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Thursday, December 28, 2006
I think the ban has been lifted
If this works you should see the Pickle Speak video below... Again refer to THIS post for the background here.

I bet you were expecting Christmas photos
I took a moment to finally download all the photos off the camera from Christmas. I looked through them and then proceeded to tell CS that we are the worst parents ever. There are exactly 18 photos of Pickle from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 18. How can a new parent take only 18 photos on their child's first Christmas? My wonderful husband then proceeded to inform me that we have tons of video. Oh right!!! We used the video camera instead of the still camera. But of course I am still having the problem with the video to internet thing. I also will admit that I did bust out my film cameras for the event.

I have a nice little digital camera, but my child is like lightening. It is next to impossible to get a 1/2 way decent photo of him. The ones I put up are good because of luck and herculean effort. I do have 2 very nice film cameras. You do remember what film is right. That stuff you have to be careful with that you then take to a developer and they give you real live photos. Yeah those. My manual cameras are much faster and I get some pretty good shots on them. The bad part is they are big. I mean B.I.G! One is a medium format and I swear is the size of a shoebox (ok not that big, but big) So carrying these things around is enough to put my back out. Thus I rarely use them.

So once I get the rest of the photos taken I will shell out the change to get them developed. Then I'll be able to share a few Christmas memories.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Technology is out to get me
It took us months to get the stinkin' video off the video camera. Not for lack of knowledge, but because Microsoft products secretly have it in for me. Now that we've figured out that little tidbit we have been able to get stuff off the camera. Fantastic! Only problem is now YouTube hates me. I have uploaded that video file a million times and it never shows up. I am beginning to think that it is all technology is out to get me.

I was only trying to spread some holiday joy with a video of my child. Mainly so you can hear his voice and also join the ranks who have wet themselves from laughter. No joke. Think furry red muppet here. And every word a long drawn out string of syllables. Ahhhhhh-llllaaaaayyyy!

Sorry, but you will have to wait until I can figure it out. I could be nice and post more photos, but I'm too lazy for that. Geez, what a grinch.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The Pickle Translator
Lauri had this great post about translating "Livi." It seems as only mothers can translate what there children are trying to say. I thought I would give you a bit of a Pickle translator.

When asked the question, what is your name? "Ah-lay"
Where are you from? "Wusha"

No= No *with a swift head turn*
Vacuum=Cat poo (really it sounds just like cat poop)
Uncle Wayne=Uncle Nain
Santa= *chanting* Santa Santa Santa
and my personal favorite
Lotion=Woah-lon "no honey say loh-shun" "Wooooaaaahhhh-lon"

Just for kicks I thought I would include a video of my son performing for you. Yes this is our post dinner fun. Honey get out the video camera and make the child do tricks! It's great entertainment.
This particular video is not quite up to Drunken Monkie snuff, but it'll do in a pinch. Please laugh at my child's oddly high pitched voice. I do on a regular basis. And just for Margaret and Ann Marie, he is wearing his Pickle shirt and playing with his block sorter. Ann Marie please note that near the end of the video how he kisses the blocks. Yes... he loves this toy that much! (ok, so the video doesn't work right now. I'll fix it later.

And just for kicks, included is the photo that CS takes in the video!
Monday, December 18, 2006
New hotness
Go on over to Protesting Stupidity and check out the snazzy new blog design that the lovely Elle did for me. Oh yeah, and make a comment while there... show me some love people.


Sunday, December 17, 2006
Damn hackers!!!!
So you ended up here by accident? Well... that's because while I blissfully slept in my comfy bed some jag off hacker went in and hijacked my site. I apologize for the inconvenience. I'll try to fix it when I don't have to run out the door.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Evaluating a Referral
I know I was going to write about selecting a social worker next, but this particular topic has been on my mind lately. I will get to the social worker bit later. I am also working on being objective about selecting a social worker as opposed to completely bashing mine. I have a few choice words to say to that a-hole.

Some feel that evaluating your referral can be the most difficult part of the adoption process. Whether it be a blind referral or one you receive in advance evaluating a referral is difficult. But if you ask me, leaving your child for an unknown amount of time is more difficult. Of course this is just me. The process is different for everyone.

I have a unique perspective on referral evaluations. I have done it twice. Depending on your agency you may or may not have the opportunity to have your child evaluated in country by an international adoption (IA) doc. You should also have the opportunity to have information received evaluated by an IA doc here in the states. There are so many people out there that believe Russian doctors are poorly trained and don't know what they are talking about. This is not true. Russia is not the US. Doctors are trained differently and no, they are not American docs. This does not mean they don't know what they are talking about. For the most part Russian doctors are very well trained. It is their lack of diagnostic equipment that makes doing their job difficult. Of course Russian doctors are a post unto themselves. This post is about evaluating your referral.

When you submit your paperwork for a referral you put forth certain criteria for a child. The typical request is "as young and healthy as possible." This was on our paperwork. Parents agonize over what medical conditions they are or are not prepared for. For us, we were not equipped to parent a severely special needs child. Plain and simple. This does not make us less of a parent. It makes us honest.

When you receive medical information from the orphanage doctor the list of "diagnosis" may sound scary and intimidating. Perinatal Encephalopathy, syndrome of neural and motor dystonia of hypotonic type, valgus deformity of both feet, hydrocele on right, recovery after toxic infection cardiopathy, 1st degree hypermetropia. What the hell is all of this? These are Pickle's "diagnosis" from the final medical report we received when we adopted him. What does he actually have? Funky feet and he had surgery for a hernia. That is it.

I will tell you our experiences.

When we met Little A there was this instant feeling of "this is our son." He was perfect. Beautiful, healthy, energetic and happy. We were in love. I mean in loooove. The IA doc gave him a huge thumbs up and all we needed was a court date.

Meeting Pickle was a totally different story. We met this sad little boy. He was scared, shy, and would not smile at all. He would sit in my lap and rock. I was not sure at first. Maybe I was still getting over the loss of Little A. I was guarding my heart, but I did not have that "this is our son" feeling. Even after we got home from meeting him I still was guarded. He was not unhealthy. He was just sad. He looked as if he desperately needed a mama and daddy to love him. Given the fact that it took lots of work on our parts to get him to interact with us we accepted the referral. There was no reason to turn him down.

What I am trying to say is that not all families have this instant connection to their children on the first trip. I will honestly tell you it took about 3 weeks of being Pickle's mom before I truly felt like his Mother. Don't get me wrong. I love my son. I can't imagine my life without my son. It just wasn't instant.

There is no doctor in the world that can make the decision for you. There is no one else that can tell you what to do. You have to make the decision yourself, but what I do want to say is don't rule out a child because you didn't feel that instant bond. Look at the child and look deep into yourself. Am I the right parent for this child? There are no guarantees with being a parent. Whether you are a parent to a biological child or an adopted child. Ultimately, you take a huge leap of faith.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Christmas Tree Hunting
First... I finally got my invite to Blogger Beta. For some reason they did not deem us worthy of the new version until now. And lemme tell you it takes a little bit to get everything changed around when you have 4 blogger blogs. Now that the change has occurred I will let you know how I like it. The good news is my custom templates were compatible with the new version. At least with Mozilla. If they don't work right with IE too bad for you. Step into the here and now and get rid of IE. I force you because I care.

So in honor of the new version I will give you some photos from our annual tree hunt. I also thought I'd throw in a few photos of my Christmas decorating handy work. When we first bought our house one of our neighbors came over at Christmastime and saw the decorations. She said, "Someone's been watching a bit of Trading Spaces." This is so far from the truth it is laughable! I hate that show. My Christmas decorations looks nice because I care. My decorations have matched since I was in college. For a while everything was burgundy and navy. When we got married I switched to blue and silver. When we bought our house everything changed to Red and Gold. I will say I don't theme the tree though. Our ornaments are all ones we have purchase or made or were given to us as gifts over the years. I didn't put any glass balls on this year. I wanted it to be simple. There are only 400 or 500 lights on. The most was 900 one year. Yeah... you had to wear sunglasses in our house. And no... we don't have a tree topper. We had a glass finial, but it broke a few years ago. There is a Patricia Breen one I want, but CS won't let me pay the price for it.

I love Christmas. I love the decorations. I love making my home look festive. I love the reason for the season!

So to answer questions that may come up... Yes. We kill an innocent tree every year. Yes. I painted that huge mural in my family room. 3 years later it is still not finished. It measures 5' wide by 8' tall and is of Frank Lloyd Wright's Tree of Life. And yes. That is a bottle of Jameson on the counter behind my son. Wanna make something of it?

Established March 19, 2006