Gerard is still shaking his head. He can not believe that I would even consider going camping. A couple of months back Anna and I got the chance to go to a Girl Scout Camp-o-ree at Dutch Wonderland. So I took advantage of the offer and purchased a tent and we were off. Anna really liked it. She was able to run around and play, we had a camp fire. She cooked a hot dog on a stick and actually ate it.
I think what she really enjoyed was going with a group. During that trip there were a total of 6 kids. All six kids played beautifully together. It was a 3 day 2 night trip. So this summer I asked my fellow co-leader if she wanted to use up these tubing passes I had bought a couple of years ago. She agreed so we set a date to go camping.
We had hoped for a bigger group of people but it can be difficult to manage many different schedules. Sunday we set out on our journey to Ringing Rock State park. At this park there is field of large rocks that if you hit them with a hammer or another rock it makes a ringing sound. They also have a trail for hiking that was pretty cool.
We stayed at the Ringing Rock campground which was a few minutes from the state park. The grounds were beautiful and because we decided to stay midweek we were the only tent campers there. The pool was very nice but the showers were a little rough. We woke up early, had breakfast, a quick swim, and then set out for our tubing adventure down the Delaware river. Since my camera is not water proof I did not get any pictures of us doing this but Michelle did. Hopefully, I will be able to go back and put them into this post.
Tubing down the Delaware was actually pretty fun. I joked and said I would never do this again but I actually think I will one day. The tubing company we used which I HIGHLY recommend was Bucks County River Tubing. Anna and I were in the same tube and took the 4 hour tour.
After a little more swimming and a camp fire we were off to bed for a good nights sleep. I was surprised how fast I was able to get everything pack up and back into the car. The girls all want to camp again so maybe one more trip before school starts.
Time seems to fly by at warp speed around here these days. Anna has finished kindergarten! How is that possible? Wasn't it just the other day when I was considering preschool for her? Here she is on her last day holding a picture from her first day.
We have been busy. As I mentioned back in September Anna has started Girl Scouts. I am the leader. I have to say I think we have done so much this past year with the Girl Scouts and Anna has enjoyed it. I have become friends with the co-leader which is also very cool. We hold so many of the same values and at times that can be difficult to find in a friend. She puts up with my crazy spontaneous ways and I laugh as her OCD planning. I think we actually make a pretty good pair.
We did a beach clean up in May. It was such a beautiful day that I even got a little sun burn unexpectedly. Anna and her friends even got to play in the surf a little bit even though the water was cold.
One of the girls from the Daisy troop has a pony. Her Mother offered to let them ride Rocket. To say Anna loved it was a severe understatement. She was so excited and talked about it for weeks. She is currently saving her chore money for a horse.
The triplets have grown too. They are so amazing. I a truly amazed how my sister is able to hold it all together everyday. Her lifestyle has changed so drastically but I think it was a good change. I can not imagine our family without these smiling faces.
This is Jillianna, Jacqueline (At the table) and Jennalynn. This is the first official time they got dirty.
Hans is growing so big. I can almost not believe that he is now five! It seems he was just born the other day. If only I had 1/8 of his energy I could easily move a mountain. It is so funny how much he loves the babies. Here is a picture from Easter of the two clowns dyeing eggs as they do every year. This time they were dressed as super heroes.
I have decided to take the summer off from school. It was not a hard decision because the next three classes require me to work in a doctor's office 24 hours per week. That is just too hard to do during the summer time. I do welcome the break. I woke up bright and early this morning with the plan of cleaning up my office and writing this blog post.
Gerard is doing well. His summer has been busy as usual cutting the grass and putting the boat in the water. Since we can not afford a horse Gerard is willing to step in as any good Dad should. She saddles him up and they ride around the living room. I am sometimes forced to break out my magic Mommy wand and turn him back into Dad so he can answer my questions in a human voice rather then a horse voice. I don't speak fluent horse yet.
Yesterday I took pictures of Me-Me, Greg and Hans at the beach. Lets see if anyone can decode this picture for fun.
It is cold here. Not as cold as it has been but I feel cold today then I have in previous days. I think it has something to do with the snow melting which makes the air very damp feeling or perhaps it is because I choose to never wear a real coat. We played at the park today. Anna loves the park. She alternated with wanting to wear her gloves and not wanting to wear her gloves. I look at her and I am just amazed by the things she wants to do.
One of the Girl Scout programs includes low line zip lining or what Anna refers to as zip locking. At first she thought she would be scared but now she is telling everyone about wanting to go zip locking. I already had it on the calendar so I guess it is good that she decided that she wants to go.
Did I mention she lost another tooth? About a week ago she was at Grammy and Papa's house playing with JM and out came her upper front tooth. I really do need to get a good picture. I love a cute little toothless grin.
So after the park today we went to the hospital where I work to pick up some contrast medium for my sister (Mother of the triplets). She has a hernia that needs to be repaired. She has been putting it off because she hates the idea of another surgery. I can not say that I blame her. The recovery will be difficult because she will not be able to pick up the girls for a few weeks. When we dropping it off Anna decided she wanted to stay. Okay we were all a little shocked because Anna has a hard time with the triplets at times. She jumped right in and started playing with them. I think now that they are moving around she is better able to relate to them. Jillianna (the baby, baby) is trying to stand on her own. They joke that she will be the first one who tries to move out.
My mother is going to Sloan-Kettering tomorrow for her yearly evaluation. I am staying home but that does not mean that I am off the hook I have baby sitting detail. I hope to get some homework done while I am there but lets get honest I would much rather play with the girls if they are up.
I am in the process of completing week # 5 of this semester. This class is only 14 weeks long so I feel like I am making some real progress. No homework is due the next two weeks. Hopefully I take advantage of this little break to work ahead but again lets be honest I probably will not.
Pictures, pictures, pictures...well for some reason I have not taken any recently. I so need to get a few good ones of Anna but did I mention it is cold...really cold here? So now I am off to write a crazy long paper on hypertension and play a little bit of Anna's my little pony game (mostly just collecting the coins so she can play the games) but I did not want to get too far out without writing a little something.
We have been so busy with the Daisy scouts and we are both loving it. Anna will ask "Are we having a Daisy scout meeting today?" I feel so fortunate that we are paired up with a very nice co-leader. It makes it so much easier to be with someone with really likes doing it. I admit I was a little worried in the beginning but she has been a true blessing. The other children and parents in the group are also amazing. I think each one of them brings something special to each meeting.
I was never a Girl Scout growing up but I did have that secret desire to be one and wear that little hat. I bought Anna the hat which she dislikes wearing but I still love it. I am actually quite shocked by the opportunities that Girl Scouts in out area have available to them. I busted out the calendar the other day and quickly filled it up with programs that I think Anna will love. She has been to a few that the council has hosted and liked them all. What I did not realize the biggest challenge would be was the amount of money that certain events cost for the troops. Right now we have a grand total of 28 dollars in our bank account. That really does not go far when you figure in patches, journey books and craft supplies. We are making it work which I guess is a good thing.
Anna still has a fascination with horses. Even tonight she was the only one rooting for the Broncos. We are avid Seattle fans. I have to look around to find the pictures from when Gerard and I were in Seattle many years ago for the playoffs. Gerard became a Seattle fan when the team was first formed which is very funny since we live in Eagle country with the Giants and Jets fans all very close by.
Anna is really starting to read well. Her favorite books star an elephant and a pig. I have to say I enjoy listening to her read. I am certain that she will be a teacher one day. All of her cousin usually have to sit down when she conducts "class" It is officially 11 days until her next vacation!! I had wanted to go somewhere warm but my budget minded way of thinking says we should just stay home. I do want to plan at least one or two fun activities for her time off. When I looked ahead to my school schedule it appears to be a light week for me so I am excited.
I am thinking about having my blog printed. I know, I know I have said this before but this time I mean it. The triplets birthday is right around the corner. They have grown so big. We are planning on doing birthday pictures with them eating cake! It should be fun. Otherwise things are running pretty smooth around here.
Last week was quite eventful around here. I ended up in the ER not once but twice! How is that really possible. I totally avoid hospitals when I am not getting paid. Well the first trip was due to a reaction to kale of all things. I have been reading about kale and seeing recipes for kale and thought hmmm I can eat that. Well no I can not. The reaction started at itching in the palms of my hands, progressed to swelling of my wrists, then swelling of my lips and the appearance of welts the size of a half dollar over my body. I had been asleep when most of the welts started to appear. It was Anna who woke me up to tell me that she loved me. When she touched my face I knew something was wrong. My sweet baby girl fell right back to sleep and I went straight to the ER.
The second trip was far more traumatic for her. She had been playing nicely in the living room. I can hear her play from anywhere in our house because it is pretty small (which I love). I started to sweat and have abdominal pains. Gerard walked in from the gym at the same time (thank goodness he was home). With one look at me he knew I needed to go to the ER. I had a ruptured ovarian cyst. YIKES! They are painful. As Gerard was preparing Anna for our trip to the hospital I could hear her say "I can dress myself just fix Mommy!" Bless her heart. I was pretty much doubled over in pain the whole way there (thank goodness it was only a 10 minute trip). I could see my baby girl in the back seat with her little hand folded in prayer. Later in the week she told me that seeing me in pain was like a nightmare for her.
Anna has been asking some interesting questions lately. My sister lovingly refers to Anna as "Crabby Abbie" when she is not enjoying the company of the babies. She tells her that she really enjoys when Anna comes over but does not enjoy when Abbie shows up. I can not say as I blame her. So as we were driving one day Anna asked me "Why do you love me?" She really wanted an answer. She asked if I still loved her when she was "Crabby Abbie" too.
How do explain a Mother's love? I think this is a very hard question so I wanted to give her the right answer or at least a good answer. I told her that I love her heart. That she was a kind and caring child. I told her about examples of how I thought she was kind and caring. I think it is was a pretty good question. It is funny because we talk about loving her a lot. I guess she wanted to know what exactly we loved about her. I confirmed that I do love Crabby Abbie but that I do not love that behavior which is different.
Well Christmas has come and gone. We rang in the New Year too! It truly felt like a magical time. We had our family over the weekend before Christmas which just added to the excitement. Christmas morning was just Anna, Gerard and I. His parents came for breakfast along with Aunt Ellie.
Making cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve
Funny how something never change...Christmas 2009
The Triplets in birth order wondering what all the fuss is about
At Aunt Jenny's house on Christmas Eve for dinner
After all these years I was still not able to get a picture of Santa!
But he did come.
A horse of course
and a few dragons
Gerard's parents with Anna after breakfast
Aunt Ellie tucked in there too!
I know there always seems to be an excuse lately but crazy busy is an understatement. Right before Christmas Aunt Ellie had a major stroke. She had to have the clot surgically removed. We are hopeful that she will regain all of her strength back with lots of therapy.
Papa fell on the ice about 2 weeks ago. He fractured his back and a few ribs. He is doing very well just a little sore and pain when he does too much or is stubborn and does not take the pain medications.
I am back to school. The break felt too short even though I finished up early. I have been so lucky because I have had a bunch of time off with Anna and have more time planned for February and April. I also decided I will not be taking a class this summer. There is just too much fun to be had.
Girl Scouts has been busy. Hopefully my next post will be able a bunch of the things that we have done. For now I have to get the blue chalk off my hands (today was crazy hair day for Anna) and hit the books.
March 9, 2008 Leaving for Trip #! (Start of process 20 months 1day, Little Banana is 17 months 2 weeks old, Started with AAI 15 months, 3 weeks and 2 days, Time since I got the call 1 month 3 weeks and 3 days ago
March 6, 2009 finger prints redone for INS, Visa for trip # 1 arrived
March 3, 2009 Made International Flight Reservations and sent out Visa Application
March 3, 2009 Received Travel Dates for Trip # 1 (March 9, 2009 to March 18, 2009)
February 24, 2009 Proof of Housing and Employment Letter sent to the State of NJ for Apostille
February 12, 2009 Proof of Housing signed
January 23, 2009 Additional Documents sent to Moscow
January 18, 2009 Told Grandma, Poppop and Nannie about you
January 16, 2009 Documents picked up from Trenton and overnighted to AAI
January 16, 2009 Documents dropped off in Trenton for apostilles
January 15, 2009 Documents dropped off in Trenton for the Apostilles
January 13, 2009 I Have a Little Girl!! Wait time 10 months 2 weeks and 1 day
January 12, 2009 AAI meeting in Michigan
November 5, 2008 Declined Special Needs Child
October 30, 2008 Considered a Special Needs Little Girl for adoption
October 29, 2008 Re-done documents sent to AAI
October 25,2008 Received Home Study Letter, copies of Passport and SS license back from State of NJ with Apostilles
October 20, 2008 Sent BC, Home Study Letter, copies of passport and SS license to State of NJ for Apostille
October 17, 2008 Obtained new Birth Certificates
October 17, 2008 Home Study Update letter completed
September 12, 2008 Assigned to Arkhangelsk
April 24, 2008 Fingerprinted for New Jersey State Police
April 24, 2008 Received FBI background check back
April 8, 2008 Additional Documents sent to AAI (BC, I-171H, Letter of Employment & Residence)
April 6, 2008 Nine Months Pregnant on Paper
March 31, 2008 Assorted Documents Sent to the State of New Jersey for Apostilles
March 31, 2008 FBI Criminal Background Fingerprinting completed and sent to the FBI
March 14, 2008 Residency paperwork signed by the Tax Assessor
March 6, 2008 Inital Dossier sent to Moscow
February 29, 2008 Dossier Documents sent to Adoption Associates, inc for translation
February 28, 2008 Dossier documents received from the State of New Jersey with the apostilles
February 19, 2008 Documents sent to Trenton for Apostille
February 14, 2008 Received the updated Home Study
Received I-171 from the Department of Homeland Security January 30, 2008 (Total Wait Time 3 months 4 days)
Psychological Evaluation Arrived Apostiled January 28, 2008
Psychological Evaluation Completed by Dr. Busch on January 22, 2008
Fingerprinted by USCIS for the I-600 December 18, 2007
Received Invitation to be fingerprinted by the Department of Homeland Security December 6, 2007
Formal Application to Adoption Associates December 3, 2008
Received conformation letter from Department of Homeland Security November 29, 2007
Preliminary Adoption Application to Adoption Associates November 14, 2008
Department of Homeland Security cashed the check November 14, 2007
Sent in the I-600 Form to the Department of Homeland Security October 26, 2007
Recieved Final Home Study Documents October 26, 2007
Obtained Birth Certificate from the State of New Jersey October 25, 2007
Dossier Documents signed and Notarized October 1, 2007
Home Study visit completed September 17, 2007
First Home Study meeting completed September 6, 2007
Adoption Application Approved by CHI August 16, 2007
Home Study Application Sent to A Loving Choice August 13, 2007