Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Visitors!
















Hilary and Tim Marquis and their wonderful children came to visit us. For those of you that don't know, Hilary and Tim met Chewie when they went to visit their daughter Anara. When I found out about him, one of the names I was given was Hilary's and from the first time I talked to her there was an instant connection. I believe with that first phone call , all of our children had just gone to bed and we were both wading through our piles of laundry (the never ending battle) while talking to each other! Moms of young children!
Last night we met up with them at the YMCA--swimming=tired children, especially after riding in a van all day! Of course, my kids were in heaven. Bubba managed to skin his nose on the wall of the wading pool. Don't ask--I have no idea how he managed it! Today, a sledding adventure! Definitely an adventure since our record snowfall was rained on producing a sheet of ice at the bottom of the big snowhill (southern exposure). Ted found a fairly decent spot and off they went. Aside from a bush that kept jumping out at the kids (resulting in a few scraps and bumps), they had a blast. And were tired. Back to my house for hot chocolate, popcorn and a movie. Then Glass Nickel pizza (yeah those in Madison know what I'm talking about) and beer. Very important stuff--pizza and beer! Chewie and Anara loved Sneaky cat. And Tyler kissed Julia on the cheek. So cute! Toby and Tyler had Star Wars helmets--so the those along with the light sabers came out. Think the boys had fun??? Chewie managed to pass out on the couch tonight. That darn bush on the snowhill kept jumping out at Mia but those cheeks were nice and rosy. I saw her and Julia hand in hand a couple of times. She needs to be around more often to influence Julia--she actually dresses the Barbies instead of Miss Julia stripping them and leaving them naked. It was a blast. 7 young children running around--the house was nosy, messy and full of life. The way it always should be--perfect. I LOVED IT--each and every moment.

Museum Day




On Sunday, since it was sunny out and the roads were clear--we went to the Milwaukee Public Museum. Bubba and Chewie loved it! Except for the butterlies. I'm not sure what it was, but both were total freaks about the butterfly exhibit. To let others enjoy--and to not listen to the boys yip and hollar, Ted took them out so Julia could enjoy it for a few minutes. She had been to the butterly exhibit when she was 2 1/2 years old. Seen pictures of the butterflies sitting on her, so she thought it was totally cool. All the kids loved the dinosaur bones. You know--for the boys, dinsosaurs are the thing right now. Might have to take a road trip to Chicago and check out the museum with the dinosaurs (I'm old and tired--the name is escaping me!)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yes, It's Christmas
















It's hard to believe a year ago, Ted and I were getting ready to go and meet Chewie. Now we DO HAVE a full house!
I worked 6 days in a row so I could be off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tiring but worth it. On Christmas Eve, Emily and Theo joined us for our tradition of going to the Olbrich train show in the am. Even better--this year it was free since it was Wednesday am (score!). Not as crowded as last year--it was snowing AGAIN! We then went to Red Robin (another favorite). Emily and I indulged in Gingerbread shakes--yummy. Definite thumbs up. Rauan graduated to adult meals. After downing a child's meal in less then 5 minutes, saying he is still starving, and eating fries off daddy's plate and then daddy ordering more--yeah he needs adult meals from now on! We went home and rested a while then Julia and I left for church. Angels and shepherds needed to be there by 3:30 for the 4 pm mass--of course I think everyone for the 4 pm mass was there at 3--the church was already full and the gathering area was already filling up! Ted and the boys sat waaaaayyyy in the back. I didn't even see them at all. ( I escorted the angels to the front of church).
After church it was down to Janesville. I picked up mom and then we headed over to Ted's parents for dinner and some present opening. Lots of dinosaurs and Hannah Montana stuff (see video below--6 year old girls are sooooo funny!) Oh yes, Aunt Mimi struck again--light sabers for the boys. Yes, the emergency room knows us by name--and I'm sure they'll be seeing us soon. Not sure for which boy though. The big boy--the 6 ft. 3 inch one--was playing light saber this am with his youngest. Yes, I really do have 4 children, not 3!
Needless to say, snoring kids all the way back home. They actually slept until almost 8 am! Then attack of the children! The wii is a big hit. Now I just have save my pennies for Guitar Hero-yes I'm a geek. The boys have matching Polar Cap jackets (with their names embriodered to keep the peace), Julia is in Hannah Montana heaven and this mom got her own special gift--a 3 hour nap today! Ted got his gift certificate for a massage--he's having shoulder issues. My husband--most men that play football have knee issues--no--proving he is just as much a weirdo as me, it's his shoulders!
Now, to feed some overtired, over stimulated children and get them to bed. Maybe by the weekend I'll be able to walk through the house again--hahahahaha!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Xmas show

Here is the kids Christmas show.....



video

Hannah Montana

video

video

Christmas at the Pritchard household! Yep too much sugar!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!!!

Call me selfish, but when I heard that we were expecting a major winter snow storm, I seriously hoped school would be called off. Not for the normal reasons about worrying about driving in the snow and stuff like that. St. Dennis is very close and so is Messiah Lutheran. No--I wanted school called off so the kids could sleep in--hence I would have some extra sleep time! Well, we got the snow day but did I get to sleep in? Curses, foiled again! About 4:30 am I woke up to someone patting me saying she was scared. Julia crawled over me and snuggled right down between me and Ted. I don't so much mind that--but we have a queen bed--so think about this--Ted, Julia, Janiece and the damn cat(Sneaky--who takes up a huge amount of room)--then down at my feet the other damn cat, Tasha. Ok, neither Ted or I are small people. Talk about a close family! At least I didn't get kicked during those wee morning hours--Ted did (HAHAHA).
I seriously think we will again make another snow record. Last year Madison hit the 100 plus inches of snow--new record. I think this year is going to be the same. Of course, I am old enough to remember the winters of 77, 78 and 79. Back before the warnings about snow tunnels and snow forts--my sister and I were really good at building those in the HUGE drifts we had.
Ted already blew the driveway--and it's already starting to blow shut. The kids put on their snowpants and went out to "help"--meaning they dug Grinchy (our Santa Grinch decoration) out of the snow. Later, I'm putting them in the backyard to shovel off the deck and play with the dogs---who are in snow heaven. Belle got herself stuck in the snow--casting my mind back to when Callie did that as a puppy. She couldn't get over the huge drifts in my parents backyard and I had to climb over the drifts and snow and lift her out. So, Belle is just like Callie--did that stop her?? Heck no! Loki and Belle are tearing up the backyard throwing snow at each other--just covered in it!
I'll head into work later--I'm essential personnel. Does it bother me--not a bit. I'm in town and it makes more sense for me to come in then someone who drives from an hour away--and that's when the weather is good. Besides, I'm the freak that likes work!
HAPPY SNOW DAY EVERYONE!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Back to the ordinary stuff




Not that my kids are ordinary, but we've had enough excitement around here.


I go back to work on Thursday--5 days at the U and then I get to start my first day at Hospice. Tomorrow is my big exciting physical--you know, drug testing and are you mentally stable stuff. Think I'll pass??? The only part I would like to avoid is the getting on the scale. I've been baking quite a bit and you know--a good baker always has to sample what she's making. Ok ok--maybe I take that a bit too seriously but it's Christmas.
Chewie finally got to meet Santa Claus last week. I couldn't get a picture of them with Santa (like I'm going to pay 20 bucks for a flipping Polaroid), but I thought these pictures of them with their antlers on eating their pretzels would make up for it. I can not go to the mall with these kids without buying them a pretzel--I swear--it's a requirement for them! And yes Rauan was pouting over something. We had our post placement visit today and as I was telling our social worker Rauan is our temperamental genius.
Speaking of which, yes that went fine. I've worked with this agency before and we know each other quite well. How is Alihan doing? Fine. Any concerns--nope, after Rauan, Alihan's boundary testing issues are a piece of cake! Yes, they worked with us with Rauan and are familiar with what we went through. Of course, Chewie, pulling his babysittter's daughter's hair, throwing stuff at her son, running around like a madman and then spending pretty much the whole day in the time out chair might push her a bit much! Yeah I was most unhappy when I heard about that last week. Ok, I may not be the greatest mom in the world but my children WILL have manners and they WILL be polite--and they WON'T be so naughty to have their butt permanently etched in the time out chair. Ted put his little behind straight to bed and he slept for 13 hours straight. Perhaps a little tired. We'll see how this week goes. When I saw him the next morning, I told him how unhappy I was that he was naughty and I better not hear about him doing it again. He looked all sad--then gave me a dirty little smirk. Oh why do I fear that the teenage years are going to be rough--heck, just the school age years.
Friday was craft day at school and I helped out the kindergarten class. On Monday I went back to school and helped all the grades with wrapping their presents. It's nice to work with healthy kids once in a while. Today. Chewie got his booster flu shot. Now, while it was still awful and involved much screaming--it was actually better then last time. He's learning that it isn't as awful as the medical stuff was at the orphanage. Ted upset him today while the social worker was here---said something about Dom Rebunka. Chewie freaked. You have to put it together in his mind--lady here checking him out, Ted saying something about the orphanage--he was probably thinking--shit I'm being sent back! I could have kicked Ted's behind from here back to Tokmok--and I would have left him there! So, I had Chewie crawling all over me for the next couple of hours. I spent that time reassuring him that he was never going back. Again--my foot to Ted's ass.
Julia and I spent Monday night at church for a chili dinner and caroling. Julia was thrilled because there were alot of her classmates there and I was thrilled because Emily was there with her children. Emily is in the process of adopting and we've become friends through the process. To show what a small world it is--Emily is the aunt of one of Julia's classmates and also the aunt of one of Chewie's classmates (although he is in the AM program and she's in the PM program). It was just a fun night. And Emily, when you read this, I woke Julia up that night for pottie and she was smiling like she had a great dream. I asked her what the dream was about and she said about G. and playing tag with him in the foyer. She quickly added a few other friends--but it had me and Ted laughing.
It is snowing yet again here in lovely Wisconsin. And as always in Winter--Thursday, 6-10 inches of snow expected. Hopefully after I'm at work. I don't mind driving home at midnight when there had been alot of snow--there very little traffic.
Ok, I'm off to bake some more. I'll hold off on the sampling--for now!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Adopt Author/US foster care system

I need to reply to adopt author. Yes, we did consider foster care--it was actually the first adoption area we considered. And to be perfectly blunt, it scared the shit out of us! After the first meeting for foster care, we drove home and said to each other , we're not adopting. We'll be the old couple who didn't have any children and just enjoy travelling and our dogs. We had never been parents (Ted had never changed a diaper even) and we did not feel capable of dealing with what was presented to us.
I would also like to mention to adopt author, I am pediatric nurse and some of what I've seen in the foster care system still scared the crap out of me. God bless those that do adopt/foster out of the US foster care system.
Adopt Author if you had read any of my previous postings you would note that while Julia was not what we originally expected (thought healthy and a boy), for our next two adoptions we sought out special needs children. And while you mention people state they did adopt internationally for less red tape or for younger children---we did neither. The red tape we dealt with was ridiculous--and we are a licensed foster family for the US--it's required for us, so we dealt with double the red tape and our children obviously weren't younger.
I understand why people want families to adopt from the US foster care system. Perhaps someday we will now that we are experienced parents. Perhaps not with 3 very busy children. I encourage people to look at all options and make the decision on their own. There ARE issues with international adoption, just as there ARE issues with the US foster care system. An educated choice is a wise choice. Our reasons for international adoption are complex and personal, but we felt it was the best choice for us. And yes, I have read many articles,including a few you mentioned. It was still the correct choice for us. A child in need is a child in need, despite their location. Our world is growing smaller every day and the US is made of many nationalities. As I put in my previous posting, I can't change the world, but I can change a child's life--1 child at time. And I have been blessed to be able to parent.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Adoption---Blessing or a Curse

As I mentioned previously, I wanted time to evaluate others responses and gather my thoughts before I threw my two cents in, or whatever my thoughts are worth. So, here I go.
First of all, Julia's adoption is the direct result of infertility. Our desire was for a child--not a pregnancy. IVF was never pursued--the appointment was made and I cancelled it about 3 days before. Told Ted my body had enough. The decision was made to adopt--and after we had a baby then we would decide if we wanted to do IVF or not. The result was Julia. And we never looked back. I have had many things happen in my life that have changed it for the better and the infertility was just one--and I'm grateful for infertility.
Now, what some of you might not know is Julia's birth parents were married and she was their first child. Due to her medical needs, she was placed in the orphanage and made available for adoption. Most likely, Julia has full-blooded siblings in Russia. As a nurse and a child advocate, I'm disgusted that the medical system in Russia sucks to the point that this was the choice her birth parents made. My opinion was and always has been that the needs of the children come first. I am sad that she will grow up away from her native culture. Be that as it may, I'm damn glad she's my daughter. Like Maria mentioned, Julia is like me---I'm an American with Scottish, Irish and German heritage and she is an American with Russian heritage (with a little Buryat thrown in). Rauan and Alihan are Americans with Kaz and Krygz heritages. This is a country of multiple heritages and our home is such. Come into our house and you'll see Russian items, Buryat items (yurts and such stuff), Kaz items and Krygz items. As the children learn about their heritage, so will Ted and I. It's a family project. And perhaps, with us learning about each others cultures together we can foster respect for the cultures.
Now is it a blessing?? Yes, I think so. Again, it's sad that their native lands couldn't provide medical or cultural understandings for single mothers (Rauan's situation besides the cleft--Alihan's is unknown), but it's a blessing that medically we can provide some of the best medical care for them in the world. It's a blessing that their mom is a bit nuts and searches for the answers and gets them the best of the best medically. It's a a blessing that their mom and dad love them enough to find the best educational opportunities for them. It's a blessing that their mom and dad want to give them sports opportunities. For Julia, it's a blessing that we recognize that she is showing signs of a learning disability and her parents will (and currently are) rearranging their lives to make sure that she learns to the best of her ability. It's a blessing that, no matter what happens, they have a family that loves them and will care for them no matter what--and they have a large extended family that loves them and will care for them also--no matter what. It's called unconditional love.
Is it a curse? I guess that's what you view as a curse. It could have been. But, we live in a sinful world where people view children as a commodity. Until that changes--and it hasn't in all the time that humans have walked the earth--we have to make the best of it. It would have been best if the children could have stayed in their biological home situation--and their wouldn't have been medical issues and cultural issues. But, that wasn't to be. So, the next best solution was adoption. I can't change the way of the world--but I can change the lives of these three incredible children. It's a start.
What can I say? We have many members of our family that are adopted. One of my oldest and dearest friends was adopted. In my life, adoption wasn't a strange thing--it was a common place thing.
Was our adoption situation divinely meant to be? Perhaps. Now after we've completed 3 adoptions, I've found IVF would have never worked for us. The night before I received a call about Julia, I had a dream about a baby. I woke, described that baby to Ted (who wanted to know what kind of wacky weed I had been smoking--p.s--I'm a total drug virgin!), described that baby to my co-workers and when I saw Julia's picture I just about fell over. Divine intervention? Who knows? There were other strange things that happens with the boys--but I'm already getting long winded. One thing that I think is important is I've always seen myself as a mom--even as a young child I mothered everyone!--but never pregnant. Ever. Did I somehow know? Again perhaps.
The only one who can answer the question if adoption is a blessing is the child. It's their unique experience. Will my children feel that they were blessed to have me and Ted as their parents? I hope so. I know I am blessed. I am blessed to have had awesome parents, wonderful sisters, an incredible husband, great in-laws, and wonderfully blessed to be able to parent 3 incredible special delightful children who enrich my life beyond measure. Only time will tell if Julia, Rauan and Alihan feel that they were blessed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tagged

My friend from work has tagged me. Here I go:
List these rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tage 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their name as well as a link to their blog (that ain't going to work for me since the right clicker is still broken--Santa-HELP!!) Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
1. Favorite food--Ted's steaks hands down. Although as I drove to Middleton cycle today to get Rauan's present I saw a Sonic being buildt. I let Ted know that I'll go to Middleton cycle anytime but I will have to make a stop!
2. I'm totally uncoordinated. Total loss at sports, can't dance to save my life (even when drinking). I can walk (hike) and bike and that's my limits.
3. Grew up with a dalamation then a black lab(Lady). Lady was a total bed hog. She took 3/4 of the bed and left with an edge.
4. I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was little.
5. I'm a lousy cook. I love to bake but only around Christmas.
6. When I met Ted, I was checking out hospitals in Georgia--thinking about moving.
7. I'm one of those weird people who sings in their car. I'm a superstar while I'm driving. Thank goodness my children love me for me and not my voice!
Ok, I'll tag Hilary, Mala, Stephanie,Marie, Lisa, Elizabeth, and Emily. I know I can't link them--but just go to my blog list. Now off to leave comments!

Christmas concert




With yesterday's snow day I had to do something to keep the kids busy--so we made cut out cookies. That at least kept them busy for a little while. By late afternoon the snow had stopped and the main roads were clear so skating went on! Julia and I ended up in Woodman's getting supplies to make more Christmas cookies. Today back to school. I had hoped to clean (haha) but got waylaid but being Santa's errand girl. I also heard from Hospice today. I thought I would be taking a bit of a pay cut---I've been at the university 10 years now and I'm very happy with my pay rate--but the rate is very competitive. I have to go in for a physical, drug testing ( I hope chocolate doesn't count!) and hopefully will be starting my orientation--on the job--on the 23rd. The regular orientation is Jan. 12-14 and miracle of miracles, I'm not scheduled that day at the U. Chewie does have his preop physical on the 13th at 9 am and I explained that while Ted could take him, I am the primary caregiver when the children need medical treatments and I would prefer to be there. No problem! Just come late and they'll get me another time for that stuff--will have to be fairly quick because I have to have it before I can do any patient care. Now I love peds--but it is a hospital setting and it's difficult for them to accommodate each individual employee. I'm not sure I can handle something this accommodating--but I'm sure going to try!!!
Tonight was the Christmas concert at church. Being the total geek that I am, although Chewie wasn't performing (well he was but that's another story!)--I dressed the kids in their matching Christmas outfits. Alot of compliments. Aren't they just cute? And what you can't see is Julia has red shoes on. The boys--well, look out ladies!
I'm quite impressed with the discussion about adoption blessing or curse. At this point I'm waiting for as many opinions to be heard and then I'm going to state my case. We'll see how well I can express myself. My hope is for this to be an open discussion and let's see what comes of it. This is great--I'm using brain matter that hasn't been used in years--a little rusty but still running!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quick Update

Hospice called and offered me the position!!! More details later--but YEAH!!!! A big weight has been lifted and now I can rebuild our savings.

Humm, interesting thoughts

Snow day! No school. And Rauan was up at 6:30, refused to go back to bed and with that deep,booming voice of his--proceeded to wake up the princess (who was a bit bitchy--heaven help me on those teenage years) and Alihan--who I swear is happy even when he is cranky! I already had them outside for an hour--to save their lives and let me get a little coffee on board! It was a bit difficult to get up the hill to my house when I was driving home last night--and of course after all that, who can fall asleep. It was well after 2 when I turned out the light.
So, I'm kind of a "blog stalker". I check certain blogs daily and this one www.confessionsofj-momma.blogspot.com (my right clicker isn't working!) caught my eye and made me think. So, please read and give my your opinions. I try not to judge and I ask no one else does--this is just opinions. I do confess that I feel the children leaving their culture behind isn't best--but I think Ted and I give them so much--particularly a family that loves and adores them and unconditional love. Adoption isn't easy--but then neither is parenthood, biological or adopted. My work has shown me! So, please thoughts, opinions etc. I would really like a discussion on this issue. Gives me something to think about besides the kids destroying the house and wrestling each other!
Hopefully I'll have pictures to add later. The snow is coming down and blowing. YUCK! Why do I live in Wisconsin??

Monday, December 8, 2008

Finally Christmas!







On Saturday night, I called home and told the kids if they got the basement cleaned up, we could do the Christmas decorating on Sunday before I went to work. Honestly, for once I was hoping to get called off because if it didn't get done then--we'd have to wait until next Sunday. For those who don't know me well---I love Christmas. Not the presents and all of that---I love the lights and the decorating. So for me to wait until Dec. 14--yeah never! We also put the tree up in the basement because of A. cats who climb B. children that mess around with things C. basement is finished off with "northwoods" stuff--including fireplace and bar (which I might need !)
We got things going on Sunday, but I never got the call. Damn--the ONE time I wanted off. So, off I go to work. I'm in the elevator and my phone rings--not the notorious "Welcome to the Jungle". It's Jennifer who is charge that day. Lots of late discharges. Want off? Hell yes! Off I went back home--not without stopping at Wal-Mart first. Ted needs stuff for the soup he was making.
So, decorations are up--tree is done. Chewie is fascinated by the nativity. I caught Chewie checking out and Julia explaining Baby Jesus to him. Ted put up what lights he could--no roof light this year. I caught Tasha peeking at us though the limbs of the Christmas tree. So cute! Now get off the tree darn cat!
We have a pair of hockey skates on hold for us. Ted took Rauan down to get fitted telling him Santa asked us to check his size so he knows what size of skates to get him. Now I just have to get down there to pick them up. Madison is expecting a major winter storm tonight through Wed. am. Thank goodness I have work off tomorrow. The boys are both getting Polar Cap jackets, matching PJs (I told you I'm a geek) and I found some fun ones for Julia yesterday at Wal-Mart (to be purchased this next week), Julia's getting a Groovy Girl doll and some accessories. I bought some Pokemon cards for stocking stuffers. That's all I've been hearing about is Pokemon cards--what's up with that? The children are also getting books and we got a wii for the family gift. I have to get a few things for Chari (buddy in Missouri--she was my matron of honor) including cheese. They can't get half of the cheese we have readily available at Woodman's. Then I have to get some candy for the stockings. WOW I might actually be done!
Miracle of miracles--Ted and I have a date night planned. Stacey is done with school this week, except for some research lab stuff. So on the 17th she's coming over and we are going out. What we'll do I really don't care. I don't know when Marley and Me is coming out but I really want to see that. On the 18th, Chari's present is getting mailed and then I work the next 5 days. So, I think dinner and a movie. Maybe actual conversation???!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pajama Day




Today was Pajama day at preschool. Chewie just couldn't get it. Why the heck was he wearing PJs instead of his jeans. I showed him everything and helped him get the clothes on--but then he kept running to me with his jeans. It's fricking cold here too--so there's an extra layer under those jammies. It's also letter "M" day, so what he is holding is Dora's mom for show and tell Hey--it works and it was right there. He heads to daycare right after this, but I'm taking a change of clothes. Ted left this snowpants there Wednesday, so that's at least one thing I don't have to worry about. Chewie is turning into a typical Pritchard boy--or he has always been. At least this one didn't involve a trip to the ER. He AGAIN decided to jump down the stairs to preschool--falling on his shoulder. Tears, tears, and more tears. And scrapped knees. Do you think he'll learn??? Yeah, I don't think so either.
I again got the GI flu or a nasty case of food poisioning over the weekend. Isn't it wonderful when your husband tells you "you look like crap"? Yeah honey, love you too. Thankfully I recovered in time to do my hospice shadowing. Wonderful experience. Now they contact my references, do the drug testing (yeah Janiece control freak--drugs--hardly likely), and then set up orientation--which they are totally flexible on. It will probably be a couple ofweeks before things can get started, so let the baking and living room painting begin!
Our little angel Julia is going to be an angel for Christmas. It's an option for the school kids and Julia wanted to do it. Rauan--nope no way. I'm certainly not going to force it. He's a stubborn guy and digs in his heels.
Well, off to pick up kids. I just had to share my jammies guy!