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Don't think too much
Monday, February 26, 2007
As most readers know I'm pretty patient with the whole adoption process. This is a bit of a contrast from my attitude towards waiting for anything in day to day living (I despise waiting in lines in stores, etc.). Ironically I think that most people who are actually very patient people normally get quite flustered during the adoption process. I suppose it's because one of the most difficult things to do is formulating in your mind what is really going on during the various steps. Often (as there is now for us and many others) there are long periods of time when apparently nothing is going on.

Maybe, like now, you're waiting for some government office to authorize the continuation of adoptions. During those times is hard sometimes to comprehend why things aren't moving faster. It's often easy to blame the workers at the government department for trying to delay adoptions or some other far-fetched idea.

But the reality in nearly all these lapses is merely the fact that there's a lot of plain old fashion bureaucracy going on. And most of the worker bees (and leadership for that matter) of bureaucratic organizations work at the same pace whether the job is sorting mail or trying to help get orphans a forever family. It's hard for individuals who are hoping to become parents of a little child to think that anyone could just shuffle paperwork along as a regular job when little human beings are the underlying commodity.

However the people who are working in the adoption field are doing thousands upon thousands of adoptions. Although I am sure they are in fact very concerned with helping the children, when you deal with that many adoptions it must be very hard if not impossible to get emotional (as we potential parents do).

It's hard to do, but it's important to have some sense that work is getting done but like a great many things in life, it takes time. And anytime you start to imagine "why" something is happening the way it is and what motives may be behind it, just put yourself in their shoes and think about it as if this was your job and not a deeply emotional experience.
posted by Steveg @ 10:19 AM   1 comments
Not too much to say
Friday, February 23, 2007
Well not too much going on right now, and that's probably the way it will be for the next several weeks. And that's okay. I can't control everything and worrying about it will not make things go in my favor.

Besides the raining season is now in full swing here in the Bay Area and as a result I'm getting way behind (I'm always behind but now it's "Way") on some of the outside projects I need to do.

We have another ballet performance this weekend and Stef is ultra-excited about it. It's Sleeping Beauty so you know why of course (HELLO: IT'S ABOUT A PRINCESS!!!!).

And I know I will shock all including Stef when I tell you I know which princess...Aurora of course, but that's common knowledge.
posted by Steveg @ 9:37 AM   3 comments
Now a few words on TV
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I was watching a cool show on the HBO Family channel. It was sort of an instructional thing for kids explaining the concepts of recycling and demonstrating how the choices they make affect the environment. It was quite well done, not overly preachy, not overly technical, and interesting enough that even I learned a few things.

I've been watching kids TV shows every now and then to get a handle on what shows are good and which are bad (at least in my opinion). So that I can make better decisions in terms of which shows I'm okay with our kid watching.

I think I mentioned before that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children under two years of age should view no TV at all (and Stef and I FULLY agree with that). Although we may use some DVDs during our second trip as a last resort if the child is very upset. However I'm really hoping (praying???) that interaction and playing with them in the hotel room will do the trick, but we'll have a few Baby Einstein DVDs handy just in case.


Naturally, once they're older we'll introduce TV (albeit slowly) and thus we need to start figuring out what types of kids TV we're comfortable with. I'm actually fine with just about all the kids TV shows I've seen. The real problem lies in the damn commercials!!!

But that irritates me on the shows I watch. For example, the other day I was watching a show on the Science Channel about how our solar system was created. The commercial break starts and boom! we get a WWF (0r C or whatever it is) commercial about wrestling!!! And if that isn't bad enough, the commercial shows some steroid grown moron hitting another steroid grown moron over the head with a folding chair.

First off, on the Science Channel??? I mean do these folks really believe that I would be even slightly interested in that kind of programming if I'm watching about how the planets were formed? And secondly, I guess it's more important in our society to avoid showing a woman's breast during the Super Bowl than it is to have terribly violent commercials every 15 minutes (but of course it's perfectly okay to have plenty of sex in the commercials during the game).

At this point I'm seriously considering Tivo'ing shows for the kid to watch so that I can cut out the commercials myself. I find it odd that shows which have that kind of violence must have ratings imbedded in the programming so that my TV can block them, but they can splash violence unabated throughout commercials. I guess we have more important things to worry about like...well like...well whatever the stupid crap the Democratic Congress is doing now (as opposed to the stupid crap the Republican Congress did).

Sorry about railing on lack of real leadership both parties in our system produce. But it just irritates me that we waste so much time and effort on stupid stuff when fixing real problems isn't all that hard, most of which could be remedied in relatively short time and without much expense. And I would expect that 90% of Americans would agree that controlling violence in commercials would be a worthwhile effort.
posted by Steveg @ 9:48 AM   3 comments
A few words about youth sports
Monday, February 19, 2007
I've coached youth sports for years (but that was quite some time ago). I had coached both boys and girls, usually 4th-7th graders (9 to 13 years old) but was even was a high school baseball coach for awhile. And I firmly believe that sports are a great way for kids to learn about some very key lessons that can help them throughout their lives.

However, even back in the 80's and 90's when I was doing most of my coaching there were naturally some negative elements swirling around what should have been an educative and positive experience.

Of course the kids themselves are rarely if ever the problem. I have had a few "bad kids" and by the time they get to being an evil nasty 6th grader it's rather a chore to try to show them that being good is actually more fun than being a little s%$t.

No, I'm referring to the bane of any youth sport activity...the parent.

Let me rephrase that...the overly competitive parent. I'm sure it's gotten worse over the years, but usually there were only a handful of these gems for each team I coached (although, I've had the good fortune to have several teams that didn't have any).

And that's why I'm doing research now, even though the child we adopt will not play organized sports for quite awhile, trying to find entire programs or leagues that bill themselves as "anti-competitive". Competition is not a bad thing, in fact it's hard-wired into all of us and helps us to be successful. The thing is there is really no need to expand on the natural competitiveness we all have inside us. And that's when the problem manifests itself, when people try to intensify their natural competitiveness. And throwing that into a regimen where kids are suppose to be having fun while also learning how to work with others as a team and you get some really distorted outcomes.

It use to be (in the places I lived) that the programs known as "park leagues" were the ones that were much less competitive while something like the organization known as "Little League" was the uber competitive ones. I'm not sure that distinction still exists and hence my need for some research. The other way to avoid overly competitive situations (again in the past) was to select sports like soccer over football and baseball, but I'm not sure if that's true anymore either.
posted by Steveg @ 9:52 AM   1 comments
Car Seat Installation
Friday, February 16, 2007
I never finished telling the story about the car seats, so here it is....

If you want a refresher on my whole "car seat analysis post" take a look here.

Basically we went with the very expensive Britax models. I can afford it, but it's still a lot of money and being financially conservative (read: Cheap) I thought that two of them were a waste of money and we could just get by with one (moving it from car to car as needed).

If you have not yet bought your car seats and are thinking like I was that you can save some money buying just one...


Let me tell you getting the car seat into that darn LATCH system thing is a royal pain in the butt. I even did it a couple of different times and although my speed did improve, it still took a good 15 minutes to make sure everything was correctly installed.

Now you all know I'm totally into saving money. BUT, the headaches involved with correctly attaching the car seats via the LATCH system (which is suppose to be the safest) far outweigh any monetary savings.

(Edit by Stefanie): Here just to add some clarification on using LATCH. LATCH isn't actually safer than a correct seatbelt installation; however, it is much easier to get that correct installation with LATCH rather than the seatbelt. As another but, LATCH is only approved to use with children of a certain weight and your car seat may be able to handle a child larger than the LATCH system allows - always check your owners manuals both for your seat and your car. In that case, be sure to use the seatbelt installation.

It's also a good idea to have your car seat inspected to make sure that it is installed correctly. Just contact your local police department.

Okay, I'm done now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
posted by Steveg @ 2:04 PM   1 comments
Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm enjoying counting down each of these holidays as the last ones Stef and I will have as pre-parents (I was going to say "alone" but that's sounds too depressing).
posted by Steveg @ 9:16 AM   0 comments
Nice Weekend
Sunday, February 11, 2007
So we had a very nice weekend. The rain finally stopped today and we did much needed yard work. And yesterday we had this season's first performance for the San Francisco Ballet. We've been doing the ballet thing for the past several years and I have to say I really enjoy it.

I still like watching my 49ers play, but I think I like the ballet as much if not more. It's getting a bit tiresome hearing the all-to-common drug, violence, inflated egos, unsportsmanlike attitudes, etc. that seem to permeate around today's athletes in major sports (football, baseball, etc.).

So it's quite refreshing to see other athletes that give you some great performances without all the baggage. And these dancers are without question incredible athletes. As the saying goes, these folks are totally cut.

So overall it was a very nice weekend and we didn't think about adoptions at all....which was even nicer.
posted by Steveg @ 11:08 PM   2 comments
New POW (Purchase of the Week)
Thursday, February 08, 2007
For all you ladies out there (we men of course are just not in the same league). If you think you are a great shopper and always get great deals on your purchases, I really need to bring you down to earth. Stefanie, my beloved wife, holds the illustrious position of Princess of Deals. Actually Princess isn't really high enough of an honor, let's make it Czarina of Deals

And it is one of her recent gems that is honored as the new Purchase of the Week.

I wrote this story about car seats and if you recall we settled on the Britax ones which are pretty expensive.

Well, Stef kept searching for ones which had discontinued fabric, actually they have same fabric but just different colors and patterns. And they change them from time to time, discontinuing some and adding new ones. And of course the stores need to unload the old fabric models.

Anyway, we just got two of the Marathon car seats from Albee Baby for $209.99 (they're still on sale but now at $219.99). The new models go for $269.99. So it was a great deal plus shipping is free from that place! So I'm telling you, my chick really knows how to get a good deal.

The fabric is actually really nice, I guess it's a bit pedestrian, but I think it makes it look more posh than some of the funky covers (although we both really liked the "Cowmooflage"). But I do like that this one looks more, I dunno, luxurious. After all it's going in my BMW so I need to make sure the kid gets the full riding in style feeling.

I also need to mention a few things about getting it into the car (which I have done) and some advice for those who believe they can get by with just one car seat (if you have two cars). But that's a whole 'nother story.
posted by Steveg @ 7:55 PM   4 comments
A real Disney Top 10
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Steve’s top 10 list of Disney movies did prompt me to provide my input on this very important subject. I’ve included my top 11 since I really had problems narrowing the list this far. You will notice a couple of themes in the list – princesses and animals.

11. Finding Nemo (2003) – Who couldn’t love a movie about fish and the story behind the movie is really touching.

10. The Lion King (1994) – Another animal movie, this one makes me cry every time. But most Disney movies do.

9. Monsters Inc. (2001) – This movie is really fun.

8. 101 Dalmations (1961) – Here we go with the animals again.

7. The Aristocats (1970) – More animals – and Marie (the girl kitten) could be a princess.

6. Toy Story (1995) – This movie came out when I was still working for Sun Microsystems. Since they provided the computer equipment for producing the movie, and this was also back in the dot com heyday we had a huge party at work. So in addition to being a great movie, I got half a day off.

5. Mary Poppins (1964) – A Disney classic. I also love movies (or really anything) with costumes and dancing.

4. Lady and the Tramp (1955) – This time it’s puppy dogs with a great story.

3. Sleeping Beauty (1959) – Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorites. A classic princess movie and also ballet. Have I mentioned I have tickets to this ballet and it doesn’t look like Russian accreditation and travel will get in my way (not that this would stop me in the slightest). Yippee.

2. Peter Pan (1953) – One of my favorite characters Tinker Bell is in this one. You can’t help but love the pixie with the pout.

1. Cinderella (1950) – I love love love this movie. It’s the classic princess movie. I’m also a princess addict – I’ll admit that. My phone ringer is the Cinderella song, my Kleenex box at work has princesses on it, who knew there was so much princess stuff. I think everyone underestimates how hard it really is to be a princess.

Honorable Mention – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – an extraordinary effort for a princess to manage living with seven men.
posted by yorkiemom @ 3:31 PM   4 comments
From rumors to controversy
Well, nothing new to report on the accreditation front. I guess there was some rumor going around (WHAT? A rumor involving Russian adoption. Shocking, I know).

It was totally inaccurate (yea, I know, another shocker) that basically said 12 agencies had their information returned for corrections and that the 90 day clock for those agencies was reset. Thus they would have to wait another 90 days to get their accreditations.

Side note: Recall that the law stipulates that the MOE can take no longer than 90 days to determine whether or not an agency gets accreditation.

Bottom line, the rumor (as usual) was bogus.

I was reading the story about Prince's half-time show at the Super Bowl. Evidentially, some people actually believe that Prince's guitar intentionally created a shadow that was phallic shaped.

I'm a bit dismayed that this is actually even a big deal when there's wars, famine, and disease throughout the world. And what do some people care most about? If a shadow from a guitar used in a football game half-time show looks like a penis. Okay, now first off you really have to be looking for something to be able to even imagine that the shadow of a guitar looks like that. But that's something for a professional psychoanalyst to discuss.

But, it once again highlights to me some of the things we need to be thinking about as we teach our child. And If you ask me what is the most important thing I will teach my child. I would have to say it's threefold. First, never stop learning. Second, appreciate your position in the universe. And third always remember the final lines from the Monty Python song "The Galaxy Song"...

And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.
posted by Steveg @ 9:34 AM   5 comments
Latest Russian student
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I had mentioned that in the class I teach I have another student who is from Russia (I had another one in a class I did last summer). The really interesting thing about this student is she was born in Novosibirsk which is very close (for Russia that is) to Omsk (it's about the distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles). In Russia terms that's like Minneapolis and St. Paul

She's was very excited to hear that we're adopting from Russia and almost fell over when I said we were most likely headed to Omsk. She left when she was 12 so she remembers quite a bit and her Russian is obviously quite good so I'm going to keep working on my pronunciation with her and see if somehow I can improve it from the current dismal level it's at.
posted by Steveg @ 12:46 PM   2 comments
Boy, am I old.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
When I was in high school and college I listened exclusively to New Wave (what is today Alternative) and Punk Rock. Mostly New Wave but I did like the quality Punk Rock groups (Sex Pistols, etc.).

Anyway, so I'm watching TV last night and a commercial comes on and the soundtrack is the Buzzcocks' song "Everybody's Happy Nowadays". So I'm thinking, "Boy, I'm I getting old that a Punk Rock song is now in a commercial."

Well, it gets worse...much worse.

The commentary begins and all of the sudden we find out whose commercial it is and what this it's all about. IT'S A F#$%ING AARP commercial.

An American Association of Retired Persons commercial is using the Buzzcocks as it's background music???

I am totally dismayed, totally disgusted, and totally old.
posted by Steveg @ 12:31 PM   6 comments
Top 10 - Disney
Saturday, February 03, 2007
On my personal blog I listed my top ten horror movies. I was motivated while watching The Shining (which is #2 on my list). Anyway, I thought I'd list here my top ten Disney movies since this is a more family oriented site.

Drum roll please.....And at #1.....

1. Mary Poppins
Granted there's not as much animation but it is a Disney movie and my personal favorite of all time. I have it on DVD and watch it at least 5-6 times a year.

2. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Tigger being one of my most favorite characters.

3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Grumpy being the character I'm most often associated with, at least until I get my first latte of the day in me.

4. Pinocchio
One of the classic Disney films which is still mesmerizing to this day.

5. The Lion King
First class movie and a nice moral (as usual for Disney).

6. Peter Pan
A super film for everyone, but especially little boys.

7. The Jungle Book
I still have memories of seeing this in a theater when it came out (I think I was probably about 4 years old).

8. 101 Dalmatians
Just a cool movie and great story.

9. Cinderella
This one is of course Stef's #1 movie (probably of all time) and I'm sure this list (especially since I put Cinderella at #9) will cause her to list her top ten which you'll notice will have a more feminine slant (versus my masculine slant).

10. Cars
We just saw this and I have to say the message is this movie is just wonderful: Winning is NOT the most important thing, and definitely not the only thing.

There are of course many great ones which I've left off the list (Bambi, Dumbo, Toy Story, etc.). But there can only be 10 in a top ten list so these are mine. Please feel free to comment on your fav's.
posted by Steveg @ 11:23 AM   3 comments
Russian Festival
Friday, February 02, 2007
I mentioned the Russian festival that is being held in San Francisco in a couple of weeks (February 9th-11th). Our friend who just got back with her little girl suggested that we see if other Bay Area adoptive families would like to go to it as well.

This is not a formal get together or anything, but she thought it would be nice if some of the families who have either recently returned from Russia or are currently in the process would meet up.

Again, here is the link giving details of the event.

We're planning on heading up there on Sunday as will both of our friends who recently returned from Russia. Hopefully the fact that I will be there won't scare you away. I'm actually much nicer in person (hard to believe, but true).

If you'd like to meet up please either leave a comment here (you might want to mention what day and time of the day you'll be there) or feel free to email me or Stef directly (it's in our blogger profile).
posted by Steveg @ 10:20 AM   3 comments
Death Before Disco
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Baby Loves Disco is "...a family event, there is no structure, just plenty of environment, atmosphere and healthy snacks. "

You have to check this out on Cristina's blog. They have sites in various cities and as she mentions the kids love it.
posted by Steveg @ 11:37 AM   2 comments
About Us




Our Story:

I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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"The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it."

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