Sunday, July 31, 2011


One more day to get the dress I posted awhile back for $20.00! Please look down the blog to July 16!! Here's the link!!


Friday, July 29, 2011


Hey stupid- do you think if I ignore you you'll ring?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Great Veggie Fridge Clean-Out 2011

My plan before we bring Baby B home is to fill my freezer with homemade healthy food that we can heat and eat. I don't want to spend time in in the kitchen that I could spend blowing on bellies, playing in the sprinkler and making dirt pies. I have a few recipes for vegetarian friendly food that will freeze well and I have scored some tips from the folks at FRUA (thanks guys!). I also have some friends that I said I'd pay to make food for us. I want variety. We have one friend from India who makes DELICIOUS food. She's definitely on the list of chefs I need to hire.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I need to clear out the freezer. I think all of the products that we have in there have kept MorningStar Farms in business. I am trying to come up with creative ways to use the freezer goods. Here are a couple of things I have done:

1) Chik'n Parmesan made with Gardein tenders. This could also be made with MorningStar patties, I just cooked the tenders in the oven according to the package and covered with sauce (from a jar- thank you Publix for your BOGO) and some mozzarella and popped it all in the oven. Served with pasta and garlic bread.

2) Chik'n Salad on whole wheat pita. I microwaved a Grillers® Chik’n Veggie Patty and shredded it to bits. I added chopped onion and mayo but if I had it I would have added celery too. I added grapes on the side. Perfect fast lunch (except for the onion breath I have now). It was delicious.

That's all I have to say about my freezer.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In Case You Didn't Know...

Did I tell you that our dossier is in Russia and registered in different regions? Just waiting for a call. Yep......................


Amazon List Move

For those you that look at my Amazon Wish List (family) I just wanted to let you know that I moved the baby stuff*** from the Wish List to the Baby Registry (trying to win a $500 giveaway). Just wanted you to know so you weren't suspicious when all the baby books and stuff were gone! It's all good. They also made me pick a due date (how does an adoptive parent do that?) so I picked April Fool's Day. What the heck.


***This is only the AMAZON items...the Etsy and other non-Amazon items are still on the Wish List. You can only put Amazon purchases on the Baby Registry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Message to You

Hi Baby B. (our Little Burunduk),

Not a day (second, minute, hour) goes by that you are not on my mind. Please know that I always have you in my heart. I can't wait to feel your little hand in mine.

One day.
Hopefully soon.
You will be more than a thought.

I give to you, my heart, my love.


Ride in Style

Etsy find of the cart covers by Three Little Miracles Baby Boutique! These covers look REALLY REALLY soft. And here's what sets them apart from other cart covers:

1. All covers are machine washable and can be dried on low heat.

2. The legs holes are sewn 3 times and reinforced with bias tape for extra durability.

3. The covers are the most padded covers you will ever find and they can be used up to the age of 4.

4. They are made with extra thick non clump hypo allergenic poly batting.

5. They are made with designer fabric which makes our covers unique.

6.Your cover comes with a matching pillow made with the same designer fabric that your cover is made with.

7. Your cover comes with a safety belt so you don't have to use those disgusting ones that are full of germs that are on the buggys.

8. With all of the extras that come with the covers you have everything you need to keep your baby germ free!

9. All covers are custom made to order and are professionally made by a mom of 3!

10. All covers come from a smoke free/pet free home.

If that doesn't make you want to run out and buy one (and one for a friend) let me also say that they fit all shopping carts, park swings, restaurant high chairs and mall strollers.

I don't have one myself, but please check the testimonials on the Etsy page.

Bye now.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Etsy Nursery

Looking for some amazing letterpress prints for your nursery? Check out Sycamore Street Press on Etsy. They have some really beautiful prints. I thought this piece would be especially suited for an adopted child...and they have more fantastic works that could be paired with this over a crib (like the alphabet animals). Let me know if you like the shop. It makes me happy to know that my Etsy finds have inspired you. Enjoy!


Rainy Days

I love rainy days. I am most happy when I am around rain (unless I am driving on the Interstate). I love waking to the rain the most, followed by reading on the couch during the rain, taking a bath during the rain, snuggling with my sweetie under an umbrella in the rain...I guess I could go on. I have many happy childhood memories associated with rain. My grandmother let me play in the backyard with her umbrella when it rained. I pretended I was a girl lost on the streets on London huddling under a tree to wait out the storm. My cousin and I made boats with leaves and sent them down tiny rivers of rain to the bottom of the hill. My brothers and sister and I ran around outside in our underwear in the rain- shaking the water from the trees on to our heads like a chilly shower from nature. Not a care in the world. Playing in the rain is so much fun. I can't wait for my little one to experience this little treasure in life.

Since I love rain so much I am also captivated by images associated with rain and movies that have rain in them. Rain movies always give me chills. I love it.

Anyway, there's rain outside now- and thunder. I couldn't be happier.


P.S. I found this image on another blog. Isn't it beautiful?

I'm Seeing Spots...

I've been TRYING to clean up the nursery a bit but there is SO much stuff. The problem is that I don't want to get rid of some things because 1) I don't know Baby B's size 2) I don't know Baby B's age 3) I don't know Baby B's gender 4) I don't know which stroller, car seat, etc. will work best for the occasion 5)...I could go on.

Anyway, I cleaned up some things and stacked some things and came up with organizational ideas for a few others. I moved some things out of the nursery to other parts of the house (so now the whole house looks like a junk yard). The Mister and I decided that we could hang up a few things to get rid of some clutter. We hung up a Humpty-Dumpty poster that I have moved around for 17 years. We hung up a shadow box with Mister N's baby clothes and bracelet in them. We hung up a shelf that the Mister's grandpa made, and some colored bamboo lanterns that I bought for the baby room a year and a half ago.

Once the kid gets here a lot of the clutter will go where it should be (high chair in dining room, car seat in car, stroller in car, etc.)

I'm still counting the days and waiting for the phone to ring for that. Maybe this week it will happen? Fingers crossed please. Until then I'll keep moving things around to keep my sanity.

love you. Thanks for keeping up with us and keeping us inspired.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Quilts in Space

I am so way behind the times here BUT...I am happy to say that I just discovered the beauty of the Space Bag. One huge quilt, a woven blanket, a dust ruffle and a pillow neatly suctioned into a bag to fit under our bed. I kinda geeked out with it. I would Space Bag my whole world if they were less expensive. I am trying to get organized in the house and I really need more room...but alas the Space Bag will have to suffice. My original plan was to get Space Bags for packing our suitcase with orphanage donations (when the time comes). Flatten those suckers out and I can fit a boatload of clothes in a tiny suitcase. I'm pretty excited about that. Yes, I am geeking out (did you not see that I said that before?). Anyway, here's to the Space Bag technology...hip hip hooray!! Hip, hip hooray!!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Decals on Etsy

I have no place in my house for giant wall decals but I do love them. I also love decorating blogs and the giant wall decals have been more and more popular as of late. There are SO many amazing ones that you'll just have to check out Etsy for yourself to see what you find. I particularly like the ones of trees and cherry blossoms...but the possibilities are truly endless. If you are looking for something fun and/or unique to spruce up your house or decorate your nursery consider the decal (and of course send me pictures!!!). I love to see what you do!

This one is one sale!!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

JuJu's Dreams of France

So, this is a kitchen only Julia Child (and Baby B) could ever dream of having :) Yay! I am SO SO SO happy with it!! The Mister and I always make the best team.

Like I said yesterday, the kitchen is made of scrap wood that was mostly leftover from the Gnome Home construction. The green paint is leftover from the desk chair in the nursery* and the white paint...well that's leftover trim paint from the house.

The pot rack and blue "s" hooks came from Ikea.
The stainless sink was a roasting pan from Ikea (we just took the handles off).
The silver stove knobs came from Ikea.
We constructed the faucet out of a few pieces of PVC.
The sink knobs and the oven handle came from Lowes

And the burners are old Cds that I spray painted with a matte black finish!

I hope you like it! But most importantly I hope Baby B likes it when he/she decides to make their debut.


*speaking of the's currently a wreck but I hope to get it organized in a few weeks or so and then I will send some updates of that little project.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Someone's in the Kitchen

Perhaps this title made you think of my long distance bun in the oven?

That's not what I meant at all!! The Mister and I are diligently working on a little kitchen for Baby B's playhouse. We're almost done...but not quite so no pictures for you yet!! I just couldn't bring myself to pay the $138 for the Ikea kitchen when I knew that we could do it ourselves with all of the scrap lumber we have around the house. We spent about $40 on it altogether and I think it's coming along quite nice. Pictures coming soon!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's Here!

Just in case you were wondering...the crib that was supposed to arrive late August arrived yesterday and the FREE, yes FREE mattress arrived earlier in the week. The Mister already assembled the crib and it is stunning...just as cute as the picture. I haven't put any sheets on it or anything yet but I will eventually. There's no rush really now is there? I am really happy, not only is it beautiful but it is safe and will hopefully have some longevity for many years to come.


Vintage Dot Matryoshka Dress by VALERIYA

All my Russian APs with little girls! Valeriya (See Etsy blog from a few weeks ago) has a cute little dress on sale for$20!!! Here's the link!! and here's the dress!!

P.S. If we end up with a girl this shop had better watch out!!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breaking News from the Joint Council (1:20 P.M.)

The Joint Council on International Children's Services:

The agreement between Russia and the United States regarding intercountry adoptions is set to be signed in just 45 minutes!


Notice: Secretary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Sign Adoption Agreement

The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security announced today, July 13, 2011, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signed a bilateral adoptions agreement that will strengthen procedural safeguards in adoptions between our countries.

This Agreement will provide additional safeguards to better protect the welfare and interests of children and all parties involved in intercountry adoptions. Under the Agreement, only adoption agencies authorized by the Russian government will be able to operate in Russia and provide services in adoptions covered by the Agreement, except in the case of an adoption of a child by his or her relatives. This will largely eliminate independent adoptions from Russia and create a better defined framework for intercountry adoptions between the United States and Russia. The Agreement also includes provisions designed to improve post-adoption reporting and monitoring and to ensure that prospective adoptive parents receive more complete information about adoptive children’s social and medical histories and anticipated needs.

The United States is committed to working with the Russian Federation on implementing the provisions laid forth in this Agreement as soon as it enters into force.

The Department of State will publish criteria, procedures, and clear guidance related to the Agreement on prior to the Agreement's entry into force.

To find out more: Please visit the Department of State's FAQs on the Agreement and the Department of Homeland Security's FAQs on procedural implications.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's My Bloggy and I'll Whine if I Want To...

We didn't get a call today. I know I said that I wouldn't whine anymore**

**see blog title


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update on Bi-lateral Agreement

Changes in Russian Adoption

This is a summary from Dawn Davenport who just returned home from the National Adoption Conference in DC, where one of the speakers was a Russian official talking about the new agreement. This agreement has been in the works for over a year (since the Hansen case last April).

Posted by Dawn Davenport - July 7th, 2011 - 2 Comments
Published in * Adoption

The pressure for an agreement between the US and Russia governing international adoptions reached a peak after Torry Hansen sent her son back to Russia in April 2010 because she no longer wanted to be his parent. (FYI: Russia is now suing Ms. Hansen for child support.) Russia wanted more information on what happened to their children after adoption and the US wanted Russia to have more oversight over adoptions and agencies. Both countries have worked in the past year to develop a bilateral agreement for processing international adoptions (seven negotiations sessions) and it was just announced at the National Adoption Conference that a final agreement will be signed next week. Russia is negotiating a bilateral agreement with a number of countries, including Spain, France, Ireland, Cyprus, and the US. They already have an adoption agreement with Italy.

First, a little background that was given at the National Adoption Conference by Vladimir Kabanov, Chair of the Databank Registry of Children Without Parent Supervision, Ministry of Education and Science. It appears that the numbers of Russian “orphans” are decreasing. Since 2005, there are 40,000 less identified orphans, although there are still 130,000 total Russian orphans. Russia has also made a concerted effort to move children from institutionalized care to foster care. Since 2005, orphanages have decreased by 590. There are now 1206 child welfare institutions. Since 2008, Russia has started paying monthly subsidies for foster families and lump sum payments for adoptive families. They have had success, especially for foster care. Mr. Kabanov said that he would expect that there will be fewer infants available for adoption from Russia in the future.

Mr. Kabanov said that since most of the international adoptions from Russia are to families in the US, they see most of their problems in the adoptions in the US. Of the 18 children that have been killed by their adoptive parents, 17 were adopted by American families. He expressed a frustration with the lack of post adoption information provided by adoption agencies and the US government.

The bilateral adoption agreement between Russia and the US will be signed next week. At one point in his presentation, Mr. Kabanov said it would be signed by [or on] July 11, and at another point in the speech he said it would be signed between July 11 and 13. Although a copy of the final agreement hasn’t been made available yet, Mr. Kabanov said we should expect to see the following:
• Adoption agencies will have to be Hague accredited, even though Russia will not become a member of the Hague Treaty on Intercountry Adoption. From an adoption agency standpoint, this is a big deal since the accreditation process is timely and costly. I have been told that only two agencies that are currently authorized by Russia to place their children will be affected since all the others already have Hague accreditation.
• Stricter requirements on authorized adoption agencies, in addition to becoming Hague accredited.
• Independent adoptions (adoptions that do not use an adoption agency) will no longer be allowed.
• More required training and psychological evaluation of adoptive parents.
• More standardization on how social and health records are documented and given to adoptive parents.
• Requiring that adopted Russian children notified when an adoption dissolves or disrupts.

Adoption agencies that are already authorized/licensed by Russia, will have 60 days to comply with the new regulations or their accreditation will be revoked and they will have to reapply. During those 60 days, they can continue to place children for adoption from Russia.

I am hoping that this means that we will only be required to do more reporting after the adoption and/or maybe we might need to do more training or psychological evaluation. Nothing else. Our agency is Hague accredited and has a great reputation in Russia. I am also hoping that this means that Russia will be required to give agencies more information about the health of children available for adoption. I can't wait to see how this goes. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more news.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Brace Yourselves

House cleaned-check
House painted-check
New crib bought- check
Paperwork done-check
Special projects for work ready- almost check
Playhouse complete- check

Ready for baby- check

Only a few more items left on the list and then I will have to start another list. :)

It's been two months and three days since this email "Referrals are not taking long at all. I would estimate your referral coming soon, actually. " Soon in agency speak is probably different from the rest of the world. In a world full of microwaves and instant messaging we've (I've) learned to not be as patient as we should be. Our little one is out there somewhere...I guess s/he is not ready for us yet. I should be more patient. I will try not to write so much about waiting for awhile. I will continue my diatribe about the misery of waiting after trip one. Brace yourselves.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank you Russia.

My heart is full with love for a country that is so generous to let us have an opportunity to adopt a child of their own. Thank you Russia. Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and I know many other adoptive parents with hearts just as full as mine). I cannot wait to have the opportunity to thank you in person. I was thinking this...and just had to say it.

with love and the deepest of gratitude,

P.S. I almost forgot. The last parts of the dossier were sent to Russia on 7/1/2011.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vintage Etsy

I was looking over my wishlist and remembered these fabulous vintage Asian lantern plates that I thought would look great in the playhouse. Aren't they adorable? I found them on the Whee Treasures etsy site. They also have other things that I Fisher-Price little people. The old kind not the ones they make now. I used to spend HOURS playing behind the bushes with my little people imaginary treehouse. One day I will have a little people camper...sorry to digress. Anyway, in case you didn't know...Etsy not only features many amazing artists and craftspeople, they also have many cool vintage items. Check out Whee Treasures (but don't by the plates...they're mine!!)



I just realized yesterday that it has been one year and seven months since signing with our agency. Time flew by but now that we are waiting I don't think it could go any slower.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Russia on Film

I found these images by Russian chemist and photographer (and artist!), Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii online a few years ago and was moved by the amazing people and the beauty of the country. Believe it or not, these photos were taken before WWI when color photography was just beginning. He had a train car converted to a dark room and traveled around the country capturing daily life through the eye of his camera. I hope you like them as much as I do. I can't wait to see this beautiful architecture and meet the amazing people of Russia! Enjoy.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Parental Bonding and the Institutionalized Child

I have been asked about the process of bonding with an internationally adopted child and why it's so very important that the child's most basic needs be provided by only mama and daddy until they have bonded and attached with mama and daddy. Perhaps some of you adoptive parents can provide some personal insight that we can share with friends and family. I will post more about this later, but for now, please read the information below (borrowed from another blog).

Effects of Institutionalization on Children
Children begin the cycle of attachment and bonding even in the womb, as they must receive sufficient nutrition and be free of harmful substances like alcohol and drugs, to develop properly and be ready to attach at birth. Children who are born to mother addicted to drugs or alcohol often have immature neurological system and can be hypersensitive to all stimulation, like touch, which is important in the early phases of attachment. As a result , their heightened sensitivity and irritability may set them up for further abuse and or neglect as caregivers attempt to nurture a baby who is fussy and upset.

The Bonding Cycle
In the first 18 months of life, infants learn whether to trust their environment or else to find that his/her needs will not be met. In what we call the bonding cycle, children have a need, i.e. hunger, pain, etc. They become angry and demand that their need be met. When it is met (gratification), many times over the course of 2 years, they learn to trust that their caregivers will care for and protect them. This gratification and trust becomes a foundation for development for life. When their needs are not consistently met, the bonding cycle is interrupted, having lifelong implications and causing problems in the following areas:

* Social/behavioral development
* Cognitive development
* Emotional development
* Cause and effect thinking
* Conscience development
* Reciprocal relationships
* Parenting
* Accepting responsibility

Children who have been institutionalized often experience interruptions in the bonding cycle. Their needs may be met sometimes, sometimes not; with no predictability, they do no know what will happen the next time they let out a cry. This causes them to learn to lose their expectations that their needs will be met and gratify themselves with self soothing methods. They trust no one besides themselves to gratify their needs and do not learn to identify with others or to develop compassion, empathy or love. These children may use methods to gratify themselves like head banging, rocking, sucking on their hands or pulling their hair. They may appear detached and vacant, desiring no interactions with others.

As newly adoptive parents (soon I hope) it will be important for us to teach our child that we will be there for them always and that we are the caregivers.

More on this later,