Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to Minneapolis we Go!

I head out of here on Tuesday with Jerome and Madison for Minneapolis. He has his pre-op appointment on Wednesday with surgery scheduled for 7:30AM on Thursday morning. I had to have his pre-op physical completed here by his pediatrician on Thursday and I was shocked to see that he has grown 4 inches since November.

He has been home now for almost 10 months and i can attest that the boys are indeed growing since I have to buy new clothes and shoes every few weeks. But 4 inches, uffda!! The kid is eating normal food, mixed with the usual slop of American fast food occasionally and I really, honestly believe that his growth is due not to proper nutrition but because of L.O.V.E!!!! Even the pediatrician believes that love plays a major role in not only emotional growth but also physical. Jerome has grown in every way possible.

Richnigthder has grown too and now is a solid size 8. He is a sturdy guy with a solid squarish type body. He is huge into athletics and loves skiing. Yesterday Marc took Madi, Thomas and Richnigthder to go skiing and he now skis most of the runs himself and takes the lift without any help. He is such a big fella that he not only skis independently, but also went into the lodge and bought his friend and himself a treat. He is so smart and willing to try new things. How did my little boys grow up so fast. Oh, right, they've only been home 10 months!

Somedays it seems impossible that they have been home so long already. Most of the time though it feels like they have always been a part of our lives. But there are moments when I am shocked back to reality to recognize that the majority of their lives so far are unknown to me. I have filled out the numerous medical questionnaires required for his surgery and it is soooo sad to me that I am unable to provide any background medical information prior to our Creche finding (and saving his life) in March of 2006. I'll never know how old he was when he took his first steps, nor what his very first word was. With Richnightder, I know his birthmom was there to witness these moments. I didn't get to see them, but his birthmom did and just knowing that someone who loved him shared this, makes me feel better. But for Jerome, his first three years of life are and will always be a mystery. Unknown answers left blank on a medical form, but to me it's the most outward sign that this child had a life before me.

Let me point something out to those who have not walked an adoption road in life. Although not one of my 4 kids physically resemble Marc or me, I forget in day-to-day living that these kids did not usher forth from my body. What they did do, was resonate in my heart long before I ever met them or held them in my arms. Recently someone I dearly love (NOT my husband) said to me that I wouldn't know how hard it is to have more kids since "I didn't have to push them out." I asked what the difference was to which my loved one replied, "You didn't have to get all fat and moody." This broke my heart and hurt me because in adoption, there is no distinction between birthing them or having them placed into your arms or jumping into your arms. How can someone mitigate the fact that our last adoption took 27 months and had so many ups and downs that I ate myself into a few new larger pants and my moods were wildly unpredictable.

With a pregnancy, you have a due date; the date you expect to reach the end of the moody, plump, swollen feet days. With adoption, there is no end date. It drags on and on and on and nothing is within your personal control. You can't eat better to give the baby a better first breath or do Lamaze to make delivery "easier." You simply hope and pray that the country doesn't have more food shortage riots, military coups, devestating hurricanes or birth parents changing their minds. All I am saying is that no one better tell me that adoption is the easy way to have a kid. The heartache is tremendous and the love you feel is already intertwined with your child who lives far, far away. Try walking around with your heart outside your body for 27 months and see if it is easy. These are my children, given to me by God and NOBODY ever try to diminish my love for them, by inferring they came to me by adoption.

Now I must take my rowdy bunch to the store and get some garbage snack foods for the trip to Minnepolis and replace the batteries in the headphones in the car. I am constantly living on the edge of chaotic fun!!! :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Old man winter needs to find a new hang out

Reasons why we live here....What on earth is better
than a prairie trail ride with friends?

This is the beauty of North Dakota..and this little slice
of heaven is for sale!!

What life looks like at our house all winter

Yes, I realize I reside in North Dakota, but remember we are Oregonians and still fairly new transplants to this land. Last winter here was HORRIBLE. We had over 100 inches of snow and plenty of well below zero days. This winter, quite frankly, aint much better. Gobs of snow and now they are predicting maybe our coldest days of winter yet to come. EGADS, we've already had lots of days where the mercury refused to even approach zero. Question right now is, how much longer can we hold off becoming in the loony bin...and not become nasty, nut jobs?

I'm gonna add a couple pics of what this beautiful state looks like when the grass is green, the sky brilliant blue, and the only sound to be heard are the meadowlarks singing away. Oh and if you are interested, the picture of the pretty grass field is a 40 acre lot we are selling. It is a gorgeous peice of land located about 23 miles North of Bismarck, North Dakota. If you are interested, leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

Next weekend Madi and I are gonna try and make a quick trip to Brainerd, Minnesota. Our dressage instructor recently moved there to teach and his father is a world renowed dressage instructor named Wolfgang May. Kurt's father, Wolfgang will be putting on a clinic and Kurt called to invite Madi to participate. I hope I can squeeze this trip in between skiing on Friday and Jerome's eye surgery the following week. I'll keep you all posted.

So the pictures I have posted will give you a feel for what we still have on the ground and what I am dreaming about....warm, summer days and lazy horse rides on the prairie.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The epitome of true love

Not only is today Marc's birthday and not only is he the best husband and father in the universe, but today is also Valentine's Day. After 19 years of marriage to this man, there are some things I just know. Like since Valentine's is his birthday, he is used to getting the gifts and not so great at giving them to his wonderful wife....ME! I just know this so it is not a biggie. He does way too many other things that are fabulous, wonderful and generous.

Today we went to church at 8:30AM and then Marc and I taught Sunday School. It was a beautiful sunny day, albeit brutally cold. It was about -2f with a 25 mile an hour wind making it feel like -30. I drove home and knew that our little county road was pretty drifted over when we left, but our AWD Denali plowed through it like a champ, so I wasn't too concerned about getting back to our house. We live on a dead end gravel road with only 3 houses spread out over a mile so we are kind of on our own if s^&*! happens. Well I could see the drift had gotten much deeper and still thought I could plow through it but sadly, got stuck in the middle of it. We were so stuck that we had to get out and walk home, roughly a quarter mile.

Mind you, we only had on jeans, coats and everyday shoes: No hats, gloves, boots, etc. Thomas got out first and started walking in 2-3 feet deep snow and made steady progress. Madison went next and marched on too. Richnigthder was light enough that he could walk on top of the snow most of the way, but would occasionally fall through. I was next and watched the kids make slow progress towards the house leaving Marc and Jerome following behind me. It was very slow going and when I looked back, Marc had scooped Jerome up and was taking painfully slow, deep steps through the snow. Jerome was sobbing due to the extreme cold and the next thing I knew, Marc had taken off his coat and wrapped it around Jerome. That left Marc in only his shirt, still walking through crotch deep snow carrying Jerome.

When we all made it inside, the little boys were sobbing from the pain of having never been so cold before and Marc was shivering and shaking. I love this man for giving his littlest son the coat off his back to keep Jerome warm and forsake his own well being. I adore this man and am so happy he is the father of my 4 children.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jerome's first birthday party EVER!

This time last year we were still waiting for both boys to have their files signed out of MOI. Fast forward to February 13th, 2010 and Samuel Jerome is at home, celebrating his first birthday EVER! Today he turned 6 and he woke up smiling and shouting that it was his birthday and he was a big boy now. I love this little boy.

We had a bowling his request.. and he and his friends had a lot of fun. He particularly enjoyed the bowling...sometimes on other people's lanes, but hey, he had fun, right!

Tomorrow is Marc's birthday and I think he just would be happy to have a quiet day at home and be a vegetable. I think I can accomodate that!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Things to look forward to

Yeah, yeah, I know the title ends in a preposition and that is just plain bad grammar, so shoot me. I have 4 kids in homeschool, each with different needs and skills, different grade levels and a million books that refuse to stay put in the classroom. Sometimes I need to break the rules to feel like a rebel.

Kids have gym today which is reason enough to celebrate as it gives me an hour to talk to other mothers that have that dazed, frazzled look on their faces too and completely understand my day. Right now the kids are eating lunch and dancing, er,uh, spinning in circles until they almost vomit. They think it's fun, so whatever. 3 of the 4 kids have finished their school day already. Thomas will be working on math in the car as we drive to gym, but I can't complain since he is actually doing his work without too much complaining. Richnightder is almost finished with Kindergarten, which is what I started him in to give him a basis in English phonetics. He should be starting first grade curriculum in April and I am sure he will whip thru that too.

Jerome is scheduled for his corrective eye surgery in Minneapolis on March 4th. His pre-op appointment is on the 3rd, so that means I have to head out for the Cities on the 2nd. Oh yippeee! I am actually looking forward to this trip, how twisted is that. Jerome is ecstatic about having his eyes fixed and asks everyday if today is the day. Marc is staying home with the other kids while I take Jerome and since Jerome is such a happy love-bug kinda kid, this trip should be a breeze. I am contemplating taking Madison since she could stay at the hotel with him should I choose to escape to the Mall of America and squeeze in a little retail therapy post surgery.

The doctor has assured me that this is not a painful surgery and his eyes will not be patched so healing will not be too bad. I am hoping to arrive in Minneapolis in enough time to drop off the health kits our church has put together at the Lutheran Headquarters in the Cities, check into the hotel and head straight to the mall and my mothership....Nordstrom. Pastor Paul also asked me to pick up some kind of Scandanavian beverage at Ikea for him and I just might have to do a little shopping for myself there too.

My big sister may fly to Minneapolis to meet up with us and participate in some retail therapy. Wait, I mean, help take care of Jerome during his doctor appointments and surgery. kathy has never been to Minnesota, nor the Mall of America, so I think we might have some fun exploring together, just us two native Oregonians on the loose in Minneapolis. Right now, I have a loose agenda of things to accomplish. First, a stop at Tiffany and Co. to have my rings cleaned. Next, on to the mother ship and look for some new Stuart Weitzman's...they fit my feet like gloves...and a new Burberry handbag. Maybe something with a little 'springish' color to it.

So from our rural, jean wearing, homeschooling life, I am excited to revisit a bit of my former Portland, urban lifestyle. Why does meeting up with my sister kick me into overdrive where I feel the need to have nice shoes and a high end handbag?? Hmmm, guess no matter how old we are, sisterly competition will always be around. I can honestly say though, that when I put a new Burberry on my shoulder, I feel like a million bucks. I know, I know, totally shallow, but in a world where my days are spent doing, giving and sacraficing for others, I need to indulge myself every now and then. So with a designer purse, kick-ass shoes, nice jeans and some Tiffany jewelry, I should feel a little more re-invigorated at least for a few more months.

I feel hideously creepy for blogging about my indulgences when my beloved country of Haiti languishes in despair and need. All I can say about that is I haven't stopped giving, doing and planning on returning to Haiti to do whatever I can with my hands and heart to help rebuild that beautiful land. Pa bliye Ayiti..............................Do not forget Haiti!!

What I struggle with since the boys came home last May is striking a balance in my life. I am with my kids ALL.THE.TIME. I work, sleep, eat, play, teach, and do chores, all in the same environment of my home. Sometimes it feels like I am living Groundhog's Day over and over again. I get an occassional lunch with my friends, and that's about it. It's not enough. I feel guilty for telling Marc I need time ALONE. I would prefer to be alone with him, sans kids, but with 20 animals to take care, it is hard to find someone to care for all of them, so we can escape. So back to me, ME, ME! It's hard for me to express that I need and want to get away from the office(home) where my daily life occurs, day after day, after day. UGH. I need and want a change for a while. Guess that is why the trip to Minneapolis is looking so damn fine to me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just in case of extreme boredom

The Bismarck Tribune called and asked if they could do an article on our family since we are most definetly connected to Haiti. The reporter came out, with a photographer, GULP! I made it very clear to him that I HATE having my picture taken since I am the least photogenic person God ever made and asked him to not include any pictures of me. YEAH, right! He not only put in 2 pics of me, but the very one I asked him to delete, since he caught me leaning over with a kid on my lap and trying to supress a belly laugh. It ended up with me looking like I have a mental condition and 22 chins. HIDEOUS.

Anyhoo, the article is alright and did bring to light a few adoption related topics and mentioned our orphanage and it's strategic partner, Chances4Children. Here's the link in case you are in imminent fear of death from boredom. It should give you a chance to laugh at the nasty pictures of me and revel at the beauty of my kids. The title of the article is Connected to Haiti. I hope the link works better for you than it has for me. It has been a major pain.