understatement to most people who know me. Consequently, two of the items I bought this morning have to be returned because I got completely the wrong size.

We made it home tonight and started the frantic late-night scramble that I think will characterize every night this week. :) We're still clearing out the kids' room (it's currently a disaster area with Ukraine-bound stuff everywhere) and I've decided I want to rearrange the living room furniture. This is called doing the important stuff, right? ;)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Slow and steady plodding

This weekend we picked up a few last items that I had wanted for the trip: travel packs of woolite, travel packs of kleenex, an air freshener (I know, I'm crazy, but last time we went there were a few places we stayed that smelled a lot like smoke. I think the apple-cinnamon smell will bring a nice touch of home to wherever we are.), more long underwear for Mark, dramamine, and travel towels. I told Mark when we got home that other than the cash from the bank, I now feel ready to go to Ukraine. We could have gone without all of that extra stuff, of course, but it will be nice to have. :) Unlike Tami, I'm not planning on starting packing until after Thanksgiving, but she did sort of put me into a panic. Thanks, Tami. ;)

The dumpster is gone but we forgot to take a picture of it before it left! We didn't spend any time on the new house this weekend as Mark was working on Saturday and then we went travel shopping. This coming weekend we will be heading to Denver to drop off one of our dogs with Mark's parents. Which is good, because currently she's driving us nuts. She knows something is up. :) At their place, she'll be able to romp in the snow with their dog, so for her it's something close to heaven!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dropping like flies

I don't know what's going around, but there's a lot of it in my office. Almost everyone is either sick now or has been in the last week or so. So...I'm bracing myself. :) And hoping I get the cold and not the stomach flu. Ugh.

I didn't end up painting at all last night, but I did program the contact phone numbers for both of the airlines we will be on into my cell phone. If there are any problems along the way I want to have a way to get in touch with someone quickly! I also entered contact information into our reservation (required--not sure why) although what I was really planning on doing was entering our passport information. It looked like that's what it wanted, but apparently not. I know I'll have to enter it when we check in. So painting will be for tonight, and I promise to post pictures once there's actually something worth looking at.

Last night I drove home and started laughing at our dumpster. Mark had filled it to the brim (he took out 77 boxes(!) of plaster yesterday) and then piled on some large pieces of molding. But the whole thing was covered over with the carpet from all of the rooms, which he had cut into thirds and folded over the dumpster. It was the tidiest-looking dumpster you've ever seen. I should probably mention that each of those 77 boxes weigh anywhere from 40-60 lbs. So yes, that was 77 trips up and down the stairs with an average of 50 lbs in his arms. God is definitely preparing us for the upcoming trip--and any necessary running through the airport with luggage and kids in tow...or in our arms!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Priceless friendship

Last night we were working on the house (I'm sure you're all very surprised), when we were surprised with a visitor! And not just any visitor, a visitor who came ready to work!! Micah came over last night and worked for a couple of hours helping Mark haul plaster from upstairs. I think he has a new appreciation for the weight of plaster. ;) The construction dumpster is going away tomorrow, so from here on out we will be taking small loads of whatever plaster is left to our regular dumpsters. Micah's help last night really helped reduce the amount of plaster we'll have left after the construction dumpster is gone! Thanks, Micah!!

In adoption news...we have two bank accounts, one at a credit union in Michigan and a local one here. The one in Michigan has fantastic rates, so we love using that and we can access our money at local credit unions down here. But for pulling out our large amount of good condition bills we turned to the bank with our local account, National City. A few weeks ago I went in and talked with Lois (one of the account managers) who was so excited about our adoption and willing to do whatever she could to help us out. She was wonderful and told us exactly what steps we would need to take to be able to get the money. So yesterday Mark wrote a check from one account to the other. Since it's a large amount, it will take it a few days to clear. Then the Monday before we need the money we are to call them so they can order enough bills in good condition for us. We'll pick it up Thursday or Friday before we go and we'll be set! Ah, if only things really go that smoothly. :) But it really does seem like a pretty streamlined process from their end, and they have been so helpful I would have no hesitation recommending National City to other adoptive families. :)

Yesterday I also started painting the kids' bedroom (thanks for the inspiration, Tami!). Today will be some more painting before Mark gets home and then we'll head over to the new house again!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I hate plaster

More than that, I hate what it does to my poor husband. We went over to the house tonight and worked on the last room to still have plaster walls, the kitchen. It was quite an encouragement that one of the walls had already fallen down of its own accord! :) But it is dirty, tiring work pulling down the plaster and hauling it to the dumpster and Mark is doing most of it. He is just worn out. Please pray for him to have the strength and energy he needs to finish this, and that I will be able to carry as much of the load as possible.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What's black and blue all over?

Me. ;)

...bruised from moving furniture into the new wing of the church Friday and Saturday. I somehow managed to get bruises on places I don't even remember bumping! I did get some very nice bruises on my shins from pulling furniture out of the pods. But we got all 5 of them emptied!

...dark circles under my eyes from staying up until 1:30 am (!!) on Saturday night. We went over to T and HH's house and played Settlers and Seafarers from 7:30 pm until after midnight. It's been a long time since either of us have been up that late, especially Mark--he even drove us home!

...sad, because the circus train is gone. :) On Friday as we drove over the railyard there was a Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey's circus train! I was so excited that Mark asked if I'd ever seen a circus. :) Yes, but I've never seen a circus train! I got to see it several times this weekend as we drove over it. Oh, and for anyone who likes the circus, Ringling/B&B have a continual promotion to give each child in the US under the age of 1 yo a FREE circus ticket--and they give tickets to children who've been adopted in the past year as well!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


We received this from our facilitator (click on it for a larger view):

He has the original to give to us when we get to Ukraine. I know we're going, but seeing the actual invitation really makes it sink in! We're leaving in 23 days!!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My incredible husband

I probably sounded a bit more optimistic about the new house in the last post than I actually felt. I hadn't been over there for a few days, and Mark has been working on it day and night when he's not at work, or leading Bible study, or planning for our church to move into the new part of our building, or considering a new leadership role at the church, or working on adoption details. (It makes me tired just listing all of the stuff he's working on!) Every time he's mentioned the house he hasn't sounded particularly optimistic about getting everything cleared out before the dumpster will be picked up. Yesterday he got home early so we went over to the house together and this is what I saw:

He singlehandedly pulled off all of the plaster in the living room and took nearly all of it to the dumpster, started on the dining room ceiling, and pulled off all of the drywall in the dining room and kitchen. That would be the drywall with the fake bricks attached, a.k.a. the heaviest drywall in the world. I am so in awe of his perseverance on this project. All that's left is to remove the ceiling in the dining room and the plaster in the dining room and kitchen. The kitchen isn't a problem--we're having a hard time keeping it on the wall right now. It's definitely not in good condition. Then we have to haul all of the plaster from both floors out to the dumpster. Sigh. That is the not-fun part, and it's really heavy. I can only carry so much at a time so most of the burden falls on Mark, and I help by carrying out the lath and all of the other boards. But it's great to see so much progress, and to know it was all done by my husband! We might actually meet our goal to have the plywood subfloors down before we leave!! It's such a blessing to have a husband who devotes so much time and energy to our projects. :)

I love the little adoption accountability blogging group we've got going online. Between Tami, Nataliya, and myself none of us should forget to do or bring anything for our adoption!! :) :) Keep reminding me of things I shouldn't forget to do or pack, ladies!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Checking things off

I took a little road trip this weekend while Mark was working. Along the way, I managed to pick up some more clothes at garage sales, and a wonderful winter coat at an overstock store! It's down-filled and exactly what I've been looking for. I picked up a few other necessities for the trip as well and have a good chunk of our packing list done. Mark talked to the bank on Friday and we're all set as far as picking up the money. I keep checking the plane reservations every few days (...just did that again) to make sure everything's still set. I'll be calling the airlines this next week or so just to double-check. :) Mark put the storm windows in and I went through all of our extra dossier paperwork last week as well.

We received a wonderful gift this weekend as well that really meant a lot to us. It involved some degree of sacrifice on the part of the giver which makes it that much sweeter to us. The details will remain private, but I wanted to publicly acknowledge the giver. Thank you very much!

Mark worked hard yesterday hauling plaster out of the new house. We have the dumpster for about one more week and it's going to take a LOT of work to get everything cleaned out in that amount of time. But the house is looking good and it's exciting to see things coming together (or apart, depending on your perspective).

Still on the to-do list:
..put together the picture albums
..print out the embassy paperwork for coming home

...I think that pretty much covers the to-do list. There are some other things we would like to get done before we go, but they're not adoption related so aren't actually on the official to-do list. :)