Sunday, February 20, 2011


I just have to say...I'm pretty sure Kiira is the cutest baby on the planet...seriously. I'm not biased at all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Am The Queen of Paperwork

Back when I first met Kent I thought I knew what it was to deal with paperwork and red tape. I was getting a PhD in education; I had to do a lot of writing and reading and I figured it would be the most paperwork intensive time of my life. Well, here are a few things I've done since then that involve way more paperwork:

1. Adoption:

I've posted previously about the adoption process, but there is almost no way to describe how much paperwork is involved. To start with there's the 40+ page homestudy document you're supposed to complete...just this can be overwhelming, and that's the beginning of the process. Then you have applications, letters of recommendation, forms, more forms, and even more forms and copies of other forms, but not just any copies, certified copies. Once you're ready for the placement of the baby, then you have paperwork for placement, then legal documents for finalizing the adoption, and on and on. After the adoption is finalized, then you have to get a social security number for the child, an amended birth certificate, etc. All in all, adoption is the #1 most paperwork-intensive thing I've ever done.

2. Welfare:

Anyone who has ever applied for state aid knows how much paperwork and documentation is involved. When Kent and I were both in school, we applied for various kinds of state assistance, and I remember joking with a friend that you had to have a PhD just to get through the application process. And once you have welfare, you have to reapply every 4-6 months. I'm grateful we had the help, but I'm just saying it was a LOT of red tape and paperwork.

3. Taxes:

Of course, we all get to deal with this one every year. Since I do a lot of the finances in our house, I get to do the taxes. The more money we've made, the more involved the taxes. Just finished this one for 2010, and I'm papered out.

4. Medical Bills & Insurance:

If you're like me and have had health problems, then you know how much red tape is involved in keeping track of medical bills, and possibly even more daunting, keeping track of insurance claims. I am a bit on the anal side on this and I track our medical claims every month or more often. I find AT LEAST one major processing error a month; consequently, I have saved our family hundreds of dollars by being on top of this. It also means lots of phone calls explaining that we should only be responsible for X amount of dollars because of X Y Z. I almost always prevail in having claims reprocessed because the insurance company is usually in the wrong. But, ugh! I get tired of this one.

5. My Kids' School:

OK, this isn't nearly as much paperwork as getting a PhD, but who knew that kindergarten involved so much red tape? It seems like almost every day there's another flyer or handout or worksheet that needs to filled out and returned. Most of it is fun stuff like volunteering to help with activities or field trip permission forms. But, it still surprises me sometimes how much paperwork my kindergartener brings home in a week. I guess it's all part of preparing them for the future...where there's plenty more paperwork awaiting them.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cairo, Business Trips and Bad Dreams

Doesn't it seem like the world is in a frenzy this last month or so? All of the protests and political upheaval in northern Africa and the Middle East, massive floods and a hurricane in Australia, blizzard after blizzard in much of the United States. The world is in commotion. I remember in the fall of 1999 when I moved to Seoul, Korea there was a similar string of crazy weather and political incidents. I think it's God's way of reminding us how small we really are and who's really in charge. We love to feel like we have control of everything, but one big earthquake or storm reminds us that "having control" is actually an illusion.

I'll have to keep that in mind in the next 2 weeks since Kent is leaving today for a business trip. He'll be gone most of this week and then he's going on another work trip the following week. Anyone who thinks they have control in their lives only has to spend a short time taking care of four small children to be reminded how little control they actually have. There's no controlling the accidents, the arguing, the diapers, the screaming, the whining, the stuffy noses or the general chaos that exists when you're outnumbered 4 to 1. Thankfully, my mother is coming next week, so I really only have to do one week on my own.

I think that all of this commotion both generally and personally are making me very aware of how little control I have in my life. I woke up this morning from probably the worst dream I've ever had. I dreamt that my oldest, Maija, had been kidnapped. It was terrifying, heart breaking, and I ended up thoroughly freaking out my husband who had to calm me down and remind me that Maija was peacefully sleeping in her room. After finally making that transition from nightmare to "Oh good. It was just a dream." I tiptoed into Maija's room. Watching my beautiful girl sleep gave me a moment's peace, and I realized that as long as I have these 5 people in my life, my family, I'll be able to weather the storms and the chaos just fine.