Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow, Snow, Snow

This has been a short work week!  Ben came home from work on Tuesday about three hours early because we had freezing rain.  The ice was beautiful on the tree branches, but it sure messed up some trees.  Wednesday morning we had snow, and Ben couldn't get out of the driveway for work. It thawed out a bit later in the day, but by that time, he had already rescheduled all his patients, and he figured very few people would get out in the bad weather to come see him anyway.  

We got school done quickly both days with Ben home to help.  The kids think it's very unfair that they don't get snow days when the public schools are out.  As a compromise and since we knew the storm was coming, we had planned ahead and bought yummy food, a couple of craft kits, and picked up two family-friendly movies from Redbox. The kids had a blast!  We spent the afternoons and evenings playing in the hot tub, making jewelry and watching movies.

Today Ben got slammed at work and didn't get home until after 10 pm.  We also got word that the storm had hit much harder up by our lake cabin, so tomorrow morning we are heading up there to make sure we don't have any damage.  Please wish us luck.  Our old shingle roof was replaced just last spring with a tin roof, and we sure don't need any more roof repairs!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Return to School

This picture of Sasha, Bailey, Barrett and Keaton was taken the day Sasha returned to school for spring semester.  Last semester Sasha went to a new school.  It had small classrooms - around six to eight kids to a class.  It was not, however, a tutorial school, and they expected the kids to work in class and on homework independently.  We thought he was ready for a bit more independence, but he wasn't.  He's headed back this semester to his old school.  At his old school, the classes average a one-to-three ratio in class but work one-on-one on outside assignments. There's no way he can continue to skip his assignments or his homework now. This school is specifically for children with learning differences - primarily dyslexia and ADD. Sasha doesn't have dyslexia, but the poor educational environment during his first eleven years in Russia has made such a mark on him, he's convinced he's a poor student, and there's no reason to even try.  His teachers ingrained in him that he was both lazy and dumb, and it's been a b*tch convincing him that he's certainly not dumb and lazy can be overcome.  Boy, I wish I could get ahold of those teachers and show them what damage they do to these young lives!  Boy, I wish I could just get ahold of those teachers ...  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Favorite Pictures

Micah and Aunt Barrett
Keaton, Micah, Barrett and Reid
Reid, Keaton, Barrett and Micah
The three aunts with their niece again.
Keaton and Barrett
The twins being goofy again.

Barrett, after Brooke used the hair straightener on her.
Barrett again
Barrett and Keaton from behind!

Ephraim looks like he's a busy executive with his phone and newspaper.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Little Guys and Me

Brooke took these pictures over the Christmas holidays.  I've tried to make a point of posting photos of me lately since I've had requests from folks to see what I look like, but since I'm rarely in a picture because I'm the photographer, I thought I would devote an entire post to the rare, elusive Stacey.  The group pictures include the youngest four children and our granddaughter.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Enjoying the Day After Christmas with Family and New Toys

My mom gave the little kids Rock Band for Christmas, but they've had a hard time getting to play because the adults keep hogging it.
Ben and Brooke enjoying the new hot tub.
The little guys in a rare, calm mood in the hot tub.
Micah and Barrett loving on Elizabeth, the cat who adopted us over the holidays.  Lizzie is a male cat, by the way.
Ephraim loves the Wii.
Sacked out in the middle of our bed after a long, busy day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Sons

Our oldest son, Bradford, age 23, with our youngest son, Ephraim, age 16 months. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christmas Post - Finally

Christmas was a blast!  We had seventeen people at our house -- Ben and me, eleven of the twelve children, my 85-year-old mom and two of our daughters' boyfriends.  In fact, one of the boyfriends belongs to our missing daughter, Logan, who is a foreign exchange student in Germany this year, so she was represented in proxy.  I could write more about Christmas, but since a picture says a thousand words, I've posted enough pictures to equal nearly 50,000 words.  I'll let them do the talking.
Our long row of stockings.
What a pile of presents!  We attempted to keep Christmas low key by purchasing one large family gift and limiting our purchases to a couple of small presents for each child.  The kids, however, had different ideas.  By the time every child bought a gift for each of his or her other siblings, the pile under our tree was colossal!!
Jensen was pretty excited about Christmas.
Christmas morning came a bit early for Bradford.
Christmas morning came WAY too early for Griffin!
Griffin was functioning, but just barely.
Reid loved the new blankie I knitted for her.  I originally started knitting it for Ephraim long before we ever traveled to Vietnam eight months ago, but it took me so long to knit it, Ephraim had another favorite by the time it was finished.  While I knitted, Reid would sit in my lap, rub on the blankie, and suck her thumb, so I knew she'd love it for herself.
Logan's boyfriend, Steven.
Did Christmas come earlier than Brad could handle?
Brooke.  Notice the bow on Ephraim's head.  He was much more interested in the bows than opening presents.
Bailey's boyfriend, Thomas, sharing a funny moment with Brooke.
Bailey and Reid sharing a special thumb-sucking and blankie-hugging moment.
Princess Reid.
As I said, Ephraim was interested in the bows.  Our granddaughter, Micah, however, was definitely more interested in opening the presents.
What's in the purse, Bailey?
Griffin and Steven.
Nonny received one of the baskets that Jensen, Barrett, Keaton, Reid, Bailey, Thomas, Ben and I all made for grandparents, aunts and uncles.
I won't admit whose big rear that bow is attached to.
The warlock, Steven.
It looks like Nonny is ready to party!
Ben, the warlock.  We gave Micah a pile of dress-up clothes for Christmas, and I think everyone ended up wearing something from the pile before the day was over.
We gave Nonny a Wii for Christmas last year and Dance, Dance, Revolution for her 85th birthday.  She plays with them quite a lot, so hopefully she'll enjoy Wii Fit also.
A rare picture of me.
Is Ben a witch doctor?  Bad pun, huh?  I gave Ben several new lab coats for Christmas.  His old ones were so worn out they were disgraceful!
It looks like Ephraim is opening the present, but actually he's just ripping off the bow.
The grandly-decorated Brooke and Witch Reid.
Thomas and Bailey sharing a private moment amongst the crowd and chaos.
An "excited" Thomas.
Nonny is going to be partying on wine; I'm going to be revved up on coffee.
Bailey and Ephraim.
Sasha and Pirate Steven.
An excited Sasha.  Sasha loves to build anything and everything, so Bailey and Thomas gave him his own power tool set.
Barrett wearing her new scarf.
Brooke and me.
Has Nonny already been nipping?
The girls were PRETTY excited about our large family gift!
Micah and Jensen.

Riley and Sasha chillin' in the new hot tub.

Referral Picture

Referral Picture

Adoption Timeline

  • 2006
  • November 8 - Application Mailed
  • November 22 - Accepted
  • November 24 - I-600A Mailed
  • November 27 - Delivery Confirmed
  • November 28 - Receipt of I-600A
  • November 30 - Fingerprint Notice
  • December 15 - Home Study Update
  • December 21 - Stacey Fingerprinted
  • December 28 - Added to List (#116)
  • 2007
  • January 24 - Home Study Mailed
  • January 25 - Ben Fingerprinted
  • February 8 - Waiting List (#111)
  • February 20 - Waiting List (#109)
  • February 27 - Waiting List (#105)
  • March 8 - Waiting List (#101)
  • March 22 - Waiting List (#99)
  • April 19 - Waiting List (#98)
  • April 25 - Dossier Authentication
  • May 2 - Delivery Confirmed
  • May 2 - Added to SN Wait List
  • May 3 - Waiting List (#97)
  • June 7 - Waiting List (#86)
  • June 25 - Dossier Translated
  • June 28 - On Waiting List Six months
  • July 9 - Waiting List (#81)
  • August 6 - Waiting List (#4 SN)
  • August 8 - Waiting List (#76)
  • September 7 - Waiting List (#70)
  • October 8 - Waiting List (#67)
  • October 22 - Waiting child -- OURS!!
  • October 23 - Official Referral Date
  • October 25 - Letter #1 Submitted
  • October 29 - Referral Receipt - CHI
  • 2008
  • February 5 - Fingerprint Request
  • February 7 - Proof of Delivery
  • March 1 - All Fingerprinted
  • March 3 - I-600 Application Mailed
  • March 5 - I-600 Acknowledgement
  • April 17 - I-600 Approval!
  • May 2 - Original G & R Date
  • May 3 - Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
  • May 5 - MEET EPHRAIM!
  • May 6 - Drive to Kien Giang
  • May 7 - G & R Ceremony
  • May 8 - Medical, Apply for Passport
  • May 12 - Fly to Hanoi
  • May 13 - Visa appointment at USCIS
  • May 14 - Pick Up Visa, Fly Home
  • May 15 - Arrive in Nashville!
  • May 23 - Certificate of Citizenship
  • June 12 - Re-Adoption Filed by Court
  • July 3 - Tennessee Birth Certificate

G & R Day

G & R Day