I have this bag of my Grandma Little's. It is full of some of her needlepoint and crochet projects that she never finished. This bag is precious to me and I love that it has unfinished things in it. Someday I can finish it and it can be something we did together. I remember the day I asked her to teach me how to crochet. I think I was about 22. She was not the most patient teacher and I thought it was funny that she was getting so frustrated. I'm not sure if she was frustrated with me, herself, my learning, or her teaching. She did end up teaching me a 'tear drop' stitch. It's still the only stitch I know how to crochet, but hopefully when I have a little more time I will learn more. I love afghans especially the one she made that I have. It's so nice and cozy to curl up with on a cool Fall afternoon. Seeing this bag and going through it reminded me of her so much and made me think of how much she would've loved her great-grandkids. All of my now gone grandparents would have gotten such a kick out of them! My grandparents were and are perfect grandparents. They lived very close to us when we were growing up. My Grandma and Grandad Little (my mom's parents) lived a few blocks away and when we were older we could walk to their house. My Grandma and Grandpa Stambaugh (my dad's parents) lived about 10 minutes away and we spent most Sunday afternoons at their house. They spent time with us, they provided us with wonderful memories, they did not spoil us, and they always tried to be fair. They were perfect grandparents! Grandpa Stambaugh raced horses as a hobby and behind his barn he had a horsewalker to exercise the horses on. My sister, Angie, and I would hook buckets up to one of the four arms of the walker and Grandpa would turn on the switch. Sometimes he'd turn it on too fast and we would be hollering at him to "turn it down Grandpa!" He'd act like he didn't hear us and turn it on faster or turn it completely off. Occasionally, while Angie and I would be happily bobbing along in our buckets, he'd put a horse or two on there with us. Race horses are high strung and are not necessarily pets, we were little (about 5 and 7) and pretty scared of those horses that were skittish, but he'd just say "oh they won't hurt you, you just be real still." Angie and I would start hollering and not dare get out of our buckets. Another time he had a horse he was wanting us to ride, it was a young horse, I don't think it was completely broke yet. Angie and I were running from him and decided to hide in the house. Do you know what that man did?! He brought that horse in the house! My Grandma started yelling, "E.G.!" Angie and I squealed and ran through the house! One time Grandad Little was in the hospital and giving the nurses some trouble (big surprise). He and I were watching Sesame Street (not much on in a hospital and I don't think he was all himself just yet). This big hairy monster came on and he said, with this devilish grin on his face, "Hey, Lori, there's your boyfriend." Thanks Grandad! He was a mess. When I was in college I went through this period of losing a lot of weight. He told me that if I didn't start gaining weight that he'd "kick my ass." I started putting on some pounds very soon after that. Grandma Stambaugh would babysit us and I always remember how she would read books to us and use voices for all the characters. The Three Billy Goat's Gruff, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and a book of nursery rhymes were never better. She is also a very creative person like my Grandma Little was. She sewed us some Halloween costumes and made us some shirts that she had painted on. Her house is always very beautifully decorated and smells like Vicks Vap-O-Rub. These memories all started with me cleaning out a closet and coming across a bag full of unfinished projects. I put all Grandma's stuff back in the bag and put it right back in the closet for me to find the next time I clean it out.
My husband and I completed an adoption education requirement at Dillon on Saturday. It always makes me feel like we are moving forward instead of standing still. Kind of like how when you drive through Kansas you don't know you are moving except the telephone poles or fence posts are moving past you (sorry if you are from Kansas, but it's true!). But anyway, we took a class called "The Emotional and Physical Care of the Newly Adopted Child." There were two other couples there, one was adopting from Korea, the other was adopting from Vietnam and they had a picture of their baby boy! He was precious! The class covered great information, some of it we were very familiar with - like how to change a diaper (we could've written the book on that one with one hand tied behind our back, upside down, holding another kid in one hand, fixing a sandwich for another kid, and while talking on the phone). There was specific information to our daughter's birth country, attachment, feeding, and culture. The babies in China may have not been bathed until we get them! Wow! It just didn't occur to me that our daughter may have never been given a bath (if she's coming from an orphanage). I'm sure the orphanage just has their hands full and is trying to save $$ by not bathing the kids (they do get sponge baths), but that is just such a huge bonding time for me and my kids! Needless to say, we may have to approach bathing very cautiously. Attachment is another area that we are really learning a lot about. When we get our daughter we are essentially supposed to treat her as a newborn regardless of the age she is when we get her. We did request a child between the ages of 6-12 mos., so we shouldn't have too far to go. Until we see signs of attachment forming only my husband and I are to hold her, feed her, bathe her, change her, and provide for her needs. This is so she learns who mom and dad are and doesn't get confused by whom she can trust. Adopted children are raised, especially in the beginning, very differently than birth children. So much to learn and so much fun to learn it!
I do not like to cook. I do not like to cook. I do not like to cook. I do not like to cook. I do like to eat.
If I would just take a little time, plan a little better, and do a little research I'm sure I would be better. (I know what you are thinking . . . 'maybe if she wouldn't blog so much she'd be able to cook a decent meal'). I can't say I HATE to cook because I do like to eat, but if you tell me a 3 Musketeers bar is a healthy meal then why not eat two? My 'specialty' is chicken and rice, well, it used to be. Do you ever watch "Everybody Loves Raymond?" Debra has a meal that she fixes as her 'go to' and it is Lemon Chicken. She fixed it for Ray on their first date and every once in a while she fixes it and it makes me giggle. Well, chicken and rice is my Lemon Chicken. It's easy, I seem to always have those ingredients, it's a meat that doesn't gross me out, and it's rice, how can you go wrong with rice? As you can guess, I recently fixed chicken and rice. Lyndal says, "Think of something I do that bothers you that you would like for me to stop doing." (Major loaded question.) "Nothing dear, you are perfect! Don't change a thing," I say. He says "Well, if I stopped doing that one thing would you stop fixing chicken and rice?" I guess I got to find a new 'go to.' Maybe there's a recipe for Lemon Chicken out there somewhere . . .
The kids are so much fun (even though Nicci was a little grouchy)! They have all known each other since they were fetuses, so they get along really well and treat each other like cousins (not to mention that the H's and G's ARE cousins - we are just accepted as such). Have a great school year!
Every year we get together with our great friends the H's and the G's for a Back to School party. We eat, have a Get Ready For School relay race, and pray over our kids for the upcoming school year. When we first started this 6 years ago we only had 5 kids between us, we now have 10 kids between us! The relay race is one of the highlights of the evening. They start out and have to eat breakfast which is usually half a waffle or something easy, then they have to get dressed for school (usually a t-shirt over the clothes they are already wearing), then they have to pack their backpacks, put it on and touch the fence. This year only the big boys and Caleb, one of the younger boys, wanted to participate. Blaine won! Caleb was a great sport even though he was really last!
I LOVE having my kids home and being able to be a little liesurely in the morning, go and do fun stuff, get to bed a little later, and just be bums. Our summer has been so good! The kids have played well together and just had their usual little spats. But this past week has been AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!! Especially the two boys! They have been wrestling, chasing, tearing up, and being so ornery! This is usually how it goes: C says, "Hey E want to wrestle?" E says, "Sure!" They wrestle for a maximum of 2 minutes before I hear from E, "WWWAAAAAAUUUHHHHH!!! He hit me!" I say, "Where did he hit you?" E says, "Right dere." I say, "CONNER! Play gentle with him, he's only 3!" C says, "But Mom I barely touched him!" Then after a few rounds of this same scenario I got smart and watched them a little closer. E was doing it because he knew it would get C in trouble! The little stinker! I wasn't giving him enough credit. So, all that to say that I never wanted to be one of those moms who wished their kids went back to school, but this past week I can't wait till they go back to school!
I was watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and it struck me that one of these men could be "the one." It's a tad far fetched, I know, but what if . . . ? That last picture is not of the opening ceremonies. I saw it the other day and thought it was unreal. Does it look like a human toilet or what? I think it would need to be pretty stinkin' hot for me to have to cool off in that. How on earth do you lifeguard a pool that size with that many people in it? Back to the opening ceremonies. I have them on the DVR and have only watched a short part of them, but they are amazing! I am just in awe of the technology and creativity involved. There are a ton of people there and I'm not one much for crowds, and I would not want to be there, but I would - make sense? Enjoy the games!
This is a sample of what I find in my laundry almost every time Conner's clothes are in the dryer. I find Lego pieces or fully formed "guys." He's always had something in his pocket or in his hand, some sort of toy or just anything. I know there will come a day when I don't find Legos in the laundry and I will remember this. He's such a great kid and I don't mind that he doesn't clean out his pockets. Now that he's older he occasionally leaves $$ in his pants and the rule is that if I find it, it's mine!
I am a wife to a wonderful man, and a mother of five beautiful, healthy children. If I had time, I would get organized, read, research stuff, exercise (pressing on!), and take more naps. We live in the great state of Oklahoma. Life is good. God is great!
A List of Common Adoption World Abbreviations and Terms
SWI - Social Welfare Institution, the orphanage, but also sometimes an orphanage and a home for the elderly
SN - Special Need, some of the families request a child with a special need, we have chosen not to
LID - Log In Date, the date your dossier is officially logged in in China
Travel Group - All the other families who have the same DTC/LID date as we do and we will all travel together unless one of them chooses a child with a special need. Usually all the referrals in a group come from the same orphanage, which will be another thing we will have in common with our travel group.
I-171h - a PPP that we waited 6 weeks on so we could finish our dossier
USCIS - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Bethany - Our adoption case worker at Dillon who is very patient and has a great sense of humor
Dillon - Our adoption agency, which we love, is based in Tulsa, but serves many parts of the country, and it's Christian based
PPP - Pretty Peace of Paper, once you have received the pesky one it becomes the pretty one ;)
PPP - Pesky Piece of Paper, which is any piece of important paper you are waiting on
Referral - The first picture you see of the child you have been matched with and a brief medical history