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Thursday, June 29, 2006
Captain Smartypants
Some of you may read Life of Elle (Jake follow that link <------------- right over there) and have heard mention D's renaming to Captain Smartypants. If you have not go on over to Life of Elle (there's that link again Jake) and read the story. Ok the story isn't quite that funny, but needless to say D was renamed.

The original plan was for him to only be Captain Smartypants on Life of Elle (hmm... link again), but in our haphazard driving around we got to talking. We really don't have much else to do. Anyway, we thought it would be funny if D CS started posting everywhere as Captain Smartypants. Of course then CS said that he would have to change his avatar (the little photo next to his name, for the parents). CS said he needed to find a little cartoon character with a cape and his underpants on the outside. Who does that sound like to you? You guessed it: Captain Underpants. So head on over to Protesting Stupidity and make CS feel better about himself (and further his slow moving plot at world domination) by giving him a comment or two. Lord knows you all have stepped up to the plate over here thus furthering my already exploding ego.

In honor of the name change I thought I would give you a taste of the stupidity I witnessed today.

At the end of the month our church sends out the monthly church newsletter. I create the fabulous publication (found here) and then the person I job share with (Jan) takes it to the post office to be mailed. Unfortunately Jan in Colorado taking care of her father. This means it is up to me to take the mailing (nearly 500 pieces) to the post office. One would assume that dropping off a mailing at the post office would not be that difficult. Oh how I was wrong. You see... we send it bulk mail. Thus requiring special instructions.

I phone Jan to find out how to do this and she gives me step by step instructions. I follow the instructions, head off to the post office and drop off my mailing. Lady says there is enough money in our account and I am good to go. So I think.

I get to work this morning and there is a voicemail from the bulk mail unit at the post office that says they mis-calculated the postage and I owe $5.21. I needed to come down and put money in the account so they can send it out.

No problem. Armed with a ten spot I stop by the post office during lunch. I waltz into the bulk mail unit and try to give the lady my money. She tells me I have to go into the actual post office because they only take checks in bulk mail.

I drive around to the front of the building and walk inside. My first clue that this was not going to be as easy as originally anticipated came when the inside of the post office was dead silent. Not even a postal worker whoring additional postage or insurance. I get in line. A long line. There is 1 postal worker.

To make a super long story short I waited in line for 45 minutes to give the post office $10!!!!! This was far worse than the 2 hours at homeland security.

While waiting I took the liberty to read the signs on the walls. I must say it is a pretty bad part of town when they actually have to post a sign indicating what the maximum sentence is for committing armed robbery on a US postal worker.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
speed blogging
OH MY GOD!!!! He posted!!!! D has this fantastic blog called Protesting Stupidity. You can find the link in the "Just Because" Section down below. Or follow THIS handy link. My husband is a stinkin' genius!! Go check out his latest ploy to rid the world of stupidity.

Now onto what I originally was going to write...

This whole working full time thing really cuts into my blogging time. I have not had nearly enough time to catch up on all of your journeys! Brian & Rebecca are back home, Kim & Damon (ok more Kim) are running around getting ready for their court trip, Margaret is completing her homestudy at break-neck speed, and the look changes!! Suzanne and Mandy my goodness you girls have been busy. I have about 10-15 minutes each morning to quickly skim through my blogroll, but the problem is I can only get through the Russia ones. The problem is "my girls" aren't all in the Russia group anymore.

This isn't to say that I don't love all my bloggy friends, it's just that there is this little group of us who kind of formed our own little blogging support group. I would love to put a category on the sidebar so I can check their blogs rather quickly in my pre-teeth brushing frenzy, but I don't want the rest of you to feel left out. That is how much I truly love you all! So I really am still reading all of your stories and neglecting my personal life and all that entails, I just have to sacrifice commenting. I many not comment, but I am still driving up your hit counter.

Don't worry everyone... I go back to my usual day and a half next week so you will see the nutty bunny back and blogging. And let me tell you I have loads to say!!!


I just realized that the spell checker tries to replace blogging with flogging. Feels like that when I don't have much to say.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Alive and kickin'
Did y'all think I drowned in a puddle of my own vomit from partying too much on my birthday? Nope, sorry no getting drunk and flashing the neighbors stories.

I had a fantastic birthday. I want to thank all of you for your wonderful birthday wishes. I can't tell you how special I felt. Of course in true Elle fashion I took photos of my entire day and of the party we had Saturday night. So you know I am going to make it into a video. Still working on it though.

It is 90 fuggin degrees here and my office is on the south side of the house. Can you say sweatshop? Even my fancy ceiling fan isn't doing the job. Yeah, yeah lots of you live in the south, midwest, california and other places that it gets hot, but I live in the Northwest. You know the place where it rains all. the. time. Oh no... not now. I had to bust out the actual shorts and tank tops. I am not sure the world is ready to see my white chicken legs. Too bad world!!!

So the best gift I got for my birthday? Well D was so kind as to give me his revisit of the Orphanage Super Virus. I woke up with a raging headache (not because of the Vodka) but because of all the crap building up in my sinuses. It is 90 degrees people!! Both of us are sick.

We are trying to take it easy today. D did decide to play softball this afternoon. (more the fool him) and me... well I sat in the sweatshop and worked on some blog designs. Now I am off for some serious idiot box watching. Deadliest Catch marathon today. Couldn't begin to tell you why I am fascinated by crab fishing. mmmm. crab.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Happy 30th Birthday!
This post is dedicated to my wonderful, beautiful and talented wife. For those of you that don’t know, today is Elle’s 30th birthday. How can that be? Can it actually be true sweetie that I have known you for half of your life? Where did all the time go? It seems like yesterday that we were just a couple of dumb kids that had no idea what we were doing (getting married at 21 and 19). All I know is that I wouldn’t trade it for the world and look forward to every day I get to spend with you. Inspired by Jen’s list-mania, I thought I would post 30 things I love about my wife (this list is in no particular order):

1) I love the way you smile at me
2) I love the way you make me laugh
3) I love you kindness
4) I love the compassion you show to me and others
5) I love the way you ask me how my day was
6) I love your selflessness
7) I love the way you trust and support me
8) I love your Faith
9) I love our own private, little jokes
10) I love waking up next to you everyday
11) I love lazy Saturday mornings with you
12) I love the way you see the world with eyes wide open
13) I love that you don’t judge people
14) I love your artistic talents
15) I love that you like to try new things
16) I love that you see life as an adventure to be lived
17) I love that you are organized (so that I don’t have to be)
18) I love that you put your family first
19) I love the way you are a natural teacher
20) I love your hugs and kisses
21) I love the way you get excited even by the small things in life
22) I love the conversations we have
23) I love the way you help others
24) I love the fact that we’ll do anything as long as we do it together
25) I love your honesty
26) I love that you put up with my inner nerd
27) I love the way you hold my hand (even if it’s sweaty)
28) I love your strength
29) I love your inner (and outer) beauty
30) I love you.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
How to make an adoptive mom feel better about herself
I apologize for my absence as of late. I have been working full time at the church and have been trying to spend some time in my garden (it is thanking me) and at my sewing machine. Two recreations that I love, but have been sorely neglected in the past 18 months.

June 17th was an important day for 2 reasons. My beautiful niece B turned 4 years old and we marked a milestone in our adoption process. 18 months. We have officially been in the adoption process for 18 long months.

So to mark the occasion I started to think about what I am missing in life. Well my family, my friends, my reliability, my money and most of all my sanity. Of course that isn't to say I actually had money or sanity to begin with. To my family and friends... well sorry about that. I will try to pull my ass out of the crapper soon enough. With all the obvious answers surrounding what I am missing I also started to think about what types of things you miss out on when you choose to adopt instead of get pregnant. Not that at the time I had a choice between the two. Needless to say there are quite a few things that women who become mothers through adoption miss out on.

We miss out on the glow. That sickening beautiful glow that pregnant women seem to emanate. We miss out on the "oohs" and "ahhs." The "oh look how cute you are" comments. But of course I have mentioned this all before. We also miss out on the pampering. It seems to me that pregnant women often get pampered. They get the parking spaces close to the door at the supermarket. People offer their seats on the subway or bus. I have watched husbands rub swollen feet.

For pre-adoptive moms we lack the physical signs of impending motherhood. Our bellies don't grow, or if they do it isn't something growing in them. It is caused by a serious case of stress eating. Our glows don't come naturally. They are induced by rage at hearing yet another girlfriend is pregnant. Or more likely by an alcoholic libation or two. Three buck chuck has become one of my best friends.

So to help rectify the situation I thought I would offer a few suggestions on how you as a friend, sister, brother, spouse, parent or anyone else suffering with dealing with supporting a pre-adoptive mom.

1. We like attention. For the outsider the allure of adoption wears off after the first few months. The mom deals with it every day. Don't ask, "any news yet?" Rather ask, "have you given any thought on what you are going to name the baby/ child" or "have you started working on your child's room yet? What color are you going to paint it?" Ask questions about her or her child, not the process of getting the child. If you must ask about the adoption process ask specific questions like, "tell me what the next step in the process is." And be genuine about it. Don't ask just to be nice.

2. Compliment us. Adoption does things to your mind, body and spirit. Some are stress eaters, some are stress not-eaters (me). We suffer from premature "mommy brain" or our brain cells have slowly died off due to excessive paperwork. We can look pale and tired. Please don't point out our faults. Please don't tell us it looks like we've put on a little weight or that we look obviously pale. Come up with something nice to say. Tell her you like her shoes or handbag. Compliment her writing style (thanks!) Tell her that seeing her makes you feel better.

3. Pamper us. Most of the pre-adoptive moms I know suffer from Email Checking Disorder (ECD) or Compulsive Message Board Reading Syndrome(CMBRS.) These are isolating and debilitating illnesses. These women are in serious need of some time away from their computers. They can think-type faster than they can re-type a letter. They are in dire need of some human contact. The best way to aid this is by taking her out of the house. Offer to take the pre-adoptive mom out to lunch. Offer coffee or out for drinks. Somehow force her to pry herself away from the computer for just an hour. You may have to endure a lunch date full of adoption related conversation, but the live human contact will make her feel good.

4. Make us feel special. Throw her an adoption shower. I hesitate to say baby shower since some people don't adopt babies. Make it a women's event. Not one of those crappy couple's shower where the men don't want to be there anyway. This activity is especially important for the woman becoming a mom for the first time, and especially one that has gone through the rigors of infertility testing and treatment. We want to be the center of attention. We want to feel special and want to know that you care. We want you to ooh and ahh over our cute stuff. We want it to be all about us for a moment and not about the adoption.

5. Surprise us. Personally I like surprises. Part of my ECD is the fact that, to me, emails are little surprises. It makes me feel good to know that someone is actually thinking of me. This is to say that I especially appreciate personal emails. Just a note to say "Hi, I was thinking about you today." E-cards work too. Even better than emails are notes or cards in the mailbox. That is that thing out on the curb or attached to your house. A mysterious person puts little pieces of paper in there (usually bills, occasionally a very important federal document) and for some reason this makes me giddy like a school girl. I love holidays and especially my birthday (which is in 2 days.) Important events mean greeting cards. Treasures that people have picked out to show you they were thinking of you. And if you want to go above and beyond the call of duty have something shipped. Care packages, a box of flowers, or anything that comes in something larger than an envelope. These are true little gems of happiness.

So the bottom line is for those of you on the sidelines: go out of your way to make these moms feel important. We have been through too much. This isn't to say that you should do this on a daily basis (although that will win you serious brownie points) but every so often. Think about us. We'd appreciate that.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Weekly Update; with a bit of randomness
First I want to say that I am shocked and amazed at the shear number of comments on the last post. We had 10 in less than 24 hours. Apparently I struck a cord. I do want to go on record to say that the post was in no way intended to frighten people away from Russian adoption. The process is not without it's flaws. If someone asked me if I would do it again I am not sure how I would answer that question. Ask me again when it is all said and done and I have my son in my arms.

So the update on our process... Well... it looks like our paperwork won't be filed to court until the last week in June. Kathou and Paypay will likely be Monday so we will be about 2 weeks behind them. With any luck our travels will overlap.

In other news; D made the trek to the Secretary of State's office for the apostille on the 171-H letter and promptly dropped it in a DHL box with a guaranteed arrival in Anchorage by noon tomorrow. If it doesn't arrive I think D will get a beating with an under used hockey stick. Of course it won't be his fault, but it will at least make me feel better. You see Olga is sending a package to Khabarovsk tomorrow and she wants that letter in the package. So do I.

So to celebrate I am going to give you guys a movie preview. I thought you all needed a laugh and I also thought watching Mary-Mia trying to recreate a diet coke and mentos experiment was not nearly enough. Sure, you wanted some more photos of Pickle's stuff, but I don't really have any. So you will have to settle for this (caution it does have a bad word in it):

This was so stinkin cleaver I wish I could take credit for it, but alas no.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Adoption Naivete
I am going to go on a little snarky rant here for a moment. This is not directed at any one person in general so please don't take any offense at anything I say. Remember... I have been "pregnant" for 18 months and I am getting a little cranky.

When I made the post about Defending Reaccreditation Margaret made a comment that I thought was fantastic. Of course she then deleted it because she found that it just wasn't nice. I so thought you should have left it M! The gist was that it frustrating to see all of these people out there that are so naive about the whole process of Russian adoption. Russian adoption is still in bitter turmoil right now and stuff is happening that just breaks my heart. The thought that any family would receive a referral, travel on their 1st trip and then be stuck like we were frightens me to death. I don't want anyone else to ever have to feel that pain.

Here is what I can tell you about my experience about Russian adoption. You can read all you like, but until you are right in the midst of it you have no clue what this roller coaster is like. Knowledge about the process is one thing, but the raw emotions of it are a whole other thing.

I tried to explain this in the post Imagine My World. I still think I did a pretty good job.

Fact of the matter is you can't prepare yourself for leaving your child behind. You can be aware of what is in front of you. You can tell yourself that your child is in the best environment given the situation, but having to say good bye to the child that was meant for you... well... it is an indescribable feeling.

I applaud all of you out there that do your research. Know your facts. And are well versed in the technical aspects of the Russian adoption process. Those little bits do help prepare you for the heartache to come. But listen to those of us who have been there.

This process will chew you up and spit you back out emotionally. You likely won't get pampered like you would with a pregnancy. No comments about "oh you look so cute/ beautiful/ glowing." More comments like, "Oh you look so pale or tired." You will think you are loosing your mind. There will be days that you think you can't take another second of this process (I had one on Tuesday.) If you hear one more, "Any news yet?" comment you will jump off a bridge. This is the reality of the process.

Does everyone go through this? To some degree or another yes. Some adoptions go very smooth. For you, I secretly hate you you are lucky. For the rest of us there is some solace. We are not alone. We have others out there that support us. They hold us up when we can't stand on our own. They are our family, our sisters and brothers.

So ask questions. Prepare for the process, but ask the important questions of those who have gone before you. How do you deal with the stress and anxiety? What do you do to make sure your marriage survives this? How do you keep your friends when you feel so alienated? Don't be naive about this process. It is a rough one.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
A big fat Wahoooo!
Check this out...

Yep, that is my new and improved 171-H letter*. See that blue arrow. That is all that needed to be changed! It was the only thing in the mailbox yesterday. I really should have taken a photo of it sitting in there. This is the very last piece of GD paperwork I need. I think my head will esplode if I have to fill out, notarize or apostille anything else until after this kid is home. The next piece of paperwork expires sometime in September and that is the Certificate of Residency letter from our mortgage company. It took 2 months to get. So if that expires I think you will find me litterally dead under the collective loony bin bed.

There is no word on the status of our paperwork currently sitting on a desk somewhere in Khabarovsk. We are hoping that it gets filed to court sometime this week. As soon as it does I think I will lose it. That means all we are officially waiting for is "The Call." Enough to put me into parenting panic.

So I rearranged the Blogroll. Sorry to those of you who were used to it the old way. I thought it was better this way. More difficult for me to update, but with the wierdness going on over at Blogrolling I thought it was better this way. So now if Blogrolling gives up the ghost I won't lose all of your precious links.

*No it doesn't really have those black marks. That is something dumb that photoshop did when I saved the file.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Riding in Style
First I would like to apologize to all of your for my obvious lack of comments on your blogs. Blogger has been stupid all week.

So to make up for it I thought I would post more photos of Pickle's stuff.

My boy is going to be riding in style! I got my shower gift early from the MIL and FIL. Isn't this stroller just the cutest? No silly drink holder on this bad boy. Just down right kid carrying fun. My luck is that he will hate riding in a stroller. That's ok, at least mommy will look cool pushing it.

Of course this is the stroller that I thought would be awfully neat too, but evidently the people purchasing the stroller didn't think that it fit the bill. Of course they don't sell the Burberry model online and of course the only place you can purchase one in the area would be in Bellevue or on Madison in Seattle. Shocking!

I will say that I am a little partial to the red, white, and blue though. I am thinking I got a heckuva sweet deal on this one. Thanks MIL & FIL!

I also got a little care package from D's sis this week.

I wasn't expecting a package so I was thrilled to get one! I opened it up and this is what I found. A beautifully knit afghan (not by Lee), a Little People CD, some bright and beautiful books for the book worm and this nifty thing that goes under the car seat. It has a "toy box" that sits on it next to the car seat. This is going to come in soooo handy for us. The fam and a bunch of our friends live about 30 minutes south of us and Kathou and Paypay live about 20 minutes north. So we'll be logging in lots of visiting miles. Thanks Lee, Wayne, and B!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
One of those parents
Apparently I am becoming one of those parents. This is no offense to any of you. Lauri I loooooved seeing all of Liv's little outfits. It fulfills that whole would like to have a girl someday thing.

In honor of our release letter D's mom and I decided to go to 2 Expensive 4 U. Which was aptly renamed Breeders R Us due to the significant number of pregnant chicks there. Anyway... it really wasn't a special trip as more of we had some time to kill before going to the airport to pick up D's Aunt and Cousin.

While at BRU we noticed that they had a whole section of Independence Day outfits. Now you all know I am America's least patriotic person, but OMG!!! How cute!!! I thought that my boy certainly needed a special outfit to become America's newest citizen in. Yeah, yeah, I'll be too stinkin tired to change him before getting off the plane or I will be so tired of changing him that it won't matter anymore. I don't care. Right now I want an outfit for my boy. So MIL graciously purchased this little gem...

Whaddya think? Isn't it too cute? I think so, and you better too. Remember me and the eggs.

So I have officially become one of those parents. Aren't you so proud of me. I am on my way to becoming a mommy blogger. God save me.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Fruits of my labor
Literally! D's mom was over yesterday and she did a little walk around my garden and when she came back in she said she tasted one of my strawberries. I knew there were a few that were getting ripe, but I had no clue how many. I have 2 kinds of strawberries planted. An everbearing and a June bearing. Obviously the June bearings are getting ripe. My strawberry patch is like my little baby. All organic, mostly well tended (I have some leftover grass to pull) and growing like leaps and bounds. I started with 25 starts of each variety. Well in the 2 years the everbearings have grown to probably 200 plants and the Junes are producing a bumper crop! Last year I was able to eek out 9 jars of strawberry jam, hopefully this year I will be able to double that. That is if I can keep D from eating them. He was so disgusted last year when I would pick giant bowlfuls and they would go straight into the freezer.

So for you viewing pleasure here is my first harvest. The bowl on the right are the everbearings the one on the left are the june bearings. I will probably get 1 or 2 more bowls of Junes and then that size of bowl every 2 days of Evers the rest of the summer.
Oh, I apologize for the lack of blogroll on the sidebar, for any of you who may navigate through my site. Evidently it looks like Tucows (the makers of Blogrolling) have changed the format of their site and Blogrolling is no more. Of course this could be a case of "I'm Dumb," but I don't think so. Either way I am working on putting all of the links back and in a handy new Elle organized fashion!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Happy Action Fun Time!
As promised D finished the video on Korea. He is still working on the Russia one though. More photos. So without further ado...

Thursday, June 01, 2006
Earlier today I thought there wouldn't be any exciting news to share to warrant a weekly update. Boy was I wrong!!!


I cannot tell you how much of a relief this is. This means our boy is officially off the Federal Databank. You are one step closer to learning Pickle's true identity.

So the timeline from here is:
Our coordinator will collect Pickle's paperwork, combine that with ours and file it to the court. This should take anywhere from 2-3 weeks.

The judge then is taking about 4 weeks to schedule court dates.

Then families are getting about 4-5 weeks notice before the actual court date.

We may have a pre-trial date, we may not. The judge gave 1 court date without a pre-trial last week. So who knows. What we do know is that we are officially waiting for the last step now. No more paperwork (except that pesky updated immigration form)!!!

There really isn't any other exciting news. (well other than it was 4 families that got their letters, us, C&N, Jamie & Suzanne and Kathou and Paypay) Preliminary plans are already in place for a big party once we are all in Russia!!!

So my previous question still applies;

If you could equate your personality to any television character who would it be?
I really am still here
Bet you thought I dropped off the face of the earth huh? Come to think of it I posted more while in Russia than I have from the good ol' USA. There really hasn't been much to say and I figured you were tired of hearing about things such as chicken, antibiotics, and my hair (oh, that's a different blog.)

There really is no news on our front. We are still waiting for the release letter. We did learn that our paperwork made it safe and sound to Khabarovsk. Thank you Rhonda.

I do want to say congrats to two of our agency families!! They did get their court dates. Woo Hoo! Actually it was 3 come to think of it. With any luck the infamous Doug & Candy will get theirs this week.

D is working on the video of our excursion to Korea. He didn't forget about his loyal readers. If you want entertaining video you could always go back and watch my video about toilets and food.

So in the mean time I think you guys should entertain me for a while. This will give some of you lurkers out there to de-lurk.

If you could equate your personality to that of any television character who would it be?

I personally see myself as a cross between a Karen Walker and a Grace Adler. (dramatic like Karen, but flaky like Grace.)
Established March 19, 2006