Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Friday, July 22, 2011

If Only We Had City Water......

This has been our saying for the last 3 years and turned into a WAIL for the last year. About a year ago, our well started silting in, giving us even less water.

If only we had city water we could...

*pressure wash the house

*let the kids play in the sprinkler on hot days

*take long showers and baths

*flush the toilet as much as we want

*feel justified in turning our 2 story 2 car garage into living space

*water our garden when our rain barrels run dry

*do laundry at our house

The list goes on and on. And all of these things above are inconveniences. See, I have ALWAYS wanted to live in the country. In 2008,. we bought this beautiful 14.5 acre farm with a nice little house, backing up the the National Forest. Very secluded and perfect. In 2010 we bought an adjoining 9 acres from our neighbor.

See, we are the only road in our county without city water....

And when we bought this house, we were rightly told that city water was in the works and it would only be a few more years.

Well, we have been here 3 years now and it appears that we are no more closer to city water than we were at the beginning. Our county commissioner that got voted out last year told us that we would have our water by September of this year.

Not the first shovel full of dirt has been dug.

So, it was very tight, living with a family of 5 on a well that the driller told us would support a family of 4 if we conserved. But now we are a family of 7 and it is just not enough. Even with all the above inconvienences AND two more kids, I still wanted to hold on to this land. Aaron would mention selling because he was fed up long ago. I would beg "please, it is our dream!"

After going to Ethiopia and seeing all of the beautiful children in need of parents, we decided that we would, Lord willing, adopt again..

I kept reminding God that there were a few things we needed before we could adopt again...

1. to pay off the last adoption

2. to have city water

3. to turn our attached garage into more living space

Aaron mentioned about a month ago, that if we had city water, he didn't care how many children we adopted. STOP! that right there was a miracle from GOD in and of itself. You see. this is the same guy who was always happy with one child, then he was happy with 2, then he was happy with 3, and originally, the main reason he adopted was because I always wanted to. Also the same guy who when I mentioned in Jan 2010 that I thought we were supposed to ask for 2 children, didn't tell me until September that he thought God was telling him that too.

Yet while in Ethiopia, through no prompting by me said "next time we adopt, I want a little girl"

Back to city water (because our whole life revolves around the lack of it).

Like I said, the above list were inconveniences, but here is where this house, without city water, is coming between us and serving God.

I started thinking of things we can't do because of no water, and these are things that matter.

*invite people over, be hospitable...

*build on...our house is 1200 sq ft. we have 3 kids in one tiny room and 2 in the other tiny room.

*adopt again

And that is when I realized that this "dream" of mine was coming between me and God and what He might want me to do with my life.

Aaron has been willing to sell for a long time, but I was holding on very tightly. But I am willing to let it go now.

Last night we had realtors over to list our house.

I don't know if it will sell. Perhaps God wants us to stay here, perhaps He has different plans, but I know it won't sell if we don't list it. And I want to leave it up to God. How dare I hold on to this dream if it keeps a child(ren) from having parents and a home. Forgive me for my selfishness.

The real "living" will be in Heaven. My real dream home is being built day by day for eternity. Surely I can give up a few things on earth, so that not only I, but more children can someday be in the ultimate dream home!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Updates and Pictures

We were eating supper tonight. I looked over and thought how I couldn't believe how fast Seth had eaten his bananas. Then I noticed he was spearing his bananas with his fork, then putting them in his cup and stirring them up with his water. As you can see by his face, the concoction he made looked nasty. He can be so funny. This morning, Hannah and I were making cornbread for a recipe for supper and I happened to look over and there he was with a sippy cup full of tea in one hand, and a cracked, nasty eggshell in the other up to his lips (that he got out of the trash). So, in my frantic attempt to keep him from getting salmonella, I knocked the cup from his hand, the lid came off and a whole mess of sweet tea went everywhere.

Seth loves to go outside. And when he sees me putting on my shoes, he starts looking for his. For a long time he called his shoes "diapers" I don't know why, but now he calls them "oosh" It is cute. So I try to take him out when I can early in the morning or late in the evening and let him play around. Aaron was bushhogging the land tonight and since Seth loves the tractor, I put Ethan in the stroller and took Seth out, pulled up a chair and he alternated playing with the ball, playing with an axe handle, annoying the dogs/cats, and watching Aaron on the tractor. This afternoon, we heard a door slam and then Seth start screaming. He had locked himself in our bedroom. Thankfully, he was so scared, he just stood there and screamed instead of getting into mischief.

On another note, I took the stool specimens last week and haven't heard back yet. I hope we figure out what is going on. I emailed with a friend today who got home with their baby from Rwanda a few weeks before we got the boys and his son has giardia.

Ethan is doing well also. He still wakes up around 6am, which means I have to go to bed early nowadays. Sunday night I didn't go to sleep until after 1am. I then decided to skip my nap while the boys were sleeping. Big mistake, I was so sleepy yesterday afternoon and evening that I was practically useless. I hate "wasting" time taking a nap, but after yesterday I see it as take a nap for 30min-1 hour or be so sleepy that you waste even more time.

Ethan likes to play peek a boo and tries to cover his eyes. Which you can see in the picture is really cute. However, it does get annoying when he does it constantly while you are trying to navigate a spoon full of runny goodness to his mouth and his hands are constantly moving. He wore chicken and sweet potatoes on his forehead yesterday. He very much knows what "no" means. He is learning obedience already. It is funny that even if I say NO to Seth, Ethan stops what he is doing and looks to make sure I wasn't talking to him. I am not saying he doesn't do what I told him not to again, but he is learning to leave stuff alone.

I have gotten about 1/3 of our curriculum for this year. I wish I had ordered it earlier. UgH! Mistake on my part. I wanted to start school last Monday and all I got last week were Madelyns 5th grade workbooks. The day before yesterday I got 2 boxes full of stuff. The way this curriculum is, you really need 99% of the books or you will start out behind and constantly be playing catch up. So I am hoping to get the majority of the books needed to start and if I do, then I can go forward in some and catch up the the others that aren't here. That is the bad thing about this curriculum place. You get your stuff in sections, but it isn't like they send you the first 6 weeks first, you just get it all jumbled up. We did start reviewing Math this week. We use Math U See and they have online drills you can do, which I love. We have used them a ton since we got satellite internet (and not dialup)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is summer over yet?

I think summer might be my least favorite season. I loved it growing up. Not as much as fall, but I can't stand the constant sweating anymore. Or being stuck in the house because the heat index is so high, and putting sunscreen on, because that is what you want right before you sweat, to fill your pores with lotion.
Anyway, I am glad we live where there are 4 seasons, but I really wish it would cool off a little.
I took Hannah to the doctor yesterday. It wasn't too bad. I put the boys in a stroller and told the girls not to ask if they could get out of them, no matter how much they wanted out. It was loud, but for the most part, the boys didn't whine too much. Hannah ended up with a 100.3 temp and the doctor looked at her throat and said it didn't look like strep at all. Couldn't find anything wrong with her, but since she had been running a fever since Thursday, she gave her an antibiotic and she already feels better 24 hours after taking the first dose.
I signed up to go back to work this week. EEKS! I really didn't want to and would love to continue to stay home, but we really need to pay down some of these loans. And I am planning to work my minimum 32 hours a month only, which means not as much money as I would like to apply to all of the adoption loans. We have two loans that are no interest, but the other two, a personal loan, and a credit card really need to be paid off. Even with me working, it won't go down much before next year, but every little bit helps.
And even though I don't want Aaron to go out of town, sometimes if he can get a two week detail somewhere else, he makes about 3-4 times his normal pay . So maybe this fall he can get a few details in, if there are any. The bad thing is, he had to turn down 4-5 this spring because of not knowing when we would be going to ET each time, he couldn't leave town for 16 days and then have the call to go to Africa.
I got our final stool specimen this morning and now need to drive to Decatur sometime today to turn them in, which is a 45 min. drive from our house. I may wait until Mom gets off work at 4 to see if she wants to ride with all of us.
It is so hard to get ahead with the bills when stuff keeps coming up. For instance, our Montero is in the shop the 2nd time in the last two weeks. We had it towed last week and told them we thought the alternator was broken. Because we have had so many alternators go out, we know how the car acts. Well, the mechanic changes the battery and calls to tell us it was just the battery. So of course after about 15 miles of driving, we realize that the alternator really is going out. The first bill was $178 which inclued $50 for towing (which should be paid for by insurance). This 2nd bill which included fixing the alternator, changing 3 belts, and changing the oil is going to cost $310. I guess going back to work is a good idea, since our savings is swiftly being eaten up.
I was going to try to work 4 8hour shifts a month, but instead, I signed up for 8 4hr shifts. I hate to do that, but I think this will be easier on Aaron if I work 7-11 at night. I leave around 6:20 and get home around 1145pm. Ethan goes to bed at 7pm and then Seth at 8pm, and then Aaron can put the girls to bed and he can go to bed. Aaron is off every other Friday, so every other week I will work 7-11 Thur, Fri, and Sat nights. Since Aaron is off the next day, he can get up at 6am with Ethan. I normally can't go to sleep until 12:30 or 1am after working until 11pm. Then every other week I will work Fri and Sat nights. That is for the next schedule. We will see how that works and if we need to, I can always change it in Sept.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It is so hot!

We went outside this morning for about an hour. The heat index is supposed to be 105 the next few days, so I figured if we were going to get out, it would have to be early. Both Ethan and Seth woke up around 6am and Seth has been a whiny bear all morning.

I am in a delimma right now as to what to do..... I was planning on getting up and taking Hannah to the walk in clinic at 8:30 when it opened. However, when she woke up with a normal temp, I decided not to take her. Well, now 3 hours later, her temp is 99.7. Normally I would not take her to a doctor for that small temp, but since she has been running a temp off and on since Thursday night, I need to take her. But now we are in the midst of naptime. Ethan is sleeping right now and probably will wake up anytime. I could probably put Seth down now and he would sleep a few hours, since he got up 2 hours early today. When to go to the clinic? If her temp gets above 100, I will take her. Maybe she is getting better. As you can tell in the above pictures, she isn't looking too sick. But she has been exposed to strep, and when she went to the doctor last week, the doctor thought it was a virus since her strep test was neg. But she also said her strep test could have been done too early too for it to show up.

We only got to spend about an hour outside before the kids got too hot and wanted to come in. I was planning on starting school today, I had ordered our curriculum last week, but then they said they wouldn't even start sending it until today...sooo, I may do a few review days just to fill up time and every day counts. I just hate wasting all of this "bored" time inside. We all love the spring and fall and it is soooo hard to stay inside and do school when it is beautiful outside.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

All 5 kids in the house!

Aaron's parents brought Madelyn and Hannah home last night, so that makes everyone now at home.
Hannah has been running a fever off and on since Thursday night, so that means either Aaron or I will be staying home from church with her tomorrow.
On another note, we went to the International adoption clinic in Birmingham Wed. with the boys. It took 4 hours, but the people there were real nice. First the social worker came in and asked us about each boy individually and how each was adjusting. She was surprised that both boys are sleeping so well. Ethan normally goes to sleep around 7pm and wakes up between 6-7am. Ethan takes a 30min-1hour nap around 9am. Then takes another 1-2 hour nap around noon. Seth goes to bed at 8pm and normally sleeps until 8am. He then takes a 2-4 hour nap at noon. Weird because Seth who is 18 months old sleeps more than Ethan who is only 7 months old.
After the social worker finished, Ethan had a dirty diaper and I figured they might want to test their stool, since Seth has not had a normal BM since we have known him. So, the CNA came in with a trainee and demonstrated getting the stool samples that I am now having to collect. As a nurse, you would think it wouldn't bother me. But I HATE collecting stool samples at work. GROSS!!!!!!!!! It is weird because I can clean up poop all day long and it doesn't bother me at all, but take a spoon and scoop it into a cup?? Something is so wrong about that. I always feel so sorry about the "present" I am sending some poor lab person who has to open it up and see what is inside.
Anyway, after they took off the first of 3 samples from each boy that we are having to collect this week, the doctor came in.
She inspected them and said they looked real healthy. Ethan weighs almost 22lb and Seth weighs approx 24lb and Seth is 11 months older. I guess that is why people are always asking me if they are twins. After the doctor examined them we went to have their blood drawn.
I took Ethan in first while Aaron sat in the waiting room with Seth. Ethan, who is never, ever still, was so angry at having his blood drawn. They also had to stick him twice to get enough blood and prick his finger. But I really think he was more mad about me lying on top of him, keeping him from moving than he was about the sticks. It took about 30 min. for them to get all the blood they needed.
Meanwhile, poor Aaron is in the waiting room with Seth who has now filled his diaper. When the CNA walked us down the hall into another area of the building to have blood drawn, she suggested we just leave all of our stuff (stroller, diaper bags, stool sample kits etc. ) in the room and come get it on the way out. So Aaron is out there with this foul -smelling (most of the time his nasty stool smells like vomit) kid wondering if he has time to run down the hall to the other office to get our stuff to change him, before I come out and wonder if he and Seth have left us. So, I finally come out with Ethan, Aaron runs to the other office with Ethan and I just stand there waiting with Seth because I really don't want to get involved with this blood draw until he is clean. Aaron finally gets back with all of our stuff, I clean Seth and we go back to have his blood drawn.
Seth, who is the master of all facial expressions, was cracking the ladies up who were drawing his blood. He sat so still in my lap, I barely had to hold him. They stuck him the first time and of course, like I expected, he screamed, then took a deep breath and I thought another one was coming, but he stopped, and just watched with interest the blood going into the syringe. And then he would do his surprised face and that cracked the ladies up too. Then when they pricked his finger, he didn't even make a peep like it even hurt. He told them "bye" waved and walked out smiling.
I love them so much. They have done so great since coming home. They just fit right in.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What a disaster of a week!

What a miserable week this has been.
Sunday - left Hannah at Aaron's parents and left Madelyn and Natalie at camp.

Monday - get a call from camp nurse that Madelyn has a 101 fever. Aaron's dad goes and picks her up and Aaron heads to TN to take her to doctor. Doctor says she has swimmer's ear and is not contagious, writes a note to camp, but camp won't let her come back until Tuesday morning.

Tuesday am- Aaron's dad drives Madelyn 1 1/2 hours back to camp and leaves her now that she is fever -free

Tuesday 9pm - Get a call from camp nurse letting us know that Natalie has a 102.4 fever. Nurse says she can spend the night in nurses cabin and we can get her in the morning. Call Blake (my niece) to see if she can pick up Natalie in the morning. She agrees.

Wednesday am - Blake gets Natalie from camp and takes her to Aaron's parents. Aaron's mom takes her to doctor and she has strep throat and feels awful.

Wednesday afternoon - Aaron and I didn't pick Natalie up from camp because we had an appt at the international adoption clinic today that we have been waiting for a month. Didn't want to cancel if at all possible. Arrive at 12:15 for 12:30 appt. Didn't get done until 4pm!

Wednesday evening - Called Aaron's parents as soon as we were done at appt. in Birmingham. Natalie was still feeling pretty bad and wanted to come home, so Mom agreed to come pick me and the boys up at the interstate and Aaron headed straight to TN to pick Natalie up and bring her home. Madelyn calls crying, wanting me to agree to pick her up at camp ( a 4 hour trip both ways) rather than make her ride to bus back to Smyrna ( a 2 1/2 hour trip both ways) because she doesn't have anyone to sit beside on the bus now that Natalie has left. I am just praying that I don't get a call tomorrow that Madelyn is now sick! I think I will scream if I do!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Party & Splashpad

Here are some pictures of the boys at our 4th party on Saturday night. We happened to get Ethan's US citizenship papers on Friday. I am assumming that Seth's are on their way.

I also took the kids to the splashpad here in town last week. Ethan sat with me in the shade. As you can tell by the pictures, Seth wasn't so sure about it at first. He would not let Madelyn put him down. He gradually got to where she could walk around holding his hand. Then they walked through the water holding hands, then he finally just let go and walked around alone, going through all the water jets. Looks like we need to go back next week when the girls are home.

Some good friends from church invited us over for supper last night. Aaron was still out of town, so they told me to bring Mom. It was delicious and every vegetable dish, she had made out of her garden. By the time we left at 8pm, both boys were spent. Ethan does not like to go to sleep in someone's arms, even though he screams at times when you put him in bed, he likes to be able to spread out on his belly to sleep. They were both asleep by the time we got a mile down the road. When I got home, I was surprised to see the Montero parked in the yard close to the road. Aaron was walking to the house with his bags he took to TN. Apparently the Montero died in the front yard. He thinks the alternator was going out the last few miles. What a blessing he was able to make it to the yard. So I will be calling a tow truck this morning. Madelyn didn't really want to stay and go back to camp and he said when he left her in TN at the grandparents she was mopey. However, when she called last night, she seemed chipper and excited that she was already feeling better. So, if she doesn't have a fever this morning, Tommy will be taking her back to camp.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Another child no longer an orphan!

I found out a few months ago that some friends that we went to college with were also adopting from Ethiopia. So we have been kind of paralleling each others' journeys. When I found out Friday that they were flying into the Nashville airport Sunday afternoon and that we were going to be in that area then, Aaron and I decided it would be neat to welcome them at the airport. We managed to find the group waiting for them and got to be there as another miracle occured! It is so exciting to see another child with a family! There were a total of 5 Ethiopian children there all adopted within the last year. Including one little girl who was in the transition house with our boys and we met here while on our court date.

On another note, this weekend was busy. We drove up to Lebanon on Saturday morning to Aaron's parents house. We put the boys down for their naps almost as soon as they got there. Then we drove back to Smyrna for a July 4th party where my dad and brother attend church. It was at a family's house from church and I got to see some people I grew up with, although I hardly knew anyone since I haven't attended there since I was 18 and left for college. There was a 45 min. fireworks show there that would rival any city show. I had taken Ethan to the bathroom to change a diaper when it started, but Seth, who up til this point would not get close to my dad, was sitting in his lap, clinging for dear life when I came back from the bathroom. Apparently, the fireworks started and he freaked out and ran to the first person he recognized. As soon as he saw me, he came to my lap and after a few minutes, he actually started clapping. Ethan, even though he was up way past his bedtime, even enjoyed watching them and wasn't scared of the noise.

Sunday, we got up early and went to church services in Lebanon, then drove to Smyrna to drop the girls off at the church to ride the bus to camp. Madelyn wanted us to stay until the bus drove away so Aaron, Seth, Ethan and I stood there and waved while they drove away. Then we drove around while the boys slept in the car until we had to wake them up in order to go in the airport.

We got a call this morning from camp saying that Madelyn had a fever of 101 and they had to send her home. Since we are about 4 hours away and Aaron's parents are 1 1/2 hours away, Tommy went and got her. Aaron drove up to Lebanon and met them and took Madelyn to a walk in clinic. The doctor said she had swimmers ear and even wrote a note saying she was not contagious, but camp still wouldn't let her come back until tomorrow, if her fever is gone. So right now, Aaron and Madelyn are hanging out at Aaron's parents trying to decide what to do. Madelyn just wants to come home, I want her to go back to camp tomorrow and Aaron is thinking about spending the night and driving her back to camp and taking the day off work since it will take about 6 hours to take her to camp and then drive home. So frustrating.

I know it isn't her fault she is sick, but with our financies so tight right now, it was a stretch to pay for camp and then to have it wasted, I just want to cry. UGH!