Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our caseworker came over today for a visit.
She needed to update our home study and to approve us for an adoption license.
Everything went really well- the kids were really good and we actually had a lot of fun just playing with them and chatting about life.
She was shocked at how much Neiko has grown :)

He had a doctor appointment yesterday and he is 27 lbs and 34 inches. 80% for weight and 93% for height.
He is just a tad behind on speech and fine motor skills- nothing that concerns his pediatrician- but I think I'm going to have him screened through an early intervention program. I just want to be sure he's doing okay. It's so hard to tell for me- especially because I'm coming off of 3 girls in a row who were super talkative and social at his age.

But back to the visit-
Our caseworker told me our case is being processed with ICPC right now and should be done by Friday. Then we schedule our adoption hearing as long as we don't hear anything from Neiko's birth father.
She says we are on the tail end of things- which is just wonderful!

Our adoption license is good for 4 years as long as we have a home visit every 6 months. And she tells me it's pretty easy to get foster licensed if you already have an adoption license.
All of that is exciting to us and we look forward to seeing what God has in store in the years to come!

Our other news is that we are going on a family vacation at the end of the week!!
My parents are taking the entire family (25 of us) on a cruise.
We will spend the weekend in New Orleans (Neiko should feel right at home!! :) going to the zoo, an aquarium, and sending the guys off on a day long fishing trip.
Then our ship leaves on Monday for Cozumel and the Yucatan.
It'll be pretty crazy for Dave and I and our kids, but it'll be well worth it for a break from routine and for the sun!!!
I'm looking the most forward to the beaches and the kids are hoping to swim with dolphins in Cozumel.
Wren talks nonstop about going on a "big boat," Tekoa and Shaeya are excited to be with their cousins for a whole week, and Tyden lives for any time spent with his grandma- although he is a bit nervous about thunderstorms while we're out on the ocean :)

The only thing I'm nervous about is seasickness cause I have extreme motion sickness and I've never been on a cruise before.
But I'm sure Dave will do JUST FINE with all the kids if I happen to get really sick.......

Here's to packing for 7 and a 12 hour drive with 5 kids on Friday! :)
Anything for the sun and a beach!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wow. I just noticed that my blog now has 11 whole followers. I've come a long way in 2 years. :)
Hopefully in 2 more years if I'm not too old and boring I could have like 20 followers.
But I'm probably gonna have to start spicing things up a bit.

Hmmm I do have a spicy story that I probably wouldn't otherwise tell- but if I'm gonna reach that goal then I better start somewhere, right?

The other night the kids and I decided to go to McDonalds for supper. Not something we normally do, but we had just finished with gymnastics, it was late, and Dave had a guy at our house working on our shower (yep, still working on that shower!)
We walked through the doors of McDonalds and right away I noticed a guy in the back was really watching us.
I walked back to the playland to drop the kids off and then to the front to order our food.
And he followed me.
He came up to the line and stood beside me and asked, "so are all those kids your little brothers and sisters??"

Needless to say I had a good laugh over that.

But the funny part came later when I texted dave to tell him about it.
I told him, "so I just got asked if our kids were my little brothers and sisters."
And he said,"would you give that person a hug for me they are awesome"
To which I said, "I don't think it would have been quite appropriate for me to hug him after he looked me up and down and said, 'WOOOOOW'"
And dave said, "okay then punch him in the face for me"

So funny.
You just never know what a day will bring.....

And what today has brought is a sick wren. She and I were up most of the night together. She threw up in her bed around 1:30 and I finally got her somewhat settled on the couch with me around 3:30.
Today she is feeling a little better but she only wants to be held.
"I wanna hoooooooold you, mommy. I wanna hooooold you."
I'm trying to let her "hold" me but I also have a very bored 4 year old and a 1 year old who leaves a wake of destruction everywhere he goes. Everywhere. And he gets very jealous of wren holding me.
"up! up! up! up! up! up! up" follows every, "Mommy, I wanna hoooooooooold you."
I'm trying to keep them apart so the germs don't spread to every one of us again.
But I'm sure it's probably too late for that anyway......

I also have a mountain of bedding full of puke to wash.
I'm trying to get that done as well.
I just went to take the first load out of the washer and discovered that I washed 2 pull-ups and about 12 Clorox wipes (that were used to wipe up puke) in with the load. Sigh.

My poor washer. Yesterday it had to tackle a very disgusting crumb-filled and milk-soaked carseat cover.
Gotta quit giving that boy milk!! He dumps it every time!!
But then he dumps his water and juice too......

Ok now I'm getting boring again. Hope I didn't lose any of the 11 after all that puke and milk talk.

The real reason I'm blogging on a day like today is to fill you all in on our big news.
Everything went great on Tuesday, and Neiko's birth mom officially signed her rights away.
She is done.
I talked to her on the phone afterwards and she seemed to be doing fine.
Thank you to all who prayed for her that day.

Here's what happens next-
We wait for all the paperwork to be processed in AZ.
We send out a public notice for the father.
We file the AZ paperwork here.
We petition to skip over getting full guardianship and move straight toward adoption instead.
We wait 30 days.
We schedule the adoption hearing.

Our lawyer thinks it can all happen in 6 weeks or so.
Then Neiko is ours forever, we get to close the "adoption process" chapter of our lives, and we have a HUGE party to celebrate!!!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm very, very excited to tell you all that after 9 months of waiting we finally have progress on the horizon!!
Our lawyer called yesterday to tell us that the head of ICPC for Arizona was finally presented with our case. And they seem to think that because of the length of time that Neiko has been with us that there is no need for us to go to court for full guardianship in Arizona.
The head of ICPC for Illinois has agreed.
Which is WONDERFUL news!!!!
It simplifies and expedites the entire adoption process.

Our Phoenix lawyer is meeting with Neiko's birth mom on Tuesday to sign papers.
I think she is signing adoption papers. From what I gather that will give us what we need to set up our court date for adoption here in Illinois.

What an amazing experience. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he will be my son. Just the same as the others. And that he will be their brother just as if by birth. That he will have our last name.
Such an amazing, beautiful concept.
Such a gift.
Such a blessing.
Such a life altering event for all 7 of us. But especially for one gorgeous, cuddly, smiling, curly haired little boy.
My soon-to-be son.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

first day of preschool!









and pictures of the big party! :)



















soooo remember my last post about the flu and it's bad timing??
let's talk some more about the flu and bad timing.....
like a house full of little girls (10 that slept over) with just ONE MOM. one mom.

i had had a few dizzy spells that day but didn't have time to think much of it. til about 9pm that night. with the party in full swing. and it hit full force.
i have never pushed through a sickness like i did that night.
there was no way i could just crawl in bed, so i forced myself through the evening sweating and shaking (and puking once) and washing my hands A LOT :)

i thanked Jesus that i felt better by the morning. and it was an eaaaaarly morning with those girls! :)
but it was alot of fun. more singing and coloring and eating and laughing.....

neiko loves to watch the fish. and he says, "fishy" now. and "up, drink, tractor, shoe, and blankie."
i LOVE seeing him learn!!!



he also "learned" how to unroll the toilet paper and run through the house with it.
and of course this happened right as a grandma came to our door to pick up one of the girls from the sleep-over.



and here is my vain little princess. she is starting to WANT me to curl her hair. and take her picture. so foreign. shaeya would rather DIE than have her hair done or play dress up.





this is how she was entertaining herself the other day before her gymnastics class-



that takes some major ab muscles!! :)





tough guy with his tattoo.....



and his baby :)





guess what? we have grass!!
we got a whole half of a yard before the harvester broke down and the snow came.
so we have half....i mean half is better than none, right?
i'm sure the kids will know to play only on the grass side. sure of it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

i seem to be one step behind this crazy january weather.
i bundle us all up really nicely on the 60 degree days and have us going out in jacketless on the 20 degree days. but who has time to check the forecast everyday??

so let's talk about today.

today, thanks to the 60 degree weather, there is a guy here working on our yard. we may be getting our sod laid over the next 3 days. who would've thought we could lay sod in january?

today, also, was tekoa's first day of preschool.
i made an impulsive decision over Christmas break to enroll her.
she's been pretty bored at home lately and the "homeschooling" has been almost non-existent.
we say about tekoa- "she can't write her name or recognize her numbers, but she can climb real good." :)
she's got the large motor skills down- she can climb the big rope at gymnastics all the way to the top. she can almost do a back walk-over, she can do a handstand on the rings, but she's pretty behind with anything school related.
i had kept her home because of the move, the distance to school, to avoid having 3 kids at 2 different schools plus 2 babies at home, and to avoid having to be in town in the morning, noon, and afternoon.
but guilt took over and she is now in school once again. and she is sooooooooo happy about it. only made sweeter by the fact that she has 2 cousins and 1 good friend in her class.
it was the right thing to do- but i have a bit of anxiety thinking of the commitment i just made. it's just 5 short months. that's it. 5 months. i can do it.

today i got 3 kids off to 2 different schools :), went to the gym with my sisters, taught music at ty and shae's school, went and picked up tekoa and 2 of my nieces from preschool, and then drove back to ty and shae's school to do my weekly cleaning of the girls bathroom.

and today, while i did all that, i was planning and organizing our annual little girl's slumber party. which is also today.

so our annual slumber party is for shaeya and tekoa and their cousins and is usually during Christmas break.
but, unfortunately, we had the flu running through our kids from after Christmas until last wednesday.
now i know there is never a convenient time to have puking children, but these guys did a good job of getting it right at the wrong time.

the first was wren, who during my hosting of a rare girl's night with old friends from high school, came stumbling down the stairs half asleep, crawled into my lap, and promptly started puking. put a pretty swift end to the girls night.
then poor tekoa, who had been counting down the days til her first day of school (which was supposed to be wednesday), got it the night before and had to miss her first day.
and shaeya, of course, started puking the night before the slumber party (which was planned for last monday). we had to cancel and reschedule for tonight.
tyden also missed his first day back at school.

but thankfully, all that is behind us.

now back to the slumber party-
so, usually for the cousins, and usually during Christmas break- but since we had to reschedule we planned it for the next available friday night (tonight), 3 days after school restarted.

so then shaeya informed dave and i last night that at school that day she had invited all her school friends to come to the party too.
of course, i told her that she should've asked me before she invited them. and then i told her that the party was for her cousins and some of them might be uncomfortable with her school friends being there.
to which shaeya said, "mom, finding a friend is like finding a treasure. it would be a treasure for my cousins to become friends with my school friends."
dave and i just looked at each other. neither of us had any kind of argument for that logic....

but i thought maybe if i just didn't say anything that nothing would come of it. then when i got to the school today, the "school friends" were anxiously waiting to see if they could come or not.
hence the last minute planning during the craziness of my day.

we have 4 of them here tonight and i'm really glad they came.
everyone is getting along really well, and they are all having a blast.
13 girls total.
i painted 130 nails tonight and put in 10 little braids.
we sang karaoke and ate pizza and the girls are now watching a barbie movie with dessert to follow.

and i better sign off now cause the movie is winding down.
pictures soon to follow! :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

wow.
dave and i decided that Christmas with 5 kids is really something.
and we also decided it will be better next year.....or maybe the year after.....
it probably didn't help that we had 5 Christmases in 4 days.
and that by the time we got to the last two the kids were running on too little sleep and too much sugar.

but we had some truly beautiful moments mixed in with the chaos.
and it was nice to reflect on where we were last year at Christmas time-
living at my parent's house, dave and i hardly seeing each other, the new house was just stud walls, and we had only 4 children and noooo clue that we were about to be blessed by another.

yes, God has brought us a LONG way from where we were then.
PRAISE HIM.

here are some of our captured Christmas moments......



















my birthday night out with the girls :)



betcha didn't know that applebees has karaoke on thursday nights.......i didn't either til that night....



baking cookies at grandma's



Christmas with my mom's family-
my mom was chosen to dress up as santa this year and wren was TERRIFIED of her. we could not convince her that it was her grandma.
luckily tekoa was looking out for her. :)







neiko loving on his daddy-





wren being comforted by her older cousin willow :)









i was impressed by tekoa's coloring and laughing at her choice of picture- it's usually all princesses and flowers and ponies with that girl



shaeya couldn't wait to show this shirt to "the boys" (her uncles)



and tekoa has hardly taken this outfit off since Christmas eve....

















wren loving on mommy :)



and horseback riding!!!



this is aunt sally with neiko.
she is the one who found him for us. or actually found us for him. :)
truly amazing. such an awesome thing to watch them interact with each other.
and sally took pictures of him to show his grandma when she gets back home.



shaeya showing us all her vaulting skills. made grandma a little nervous :)



in case you were wondering how many little kids you can fit on a horse at one time.....



me with lexi, the baby i watch in the afternoons-










video