Monday, February 28, 2011
I used this website to generate a random number between 1-13.
The winnter is: SUSAN! (email@example.com).
Susan, I don't think I know you personally so please shoot me an email with your address and I will send your book today.
A video (and some more bathroom talk)
potty training x 2 / 1 = exhaustion
But doing it by myself today x 2 minus my partner.
I ... am ... exhausted.
The boys did great! Each had one accident when I put pants on them so they could go outside. Elijah also a #2 accident which was less than appealing and made me feel even less excited about the possibility of doing cloth diapers with baby #3.
Isaac is getting the training nearly perfectly (although no #2 for him yet). Elijah dribbles in his underwear every time he realizes they are wet, and then goes running. Doesn't leak out but does require a new pair of CARS underwear every time.
JB is home for lunch and we are going to diaper and nap them pronto! Whew ... that was a long morning. The boys were great but I felt like I was running back and forth between them without ceasing. Maybe I should rethink and do this once at a time?
Check out this train of logic:
Mommy: "You need to put on your underpants, Isaac."
Sunday, February 27, 2011
- A trip to the Sunday market in beautiful weather! Strawberries are out -- you can smell them under the tents.
- Sunday morning at a make-shift "dog park." There is a dog park on Base but it's miles from housing and not a fantastic place. So some people have been meeting at a soccer field on Base at 9am every Sunday morning. This morning there were 15 dogs! What a great time. Scrubs bonded with a HUGE Turkish "mutt" named Bebek (Turkish for Baby). The dog towers over Scrubs, and they played like crazy.
- Purchasing girl clothes from a gal on the Incirlik Yard Sale webpage. Girl clothes. Crazy. Really, really crazy. Pink? For real? I'm a tomboy who lives with four boys (counting the dog.) This girl thing is taking us for a spin.
- A lunch with good friends! Dan & Angelica had a few friends out for lunch today. The kids played outside and we enjoyed delightful weather and space for the boys to romp!
- Dog dayz! How fantastic of our Base Pool to allow the dogs to come and splash away before they clean out the pool in preparation for the reopening in May. Scrubs jumped in once after his Frisbee before he realized that getting out of the pool was going to require too much work. From that point on, he spent the afternoon humping any dog who would let him. Silly Scrubby.
- Church. Isaac is now attending the preschool class. Elijah is still in the nursery. They come to church with us for a few songs of worship before being dismissed for their classes. It's a bit of craziness in service, but they, especially Elijah, love the songs.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
The Tale of the Salad Spinner
Happy Birthday Grama K!
Friday, February 25, 2011
The pee-pee diaries
6:16am We walk up the stairs and open the boys' bedroom door. They are jumping on the bed and throwing stuffed animals at each other. We joyfully announce that today is the day we wear big boy underpants. JB pulls out some dinosaur underwear Grama K. gave the boys about a year ago and some mader underpants Grama Di sent just a few weeks ago. Elijah gets very excited and quicly chooses a "mader" to wear. Isaac starts sobbing. "I don't want to wear big boy underpants. I want to wear a diaper," he weeps. I head downstairs with Elijah. Isaac and JB finally decided to put on a "Lightning" pair.
6:22am When Isaac joins us downstairs, he is pulling at Lightning and begging to have him off. So we take him off but tell him there are no diapers today. He sobs harder but decides to go naked instead of putting Lightning back on.
6:26am With the promise of M&Ms, Elijah quickly lets me help him take Mader off and beings trying to put pee-pee in the potty. Nothing comes, but he is quick to try over and over again.
6:40am Isaac, obviously having to go the bathroom very badly, dribbles on the floor in the kitchen. JB (who is better with Isaac overall) decides to go into the bathroom with him and have a joint bathroom seession. Suddenly Isaac looks up and smiles very big. He has gone pee-pee in the potty!
6:50am Isaac sits at the kitchen counter eating his bowl of Raisin Bran and his five Valentine's Day colored M&M's with giddy joy. He is still naked other than his shirt but doesn't seem to care at all. Elijah continues to try the potty again and again with no success. Mader comes on and off frequently.
7:15am Mom sets up the "Mickey Christmas" movie on the kids' table in the dining room which has no carpets and vinyl chairs so that accidents can be cleaned up easily. Other than the dribble on the kitchen floor, no accidents yet. Daddy begins his "Insanity" work-out in the living room while Mom mans the battle stations.
7:30am While drinking their third glass of water/juice, Isaac and Elijah continute to decline offers to go the bathroom. (Mom is asking nearly every 30 seconds and starting to drive them crazy.)
7:32am Isaac gets a panicked look on his face and tells me that he really has to go! This is the moment we have been waiting for! Feeling the sensation on his own and deciding he needs to go. We run to the bathroom and he instantly begins to go! Celebrations ensue! So very exciting. This is the first time either boy has made the decision on his own and followed through.
7:45am Boys return to their movie ...
7:59am Isaac stands up from the movie table and goes running to the bathroom without telling either of us. He sits down and goes! JB follows him and begins cheering.
8:00am As Isaac stands up, I hear something and turn to see that Elijah is peeing all over the floor under the table. I grab him and we run down the hallway (where rugs have already been rolled up) and run to the bathroom. I quickly empty potty from Isaac and pull off Elijah's wet Mader pants. He shuts the door and when JB walks in to check on Elijah, he has gone in the potty! He gets his own M&m's and a new pair of undewear. (The Lightning ones Isaac didn't want.)
8:03am Elijah is scarfing down his 5 M&M's and Isaac continues to eat about 1 every 6 minutes. So far, it appears that Isaac has gotten the sensation. Elijah doesn't seem to get the sensation part yet but is totally achieving the potty idea when prompted.
8:09am Isaac goes running back to the bathroom but I think it was only becaause he is out of M&Ms. He asks to sit on the little potty and then the big potty but nothing happens. He does ask me, "Are you too big to sit on the little potty Mommy." Ummm, yes I am.
8:10am Isaac asks to wear dinosaurs. Deciding to wear underwear instead of being naked is a good thing I think.
8:11am Isaac decides he prefers nudity and removes them! The movies seem to be helping us "contain" them so we decide we are going to continue watching them even as Mickey concludes.
8:22am "Does anyone need to do pee-pee in the potty?" is met with a "Yeah!" and a sweet giggle from Elijah as he goes running down the hall with JB at his heals. Success results. As he comes back and begins eating his M&Ms, Isaac takes off and does the same thing. Two successes in one minute. Way cool.
8:49am Isaac takes off with his little naked buns running to the potty and goes! Five more M&Ms. We are now worried about sugar highs.
8:50am When asked if he needs to go, Elijah heads down the hallway and successfully delivers the same result! He is still wearing Lightning underwear. (Isaac is still naked.)
8:51am Isaac runs back to the bathroom and says he has gone but I hadn't had a chance to empty Elijah's yet. Did he go? Did he not? We give him the benefit of the doubt and give M&Ms anyhow.
9:10am JB spots Elijah in a poop squat. By the time we have gotten him to the bathroom, he has gone a bit in his underwear, but he sits down and does a bunch more in the potty. Poop in the potty by the little brother! A major accomplishment. During this time, Isaac runs in saying he has to go so we get the second potty from upstairs which Isaac pees in. (He is still quite naked.)
*** I have put up more pashminas on the website. Click the link at the top of the page to check out the new selection!
Conversation to note
Thursday, February 24, 2011
It's a ...
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Another book give away
Monday, February 21, 2011
So, you may be asking. Where have all the blog posts gone? Where has Wendi gone?
Wendi, went to Cyprus!
Cyprus is an island off the south-central coast of Turkey. The northern half of the island belongs to Turkey. The southern part of the island belongs to Greece. If you are a fan of My Big Fat Greek Wedding you may recall the Grandmother being paranoid about the “Turks.” We came to an education (via our cab driver on the ride into our resort) that this is for good reason. A war in 1974 separated the two sections of the island and Greeks are no longer allowed north; Turks are no longer allowed south. In fact, when we made it through customs, they encouraged us to get a stamp on a piece of paper that we could slide into our passport when we so desired. If we had a stamp permanently in our passport, the Greeks would not let us visit their side. We must fly into their airport to be welcome there! And the Turks are not welcome there at all unless they fly in through their airport.
Aaaaah … Customs. Let me begin our trip there.
We decided many months ago to get away, just us gals. Linda, Stebbs, Angelica and myself. We found a cheap flight to Cyprus (under $100) and a resort that included breakfast and dinner for a very reasonable fare. We were so excited for an opportunity to just rest and relax us girls.
So needless to say, we became quite flustered when it appeared our trip may not happen before it even began. Thirty minutes before our flight was to depart the Adana airport on Friday afternoon, the Customs officials informed us that while Linda could go through (she is military and had orders) and Angelica could go through (she had brought her “residency permit” papers), Stebbs and I could not go. We had only brought our passport.
I won’t get into all the details, but suffice it to say, I will now travel with my regular passport, my no-fee passport, and my residency pass AT ALL TIMES! All the confusion stemmed from the fact that when Stebbs and I moved to Turkey back in July, we came in on a military plane. The Customs officials in the airport in Adana stamped our no-fee passport but not our regular passport. (I am still not sure why we have two of these.) This meant that when I showed my regular passport to the Customs officials to leave on Friday, I did not have proof that I actually belonged in Turkey in the first place. And I guess you can't leave if you shouldn't be there in the first place.
Angelica and Linda, already through the gate, began feverishly calling our husbands to fax over paperwork, only to be told that the fax machine at the airport was broken. In the end, moments before the plane was to take off, the Customs officials decided to manually look us up in the computer. They discovered we were in fact residents of Turkey and permitted us to pass. But not without much sweating on the part of Stebbs and myself. Travel “snafus” are not my strong point. My well-learned Turkish went out the window when I attempted to communicate with the guards in the heat of the moment. I can get very stressed when things don't go according to plan (although I was pleased to see that anxiety which would normally overrun me, stayed at a very comfortable level.) Alas, they were very kind and very helpful and ultimately figured out a little “loop hole” to get us on our way to Cyprus.
The flight was only about 40 minutes. Here is a quick photo of our group before all of our Customs problem began:
Lots to share ...
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I love that when the boys get in the tub, Isaac always gets to sit under the water simply because he is the big brother. Elijah accepts this almost always without complaint. I love that Isaac will say, "Need it hotter, Mommy." I spend the entire bath knocking it slightly warmer. Sometimes he will also ask for "Need it hotter, smaller Mommy." This means he wants it hotter but not coming out so fast (so he can fill up his yellow bowl to "make coffee like Joni and Grama Di.")
I love Elijah saying, "Mama, come." He takes me by the finger to various places where he wants me to play with him: leggos, trains, books, you name it. He also brings me legos he builds. He'll hand it to me and say, "For you!" and I'll say, "For meeeee?" And he'll just get this big smile and repeat himself. "For you!" Then I tell him I love it and then he often asks for it back.
I love that Isaac has his very special bedtime routine with JB. A derivation usually results in tears that means JB has to come back to complete this missed item. If JB forgets to do "rock a bye baby" or pray with both boys on each knee, Isaac reminds him. We must read our Bible and our devotional. We must say "See you in the morning" just as the door shuts.
There are tiring parts of being a mom. There are parts that make me weary. But the things that make me happiest are the tiny, little things. I am truly happy when JB is holding the boys and they are laughing uncontrollably, unable to hold that in. That laughter doesn't come from DNA. It comes froma father and a son -- adopted or biological.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Let's get some discussion started
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the sentiment behind them. And if you remember, I did do some maternity photos with my friend Kara right before I delivered Elijah. You can click here to view them if you would like.
However, I think my photos were pretty tastefully done. They were more about family and celebrating the three of us before we became four. I didn't get half-naked or look lovingly into my husband's eyes.
Now please. Understand me. If you have done this, that is totally fine. I know some people are really into it. I think my discomfort with the idea really stemmed from a lot of our infertility. And John, even now, doesn't understand the point of the photos at all. It all seems strange to him.
But others enjoy it. The pictures are often very beautiful. And people like them. So that's fine.
However, I did get a kick out of a post recently sent to me by one of JB's medical school classmates. Lisa, sent me this link sometime ago. I think I went in for surgery shortly before or thereafter, and as a result, this got pushed into the background. But I've been meaning to share it for some time.
These are some photos taken for a couple preparing to adopt. They are designed to "mimic" maternity photos in a sort of a weird, twisted, and humorous way. I am not sure how I feel about the pictures, but since they are being done by a couple "in the know", I give a little more credence to them.
I'd love to hear what some of you fellow adoptive moms think of these.
Metaphorical Adoption Maternity Photos
Now pictures aside, I did find some of what the blog author wrote about adoption on her post very interesting. A few excerpts:
During the past year that I’ve known our friends. I’ve witnessed some of the more excruciatingly difficult and exquisitely painful moments that accompany the adoption process, while coming to terms with just how little most of us really understand about it. And it seems like one big part of being adoptive parents, no matter to whom, is having to play the role of benevolent public educator to an ignorant public who will take the existence of your children as some kind of personal challenge or display of moral one-upmanship.
And then there’s the obnoxious questions that will always follow them: why can’t you have children of your own? Don’t you know that they’re going to wonder why they look different from you? How much did they cost? Why didn’t their mother want them? What if there’s something wrong with them? What are you going to do with That Hair? You are going to induce lactation, aren’t you?
Even as an innocent bystander, these really raise my ire because of the amount of unthinking, condescending privilege that underscores them. I don’t know a single biological parent who’s had the very choice to give birth to their children questioned so constantly, and throughout her child’s life; you just don’t see pregnant ladies having to face an inquisition squad in line at the grocery checkout, full of people wondering why they didn’t choose to adopt? Couldn’t they have investigated foster care? Don’t they realize that there are already so many children already out there who need homes?
As you can imagine, a sense of humor is integral. And, at some point, Alana got the idea of taking a few metaphorical maternity photos, starring a large beach ball in lieu of a pregnant belly. This, after a couple of Google searches, led to the wide, bizarre, pretentious, tacky, often-naked, and always moodily black-and-white world of maternity portrait photography. And creative inspiration.
Anyways, I'd love to get some feedback from people on "both sides" of this issue. Does anyone else find the whole maternity photo a weird thing? Or is it simply because of my history that these strike me a bit funny?
And what about these adoptive photos? In good taste or sort of strange? No right answers here folks. Just something to think about.
And also something to remember. Adoptive moms have to answer a TON of questions. I don't mind doing that, but it is true that I often find myself as an educator instead of just a mom. I wonder how biological moms would feel if they had to answer some of these questions.
Just thinking outloud ...
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
P.S. I have already sold 4 of my first 6 pashminas! Check out the link at the top of the screen to see the two remaining pashminas. I also hope to replenish my supply soon and keep 5-10 up on the screen at all times. So check back regularly. And share with your friends!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Get in bed!
Last night JB went upstairs, yet again, to quiet them down and encourage them to go to sleep.
"Boys," I heard him say over the monitor which was on downstairs, "You need to lay down in bed."
"But Daddy," Isaac started, "Can I dance?"
Not sure where that came from and JB said he couldn't formulate an answer. He just shook his head, stifled a grin, and shut the door.
Don't keep it to yourself
I also just completed a day of Beth Moore study devoted to this topic. I plan to post about this soon so stay tuned.
I miss ...
- I don't understand why drivers move back and forth between lanes randomly. It seems unsafe.
- In the malls there are carts with wheels that don't move forward. You have to slide sideways. I don't really understand why they don't fix this wheel issue.
- Why do they have lights in the middle of their round-a-bouts? I don't get it.
- Turkish breakfasts? There isn't necessarily anything wrong with them. They are just different.
- Sitting in the middle of medians during a warm day? Doesn't that seem a bit dangerous?
- There is a new thing on the highways now. You have to use a pre-paid card to go through toll booths. But if you get to your turn in line and your card is out of money, you are stuck there! Fifteen cars behind you will have to back up so you can get out and maybe cross six lanes of traffic to find the little house that allows you to replenish your money. This makes no sense to me!
I have learned that if I start any sentence with, "Why do they ..." or "I don't understand why ..." I am going to just get frustrated. JB and I have found that if we do this regularly, we will end up getting bitter or down on where we are. So we try to remind ourselves that things here are not wrong. Yes, we see a way to do it more efficiently. But we don't live here. We don't own things here. We are guests here.
And that is what hard. You really can't make a change. You have to go with the flow even if the flow doesn't seem to flow very smoothly at all. I would imagine that anyone experiencing a new culture struggles withe adjustments, even if things are being done better. But your prayers that I would continue to see the good and not get frustrated would be most appreciated.
P.S. Thank you to those of you have purchased a pashmina. I have sold 4 of the 6 already. You can click on the link on the top of the screen to see what I still have. I plan to replenish my supply regularly and keep selling them as long as they are selling. You can pay through paypal. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Monday, February 14, 2011
A few more retreat pics
Pashminas for sale!
Okay blog readers, here is something new. I recently became aware of websites like this which sell pashminas for upwards of $100! Seriously? The same pashminas I can purchase in the Alley for a fraction of that cost?
That got me thinking. Could I not share some of these with my blog readers and raise money for Because of Isaac? So that's what I have decided to do. I decided to pick a few pashminas and just try this and see if there was any interest.
The selection is below. If you want one, just send me an email at: email@example.com. Once I have received confirmation you intend to buy it, I will remove the product from the website since I only have one of each. I will then contact you with payment options.
Please note: only a portion of your donation will go to Because of Isaac. A portion will be taken out for my time and energy and a portion for the cost of the product and the postage. The donation to Because of Isaac will come directly from John and myself and you will not receive recognition as a donor. This will allow us to properly process this for tax reasons.
Want to see the items available? Just click here (or on the link at the top of the screen).
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The building we had our meals and conference sessions in.
But at MOPs on Thursday I met a fellow adoptive mom. She ended up adopting a special needs son from China when the wait time grew so incredibly. (We were unable to switch to waiting child because of the ages of the boys when we pulled out of China amongst other reasons.) Her log-in date was April 2006. Mine was April 2008. They are not anywhere near processing April 2006.
Meeting her flooded me with memories of what could have been. It is still painful for me to think about our China adoption. I wish so badly we could have seen it through. But I also know we did the right thing.
Here are some facts I have recently gathered about the China adoption wait which has confirmed in my heart that we made the right decision:
- People receiving referrals to their child today will have waited approximately 3 years (3.5-4 year total wait) when they were told one year. (It is estimated that we would still be five years or more away from getting a referral.)
- People putting in their dossier today can expect a wait of EIGHT years.
- There are only two things that can reduce wait times for people who are already waiting: either the CCAA must process dossiers faster, or some of the people in the queue must drop out.
- It is unfortunate but true that supply and demand don't track with each other. The number of people who work at the CCAA is determined by China's budgetary processes, like any other government agency. The number of Westerners who want to adopt is determined by public perceptions of how adoption from China compares to other adoption programs and to other methods of building a family. While visibility and acceptance of adoption from China has vastly increased, the number of people employed at the CCAA has not changed at all.
- China has 669 days of dossiers to be processed before they get to our (now removed) dossier. 669 doesn't seem like that many, but China currently processes about 4.6 days of dossiers each month.
- Using one online calculator, the best guess for how long it would take for OUR dossier to come to the front? February 2019! I kid you not! That means every single year, from now until 2019 we would have to be getting new fingerprints and homestudy updates. This was what most concerned JB and myself. We had already spent a good bit of money. But the money that it would cost to make these updates for 5 or 10 years would be the equivalent of what we had already spent. We felt we needed to cut our losses when we did. We felt that the extra money we would be paying could be spent somewhere else -- in helping others adopt or adopting again ourselves.
Anyways, just wanted to share. This information confirmed that JB and I guessed right and it was time to "get out" before had to spend another thousand dollars to updaet our dossier in 2009, right after Elijah was born. It still hurts that it had to be this way, and I often wonder why God lead us into China instead of another country where wait times were considerably lower. But we continue to move forward, step-by-step. What I do know is that if we had gone a faster route, that child would already be with us, and we would be facting the prospect of welcoming a fourth child into our family. (Woah!)
Friday, February 11, 2011
So, as of today, here is we are.
Elijah (35 pounds -- 98th%) (94cm tall -- 96th%)
Isaac (30 pounds -- 40th%) (95cm tall -- 61st%)
You can see that Elijah is, well, huge, and Isaac is, well, normal. You can also see that Isaac is still holding out as being taller than Elijah for probably the last time in his life.
I really don't mind that Elijah is so big, but I must be honest, I have a fear that if we have a girl, she will be huge. Being tall (something I wrote about here) has only become "normal" for me in the last few years of my life. I was 6'2" tall in the 8th grade. (I am 6'3" now.) Being a tall girl is NOT easy. My brother cannot understand why it was so hard for me because, well, he was a boy. Being a big guy is a good thing. Being a tall girl can be okay but can also result in a lot of teasing, especially before you are out of the knees and elbows stage. I do pray that my daughter is not "really" big like Elijah is turning out to be. I think it is totally different with a girl.
My second "concern" is that Isaac never feels unusual because he is not as big as his "little" brother. I know that this could happen even with genetic children -- a vast difference between sizes. But I do hope that he is okay with it and embraces his big ol' little brother.
Okay, signing out for now.
P.S. I saved 30% on my grocery bill yesterday! This was a record for me. The most fun was buying dog treats for Scrubs. They were $2 off a $1.99 treat and I had four coupons. This means I got paid 4 cents to buy them. That rocks! There is a contest on Base for the month of February to find the "biggest saver." I am hoping to win. I am buying a lot of things we will need but maybe don't need right now. Way fun!
Book Contest Winner
I used this website to generate a random number between 1-41. Some people left 2 comments on accident. If they did, I only counted their first entry in the contest possibilities so that it was fair.
Joy, it might be fun, someday, when you are done with the book, to let me know. We can pick another random number on that page and you could mail it to the next person! We can keep the love flowing.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Because of Isaac Update
Some friends recently asked me if I wanted to put a donation jar out at their yard sale. Of course I did! $150 came in! Today at MOPs, I was given the opportunity to share about the organization. What a great blessing that was!
Please, if you are a blog reader and have been blessed by this blog in any way, would you please consider making a donation to this organization. I am asking everyone to consider bringing in $100. That could be by giving $100 yourself or by sending in $10 and telling 9 people about us. Or if you can't give at all, try to find 10 people to give $10 each.
There are some who can give more. Some who can give less. $25,000 is our goal. That is 2,500 people giving $10. That is $250 people giving $100. That is such a doable goal.
If you can't give, please don't feel guilty, but even if you can't give, will you share the blog address: www.becauseofisaac.org or print and make copies of this handout to share at your own events: yard sales, MOPs, Bible Study, whatever. Word of mouth is our greatest tool
Matt 18:5 5 "And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."
P.S. It appears our modem was "bad" and now that it is fixed, we should have consistent Internet. It's been 3 days of next-to-no service leaving me feeling terribly disconnected!
Our Internet continues to come in for 5 minutes and our for 55 minutes. So frustrating. Mom and other loved ones, I am fine but when Internet goes out, so does the phone, and therefore communication is impossible. It appears to be a localized problem (our house alone) and they come out everyday to try to fix it, but so far, not so good.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
When these people pop on our television screens or into the hospital to do a tour (for JB!) or allow us to gather at "The Club" to get autographs and meet them, it makes us feel good. When they tell us they appreciate their sacrifice, it makes me remember that we are doing a service to our country by being over here in Turkey. Former "Wifia" member Tiffany is now dealing with deployment as Matt will be gone until June. Joia is preparing for deployment in the very near future. And Andrea will be facing it in the next year or so. We are making sacrifices for the welfare of our country. It is helpful to be reminded of that.
I have recently started a pen-pal relationship with a 5th grade class at a Catholic School in Nebraska. They send care items and letters. What a neat opportunity to be reminded why we need our military and why what JB is doing is more than just "paying for medical school."
Here are a couple of quick pics from the evening. We couldn't stay long as it was getting late and the boys were getting cranky (and antsy! Elijah ran up onto the stage during the introduction of the drivers!)