Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Nannies' Diaries

(Don't worry, girls, I didn't read 'em.)

Listen, I don't even know if our nannies have diaries, but if they did I bet they would call them "journals," because that's way more mature. And I bet there would funny story or two in those journals about how dumb Bradlee and I are.

Did you catch what I did up there? I casually mentioned that we have not one, but TWO nannies who help us with the boys while we are at work, thus making us sound rich, fancy and unabashedly glamorous. We are absolutely NONE of the above, but we do have two awesome nannies (and one awesome former nanny, who we are happy to say quit for education- and location-related reasons, and not because our boys are nuts).

How do two teachers end up with two nannies? I am pretty sure it has a lot to do with God providing us with our current house, which has three bedrooms and a nice common area in the basement, complete with its own basement-entry door (but the girls come in the front door, which we like). He obviously knew we had another kid on the way long before we ever did, so he was providing us a way to live in the future. And it helps that we have been involved in a pretty great college ministry over the past few years (not as much now, what with the two babies and all).

It's a win-win-win.

THE NANNIES get to live at our house for free. As a bonus, they get to hang out with the two coolest parents (yep...I'm sure they agree with that) and the two craziest little boys in Missouri! Actually, they might just get to learn what NOT to do as far as parenting is concerned, but we are still learning, too.

WE get free childcare from some of the best college girls you'll ever meet, and we don't have to drive the kids anywhere or pick them up after a long crazy day at work. That saves us around $800-900 per month, and as a bonus for us, we get clued in to some of the trendy things college kids are doing, such as...

  • listening to Need To Breathe (and going to concerts on a school night!)
  • watching "Catfish" 
  • eating Oikos Greek Yogurt (YUM) and Voila! meals
  • wearing cool-kid clothes
And Brody and Brecken get to play, play, play all day long, without even leaving the house or changing out of PJs. 

Now, if only we could work out a deal with a cook and a maid! 




Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Conversations with Brody

As you might imagine, conversations with an almost-two-year-old can be highly entertaining, particularly when said two-year-old can be chatty.

I could tell tons of stories about our funny conversations with Brody, but this is my favorite.

Me: Brody, where were you born?
Brody: ummm, k'tucky (Kentucky)
Me: Yes! and where did you grow?
Brody: Mommy's heart
Me: That's right! Brody grew in Mommy's heart! And where did Brecken grow?
Brody: Mommy's belly

Melt my heart!! We've been working on these details for a few days, and he got the facts straight quickly (So smart!).

This is the beginning of our real conversations with Brody about adoption. He sees pictures of himself and his birth mom from when he was born, and we thank God for "Birthmom 'Jane' (as we'll call her here)" in our prayers at night.

What a sweet boy with a sweet story to be told.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dysfunction in the kitchen

No, people, I'm not talking about my cooking skills.

I'm talking about the kitchen layout. To begin with, it has four doors, three of which open up into one another. And that's just the beginning. But we have made some progress, and I'm quite proud of the change in appearance even though the functionality is still awful.

Observe...This pic is of the "dining area" (which is waaay small) when we first got the place, in June 2011.

Notice little Brody there? We were still in the midst of a crazy adoption, and there were tons of questions floating around about our future with him. Makes my heart hurt a little to remember that time, but also makes it leap for joy at the amazing story God was orchestrating.

And here it is now. Still too small, but much more happy.




And here's the main part of the kitchen. Notice that it's not exactly big, either. But also notice how dark and depressing it looked. And that florescent light fixture (which we JUST changed out)!




And now...with new floors, paint, fridge, light fixture, and hardware. Much more happy in my opinion.







Notice that table? My dad made it from old barnwood. It is amazing (and so is my dad!).



And I have to throw in a picture of the happiest part of the kitchen. (How long can one continue to post pictures of sons in underwear? He's just so cute!)


So, to sum up the kitchen in one word, I would call it dysfunctional. Cuter than before--in my opinion--but still really hard to love.

Consider this corner. To get to stored items, I have to dig all the way back to the deepest part of the corner (I have found several bags of chocolate back there, probably because I push it back there to hide it from myself and then all of a sudden it's 6 months later and it's too late to eat it!) Also, the shelves inside are really short, which means I can't store boxes of cereal, rice, or anything else remotely tall in there unless I tip it to its side, which usually leaves me with a mess. Plus, since it's between the fridge and the oven, it's a bit hard to get to this area without overcrowding the area.



Then we've got this area. That door leads to the back deck, but there's a door about 10 feet away that also leads to the back deck, and there's another in the garage (right out that blue door to the right) that leads to the back). Overkill on the back doors, people!





As I mentioned, the blue door leads to the garage, and the door across from the exterior door leads to the basement.


Soo, three doors within a 3x3 area. Again, overkill on the door situation. What to do about this? We NEVER use this back door, so we are thinking of closing up the hole and adding shallow storage in its place. I even have a cool old door I might be able to have someone (who is cooler with more talent than myself) make into a cupboard. But what about the trash can (details, details) and the ability to open the door leading to the garage all the way. Is that even important here?


Notice all of the window treatments? My mom made those, because she's amazing, too.
Note to self: MUST learn how to use a sewing machine and try to erase the
memory of failure last time I tried.


Other kitchen problems:

Lots of awkward corner cabinet storage.

Countertops are laminate made to look like wood. They actually aren't awful, but I'd love some stained concrete countertops. 

Bad oven range, which is now missing the pans that go beneath the burners. I got tired of them one day, and I am secretly hoping to get a new oven ASAP.


And of course I'd like to change out the dishwasher to stainless steel.

The peninsula area sticks has plenty of counter space, but also sticks out into the dining area quite a bit. I had stools there at one point, but they looked weird and were often in the way.

Lighting...it's very dark in the kitchen, as the lights don't give off enough to reach into all of the corners. I'd like to add some track lighting AND/OR add a row of cabinets to the top of the existing cabinets in order to make the kitchen more seamless ad to eliminate deep, dark corners. If I am being truly honest here, I'd take an entirely new kitchen with all new cabinets, but I'm keeping in mind the future adoptions we'd like to pursue (I've still got Kevin on my mind). Way more important than a kitchen.

 Since I'm dreaming, I'd also take a white farmhouse sink. ooh-lala.

Oh, and have I mentioned I'd like to bust out this wall? See how much more open it would make our kitchen and living room?




This is the backside of that wall in the kitchen. There's not much going on there, anyway, so it wouldn't hurt to lose it from this end, in my opinion.

And I'd like to add bench seating, or a church pew, to this wall by the kitchen table. See how we didn't even finish the trim there? That's because I was going to have someone build us seating along the wall with built-in storage pieces beneath and flanking the seating. But I couldn't pull the trigger on an idea. Sometimes I am paralyzed by indecision, and it drives me nuts!!




Soon I'll have it looking like this, I'm sure (Why can't Sarah Richardson just come help me!?):

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Long weekend

it was a three-day weekend, and that changed everything.

example: sunday we saw santa driving home from church on the highway. (he must vacation in branson.)

license plate: "santas" 

i was so glad he rolled his window down to give me the thumbs up.
i felt really weird taking his picture before he gave me the ok.

normally, on a sunday, we would look at this situation and say, "meh...cool." however, today, it made us downright giddy. why? because we didn't have to go to work the next day. i can't even describe to you how freeing it is to know that you don't have to spend a sunday getting ready for the week. instead, we enjoy the little things, like santa.


then there was the archery tournament on saturday. had this been a normal--i.e. short-- weekend, you'd better believe i'm using my time to get the house in shape (which is never achieved, but whatev) instead of doing something extra, BUT since i had an extra day i took the boys to see the bows in action at the archery tournament at the junior high in bradlee's district. (brad volunteered to help out.) brody loved it and asked for his bow all day long. brecken loved he extra attention.

we are not sponsored by graco, but maybe we should be. call us, graco. we will be adopting lots of kids, so we'll bring you lots of business. right, bradlee?


saturday night, we left the boys with brad's aunt and uncle and went to the zac brown band concert; we were out until 11:30. this normally doesn't happen on a saturday night when we have school coming up because i am always thinking, "when am i going to catch up on sleep before monday?" with two boys, the answer is "never;" however when i know i have an extra day to think about taking a nap, i'm in. (zbb was amazing, by the way. that is real talent. they could probably make "call me maybe" actually sound good...a huge feat, if you ask me.)
1. my main purpose in putting this pic up is to show how this doesn't even look like me. who is that?
2. these concert seat neighbors were nicer than they appear.



**i feel like the zbb concert might warrant its own post entitled 'the 5 people you see at a concert.' that might be in the works. 


went hiking sunday. brody loved it. brecken loved it, too, but mostly because he was being held the whole time.






as you may have read sunday night, president's day was "get stuff done"day. I've highlighted the stuff we got done in blue and the stuff i made excuses about in yellow.  


screw in wall-hooks in brody's closet 
finish staining an oversized ruler for ashley

burn trash (kinda done...burned some stuff but not everything...too windy!)

clean out garage

finish all laundry loads (BOOM!! the closet shelving system fell down after i put clothes away, to which responded "that's why getting all laundry clean at the same time is unnecessary.")

post online pics of the barnwood we are selling - tried. pics weren't on the camera where we thought they were. 

create new wall art for our bedroom - bought it instead. what person, who works and has 2+ kids, has time for this?!

crossfit workout - no, but i did do tons of situps and stairs while doing laundry (in basement) and trying to get brecken to sleep...that kid has to be moving! i'm going to count this as halfway done. 

remove big wooden bench from deck - forgot about this one

clean out car - eh.


figure out what's wrong with my body (knee, rib, neck). might be related to above-mentioned crossfit or two-under-two or this long to-do list) - figured it out. i'm old. 

make homemade baby food for fatty/diva/Brecken/"bwecken" - carrot-pear-lettuce, anyone? 

finish organizing brad's office - didn't even attempt

sweep floors of entire main level - picked up tons of toys. i count this one. 

clean and sanitize trashcans (seriously, they all smell a lot like baby pee.) - so fresh and so clean clean!

secretly cut brad's hair - he didn't feel great yesterday, so i didn't want to make him feel worse by pulling a delilah.  

buy fabric for 3 in-progress projects - nope. 

clean bathrooms - "good enough" clean, which is as good as it gets sometimes. 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

President's Day to-do list

i tend to be a bit idealistic about what we can get done with an extra day and two kids under two. so, just for kicks, here's what i intend for us to get done in the Lotz household tomorrow:

screw in wall-hooks in brody's closet
finish staining an oversized ruler for ashley
burn trash
clean out garage
finish all laundry loads
post online pics of the barnwood we are selling
create new wall art for our bedroom
crossfit workout
remove big wooden bench from deck
clean out car
figure out what's wrong with my body (knee, rib, neck). might be related to above-mentioned crossfit or two-under-two or this long to-do list)
make homemade baby food for fatty/diva/Brecken/"bwecken"
finish organizing brad's office
sweep floors of entire main level
clean and sanitize trashcans (seriously, they all smell a lot like baby pee.)
secretly cut brad's hair
buy fabric for 3 in-progress projects
clean bathrooms

i plan to post an update tomorrow regarding what we actually got done. It will probably be a short post.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

life is like a box of chocolates

"...you never know what you're going to get." (-forrest gump...one of the best characters ever created)

in chocolate and in life, it's true that you never know what you're going to get, but i've never met a box of chocolates i didn't like. this life has been nothing short of unpredictable, but i love it!

in related news, i got 3 BOXES of chocolates from bradlee this morning, along with this card:

(15 bucks if you can add the correct caption. it was a true gem. )
he knows exactly how to make me happy. it was kind of odd to get a valentine from him, because we don't even really "do" valentine's day in the lotz household. but i'll take it! (and for the record, he is REALLY GOOD at getting me gifts.) now i have to figure out what to get him...

maybe something like this:




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Myth: Adoption is so expensive (Part 2)

Got ANOTHER bill from our hospital today: $26, 261 and change for my 12 days in the hospital awaiting Brecken's early delivery. Brecken's hospital bill:Over $88,000!

That's over $114,000 for child delivery, and we get new bills for physical therapy, occupational therapy, eye exams, etc, every day. 


And the shots Brecken gets monthly to help prevent RSV (which can be extremely dangerous for preemies)?? $4,000+ EACH


Brody's adoption total neared $50,000. 

Sooo, adoption doesn't seem too expensive now, does it? :o)


Thankfully, we have insurance to cover most expenses. We are just meeting deductibles like a boss! 


 
(Brecken at 4 days old, taking in my Granny.)

Have you figured it out yet? Money is nothing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kevin!

hopefully someone read that title like the mom yelled it in Home Alone. if not, i'm disappointed.

speaking of moms, this Kevin needs one. i want to be his mom but we are running out of bedrooms (6 people live in our house already!) however, i suppose if someone can help us add on to our house we will adopt him (i say that without asking bradlee for permission, but i bet he'd do it if we had more room).


seriously, though, could he get any cuter?!? (and could you be his mom or dad?) his younger foster brother was recently adopted and he keeps asking when he will be adopted. that BREAKS MY HEART.

GO HERE to read more: http://www.holtinternational.org/cgi/photolisting/display12.cgi?ID=Kevin&Index_re=7




















Friday, February 8, 2013

pics from last week

this is brody's first time in big church. he liked the singing but once he saw the basketball goals he couldn't get them off his mind. "basketball? basketball?" then (whispering) "basketball...basketball!" he's seen kids playing basketball there for upward bound, so every time we pull into the parking lot he says "basketball game?" 


brecken and i had some bonding moments while changing his diaper...




brody learned to blow a whistle (for real). he used to just squeal near the whistle, thinking he'd done it, but he's figured it out for real now (which means all the whistles are now hidden).






random, but these are some volleyball players i took to visit some elementary schools. they hijacked my phone and took embarrassing pics of themselves. paybacks, my friends.




speaking of volleyball, brody LOVES "voll-balls" and has to hold as many as possible when he's in the car.



and here's fatty. this was just his third time eating solids. he ate two canisters, then drank 6 ounces of milk. FAT-TY.




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

adoption in america

i wish i was cool enough to make sweet charts and graphs for you. but since i'm not, i will just repost her infographic here:
Adoption in America [INFOGRAPHIC]

(from Rage Against the Minivan http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/02/adoption-in-america.html.)

that's one of my favorite blogs to read regarding adoption. and that's a post about adoption in america. notice the number of orphans worldwide: 145,000,000. WOW.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

it's all about the money-money

i debated about which bad rap song from the 90s to reference when titling this post. so many options (it's all about the benjamins; mo' money mo' problems; got your money; money ain't a thang...do i really need to go on?)

if money is your excuse for not adopting, you're hosed.

1--it's not really YOUR money anyway.

2--i have great news for you (and for me, because sometimes i am selfish like that). i have found THE BEST reference out there for adoption grants. HERE it is. i wish i had found this when i was looking for grants during our first adoption. hint: pay close attention to the "adoption process stage" for each grant organization. this tells you exactly when (in the adoption process) you can apply for grants (not that we really had a chance to apply in our 3-day wait, but still).

if money is your excuse for not adopting, you're hosed. 1--it's not really yiur money anyway. 2--this is a list of tons of organizations that will give you money to help with your adoption.

it looks like you can apply for a few grants before you even finish your homestudy. hooray!

Friday, February 1, 2013

who needs a pep talk? (me)

my friend emailed this to me the other day. LOVE IT. i bet you will, too.