Thursday, November 29, 2012

And more construction!!!

The room is still under construction so my house is still covered in dust and torn apart. As I sit here and type Jared is taping and floating the drywall. Sounds like fun huh, and he is loosing work time this weekend so he can be my date:) One of my best friends that I have known since high school is getting Married Saturday and I am her matron of honor so tomorrow night he is coming to the rehearsal dinner and then Saturday the wedding and Saturday we are staying in a hotel room in Kemah, it was a gift from the bride and groom! I cannot even remember the last time we were in a hotel room alone together. Usually we have kids with us! So I am very excited about the weekend getaway and getting to spend some time with my hubby and out with other adults and just have a good time. My parents are keeping the kids for us so we can do this stuff, I'm afraid in a few months though they wont be as apt to keep all our kids at the same time! At least we aren't like the Duggars, we will only have 5! Maybe by next weekend we will be ready to paint at least the outside of the new walls so we can put the furniture back and put the kids play room back together. Right now all their toys from the play room are scattered all over my living room, it looks horrible. I gave up even trying to pick them up this week. Oh well on the adoption front we are waiting on USCIS approval, we got our appointment letters today to come have our fingerprints done for FBI background checks and are hoping to walk in earlier then our appt so it will speed up the process by about two weeks! After that we have a few more things I need to drive to Austin to have apostilled. Then its more waiting.....waiting and hmmm more waiting!!! I have started buying a few things here and there for our trip though. I have no clothes that will be warm enough for their winters so I did some online shopping on black Friday and bought gloves, hats and scarves and some boots which I need to buy water proofing spray for since we will probably be there when its snowing. Yuck I hate snow, I am not a fan of cold weather at all so this part is not going to be fun for me!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Construction zone

Well Jared started construction on the new bedroom Wednesday night for Grayson and Kaeden. Of course things have not gone as quickly as he had planned! His plan was to have it ready to be painted by mid this week. Well as of right now only half the sheet rock is up, so still needs to be taped and textured. Everything in my house is covered in dust and as always there were a few issues we now have to fix. First is the floors, we had laminate installed several months ago and where Jared took a partial wall down there is now a big long space with no flooring....also that same wall was really attached to the ceiling. He had to hack a few holes in the ceiling to get the top board off. Also my new dryer that I just bought last week because my fancy one and half year old steam dryer dies for the fourth time is taking two sometimes three cycles to dry a load of clothes, I just cant seem to win in the laundry department. At least I have a dryer!!! That stupid steam dryer has been dead more then it was working since July I just don't know how I am going to keep on top of laundry for 7 people when every load I dry takes at least two cycles to dry...sigh. On Wednesday night we also ended our face book auction and the total bids were just over $500!!! We also had a guy Jared used to work with bid on Grayson's middle naming rights for $275!!! And a lady I used to work with years ago gave us a check for $250!!! We are getting closer to our goal but still have a long way to go until we reach our goal. We are still hoping to travel in February or March and are guesstimating that we still need about $15,500 for all the costs. We still need airfare for us and the kids, the fees for the adoption, rent for an apartment in the country, food while we are there, travel in the country, the kids visas, passports and medical exams in the country and other misc stuff like gifts for the other kids in the orphanages. This time of year just like everyone else pretty much is one of our busiest. This year I am in one of my best friends wedding the first Saturday in December, the next weekend is Jared's company Christmas party, the Friday before the party I am taking donations to the adoption agency we used for Kaeden's adoption for their birth moms' Christmas party and helping to set up for that, the following weekend we are driving to Canadian to go to one of Jared's best friends weddings and in between all that normal stuff, stuff for Ashlyn's school and both Jared and I's birthdays! Fun, fun, fun:) Hopefully after the Holidays are over we can do some more fundraisers to help offset our costs. I'm hoping to have another yard sale in late January maybe early February and if we have time and the weather warms up another car wash! We are looking for more fundraising ideas so if you have any please let us know!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Early Christmas Gift!

We got an early Christmas gift from a family member Monday night! Totally unexpected but oh so appreciated! I am not going to mention who gave it or even which side of the family it came from because I don't know if they want us sharing that but we received a very generous check for $1000!!! Jared and I both were shocked and so grateful. We are going to use it to start converting the family room into a bedroom for Kaeden and Grayson! We were going to have to wait to do that until the kids the were home because right now we are saving every penny we can for adoption fees but since this check came to us we can now go ahead and get the rooms ready for the kids now! What a blessing now they can come home and start getting used to their new rooms and the transition will be much easier. This means we will be playing musical rooms again though! Ashlyn will be moving into what is now Kaeden's room and Masha will go into the room that is now Savannah's. That way they share the hall bathroom and have bigger closets. Savannah will move into Ashlyn's old room that has its own bathroom and the boys will go in the new room that will be next to Savannah's new room. They are going to have to share bathrooms with all the girls until 8 years or so when Ashlyn and Masha are both gone then they can have their old rooms! So lots of painting is in our future but that's OK, it makes me feel like we are doing something while we wait for the kids to actually get here. I think Ashlyn has really been missing Masha and is excited about her coming home. I am not however looking forward to all the sisterly fights over clothes and stuff! Even though they are 4 years apart they can wear a lot of the same I can already foresee arguments over clothing! So anyone wanna come help frame a couple of walls and put up sheet rock???!!! Anyone, anyone....I'm also not looking forward to all the dust from construction in my house again, we just now got most of it out from having the laminate floors installed back in March. Oh well, the flooring will be easier for Grayson to get around on when he is older and using either a walker or a wheelchair. We still need to build a wheelchair ramp on the house and build a covered carport and walkway to the house. It rains here a lot and having to pile 5 kids, 3 being younger and one with mobility issues its going to take a little bit of time to get everyone loaded up in a vehicle and buckled up. I have already  told Ashlyn that she and Masha will have to help when they are home with carrying a younger sibling and buckling them in otherwise I'd have to make a bunch or trips to and from the car! Oh the adventures of having a larger family!!! lol I never in a million years thought this would be my life!!! I thought two maybe three kids, now here I am with my three about to be five kids and wishing it could be more! I always have had a tender heart for children and orphans but over this last year my eyes were truly opened to the world's orphan crisis and I cannot close them again. It's not just overseas in developing countries, its here in America too. Hundreds of thousands of kids wait for a family every day, its so heartbreaking. I have heard so many times how "special" we are or that there is a special place in heaven for people like us for adopting. I'm here to tell you we are not special, we are very normal and there is no special place in heaven because adopting is what we are told to do in the Bible. I love all my children the same whether they are adopted or biological. Whether i have had them since birth or like Masha will be 14 when she gets home. You don't have to be blood related to a child to love them with everything you have, you don't need to look like them to feel like a parent and you certainly don't have to go through a pregnancy to be a mom. Being a parent is so much more than biology and I truly wish more people would look into adopting a waiting child.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Update on fundraising:)

Well Saturday night I had a "spa party" here at the house as a fundraiser. After supplies and food we made just over $100! I had a craft show the next day that didn't go so well...I paid $25 for a booth and I sold one $3 necklace....ummm yeah it was a big epic fail! I was going to do another craft show the second week of December but I am now thinking of not doing it, none of the craft shows I have ever done have been considered successful:( So we need to find something else to help with adoption costs besides my crafts because considering money spent on supplies and then my time and effort we have lost money on them. We do have a few months left to raise all the money so that is a good thing! It looks like March will be when we get to travel to go meet the kids and get our official referrals but that could change, it just all depends on how fast our paperwork is approved both by our government and theirs! We got a few new pics of Masha yesterday from our friends! Cant wait until we actually get to see her again! Jared decided yesterday that Kaeden needed to start sleeping in a toddler bed, so he converted his crib and further Kaeden proofed his room. He did good and took a nap just fine and slept all night too. I am about to put him down for a nap now so we will see how that goes! LOL Last night we also taped off on the floor in the family room where the new bedroom will be for Grayson and Kaeden. It's going to be a little awkward because we need a hall way large enough for Grayson to get through with a wheel chair when he is older but it will work for the boys until Masha is older and goes off to college then they can fight over who gets her room! OK now the scary hate even thinking of it because it is so scary but here it is... We have currently in our grant through Reece's Rainbow $4686.10 with another $1000 we personally sent in to commit to Grayson. I have a $250 check from a friend that is on its way to that account and we have our auction going on now on facebook so with all of that we have about $7,000 there. In our personal savings we have about $2,000 i am guesstimating. I have not looked since our check to USCIS cleared last week that was $890. So depending on time of year we travel, how long we have to be there etc etc we still need at least $10,000 at least....see I told you it was a scary number! And its the lowest guesstimate I can offer for now. As we get further in the process it will be a more firm number that could grow or shrink. There are so many unknowns especially with the country we are adopting from! We are and have been cutting back our expenses around the house to save and will continue this forever. We are saving money every paycheck for adoption costs but the truth is we need help, we hate asking for it but we do. If we don't fund raise at all and just save and wait it will be a year or more before we could go get the kids...they need us now, heck I need them now. I'm going crazy wanting my kiddos all here with us! I want to get Grayson to a doctor, I want to have Masha here begging me to go swimming again! I'm putting these pictures up of some items that are in our facebook auction that either have no bids or lows bids....!/events/376838552399493/

Friday, November 16, 2012

A weekend of fundraising....

This weekend will be jam packed with fundraisers for us! Tomorrow night (Saturday) I am having a spa party here at the house. I have a friend who is a Chiropractor and has graciously offered her massage services for free!!! Amazing right, I cannot Thank Heather enough for doing this! So she is going to be giving mini massages, I am going to be giving mini facials like I did when I worked at Origins and we will have a station set up for self pedicures and self hand treatments! I am also making lots of yummy snacks, recipes courtesy of pinterest lol and we will have wine and sodas all for $20 a person!!! It gets better...I also have a few door prizes I will give away just for coming and there are gift cards for sonic and Boca tan that can also be won for a small donation. I'm hoping to raise a little money for my kiddos and enjoy an evening with some friends and family. Sunday I have a craft show all day here locally for a charity event so I am hoping my items will sell better at this event since it already is a charity event. I made bath bombs yesterday for us to use Saturday and a few for me to sell. I also made an awesome smelling eucalyptus mint sugar scrub to use at the spa party on our hands and feet. Mmm, I can hardly wait!!! And in other news our dryer died AGAIN...we bought it brand new in June of 2011 so its just over a year old. Its a samsung steam dryer ya know the fancy kind with all the buttons and has the matching fancy front loading washer...yeah those I do not ever want another front loading washer again. It gets a funky smell all the time, you have to clean it all the time and drain funky smelly water from the bottom drain yuck and don't even get me started on the dryer, stupid thing started dying in July just a few weeks after the warranty went out on it. After calling and arguing with Samsung a few times they agreed to cover repairs on it after I paid the service call $85. Well it took a few weeks to get the guy out here he finally fixed it yay it worked about 2 weeks and died samsung back OK same issue so I don't have to pay but its going to be two weeks before they can come out. Blah, blah, blah anyway every time it dies it takes a few days to a few weeks to get it fixed then in about two to three weeks it dies again. The heating element is getting too hot and literally melting, it got so hot last time they replaced it in October it was melting wires around it. Well since this is the fourth time it has happened Samsung is giving us a partial refund....yeah it sucks but its better than nothing so I am dryer shopping and well I hate spending over a $100 on anything and right now I really hate spending money period because I keep thinking of all the adoption costs we still have to pay in a few months. So even though I need a dryer and it has to be done I am struggling with actually spending the money! So I guess I am going to have spend almost $400 on a "cheap" dryer since it doesn't look like one is just going to magically appear for free in my laundry room, oh well! At least with the partial refund I can buy a new dryer and have a little left over to buy another car seat for Savannah and pay for things for the spa party.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Happy Yet Hurting Heart

My heart is happy yet hurting at the same time...a friend of mine is in my kids country now adopting her two newest kids. It is amazing getting photos of Masha from them and hearing updates. They were able to take her a small package with gifts and letters too. It is so nice to be able to know how she is doing and hear from her through letters and through this family. Today the mom returned back to the country for their court date and as she was walking up the driveway of the orphanage Masha thought she was me and got all excited for a few minutes until she realized it wasnt me, just another blonde american lady! That is what makes my heart happy yet hurt at the same time. I am so glad she misses us, so glad we are able to know these things yet so sad that I am not there and she is missing us. I know we will travel in a few short months but somedays it feels like forever. This process is not for the faint of heart, it is draining in every sense of the word but I know in the end what we are doing is worth it. Not only are we getting our kids home to us but we are literally saving their lives. I know we can't save them all but we can save these two and hopefully help other families bring their kids home too. We got a new picture of Masha today and she looks so beautiful and grown up! Scary that in a few months I will be the mother of a 14 year old girl!!! And the mother of 5 children!!! Wow that still is kinda scary to see lol! We need a bigger dining room table!!! good thing our house is big!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oops...A Father's Perspective

First of all this is Jared, Crystal's husband, and I screwed up.  Yes, I can admit it and I know Crystal loves seeing it in print.  I had 100 post cards made up to mail out to the wealthiest neighborhood in Texas regarding our adoption.  I put our Reece's FSP site on there as well as the blog address.  Our oldest daughter and I addressed them all and was going to send them out the next morning when my wife noticed I had our Reece's site wrong.  I forgot a back slash in the address so it wouldn't work.  So if one of you reading this received one of those post cards it was my screw up, and I corrected it the best I could but I understand it did not look very professional once I did that.  To my wife....enjoy it while you can, because you know I rarely mess up (yes, I know I will pay for that one later).

I thought it would be a good idea for me to put into words my thoughts on this adoption.  So here it goes.  Having two teenage girls in the house at once (the moat is being dug as we speak), two boys that are full of energy (buying stock in 5 hour energy), and one baby girl that is a drama queen (rogaine is on order).  I must be losing my mind.  Well, don't worry, I lost my mind many years ago; I think it left with my hair.  Everyone knows my wife's love of children so I am constantly asked how I feel about this or if I just go along because I know my place.  The truth is I was actually the driving force on us adopting Masha.  Why?  She's stubborn, she is stuck in her ways, strong willed, schedule oriented, opinionated, and feels like she is on her own.  Many of you are thinking 'what are you thinking, why, these are not good reasons'.  What many people don't know is she reminded me of me.  None of my current kids will ever look like me (unless they have premature balding) or act like me (their mama is thankful for that), but she acts like me, and she has the same attitude I had growing up, 'The world is stacked against me and I don't care I am going to beat the world.'  Masha is a fighter, and she feels like the only person she can count on is herself; this is how I felt growing up as well, and I want to be the one person in her corner, because I see that same ambition in her that I had, and that same drive.  Plus she's is really fun to pick on, because she fires right back.

In regards to "Leonid" (aka Grayson...poor kid already has a million names) from what I have heard about him from other families he is full of life.  He has spina bifida but he doesn't let that stop him.  It sounds like he has the personality of my youngest boy and my rugged good looks (from what family members have told me his picture looks a lot like me when I was that age).  I do not feel sorry for him which I know several people think that is why we are adopting him.  Guess what?  It's not.  Life sucks, circumstances suck, but it is what we do with that life and those circumstances, and from what I have heard about this little boy he is not letting his current life and circumstances define who he is and let him get down about his situation.  That is why I, personally, am drawn to him.  He has managed to let his personality thrive and his attitude to be great in such a harsh environment.  Imagine what he could do in a good environment with the medical attention he needs?  This child can achieve anything he wants, and I would be proud to call that child my son, and be there for him when those dark days do come, because they will, and he will question things later on, but I know by looking at him he is strong, and with the love of a family he can overcome anything.

So do I sound selfish in why I want these two kids?  Yeah, I guess I do, in fact, I sound like any couple that is pregnant.  See, my wife and I will never experience that together.  We had all these plans when we got married, and we had a timeline for how we were going to build this family.  Guess what?  God thought our plans were funny, so he changed them in the matter of a few months.  I can joke about it now, but at the time it was really hard on both of us.  We had completed one domestic adoption at that point, and so it eased our pain knowing that just because this medical thing happened doesn't mean we can't build our family.  We just needed to build it another way, and this time we were going to listen to the plan God had for us instead of the plan we had (last time when it was our plan Crystal went under the knife; I do not want to go under the knife, so I am going to listen).  All of these kids are my kids.  Ashlyn is my step daughter, but no one will ever hear me introduce her as such, because she is my own; I have raised her, I have sat in her room until she fell asleep because she was scared, I have been there to pick her up.  Kaeden is adopted, but he is mine (he likes Michigan and the Texans, he has to be mine).  Savannah is mine, okay maybe she is more Crystal's with the drama queen; I'm joking, I am in so much trouble over this.  The thing I am trying to point out is that it doesn't take DNA to make a parent, watch the news and that is evident.  I take great pride in saying Ashlyn chose me, because unless she was on board we were not going to marry, Kaeden's birth mom and Savannah's birth mom chose us out of many families, Masha has chosen us, and Grayson...well he has no choice, but he would choose us because we are that  Point is our family has not been built traditionally, someone else has always had a choice in the children added whether it was themselves or other people and the same thing has always been constant.  WE WERE CHOSEN.

Take this for what you will, but make no mistake that I want my kids home and will do whatever it takes to get them home.  Their place is here with me, Crystal, and their brother and sisters; not in an orphanage or institution.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Leonid is turning 4 this month.....

Normally a kids birthday is something that is celebrated with a party and presents. Parents invite friends and family over and you have cake and ice cream and candy and cookies...decorations and presents, lots of presents.

Well Leonid won't be getting any of that for his birthday, just like he has never gotten anything for any of his other birthdays. Or Christmas, or Valentines, or Easter etc etc etc. You get my drift no presents no party. For him he's lucky if he gets attention from a caregiver in the orphanage other than whats is absolutely necessary. Not all of the caregivers are uncaring or mean they are just overwhelmed and overworked. They have too many kids to care for and not enough resources to do their jobs and give hugs and kisses.

Since we can't be there for his actual birthday to snuggle him and let him eat cake and open presents we are asking for donations to our tax deductible account that will help pay for the adoption costs of getting Leonid and Masha home. Any amount is greatly appreciated and every penny counts. We are saving all our spare change and asking friends and family to do the same. It all adds up!

What I did not mention is that in Eastern Europe 4 is not a happy age to be if you are in an orphanage. You see they have baby houses, older child orphanages or internats, and adult mental institutions. The special needs children get transferred to the adult mental institutions most of the time. Four years old is the age when most are transferred...sometimes younger sometimes older. It just depends on the area they are in, if there is enough room in the orphanage they are already at and a number of others reasons.

The link at the bottom of this post takes you to my craft page on facebook, all sales go directly to adoption costs!!/pages/Crystals-Creations-for-Adoptions/189209751143940

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bows, bows and more bows!!!

So I've been making hair bows to try to make some money for this adoption. I've sold quite a few but you've got to buy the supplies to make them ,actually sit down and make them and then sell them for not a whole lot of profit! lol I like making them though, it gives me something to do to keep my mind occupied instead of constantly thinking about the looming total amount of money needed, or if Leonid aka Grayson is doing ok and if Masha is thinking about us as much as we think about her. Bad thing is between paperwork for the home study and dossier, trying to do fundraising, making crafts and then just keeping up with three kids here at home now my house is starting look a little yucky! So after I get our home study in the mail which btw is supposed to be today and we can finally apply to the US government for permission to adopt from overseas hopefully this week I am taking a few days off to clean my house, catch up on laundry and then Jared and I are taking Ashlyn to Main event on Saturday to go bowling and play games. We have gift cards from there we have had for months so I figure go ahead and enjoy a day with my hubby and Ash while we leave the two little ones here with the grandparents! YAY! Well anyway we got a new picture of Masha today from a friend who is adopting two kids from her orphanage now, she looks great and we were very happy to "see" her again! I'm still hoping for new pics of Leonid from another friend who is there adopting a little boy from his orphanage, he's in a different part so she may not get to see him again but I'm still hoping anyway! Dont forget we have an auction going on now on facebook to help with our fees so please check it out, I posted the link on two previous posts!!! These are some of the bows available in the auction now!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Photos of some of the items in our facebook auction!!!

These are some items available in our facebook auction going on until the 21st of Nov.
There is a link at the bottom of this page!!!
Please share this auction with your friends and family!
As of today lots of items have no bids and some have very low bids!


We also have a fundraiser going on through Just love coffee the link is below!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Facebook auction to bring home our kids!!/events/376838552399493/permalink/379379052145443/?notif_t=like

This is the link for the auction we are having on facebook until November 21st. how it works is you place a bid on an items photo by commenting under it. Some items have starting bids and shipping costs listed. others have no starting bids and shipping is including in your bid unless you want to add a little more to help with the costs. Most items are here in my possession so I will be shipping them and paying for it out of my pocket. All winning bidders will be notified on facebook by message or being tagged that they won. Its easier if you check that you are attending the event to be notified of winning and if someone has outbid you on an item! After the auction closes I will notify the winners of their totals and how they can pay. Payments will be made into our tax deductible account through Reece's Rainbow. All that money will not even be available to us until we are given a travel date by the country we are adopting from so you know it will only be used for adoption related expenses. We still need about $20,000 and are hoping to travel in January or February! There are all kids of things up for clothes both new and used, kids clothes both new and used, jewelry, hair bows, coasters, soaps, sugar scrubs, a baby quilt even naming rights for our new son's middle name!! Please come by and check it out!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quilt giveaway canceled

I deleted the post about the baby quilt giveaway because of a lack of interest. I will just add the quilt to our auction we are having on facebook right now! Paperwork should be done very soon I'll post later this coming week about our progress and stuff! Have a good night!