Friday, August 28, 2009

The New Dacha

So here it is...My new dacha~
The top two are obviously of the outside. What didn't really show up, is just beside the steps going down to the small little yard, there is a wooden fence. Just below the view, there is a lovely little creek. Awwww. A creek.
The next two are of the main floor. The dining area is small, but that's okay. I don't have a lot of dinner parties. The next one didn't show up well. It is the living room. (I should have opened those hideous sheers) It's a big picture window that looks over the small little yard and the sweet little creek. The living room is somewhat big. I finally get a room where ONLY GROWNUPS GO! There will be no tv here, no toys, no popcorn crumbs, and no one without proper id can come in...
I have a dining room suite but will sort of start over in the Living Room. I have so many ideas, but have two inspirations that I am working around. Green is one. The other is the lighting. I love the lamps, and will be searching for an affordable version of the Ralph Lauren lamp that I f
Each of these photos has something that I love. The one constant, is the light color solid colored sofa. The modern side tables and coffee tables don't work well in my mind so those are out. I follow the 60-30-10 rule and use Green, then white, then black. I have to now narrow down the actual green that I like. Two of these are very lime, which is fine, but then the darker, richer green on the bottom is nice too. I may have to do that thing where you pain a square on the wall with all of the colors I like and just see what works best. I wish one of those designer shows would come in and do this for me. Although it's fun, it will take a lot of work!!
I will post more photos later, but these two areas are the ones that are foremost on my mind.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Bit Of History

I changed the blog layout and header again...Everytime I looked at that Beach background, I felt a little sad, so onto Fall..My other favorite time of year!

Hillary got me thinking about our history. You know that saying "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it," well that's what I am afraid of..Looking through my many photos of the adoption process, makes my adoption clock tick..Not loudly, but I hear it! Maybe I will never adopt again, but I will go back to Russia and see the most beautiful city in the world, Khabarovsk, Russia...

I can't beleive how much my daughters have grown and changed. I am sure everyone says that. My mom is always saying how time flies, but I try my best to hold onto every moment. This time of year does bring me back to both girls adoptions.
I was traveling for court for Anna, and traveling to meet AugustRose. The fall is such a special time. I am oddly envious of gals like Stacey. Poor thing is in that watiing stage, has been there a while. But Lord knows good things are coming to her. That goodness that happens on the court trip is as close to magical as I know of. I could do that again and again, I just don't think I can do the money, the paperwork, the waiting, the frustration, the agency...Just can't do it. I can't wait for us to travel to the FarEast to work with the orphanages. I can't wait to put my feet back onto Russian soil, not for an adoption, but to give back. To give some sort of offering of love."
Thank you Hillary for reminding me of those good days in Khabarovsk.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I refuse to believe that I have Martha Stewart as a BFF! But I do.
She is spot on with the holidays, we have celebrated Halloween and Easter for 5 years together, and never once has she failed to set a lovely fun table and have treats for everyone...Oh, and we are even decorate gingerbread cookies at Christmas. So it wasn't surprising that she made a Toy Story cake for Fibi's birthday party at the bounce house. (It looked JUST LIKE THIS ONE, but my I can't get the pic to post)
She is That girl. Always on the money. Ready, prepared. I have to wonder sometimes what the Heck she is doing with me? I think I add the comic relief, but never a meal. Unless you count bringing tomatoes every so often. Our children get along beautifully, and we are truly family.
We both have solid beliefs in Christ and how to raise our children in the Church. We both believe in "Thank You" cards... We both love Russia. We both like being with our families more than going out and about to "adult" parties and events. Wow, who'd of thunk it? Me and Martha Stewart?
And my Martha Stewart gave me the most adorable Coach bag for my birthday...
I wonder if the other Martha's gives her BFF cool gifts like this?
Thanks Missi!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big Changes and an Intervention...

Ok, so as you know my house was supposed to go on the market before I left for the summer. I couldn't get it together, couldn't get a lender to guarantee me a loan, and quite honestly ran out of time to pack up the nic-nacs before I left for my vacation. My mother has watched me struggle to get this house organized since AugustRose came home. She has tried to help figure out a way to keep toys in one spot, clothes on the right side of the closets, winter clothes and summer clothes organized, and even holiday decorations put in a place to keep them safe and uncluttered..Nothing has worked. I just end up with a house in a heap. The girls are just not ready to keep their toys in one room.
Now my mom is always pro-active. If there is a problem, she will find the answer. She is not one to wallow in the misery like me. So, she finds townhouses, goes to see them and if they fit my needs she presents them to me. Because I am/was an independent girl, I have consistently told her that I can't get financing for a house until I sell mine. I get sell mine until I get it all organized and straight. I don't mean to, but I sort of put up roadblocks since I don't want to take help that my mom and dad offer me. So it has been a vicious circle of my family coming up with solutions and me shooting them down, then my parents listening to me complain, and on and on. Well all things have changed.
Upon coming home, my mom found a townhouse that is perfect for me. I, of course shot the idea down. I yelled at her for doing this to me again. Then magically my dad called to say he wanted to come up and see us. (I thought it was just because he missed us already) When he got here, we took a drive and he told me, "Let's go over and just look at that townhouse your mother found." I rolled my eyes, knowing that I can't afford to do anything, and finding financing would require too much, but I went anyway. WOW! The real estate agents were there, the workers were there, and they said, "Hey Julianne, come in and see what you think."
Huh? How are these people so familiar with me? We walked around the 3 LEVELs and I wanted to cry, knowing how perfect it is. 3 Bedrooms, A little kitchen, but a HUGE living room, a nice size playroom in the basement, separate dining area, big master bedroom, and it's own backyard..
When we were walking around, he asked me if I wanted it. I started naming all of the reasons, it couldn't happen, and he kept saying, "Don't put up obstacles." We came home and my dad sat me down and told me what the plan was..Through a series of crazy check writing, it was possible to pay cash for the house (Which is well below market value) and then once I sell my condo, I can pay everyone back. I thought about it for about 5 minutes, prayed about it for about 10 minutes, and then accepted the generous offer. It seems that my whole family has gone to see this house, and intervened to make it happen. My sister has even snuck out to see it...
We signed the contract last night. We close on September 18th.
What is really funny about the whole thing is that I told my dad, I still want to go to Russia. He told me that if I went to Russia, I could rent it out, or leave it empty. That may or may not ever happen, but this townhouse is going to happen!!
I have prayed for so much to "start going easier" and this is the biggest of my worries. God works quickly when it's a good thing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some Progress

As for SOAR, I have made some progress. Contacted the IRS and realized that they need certified copies of all of my documents, and not MY copies. So I contacted the State Corporation Commission in Richmond, and have certified copies on their way. Once I submit that to the IRS, we should be good to go! (Within a given period period of time of course)

As for AugustRose's preschool, I am actually all good. I have paid all of the fees, so they are willing to wait for the additional paperwork. Thank the Lord. This preschool is excellent, and after Anna's experience, I know it will be a wonderful place for AugustRose.

Now for my house. Yuck.
It is too small. It is too dark. But I cannot rebuild it, so I will deal with it. This week I will start prayerfully planning what is next for my little family. I am going back to small group for the first time since I adopted AugustRose. I know that has been a big missing peice for me. I miss my NewHope friends, and I need help from the BIG GUY. I cannot do this alone, and need to put my heart back into his hands!

On a side note, If you are reading this blog, leave a comment with your blog so I can link back to you...I know you are out there! And for those who don't have blogs, leave a comment so I can get to know you! AND JEN S. I don't have access to your blog! I need all the info.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I am already overwhelmed.
The SOAR packet was returned, and it needs editing. This will require several phone calls for clarification, and then more paperwork, then more phonecalls. Feels like adoption paperwork, do it, redo it, clarify, then do it again.
I just found out that my storage unit was broken into, and instead of taken out all of my things, some things were taken out and left all over the floor of the basement, and then they packed all of their things ontop of mine..So I get to unpack boxes upon boxes to get out my last couple of things left in there...
AND, while in my absense, my neighbors moved. YEAHHHHHHH. They were slobs and had a pit bull. I wouldn't have really been concerned, but it was a rescue dog. This means it was raised by someone else, and the neighbors couldn't really predict its behavior. It was huge!
I am trying desperately to love being home, but it ain't working. My house got so small over the summer. I feel like I am living in a dark box. The girls are all out of sorts and have made a huge mess in their room, playing with all of their toys that they missed while in Florida.
AugustRose's preschool paperwork was due on August 3, while I was in Florida. I am freaking out that she might have been dropped. Even though Anna went to school there, AugustRose got "wait-listed" because I turned in her paperwork 1 day after they started accepting applications. She got accepted in late June, and if this causes her to be put on another wait list, I am going to be so irritated...
I need some prayers, as I am overwhelmed. My head is spinning at everything I need to get done in the next week...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Saying Goodbye To The Sea..

Maybe the title is a wee bit dramatic, but Oh so true...Today we are heading over to a beach that we don't go to often, but we have to go and say goodbye to the beloved sea that has taken such amazing care of the girlz this year. Not too rough, always full of stingrays, dolphins, shells, small crabs, beautiful fish and so much more.
I have been prayerful mostly when I am floating in the ocean, there is something about the vastness of it that brings me back to Him..Thank goodness.
Yesterday at our beach, the stingrays were everywhere again, and for the first time, I felt one on my leg as it swam by. There is no more fear from anyone. Auntie is a little freaked out by them, but she hasn't been with them as much as us. Anna and AugustRose got to stand inches from yesterdays group and watch them swim by their legs. No fear, just a healthy respect of God's wonderful creatures. I didn't catch any photos of them, since we usually were in the water watching as they swam by.

I have so much to be thankful for...What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Best Children's Beach in the Whole Wide World

My dad lives on Naples Beach. It is a very low key sort of beach town. No boardwalk, none of the super tacky BEACH souvenir stores on every corner. The mall here has a Tiffany's, Coach, Gucci, Kate Spade, Burberry, and some diamond shops that actually have guards outside. (They are dressed in suits, but nonetheless, they are there) We went to that mall to get icecream, and walk the millions of fountains. The people are lovely. Full of money, but lovely. Everyone enjoys seeing two little ones, as this is a retirement area for most. The reason I think I love this beach so much is the people who come to enjoy it. This year, there are many Floridians here. This is rare, but with the economy like it is, many are taking "Staycations" and are here with us.

You can see how easy it is to just play and relax. Sometimes I go up to my chair and watch from the comfort of the umbrella. The water is often as smooth as glass, and the stingrays come by so often, my children just stand still, or float on their toys and watch them go by. They have come to love seeing them, and enjoy their beauty. I have too.

We met a guy the other day. He had it rough. He was alone and had a baby boy that was about one year old, and a little daughter who was about 4 who had Down Syndrome. I watched as he tried to keep up with both kids. The little guy did not love the water, but the baby did. So here is this guy, running between two spots on the sand trying to make both kids happy. It wasn't long until my girls walked up to play in the sand with the little girl. This freed Dad up to sit on the edge of the water with his little guy. Later they all got together to build castles and dig holes in the sand. He seemed to be a great dad with such care and concern for both of his little ones. He taught the kids how to make "sand shoes, sand boots, and sand pants."
I felt for this man. He didn't seem out of the ordinary, didn't seem like a superhero, but how tough his role is. I thought about him and his little family for days.
I am not sure I could have handled it. I wonder.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to School Stuff!

This year is a bit different than last year. Anna has definately figured out what is most comfortable to wear, what is coolest or warmest, what she likes. She still goes back to pink every time, but thankfully she is branching out into some more colors.

I am pretty frugal with certain things, but shoes are not one of them. In preschool, Anna wore about 4 different pairs of shoes through the year. Last year, she wore two. One for the first half of the year, one for the second. There were occasional weather related changes to her schedule such as super rain, or snow, but for the most part, she likes to stick to one thing.

This summer we have looked at several shoe types and she always goes back to wanting Sketchers. I prefer her to wear the velcro basic white leather Keds. We have looked on line, and shopped at both the outlet malls and regular malls and we have found many shoes that I thought she would like, but she would say, No Maam, I want to look at the Sketchers. We had such a hard time finding them so we moved on each time without shoes.
BUT guess what we found.......Twinkle Toes Sketchers, size 12.5 on sale if you spend 75.00
Yes, I know its a lot, but she will wear them til they fall off so we got two pairs. One pink, one blue. AugustRose got a pair too. She got the pink ones just like big sister. I think she liked them because of the name "Twinkle Toes."
As for clothes, we have made a drastic change in what the preferences are. I am a creature of habit so it has always been Children's Place for us. Lot's of good sales, pretty sturdy clothes, and from season to season, you can mix and match and the colors usually line up. We still choose yoga pants as the style. (No zippers or buttons, just a slight folded over band at the waist) Found those at Old Navy 2 for 10.oo so we got a bucket load of those, and the drastic part is the tops. Anna loves polo style shirts. She likes the feeling and fit of them and we have been wearing them alot this summer. So sadly, and with much regret, our family is shopping the Ralph Lauren outlet and online. I hit an awesome sale a few days ago online and got each of the girlz 4 shirts. None of them were more than $20.oo.
I found a couple more at a Macy's sale, but they are hit or miss and if they had more colors, I could have gotten more.
So we are finished with clothes for both girlz.
Anna's supply list was short this year. I got some things here in Florida because it is hard to pass on a pack of 24 Crayola crayons for .56 cents! I had a $25.oo gift card to Office Depot and used that to gather some composition books and folders and extra glue sticks.
When I get home, I will see what AugustRose has to bring in for preschool. She is so excited to start school. I am excited to see how she will do. She is buck wild sometimes, but at Church they say she is really focused and behaves nicely..We'll see when she is in class 3 days per week and 3 1/2 hours each time.
Being in Florida with my dad has been simply amazing. We leave this Friday wrapping up two months of bliss and sunshine. The beach, the pool, the wide open places to run and play have been wonderful bonding times for the girlz. Each of them in their own way got peices of me that we could do if we were at home. This is what they will remember when they grow up. Spending time with their family in Florida every summer. I am sad to leave and start thinking about my real life. But I am hopeful for the next year. I have let go of dreading the new bell schedule, let go of the crazy family who harrassed me all year, let go of not getting a raise...Well almost. But I am looking forward to getting back to start with my team. I miss my girls Heather and Stacy. I bet Heather is soon to be preggo, and I am sure Stacy's baby Lilli is doing some amazing new things and of course I have to hear about Margaret's summer...
My mom is going crazy without her grans, and like everyone else would, I feel a bit guilty being away for 2 months..Okay it's late and we are driving to a different beach tomorrow. Gotta be well rested to lay under an umbrella and watch my girlz play!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Her name is Laurie Anne Neira.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


So I woke up with breakfast in bed. My girlz had my dad's help, and the pancakes had sprinkle on them!
We went to the beach for a little bit, then it started to rain. Anna and my dad went out to get some birthday treats, and AugustRose feel asleep on the Lanei (its screened in and has a ceiling fan) I played around on the computer and rested. We did carrot cake and presents (Yankee Candles of all shapes and sizes) and then went to a diner for a birthday dinner. We aren't fancy. We are diner kind of people...
I am 41 today and it already feels good. So today, I have a million reasons to be thankful and happy, but to save you the time, I am narrowing it down to 10~


#10 I am loved by my family who put thought and effort into making today special
#9 My children have had so much natural fun this summer. Very little TV, and lots of reading, playing outdoors, going to the parks, and taking nature walks.
#8 My father is the absolute best. He loves his grans more than me, and somehow I am totally fine with it.
#7 We saw a group of dolphins at the beach today and they were VERY CLOSE~
#6 My sister is detailing my filthy truck at home.
#5 God proves He loves me everyday. (If you met my kids you would know just how much)
#4 Laurie is coming to visit this weekend.
#3 Auntie is coming in a few days
#2 My mom cleaned my house while I have been in Florida
and the top reason to be happy on my birthday this year,
#1 My best friend from CHILDHOOD remembered my birthday and even called me!!!
(Lee, I love and adore you guys!)
Oh and we are doing NYC again next year, so save your money!!!


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ho Hum, A Sick Tooth

Anna had a cavity filled here in Naples...I am very angry at myself that she even had the cavity. I thought we were doing well...It came up pretty quickly, and I didn't want it to go too far, so we had it filled. The dentist and the staff was amazing. They gave her "laughing gas" and she never felt the shots, never winced, never complained. She was an amazing little trooper. The whole time I was beating myself up inside for letting my child's tooth get a cavity. I was so worried this would traumatize her, but No!

She was very numb afterwords and that did scare her. She cried in the car because she didn't know when she would feel normal again...She kept saying "I can't feel my mouth." I was sad that I let this happen to her. We got new toothbrushes, and I asked the nurse to watch her brush to see what she is missing. She gave her a few hints and tips and we bought some kids floss that she can do on her own. She is so careful with her teeth, but I have to do better...

Oh Well, We Tried...

No matter the event, we can't all seem to be on the same page. One of us is never ready for the click...What you see AugustRose doing is what she always does, puts her head towards the camera, then shifts her eyes away...It took us forever to get a decent passport picture yesterday. She needs that passport in case I have a super hero like moment and need to RUSH to some other country....Of course most super heroes don't bring their kiddies, but that is my super power, the ability to travel with ease with my two girlz in tow!