Let's start with the adoption. We have done our home study update, and we changed two things. First we re-worded the age. When we started, we had said we wanted the girls to be between the ages of 2 and 7. Well, at that time our boys were 4 and 7, so that put them all about the same age. Now the boys are 6 and 9, so we felt we could stretch the age a little bit. But how much? That was the question. So we decided to try something perhaps a little unusual and set a date that they needed to be born after. We just picked a date 6 months younger than Colton and said that they should be born after this date. The other thing we tweaked was to say we are open to either gender. I still lean more toward girls at this time, but I have seen some awfully cute little boys' pictures go by as well, and we often hear that there are more boys available than girls. We figured it is better to make these changes now than to fall in love with two little guys and have to rush around making those changes later.
Of course, those two little changes in the homestudy means that renewing our USCIS forms will cost $360 instead of being free. While that seems like a lot of money to us, in the scope of the cost of the entire adoption, it is nothing...and it will bring us one step closer to the children God has intended for us.
We were not able to have as many yard sales this summer as we had hoped. We have now had 28 yard sales total and might get a few more in before we pack up for winter. I had thought we might at least make it to 30, but right now I feel like someone who has eaten the entire Thanksgiving meal alone and just can't choke down those last two bites. We went to an adoption support group meeting this week and listened to an adoptive mom talk about different fundraising options. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I saw how many of her ideas we had already tried. I've said it before...we have two big obstacles in fundraising--no, three. 1) We aren't in jobs or large circles of people where we can promote our fundraisers. 2) Neither one of us are "salesmen". I don't think I could give away water during a drought! 3) We don't have rich friends or long-lost relatives; they are pretty much the same as us. I do have a few ideas for things we've not done thus far, but I really need to get back on the trail of grants. (Please pray for me to find the time to get these applications completed!)
In other news, school has been back in session for a while. We are in week 4 now. Colton is in 4th grade and doing more of his work on his own. Eli has stepped up his game with 1st grade...much more to do than in kindergarten. Colton just completed Level 3 swimming lessons and will be belt testing again later this week for taekwondo. This will be belt #8 (red); 3 more until black. Eli is trying out PE class. I thought he would be so excited to participate after being on the sidelines for 3 years, but he was very afraid of being in the class. I'm praying we can get this obstacle behind us before he faces another new situation. Like I told him, life is full of changes and new situations, and he just has to learn to deal with them.
Couponing did NOT work out for me. On the one hand, I think I overdid it. I worked WAY too much on it and overspent every month. I'm done. Kudos to those of you who save hundreds each month! The first month we quit, we came very close to budget--but that month included a lot of eating out on the road for vacation! The second month we came in under budget for the first time in over a year. That reminds me. I failed to mention that we also quit playing the "Rewards" game on the credit card. We had started buying groceries and such on the credit card to earn the rewards. We DID earn them, but overspent each month more than the value of the rewards. When I gave up couponing, I also went back to the envelope system and came in under budget. I think I'll stay here for a while.
Curves has gotten majorly interrupted. Trips during the summer, 2 weeks of intense planning before school started, chaos of the first week of school, and weeks 2 and 3 spent babysitting and going to swimming lessons...all of these have kept me from going to Curves. I even have a doctor's appointment today about my wrist. Remember the ganglion cyst I had removed last year? It's ba-aack! When that hurts, I can't push on the weight machines anyway. I'm trying to my own program here at home with protein drinks/snacks, portion control, and Wii Fit Plus. We'll see the results when I go back.