Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Regards to Others. . .

Congratulations to Heidi and Erin. They are going to have a baby, and have finally given me permission to blab :) I don't do secrets well :)

Also, my friend and fellow Dillon Mom, Pam, is working to expand her family once again through a domestic adoption. She is selling these gorgeous cards to assist with the funding. These would make great Christmas gifts, and would be great to have on hand for those special occassions that sneak up on all of us. The cost is $6.50 per set, 6 cards to a set. To order, email pamidoodles1@yahoo.com Also, check out the blog of the lovely family you'll be helping at www.theplacecalledhome.blogspot.com




Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Had to add. . .

Maddie's music teacher sent this to us after school today. I couldn't resist sharing. Just call me "Mama Rose" :)

"Just a short note to let you know that I asked Maddeline how her playwent. She asked if she could sing one of the songs. Her classmates( and I)loved it so much they asked her to sing it again so I asked her to singwith a mic since I had my PA set up. She is a star, what a gift she has ,like her parents!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"A Star is Born"



Madeline made her theatrical debut in "The King and I." She played "Ying," the youngest daughter on stage. She was so ridiculously cute! Before the show she showed me all around backstage, and introduced me to her little theater friends. She was right on cue with every one of her parts, and spoke loudly and clearly (and very sweetly). I went to see her at intermission (to tell her I had to leave to take Myles to the ER - ugh). She was in a little Diva huff that the King had skipped one of her parts. "He always forget that line." The others assured her that he would remember the next night (which he did). I loved seeing Maddie on stage with my best friend too. Hannah played "Anna" and did such a fabulous job. I was so proud of both of my girls :)





This was the first time Dan and I left the boys with an actual babysitter. Usually my mom or sister or aunt watch them when we need someone, but of course they all wanted to be at Madeline's debut. The show had barely started when my cell phone (appropriately set to vibrate) went off. Myles had fallen into the piano bench and was bleeding quite a bit. My mom went to check on him and at intermission came back and said she thought we should probably get it checked out. He had a nasty gash on his lip, but more concerning were his top teeth and gums which were really swollen and black. So, off we went to the ER. Myles was very brave, and was way more interested in what all of the instruments were that in his injuries. He was all smiles, and charmed the pants off of the nurses. Those dimples will do it every time. In the end, no stitches were needed, dentist said the teeth might not fall out on their own, but that's no big deal, and he almost stole Maddie's thunder. When you're a true diva like Madeline, you don't let anyone outshine you. :)


OK, two comments on the video. This is my first time posting one, so I hope they work and I can't figure out how to flip the first one. And on the first one, I was laughing and couldn't hold the camera still. I can't believe how cute she is.

video

video

Friday, November 28, 2008

So Much to be Thankful For


I always look forward to the beginning of the Holiday season, but this year it has been extra special for us. Last year we were waiting for Max Rup's passport. We had been waiting for it since October 2nd. I wanted my baby home for his first birthday, and was thinking that it was not going to happen. . .

Last year I was not with any of my children on Thanksgiving, but it was still a wonderful day. We were boarding a plane for India to get my son. This year Thanksgiving is also Max Rup's first "Gotcha Day." We've had him in our arms for one year. It amazes me because I remember it like it was yesterday, but it also feels like he's been with us forever. We expected to deal with adjustment and attachment issues. We saw none. He just simply fit.

This year we had a quiet Thanksgiving with Dan's parents. We watched our video footage of ISRC, which Max Rup was not interested in at all. It is also very close to Max Rup's birthday, so we celebrated that as well. When asked who's birthday it is he says "Max Woop" When asked how old he will be "two! (very loudly and exuberantly) When asked what he wants for his birthday "happy cake!"

Grammie made sure he got his "happy cake" and he really just wanted "happy frosting." He continues to be my smallest and loudest child by far. We all love him to pieces.

I am obviously most thankful for my amazing immediate and extended family. I don't know many families these days that are as close as ours is and who truly enjoy being together. I also have the three greatest kids ever and I'm thankful for their good health. I am thankful that this year we will enjoy the entire holiday season together, relaxed, and enjoying the preparations. I am thankful that this year I am so much happier in my job than I was a year ago. I know a lot of it was from the stress of waiting. When I went back to work I felt so refreshed and ready to deal with whatever came - I'm glad what came was positive change for a place I'm proud to work for.

These pictures were taken at our neighbor's house. We love to visit Peggy and all of the animals. The boys LOVED the turkeys. And yes, they did become someone's dinner yesterday. I love that we occassionally have the peacocks (in the picture above) in our backyard.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts on Birthmoms

Tomorrow is Max Rup's first "Gotcha Day." I know some folks don't use this name, but I find it sweet and simple and endearing. I didn't want to call it family day since we were a family before Max Rup, and we're a family while waiting for Mehrunissa. OK, back to the subject.

Today I worked on Max Rup's lifebook. I'm a gal that needs a deadline, and Gotcha Day as well as his birthday kicked me into gear! As I began putting it together, I started to get really emotional thinking about the amazing young woman who made the hardest decision of her life to put Max Rup in our family.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I had never thought about her before,in my career I've spoken to birthmoms about their sacrifice, spoken to women who have made other choices for their unborn children. I have read the literature, and have lways had a healthy amount of respect for birthmoms,but I got really emotional about it tonight.

I have this perfect little boy. He is so happy, playful, smart, funny - just plain amazing - but she doesn't know that. It's one of those things about international adoption - there is no openness. When we began this process I thought that would make it easier on us as parents. I think I was wrong. I would give anything to be able to meet this woman who gave my son life. It wouldn't even need to be that. I wish I could just somehow let her know how wonderful he is doing. That he is loved tremendously and will always be taken care of. I also want her to know that we will not let him forget her. He will know that she made a very brave decision because she loved him.

So, Tuhina, if by some miracle you are reading this - we share an amazing little boy who destroyed my keyboard the other day my dumping orange juice all over it and then rubbing it in. He's very thorough :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Cute Stuff

Just some cute happenings that I don't want to forget as my kiddos grow.

- Maddie voted for Obama in the mock election at school. I asked her how she chose him. "He's brown like Max, so I figured that was a good thing."

- Max was hugging Maddie on the couch the other day saying, "Maddie Pretty" over and over.

- Myles, "I love that you're my Momma."
The same night I told him that he could not have another brownie, that it was almost bedtime and his only choice was water. I was giving Max a nebulizer treatment, and Myles comes in with chocolate everywhere. I asked him if he had taken a brownie. He grinned his big, dimpled grin and said, "Oops, sorry." I put him in time out, and he kept on saying, "But I said sorry, and I'll hug you!" I'm telling you, that grin he has is going to get him out of a lot of trouble. I have such a hard time resisting it.

- Max thinks his name is Mickey for some reason. Every time without fail, Maddie says, "Rup, what's your name?" "Mickey." He also sings happy birthday and then requests cake.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ETSY

The woman that makes the elephant's name is Erin. Her etsy id or whatever is sewsewsuckurtoe. She's lovely.

(Had a few requests for it already, so thought I'd post it).

Homestudy #1

Done. And so painless. Our caseworker is this lovely lady who has been through the process twice herself. Lots of personality and she didn't mind my chatty kids or animals. She was actually quite interested in our livestock. It was just nice and relaxed and easy.

One more visit next Tuesday and then hopefully a quick write up and we can settle in for the long wait on the I-800a. She was optimistic that our wait for the official referral would be rather short. We are still hoping for our little girl, but just don't know. If we aren't able to pursue her, then we don't have a gender preference, and are quite open as far as special needs and age, although we're trying to keep our birthorder. We're along for the ride. It certainly worked out well for us last time.



This picture is the kids after we finalized Max. These elephants were made by a lovely lady on Etsy.com that loves all things India. Everything inside and outside on these elephants are from India, and the kids loved 'em. We wanted to do something special for all of them that day, and these elephants were perfect. I've already told her we'll need another one for our next child.



Friday, November 7, 2008

Quick Update

Hey all. We made our appointments for our Homestudy. They will all be done on the 18th. Then our worker will write it up (hopefully quickly) and we can file our I-800a. This is the document that has been taking quite some time for USCIS to process, so it could be a long wait for that. I love that they are "centralizing" this to increase efficiency. It only took us a few weeks to get this clearance last time. Now it is taking between 3-5 months. Very efficient :)


While we are waiting. . .

I am moving ahead with the Pampered Chef fundraiser. Another adoptive mom has agreed to donate her commission from our sale to our fund. She will write the check out directly to our agency. Her commission is at least 20% and could be more depending on her total sales for the month.


There are two ways to order. You can go directly to her site, browse, and place your order. I also have hard copy booklets and order forms. Items will be shipped to me, unless you specify to ship them elsewhere - so if you're "from away" please don't hesitate to order, just have the items shipped to your address instead of mine :)

If you are interested in ordering, just click on the link on the top right hand side of the blog. Thank you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Starting to Fundraise for Mehrunissa

When we adopted Max we were able to do so without any fundraising or grants. Since we are still attempting to pay off the debt we incurred from the last adoption, we are looking for outside help to bring Mehrunissa home.

Since November is Adoption Awareness Month, we fingured it was a good time to kick off the fundraising. We are starting off with something pretty hands off. It is the creation of a site where you can shop at a vast number and array of stores and a percentage of your purchase will go toward our adoption. It is just like purchasing on line from the stores, but you click on them through our site. Please check it out:
visitourmall.com/labonteadoptionfund
Meagan, I expect you to do all of your walmart shopping online now. That should cover half of our cost :)

We will also be doing a pampered chef sale soon where the woman will donate her commission to our fund. You won't have to come to a party, you can even order online. I'll post more information on this soon.

Please use this month to celebrate adoption. Adoptive Families has a lot of great suggestions for celebrating this month.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Pics

Front: Auri, Jasmine, Max, Myles
Back: Cameron, Madeline, Carter
Spiderman - because why should today be any different
Mommy's little stinker
The Sweat Pea
Ariel - the desired costume only because she got to spray her hair red

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For Mimi!!

Jaime, these were taken late September. I'll take more soon - I just got a new camera, since Max threw mine off of the porch and it sat out there through a rainstorm. Look at that dimple. He's such a cutie. Oh, and after he talked to you on the phone, all Max talked about was Mimi, Hobbes, and Tom.

Everyone else, this is my gorgeous nephew, Austin.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My kids are falling apart!

OK, not really. . .
One more thing about the court. I consulted a lawyer who told me that we were perfectly within our rights by calling the representative, and it wasn't inappropriate at all. He thinks the judge's feathers got ruffled and he took it out on us. This made me feel much better. We decided to celebrate.

We had friends and family over today to celebrate Max's finalization. Lots of Indian food, and good company. No sooner had our last guest walked in than I hear, "Kris, he's bleeding." Not exactly a phrase any mom likes to hear. Max had run for a toy, and fallen into our train table. A nice cut right above his eyebrow. Here are the results - 3 stitches, and missing his own party, poor little guy. He did so well though. The only time he cried was for a second when they had to use a needle to numb him since the topical cream didn't do the trick. Mommy actually did ok too :)
Madeline had quite a week too. She was playing "puppy" with Myles, bit his shirt and pulled, and got her first loose tooth, which quickly fell out. She was quite proud, and excited when the Toothfairy came.
We also had a dramatic farm tragedy. I don't need to go into details - just saying that will jog my memory enough.
We're ready for some down time. Uneventful down time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Done

He signed. It was nearly the most humiliating experience of my life. But Max is ours. Legally and officially - Max Gerald Rup Labonte.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Court

I've expressed my frustration with this plenty on this blog. The thing is there is just no reason for the delay we are experiencing. Last week I wrote letters to Senators and Representatives. One Senator's office got back to me only to inform me that due to ethics they could not be involved with any judicial matters. I don't really understand how that is a breach of ethics, but ok. She did say that if we had any problems with immigration they could assist with that. I wonder if that includes our I-800?

On Tuesday we had a slow day at work. Which is lovely except that I go a little stir crazy. Same desk for 12 hours is bad news with nothing going on. So I got on the phone and called every government office and official that I could find a number for. It was frustrating because none of them felt that they could do anything and several times I was told to talk to the registrar of probate (I can't even count the number of times we've spoken to this person). Everyone kept on saying, the judge sets his own pace. I felt like I was dealing with India again. Then Dan called and told me that there was a message at home that the court was "squeezing us in" on Tuesday! I had no idea what had happened or whether it was a coincidence (which I doubted).

On Wednesday I got a call from our representatives office. She was calling to make sure the probate court had contacted us and to confirm that we did have an appointment on Tuesday. Ahh, someone actually took some action for us! We were already going to vote for this gentleman, but he would have won us over if our votes had been going elsewhere. (John Nutting Rocks!)

We've been told that the paperwork is all prepared and ready for the judge to finalize, but he could still choose to make us come back a second time. We are assuming that he will sign, and we will apply lots of pressure for this to happen. There is no need of waiting any longer. If he does make us come back, it will most likely be a month later. If this happens I will not be a happy woman. I will make my round of phone calls again, and express my outrage to anyone that will listen.

I've had several people lecture me about being nice blah blah blah. I'll be nice until he refuses. At that point all bets are off. I will turn into mama bear protecting her cub. I need to thank my cousin Nicole for role modeling this method for me :) She does this day in and day out, and I'm not sure how. I was exhausted after one round. We all do what we need to for our kiddos.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More info

The "More Info" wasn't quite what I had hoped. It actually isn't much of anything, but I feel more informed. Before I lay it out, I want to clearly state that we're ok with this situation, we trust this agency, and we believe that we will be matched with whatever child God has planned for us.

So, we have one more piece of paper to turn in before we can do our homestudy. This would already be done except that our doctor lost my blood, and then sent us the paper signed but not notarized, and now she is on vacation. And so the frustration begins :)

Our homestudy will be completely done and approved within 6-8 weeks! Then we move on to the new I-800. This has been taking between 90 and 120 days to be approved. THEN we can officially accept her referral.

In the mean time. . . Mehrunissa is in an orphanage that has a brand new international license. They have just started getting the child study reports prepared, and we all know how quickly things happen in India. So whenever they get more information, they will share it with us "unofficially" of course.

It is possible that we won't be matched with this particular little girl. BUT, they don't feel that it will be a problem to match us very quickly with a child that would be a good match for our parameters (we are open to some special needs, and I don't want any lectures or warnings from anyone, thank you).

So that is the new run down. I'm still comfy and doing fine with everything (except the doc messing up) :)

I'll pass on info as it comes.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

What we've got going on

Now that I've hinted around and people have been asking questions I thought I'd give a run down on what's going on.

Yes, we're adopting again. We are going through MAPS which is based in both Bangor and Portland. They will do our homestudy and be our placement agency. We would have used Dillon again in a second, but they are currently closed to new applications.

We are going about this a little differently this time. We found a little girl on MAPS waiting child list. There is no picture, no name, and very little information. We will call her Mehrunissa. She is one year old right now. MAPS said that this could move quickly, to which I replied "I'll believe it when I see it."

We were hoping to have more information on her this week, but that did not happen. I'm doing quite well without information. I know once I see that face, I'll be wreck again until she comes home. For now I'm quite content to plug along on the paperwork end. I am a control freak, so I have been frustrated when other folks don't do things on the timeline that I feel is appropriate, and I was irked when the lab people "forgot" my blood, so I had to have it drawn again, and slowed that piece of paper down by 4 days. I'm glad that we know what kind of paperwork we'll be needing soon, so we can have it on hand rather than having to wait for it like last time.

So as soon as we get the paper in from that blood test, we'll start work on our homestudy and our dossier at the same time. The other thing that's different (for adoption folks) is that instead of the I-600A there's a new I-800 that we'll need to do. I haven't really looked that over yet, so I'm not sure what's different about it. I know that's what we need the child abuse clearance from NY for.

That's the run down. That's all we know. Adoption is a journey of faith, so that's what we're flying on right now. We're hoping to have Mehrunissa home by summer, but we aren't counting on it by any means. We'll share information as we get it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Court Frustrations

Well, Max Rup has been home for over 10 months now and we still haven't finalized. Refer to my previous post on how we waited for 9 weeks to get fingerprint cards, etc. We contacted our attorney, who was willing to write a letter basically asking what the hold up is. When I called the court to aske them to fax our file to the lawyer, the gentleman told me bluntly that an attorney would not speed up the process "even by 5 minutes." Great. I explained to him that we were pursuing another adoption and needed this to be done. He stated that he was meeting with the judge either this week or the beginning of next and would bring this matter up. He said that he was confident that our case would be heard pretty quickly. I told that wasn't good enough - that I needed to know what "pretty quickly" meant. He said by the end of this year! THAT'S TWO MORE MONTHS! I expressed my astonishment that the process has taken this long. He said that the judge only does this twice a month. So he would hopefully review our case next time, and schedule a time to meet with us the following time, and THEN set a court date. I told him that I had been told the judge may finalize during that first meeting, and asked if it was possible. He said that is up to the judge, but that he would tell the judge of our situation and try to make that happen. He asked if I minded not having it finalized in the courtroom. ARE YOU KIDDING! I wish I didn't even have to meet anyone face to face. I'm so bitter about this, and so frustrated that I just want it done with. I used to envision a lovely gathering of family in the court, a smiling judge with pictures in front of the bench, blah blah. Now I could care less. It's become just another necessary Beuraucratic hoop to jump through. The only bright spot is that since the agency we are using to place Mehrunissa is in Maine, we will be able to choose whether to finalize in our county or the county the agency is in. Hmmm, easiest decision of my life!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Two things - ok, three

1st - I've added the new followers feature and would love if you'd all sign up :)

Top of Monument Hill

Look at those big blue eyes!
2nd - Wicked cute story, I guess this is a Myles week. . . Myles has a little girlfriend named Emy. She's the daughter of the wonderful lady that watches my babies on Fridays. A while ago, Myles told me, "Mom, I'm gonna wear a ring when I grow up." When I asked him why, he said, "because Emy will wear the other ring and that's how people will know we're married."
Today, I told him that Daddy and I were going out tonight to clebrate how long we've been married. He told me, "Well, someday Emy and I will be married that long - When can I marry Emy?" He is so sweet. And the two of them together are just precious!

By the way . . . Happy anniversary Dan! I can't imagine the last 7 years without you. I love how we've done so far, and can't wait to see what the future holds for this awesome family we've built! I love you!

Friday, October 3, 2008

I found this on a blog off of a blog . . . you know how you get sucked in. I've read this woman's blog before and she is just lovely. The feelings below are shared by all parents who have adopted. I'm sure.

Here's Mary's story.
Like most folks, John and I didn’t set out to become adoptive parents. We fell in love, got married, and started having babies. Four of them: two boys and two girls. Then we were done. Or so we thought.
Until our baby turned three and I found myself awash in angst over being done with babies. It was 1997 and news stories were all over about the many baby girls in China who needed families. We started talking. Eventually my idea of a baby girl from China became, in 1998, a little boy from Korea. And another little boy from Korea in 2000. By then we were so in love with adoption that between 2004 and 2007 we also adopted four daughters from Ethiopia, two as babies, and two as older girls. Yes, we have ten kids. Yes, it is crazy. But it is also an incredible awe-inspiring blessing.
One of the things adoptive moms wish people understood is that our adopted kids are just our kids. Period. It’s a slap in the face to constantly have people qualify our relationship to each other, to hedge the description with the word ‘adopted’ in every context.
When reporters talk about Angelina Jolie’s children they seem incapable of saying the name Zahara without also saying she was adopted. The same thing happened at the funerals of Bob Hope and Jane Wyman, when mentioning children who themselves were senior citizens and whose adoptions had probably been finalized fifty or more years earlier.
Along those same lines, I feel awkward when people ask me how many of the kids are ‘mine.’ I know darned well that people are asking whether I genetically contributed to their creation. But shouldn’t family just be acknowledged as family, whether blood is involved or not? After all, a family begins from the union of two unrelated people. My husband is ‘mine’. Period. So are my children, adopted and not.
Don’t get me wrong-- the contribution my children’s biological parents made is priceless, essential, and should not be swept under the carpet as if it does not exist. And especially when adopting older children, it takes time for hearts to grow together, for the relationship to be full and strong.
However, my heart does not differentiate between my children born to me and the ones who came after the completion of mountains of paperwork. My interest is just as passionate. My pride is just as fierce. My hopes are just as big. My prayers are just as fervent. My love is just as deep. They’re my kids. Period.
Parenthood is amazing however your children arrive. Adoptive parenthood is neither better now worse than parenting children born to you. Some things are different, yes, but the majority of it is exactly the same. I am humbled to be blessed by the presence of each of my children in my life.
The next time you make introductions involving a friend with adopted children, do everyone the honor of skipping the word ‘adopted’. If your friend and her child don’t look like each other, she fields questions every day, and that will likely be the first question out of the other person’s mouth. But I promise, your friend will appreciate that you chose to honor her very real relationship with her child without making any qualifiers. Family is family, however we come together, and we all would do better to remember that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rated PG-13

I rarely post 2 days in a row, but my sister told me I had to share this story. Very telling about what it's like to live with boys.

Myles was going potty this morning, and I kept on hearing him say "pow, pow." Not really abnormal for him, but there were these long pauses in between. He'd been in there for a while so I decided to check on him.

I walk in to see him holding a tampon, and shooting it like a gun. There was lots of "ammunition" all over the bathroom.

I think I've spoken to a few of you about how boys will turn anything into a gun, but this one was over the top for me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Blog Buzz

To Commit your heart or not? There is much debate in the adoption world about when you throw your heart into the mix. . .upon first sight of that referral picture? Or not until the court date? Homecoming Date? Share your thoughts and experience!


Our referral came sooner than we expected, which is unusual for an Indian adoption. Everyone remembers that phone call, the discussion, and that picture. OH, that picture.

I don't think I had any choice int he matter. As soon as that face came across the screen, I was in love. I knew he was my son from that moment on. And yes, it made the wait for travel excruciating, but I wouldn't change a thing. It made me much more invested in the process, getting things done quickly, etc.

This time around is a bit different. We know there is a girl out there. We know her age and her medical condition, but have not been given access to a name, picture, etc. Even though I know she's out there, I feel pretty detached. The paperwork just feels like paperwork. I wish that I did feel more connected. That guarded feeling makes it not seem real. I keep on waiting for something to go wrong or fall through.

I think the picture, the name, D.O.B. - All of those things that we connect with identity - that's when my heart gets thrown in. I fall head over heels. And despite the emotional risk and uncertainty, I can't wait to do it again.




Thursday, September 18, 2008

Red Letters

If you are looking for a quick, but incredibly powerful read, pick up Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds. It is rare that I pass on a book after I am done, but I have already implored two co-workers to read it. And after you read it, I dare you not to live it.

I love that Tom Davis is able to admit his own human failings in this book. It doesn't feel like he is preaching to me, it feels like he is encouraging me. One of the most powerful parts of our trip to India (other than having my son placed in my arms), was visiting Mother Teresa's home. She never went into the streets of India without something to give to those asking for it. Tom makes the same statement. It is easy to tell people about Jesus. But it is much easier for people to believe in Jesus is you show them. Make their lives better, don't just show up, preach and leave them in the exact same situation as they started.

Tom reminds us that Jesus implores us to care for the widows and orphans, and of course you know that one of these causes is certainly close to our hearts.

Tom certainly practices what he preaches. Have any doubts? Follow his blog at http://www.cthomasdavis.com/
Also, enjoy this promotional video.
http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1113826255

Another bonus of this book is that when you purchase it (available at amazon.com, barnes and noble and many christian bookstores), you feed an orphan for a month. Read it, love it, live it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brothers and Sisters


So, I'm back tracking a bit because I wanted to post on this and just plain forgot. In August there is a Hindu holiday known as Raksha Bandhan. In essence, it is a celebration of the bond between sisters and brothers. We have decided to use this day to celebrate as much Indian culture as we can, as well as the bond of siblings. Traditionally, sisters tie a Rakhi, or holy thread, around the wrist of their brother, asking for loyalty and protection. Brothers bestow gifts on their sisters in answer to this request, and they usually feed each other Indian sweets.

This year we made up a big Indian meal, Maddie and I tried our hands at making Kulfi - it came out ok. We played Bengali music, the kiddos wore their outfits we purchased in New Delhi, and rakhi was exchanged. Making it even more special this year was being visited by Dan's brothers and their families. Bonnie, I know you won't believe this, but John even tried some of the Indian food - and LIKED IT!

On a completely different note - today while Madeline was at school, the boys and I went berry picking. Wild blackberries are delicious, and worth the "prickle booboos" as Myles calls them. The boys were extra cute together, and Max sat right down on Myles lap and gave him a cute little kiss while we were getting ready to leave. The two of them are so cute together. It was overcast, way better than direct sun when picking berries, and just as we headed back down the hill from the back field, it started raining. As we got back to the back yard the thunder had started - perfect timing. We got out of our wet clothes and enjoyed a nice snack of blackberries and cream. Reason #5293 I love living in Maine. :)


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Broadway Baby

OK, I'm not sure if I can adequately explain how important this event was to me. For those of you who know me, or are forced to work with me, you know that I'm an addict. My vice - the Broadway Musical. I am in love with the New York theater scene. Everything about it. I got to experience it for a while first hand, and if I didn't have a family, I'd probably be there now. I love Times Square (even though Disney is slowly sterilizing it), I love the people swarming after the shows let out, I love the smell of the nut vendors, and I especially love the amazing talent that is displayed there by amazingly energetic people 8 times a week.
So from the moment Maddie was conceived she was immediately exposed to show tunes. Lots of show tunes. They are her playtime, bath time, and bedtime songs. And thank God, she loves them. Her favorite movie - "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," her favorite lullaby - "Quiet Girl," a Bernstein tune used in a bit of a different context in its original form, and her favorite actress, Idina Menzel from Rent and Wicked fame. She says that when she grows up she's going to be on Idina's team. She thinks music is some sort of sport I think. Thank you God for giving me my Broadway Baby.
So I've been waiting until she was old enough to see Wicked. We go to local shows frequently, especially since Dan plays in the pit of many of them. I am quite confident of her theater etiquette now, so we decided to take the plunge. Maddie and I went to Broadway with two other lovely ladies.
I know Lion King is a Disney thing, but until you've seen the musical, you cannot understand how profound this show is. It is a celebration of life, of family bonds, of the African culture. The opening is a spectacular display and as I sat there with my girl I was quite overwhelmed with the emotions of sharing this experience with her. Watching her enjoy something that means so much to me was just amazing. And she was completely enthralled. My favorite part of that first show was having to remind her that she couldn't sing along to "Endless Night."



Wicked was equally wonderful. She wanted to have her picture taken next to a billboard of Idina's costume from Act II, and when I told her with some hesitation that Idina would not be playing Elphaba, she decided that she would pretend it was Idina anyway. She rocks.


I loved being in the city with her, and I loved that when I asked her what her favorite part was she said, "being in New York with you." It melted me to tears.

And in true Maddie form, she caught a turtle at the Central Park Zoo as the other mothers watched in horror and told their children not to touch it. That's my Girl!!

The Barbie Section of Times Square Toys 'R' Us. My own private Hell on Earth

Other highlights:

Madeline Chose Glinda Earrings as her souvenir.

Madeline lost her toy lizards, but at intermission of Wicked told me that she liked it so much she had forgotten about the lizards.

Madeline's meltdown at the very end of the trip, because "everyone in NY gets to eat ice cream out of trucks, and she never does." She's so deprived.

Being there with two great ladies that encouraged Maddie and didn't get frustrated when the Garmin didn't differentiate between one way streets, getting us lost in Queens.

Coming home to my boys.

Kindergarten Already!

Madeline started Kindergarten this year. Our public school has a 4 year old program that she attended last year where the kids ride the bus and everything, so in reality, Madeline was an old pro. Mommy still hasn't gotten used to saying goodbye to my baby for an entire day.

The first day was a bit rocky. On August 22nd our school finally posted the bus routes. We estimated that Madeline would get on the bus around 7:10 or 7:15. So on August 26th we were a bit surprised to see the bus at our driveway at 6:45! Apparently between the 22nd and 26th they had changed the bus routes, but didn't inform the parents. (Shawn, if you're reading this, God bless you for dealing with this stuff. I love you, but it was very frustrating). So Madeline is the first one on in the morning, and the driver said she'd be the first one off in the afternoon. They get out of school at 2pm and we live less than 2 miles away.

Maddie got on the bus, and I left for jury duty. Didn't get pics since the bus was so early, and cried because I didn't think I'd be there to greet her after her first day. But, hooray, the guy pled guilty and we were dismissed without stepping foot into the court room. I made it home before lunch.

I was out waiting for the bus at 2pm. I was still waiting at 2:30, 2:45, and 3:00. FINALLY, at 3:10, Maddie got off of the bus. One hour and 10 minutes after school was dismissed, and remember, she's the first one off. This means that Madeline was away for 8.5 hours - more than the average adult work day. I was not pleased. The second day was slightly better - she got off at 2:55pm. I'm not sure what happens between 2 and 2:55.

Here's the deal with transportation this year - and Moms not in our district, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I have not raised a fuss, YET, because I'm giving it a chance, but I am very uncomfortable with it. . . .All of the kids ride the same bus. So my 5 year old is riding the same bus as the 18 year olds. When they did this 2 years ago they had ed techs ride the buses as monitors. I didn't get to go to the orientation meeting (jury duty), but according to Dan the parents were informed that the district trusts the high school students and that there would be students monitoring the buses. As of that date they didn't know exactly how that would work or who the kids were that would be trusted with the safety of my child, but that was there plan. I still haven't heard who the kids are or how it is working, how they are chosen etc. It concerns me. I try to keep in mind that I see a lot of horrible things at work and that this makes me more paranoid about this sort of situation, but I just plain don't like it. And the plan is terrible. What I really want is a list of criteria the high school kids have to meet, and a list of names of the high school kids that will be monitoring my daughter.

For now, I'm bringing her to school and picking her up when I'm home, and she will ride the bus only on days that I work.

She loves school, loves her teacher, and loves being back with her friends. She is a wreck when she gets home from being so very tired, and I can't bring myself to put her to bed earlier than 7:30pm. I'm hoping she'll adjust to the long days and I'll eventually have my happy, chatty little girl back. I'm hoping this happens very soon. And I wish that I had pics of her first day. But I'm so proud of her and love that she loves school.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Visiting Mimi

Meagan's Baby meets Jaime's baby

In July we ventured down to Virginia to see my sister. My mother, sister, FIVE CHILDREN from age 5 down to 3 weeks old, and I piled into my van and made the trek. The kiddos did really well for the most part. We seemed to hit every bit of traffic possible on the way down and ended up stopping at a hotel to sleep. This was a mistake. The kids had been cooped up way too long and it was like unleashing caged animals. No one slept well (except Madeline who didn't move all night). The next day was ok, except for the las two hours which were pure hell. The kids were just plain done. Max Rup just wanted to be held and didn't understand why that couldn't happen. We learned from the trip down, and on the way back the adults skipped sleep to drive through the night. That way the kiddos slept for most of the way.


It was worth it. The kids missed their Aunt Mimi sooo much. It was great to see where she lived - it's gorgeous. The kids loved the pool, and just being there with Mimi (and Hobbes). I especially loved how excited Max was to see Mimi. I think Jaime was relieved that he definitely has bonded with her. At night when we're rocking, Max checks on the status of all of his people. "Daddy?" "Yes, Daddy is on the couch." "Maddie, Mys (Myles)?" "yes, Maddie and Myles are in bed." And the last one is always "Mimi, Hobby?" or "MooMoo, Baby?" It's very cute.


We also went to the children's museum. The kids loved the dress up part, and the bees. And Mimi became a hero when she walked all the way back to the restaurant to save Max's Blankie. Just another reason why Mimi is so special to us. We didn't get to see that much of Tom (Dr. Popsicle to the kids), but we understand. ER docs are pretty busy. We hope that when he gets some time off we can spend some time with him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Myles on God


Myles and I had an interesting conversation this morning. . .

Myles: "Mom, where did you get me?"

Mom: "God gave you to me."

Myles: "Did you have to go to heaven to get me?"

Mom: "No, He made you grow in my belly."

Myles: "Mom, God is a She."

Mom: "Oh?"

Myles: "Yeah, and if you drive to heaven it's far far far."

Mom: "That's probably true."

Myles: "Can I have some chocolate milk?"



Thursday, August 14, 2008

Great Greeting!

Tonight I came home from my meeting and Maddie came running down the hall, "Mamma, Mamma, Mamma" and gave me a great big hug. Then Myles running, "Mamma, Mamma, Mamma" with another great big hug. And then, not to be left out, Max Rup came running, "Mamma, Mamma, Mamma" and was tacked by Myles. But he got up and made sure to get his Mamma hug in. Couldn't have asked for a better greeting!

I've gotta get some pics up and a post about our VA trip. Someday, when I have a minute - I'm sure I'll have time soon since Maddie will be in school ALL DAY! She's so excited, and I'm just plain sad about it.

Update: Despite my job, strong feelings on particular subjects, and other things, somehow they found a case for me to sit on the jury for. Expensive civil duty when you have to pay for at least 4 days of childcare that you wouldn't need otherwise. I don't mind, but I feel bad that it is bad timing for work. Interesting experience though.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

MISSING!

One large white goat with quite long horns. Likes to eat anything including the siding off of houses, the most expensive purchases from greenhouses, hair (especially blonde), and t-shirts.

If you see boy goatie, please send him home. Although he is useless and a pain in the neck, we love and miss him. Our dog tried to herd him and ended up chasing him into the woods - Oh, our useful animals :)

Edit: We found him! He was just as relieved as we were to be returned :) Thanks to Peggy for the use of her 4-wheeler to search the woods with!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Court

I have been called to jury duty. I was supposed to do this right after we got legals for Max Rup, but after some phone calls and telling them that, quite frankly they could issue a warrant for me and I still wasn't postponing my trip to get my son, I got out of it for a while. I have no problems serving jury duty. I am worried about whether I can be impartial in the same court that is jerking us around and delaying our finalization so very much.

Max has been home for over 8 months now. We still have no idea when our court date might be, but were told not to expect anything until December. The court folks have been very cold with us, not willing to answer many of our questions, and causing delays for really ridiculous stuff. Example - we waited 9 weeks for the court to give us fingerprint cards that I could have gotten by walking to the court next to my work the same day. They are the exact same cards, no difference at all. They couldn't give us a reason why we had to wait for them to issue it, or why it took them 9 weeks to get them. Then they wanted us to wait even longer to schedule an appointment with the people they prefer to use to do the fingerprints - and pay for them to be done. We pushed and pushed about whether that was absolutely necessary, and finally they told us, well, no, you can really get them done anywhere. We called our local PD and had them done and mailed out the same day - for free.

I used to be really excited about finalizing. Thought we'd have everyone there at the court, a happy, friendly judge doing something fun for a change. Now I just want this over with. I don't even care. We have to meet with the judge prior to the actual court date, but have been told that he may just finalize us at the meeting, so we wouldn't even know or have anyone there. Very anticlimactic.

So, as I go into this court building tomorrow to fulfill my duty and serve on a jury, I may have to reveal my strong feelings against this court and the way they handle things.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Just some cute stuff

I'm stealing this idea from a couple other moms. I do not keep a journal, and my feeble attempts at baby books and scrap books are incomplete and terrible, I just want to jot down some of my children's cuter moments. Some of these are old. Figured I'd post before the list got too long.

Myles - whenever anyone calls his brother Max, he corrects them, "no, he called Max Woop (Rup)."

Madeline - my Aunt Dawn made mittens for Auri where the fingers flap open. Maddie got excited and asked if hers could have thumbs that flipped open (she's still quite a thumb sucker).

Myles - My favorite word that he says is Whobody, and I love his super hero pose. He is also the bloodhound of the family. We always know when Max has a poop, and forget about keeping flatulence to yourself. Myles will pipe up with "I smell sompin! (something)"
But, when he has a poop his line is "don't change me yet." Usually said while still exerting force to push it out.


Madeline - She got a little confused about the Pledge at school. She thought they were praying and asked if she could pray about her Nana. Her teacher just kept saying, "Bless her little heart"

Myles - Got out of the bath and said "kiss me, I'm kissable." He sure is :)
I also love his facination with bugs. He describes them with much excitement, "I got a hoodz (huge) mean bug with a hoodz mouth!"

Madeline's summer club - an imaginary place that she uses against people when she's mad. Example, "Auri, if you don't play with me then you won't be invited to my summer club." Apparently it's a pretty exclusive place.

Max Rup - He is quite the friendly little guy. We take him shopping and he'll yell to all passers by "helloooooo" while waving. If he doesn't get a response, he repeats himself louder and louder. The boy has an incredibly loud voice for such a little guy!