Saturday, February 26, 2011

Taking care of business

After bathtime

We've been taking care of business on a few different fronts. In adoption matters, we've reached that dreaded point where paperwork is expiring and needs to be renewed. We've been compiling all the references, doctor reports, tax records, and other items to update our home study and file for an extension with USCIS.

We hosted a new social worker for our home visit, and had a little fun telling her about our first visit ever. One of our kids (who asked to remain nameless) surprised us all by returning to the living room to say goodbye to our social worker . . . wearing only a shirt. No pants. No underwear either.

What should nervous parents do in that situation? Well, I don't know what you "should" do, but we couldn't help it -- we just burst out laughing. I think she will always remember that visit . . . and she even approved us, despite the surprise ending! Our visit this go-round was a little less eventful, much to our social worker's disappointment.

I realized I haven't given any updates about our very reluctant pooper. I'm happy to report that Anya Rashi is also "taking care of business"! Late last year, many of you kind mama readers left me advice (or just commiserated with me!) about getting a stubborn girl to use the bathroom for #2.

For whatever reason (perhaps due to discovering how much she loves candy canes after St. Nicholas left some in her stocking Dec. 6?), she has decided to be a big girl in every way. In addition to the candy canes, a bribe from Grandma may also have helped -- we posted a chart on the fridge, and when she had an X in every box for a successful trip to the bathroom, she got to go on a special outing with Grandma.

Who knows, though? Many moms I know have kids who just decided one day to do it on their own . . . but for us, finding the right incentives seems to have helped the most. Thanks again for all your kind words after my first post!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Valentine adoption anniversary

A bowl of flowers outside a museum we visited in Delhi.

Yesterday was full of reasons to remember it was Valentine's Day . . . Anya Rashi went to a little party at our YMCA and was thrilled to make a craft and bring home a goodie bag. Later in the day, we helped out with the party in Aaron's classroom. After school, we delivered decorated cut-out cookies for the residents of a homeless shelter near our house.

For our family, Valentine's Day is also an anniversary of sorts. Two years ago, Peter gave me a gift that I will remember forever. Two months earlier, I had contacted Dillon International to ask when their India program would be opening up again . . . and Peter and I started talking about a second adoption. I knew I was ready (just one short year after our first daughter came home with us!), but Peter needed more time for the idea to grow in his heart again. So I waited, quietly, trying not to get in the way as he considered and prayed about welcoming another daughter into our family.

When I walked into our bedroom that night, I found a gift on my pillow -- it was a new accordian file like the one we used to hold Anya Rashi's paperwork. He was ready to become the father to another daughter from India! Tears ran down my face as I read his letter that Valentine's Day, which was truly about love -- the kind of love that puts another before oneself, and sacrifices "wants" to be the answer to a child's need. I am so grateful to have a husband who doesn't prize his own convenience, and isn't overly attached to financial matters . . . because adopting doesn't mesh well with either of those things. :o)

I will always remember that Valentine's Day above all others, and I can't wait to share this story with our daughter someday. I hope she always knows that even though she will be our fourth child, she still has her own unique story. And that love doesn't shrink or get divided into smaller pieces as a family grows . . . it expands to include more children, and it expands our hearts at the same time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The inevitable Superb*wl post

Here are most of the kids, followed by all the guys, followed by a couple cheesy pictures.

Because we live in Wisconsin, I am contractually obligated to write a post about the Superbowl. Or they will escort me to the state line and drop me off in Minnesota. Not really -- most people in Wisconsin are too nice to do anything mafia-esque, even where the Packers are concerned.

We live a mere 30 minutes' drive from Lambeau field, and our group of friends from Bible study are all Packer fans (even the ones who weren't born in Wisconsin!). We decided to get together to watch the game. Here's the math: 12 adults, one high school freshman, and 18 kids between the ages of 4 and 12. It was really loud, and really fun!

The kids spent most of the time either eating snacks or playing ping pong in the basement, while some of the older boys watched the game. All the kids were laughing at the men, who were hollering and high-fiving each other when the Packers scored. One of the kids said, "I've never seen grown-ups jumping around and yelling so loud before!"

We had a great time, and let the kids stay up late to see the end of the game, as I'm sure plenty of other kids across the state did. Our apologies to all their teachers on Monday morning!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A little winter fun

The past two weekends have been filled with reasons to leave our home in the cold weather, and reasons to invite people over.

In what has become a tradition over the past three years, my brother Matt helped Nathan create the 2011 edition Pinewood Derby car. His design was "Neptune's Revenge, complete with aquamarine paint and a yellow triton. It's a perfect arrangement: Matt gets to relive his Scouting days, and Nathan has access to some really cool woodworking tools (not to mention Uncle Matt's expertise!). Although his car didn't win the day, we had a great time watching all the races together.

Anya Rashi is one of those lucky kids with a birthday the week before Christmas. Last year, we experimented with celebrating after the holidays, and decided we liked that plan a lot. We took her out to lunch at one of our city's Indian restaurants, and had a party with grandparents and local aunts and uncles.

One special present was a doll bed that used to be my mother's. When I was little, the dolly bed came to our house and belonged to my sister and me. My mom refurbished and repainted it, and a had a friend make a fleece quilt. I just love having it passed down to the next generation, to see many happy years of play with Anya Rashi and her little sister. (Plus, our doll hospital is finally up to code after all those babies have been forced to sleep on the floor all this time!)

Like most of the nation, we're having our share of snow. I do think it's funny that Dallas, where our Green Bay Packers will be playing in the Superbowl, also got 5 inches! Everyone is going a little nuts here during the lead-up to the game. Yesterday, in below zero windchills, we saw a man rollerblading through town with a "Go Pack Go" sign pinned to his coat!