Praying for Ansley

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tough Thursday

Wow - who said WAITING was the hard part? Good grief? Today was trying!!

About 11 a.m. I got a call from my agency that I need to get 10 more documents completed and notarized and apostilled before I go!! What?? This was AFTER what I thought was the last one, was done yesterday... I have already Fedexed that one to Richmond and asked them to rush it and turn it around in a day...

Today, I had to have 10 more. 3 of these requested are birth certificates, so I have to order them from NY STate and then have them apostilled. (For those who haven't adopted and have no idea what apostilling is... it means, basically, the state where the document was notarized guarantees that the notary who signed it really is a notary in that state. It's like notarizing the notary.) So, I have to order my birth certificates and then send them to NY State to be apostilled. I'll already be gone... so someone else will have to send them in to NY after I'm gone, and then when they get here, they will have to be shipped to Kazakhstan.

The other 7 are copies of items. I need 5 MORE copies of my passport. Mind you, I have already given 4 (or maybe it was 5) in my initial paperwork months ago. I have NO IDEA who or what needs 9 or 10 total copies of my passports - and notartized, and notarizing the notary... but I'll have them. Then I needed 2 copies of the INS paperwork allowing me to bring an orphan in the country. I am taking the original of this form with me, so again, not sure why a total of 3 will be neccessary, and I previously provided copies of this as well... The frustration here isn't that they need them... I'll give them 100 copies if they need them. The frustration is that I sat around for weeks since knowing my trip was getting close and now I have to rush to get these together and processed and fedexed out and fedexed back to me, by Monday. It just seems like the country (whoever that is) could have told the agency before today that I need 5 more of these, 3 more of these, and 2 more of these, in addition to the one yesterday that was found out. Anyway, that took over my day and was just so hard!

The next HARD part was... I had to get a notary (at the bank) to verify that I had 5 copies of my passport. Well, my passport is in NY trying to get a VISA... so he could not see the original, so how could he verify that it was a true copy of my passport?? That didn't go so well... in the end, I finally got it accomplished, but I'll tell you, it was NOT easy!

So, I came home after all that and collapsed in a chair for a few minutes before Matthew was going to arrive home. I fell asleep and was asleep maybe 2-3 minutes and the phone rang. It was my travel agency. She said, in her heavy eastern european accent, we have problem. I thought, OF COURSE we do! :) So, I'm supposed to leave on Tuesday (which was a change from the original Wednesday). The problem is, the Consulate in NY will not issue my VISA until Tuesday, therefore, the earliest I will have it is Wednesday, so now we can't leave until Wednesday. It's really not the end of the world, but just one more thing. It's like we sit and sit and wait and wait and then we are rushing around fedexing and asking people to make exceptions and rush this and rush that while we were twiddling our thumbs for the most part a week ago. Frustrating! The travel agent is going to try tomorrow to request them to 'make the exception' (or change their cold hearts) so that they process it Monday and I receive it Tuesday... but I won't know that until tomorrow. So, there is still and chance, and again, it's not a huge deal, but it is just the total unknown and it's like I won't know when I'm going until I get on the plane!!

I've been so busy since Tuesday that I keep forgetting to eat. Now, that doesn't happen very often and it takes an awful lot for me to forget to eat! But about 5:00 p.m. today I realized (after destressing a bit) that I had forgotten to eat today and was hungry all of a sudden.

You always hear that you hurry up and wait, and that people rush around the last week before travel all crazy. I never understood this. I just thought *those* people weren't prepared enough ahead of time. NOPE. Totally wrong. It's totally out of your control and you are at the mercy of others to complete the NECESSARY steps to get out of the country. It's hard not having control over the outcome and frustrating that there is still so much paperwork to do now. But, with any luck, nothing 'else' will come up tomorrow... I'm not sure I can take much more paperwork! I thought that part was OVER! :)

So, now, Matthew and I are both sitting here with our laptops doing our thing. We will chill out tonight and watch Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader together. We are supposed to get some freezing rain or ice tonight, so school may be an issue in the morning. And, he doesn't have homework tonight - those are my favorite nights! I hate homework! LOL.

And then I think, regardless of which day I leave, Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll NOT be sitting here one week from tonight. I'll either be in my home away from home for two months in Petropavlovsk, or I'll be boarding the small plane between Almaty and Petropavlovsk for probably the most terrifying flight of my life... :) (I'm real excited about THAT flight, can you tell?) I'm not sure how they land on INCHES of ice, but I hear they do, day after day, flight after flight. I guess it's like driving here in the states, you just have to know how to DRIVE in it!! (And people in Northern Virginia do NOT know how to drive in the snow, that is for sure!) Let's hope the pilots know what they are doing, anyway. :)

Well, this probably sounded worse than I anticipated. My point here is, it is harder than I thought after getting the great news that I'm leaving. Maybe it's just because I want to leave and not do another blooming thing. Things are really going quite well, overall and I'll be there soon enough - it just seems that this process would be a little more streamlined after all the adoptions Kazakhstan has done and not quite so last minute... but then again who am I fooling - I signed up for Eastern Europe and I knew what to expect - so don't mind me - I'm just tired and ready to go!! :)

Stay tuned, no detail is yet final... but we are getting there!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm "IT"

I was tagged today (here in the blogging community). This day just has too much excitement! :) (See blog entry posted earlier today...)

Here are the rules for this tag game:
~The rules are to link the person who sent this to you and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours.
~Post the rules on your blog
~Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself

1. When I was in 4th grade we had an assembly in the gym. Different people had to 'do' different things. I had to fold my arms under under my arm pits like they were wings and flap like a chicken and cluck around the stage.

2. I own 7 different comforters for my bed. They are all pretty different from each other - I like variety and figure this is a great way to change things up a little from time to time.

3. I love silk pillowcases. I have always had one as long as I can remember. I've had to replace them many times over the years. I just got a new one for Christmas and it is so silky, it is too slippery! It slips off the other pillows (that have cotton pillowcases) - I'm not sure how to fix that problem.

4. I have worked at McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Giant, a children's clothing store, a Napa Auto Parts Store, a bank, Wolf Trap, some terrible job at a local airline (small planes) *(only lasted about 2 months), and a mortgage company. I always wanted to be a lifeguard (I'm not a great swimmer, but I love pools and water.) I also now wish I had become a teacher. I so wish I had summers off to spend more time with Matthew, and now my new baby to come - SOON!!

5. I got my hair cut today - much shorter than it has been. I like it! I have wanted a change and figure I won't be 'doing' my hair much in Kazakhstan, OR when I get home with the baby.

6. I am terrible at saying goodbye(s). I don't like it when people move away. Friends, family - I never seem to really get over it. I hate changes like that. Although I'll be back from Kazakhstan, I dread saying goodbye to Matthew for 7 weeks too. At least it is not a permanent type goodbye, but it will be awful. The longest we've ever been apart is one week, the past two summers when he went to summer camp. Ugh!

7. I love summer. I love the beach. I love water and swimming pools and hot days in the sun. I love to play in the sand (if I'm not napping on a blanket or in a sand chair). I love to be in a hamock and read and/or take a nap. I love warm summer breezes. I love listening to the waves crash on the shore. I love watching the sun rise (we live on the east coast!). I love watering flowers in the yard or on the deck and getting a little wet because it is so hot outside.... I am going to Northernmost Kazakhstan in FEBRUARY (Imagine WAY WAY NORTH in Canada).... Something doesn't quite add up here.... hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

There, that was HARD! I'm not sure if they are all weird/strange, but I tried. I guess I lead a rather boring life... or perhaps others could remember things I didn't recall... I'll be back to tag others. I have to research who has already been tagged and who is not private!

It was just a normal Tuesday...

Today, my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. I hate alarms. Always have. If something has to wake me up, then I'm not ready to get up. I guess it would help if I would go to bed before 1:30.... So, the alarm went off. I got up about 7:20. Yeah, that's right, 7:20. I rushed out of here at 7:50 to take Matthew to school then I had to head to an appt. with an International Adoption Doctor. That appt. was at 9:30. The parking situation there is so great, they told me to allow 20-30 minutes to find a place to park. (Gotta love Northern Virginia!!) So, I thought, well, I should just leave after dropping Matthew off and head straight there. It is 14 miles to this place... it took me over an hour on Route 66 to get there, but the good news was it only took 5 mintues to find a place to park! I went to the top of the garage... plenty of spaces. (Until I came out of the appt. and every last one was filled.) I'm sure the rainy/dreary morning made for a slightly slower commute, but for the most part, that is normal life around here.

The appt. with the doctor went well. Since I am traveling blind (that means without a referral) when I go to Kazakhstan, he told me what to look for to try to determine the health of the child based on what I observe as well as what the records might say. It was quite informative. I just hope I remember it all when I'm over there.

Then I went to the Post Office to get a passport picture taken to send with my Visa application. That was exciting... another step in the process. Even though I don't have my dates to travel, I was going to send the Visa Application to the travel agency so that I could have the paperwork there when the Confirmation number finally decided to come. Then I was headed home for lunch.

I was on the main street in my neighborhood when I got the call!!! The Confirmation Numbers have finally been issued!!! I am expected in Petropavlovsk on Saturday Feb. 9. Although I haven't booked the flights yet, it is looking like I will travel on Wednesday Feb. 6th and arrive in Petropavlovsk on Friday the 8th. It finally came! Can you believe it? It finally came... and it was just a normal Tuesday...

What do you think I did next?? I went shopping for shoes! Yup, shoes.

Now, before you laugh too hard... I actually filled out the Visa paperwork and took that to FedEx first, THEN I went to get the shoes. What I wanted/needed is a pair of shoes to wear at court in Kazakhstan. Nothing I have is really great with a dress. I wear a lot of pantsuits here, rather than dresses/skirts and those are different shoes than those I wear with skirts. Anyway, I found a pair of shoes - just what I needed! Shoe therapy to calm me down. :) I love shoes. OK, OK, I admit, I bought two pair of shoes... but I WENT to get shoes for COURT.

Tomorrow will bring a lot more stuff to get done. It is never ending. I guess it will end when I board that plane next week!!

So, who said I would travel by Feb. 8th? I guess you win the Blogging Voter Prize. Congrats. Too bad no one said Feb 6th! :)

Last chances to vote for names. You can write in your choices too if you'd prefer. Who voted for what? I like to know and don't. :) You don't have to tell, I just like to know.

Alright, I have no idea what else to say now as my head is sort of spinning. I knew this was coming but it is still a little like WOW when it comes because now I truly only have a week and that's it!! Tick tock, tick tock.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday slo mo

I am in slow motion today! It's a chilly, quiet, blah sort of day... I watched a movie and now I just want to curl up and either watch another one, or read!

My mom was here the past couple of days and just left earlier today. She brought all the stuff she has packed so that we have everything we are taking in one place. All our suitcases are in the middle of my living room... (4 rather large suitcases!) We have almost 100% of what we are taking in there, so we are feeling pretty good about that! We did take my bathroom scale to the living room to weigh all the suitcases. One was HEAVY, over 50 pounds. It was 56.1 or something like that. We removed a bag of Trail Mix Mom had packed... and were down to 43.9 - two pounds of mix! We are trying to shuffle things around now so we don't have to at the airport... I'll tell you - this is the hardest part so far!

I am still waiting on dates for travel. My agency does have a copy of the LOI that shows it is requested and in process, but no news/actual dates yet! It's been 16 days now since I heard the LOI was in process. They do anticipate it any time and I will likely have very little time after notification to get on a plane! That's why I'm packing and making sure it is all done, NOW. I don't pack well under pressure! LOL. This was hard enough with 'time' left. Now the trick is to get what's left over in the carry-ons! :)

Matthew has a 4 day weekend this weekend which is great! With Mom, we ran errands yesterday, but today we've taken it easy. We are both just chillin' right now with our laptops! We will play a game in a few minutes and watch a movie tonight. We are just enjoying quiet time together before I leave. We are both ready for the WAIT to be over. The anticipation of saying good-bye to each other is not getting any easier as the days go by.

Stay tuned for more details about travel! I certainly will update when I hear anything... :) whenever that may be...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back to my roots (and I'm not talking about my hair)

OK, I keep playing around with my blog background and I should know better. I always end up going back to what I originally liked. It's just the way I am. I like to try different things, but in the end, the only one that looks good to me is the original. Call me crazy...
OK, you can stop calling me crazy now.
Another day of crossing things off of my to do list. The weird thing is, it seems to get LONGER each and every day, even though I am crossing things off. I guess I'd better pick it up a notch, wha'dya think?
I am still hopeful that THIS IS the week I will get final confirmation and begin making actual travel plans. I really need my drier to be fixed tomorrow so that I can finish doing the rest of my laundry for my trip... and be DONE with it!
One 'note', if you look at the weather tracker in the daytime, it's really weird. It shows the temp in Kaz at like 45 degrees. The forecasted high is only like 14 and the windchill actually shows as quite cold, but the actual temp at the time shows real high. I don't understand it and have no idea why this is the case, but all I know is it isn't real, and I wish it were. I'd be much better off at 45 degrees than 14, or -4, or whatever!
Last note of the day... what a disappointing weekend in football. Both teams I wanted to win lost and I so don't want the Patriots to win the SuperBowl. Oh well... it looks like it may be a year for the history books for them. Shoot!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Prepping, Packing and Projects

What a busy couple of days! It finally occurred to me that although I have requested many packing lists from people who have preceeded me to Petropavlovsk, I decided it was time to really do some packing and not just pretending. (I just had to be goofy and write as many P's in that sentence as would come to me...) What I mean is, I kept reading lists and reorganizing them, but I hadn't really packed anything, or bought much, if anything, for the baby, so I had to get going.

I went to Target on Friday and bought, well, a lot. LOL. I bought most of the meds I will take 'just in case' to Kazakhstan. The thing is, I've heard you can't really get over the counter meds there, and certainly not what we're used to, so if I wanted or needed something specific, I'd better take it! And plan for the unexpected. So, motrin, tylenol, nose drops, gas drops, diaper cream, shampoo, lotion, baby powder, pacifiers (different kinds because I don't know what kind she is used to), sippy cups, baby oragel, baby teething biscuits, pedialyte, vitamins (she'll need them!), a few pair of socks (I couldn't resist), a white furry hat and mittens (I really couldn't resist!!), and so on. I think that was pretty much most of everything, so I was headed out.

But, do you really think I made it out with those 'small' items? (Even though I had 50 of them?) I had to pass the strollers on the way out and they were on clearance! So, I thought that was a good deal, like 1/2 price! I ended up with two because I couldn't decide which one of the two to get. (You couldn't test them at the store because they had them all chained up, high above ground level.) To make a long (boring!) story short... as it turns out, I got home and put one together, and I love it. The other is still in the box, but when I got to the checkout, it was only $35.00!! So, I might just end up keeping that one as well so I don't always have to load one of them in and out of the car. I couldn't deal with putting another one together yesterday though, so it is still in the box in case I do decide to return it. Anyway, that was all fun yesterday buying all the stuff for the baby.

Today, I packed my clothes for the trip. It took forever to decide what matched what, and what I need for near 60 days on the road. At long last, I THINK I've narrowed it down to the final stack of clothes. Let me just say, sweaters are BULKY. I did go ahead and wash all of them so that they are good and clean before I wear the same 5 outfits for 60 days... I know I'll get to do laundry there, but I'm thinking it won't be the same as here, and even more worried that it will be with that orange/brown water everyone posts on their blogs. yuck. So, they are good and clean now and ready to roll. And even better, they all fit in one (large!) suitcase. (Actually, my drier is on the fritz, so some things are still trying to air dry. Tomorrow all should be dry and packed away.
Anyway, I also got all her stuff ready. I boiled the paci's, and cleaned all the toys so they are ready to go. I picked the books I want to take for her, and the dolls, etc. Yeah! That part was fun!

This weekend has been fun with Matthew. On Thursday, we got a little snow. Between 3-4 inches. It only ended up getting the kids out of school 2 hours on Friday morning, (and boy was Matthew mad about that!) But then we made Friday night 'fun night' and then 'pajama party night'. The first part we got subs and watched "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" (that we had to Tivo from the night before). We love watching that together. We watched a little more TV and then when we saw that Cheaper by the Dozen was coming on. So, we decided to get comfy and get all the pillows we could, and have a pillow, pajama party in my bed while we watched Cheaper by the Dozen. It was fun!

Today, he had to finish his Science project. Due on Tuesday. We decided to work as long as it took today to get it done (not like us!) so that on Sunday and the holiday Monday we can just relax and do what we want! Success!! He finished and we are done with it. Yeah!! It is nice to know that is all done and we can watch and enjoy the football games tomorrow!

On the adoption front, other than knowing what I heard a week ago, (that I should be leaving within a few weeks as I've been told the region has requested my LOI be processed) there is nothing new. Based on the timeline I was given then... I should hear something Monday or Tuesday. Then I'll have a week or two to get totally ready to leave. I'm feeling better and better about the packing I've been doing and hopefully won't need to freak out when that 'time comes'! I will still have to get my visa and plane ticket, etc. (For both Mom and me). The only other thing now is, I have no idea what I will name her. I change my mind daily and even have started considering new names that I never thought of before. So, I guess I won't know until I am there and meet her. THEN I will decide. :)

Like sands through the hour glass... these are the details of my life.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New poll

Hey everyone - be sure to check out the polls on the right hand side and vote! There is one for the travel date and one for the name of the baby girl. It gives me something to 'do' when I'm looking, so vote once, or vote 1,000 times, I don't care! Just vote. :)
Check out the weather in Petro too, and once you are done laughing, pray for me! I think I might die in that weather!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

LOI Extended!!

well, i got another call today! this time, with good news!! my coordinator had an update on my loi. :) if i get the terminology right... it has been issued regionally by the region i am traveling to, petropavlovsk, and has been sent to the 'national' government of kazakhstan to be processed. once processed, the loi will be issued a confirmation number which is what i need in order to get my visa issued here in the states. at that time, i will also get actual/exact travel dates. this process is expected to take about 10 days.. from that time, i will have about a week or two to get my visa issued, get plane tickets, get everything else done, etc. so, i have ten 'calmer' days to try to accomplish things, and then i'll have 7-14 days of total chaos with a known travel date. yeah!!! yes, now i'm going to get nervous, i'm sure!

i'm not thinking straight enough to say much more at this point... but i'm sure i'll post more in the near future! happy thursday!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cold week and more waiting

For Northern Virginia, it has been a crazy, cold week! The temps were 'low' but the wind made it brutal. What really makes me laugh is that it was a good 30 degrees WARMER than it will be in Kaz... bbrrrrr! I can't even begin to imagine that. This was plenty cold enough for me.

I did find out this week that I will NOT be traveling exactly when I thought. We are still awaiting my LOI and although it 'could' come this week, I was told that when it comes, I will have 3-4 weeks to prepare. Now, I know others who have had much less time than that once their LOI's came, so I'm still not 'sure' that that is true... but I will 'listen' to my agency and take their word for it, for now. Anyway, the original date would be less than two weeks away at this point, but it appears that will not happen. Tick tock tick tock.... the waiting is hard, and it is killing Matthew. He wants/NEEDS for the anticipation to be over - that is going to be the hardest part for him... preparing for me to leave! (For me too, I think!) At this point, it is still anticipated I will travel by the end of Jan. or early Feb., but of course that is a guesstimate until I have the LOI in writing in my little hands and it could change again at any moment... I think I will be happiest when I get that 'letter' in my hands and the unknown part will be over.
I am hoping and praying that that is a reality because the sooner I can leave, the sooner I can be back, and for Matthew's sake now, that would be best! The one thing I think I do know is that since the government is closed for the Russian Orthodox Christmas (on Monday I believe) and people are on vacation, I won't hear anything in the early part of this week pretty much for sure, because no one is working! Oh well, all in good time my pretty, all in good time.

That's about all that is new from here. Waiting waiting waiting!!