Friday, June 26, 2009

backpacks, lots of lists, conference calls and... Asheville??

I often used to wonder what families went through those last couple weeks before traveling 1/2 way around the world to pick up their children. Now... I don't wonder. Or maybe I should wonder what less scattered, more diligent people do and try to emulate their examples. Or maybe I should just make up some pretend family in my head that would be the epitome of planning, packing, traveling euphoria and try to emulate that. Great. Now I am going to try to follow the example of some make-believe people I have just conjured up in my head. AND to add insult to injury, the most creative make-believe people I can create in my head right now are savvy packers. See what I'm up against here, people??!

Just to give you a taste of how I have been spending my last week and a half.... As if I haven't had over 5 months now to prepare bedrooms and make the look "finished", I wait to be inspired -- now. So, in between cramming school down the boys' throats; heading over to the gym twice a week in the morning-- so they can play with friends who also go at that time and I can run not in the sweltering humidity; trying to make sense of my weed ridden, deer haven garden; and just general life in Team Dragovich mommy duties-- I am dragging my boys to Hobby Lobby for all sorts of material, modge podge, cork boards, picture frames and whatever else I decide I MIGHT need to complete their rooms. Then I overtake the homeschool room table-- which we are still trying to do school at, mind you-- and puke out craft craziness ALL over it. And then take many days to complete the projects. Still-- while we do school.

Example #2... I have known that I wanted to take each kiddo a backpack stuffed with activities, a snuggly for comfort, snacks, etc. that could be their little bag for the trip home.. and then continue to be their backpack-- all my kids have their own backpacks, even though we homeschool-- figure it out. So, anyway... I HAVE truly been looking for backpacks that I think would do the trick-- right size and functional, not just cute. Not so easy to do for a 3 year old and 5 year old. Well, Land's End's school catalog came to my door earlier this week-- Tuesday, I think it was. YES-- jackpot! They had backpacks for littles as young as 3 and then moved up from there. Perfect... but will they come in time. Tony says, "Sure! Go for it." I do. This turned out well. They came today. What may still end up in total meyham, is all the stuff I all the sudden decided needs to go IN the backpack!! I was recently introduced to Anamalz wooden toys and Signing Time flashcards. Too cute!! Perfect hand size, easy to store, tote around, pull out and play and sturdy. Except I found them-- yesterday and didn't order them until today. Look, I live in nowhere, USA... it's not like I can just go out and find these items anywhere-- correction-- I COULD have driven my boys out to Toys R Us and made us all crazy and walked out with Anamalz, Signing time flashcards (which I'm not even sure they carried in stock) and either three resentful, angry little boys; OR $50 more worth of who knows what in order to sooth the jealous rages. I mean, c'mon... I have very good boys, but they are people, too and watching new brother and sister get sooo much attn. paid to even just their arrival??? Well, more on that later.
Now, Anamalz and signing flashcards are just the beginning of what is going to ET in a week for two new kids-- well, if they even COME on time! Tuesday was my "shop for gifts" day-- nannies, driver, guide-- and honestly, it went pretty well. But, it was also "get the kids a snuggly day". And I knew just the perfect store to find what I wanted from Gund stuffed animals. When I walked in the door, I saw 40% off ALL Gund animals-- SCORE!! Until she didn't have ANY of the flat animals that I wanted. But... she was so excited when I told her that I didn't buy the ones I found in Asheville over the weekend so I could buy them from her, that she is currently having two new Gunds shipped to her and PROMISES to have them by next Tuesday AND she is giving me the 40% off-- yea!! So, that was good, too. Then, I went over to this really nifty outdoor gear shop looking for something to give our guide and driver as a "Thank You" for holding our hands for a week. I went in with a couple ideas, but I must have walked end to end in that store for 25+ minutes before deciding on "the perfect gift" (don't worry, I won't leave you hanging too long. But let me tell you what-- as SOON as I walked in the store, there was an ADORABLE pair of Mary Janes in leather and all casual, but sporty looking and oh-so comfortable that just spoke my name-- on sale 1/2 price. ONE left in my size. Now-- mind you-- I HAVE been wanting to get a pair of shoes that are cute, closed toe and something I could wear in Ethiopia and still be comfortable for long walking. But, I hadn't really found "just the right shoe", so I sorta gave up on it, opting for settling with my old strappy mary janes that will definitely work, but were-- well-- old. And I'm not even a real big "shoe" person (don't you like all my justifying??) The other part of this, is... even at 1/2 off-- they were still $80.00. The bottom line to this story is... at this point, all bets are off when it comes to being frugal in preparing to bring two kids home from ET. Obviously, me adopting kids is becoming very good for the economy. My checking account??? Not so great.

I have lots more examples of frivolous spending, wasting time and spinning my wheels. But, I think you get the drift. One thing that we have been working through that I have been anticipating-- is some spiking in clingy, whiny, selfish behavior amongst the boys. Both with one another and with us. More so me-- but I am an easy target. Always here :) I would say sometimes we handle it well, and other times... well, not so much. They never speak against their new brother and sister. In fact, they have nothing but wonderful things that they share about playing soccer with JB or playing dolls with RiSa (Tony's nickname for Rebekah Selami). DO NOT let them know you have been let in on their secret desire to play with RiSa and her "girlie toys" ;)! It's supposed to be a secret. But, they do get their feelings hurt easily, demand justice and rightousness and FAIRNESS in one another AND us and very hard on the person when they don't get it. They are SOOOO over UPS, FedEx and the mailman knocking at our door with another package to deliver. You know, for so many years the only packages that came in the mail were for them-- b-days, Christmas, other holidays, etc. But, I do a lot more internet shopping than I EVER have in the past, and especially now that I seem to think that money flows like water-- I'm being a little sarcastic here-- there have just been a lot of "ding-dongs" at the doorbell, and lots of anxious faces that turn to frustration when they find out it's not for them. So, you can imagine all the conversations we've been having about all the preparations I did for each one of them, all the presents they received, and all the time and effort that was spent when each one of them entered into the world. They just weren't around or old enough to see or understand it. So... this has been VERY good for them to walk through. And I know that they will do wonderfully over time with the kids and this whole bigger family thing-- despite the bumps in the road that are meant to knock us back into perspective :)

Finally, in the midst of all this, Tony managed to wisk me away to Asheville, NC for a night at the Grand Bohemian Hotel which sits in the heart of Biltmore Village and at the entrance of the Biltmore Estate. This was to celebrate our 12 year anniversary. We drove up on Saturday, did some shopping (imagine that), ate a wonderful little restaurant and spent Father's Day at the Biltmore. Crazy. That place is.... crazy. No words describe it well enough and it is a whole other post. But, we had a WONDERFUL time-- and I'm going to leave it at that :P

Now, I know all you want to see are pictures of the bedrooms. Coming!! They are almost done. Actually the boys' room is done and Selami's is the only one I am still finishing up-- hanging curtains and other pretty wall decor-- oh yeah and putting up the crib. I will probably be working on it until Thursday night instead of packing or some other responsible activity that I'm sure my make-believe traveling family would be doing.

Ummm... I think I better go to bed now.

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Team Dragovich is 2 STRONGER!!!!!!!!

Joshua Biruk & Rebekah Selami Dragovich

I'll try not to talk too much because I know all you care about are pictures :D. I'll have to work on a slide show this evening-- I just couldn't bring myself to do one until they were legally ours. Anyway... I'm rambling. Anna Graham, our Programs Director called me at 9:35ish this morning with the news. The boys and I were on our way to the gym-- actually, we were about 3 blocks from our destination when the phone rang. I saw it was AWAA and I really had to hesitate and take a deep breath. As soon as I heard Anna's voice, I knew. That didn't stop the scream of pure joy and elation though. The boys were ready for it. In fact, they told me before the call even came, "Mom, we're going to hold our ears, just in case. We remember the referral call!"

What did I do after talking to Anna? Went for a run :) Then, we went to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought Joshua BIRUK Dragovich a soccer ball. And now, I am getting ready to order Rebekah SELAMI Dragovich a bitty baby doll from American Girl.... I have been planning this splurge for many moons now.

Here they are....
Joshua (Jehovah Saves) Biruk (Blessed) Dragovich at Referral 2/10/09

Rebekah (To Bind in) Selami (peace) Dragovich at referral 2/10/09

JB & RS in March

JB & RS in April

JB & RS in May

Thank you, THANK YOU for keeping our family faithfully in your prayers. Now, we get ready to travel over the 4th of July-- I can't think of a better way to spend Independance Day!!!!!

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In the Meantime...

Before I go any further, here are two blogs of families that are in Ethiopia right now:

The Foote Family

The Cole Family

I think there are others, but these are two that I found are updating their blogs well.


I bet you have been wondering what Team Dragovich is up to in the meantime... you know, the MEAN time between our two court dates :)! That is what I think it is anyway. Well, we've stayed pretty busy. My dear friends threw me a beautiful adoption shower, and we were certainly showered with wonderful gifts and lots of PINK!!!!! I do not ever get tired of looking at pink girlie clothes, that's for sure!

We've also took a day trip to the beach-- we live two hours from some very nice, family friendly, quiet beaches along the southern border of NC-- right above South Myrtle Beach. That was tons of fun and other than coming back looking like lobsters, it was a huge success.

Tony dove back into work. He came home to some pretty big things happening for Womack's pain department, and pain medicine in the Army overall. I am so proud of the work he does for soldiers and their famlies. He would be embarrassed that I am bragging about him, but oh well. And I am sorry if it is offensive that I am bragging about my husband's skills. Sometimes I just can't help myself-- God has so gifted him in this area. I think God's gifts are so creative and funny sometimes. Or maybe it is just funny to be married to someone who is so gifted and talented in treating pain in people. Not that I don't think that it is important-- I think it is VERY important!! It is just not what I ever expected-- do I know what I did expect?? No. But, I never even knew there was such a thing as a "pain medicine specialist"... let alone that I would marry one. Of course, he wasn't a pain medicine specialist when I married him. :) Anyway, that was sorta a rabbit-trail. Tony is busy and has a lot of different things going on in the world of pain, and I'm proud of him.

But, really, he went back to work a little early so that he would be more free to take off when we travel to pick up the kids. This week has been hard. I won't lie. Every day I have to fight this battle of being done waiting. Every morning my natural instinct is start worrying about whether we will pass this time. On Saturday we got new pictures of them-- our May update. It was hard. We both cried. I'm so happy that they look so happy and well-adjusted and growing. When we first had pictures of them our little girl wouldn't smile a lick and our boy smiled so politely. Now, our pictures are filled with them playing, laughing and just having a good 'ole time together. I love it and hate it all at once.

So, I guess that is the sum total. Not really. I am in the middle of painting our little girl's room. I think it will be really pretty when it is done... and yes, I will post pictures. It just has taken so long to get both the rooms ready, and I admit, I never think a room is really quite ever "done"-- at least not to my level of done. But, who can meet that standard??? So, once it is painted, bedding on, curtains hung and at least a COUPLE decorations hung on the wall... I will post pictures.

Thanks for stopping by :) Go read the other families' blogs. You will be blessed.

Grace and Peace,