Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Books to Read

I'm a reader, a fanatical over the top reader. I read on average 2 books a week, a magazine here and there, newspapers when I happen upon them etc. I love the ability to curl up on the sofa and enter another world, a world where I know people's thoughts (because they are right there on the page) Hence the longing for the afore mentioned Kindle that Santa did not deliver.

Anyhow one of my favorite books, or series of books rather is the OUTLANDER series by Diana Gabaldon. The series has been ongoing for 15 years or so, the books come out every three to four years. I discovered the series when Hubby and I first married at the libary and had the luxury or reading straight through the first 3 books one after another, after that I was reduced to the drudgery of waiting on the next book to be published. I was excited when out Christmas shopping to discover the newest book was out and snatched it up like the crazy lady buying pajamas on black Friday. Merry Christmas to me, didn't even wait on it to make it to the library, not that it ever would here in Kornfield, the only thing the library here seems to purchase is large print editions of Christian novels. Anyhow I digress, finishing the book and longing for the next one - #8 - I went on line to see when it would be published, not even an estimated date from the author's site so likely it will be years. In the meantime I thought I would start my own collection of the books. Quite frankly I rarely buy books as they are expensive and I don't re-read the things. However this is just about my favorite books, it's been 10+ years since I read the first one and quite honestly the last one had me lost a lot because I couldn't remember many of the details from the first six books. So tonight I got my happy self on E-bay and bidded on the first two books of the series, I'll likely land them for $5 each which is a pretty good score, unfortunately they are not hardcovers but I'm not really looking for collector pieces just copies of a fun set of books to read. Anyhow if you like historical romance, mixed with a tiny bit of science fiction, action and interesting charachters head down to the library and check out the first of the series - it's OUTLANDER. Make sure to start with that one or you'll be a little lost, and if you like that one there are six more books in the same vein to entertain you. For what it's worth I'm not one of the crazy fans on the numerous sites devoted to these books or else I would have known this latest book came out in September. Also found it interesting that a movie may be made from the first book, I can't imagine it as it's a regular tome, quite lengthy and full of detail, however I suppose I'd be the first one in line when it opens though I doubt I'd dress up like a charachter from the book.

The last couple of days have been rough. I've battled a rough migraine on both Monday and today. Thanks to the miracles of modern science I managed to fight my way through them without a trip to the ER, however the kids have been left somewhat to their own devices, especially today as I woke up with the monster. I think Sonny Boy would prefer I'm sick because I'm willing to let any electronic media go for hours if it keeps him entertained so he got to watch a lot of TV, play a lot of DS, play a lot of Wii today. Igor not being into any of those endevours simply just made a HUGE mess of toys and agravated his brother a lot while I lay on the couch and refereed the best I could the haze of the meds which leave me weak and sleepy. This evening I'm on better functioning plain, however the meds had me sleeping too much today and it's now midnight and I'm just starting to get a little groggy.

We are discussing driving up to WI this weekend to do a little winterizing work on the house up there. The heating bill came in today and at $175 bucks to keep it frigid but not frozen it's getting expensive so we are looking into draining the heating systems and pipes and running antifreeze through things. Not the most fun endevour, but heating a house we are not in isn't fun either. Happy new year huh?

Well I'm rambling again and I guess I should meander off to bed, the kids will be up early and I've got barn duty in the am, it's supposed to be downright cold and I'm not looking forward to corralling the kids while I work. Sonny Boy is quite the explorer and wanders all over the place when I'm not looking, makes me nervous, however he does seem to have enough sense to stay out from under horse hooves and he's met a downright nasty fellow there who is all about biting so he been taught the signs of when NOT to pet a horse. However I realized almost too late I'd never taught him about an electric fence. He didn't get zapped, but it would have happened in 5 more minutes had I not heard the fence cycling on and off.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's the 9's

I'm possibly thinking years that end in 9 are not good for me. My parents separated and later divorced in 1980 - I know not a "9" year, however I know there were problems long before that and I can remember even as a young child around five years old asking if my parents would ever divorce. While the bulk of the nastiness was hidden from me the tension was still there. 1989 - well honestly I can't come up with any earth shattering things bad. I didn't get a spot on the homecoming court, I didn't make the cheer leading squad. All things heart breaking at the time but in the big scheme of things not a big deal. 1999 - This qualified as bad year, as 1998 closed we were in the middle of buying our first house, a real "fixer-upper" if there ever was one. One of the reasons we bought this particular house is that my mother was a real go getter and convinced us she would come on the weekends, a couple of hour drive, often and help us with paint projects and the like. Sounds like a good start to the new year right? New house, with potential and help from mom. Well didn't work out so wonderfully. Just as we were in the middle of stripping UGLY wallpaper from the first room my mother had an aneurysm rupture in her brain and spent Presidents day thru Memorial Day in the hospital. After that she needed re-hab and could not live alone so she lived with us while attending rehab for a few months. It was a long six months juggling house rehab, work, mother in and out of ICU, recovering from brain injury two hours away and being an only child. Through God's grace she recovered, however she has never gotten her gusto back and the personality change has been difficult for everyone to adjust to in the last decade. Needless to say she never painted the first wall in the house that she talked us into buying. 2009 - well you've been here reading the ins and outs. Loss of a job, move from a loved house and town to a non lovable house and town. I can only hope things change in 2010.

Christmas went well this year. My mother and Father-in-law came for the holiday. It was interesting functioning in such a small house with two extra adults. Not to mention my father-in-law is the most talkative person who has ever lived! Four days of his voice was about my limit, particularly in this small house where there is no where to get away from it short of going somewhere. The kids were excited with their gifts. Where we were determined to make a smaller Christmas this year the rest of the family made up for it and went on a spending spree so I don't think the kids ever noticed that the gift load from everyone else was bigger than that given by their parents. So far the kids report their favorite gifts are an electrical circuit board thing given buy their aunt, and a small stuffed Elmo that thankfully does nothing. Sonny Boy did score a DS and I like it as much as him, particularly one game that is puzzles that I purchased and did not realize it was well above a 6 year old's capabilities.

The big family gift though will come the end of January as we are meeting Hubby's family at the Wisconsin Dells for a couple of days of waterpark fun. Igor has been excited about it though he has no clue why other than he'll get to go swimming. He asks every other day or so where his swim trunks are as I guess he's concerned I'll forget to pack them. ( as crazy as I am lately that might be legitimate) Sonny Boy is counting down the days and is dismayed that mom and dad have ruled he would wear a life jacket most of the time in the park and that he is 1/2 an inch too short for the big rides, though I have a feeling they'll let him go lacking that little bit. Who knows, he might make the 1/2 inch anyway, all of his pants are now getting too short suddenly.

The weekend at the Dells coincides with talkative father-in-law's birthday so I'm planning a creation of a cake. I hope I can pull it off, we'll see as I've never attempted such an elaborate cake before. Today I made some sugar decorations for it. Just a word of warning molten sugar is VERY hot. I'm thinking I would like to learn to do all the fancy cakes. Not just the decorated variety you find at the local Wal-Mart but the really elaborate ones like on ACE OF CAKES or those shows where they compete to design and make a huge fancy cake or sugar sculpture in a 10 hour time span.

Well anyway I'm rambling and saying much of nothing. Here's hoping '10 is better than '09 and Happy New Year to you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

Since the chances of actually writing a decent post between now and Christmas is quickly diminishing I'm going to dash off a few lines in the next 10 min before I have to pick up the kids at school. Forgive grammatical, spelling and type-o's please.

Today was Igor's Christmas party so I'm sure he'll be wound up like a top on sugar when I get him and also his last day of preschool before the holiday. Tomorrow I will take him in the morning and he will sing in a Christmas program (Oh dear gotta charge the camcorder battery and iron the boy's good shirts!)

Tomorrow is Sonny Boy's party after the program, he gets out of school early but not terribly so.

When I pick up the kids I plan on taking the boys to Wal-Mart with me so they can pick out a Christmas present for their dad and hopefully I can get a few groceries. I'll likely need a drink when I get home.

Sunday we had a visit from G, Hubby's old boss and went out to dinner with him. It was nice to visit with someone that you don't have explain your whole background to with every story.

This morning I awoke to an opossum in my cat trap. I guess that pretty much settles that all the cats are removed from the neighborhood for a while. I didn't want to call animal control for the opossum as I figured they might forget about the trap and I could keep it if the feral cat problem returns (I'm sure it will) however while I was out releasing the opossum and working at the barn animal control came by looking for their trap and left a note on the door. So much for that theory.

One more weird thing to mention - who the heck is my reader in Sweden? Are you some of Hubby's far flung relatives or just somebody who checks in now and then?

Anyway Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Too much Christmas?

ARRRGGG! Currently Rudolph is playing on one TV and Frosty on the other because the boys can't agree on which Christmas movie to watch. Wouldn't be so bad but I can hear both of them and there really is no way to turn either down.

The Christmas shopping D-O-N-E, I will wrap tomorrow while the kids are at school. Just waiting on the big man to cram himself down the chimney - I guess he'll go into the boiler?

Things have been pretty lackluster here. The kids and I battled colds all last week, nothing serious but lots of mucous around the house for a few days. On Sunday I took Sonny Boy into the I-Max theater to see Santa vs the Snowman. I'm not sure I like the "I-Max experience" I didn't realize I would literally have to turn my head to see the entire screen and the constant stuff in my visual periphery quickly had my head spinning, I'm glad it wasn't a full length film. I wonder if the I-max thing gets better with big pictures where the photography is as much the movie as the plot? I'm thinking Dances With Wolves would be good - showing the huge expanse of open plain kind of thing.

Riding and working at the barn has taken a good chunk of time. I'm rarely out there more than a couple of hours at a time, but add the 30 minute drive and the fact I'm there about 3 days a week. I don't mind though, it's something to do and Igor has overcome his fear of cats and horses. Personally I'm living with a severely stiff body. Finding muscles that haven't been used in years, both riding and working has me a little gimpy. It's fun though, getting back into the riding and I'm starting to remember - kinda like falling off a bike! Happily it's not falling off a horse.

We've had no luck with renting the house up in WI so I guess it sits empty. Our wonderful neighbor is going to keep an eye on things and make sure the sidewalk is cleared of snow. Right now we are just letting it sit and hoping something wonderful will happen. Financially we've somehow been able to float the mortgage without dipping into savings - though no bank accounts are currently growing at all. Thankfully we had little debt and Hubby decided to refinance the cars just before he was laid off (we expected the layoff) to lower our car payments significantly, we'll be paying for them forever but at least we have decent vehicles that will hopefully make it for a while.

The kids are all doing very well. Sonny Boy's reading is getting better everyday and I think he's pretty bored with his school work as it's not challenging to him at all. Igor loves going to school and talks about his teachers and the other kids but somehow I have a feeling he doesn't speak unless spoken to when he's there. I will say his teacher is super enthusiastic and was thrilled to show me he had written "E"s the other day. She is a cute girl, hope she doesn't burn out teaching as I can imagine that has a quick burn out rate.

Well I suppose that's all there is, gotta get back to my dishes. I let them pile up and I hate it when I do that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

...Even stoplights blink a bright red and green...

but not here in Kornfield, Il. There are no stoplights so I suppose the Christmas spirit has passed me by this year. I'm really not feeling the season and would cancel things if I could get away with it.

Not much new here. Just daily grind living. Most of the Christmas shopping is done, the house is decorated at least as much as I'm gonna do it. Mom is planning on coming up so I guess it will be a quiet Christmas.

The weather here stinks today. WINDY, the house is creaking and groaning, I hope the power lines stay up. It's cold and it's spitting snow, we missed out on the big snow that they got back in WI which bums me as I'm a lot like a kid for the really big snows though I do hate the shoveling.''

I guess that's all the news

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

My children came home from school today with these hats. Do you not find them a little ironic? Just another odd piece of info all the kids in Sonny Boy's class were Native American, all the kids in Igor's class were Pilgrims (the girls had bonnets) so I did not switch them around nor did they choose what to make.

Hope your Thanksgiving is good!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Holidays Already??!!

Wow, I can't believe next weekend it is Thanksgiving, it feels as though last week it was July 4th. Time flies I suppose.

I've been busy, but honestly I can't tell you just what I've been doing. Two mornings a week I work at the barn with Igor tagging along chattering behind me and generally being a menace to the barn cats. Igor is loosing his fear of horses and will touch them on the nose when he is held. I don't want him to loose too much fear however or I might look up and find him in the pasture under hooves. So far the horses are turned out when we are there, with the exception of two stallions, but they are kept in an area of the barn I do not work in, and they seem to be gentle souls regardless of their frisky reputations.

I had my first and second riding lessons this last week as well. The trainer put me on a Tennessee Walker. It was the first time I have ever ridden a gaited horse - if you don't know the difference google it, as it's hard to explain. Anyhow it was a different experience and not really what I thought I was getting, nothing like the training I had before, however it IS a totally different style of riding, the horse is trained differently, and adjusting to the rolling gait is a bit unusual. The barn is a MUCH bigger establishment than the one I worked at before and has some very nice facilities, but they also have practices that would send my old trainer through the roof like not cleaning tack after it is used which was a pet peeve of hers.

Igor's new glasses came in this week. Though they are a much stronger prescription the lenses are a lot thinner as the new vision insurance would pay at least a percentage for the thinner lens. He also got new frames with cable temples that actually keep the glasses up on his face correctly instead of sliding down his nose like a little old man. While researching the vision insurance I got myself and Sonny Boy in as well to see the eye doc. Sonny Boy has an eagle eye where it appears my peepers are going further downhill and need a small adjustment to my Rx. Since the insurance will pay for a new pair of glasses I will go ahead and get them. I am a bit concerned as it seems the new trend is larger frames again and I'm not so sure about that.

Sonny Boy is being his usual run and go self. He's been a little mad the last few weeks as he hasn't gotten to go out to the barn while I work, and feels left out of all the fun that shoveling poop is. He did get invited to a birthday party at McD's and had fun there as most of his classmates attended.

Hubby finished the last of the drywall mess this afternoon. All we need now is a shelf/rod and we can hang some clothes up! I'll worry about paint later as I don't intend to paint the interior of the closet anyway. Yay, no more boxes in my bedroom!

My mother will be coming up for the holiday. I don't know if we'll do anything. Hubby's employer gave him a turkey so we'll cook that but only because it's here. I wasn't planning on a big meal and one of us will end up eating at a TV tray anyway as our table only seats 4 people (our dining room set is still in the other house, there is not room for it here) If the weather holds we might go into town as Mom has always wanted to see the St. Louis Zoo and that's a cheap enough day - it's free believe it or not. Personally I'm anxious to see the black Friday ads and see if there are some good deals for X-mas gifts for the kids. Sonny Boy is begging for a DS, Igor just wants trucks! I just want Christmas over, do you think the kids would notice if we skipped it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Turtle Playground, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

St. Louis Science Center, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wishing things would settle down...

Gosh I feel like I'm in a dead run lately and I get nothing accomplished. I'm hoping things will settle now as the weather cools.

Thursday was a running day and had my blood pressure skyrocketing. The day started with dropping Sonny Boy at school a little early to the community room so I could get a head start to Children's Hospital of St. Louis as the last trip there was a nightmare. This time I got a 10 minute head start which didn't matter anyway as traffic was fine and we were 20 minutes early. After exam and dilation Igor was written a Rx for even stronger glasses. Poor guy is wearing coke bottles as it is, the new ones are going to be worse. Anyhow to top the need for new glasses the doctor wants to put Igor under anesthesia for a closer look at his eyes as he's worried about retinal tears and he can't get a good look without manipulating the eye, can be done in adult but kids won't stand for it so we are scheduled for that after Christmas for that procedure. While at the appointment the eye doctor said to go to X for Igor's new glasses as they are the best at young children's glasses. Thinking I had plenty of time and I was most of the way there anyway I started for the optical shop. My wonderful GPS though wouldn't cooperate and kept trying to make me get on an interstate that was closed. Aggravated I stopped at a gas station and bought an old fashioned map and found my way there.

At the optical shop the guy starts adding things up and asks about my insurance, well I had never been given anything on it with the new job (evidently Hubby had) and I had no idea if the place was covered under our insurance, so the man took all of our info and figured out that the new glasses for Igor would cost somewhere near $400 without insurance. WOW, so we put things on hold and Igor and I head home. I start heading home a different direction because the guy at the shop told me to go that way, the GPS was even telling me to go that way so that direction I go and soon run into a traffic jam and was inching along, I maybe move 1/2 mile in 30 minutes or so, I'm starting to sweat getting back to Kornfield, IL by 3:00 to pick up Sonny Boy as we inch along, and inch along and could not reach Hubby who had been warned he might have to play back-up for me but he wasn't answering his phone, so I then called the school and warned them I would be late. The lady who I spoke to asked me "how late are you going to be?" well I don't know, I don't know where I'm at and I'm sitting dead still! Well things finally got moving, my GPS kept telling me to make a left into concrete divider walls and I somehow managed to get us back to Kornfield only 30 minutes late picking up Sonny Boy. I will say the ole min-van had never been driven quite like that before.

The next day I checked the vision insurance out and we discovered that the little optical shop here in town was in their network so I drove the 1/2 block down to the store and ordered the frames I want and discussed what it would cost, significantly less that the $400 at the other shop thanks to insurance. It will be a couple of weeks before the glasses are ready and all, but for the price difference Igor will have to make due with his current glasses and it's not like he knows there are better glasses in the world anyway.

Hubby has taken on building a closet in our bedroom, yes there is no closet in our bedroom and I have been living out of hanging wardrobe boxes since we moved in. Today he got all the framing in and hopefully the drywall and the rest will be in by the end of next weekend. It will be nice to get rid of all the boxes that are still stacked around that by rights should be in a closet. I dread the drywall mess as there is really no way to avoid all that dust, just clean it up when it's over I suppose.

Fri and Sat we have spent the evenings burning brush that has been trimmed around the yard so we all smell like smoke but the yard looks much better.

Well I suppose I should get off my rear and put away laundry and such and I'd like to curl up with my book - finally got my turn at the new Dan Brown book The Lost Symbol, looks like it might be interesting but I'm only about 4 chapters into it and the chapters are short.

Halloween Pic

Sonny Boy, Igor and Igor (or that was his former name too)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November is Adoption Awareness Month

In case you haven't heard November is National Adoption Month. While I'm not big on all these months and days dedicated to everything from Ingrown Toenails to Aviation Mechanics, I implore everyone who reads this blog (except that person in Sweden, who are you?) to contact your congressman about H.R. 213 Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009 and tell them to support this bill. This bill will make permanent the tax credit adopting families receive regardless to if they adopt domestically, internationally or through the foster care system. Bloggers I challenge you to call upon your readers to do the same.

If your not sure who to contact click on the above link and work your way around till you find your rep in the house. This is possibly the most important thing you can do for adoptive families and will not cost you a dime, just 10 minutes to send an e-mail.

Monday, November 2, 2009

When it Rains it Pours...

Well my knee is still cranky but I don't know if it's still cranky on it's own or if I re-injured it falling down the basement steps on Friday. I know the way I fell it's a miracle I didn't break an ankle and it feels as though I have shin splints on that leg along with the sore knee. If it's not one thing it's another.

Another - the buyers we had for our house in WI fell through. It appears that they had a bankruptcy within the last two years on their record. How they had a pre-approval letter is beyond me and essentially we learned the hard way that pre-approval means jack. If your selling a house and a buyers gives you pre-approval be sure to call the lender and ask if they've even ran a credit check. Now we are negotiating with the guy that gave us the second offer, he gave us the same offer essentially but we can't do with less than asking and I don't know if we'll have leverage with the guy. Honestly I'm ready to pull it from the market for a few months and re-list in spring when things traditionally pick up. If it's wise or not I don't know, wish I had the crystal ball it would make decisions so much easier as there are too many factors to put here when pondering the situation.

Halloween was good - sorry for the lack of pictures - I'll post them in a day or two, we went to a fellow Ukie adopter's house and the kids played and went trick-or-treating. We stayed the night as it's a little drive from our house to theirs and the adults had little treats of their own, however like the previous post says I'm not as young as I used to be -we were all in bed by 10:30 ha ha rowdy bunch we are.

Currently I think there must be close to 10lbs, maybe more of candy in the house. We have the kids trick-or-treat take, Father-in-law brought an entire plastic pumpkin of candy for them when I met him up at the WI house over the weekend, Mother-in-law sent a little treat sack, and they got candy from school at their Halloween party. No lack of sugar here.

To explain lack of pictures, Hubby's job sent him off early this am to Denver for a quick job. He landed at 8:30 or so this morning, drove to job site and left it by just after lunch. He took the camera with him, which of course also has the Halloween pictures on it. I talked to him a little while ago and he was driving to a state park where elk are supposed to herd up for the winter. I'm jealous. Happily it's just a short trip and he will be home tomorrow afternoon. Not an everyday occurence for him to travel in his job so I believe it a feather in his cap that he was chosen, though he thinks it just a staffing question of who was available etc.

Well that's the news that's fit for public consumption!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not as young as I used to be

Earlier in the week I went out to the aforementioned horse farm and worked out a schedule with them. The owner is really nice lady, and has experience with attachment challenged kids, adopted a teenager in round about way and a former grade school teacher. We worked out a schedule where I'll go a couple of mornings a week to work and the best part is she has no issues with Igor tagging along. So this a.m. I dropped Sonny Boy at school and Igor and I went to the barn to clean stalls. Igor had fun playing with a cat and running around while I cleaned stalls. Uff da my arms are going to be sore tomorrow as it's been a few years since I've cleaned stalls and it took me a couple of stalls to get my process back, believe it or not there is a method to shoveling poop. It will be good though. I will work for a couple of weeks to bank some time for my riding lessons and to give my cranky knee a rest before getting in the saddle.

I went to the doctor about the cranky knee earlier in the week and he deduced it was a mild sprain and said to go easy on it. Like that's really possible - who's gonna do the laundry? Anyway I'll mind my manners with it for a few weeks and see what happens. In the meantime I will try to be delicate with it as much as possible but I tend to forget and do dumb things like lean against a door frame on that leg while I put on my other shoe.

We went up to the old house to get a load of junk last weekend all in one day. Most of the day was spent in the car with a brief interlude at the old house. We left at 9:00 am and got back home at 2:00 am the next morning. The kids did well all things considered but I was ready for murder by the time we got in the van for the trip home. Tomorrow I will drive up to return the trailer we borrowed, sleep at the old house (there is a mattress there my father-in-law is due to pick up) and drive back. Hubby will stay with the kids, it will be a mini-vacation for me as I don't think I've been alone that long in years. It's bittersweet seeing the place empty now, but it makes it somewhat easier because it doesn't feel near so much like home.

Saturday is Halloween of course. We have plans with The Flying Eagle to go to her house and hang out, trick or treat and likely spend the night. The boys are excited to see her son (also a Ukie) and wear their costumes. Today the kids wore their costumes to school. Sonny Boy is an astronaut and Igor is stuck with an old soldier outfit hand-me-down. I'll post pics whenever they have them on at the same time. The kids Halloween parties had them revved up when I picked them up from school, but Igor was ready for a nap as he'd had a big day with going to the barn too so he was easily coaxed into bed for a nap which will make us all happier this evening.

I suppose I should get off my rear and do something now instead of staring at this time wasting screen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

more rambling....

Igor home 18 months on this day!
I'm late in posting it, but last week marked Igor's 18 month home anniversary. How far he's come, it's amazing. Certainly not the shy little guy we met in Ukraine that was just starting to walk, couldn't talk (in any language) and didn't know how to eat solid food. Well all that has changed. Igor is still a little shy around new people but just a normal amount of nervousness which is good. Forget walking - the constant din you hear in the background is me screaming "STOP RUNNING IN THE HOUSE!!" and while he's not quite where he should be in his large motor skills he's catching up faster than I would like some days. While I still wouldn't call Igor a champion eater - that award goes to Sonny Boy - he's catching on and meals are not longer excrutiating ordeals for all of us. He now eats most anything and actually asks for seconds on occasion. He's always the last one at the table but it's not forever. Progress for sure. Emotionally Igor has done wonderfully, he's a sweet little guy full of hugs and kisses for me and has become my boy, Daddy will do in a pinch but he's all about Momma which is fine by me most of the time (sometimes it would be nice if Dad could tuck him in at night). Honestly I don't see any behaviors that are outside normal for a three year old. I won't say we've won the adoption lottery yet because of course things can always pop up but I'd say we are just waiting on the powerball at this point.

A little excitement
We had a dead/dying maple tree beside the rent house and Hubby has been concerned about it as well as the landlord. Last week hubby discussed it with the landlord and he was going to come over this weekend and take it down while we went north to get the rest of our junk. This pm a grubby dude knocked on the door and I wasn't too thrilled to open it and finally he answered we are here to cut the tree down, well OK, I'll move the van out of your way. So the guy shimmys up the tree and goes to work. Made me nervous as a cat watching them as parts of the tree were really dead and as he dropped them they would shatter they were so rotten and he was up in the dead stuff. After watching for a while it occured to me to get the camera and got this shot as he was dropping the last of the top. Now there is quite a mess out there and I'm hoping the landlord comes and takes care of it this weekend since the scary part is done. Kids missed the show as they were at school. Sonny Boy was less than impressed with the day's accomplishment.
Looks like I'll likely start work at the horse farm next week. I went out last weekend and watched the stable's schooling show. If your not familiar with horse stuff it was basically a show for the people who a) are beginning riders, b) have young untrained horses, c) or board their horses there and just want to play around. The weather was brisk but a pretty sunny day and it is a really nice place, much bigger than the place I worked at in Arkansas. They have some nice looking schooling horses so it should be fun. Bummer is my cranky knee started acting up again the last day or so. Today it was cranky enough to make me make an appointment with the doc and go buy a knee brace as I'm scared I'll step wrong and do more damage. Riding will defintely flare it up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Random thoughts...

Why are commercials 10 times louder than the show you are watching?

Why am I a sucker and spend way too much money on Sonny Boy's Halloween costume? - I know the reason, I'm a sucker for Halloween and the costume is cool.

Why is it the year 2009, almost 2010 and I'm handwashing dishes?

Where am I going to put the remaining furniture that is in WI in this little house? Ever try to stuff a 4 bedroom, 1800 sq ft house into a 2 bedroom (don't know the square footage but it's not enough) house.

I really hope the leaves hold off dropping from the trees until after the house closes. I really don't want to turn it over needing two solid days of yard work but I really don't want to do the two solid days of yard work.

Why do people on Facebook feel the need to post about everything they eat?

Is it ever going to stop raining?

Will I have to put on rubber boots to do laundry tomorrow? (the answer is probably yes)

Why do I live next door to the crazy cat lady? I like cats ok, but putting 50lb sacks of food for all the local strays is a little much. Landlord loaned us a live trap and we are down one. The trap works better than Hubby's shoe which merely scared said animal. Landlord said guy down the street had enough and started shooting them earlier in the year, killed close to 30 cats. Don't know if that's an actual number or not and can't imagine him shooting animals in the middle of town, but this is Korn-ton IL so anything goes.

Why do I always seem live in a house within earshot of RailRoad tracks? This is the worst one, when the train goes by the house shakes and you can not hear the tv or each other. Basically conversation stops while the train is blowing it's whistle. Oddly does not keep me awake at night but the occasional train must go through town at 2 mph and feel the need to blow it's horn the entire time, when that happens it even awakens Sonny Boy, the child that could have an entire marching band go through his bedroom and he would not wake up.

Is excited to see Igor at Halloween this year. Sure he was here for Trick or Treat last year but he had no clue. This year he can say Trick or Treat and has figured out what candy is for sure. Next year he'll probably want some outrageously expensive costume too.

Thinks that Sonny Boy will eventually get the hang of getting up and getting ready for school without it starting WWIII, however I'm beginning to wonder if it will be in my lifetime.

Is wondering if Igor will ever learn his colors or if he's color blind. Do you know anything about this?

Wishes she could turn her mind off and fall asleep instantly like Hubby does. The man can crawl in bed and conk out in less than 2 minutes. I'm jealous, the only period of time I have ever done that was my last semester of college and I was student teaching 40 hours a week and working at Wal-Mart 20+ hours a week. Hubby tells me I would fall asleep in the middle of a sentence. My mom took me on vacation a week after graduation and I basically slept in a motel room for 18 hours a day.

I wonder about the socio-economic average of the children in Igor's Pre-K classroom and thinks that if you combined their entire edcuation you might get a high school diploma. I know that's mean but you should see the line-up when picking up the kids.

How do you know if your kid is getting his IEP pull out services when he can't really tell you if it's happening or not? Makes me wonder what's happening at school and I don't totally trust them to follow the IEP.

Well that's my random ponderings and thoughts for the night. Do you know the answers?

Friday, October 16, 2009

thou shall not covet thy neighbrs wife or toys.

I don't really covet anything of my neighbors or even anyone I know. I want an expensive new electronic toy. While I'm content with my pedestrian cell phone (don't really know how to work it) and I certainly don't need the camera feature but it appears to be standard on all phones now days. I don't have an I-pod and if I did I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the patience to put many songs on it and I really can't walk around with ear buds in all the time because I really need to make sure the kids are not killing each other (though sometimes the ear buds would be nice). My laptop while a brick and has some software issues will work. What I REALLY REALLY want is a Kindle. Have you heard of a Kindle? The best way to describe it is a an I-pod for books. The newest version will let you download books from a 3G network (if your in range of course) the books cost about $10 or less even for just realeased best sellers, it will hold up to 1,500 books, thinner than a pencil, contains a dictionary too and is just the ticket for a reader like me who now lives in a town with possibly the most underfunded library that only orders one copy of a book regardless to it's popularity. I'm likely number 247 on the list for the new Dan Brown book. I may get my chance at it this time next year. Can you talk to Hubby for me?

Igor seems to have bounced back from his crud. All the test results came back normal so it was just some strong viral bug. He is still battling a little cough mostly at night but nothing terrible. Somehow I think the rest of us have missed this round of sickness.

The kids weren't the only one's at the doctor this week. I figured I better get myself in the door as I had no more refills left on my migraine prescription. He went through my medical history etc and noted some things to watch, none of it new news to me. I'm a walking genetic time bomb frankly. Sad to say that even though I take reasonable care of myself ( don't drink much, don't smoke, try to eat decent) though I lack the excercise part, hitting 70 will be pushing it. Luckily there are a few good genes on my father's side so hopefully they trickled down but it's iffy since out of the four siblings on the paternal side 2 died from cancer, and another has recently battled it and hasn't been clear for too terribly long. My mother's side is even worse. Sad odds to contend with.

So far the house sale is going smoothly, the agent expects them to inspect and hopefully appraise next week as that be our biggest hurdles. The buyers have an FHA loan and sometimes those can be a little picky on things. We plan on going to get our junk next week barring any issues.

With the house weight off our shoulders Hubby has the house bug. Drove me out to look at lot he found, and is wandering around looking at rural properties. He's dreaming larger than our budget allows and putting the cart before the horse somewhat. It's very tempting with prices so depressed, there's a 5 bedroom house on an acre lot with a tennis court here in town going for 140K?? Not that I want a tennis court or even that big ole house it's certainly a buyers market.

Well I'm rambling about nothing and everything and not making much sense. Sonny Boy has a soccer game in the am (only a couple more to go, Yay) and then we'll likely watch the Arkansas Razorbacks be stomped on by Florida, but we still bleed hog red -even converted that Yankee husband of mine into a Razorback fan- so we will watch and cringe, but hey, a girl has got to dream! Turn up your sound and put the player on track one - and learn to call the hogs if you are some weirdo who doesn't already know how!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sold! to the highest bidder.

Yesterday we received not one but two offers on our house. One offer was fairly insulting but the other one was pretty reasonable. My real estate agent figured since we had two offers come in at the same time we would be safe to counter offer the good offer for a little more and we counter offered the pitiful offer up to full price. The pitiful offer came back, higher but still pitiful but the good offer came back approved. We are now under contract - officially tomorrow as we have to fax paperwork around tomorrow but it's simply a formality. WOOO HOOO what a relief off of our shoulders. Making payments for a house we are not living in and don't even want and watching our little nest egg shrink a tad each month as we pay for two abodes was stressful. We will loose money on the deal, no doubt, likely even have to pay some cash but we have avoided a short sale which would ding our credit hard. Now we are stuck in this crappy rent house for a year. After this episode we are very reluctant to purchase another house as many houses in this area are lingering on the market as well. We'll see.

We still have quite a bit of stuff left at the house in WI, some wouldn't fit in the truck, some we don't have room for and some we left on purpose to stage the house. I'm not paticularly looking forward to pracitcally moving again and with our wet basement woes storage is a tricky issue. We will likely have to rent storage unit. It does seem I keep looking for stuff that is in that house. I want my green striped curtains and the kitchen curtains for here. I'd like my little shepherds hook garden thingy to put a birdfeeder on in the back yard. The thing I miss most is the outside sending unit to my indoor/outdoor themometer.

Igor has been battling a nasty bug the last few days, fever, cough and the like. We suspected flu and I took him into the doc today who did a flu test - negative, a strep test - negative but they were concerned with the fact his lymph nodes were very enlarged in his neck so we trotted across the street and had blood drawn to test for both mono and a blood count. We'll get the results tomorrow. I really doubt they find anything and it will just be some unknown viral bug. His fever has seemed better today however but I'll keep him home from school again tomorrow. Luckily the rest of us seem to be avoiding the nastiness so far.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ups and downs.

First for the up part. When Hubby and I first married I started work at a horse farm in exchange for dressage (English riding for those not familiar) lessons. It wasn't my main job of course, I had one that actually wrote me a paycheck but this was the job I lived for. I spent many happy hours in the barn shoveling poo, lugging hay bales, and filling water buckets and once or twice a week the owner would have me saddle up Max -who was in his mid 20's, quiet elderly for a horse - and teach me to ride. I loved it and spent tons of time at the farm and worked there even after Max went lame and there was no longer a horse for a beginner to ride. Soon life took over, we moved from the outskirts of the city and were quite a ways from the farm, my mother became ill and had to be taken care of for several months and the owner of the farm sold the place and moved to the Houston area. I haven't been on a horse since. Well looking around and in boredom one night I googled and found a very nice dressage facility nearby and decided to e-mail them with the proposition to work for lessons. I didn't hear from them for a couple of weeks and figured that they were not interested, however today I got an e-mail from them and they are! I'm so excited and can't wait to start work and riding. My husband says I'm a little girl that never grew out of her horse phase and I guess he's right. There's just something about a soft muzzle and the nature of a horse that calms me from the craziest stresses. My only worry is that my old body won't hold up to the stresses of riding anymore. My left knee has gotten cranky, not from any known injury but just seems to hurt occasionally for no apparent reason and I fear riding will aggravate it. I also know the first few weeks of lessons will near kill me in relation to soreness. I know that my very first lesson years ago the next day even my hair hurt. That passes as the muscles grow and learn however it's tough.

The downs - Sonny Boy had decided he wanted to be an astronaut for Halloween. Oye! Anyway I managed to scrap him up a helmet on e-bay that was reasonably priced (because of course you have to have a helmet) and sprung for the expensive astronaut costume. Everything was ordered and should have been hitting the front porch any day now until I checked my e-mail this evening and the helmet I had ordered would not be shipped due to some snafu. The e-bay seller did refund my money but there were no more inexpensive helmets to buy and now I had the expensive costume on the way! Well I sprung for the expensive helmet which cost as much as the costume because Halloween is only a couple of weeks away now. So now Sonny Boy will get to wear the costume for Halloween - he better not do any damage to it - it will go in a box and next fall I'll auction it off on E-bay in hopes of getting at least close to the miserable amount of money I paid for the thing back. The things we do for our kids.

The downs - there has been gobs of rain in the area for the last couple of days. Today it has rained non-stop. Guess what has happened to my basement. Yep leaks and several boxes have gotten wet. I don't think anythin is ruined but there is a mess down there. Hubby I went and piled things on top tables, the ironing board and some shelves that were built in down there to get things up off the floor. I hate this house.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More boring tidbits from our lives...

Since no one will give me a topic I'll bore you to death with daily life. I know your reading or at least looking at the blog - I see the map!

Yesterday I took Igor into the city to pick up his shoe inserts. I hit the trifecta of city nightmare. Heavy traffic coupled with road construction in front of the hospital campus and a parking gargage full of circling idiots made me thirty minutes late for the appointment. I wandered into the building I was told to enter knowing I would be linking into another building somehow, when I got to the first building the lobby was packed with people lined up to get free flu shots. Anyhow I asked and received directions to the suite I needed and walked the back recesses of the hospital complex to get there, the appearance of the place went downhill quick, carpet ended, no windows, etc very instutional and I saw signs that said things like "Lung Transplant Education" and printed signs giving directions to classes that were being followed by groups of young adults in lab coats (there's a med school there as well). We ended up in the bowels of the medical campus in what must the crappiest suite of offices there to get the insoles for Igor's shoes. Ten minutes later we walked out. All that for a 10 minute appointment!

Since we were there and they were free we lined up for the flu shot. Having a young child with me actually helped as there was a separate line for people with kids and we didn't have to wait, while the adult only line was miserably long. Wish I could have had Sonny Boy with as well and the whole family would be covered under the seasonal flu shot since Hubby's work gave him one the other day. The county health department is supposed to give H1N1 vaccine at school in a few weeks when it becomes available to them, I haven't decided if I will let the kids get it or not. My common sense tells me to vaccinate them, however I've heard a lot of rumours about the vaccine I'm not sure of. I have to think on it some more.

The betta fish has now started eating so he may last a little while. Still pretty dumb and we don't turn the light on in the little tank as tries to attack himself in the reflection.

Please call / write your Rep in the house and ask them to support The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, HR 213 right now the bill is in the House Ways and Means Comittee. This is the 10K tax credit that adoptive parents are enjoying right now, however it's set to expire and this bill will make it permanent. This is especially important if your rep is on the Ways and Means Comittee right now. The link will give you this info. I know we would not not been able to afford Igor's adoption without the tax credit.

The kids have been paticularly rowdy the last few days so I've taken some Super Nanny steps and written out rules and posted them on fridge and have been quoting them chapter and verse and punishing left and right. We'll see how that goes - there have been a lot of removal of TV, video and computer and a lot of sitting in the corner or on the bed this afternoon already. Time to NIP IT IN THE BUD as Barney Fife would say.

Fun stuff Eh?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You ask the question...

You come up with a topic, I'm suffering from writer's block and feel I'm the most boring blogger on the web. Ask a question, suggest a topic, tick me off and see what I write about.
Sonny Boy purchased an El Cheapo telescope with some birthday money. Hubby's binoculars work better, he was disappointed but I think he made an impression on the neighbor kids as being cool.
Just some random thoughts on the above picture. Yes those are our house number laying on the porch. I hope there is not a fire, however we simply need to tell the 911 dispatcher "second house from the gas station". I would like to give a good talking to to the ding dong who spray painted something round on the front sidewalk without at least putting down a sheet of newspaper, I have similar spots on the sidewalk in back. Most of the town does not have curbs and storm water drains so everyone has a ditch in their front yard with a culvert to drive over. Our sidewalk has odd cement slabs to cover the ditch, the middle one has fallen in - watch your step.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today was a little better...

I actually woke up today WITHOUT a headache, I think it's the first time in weeks. Gives you a little better outlook on the day when your eyes open and your first thought is not "Who hit me with the 2x4?"

Sonny Boy had a night game -soccer- tonight. They won again so far they have a 4-0-1 record. I would be impressed if it looked like they were doing anything except mobbing the ball. I didn't go to the game tonight as Igor HAS to hit the bed by 7:00 or he's impossible, heck he's impossible at 5:00 when he's not had a nap. I really don't like the afternoon pre-school schedule, it makes having a life in the evening impossible.

Sonny Boy's teacher is very impressed with his reading abilities and couldn't believe he knew the word "about". I am too as we've never pressed the reading thing with him. I figured he'd learn in school in due time. However the stinker has taught himself to read very well for a kid only a few weeks into kindergarten and can now read most anything in front of him, of course his comprehension is lacking but he can spit out most of the words.

Today we had two verbal offers come in on the house. Both were so laughably low it would make your head spin. We now have the house priced so low that to sell it for less we will either be out cash or be working a short sale. Hopefully with the price so shockingly low something we can accept will come in the door soon. Traffic is picking up though.

Things are looking up somewhat with our redneck neighbors. The little yapping dog that barked and howled all night most nights managed to dig it's self out of the kennel and run away. I saw the dog out in the yard and thought "I hope you run off" but didn't actually do anything as honestly I like dogs, just not one's that yap all night. Anyway we were chatting with said dog's owner and he mentioned that the dog dug it's self out of the kennel and ran away. I just stayed quiet. It's been much quieter since. Now if only the group across the street with the herd of children would move away progress would start being made. Sonny Boy loves to go over there and play but I would rather he not as they are a bratty bunch of kids.

The end of an era has come. Sonny Boy now wants to have scary costumes for Halloween. I knew the time would come but I was hoping for a couple of more years without blood and gore, but I suppose that's what Halloween is. I'm hoping to take Sonny Boy out to see the Toy Story double feature this weekend and maybe hunt him down a costume if we can get out and about this weekend.

Well it's stupid late and I should get in bed - the alarm clock will go off way too soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If your my age

You should try watching the Cosby Show from a parent's perspective. Takes on a whole new view once you have kids of your own. Kind of like when you got old enough to get all the jokes on Bugs Bunny.

This week I've been useless. It started with a sinus infection that I battled and started antibiotics for - I didn't go to the doctor but started some that I had stashed and never used from the Ukraine trip. That coupled with my TMJ flaring up which has triggered some migraines and just a general malaise triggered by the rest has made me pretty much useless. I've done the bare minimum to keep us functioning.

I think I finally got all the medical forms for school handled this week. Good grief it's stupid here, I understand shot records but does it really effect my child's ability to learn if he hasn't been to the dentist? Also had to have a note from the MD that states he is not at risk for diabetes. What? my 6 year old who never gets thicker but keeps getting taller? Who literally RUNS everywhere he goes.

My other question today is; Igor is getting quite a bit taller, however no thicker in the waist. He really needs to move on to 2T or maybe even 3T pants, but only for the length. Waist wise he's still sporting his 12-18 month shorts just fine. All I can think of is to hunt/buy the bigger pants and start doing some alterations. Sonny Boy is close to the same situation but at least when you get into "big boys" clothes you can buy the pants with the elastic waistband on the inside that can be drawn up and that significantly helps the issue though he has excess fabric around his waist. I hesitate to put a belt on the kid as he always waits to the last minute to go the bathroom and I don't want to slow him down any when he gets there. I really need to dig through the old clothes and get Sonny Boys hand-me-downs sorted out for Igor, Igor's outgrown clothes pulled out of the drawers and to the salvation army but of course that's been low on my to do list.

I'm about to fall asleep, I just need to whine a little.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a busy week! Whew...

Igor's First Day of Preschool
This week started with a flurry of activity. Monday morning Igor had an appointment with orthopedics at Children's Hospital in St. Louis so we dropped Sonny Boy at school and followed the rude directions given my the lady on the GPS machine and made it to the appointment with just enough time to go the bathroom and fill out all the forms. The nurse practitioner he saw agreed that he does roll his feet inward too much so some X-rays were taken and examined and it was decided he needs custom shoe inserts to support his arch since it collapses when he puts weight on his feet though he has an arch when sitting so he stuck his feet in foam and I nearly passed out later in the day when they called me with the cost of the insoles! $300 + and he'll need them till his foot is fairly well formed at age 6 or 7 so of course they'll have to be replaced as his foot grows. Thankfully it's not a big deal (except to the pocket book) and catching it early probably saved him many problems down the road. Monday was also Igor's first day of pre-school. He was a little nervous the first couple of days being left there but after that has become an old pro giving me a hug and kiss and running into his classroom without a backward glance. The first three days he was a little surly but started getting into the swing of things by the end of the week. I've honestly been a little at a loss with such a quiet house in the afternoon.
This our new family member. He doesn't have a name yet, though Igor has called him Dorothy. Do you know how incredibly hard it is to get a picture of a fish swimming around in a little 1 gallon tank? Also this is not the brightest creature in the animal kingdom either, every time we turn the tank light on he sees his reflection on the sides and thinks there is another fish there and starts attacking his reflection and fluffing up all his gills and fins. I don't think he'll live too long honestly as he's not eaten anything since coming home a week ago, we watch and the food simply sinks to the bottom of the tank.

Sonny Boy had another soccer game this week. His opponents were a little better and it was a tie game. Sonny boy played goalie a good chunk of the game, we think because last game he had some good stops but he wasn't too happy with his new position. The picture above shows his teammate's frustration after a goal was scored on him. I think it's kinda funny.

This weekend there was also a big airshow at a nearby Air Force Base. So in order to fuel Sonny Boy's airplane passion we attended. Above is Sonny Boy and Igor posing in front of a C-5, the largest cargo airplane in the military

Along with static displays at airshows are also LOUD fighter jets - notice Igor covering his ears? Yeah we didn't plan too far ahead and bring ear muffs or plugs for the kids but there were really only about 5 planes that were really loud and running their afterburners. The feature of the show was Canada's Snowbirds - something like the USAF's Thunderbirds. They were fun to watch and put up a good show. Strangely they were much quieter than the F-16 and F-4 single plane demos and there was nine of them in the air at one time. The airshow was fun however leaving it was a nightmare. We were parked a good 1/2 mile from the flightline and walked to the van loaded up, backed out of our spot and sat there for an hour without moving. In the meantime Hubby got out and took both boys across the street for the bathroom. Looked up today and there was an estimated 60K people at the show, I think we were behind all of them leaving.
Today has been quiet. We had planned on attending a little festival they had in town this weekend for a big today, however it rained all morning and we've been couch potatoes to the extreme today. I don't even think the kids had the energy to do much as it was rather quiet today.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If you can't say anything....

nice don't say anything at all. I'm all for the good argument. But as I said in my last post I am not discussing the matter anymore and if you leave comments concerning the issue I will simply delete them.

Due to the nastiness I have also required a signature on posts. Sorry for those of you without accounts, but if your going to be nasty have the guts to at least write your online identity.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Igor turns Three!!

Saturday was a busy day. Sonny Boy had his first soccer game, I'll post pictures of that soon, however I've got to edit them a bit. We also had Igor's 3rd birthday party or celebration really as it was just the four of us. I made the Elmo cake, we ate it and opened presents. It was quiet but good and certainly enough stimulation for both kids.
Tomorrow Igor starts preschool. We'll see how that goes. I'm worried as he will attend the afternoon session which is generally his nap time. Today we let him stay up with no nap and put him to bed early and he was quite the snarly little guy. I'll have to make sure the tequila and margarita mix are stocked for tomorrow as I may need to mellow. he he I'm thrilled with his speech progress this summer, where he isn't clear to others yet, he's really starting to talk and string together words, though sometimes I think he uses Russian grammar. "Where Sonny Boy are?" is a typical Igor sentence lately but he gets his point across.
Just a note to those who read this I am no way affiliated with Frontier Horizons. I have never done business with the organization, donated money to them, or received assistance from them. The previous posts were placed there of my own accord. My opinion of the subject remains the same and I highly doubt that it will change. I do not intend this blog to be political or controversial, however I will not censor myself on subjects I feel strongly about, and ONE person possibly doing damage to Ukrainian adoption I will not be silent about. While we all know that the process of adopting from Ukraine is far from perfect, it is a Ukrainian issue and we as Americans (or Canadians, Italians, Spanish, etc) can either accept their way of doing things or adopt from somewhere else. This is all I have to say about the issue. Thankfully American authorities stepped up and returned the children to their legal guardian and hopefully Ukrainian adoption authorities will see this as an isolated incident and it will fade from memory soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Incident avoided hopefully

The girls in the previous post were returned to their guardian and will be returning to Ukraine in the next day or so. This was reported on the same FL TV station as the previous link. It appears the guy is totally confused about how the whole system works and needs somebody to give him an education.

The terrible shame now is that he's likely crapped all over his own chances at adopting the girls and the girls will not get to go live in his 11,000 sq foot mansion and have a family to love them. I do hope that he hasn't crapped on every one else's chances of adopting because it will mean that thousands of Ukrainian orphans will never be adopted simply because of his own arrogance.

I pray that the Ukrainian adoption authorities see this as an isolated incident and don't punish everyone that does follow the law.

Get a Load of this Jerk!!

People like this make me want to puke. Use your power and money for good instead of screwing it up for innocent people. I hope he rots in a Ukrainian prison - and from what I understand they make our super-max ones look like country clubs. Please if you have influence with this guy, law enforcement in Florida or immigration DO SOMETHING!!

LONGWOOD, Fla. -- International adoptions out of the Ukraine could be stalled indefinitely because of a Central Florida man. Documents show Larry Vander Maten and his family participated in a hosting program for young Ukrainian children, but it appears he missed a deadline for sending the children home.
The Ukrainian government is upset and could freeze all adoptions from that country.
Court documents show Larry Vander Maten, a developer who lives in Seminole County, hosted three Ukrainian girls for the summer through an exchange program for foster children. The sisters, ages 9, 11 and 13, stayed at his 11,000 square foot mansion in Longwood for three months.
Frontier Horizon, the agency that set up the program, says Vander Maten was supposed to return the children a week and half ago, but he didn't. The program's founder showed Eyewitness News a letter where Vander Maten said one of the girls caught a virus and was too sick to travel. Three days later, he filed for guardianship in Seminole County court.
"This is putting us all in great jeopardy," Tammy Warren said.
Tammy and Peter Warren adopted two girls from Eastern Europe and are in the process of adopting a third child from the Ukraine. They're worried Vander Maten's actions will put "their" adoption in jeopardy
"They will stop it. The Ukrainian people are proud people," Peter Warren said. "We know the culture and we understand how the process works."
Attorney Patricia Strobridge represents Frontier Horizon.
"The Ukrainian government is very upset about what is going on. They are insisting that these children be immediately returned to the Ukraine," Strobridge said.
Strobridge said the Ukraine is now threatening to shut down the exchange program. That's what has the Warrens and other families hoping to adopt so concerned.
"All of us are on pins and needles, frankly, and we pray and hope for a quick resolution," Tammy said.
Larry Vander Maten did not return Eyewitness News phone calls and his attorney refused to talk.
Late Tuesday, the U.S Department of State said it's working closely with the Ukrainian government to resolve the issue.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pictures to go with below post

Riding in the truck like farm boys with aunt and uncle

Jump Igor, Jump!

Checking the dog for ticks? (he's not dead I promise)

Swimming in the Buffalo River near Marshall, AR

Tuckered out at Grandma's

A Funeral and Rediscovered Family

Friday night was my father's funeral. There were features to the service that were not typical of most funeral services. Thirty minutes before the service (which was to be graveside) a thunderstorm blew up that was quite a show in and of it's self. This thunderstorm was about as bad as it can be without actually being tornado, including hail and a few inches of rain being dumped in just a few minutes. We left the hotel as the storm was subsiding and got to the cemetery and waited in the car as the last sprinkles fell. At the appointed time we all exited the cars and literally waded through the running water in the cemetery to the grave site. The preacher my aunts had arranged for said a few words, read a bible verse or two and asked for someone to share a good story or memory. Dead Silence. Again he pleaded. Again dead silence. Finally my cousin in sympathy to the preacher who was really trying to perform a somewhat normal service for a very abnormal situation spoke up and told a story about my father when they were young children. As we left the cemetery the sky was filled with a big rainbow. The irony was not unnoticed.

An unexpected benefit of the funeral was re-connecting with my father's side of the family that I haven't really seen in years, many of my cousins not since my grandmother died in '91. Honestly it was fun and I had forgotten that I have "normal" relatives. Hubby even made the remark "It's too bad your dad was such schmuck, because I really like this side of your family" and I do too. Perhaps that was his biggest injury to me was to deprive me of relationships with aunts, and cousins and my uncle and grandmother in the last years of their lives.

While in town we visited my aunt's farm as she was excited about her new calf and the kids actually got to be farm kids for a couple of hours. Sonny Boy was particularly excited to find a large tick on one of the dogs and get a good look at it before I smooshed it.

The remainder of the weekend we traveled on down to visit my mother for a couple of days. It was the first trip to her house since Igor has been home so several family friends had to come by and visit and check him out of course. He handled it with grace and was real trooper the whole trip though we were all glad to be home and in our own beds.

Igor will make his first trip to the specialist in St. Louis next week. I noticed he seems to walk on the inside of his foot and his feet and ankles don't seem to line up correctly. I took him to the local pediatrician and definitely thought something was up and thought we needed to see an ortho, so armed with a recommendation from our favorite med student that studies there, we have an appointment for next week. Hopefully they'll tell me I'm an over paranoid parent.

Sonny Boy is still liking school and seems to be making friends as he's yelling "bye" to several kids as we leave the parking lot in the afternoon. The usual conversation in the afternoon is who got in trouble for the day and what was for lunch. Luckily he likes the school lunch which is a relief for me as the idea of packing lunches daily did not appeal to me.

To be honest there is so much going on I can't begin to write it all. I'm busy but terribly bored if that makes any sense. Living conditions are slowly improving. The house no longer smells bad (or at least has normal house smells) Hubby went and found a new to me dryer tonight, we've been without a dryer since moving as our old one was gas and there were no hook-ups here, and I've been using a clothesline. The clothesline hasn't really been a hardship, however the towels feel horrible and it's sort of like drying off with sandpaper. At least all the dead skin is gone! We've gone rounds with the local post office about the placement of our mailbox which really has my dander up because it's such a stupid issue. We've lowered the price on the house in WI again. There are 22 houses priced within 5K either way. This is the last cut we can make, if it doesn't generate an offer we will start looking for a renter and hope we get a decent one.

The grind of daily life continues...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wow a busy week...

There has still not been a memorial service/funeral for my father. The last conversation I had with my aunt things were still in the air and they were trying to schedule it for this coming weekend though I haven't heard anything yet. I plan on attending, but I think it's more to close that chapter in my life than an actual goodbye to him - that happened many years ago.

Sonny Boy started kindergarten on Monday. His teacher Mrs. H seems really good though I haven't gotten to know her very well yet. Sonny Boy is liking school and seems content and asks if he will attend this school till he's in HS, the entire school district is on one big campus so he sees band practice and football practice on a regular basis out his windows. The kids don't interact of course with the older grades but they see the big kids around. Sonny Boy is also playing soccer in the local leagues as well. He knows nothing about soccer but likes the idea and runs around a bit, he got his t-shirt and game schedule today. I've got to hunt him a pair of black shorts, that should be fun to find this time of year.

Sonny Boy First Day of Kindergarten

This weekend we attended a fundraiser the next little town over with a guy Hubby works with. It was mouse racing of all things, seems to be quite the attraction for fundraising for the area I understand. Picture a large box with a plexi-glass front and runs about 10-15 feet long they put the mice (really rats) in the runs and open the door, the first one to the end wins and you place your bet. Not one of the mice we bet on won, or even went over the finish line for that matter, they would scurry half way and then hunch up in a little ball and just stop, maddening! However we broke even for the night with our admittance fee and wild betting when Hubby won a door prize for $50. It was really quite funny when he won the door prize as you could see looks of "Who the heck is that?" and lots of shrugged shoulders when the name was called through the hall. Though lots of people of were there It was the type of place where everyone knows everyone else. Hubby's co-worker's daughter babysat the boys. Igor showed the first signs of separation anxiety we've seen from him and when we explained to the kids what was going to happen at supper he pouted and told us "me stay home, Mommy!" even though he had been over to their house earlier in the day and was familiar with the place. He did good though but Sonny Boy got concerned when we were not home by 10:00 as he thought that was the middle of the night and shed a few tears. That's the first time he's done that. New place, new people, tons of new changes in their little lives but they did well. I also don't think the babysitter inspired a lot of confidence in Sonny Boy and that played a role in the anxiety as well.

We also attended a house warming open house for another co-worker of Hubby's who just built a new house near us. Let's just say I have a severe case of house envy. While the house wasn't terribly large it was very well thought out and had a closet any woman would kill for. Our rent house was the running joke with both couples over the weekend as the men had helped unload the moving truck, while they realize it's a temp measure being in that nicely decorated, designed new house made this one seem even worse.

I have an Eldin - you know Murphy Brown's permanent house painter. Well it seems I've gained John a live in plumber. Our landlords being forward thinking decided to have the boiler checked out before actually needed it and had John sent over last Friday. John went in the basement and fixed a couple of plumbing woes that have significantly improved the nightmare that was my basement (it no longer smells like sewer) and there is no longer a sewer smell in bathroom either because some numb skull did not put a p-trap on the bathtub and my friend John fixed that. Those were the quick fixes and he had those done by noon and then he started on the boiler and baseboard heat and ran into trouble - lots of trouble. It seems that the house froze last winter and there are at least 14 breaks in hot water line that runs in the baseboard heat. Two days he has been my constant companion, in and out, and up and down my basement stairs shoving my furniture around and has still not completed the job and is due back in tomorrow. Poor guy I can tell he's really getting aggravated with the process and he says it's the biggest mess he's ever seen. I'm just really glad this disaster is not on my dime. I know the landlords bought the place on a foreclosure so they were likely expecting these kind of issues.

Tomorrow along with John the resident plumber I also expect the school psycologist and social worker to be here in the a.m. to start writing Igor's IEP in the local dialect. I'm sure they are going to be impressed with all of my furniture shoved to the middle of the rooms, dirty wet carpet around the walls not to mention I still have boxes stacked here and there I haven't quite known what to do with due to the nasty smelling basement. All I can do is smile though and offer them a cup of coffee I suppose, at least they'll know we'll have heat (hopefully if John doesn't run away) when it gets cool enough to turn it on.

The house in Wisconsin still has no bites yet though traffic has picked up. Hopefully something will happen soon. I've told hubby we are going to walk the two miles to the mexican joint with Igor in the stroller when the house sells so we can drink LOTS of margaritas. Can you get a ticket for drunk stroller driving?

I suppose that's the scoop here in Kornfield Kounty, IL, Where the tires on the trucks are big and the women are too - I'm not exaggerating.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Have you ever wondered?

Today I am wondering just what goes on at the pearly gates. You see, today my father died. I can't say I'm in terrible shock, my aunt had told me at the first of the year that he was ill and would likely not live much longer. There was not a relationship between us. When I was 12 he basically walked out of my life and never gave me another thought. When I learned of his illness I extended the olive branch, but he never accepted, did not try to contact me when I made it clear I was open to contact from him.

My father hurt many people in his life, four wives, two sisters, a brother, his mother, two children and two step-children and many friends and acquaintances. I've always thought that there must be some sort of mental illness that drove the man to make promises he couldn't keep, lie, steal and alienate people around him all the while seeming like the most genial fellow in the world. Possibly it was a lack of moral character, but is that not a mental illness in it's self?

I have often said in my madder, meaner moments I hope he dies a lonely and painful death. He did. His wife would not even take care of him in the end putting him in a nursing home and not visiting. Why, I don't know I never met her. I do know there is such bad blood she will not hold a funeral for him and is simply giving the ashes to my aunts to do with as they wish. My aunt said they will likely hold a memorial when they can finalize some details.

Strangely I feel saddest for my half sister. She was about 1 year old when he walked out of her life. She has no memories of him though she kept his name until her recent marriage. Luckily her mother remarried and her step-father became her father and that is who she calls dad.

So today I wonder what's happening at the pearly gates......

please do not leave comments that profess your religious beliefs, I know the Christian doctrines but I must believe that he was judged by his life on earth, not some last minute conversion on his deathbed. Thank you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sorry for the long silence

I've been trying to post for a few days now and something has been happening with blogger and it's been giving me a hard time.

This was the first weekend in the new house. We did several small projects. Don't get me wrong there are still boxes everywhere but it's starting to get a little more manageable. This a.m. I told Hubby his job was to hang all the pictures on the walls. I had unpacked them and leaned them here and there but was worried the kids would eventually break them if they didn't get hung up. Well this job entailed getting out the cordless drill and the search was on. Five hours later Hubby found the drill in the garage - in the meantime he did unpack, shelve and general straighten out the nightmare that was that mess out there. In his un-earthing he found a shelf that must have been in the bathroom at one time so I painted it and it is now installed with towels on it which is a big relief as there is NO storage in this house beyond basement and garage.

As time goes on I am less and less thrilled with the rental house. The basement REEKS of sewer gas which brings instant flashbacks to most of the buildings I entered in Ukraine. The landlords seem to be disinterested in fixing things but told us we could fix things and they would repay us the difference. I'm beginning to think that's the better end of the deal for them after I spent the afternoon putting in a bathroom faucet on Friday as the old one was leaking everywhere both above and below the sink.

The white trash neighbors have a whole heard of boys across the street that want to be friends with Sonny Boy and he thinks they are super cool, however they seem to have little supervision most of the time and when they do it usually seems to consist of an overwhelmed mother screaming because she's outnumbered and not listened to. Also it's a strange living situation, nobody is married and the parentage of each of the children is not quite clear. The oldest child came knocking on the door asking if Sonny Boy could come play the other night at 7:45 - Sonny Boy was already in bed as he's had a host of behavior issues last week and the kid nearly fell out that he was already in bed. Hubby took him over to swim in their pool (a small above ground job) the other day and visit with the parents and at 8:00 said well time to head home and get to bed and they were just getting around to getting their gaggle of kids fed. I know we all run on different schedules but 8:00 seems to be a little late to feed 6 or 8 kids ages 10 and under.

Sonny Boy and Igor are now registed for school. Sonny Boy starts next Monday and his teacher seems nice. We had a little issue with getting Igor into the pre-school program and I had to have a "frank" discussion with the elementary principal about federal law and what Igor is entititled to having an IEP. However after my discussion Igor went from being on the wait list to having a spot in the PreK class. My only beef is that is the afternoon class which will conflict with his nap.
I'll have to figure out something there. They won't let him start until after his birthday which is only three weeks after the start of school but I'm not going to fight them on that as I figure there are going to be bigger fish to fry later in the year in regards to his services. My day is going to be busy being bus service it seems though. Sonny Boy will go to school at 8:00, Igor at 12:15, and they will both be released at 3:00, at least they have one time scheduled together. The preschool here is also 5 days a week. More than I had bargained for and honestly I think it may be a lot of Igor the first few weeks till he adjust and we settle into a routine. To add a bit of irony to the mix if we lived on the other side of the railroad tracks (less than 100 yards) the kids could ride the school bus!

Last weekend we drove back up to WI to clean and put the house in show condition. After much discussion we bit the bullet and lowered the price again on the house. It's painful but it's getting time to fish or cut bait on the dang thing. Hopefully the bait we are dangling is looking more appealing as our agent seems to think an offer is in the works but if it's acceptable is another story. If the offer is decent it will be coming from the very first guy who walked into the house in March for a showing. Go figure. Honestly now I don't really care if we make a red cent I just want out from under the mortgage and the worry that something major will happen to it in the meantime.

The house issue really gets my goat - here we are sitting in the same situation as many people right now through no fault of our own. We didn't over extend ourselves on on mortgage, in fact we purchased way below what our bank qualified us for, we were living within our means, no fancy cars, boats, or vacations. Our most extravagent expense was our adoption of Igor (honestly I can't call that living large or anything) and we still get kicked in the shins. I realize it's not a personal thing against us but it sure stinks. As the say "No good deed goes unpunished".

The kids are holding up well. Sonny Boy had a round of acting up last week for about three days that made me wonder if the IL authorities would come get him for a few days of respite without it turning into a nightmare. Thank God Hubby was making it home at night both to give me a break and to dole out punishment as I can only take away so many toys, games and sit the kid in his room for hours at a time. A couple of days without Wii (and he had a new game he hadn't gotten to play) TV, a very early bedtime and a few well placed swats on his rear seems to have straightened him out for the moment. I am limiting the TV and games drastically though and keep the controllers under lock and key. The new cable doesn't have the ability to block out TV by rating like the old so I'm on TV show patrol a lot now. It seems his attitude is tied strictly to how much sass he sees spewed forth on TV from kids to their parents so we are back to watching nicer shows.

Igor is a real trooper. I don't think the kid has missed a beat. A couple of nights of adjusting to sleeping in the same room as big brother and that's been about it. Right now we are working hard at potty training and he seems to be getting the gist of it. I'm the lazy one and have to set a timer to remind my self to remind him to go, as long as I do that he stays dry all day and he'll even go potty completly on his own sometimes as well. Knock on wood I hope things continue as well and he'll be out of diapers completly very soon.

Well it's late and the chaos will start early in the am again. As usual my to do list is longer than my arm and I won't get half done but will be glad for the things I do get done.

Know we are trucking along and I hope to be able to blog more in the next week or two.