Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Having a yardsale is fun!

So Phillip and I were out until after 11pm last night, putting signs up for our yardsale. We realized about halfway in that what we originally thought was too many signs wasn't enough, but hey lesson learned for next time. A few of my favorite moments from the day:

This girl who was younger than me and shopping with her mama who kept calling me "Honey."

The woman who watched me add up her total on the calculator, subtract it from what she gave me and still insisted that I shorted myself a dollar and made me take it back.

The man and his wife who had spent all of their cash and wrote me a check for the $2 difference. Then after they had been gone for 5 minutes, came back and told me that they shorted me $2 and wrote me another check for $4. Its nice that people still care about being honest!

The woman who must have read the "8AM" on the signs to mean that we were having an 8 family yardsale and got "ticked" when they was indeed not 8 families but just our one sitting around selling at least 8 family's worth of junk; so she left.

The guy who despite reading the 8AM on the signs, showed up at 6:55am before I had even gone downstairs and gotten my cup of coffee.

Around 4pm we packed up everything that was leftover and took the children's items to the consignment shop so in about a month I will (hopefully) get a nice check for those items to place in our adoption fund.

We took the majority of the rest of the stuff to Goodwill and the really nice items we kept for "next time." Yes, we are going to do another one because we actually had a lot of fun just hanging out and having a yardsale and we made good progress towards our goal. Oh and did I mention how WONDERFUL the weather was?? Its been over 100 much of the last two weeks and we got a partly cloudy day that couldn't have gotten above 85. It was actually quite nice! I am a little pink from being outside all day though!

Unfortunately, I am still sick! I felt much better this morning and while we were having the yardsale, so that was good. I no longer have a spastic cough that threatenes to strangle me, but UGH I am so over being sick! I think it might be allergies at this point since its gone on for so long and no one else is sick except for me. Good news on that front is that it is raining now, so the air will get a good cleaning!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Yardsale is Tomorrow!

We have so much more stuff than I thought we did and that is thanks to our wonderful friends, neighbors and church family who donated their things to us :) Thank you!!!

Nini and Papa have the boys for the night and hopefully most of tomorrow too (haha) so the hubby and I are off to plaster the county with yardsale signs.

Oh and I'm still sick with whatever it is I have. No one else is sick but I can't breathe, have no voice and its becoming painful to cough or sneeze. Hey that kind of sounded like whining... and I'm too excited about tomorrow to whine!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We're on our 2nd Summer Cold

The kids and I (and daddy too) just got over a cold early last week and now we've caught another one. Ugh... Who gets sick during the Dog Days of Summer?

I'm just waiting on Cathy Harris to finish proofing the rest of our dossier documents so I can send the remaining 3 papers to be apostilled. I also need to send a request to the Dept. of Vital Records for two more certified marriage license copies. Remember how they can't be copied and notarized? Yeah... so I have to mail off for them.

I SO need a copier and fax machine. We have a little HP All In One printer/fax/copier but it has a history of eating and mutilating paper. Not a huge deal when you're copying Barney or recipes, but not a good thing if you're trying to copy a notarized copy of your employment verification letter.

Its supposed to be 94 degrees today. A "cold" front evidentially moved through to bring us these mild and balmly temps. They say there is a chance of storms today but they said that yesterday and the day before as well and still no rain... I sure hope it rains soon. The air quality is getting pretty poor and my allergies coupled with this cold are making me feel like I have rubber bands around my chest.

That's all for today!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let it be so today

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Let it be so today.

Today is a difficult day. Today is my brother's birthday. Today my parents are going to court for like the 5th time over issues involving him. This is so unfair and I am so angry on so many levels. I don't even know what to pray for or how to pray for it but I found the above verse yesterday and I am claiming it today.

I would give up everything I have to bring a child home. Really, you name it and it would be gone if it meant that I was one step closer to our child. I don't understand how anyone can fight over how much money they have to spend to take care of their own flesh and blood child. I mean really, I don't get it! All of the money wasted on fighting over your own child when you could be putting that time, effort and money into helping others. Argh!!

I find some comfort in this verse. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

I know that this verse doesn't necessarily mean anything good will come out of this situation, but it does mean that it will all work together for good for those who love God and who are living according to His purpose. I'd like to think that means me. I am so torn up about all of this but God says that it will all work together for good. God has never let me down before.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why you don't let it slip away

Tomorrow is my youngest brother's 16th birthday. For most teenagers that is a long awaited day full of celebration with maybe even mom and dad surprising them with a car. Not for my brother. Tomorrow, my mother is taking my dad to court for many reasons, but the just of it is that she wants more money. My dad owns a construction business that to say the least has taken a hit from the bad economy. He has no more money. This is at least the 5th time they have been to court since they divorced. I was only 18 when they had their first custody hearing and my dad was awarded full custody of all four of my brothers. The youngest wanted to go back and live with my mother, so my dad, trying to give his son what he wanted, renegotiated to allow my mother to have joint custody.

That was 7 years ago and here we are today. The day before my brother's 16th birthday is not a happy one. I am just sick at how he is going to remember tomorrow for the rest of his life. How is it possible to get so wrapped up in revenge that you use your own child to get what you want? How can you not say that no matter what it means, I will not go to court on your birthday and fight over who has to pay for you? How? I keep asking myself this... I would die for my kids. I would give up anything just to make them happy, not to mention what I would do to keep them safe and make them feel loved.

I sit here today and I can do nothing about this sad situation. Unecessary. Ridiculous. STUPID. Hateful. All of those words describe how I feel about this.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I like it :)

I finally found a template that I really like for my blog. What do you guys think?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Crazy Day in Richmond

Yesterday Phillip and I spent all day in Richmond picking up the rest of our paperwork from our agency and his employer then took it to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office for apostilles. It was H.O.T.

We had to drive all the way to the Richmond airport exit to where we were going to get his document (this is the one that we were so upset about on Friday), and then back to downtown Richmond to pick up our background checks and get things notarized at our agency. We were there for a little bit, so we didn't get to the SOC's office until 12:45pm and they told us our papers wouldn't be certified until after 4pm.

We decided to go have lunch out, which was nice because Phillip's mom was watching the boys for the day so we got to eat alone. I had Salmon, Mashed Potatoes, and Fried Spinach. The spinach was horrible. They deep fried it and it was like eating greasy pieces of tissue paper. Don't ever get that! I love steamed spinach and raw spinach but that "flash fried" spinach as they called it was gross! I was so full from the salmon and potatoes though that it didn't matter because I couldn't have eaten it if I loved it.

After lunch we walked around the Short Pump mall trying to find some UnderArmor Cold Gear because we want to take a pair of pants and shirt each to Ukraine. Ya know just to make sure we don't freeze to death! However, its July and it was 100 degrees in the shade and no one has ColdGear and in fact they looked at me like I had a second head when I asked about it. So we just wandered around the mall for a little bit and bought the boys 3 .99 cent Poisen Arrow rubber frogs from a 12 year old clerk at a toy store before heading back to pick up our dossier paperwork.

When we got back to the building where the SOC's office is located, we discovered we had a problem. To park, one has to park on the street and feed a meter. Well, between 4-6pm the busses run and one cannot park on the street. There is nowhere else in walking distance to park. So, after driving around until 4:35 (the office closes at 5pm) and trying to find somewhere to park we made a decision. There was LOTS of parking right next to the building in these lovely little parking lots, BUT it said that only authorized vehicles could park there. Well we decided that at this point, we were authorized. They had signs up saying unauthorized vehicles would be towed but hey, there was NOWHERE else to park! So we parked. And walked as fast as we could to the office to pick up our papers; then back out to jump in the car and drive off feeling like we had done something naughty. Haha

We really only have 2 pieces of paper left to get notarized for our dossier, then we will mail those pieces to be apostilled and I think that will be it; providing we don't have anymore uh-oh or oopsies, or hey you gotta do this again LOL

Oh and by the way, in the State of VA it is illegal to notarize a copy of a marriage license. We took two copies and tried to have them apostilled. Whoops. So I just have to mail the originals and they will apostille them. Geez, the things you find out...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Freakout Friday - Apostilles or ARGH!

So we hit a little "issue" with our paperwork tonight. Basically we worded it the way we were told to word it and then, oh ooopsie, its supposed to be worded like THIS not like THAT even though we were told to do it like THAT and never saw THIS wording until tonight, so we have to do it again which is a HUGE pain and nearly impossible due to reasons I don't want to annouce on a public blog. Suffice it to say that Phillip is pissed. In fact he got pissed so fast that I didn't have time to do my normal flake out and had to be the one to remain calm. We THINK we can call in a favor tomorrow and fix it. PLEEEEASE pray that we can get someone to fix it for us because if we can't.... we'll have to update like 3 other documents. Huge pain and not the wonderful day of getting our dossier apostilled like we had envisioned doing tomorrow. God obviously sees that we need to prepare for unexpected surprises and learn to deal with them calmly. I think I am doing that....

"Ok God, we are calmly handling this and not freaking out so obviously we are doing good on the patience lesson so can we just get this fixed now? Thanks"

Oh wait, was that being impatient?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dr. Appointment and Van Shopping

We had our Dr. visit to fill out our medical forms yesterday. I can see how this could have to be redone because the form is so simple that you really have no idea exactly what they want you to put on it. Please pray that we don't have to redo it! At least they won't have to take blood again. I have to lay down when I have blood drawn or I will pass out and maybe throwup. I've just never been able to take it since I had my arm butchered by a nurse at MJ Outpatient Center when I was pregnant with Wesley.
Anyways! Our Dr. is super nice, and so helpful about completeing our paperwork that I really don't want to have to bother him to do it over again, so we're praying that Ukraine will be happy happy with the way the form is filled out.

After our Dr. appointment we went to all of the car dealerships and one tent sale to look at minivans and get an idea of what we want to buy. It was about 100 degrees and I drained one water bottle at the tent sale alone. Poor carsalesmen were so hot that they didn't even really hassle us that much. We decided that we (I) like the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna because they have seats that can be removed and moved around. So now we'll be shopping craigslist for one of those. Thanks to all the salesmen who gave us their cards and took our number but $18K is just a little steep...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Only Three More Months!

Our Dossier Submission date is coming closer.... 3 months exactly until the SDA gets it! I got the letter I needed from the county Tax Assessors Office with our home info on it. That was an experience.... it took me talking to three people and explaining that I understand that all of the info is already online and on our deed, but we are adopting from Ukraine and they require it to be reiterated on county letterhead. Yep, I understand that the info online works for everyone else, but everyone else is not adopting from Ukraine. I was beginning to think that I should drag my sick kids and myself up to the assessors office just to explain how important it was, but the third person I spoke to was VERY nice and got it all taken care of and mailed out to me the same day :)

Our Dr. visit to fill out the medical paperwork is next week so that will finally be taken care of. Once the background checks come in and I get our agency paperwork from our social worker, we'll be done! Then off to apostille it all in Richmond.

Our fundraiser yardsale is the 31st of this month so if you have anything you want to get rid of, bring it on by! We're hoping to cover at least some of our airfare with the profits from this yardsale. Cheapest one way ticket to Ukraine that I have found was $890 and that's for one person. We have to fly 3 or 4 back so it adds up to a nice chunk of change and due to a change in plans, we might even come back and wait out the 10 days here in the U.S. and fly back over afterwards to complete the adoption. It all depends on how things go. More on what that change is a little later...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Swagger Wagon Time

In about 5 months we're going to go from a family of 4 to a family of 5 or 6; which means we need a larger vehicle. I never imagined myself at 25 years of age with 3-4 kids, driving a minivan... But my Santa Fe only has room for 2 car seats so we are going to trade in it for a Swagger Wagon! Phillip still needs to replace the drivers side door that was damaged when we hit a deer during Christmas. Its driveable and all, but not a good selling point.

We're looking for a van on craigslist with a motor or transmission problem because my wonderful husband can fix almost anything and his dad really can fix ANYTHING. He's like the car whisperer.

So, does anyone have any suggestions on great minivans? The number one MUST have is that it must have room for four carseats. Yes, FOUR carseats. I am crazy aren't I? Wow... I am also looking for one with a good size trunk for hauling a months worth of groceries for our family, pool floats, strollers, etc. and one that I can go directly from the driver's seat into the back of the van without getting out of the van. One with some neat storage areas in the floor area wouldn't be bad either. I saw one like that on a commercial one time but I can't remember what it was now. Seats that fold down when they're not in use would be great as well.

So, if you own a great minivan please leave me a comment on what make and model it is. We're not going to buy a new one, but if we know what kind to search for on craigslist that would be great!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why he is the best daddy ever.

This is our latest adoption fundraising effort. Well, actually this is all Phillip's doing. I had nothing to do with it really because I know nothing about trucks or how to fix them. Phillip bought this truck with a bad engine and a few other issues; he got it for a really good deal. He is going to fix the engine and sell it (hopefully for a nice profit). He spent pretty much the entire Fourth of July weekend working on it, in 100 degree temps. While everyone else was off having loads of fun, this is what my hubby was doing to help us bring our child home. He gets my vote for daddy of the year :)
He has no idea I took this picture either. I took it from inside the house, so those of you that know us personally, Shhhhhhh......

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Because you asked: Blackberry Pizza

I had several people ask for the recipe I used to make Blackberry Pizza. I didn't use one... I made it up. But I will share with you what I did, and it was pretty darn good!

I bought a bag of pre-made pizza dough from Wal-Mart. I've seen them at Giant and Kroger as well. Its less than $2.

I let the dough rise and rolled it out according to the package directions.

I took about 1 1/2 cups of blackberries and mixed them with some sugar and a little cinnamon.
The key is not to use too many berries, or the dough will be squishy and you'll have soggy pizza. You want just enough but not too many. Less really is more here. I've made the mistake of overloading pizza with toppings and having a casserole instead of a pizza...

So back to the pizza at hand:

I melted a little butter and brushed the dough with it then sprinkled some sugar and dried oregano on the pizza dough.

After sprinkling the dough with all of the berries, I then topped it all with about 2 cups of mozarella cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is all nice and golden brown.

This is great for breakfast or dessert. You could also mix up some powdered sugar icing and drizzle over the berries instead of using the cheese.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I really need to get on with it...

We have most of the documents for our dossier. We still need to have the medical form filled out, but we'll do that in two weeks and hopefully all will go well and we'll get it all right in one visit. I need to make copies of everything and have them notarized though. I still need to go to the county office building and get copies of the deed to our house and the letter about how much "living" space we have. Its so hard to take two little boys into ANYWHERE and try to concentrate on getting something done though. I had been counting on Phillip's mom to watch the boys for me so I could take care of our dossier paperwork this summer, but she has been really busy.... so I've put it off... and off... and now I'm just gonna do it! We should have our background checks back this month as well as our updated homestudy and other paperwork from our homestudy agency. I am setting a goal to have the dossier complete by the end of this month. I'd like to say it will be apostilled as well, but uhmmm... I like to set goals I can acheive :) Maybe I should move this goal to mid August? Did I just say AUGUST!? When did it get to be so close? We'll be leaving for Ukraine in about 4 months! Wow...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You don't know a good thing till its gone.

I heard this statement in a song this week and it got me to thinking... I guess maybe its true for some people, but not for me. I have had so many bad things in my life, that I absolutely know a good thing when have it. Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself or thinking about how unfair something is, I just have to remember that I have been so blessed with my husband and his family. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of time spent at my grandparent's house, and I love watching how much my children enjoy spending time with Phillip's parents. In fact, I think the kids would go live with them if I let them! Phillip's parents are the kind of people that you don't have to call to make sure its ok to go visit them. You just show up and they are happy to see you no matter what they are doing. They don't car if the kids ransack the house, and in fact they have a huge stash of toys for the boys to do just that with. This little story is just a small example of knowing what a good thing I have.

Phillip's mom invited us over to pick blackberries yesterday and what an adventure that turned into! We took the gator and left the house about 9:30am to go over to the lake and find the best spot to pick. Well to start off, the gate that keeps unwanted visitors out was locked, and Phillip's brother had the key with him at work. Well, we're country girls so that didn't stop us. We decided to drive around the gate, in the woods. We unloaded the kids and I was designated driver. I promptly hit a few trees and got stuck. So we pushed, and pulled, and mashed the gas and managed to get unstuck. Ta Da! So we loaded the kids back up and took of down the trail... Well we got to the small creek that we usually cross and evidentially the beavers are back because it was a small lake. We decided to cross it anyways. The engine cut off in the middle of the creek with water up to the seats. I was envisioning snakes, turtles, and of course ANGRY beavers in this water but we had to get out and push the gator back to shore so we could re-start it. I decided that if I backed up and got more speed, that I could cross the creek. So I put the kids in the back and "NiNi" waded out to the middle of the creek to see just how deep it was. We decided to try it. Result: I got stuck in even deeper water this time. So we pushed it back to shore again and left it. This might have stopped lesser women from their berry picking, but not us. We were getting to those berries. We each took a kid and a bucket and waded in thigh high murkey water to the the other side. Once we got across, Wyatt found he had a drop of water on his toe and proceeded to cry about it and remove both sandels. Nevermind that mama was wet to her waist. We walked up the hill another quarter mile or so and found the berries. We picked a lot, and the kids ate at least as many as we picked. When they had eaten all they could hold, they decided to roll in the dirt and "cook" with it. They looked like little ghosts. When we finally left the berry patch to walk back to the gator, we realized just how nasty they were. Think about what happens when you pick up a powder puff and smack it. Yep, that was my kids.

So back down the hill and across the creek we go. This time with two dust covered kids and a bucket full of berries. Dust+water=mud. Wesley was just SURE that there were coyotes in the water. I was sure that there was something in the water because I felt it touch my leg which resulted in a lost shoe that I had to retrive... But we made it!

We stopped on the way back to pick a few more really nice berries on the side of a hill and I fell down it. As if I wasn't muddy and scratched enough, but I didn't lose any berries in the process!

The last hurdle we had to jump was getting the gator back around the locked gate. I unloaded everyone off again, and set the berries on the ground and proceeded to drive up a huge hump of dirt and smack right into a huge pine tree. Yep stuck again. More pushing, pulling, lifting, mashing the gas, and we finally got out. Wesley kept telling Wyatt to sit down on the ground and stay away from "The danger" meaning ME driving the gator.

We got back to "NiNi's" around lunchtime and decided that everyone was so gross what with the murkey water, dust, mud, and berry juice that we should all bathe before lunch. The kids turned the bath water orange. They were so gross.

After lunch, Wesley dug a hole in the yard and filled it with water from the waterhose. Then he and Wyatt drove all their trucks through the muddy mess until they were covered in mud again. He also snuck up behind NiNi and I, and sprayed us with the hose a few times as well. He is a stinker!

Finally after NiNi had washed and dried all of our clothes, we loaded up our berries and headed to Wal-mart to buy pizza dough for Blackberry Pizza. The kids hadn't had a nap all day so they were drooping in the car. I checked at the stoplight and they were still awake but by the time I parked, they had just dropped off so I had to wake them up. Wesley somehow ran over his finger with the shopping cart and proceeded to bray like a baby calf about it until I promised him that he could pick some new juice out if he would just please stop. And I'm not kidding about the noise he makes. We ended up with some vile green 5% juice, but hey at least people quit looking at me!

Wal-mart (in a marketing ploy I'm sure) includes a donut display right as you walk in the produce section so of course my kids MUST have donuts with sprinkles. Four donuts, later and I was finally able to go get the pizza dough...

The boys ate their donuts in the car and fell asleep on the way home. Wyatt fell asleep with half of his donut stuck to his face haha! He slept for a while in the car after we got home so I was able to make dinner while Wes played with his "new" bag of toys(junk) that he brought home from NiNi's.

I slept like a baby last night and my marvelous husband let me sleep in this morning. That was the most fun, most eventful day that I've had in a while :) Of course when daddy got home, all Wes wanted to talk about was how many times mama got the gator stuck :-P

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson