Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I don't actually know much about the day, but I can imagine it. It was February in Siberia, which means cold. Really cold. Like 30 below zero Fahrenheit cold. His birthmother may have given birth at a hospital, but it's more likely that she gave birth to my baby at home. All we know for sure is that, two months later, she took him to the hospital and left him there, sick, cold, malnourished and unwanted.
It pains me to think about those first two months of his life. How his tiny cries weren't answered. How his birthmother (according to the court testimony) would leave him alone in the cold house for hours while she was out drinking and carousing. How he wasn't rocked to sleep or held or sang to or cuddled or even fed regularly.
It's really not fair in some ways to say "Happy Birthday" to him. The day of his birth wasn't a happy day. Not for him. Not for his birthmother. I've scoured my old calendars and have no idea what I was doing the exact day my baby entered this world. All I know for sure is that I was just discovering that I was pregnant for the first time. I had no idea then that the baby I was carrying wouldn't actually be the baby I would hold in my arms. I had no idea that my baby was already waiting for me on the other side of the world, already crying out for me.
CutiePie's first "Birthday" (i.e., the first anniversary of his birth) in 2003 was better, but not by much. He was about to be moved from a failing foster care situation into the orphanage. Meanwhile, I was discovering that I was pregnant again, after months of trying after our first loss the previous spring. Once again, I couldn't have known that my baby was still waiting for me in Siberia, not growing inside me.
By the time of his second Birthday (i.e. the second anniverary of his birth) in 2004, CutiePie was well cared-for in his orphanage and receiving love, attention, food and basic medical care on a regular basis. It may not have been a family, but at least it was stable and nurturing. Here in America, we were busily at work on our dossier, dreaming about our children in Russia. Because we were not requesting infants, we were pretty sure that our children were alive somewhere, waiting for us. I was already getting frustrated with the process and the many delays and had no idea how much longer it would be before we were united with our children at last.
How time changes things and heals all wounds. In February 2005, CutiePie had been our son for f0ur months and had blossomed into a bright, funny, silly, smart three-year old boy. In just that short amount of time, we'd watched him transform from a giant infant into a toddler with a huge and charismatic personality.
Last week, we celebrated his birthday for the third time together -- it's hard to believe how quickly the time has gone! On that birthday, and probably on every other birthday I will celebrate with him, there were tears, only these are and will be tears of joy, of thankfulness, of gratitude and wonder.
Happy Birthday, CutiePie. I promise to try to make this and every other day of your life a happy one. I'm so glad we found each other.
When we were finally almost ready to go (and already late for school at that point), the boys asked if they could take Big Red outside and wait for me there. Since I only had about a minute's more work to do (putting lunches in lunchbags, lid on coffee, put my coat on), I said "sure". Really - I should have known better!!!
Usually, when the boys go out to play in the morning, they make snowballs, break icicles off the shed, roll their trucks down the incline -- things that may get their hands a little dirty and their shoes a little wet, but nothing too bad. Not this morning!!!! Oh, no -- this morning, when we're already running late and I had promised myself that they'd be at school EARLY for a change, my little CutiePie decides to ROLL IN A MUD PUDDLE LIKE A PIGGY!!!!!!! Seriously! He did! When I came outside a minute behind them, he was on the ground in the mud rolling back and forth and laughing hysterically!!!!
15 minutes later ...... CutiePie was cleaned up, new clothes on, his muddy coat and clothes in the washing machine, and we were in the van ready to try to go to school again. Sigh.
If we hadn't been late, I might actually have found it funny. He really did look like he was having a good time!
Friday, February 16, 2007
I'm not going to post much now because I'm leaving soon to visit family out of state. CutiePie and HandsomeBoy are so excited to see their cousins! We haven't seen them since Thanksgiving and it was August before that! Luckily, it looks as though the weather is going to cooperate!
I'll have more to say next week - I promise! I've already got a few thoughts stewing around in my head!
Have a great weekend!
Friday, February 9, 2007
I'm a member of a few Jewish Genealogy listservs and last night I just happened to notice an email about the Port of Bremen's ship manifest information being available in an online database. I thought that was where my Grandmother had sailed from, so I clicked on the link, intending merely to bookmark the page. When I got to the page, there was a line to enter in a last name. I had a few moments, so I figured what the heck. Not two minutes later, I was staring at a passenger list that showed my grandmother, her parents, her sister and two brothers. They left the port of Bremen on January 12, 1927 and set out for America, leaving all they'd ever known behind. Of the 6 older children, 5 were already living in America, having been sent over with cousins, aunts and uncles. 1 of my grandmother's sisters stayed behind because she had married a Russian officer who would/could not leave. They never heard from her again after WWII.
When they arrived in America, they found that the older children were Americanized and had made full lives for themselves here, marrying and having children. In fact, the oldest siblings had never even met the two youngest brothers who came over with my Grandmother!
I find it interesting that my family has come full circle in many ways -- once again, a Russian child steps forward and leaves behind all they ever knew to step into new life in America, joining family they've never met and hoping for a better life. It all worked out pretty well last time around; I hope we are once again blessed with success.
ATTENTION - 12pm addition: Obviously I wrote this too early in the morning, before I'd had my coffee! We are NOT yet in the process for a daughter (although I'm still hoping to be) and I didn't mean to make it sound that way! I'll revise this post later when I have a chance. Sorry to excite everyone!
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Here's a really simple thing that has saved me untold grief over the years. In every place I've ever lived since I started college, I have affixed a cheap little sticky hook to the wall next to the main door and I hang my keys on it EVERY time I come in -- without fail! This way, I ALWAYS know where my keys are. I lose lots of things -- trust me, I do - but my keys aren't one!
I have found that I'm much more likely to use a storage idea or device if it makes sense and is easier than the alternative. Keeping my keys by the door works for me!
Now, between my husband and I and our various cars, truck, motorcycle, and spare keys, we actually have a row of pegs that hold all of our keys. When we have guests over, we ask them to hang their keys there also. That really helps in the late evening or early morning if one vehicle needs to be moved to let another one out of the driveway!
Works for me!
Monday, February 5, 2007
Well, yeah ..... of course I am! I know that! I'm so very lucky in so many ways, but for the purposes of this post, I mean that I'm very lucky, as in, I'm having a streak of very good luck right now!
My latest little online addiction to do in my micromoments of spare time is entering contests and sweepstakes. I've got a list of them bookmarked on my computer and, while I'm waiting on hold or for a document to print, I'll go down my list and enter a contest or two. Some of the ones I enter are very small - for a DVD or song download -- and some are very big -- a new house in the Rocky Mountains AND $250,000 in cash -- but most are somewhere in between.
I started getting into it late last summer and since then, I've won various things of varying value, but I'm totally hooked! Some of the things I've won have been (the wins since last week are in bold):
* Family 4-pack tickets to a local amusement park
* Family 4-pack tickets to local aquarium
* Scooby Doo Show
* Season subscription to broadway series at nearby theatre
* Valentine's Day Concert at local symphony
* Family 4-pack to the Auto Show
* Tickets to see local childrens theatre performance
* Song download
* Toiletry and makeup samples
* 96 lottery tickets
* Flower Nursery
* Ice cream
And my big prize:
* Grand Prize win - New Years Eve Weekend in NYC, including transportation and meals and tour of CBS studios on Game Day (but we took the cash option instead)
I try not to enter any contests in which I really don't want the prize being offered, so most of the stuff I've won, I've been very excited about! Even small little things can make you happy! The rodeo tickets are a great example -- I knew the rodeo was coming to town, but I wasn't interested in paying to take the family to see it. It was definitely NOT worth the money. I'm trying very hard to watch our budget right now and I couldn't justify that expense. However, I was THRILLED when I won the tickets -- "free" was just about the right price!!! LOL! We all had a great time and the boys still talk about it months later! CutiePie recently came across a rodeo on TV and was so excited!
So, get out there and enter something today! Maybe you can win, too!!!
UPDATE: Seriously, I'm not making this up! I just looked out on my front porch and noticed a box that had not been there earlier this morning. When I opened it, I discovered that I'd won a contest sponsored by a local radio station and I'd won tickets to the Dancing With the Stars Tour, a $50 restaurant gift certificate, a fleece pullover and a hat!!! Wow! This is my best week ever!!!
Friday, February 2, 2007
Why, you ask? Because this weekend, I'm going away on my now-annual scrapbooking weekend with my FlyFriends! We're not going far, the "resort" isn't that luxurious, the food is plentiful but only adequate in quality and last year the showers only showered us with COLD water! BUT, I get the weekend away with fun friends and time to work on my albums!!! YAY!!! What more could a gal ask for? Well, sure, I COULD ask for a daily spa treatment, but let's keep it real!
So, what do I plan to do with this time this weekend? First of all, I want to work on my boys' albums. Through AdoptShoppe, I found a great "baby book" called The Story of Me, which is much more than a traditional baby book and is fully customizable to meet our particular needs! I purchased it with the adoption supplement and also the Jewish supplement! I've already started making notes on sticky notes and placing them in the book, but I believe that I can get a lot done this weekend! I've printed out a lot of photos that I want to use and am going to copy the boys' adoption documents at Kinko's this morning! I won't be able to totally complete it, but I will make a lot of progress!
The other big project I want to work on is to assemble a really neat album I bought from Lisa Bearnson's website that's called All About Me. I'm just not creative enough to create such a wonderful album on my own. Lately, I've been trying to limit my "scrapbooking" to projects like that. I take a lot of photos and I've found that I need to keep them in traditional photo albums. I also upload them to an online service where I can store and share them, which is great. I've started to create books on the online site rather than actually scrap the photos into an album. It's quicker, probably cheaper and much much easier!!! I like the end result better, too!
If I have time, I may also start an album for each boy that just contains their school photos, class photos and other portraits that we take outside of school. In just two and a half years, I have nearly 10 such photos for each boy, so I guess I better start now -- it's only going to get harder as the project gets bigger!
By the way, I have to do a quick shout-out to RockStar at this point. Not only is he fine with me hopping off for a weekend of girltime, he's going to be 100% responsible for the boy AND they've got two big activities at the synagogue this weekend that he will be taking them to. My former-altar-boy-who-still-corrects-priests-during-mass husband RockStar!!! Yay him!!! I haven't posted much about the challenges and joys of an interfaith family, and I'm not going to go into it in this post, but I wanted to say how much I love him and how great he is. So, while I'm enjoying the buffet at the resort tonight, RockStar will be eating Shabbat dinner at the synagogue with the boys, their classes and my parents. How cool is that?
Okay, gotta go finish packing now! I leave in less than 3 hours!! Woo-hoo!!!
Have a great weekend!