Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spoiled Rotten

We bought this hat in Vietnam because the hats we brought with us were too big on him.  It's such a silly hat, but Ephraim's big sisters think it's the greatest.
You can see the scratches across his eyes.  He does that to himself when he's tired and just getting ready to fall asleep.  I try to distract him, but I can't stop the behavior.  Any ideas out there from experienced Vietnam mamas?
This little guy is so spoiled, it's not funny.  I thought that the "new" would wear off having a baby brother, but it hasn't in the least.  They treat him like an amazing high-tech baby doll. They were the same way with Reid when she was first born, so I should have expected it.  I think I'm going to be a grandma many times over with the twins.
Ephraim's favorite napping position.

The twins love to have him fall asleep on their shoulders because it's the only time he's still and will snuggle.  They weren't telling me he'd fallen asleep because they didn't want to give him up. Now he's totally spoiled and thinks he can only nap while we're holding him.  

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Handsome Pair


Two of my favorite men in their jammies.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fun At The Lake






Although the weather has been pretty miserable, we've been having fun at the lake.  We've been doing art and science projects since we're not exactly swimming and sunning on the weekends. So far we have made candles, beaded necklaces, painted ceramic jewelry, ribbon headbands, and paper flowers.  We have found kits for making gummy bugs, crystals, a volcano and plastic flowers, so next time we have a free, yucky weekend we'll be junior scientists.

With Ephraim sitting in the papasan chair, you can see just how tiny he is.  That's not an oversized chair.  The little guy is still wearing six month clothes and will be nineteen months old this Friday. He may be small, but he is mighty!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yoga Boy





The girls rolled Ephraim up in my yoga mat just for fun, and he LOVED it!  Now he's learned to unhook the velcro, roll the mat out, and grab someone to get him all rolled up.  Ephraim also loves Riley to spin him around in the computer chair until he's walking like a drunken sailor.  I guess he's figuring out good ways to deal with his sensory issues all on his own.  Pretty brilliant, if I do say so myself!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Too Big For His Britches


Whenever I call the kids to meals, Ephraim rushes in and sits down at the table with the other children.  He gets really mad when I remove him from the table and put him in his highchair.  He's decided he's just as big as the other kids, and he does everything possible to try to keep up with them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our Remodeling Project - Part Two






Ephraim must have been bird watching!
Reid in her new playhouse.


We're back to remodeling our bathroom at the lake cabin.  This weekend we stained and installed the vanity cabinet, installed the vanity top and faucet and assembled and installed the medicine cabinet. The medicine cabinet was a bugger!  It came in a pretty small box and must have had about a million pieces.  Since it was made in China, there were no written instructions, just drawings.  That was a first for me!  Things are coming along well.  All we have left to do is to install the light fixture, towel bar and bathroom/shower doors and hang the curtains. One more weekend should do it.

We worked a bit more on painting our kitchen table and chairs too.  It has been a SLOW process!  The way it's going, it could be spring before we're through.

The kids had fun with all the packaging.  Ephraim is actually sitting inside the faucet box in the picture above!  Riley "drove" him all over the playroom in that box.  The kids took the box for the vanity top and made that into a tiny playhouse.  I didn't get a picture, but Ephraim spent hours sliding down the box that the medicine cabinet came in.  It just had a slight slope, so I don't know why it was so much more interesting than the slide outside.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Michael J. Fox Meets Tommy Lee - AGAIN!


My super conservative twenty-three-year-old son has gone and gotten himself another tattoo.  This one is on the underside of his upper arm and on the opposite arm from his first tattoo.  If you can't tell, you are looking at the f-hole of a cello with a Bible verse superimposed on it.  The Bible verse is Isaiah 38:20 which says, "The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord."  

The tattoo took over three hours, and there are still a few tweaks the tattoo artist wants to do in a couple of weeks.  Brad's arm just got too irritated, and the muscle starting twitching before he could finish.  Apparently that part of the arm is a sensitive spot.  Sounds fun, huh?  Brad's girlfriend accompanied him and watched the whole thing. Patient girlfriend.

I just hope Brad doesn't get to be my age and regret these tattoos.  If I had a tattoo on the underside of my arm, I think it would now be swaying and swinging in the breeze!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Digital Converter Deadline

Last night at midnight was the originally deadline for getting a converter box, buying a new TV or hooking up to cable or satellite.  We didn't do any of the above.  The network channels chose to wait until sometime in June to convert to digital, but the "off-brand" channels went ahead with the switch.

Instead of subscribing to cable or satellite service, we decided to get an account with Netflix, and instead of buying the converter box, we decided to apply the money towards a Roku.  If you haven't heard of Roku, it's a device where you can see the "watch instantly" choices from Netflix on your TV set.  As long as you have a Netflix account and DSL, you can watch all you want for no additional charge.  We got it as a gift for each other for Valentine's Day.  Real romantic, huh?  So far it's been a great gadget though.  I figure that having to get on the computer, adding selections to our queue, hooking up the Roku, and waiting for the selection to download will cut down on our mindless TV watching.  I used to cut down on TV watching by sticking our old TV in the closet during warm weather, but now we have this big, old fashioned console TV that weighs a ton.  It would be a bit difficult to stuff in the closet!  I'd love to throw the TV out entirely, but I think my family would disown me if I did.

Anyway ... we used to have seven channels and are now down to four.  We now have ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS.  We don't watch much TV, but this will definitely whittle down our options. Today I realized that I will lose my long-term addiction of Jeopardy!  I have watched that show my entire life.  I remember playing on the rug in our first house in Nashville and watching Jeopardy! with my mom while she ironed.  Back then Art Fleming was the host and the game board was much less high tech.  

I can't watch House or American Idol anymore, and Ben loses Andy Griffith.  House isn't a great loss because I had to quit watching it when it moved to Mondays.  Now it interferes with my yoga class.  I could have started watching it on ABC.com but I didn't bother.  I'd gradually been losing interest in the show anyway.  I've only seen American Idol twice this season, so that's definitely not a major obsession.  I'm going to have to find Andy Griffith for Ben online though. That's the only show he watches consistently.  He's really up to current times, isn't he?

I still have Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice for now.  I enjoy them because Ben doesn't get home from work until after 9:30 on Thursday nights, and so I take two hours of "me" time.  I just find a kids' movie on the Roku for the little guys, then hang out in the sitting room for a little TV, a little wine ... aaahhh.

The only other network show we watch is Brothers and Sisters, but we watch it online since we got hooked on the show a couple of seasons in.  By the time we catch up, we'll probably have lost our last four channels, so we might as well stick to watching it on my handy dandy MacBook.

Ironically we got a call from the Nielsen people yesterday saying we'd been chosen to be a Nielsen family.  I told them we would be losing our reception that evening and they convinced me that all the channels were waiting to switch over.  I said I'd do it.  They then asked how many TV's we had. Stupidly I told them we had three, but I explained that only one had TV reception. One is only hooked up to the Wii and DVD player and the other is only hooked up to the computer.  Now they are going to send us *three* diaries to fill out!  I tried and tried to tell them we only needed one, but I might as well have been talking to a blank wall!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Twenty-Five Things About Me

Poor little Ephraim has been a sick little boy for a couple of days now.  His fever spikes in the evening, and he's been staying up and whining and fussing all night long.  I haven't had the presence of mind to compose a blog because I am so sleep deprived.  So ... I'll post a list about myself that I was asked to create for Facebook.  It was HARD to come up with twenty-five unique things about myself!  I guess I'm a pretty boring person. 

1.  I was adopted.
2.  I have four children who were adopted.
3.  My children were born on three different continents.
4.  I belonged to the Auburn skydiving team in college.
5.  My husband, Ben, and I met because I had the measles while in college.  Because of an outbreak, all the infected students were placed in isolation in the infirmary, and I missed the last two weeks of class, including finals.  I called Ben's mother, who is a math professor, to tutor me over Christmas break.  The rest is history! 
6.  I am left handed.
7.  I have twelve children.
8.  I have home schooled since 1986.
9.  My husband and I have been married more than half our lives.  We met when we were 18 years old and married when we were 20 and 21.
10.  I was named for my parents' high school principal.  While growing up, I knew several boys named Stacey, but I didn't meet another girl until college.    
11.  Several of my grandparents' great-grandchildren are older than me.
12.  My oldest daughter and I were pregnant at the same time.
13.  My youngest son is 4 1/2 years younger than my granddaughter.
14.  I was on the gymnastics and diving teams in junior and senior high school.  
15.  I am addicted to the show, "Brothers and Sisters".
16.  I love to read and can't put a book down once I start it.
17.  I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up.
18.  I have a bachelors' degree in business education and a minor in English.
19.  I have traveled to five countries:  Canada, Guatemala, Russia, Vietnam and Aruba.
20.  I have never lived out of the south: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
21.  I love to bicycle and ride about 30 miles a week in good weather.
22.  I go to yoga class twice a week.
23.  We haven't had either cable or satellite for over ten years.
24.  Once the TV signals convert to digital we won't have any TV reception.  Yea!!  
25.  I have one child in graduate school and one who is too young for preschool.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

fabulous-blog

Lauren over at The Long Journey Home said my blog was fabulous! That's my first award! Thank you, Lauren! I'm afraid I haven't been a very good blogger lately because my posts have been infrequent. Maybe this award will give me some encouragement to post more regularly because apparently I'm actually being read by more people than just my immediate family.

Now I’m supposed to pass this onto five other blogs that I know are fabulous. Boy, that is hard! I have a long list of blogs I love, so it's tough to narrow it down to just five. First off, I wish I could vote for Lauren because I LOVE to read her blog, but obviously hers has already been picked. There are also several other favorite "Vietnam baby mama" blogs I practically stalk, but they've already been nominated too. Fortunately there are still plenty of really great blogs I love forward to reading.

Here's my list of some really fabulous blogs:

1. Beth at Pharmommy. She's a fabulous blogger and an equally fabulous photographer. I love to see her gorgeous photos of her very photogenic son, Lucas, and I enjoy her blogs about politics, Lucas, work, her dogs and juggling it all. Beth doesn't live too far from me, and I am lucky to have met her in real life.

2. Mayme at McGowan Moments. Mayme and her crew live in the same small town as us, and we've known her and her husband, Bo, forever. In fact she used to babysit for our now adult children before she was ever married. Now she's a mom of three. Her newest, Emma, recently joined their family from China, and she's a real cutie!

3. Mary Kate at Why Yes, I AM Crazy. Thank You for Asking. Mary Kate is the mom of five. I always enjoy her interesting posts that vary from family life to Oprah to Weight Watchers to Facebook. I especially loved her post, "Yes, You Heard Me Correctly" about her lifestyle. I think we're kindred spirits.

4. Kim at Musing, Rambling and All Around Blathering. Kim is another mom of twelve. Not only that, but she has seven girls and five boys just like us. Her guys range in age from twenty-four to one. Our guys range in age from twenty-five to one, so could you get closer than that?

5. Beth at The Pan Clan. I am in awe of Beth. She and her husband are the parents of fifteen children and are in the process of adopting a sibling group of five. They will soon be the parents of twenty children under the age of twenty! Beth is a homeschool mama, and she lives in what looks like the coldest spot in the continental United States.

I also have to post five of my addictions, so here they are…

1. Our lake cabin. Our cabin was built in the 1960's and started out as a four-room house on an unfinished basement. It has managed to grow a bit larger with the addition of a glassed-in porch, a second bathroom and a large den in the basement. Still, even though it's nothing fancy, it's my favorite place to be. We spend nearly every Thursday night through Saturday night there no matter what the season. It is so peaceful, I feel my stress floating away by the time we turn the car off the interstate. There's no phone service, TV service or internet. There's nothing to do but remodeling projects, which Ben and I both love, and playing with the kids. It's the perfect spot for some great family time. In the summer we laze around our slough on floats, putt around in paddle boats and sea kayaks, fish and waterski around the main channel. In the fall we rake leaves and jump into the piles and roast marshmallows and weenies over a fire. In the spring we play in the yard and plant lots and lots of flowers. In the winter we do crafts and science projects -- making paper flowers, candles, jewelry, volcanoes, gummy bugs and growing crystals to name a few.

2. Books. I could read non-stop. Once I start a book I will stay up all night until I finish it. When we built our house, I had the cabinetmaker put floor-to-ceiling shelves on every wall in our library. Yes, we have a library and study instead of a living room and dining room. Priorities, ya know? Anyway, the shelves even go over the doors. The cabinetmaker laughed and said I'd never fill those shelves. Well, those shelves are filled, each of the children's bedrooms have a bookshelf, and I have to donate some books before I can empty yet another box of books currently residing in my bedroom closet.

3. Home schooling. I love seeing my children learn. I have love teaching them to read. I love reading their wonderfully creative essays with equally creative spelling. I love seeing the middle school kids move into independent learning and developing their own special interests. I love the challenge of teaching my high schoolers and the debates with my very opinionated teenagers. I love going on really cool field trips. I love the bonding moments that have happened because I've had the opportunity to spend long periods of time with the kids. When a teenager suddenly wants to bare his or her soul at midnight, I can stay up until dawn if necessary without worrying about how that child will function at school that day. Sometimes those mom-and-teen chats just have to take priority over a math lesson.

4. Bicycling. We live down the road from an amazing bike trail called, "Rails to Trails". It's a trail made from an old railroad bed and runs 4.5 miles on one side of our road and about 3.5 miles on the other side down to a campground. The trail is gorgeous, runs along the river and passes over it on scenic wooden bridges in four different places. Ben and I each have two-passenger bike trailers for the four little guys, and our older guys pedal under their own power. We try to bike the nine-mile round-trip path several times a week. Sometimes the whole crew goes, but sometimes it's just alone time for Ben and me.

5. My husband. He is the best husband and father in the world. He always puts the kids' and my wants over his own. He helps home school the kids, helps with the housework and does the lion's share of the cooking. He's a fabulous cook! Besides that he is a mechanic *and* a talented do-it-yourselfer around the house. And he doesn't watch sports on TV. How could anyone be more fabulous than that?



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tax Season - YUCK!



Here is Ben sorting through some of our many receipts from the past year to give to our accountant. Ben is working hard on the taxes during a "play" weekend at the lake. Poor boy. We did our own taxes for years and years, but after becoming self employed eight years ago, we decided we needed an accountant who specialized in medical practices. I guess it's easier to have an accountant, but I'm not convinced. It seems like by the time we gather and sort all the paperwork and then come up all the totals, 90% of the work is completed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Weekend

We had a great weekend!  On Friday we spent the day at the Children's Science Museum.  The kids had such a good time and still weren't ready to leave after 4 1/2 hours.  The last time we went to the museum, Ephraim spent most of the day snoozing in his backpack, but today he was into everything. We even got a couple of words out of our mostly-silent boy because he got so excited. When he saw the robotic Tyrannosaurus rex, he got frightened, grabbed onto Ben's neck and yelled, "do, do, do" (no, no, no).  Later though he would point to the dinosaur and say, "dat" (that). "Dat" is for something he especially loves, such as turning on and off the light switch.  He also got excited about some mini-beach balls floating in the air over a blast of air. This time he waved his arms over his head and screamed, "dat, dat, dat". Everyone around us laughed at his excitement. He loved it when I would catch a ball, hand it to him, and then lift him up so he could drop the ball back into the stream of air.

That evening after supper we loaded up to check on our lake cabin.  It is in an area of Kentucky badly hit by the winter storms this week.  If you didn't hear about the storms, here's an article. Once we hit the Kentucky line, it looked like a tornado had touched down all along the sides of the road, and we had to creep for the last few streets, clearing limbs along the way.  We got to the cabin about 8 o'clock and found we had no lights, which we expected, but we also found no damage.  We had limbs down all over the yard the size of medium-sized trees, but as best as we could tell with our handy-dandy flashlight, there was no damage to our roof, our storage building, our boat, or our fence.  What a blessing!  We spent about 30 minutes walking around the yard and making sure there were no puddles inside the house, then we drove another 1 1/2 hours back home again.  The kids were really disappointed that we weren't going to stay, but we just weren't up to camping in 20 degree weather.  We do have a gas space heater in the finished basement, but we have an electric stove and didn't have food with us that didn't require cooking.  Ben wasn't too excited about getting up the next morning and facing temperatures in the teens while he prepared breakfast over a campfire!

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