Friday, October 29, 2010

Life of the Unemployed

Today I am finishing up my third week of being unemployed.  I must admit that I was pretty nervous about it.  As someone who's worked since she was 15 and who has worked full time since 18, I feel a little helpless.  It's a funny feeling when you're not contributing financially anymore. 

And with the change in travel plans, the amount of free time has recently expanded exponentially.  Aside from our appointment interview, I will have a lot of extra time on my hands while Eric travels.

I am trying to keep myself busy though.  Which is not always easy for me.  I do not have Eric's personality.  It is impossible for Eric to have nothing to do.  He always has a project he's in the middle of (usually more than one) and there are always projects in the works.  Because this is not me, I could, if I let myself just hang around and waste the day away.  I kind of feel like I do that already, but I try to make a big effort to be productive, whatever that entails. 

Thankfully, the last few weeks have been full of damage control, regular schoolwork, and some additional projects that are due soon.  I try to have a list of things I want to accomplish during the week, even if it's as simple as return a movie, paint a candlestick or launder the bed sheets.  With a list, I can always look to it if I feel my mind wandering into no-man's land.

I know that once the boys are home, I will be wishing for free time, so I am trying not to complain.  It's just such a funny feeling being home alone all day.  And with only online classes, I have no reason to leave the house, except for errands and appointments.  It's definitely new, and is taking some getting used to, but I think I'll manage.

Because of the tornado warning this week, I think I might organize the basement and designate an area for if it ever happens again.  I'm thinking a small table, a tub of blankets and water and a carpet remnant to put on the floor.  Let's just say that it wasn't very convenient having 6 small children and 2 dogs huddled on the dirty floor, even with 3 adults.

I better add that to-do to my list for next week now before I forget.  I hope everyone has a fun weekend.  Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Nursery is Coming Along

It's just about my bedtime and it seems I am coming down with a small cold.  But I wanted to offer some pictures of the progress I've made with the nursery this week.

Thanks to the ever-so-wonderful Kaitlin, I have a dresser for the boys.  It's my goal to wipe it down this week before anything goes in it (not that there's anything to go in it right now anyway).  I also washed a set of sheets and mattress pads and put them on.  It's crazy how real it seems the more and more the nursery gets organized.  There is still a lot of stuff piled here and there, but small steps are being made.

I even started to make room for baby items in the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.  I figure it will be easier to begin the transition now instead of when I'm a new mom, deprived of sleep.

As proof of the progress I have made over the last couple of weeks, here are some photos I managed to snap today...

I cleared out these shelves and stored blankets and extra linens.

The cribs with the sheets and bumpers on.

 I put all of my diapers in the baskets.  It just looks to great!

Lastly, Eric and I thrifted this small chair last week.  Isn't is super cute?!

In regards to the actual adoption, I haven't heard anything yet.  I am planning on emailing our agent once the two week mark comes around since the adoption was complete in the Congo.  I was told that the passports take 1-2 weeks and feel that it wouldn't be pushy to check in at the 2 week mark.

In other news, we sold our car and bought something else.  It's just a bit more practical for our new family size than the BMW.  I am now driving a Honda CRV.  It's cute and compact, but has some added room, especially in the trunk.

Well, that's all I have for now.  If I hear anything from our agent, I'll make sure to update.  Now I'm off to kick this cold's butt.  Goodnight!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Official Birth Dates & Revised Travel Plans

Today, I officially know the birth dates of my sons :)

Baxter was born on May 22, 2010 & Atticus was born on July 19, 2010.

I am super excited to know the boys' birthdays.  They are close but not too close.  I was hoping that I could have separate parties for each of them as opposed to sharing.

In other news, Eric and I have decided to travel to the Congo for the visa interview.  We originally were going to complete the necessary paperwork instead, but are now postponing our trip until the interview date.  Our agent also thinks this is a better option.

The interview should be scheduled in the next two weeks and is probably going to take place in the next five to six weeks.  This falls directly when Eric will be working in Mexico, but he has decided to leave in order to attend the interview.  Once we have our appointment, the only step left is getting the exit approvals for the boys and then they come home.  I know for a while it seemed like everything was pushed back, but it's looking more and more like they will be home around Christmas time.  Just like we have been hoping!

And last week I put together the bookshelves and got a dresser in the nursery.  I will take some update photos and post them soon.  We now actually have a nice camera that will stay here with me instead of being at Eric's office.  Now I'm just rambling....

Okay, I'm off.  I have procrastinated my homework long enough. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Major Change in Plans

So unfortunately, the visas did not come threw (and most likely weren't going to from the beginning, but we didn't know that).  This obviously means we are not traveling to the DRC this weekend.  Needless to say it was a very emotional day.

But as I sit here writing, I am okay.  Eric and I think that this may be for the best, but we will have to wait and see.  We like to live by the scripture that man makes his plans but God directs his steps.  So we are choosing to believe that God is just directly our steps in this.  And actually, this might afford us the opportunity to attend the visa interview for the boys. 

We are still trying to figure out what happens next, but I'll make sure to update everyone once we do.  Thank you for all the encouragement and prayers.  As long as the boys come home safe and sound, we will persevere through anything.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Having a Much Better Day

Despite the fact that I still don't have my invitation letter from the Congo, it's still a great day.  Why is it so great you may ask.  Well, today I received our adoption decrees for the boys.

That's right ladies and gents, we are now legally parents.  So it's no longer, "I am adopting two boys from the Congo", it's "I have two sons, and they just happen to live in the Congo right now."  Now it's on to passports and visas and exit approvals, and once that's all done, THEY COME HOME!

I'm kind of excited ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Borderline Meltdown

This morning, I came pretty close to having a meltdown.  After returning from the gym, I had an email from our agent asking us about our Congolese visas.  I was dumbfounded.  I guess we just assumed that you pay for the visas at customs when you arrive in the country.  But apparently, you need to fill out an application and send it to the DRC Embassy in Washington DC. 

All morning I was kicking myself.  How could we miss this?!

I printed the instructions and applications offline and went to work.  But then I noticed, on the instructions, we need a notarized letter from the Congo inviting us to visit. 

At this point, my frustration shifting from myself to our agent.  If she has known we were traveling for the last month, why didn't we get an invitation letter sooner (which would have prompted me to get the visas much sooner).  So, after I get vaccinated this afternoon, I must wait to see if she can get me the necessary letter.  Then everything will be over-nighted to the Embassy where we will have to pay double the fee to "rush" it and supply a self-addressed overnight envelope back.

And to top this wonderful morning off, I was kicked off my Psychology exam this morning and according to the syllabus... oh well.  My professor is "not responsible for" my "technology."  And the worst part of all?  I went to a coffee shop because my Internet was acting up (to help ensure that I didn't get kicked off) and I only had four questions to answer.

Depending how the rest of this day goes, I may just have to have myself a good cry.  Thank goodness for great friends.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting Things Done

Today is my first day of unemployed life, but it hasn't hit me yet.  It's weird to think that I don't have to get up at a certain time or be anywhere first thing in the morning.  Not that I even remotely want to sleep in, it's just weird having the option.

But I know I will be utilizing all of my extra time this week preparing for our departure on Saturday night.  We fly out on Sunday, but it's so early, we are going to get a hotel in Detroit the night before. 

Today, our agent has given us some insight into what to bring.  It's really helpful, but it will still be a challenge packing.  Our goal is to only use carry-on luggage.  This isn't too much of a problem except that we will be stopping in Germany for a few days on the way home.  According to the DRC is going to be rainy and in the 90's whereas Frankfurt is going to be cloudy and in the 50's.  This drastic difference in temperature is going to make it tricky packing a 23" x 40" x 55" bag.  In addition to the bag size limitation, carry-ons can only have 3 ounces of liquid.  That means I am going to be hitting up the travel isle at Target this week.

I could use my purse/additional carry-on bag for clothes, but that will be housing my textbooks.  Yes, I will be bringing my schoolwork with me.  But really, who doesn't enjoy hauling textbooks around airports for two days straight?  But I can't complain, this will definitely count as an adventure, which I always tell Eric I want to have.  I may be eating my words later ;)

Emotionally,  I have two conflicting feelings warring within me.  First, I want to totally freak out, followed by a complete meltdown.  Although it's what I really want to do, it doesn't help my situation at all.  Instead, I am going with the mentality that everything is going to be fine; whatever happens is going to happen.  This mindset has taken some conscious effort to keep, because it is definitely not my first reaction.  But I know that I will regret a meltdown and my poor husband won't want to spend ten straight days with me either.  I just have to keep myself busy, and avoid the thinking that takes place once I stop.

So, I am not going to worry, it will all be great.  And tomorrow I have an appointment.  I wish it was to get my nails done, but unfortunately I will be getting vaccinated.  Thank goodness Kent Co Health Dept. could see me.  It's not like I waited until the last minute.  Oh wait....

I am going to end here and get back to practicing folding clothes as small as humanly possible.  If you could, say a little prayer that everything really does go well for us, and for my heart, so that I will be able to enjoy meeting my boys and being with them but will be able to leave when the time comes.

Thank you!  And I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buying Half of Babies 'R Us

Well, I didn't actually buy half of Babies R Us, but it sure felt like it.  Last Thursday, I spent the afternoon with my mom purchasing all of the remaining items of neccessity on my registry.  Since we will be traveling to the Congo/Mexico, I wanted to be prepared just in case the boys come home while we're away.  My goal is to have most of everything organized before we leave for the Congo.  And then I can spend the two weeks between the Congo and Mexico, finalizing details and getting ahead with school.

To prove how much we actually bought, here are all of the bags waiting to be organized when I eventually have some free time.  Thankfully, I didn't actually spend much of my own money.  Between gift cards and some returns, I was able to get the majority of what I need.  The only thing that's left to get are a few diapers/wet bags. 

The purchase of clothes is going to have to wait until I know when they are coming home.  This is because I do not know what sizes to get.  This means the time between finding out their arrival date and them actually being here is going to be filled with a lot of clothes shopping, comprised mostly of visits to thrift stores.  This part I am very excited to do.  I think it will be a fun thing for Eric and I to do, primarily because we love thrift stores anyway.

In other news, we receievd word from our agent late last week that the Congolese government has added an interview to the end of the finalization process.  This offers us two options, 1) one of us must be present in the Congo for the intervew, or 2) that we must get preapproval from USCIS (the U.S. government) that the boys will be acknowledged as immediate relatives when they arrive home.

Having our trip scheduled for October 17th doesn't offer a lot of time to figure things out.  Just say a prayer for us.  All these added steps are starting to become overwhelming.  It's hard to understand why they need to add all these extras, and why they just can't approve everything and send our boys home.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Work, School and Trips

It's been about ten weeks since my replacement at work started...and I am still there.  Our original plan was for me to be finished already, but my boss has been very wonderful and has given me odd jobs so I can work a few more weeks.  I decided to work longer in order to make a little extra money to put towards our big trip to the Congo this month.  It's an additional expense we were not planning for and every little bit counts.

On October 17th we fly out of Detroit, headed for Brussels.  From there, we make our way to Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC.  We are planning on spending a total of three days there (two full and two half days).  After talking with adoptive families that have visited waiting children, we decided on that amount.  We've heard that any more than three days is going to make leaving very, very hard.  Right now, I expect it to be hard to leave after three days, so I can't imagine leaving after a long period of time.

And it just so happened that Eric got a call requesting his presence at a meeting in Frankfurt with a client.  The meetings fall directly at the end of our Congo trip.  This allowed us to essentially make a "pit stop" in Germany for a few days before heading home.  This is going to be an awesome opportunity and I am thankful to be able to have this little distraction after leaving the boys.

So right now, my last day at work is going to be October 8th, which is CRAZY to think about.  It's really, really hard to imagine not working since it's what I've done since I was 14.  I am going to spend a week before our trip packing, getting ahead with school, and making sure everything is set in the boys' room, just in case.

Soon after we get back, approximately November 13th, Eric is going to be traveling to Mexico to produce a feature film that his friend is shooting.  Since I am going to be done working, I have been given the opportunity to go along for the ride.  As of now, Eric and I will be in Mexico for almost four weeks between November and December.

Both of these trips are opportunities of a lifetime, especially since I won't be traveling much (or at all) once the boys are home, at least for a while.  Despite how great these opportunities are, I still have been stressing over them quite a bit.

One of my biggest stresses is school.  Now, I know I have it easy with online classes.  But just because they are online doesn't make them actually easy.  To be honest, I am having a more difficult time than I have had in traditional classes.  This could be attributed by my professor who's on a power trip, but the other two are more difficult also.  Plus, I have a ten page research paper due while we are in Mexico (it must be submitted both as an electronic version and paper copy).  And on top of that, what is our agent suddenly needs us to sign and notarize something?  I am pretty sure a Mexican notary isn't going to fly when the Congolese government is working with an American family.

But you know what?  I know everything is going to be okay.  I know that I am going to be fine and that I am going to make it.  Yes, it is a stressful situation but it's all worth it.  Unfortunately, this doesn't always help slow my mind down as I try and plan everything out exactly.  But that's life, right?  you just have to roll with it.

I know I am going to be just fine over the next couple of months.  And just think, after it's all said and done, my boys may be home.  And Germany and Mexico aren't too shabby places to go for a little distraction from the waiting.

I know this was a more stressful post, but sometimes you just have to "talk" things out.  So thanks for listening :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nursery Furniture - Part One

This past weekend, I hunkered down and actually got the cribs and changing table painted!  It actually took two days to clean, figure out how they go together and spray paint them completely.  But they look SO much better now.  I think they were made to be glossy white.

I don't own too much that is white, except most of the trim in our house.  But since two of the three pieces were already white, I thought it would be easiest to paint white over white, instead of painting a them a dark wood color.

Each piece was pretty dirty, but nothing that a little (or a lot!) of scrubbing couldn't handle.  And unfortunately, I do not have any excuse to get out of these jobs, like I would it I was several months pregnant.  Although, I do have a friend who decided to paint her entire garage at 8 months pregnant, but she's just exceptional that way :)

In addition to dirt, there were a few scratches on each piece.  But I figured, with two boys, they weren't going to stay pretty or perfect for long anyway.

Here they are, waiting for to dry after getting a fresh coat of paint.  It actually didn't take me as long as I had thought to repaint everything with spray paint.  And it only took five cans.

Once they were painted, I gave it a couple days before moving everything to the attic.  Unfortunately, the Ikea crib wasn't able to fit up the stairs and Eric had to take it apart, move it and then reassemble it.  He's such a good sport for doing all this for me.

While he was at basketball, I decided to put the other crib together and move everything around to see how it fit.  I had it all set up how I thought it should go, but sure enough, Eric is a bit taller and it didn't work out so well for him.  Hunching over while changing diapers multiple times is going to get old very fast.  So we worked together and figured out a way that we BOTH like.  Success.

Now, all I have to do is assemble the two "wardrobes" and find a dresser that I like, that is big enough, but can also be brought upstairs without dis-assembly.  That last part seems to be the most difficult criteria.  I plan on starting that search soon, since I am anticipating that it may take some time.

So there you have it!  The first stages our of boys' room.  It's crazy how it's all coming together.