Saturday, March 31, 2007

Update on our life

Roman calls fudgcicles “fudskizzles”

He keeps asking if it is Spring Break. He knows that means going to a hotel with a pool, and Aunt Serena’s, and Grandpa in a different house!

He wants to move to a new house “with a garage.” Then we were talking about decks while riding in the car, and he said when we buy a new house, Daddy and Grandpa can build a big, BIG deck. I asked him what should they do if the new house already has a deck and Roman replied, “it won’t.”

Roman asks a lot about death and wants to know how old people will be when they die (like me, him, Oma, etc). He asked about Oma dying, and I said it’s okay – she’ll just live with God. He thought about that for a minute, and then said “when Oma’s an angel, will I see her eyes?” I almost cried, it was so sweet.
He went further, of course. He asked about angel’s wings. Do they hurt when we get them? How do we make them work? I answered as best I could, and then he asked my favorite: “how do angels ride in cars with their wings?” I had to keep myself from laughing and crying at the same time. I said that I thought we could fold up our wings close to our bodies and then sit in cars. Roman thought that was probably true. Then he asked, “do angels ride in cars?” I said sure, angels go anywhere so they can watch over us. He was done with the conversation after this, but it sure had me thinking for a long time.

In house news, we have an Open House tomorrow so we took it upon ourselves to do some curb appeal. Instead of shelling out $$ for a railing around the deck (hundreds of dollars) we bought 4 big terra-cotta-like planters and spaced them across the front. Put some flowers in and wow, does it look nice. Put new cypress mulch (wood-chip-like) down around the garden areas and took the side stairs off the deck. While Doug worked there were 4 separate cars that went around the block a few times, one that finally did stop and take a flyer and make another cruise around. Since about 20 flyers have disappeared in the past 2 weeks, we’re feeling pretty hopeful even though it looks like rain tomorrow!

My swim team is doing great, 4 meets and we've won them all. We had a "potty mouth" problem this past Tuesday but after the head coach lectured them, they were much better Thurs. Next Wed. is the last meet - I'm ready for it to be done this year!

Grad class is going fine. I had a presentation (along with 2 other assignments) due this past Thursday so it made for a busy week. Only one more assignment left (due end of April) and a final. Whew.

Lastly, the cats were allowed upstairs overnight for the first time Thursday night. They had been receiving "supervised" visits but have not bothered with the corner in the living room. It is great to have them around again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

God's timing is not OUR timing

Our pastor has been doing a series on Romans, and we're in the "handbook" section now. He calls it, "how to be a Christian without being religious." Which is right up my alley, as many know. Today we covered Romans chapter 12, verses 9-20, the "real love" section as our pastor called it. Well anyway, amidst all that Christian-love talking, Pastor Steve talked about timing. God's timing. And how God's timing is not our timing - in fact, almost always isn't our timing. And while the rest of the sermon was good, this line has stuck with me. Gives comfort. I don't know why more people our age don't "go in" for religion. It sure makes one feel better.

I say this because aside from the house not selling issue, we feel undecided about when/if the next adoption occurs. There are obviously financials to consider, and places, and timing. We had always felt that we'd like a second child when Roman was between 4-6 years old. Based on what we hear timing is like in Russia, we should start the paperwork now for a projected one year wait (or more). Or South America, too, has close to a one-year completion date. And who knows about other countries... we continue to shy away from Russia due to length of time away from home on the second trip, and the time zone changes that we could barely handle the first time, let alone with a child at home already.

And then the U.S. comes out with this announcement on Friday. It's pretty much second only to flat-out banning adoption from Guatemala. So maybe we'll take advice from the line in the sermon - God's timing will happen. And we'll just let it be, for right now. It doesn't feel quite right starting paperwork at this point, desiring to move communities and with me working my way back to full-time employment. So Roman will have to wait for his playmate a little longer.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A casino for kids

We went to that gambling mecca for children, Chuck E. Cheese, this evening. It was Roman's first time ever, and we invited Maxwell and his parents to join us. They had been for birthdays, but we knew what to expect. And wow, did those little boys have fun! They spent time with video games and in the younger children's area playing in the "hampster tube" as we call it. We were there close to 2 hours by the time we counted our tickets and got a couple small prizes. Roman fell asleep very quickly this evening, as you can imagine!

In other news, we decided to have installed new carpet in our living room and hallway. Our old stuff wasn't tacked down well and was "wrinkling" in a lot of places, and the traffic pattern was definitely noticeable. What we got is a shade or two lighter - no shoes allowed! (my mom will shake her head with laughter at that one!).
In the middle of the carpet being laid, who should call but a realtor wanting to show the house at 1:30. Our place was a beehive, with Roman and I in the basement cleaning, Doug trying to clean and pick up over the carpet layers, and the carpet layers working fast to try to be out. Well, they came later than they said, and the realtor came to the door - sorry, but we don't have a garage, so the woman doesn't even want to look in the house. This is the second time that has occurred, and because of the garage. Damn buyer's market.

But, that did get us talking. We'll keep the house up on the market through our agreement with our realtor, which ends in May. If we haven't gotten any serious lookers to keep our hopes up by then, we're taking it off and staying another year. We'll use the money we've saved up for the move to do some improvements (like maybe even the garage), and use my raise in the next school year to save up again. Not happy about it, but at least we have a plan. I can't stand limbo.
People have said "oh, end of the school year is the time" and then "summer is the time" and even "August is the time, before school starts" but it appears to us that our house is priced right where it should be (without giving it away), is the better deal when compared to others in our neighborhood, and if we can't get people IN the house then it doesn't matter what time of year it is. Ah, well. I want to move so Roman can start kindergarten in the neighboring city, and that doesn't happen until 2008. I guess we have some time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The adoption is finished!

Officially. Finally. We had our last post-placement report apostilled this morning, dropped it into a FedEx box on Michigan Ave. in Lansing (much like another day, a little over 3 years ago), and we're done. No more reports to send to Russia... this has left us with a bittersweet feeling. There is a sense of finality to it, for sure. Which is nice. A weight lifted off the shoulders - no more keeping track of how many months it's been, getting all the information right, tracking down doctors' appointments, finding appropriate pictures...

On the other hand, it's over. An adoption that in some cases technically has lasted since May 2003 - finished. Which is sad, on the other hand. After I teared up a little bit, my next thought was - "let's call Frank for another application!" We laughed about it, and decided it's about a year off before we start thinking seriously. We're keeping track of laws and what's happening in Russia, but we also are keeping our options open (you hear that, South America?). But right now we'll enjoy our wonderful boy, and our blessed family.

Of course, now we have to appear in court in our county to get Roman's "American" birth certificate, figure out how to renew his passport - both Russian & American, and....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Muddling through

This week was a week of challenges. I found out my schedule for next year, and I've gained only 1 hour - for a total of 4 hours, not 5 which would make me full time. I could gain that hour by August, as teacher schedules always change. But, it would be a challenging schedule - 4 preps with last-hour break, which I hate. So who knows what will happen. My salary will increase, which is nice...

Week two of swimming and the challenges reared their heads. Who picks Roman up, what to have for dinner when I don't get home until 5:45, and a boy who now stays at preschool until 5pm makes for everyone to be tired and cranky. Roman has been asking to stay home and "just play" because he has so little time to do that. By the time we eat dinner, it's 1-1/2 hours, sometimes less, before bedtime. On the plus side, he's falling asleep immediately; on the down side, he's getting up every night and coming in to his sleeping bag in our room. At least he's not getting in our bed anymore...

We're all getting healthier, although Doug suspects he's been partaking of too much coffee in the morning. He's really tired by evening as well, but it could be the stresses of his job that have started taking a toll. Again, there are pluses and minuses - he is really beginning to formulate a plan (and using his Masters degree!) for work.

In less complaining news, we decided to take a vacation for Spring Break. We will be spending a couple days in Atlanta visiting brother VE & his wife; then a few days with my parents, who will be in a condo in Hilton Head. We had held off on making a decision in hopes that there would be some movement on our house; but not so much. And it'll be nice to get away as a family.