Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's a tax credit, not a rebate

I shot Andy and myself in the feet and didn't notice the blood trail until a year later.

When we adopted Kevin, we knew about the federal tax credit for adoptive parents to help recoup some (in our case) of the costs of adoption. I knew that the credit would cover our taxes for the year and we wouldn't have to pay any taxes so I decreased our withholding to increase the amount of cash we get each paycheck.

I completed our federal tax return this weekend and discovered that we don't get the whole tax credit at once - we carry over any remaining balance to the following year(s) after applying the credit amount to what we owe and what we overpaid through the year. That means that we only get back $2800 instead of the $10,000 we expected.

I was furious (and sad and depressed) when I discovered this and realized that they won't give us the credit until we've given them that much money but then I tried to rationalize it and see that it's based on our taxes, it's not just an outright payment.

The problem with the amount we're getting back is not that we don't appreciate that we're getting it, but that we were banking on $10,000 to put toward the fees for our next adoption. We had the cash for the fees during our first adoption but after that first adoption, we don't have any cash for the fees for our next adoption. Now we'll have to get creative.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Where to begin? Where to end?

We've caught a number of mice in our house since last mention and we naturally selected a few that figured out how to get out of the traps so we started using other more "permanent" traps and have had less of a problem. However, we did find a very large mouse named "Tiptoe" in our mailbox the other day and now Kevin keeps it for a pet and is sleeping with it as I type. Thanks, Kirsten.


Kevin has been sick in his digestive tract (see how I didn't use the other "d" word?) for 5 weeks now and we have an official lab-tested diagnosis of "C. Diff Colitis." The problem is that he's got a huge amount of clostridium difficile bacteria in his gut that his body can't get control over so now his intestine is damaged but it can be fixed with medicine. The medicine has to be compounded for pediatric use but I already knew this as he has been on it before (for a different diagnosis.) So, I knew where to get it but something went wrong with the insurance authorization so after waiting a few more extra days of Kevin having to deal with this, I just paid for the dang medication straight up.


The past few days I've spent eating every different kind of meat I like a lot - salmon, steak sandwich, ground beef and chicken, in particular - in preparation for not eating meat during Lent, which begins in 2 days. Andy will sacrifice snack foods (not snacking, just snack foods, which is going to be really, really rough on him) so tomorrow night for dinner I think I'll have a bacon cheeseburger with a side of Taylor pork roll and Andy will have a plate of potato chips, popcorn, fritos and Snickers.


We found a preschool to send Kevin to in the fall. I contacted and visited quite a few places and none of them struck me as close to perfect, yet I never felt inside like it was going to be a problem. Lo and behold, God showed us the perfect place a mile from our house that has everything and more that we're looking for in a preschool for Kevin. Now we are considering whether to also send him there for their summer program.


Was this boring to read? I'm sure. Do I feel that I'm pretty close to caught up with the major goings-on now? Yes. And that's what it's all about... Me.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

You know who I mean

I met a man at church a couple of weeks ago who I'd seen a number of times before but had never known his name. I tried to describe him to Andy when I told him that I met him but I couldn't give him enough info to figure out who I was talking about.

The next day in church, the guy was on stage and I pointed him out to Andy. Andy said, "You could've said he's balding." I looked closer and saw that he was, in fact, fairly bald already. "Hm, yeah," I replied, "I hadn't noticed." Andy said, "Well, I guess that's a good thing for me!"

Movie and Dinner Review

My parents came over yesterday and Andy and I went out to a movie and dinner. Watched Steve Martin in "The Pink Panther." It was well-done and true to the originals but not our brand of humor for the most part. I laughed out loud about 4 times. The middle-school kids behind us cracked up the entire time. Will be highly enjoyed by my dad.

Dinner at Don Pablo's was as excellent as ever despite my not having any tortillas with my meal. You see, Don Pablo's has the best flour tortillas I have ever tasted in my life and usually they are the real reason I go there. Last night I branched out, though, and took advantage of their "4-courses for $11.99" deal and I had flautas (chicken taquitos), grilled chicken with rice and beans and fried ice cream. The flautas were delicious, the chicken was delicious, the beans were not up to Don Pablo's usual standards and the rice was fine. I'd never had fried ice cream before so I was glad to try it but it wasn't my thing. "Where's the other course?" you ask. First of all, good counting. The first course was a choice of special salsas for the tortilla chips and I don't eat salsa so I told the server he could just keep his special salsa. In all, the chance to try some new things and not pay more than what I pay for my usual meal (chicken fajitas) was worth it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Readoption update

As previously posted, we met with the master of the circuit court in our county in December for our readoption hearing for Kevin. We were glad to have the hearing in 2005 so that we could file for our adoption tax credit this year but we still weren't sure whether we'd receive the paperwork in time for that. Lo and behold, we received the official adoption decree dated 2005! We were all set except that Kevin's name change wasn't listed correctly on the decree. This was a big deal as we want to legally change his middle name from his birth middle name to his birth last name (with our last name as his last name.)

I found out that in order to correct the adoption decree from the court, we'd have to file an order to have the paperwork corrected. This meant that the date of the adoption decree would then be 2006. That wasn't good for us considering that we need that tax credit in order to begin considering paying the fees for child #2 at some point.

After a few moments of pure indignation, I realized that I could file our taxes first and THEN file the order to have Kevin's name in the decree changed correctly. So I felt ok about it but was still miffed.

When we filed our readoption petition to the court, we also had to request (and pay for) a Maryland birth certificate to be filed for Kevin and a copy sent to us. Last week we received the copies* and what name was on them? The correct one!

Now I need to figure out whether I still need to get the decree fixed or not. I don't recall what documentation I need to get Kevin's Certificate of Citizenship and to have his Social Security record changed (his name and his citizenship status from permanent resident to citizen) but if I need the decree, I might need the names to match exactly. We'll see.

*Note: If you've wondered, as we did, what would a Maryland birth certificate be doing for a child born in another country and what would it say if such a thing existed, then here's some info for you. It is an official Certificate of Live Birth from the State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It has his current name, DOB, sex, and birth location (Guatemala) and it has our info as his parents. The labels of all other boxes on the form are "X"ed out and their values are blank. This is the birth certificate that we are supposed to be able to use when applying Kevin to school, sports programs, etc.

I only went half-way to being a good aunt

I previously mentioned that this Christmas, Andy and I were a good uncle and aunt to our nephew and niece in Missouri because we actually bought them presents. After sending the box we told them it was on the way. After Christmas, Andy's sister asked if we sent it or had only planned to send it. "Uh, what?" I asked, knowing that I'd mailed it the first or second week of December.

Two weeks ago, we received a large box in the mail with a note from the Post Office attached to it. Inside were a couple of the presents that we mailed to Missouri and those that were there were pretty well damaged. The others were just plain missing. Something drastic happened to our package and it never made it to our relatives.

Although we didn't spend that much money on those presents, it was enough that we were hoping not to have to spend it again on the same presents. We still haven't decided what to do.


While Andy gave Kevin a bath tonight, I overheard this:

"If you squeeze this fast, it'll make the person fly up. Ready? One... two...three! *pop* Oh man!!

[lots of laughter from both Kevin and Andy]

Woah, let's not tell Mama about that."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pretty in Pink

My Mom: Would it be ok if I put some Dora stickers in Kevin's Valentine's Day card? They have a pink

Me: I think that's fine, especially considering that when Kevin picked out a toy at the store
yesterday to buy with his own money, he picked out a My Little Pony with rainbow hair and
he spent the drive home brushing the pony's hair. And he picked out My Little Pony valentines to
give to his friends. And one of his other My Little Ponies has purple hair with sparkles. And
when his shoelace broke, he wanted lavender Dora shoelaces with pink flowers. I think he'll like
pink-background Dora stickers for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Just don't wear new white shoes

This is a quote from an email I received last week from my mom:

Do you think it is OK to wear jeans to the Bon Jovi concert? If we get beer
spilled on us, like Scott thinks could happen, then I certainly want to be

My parents have been to other concerts but the most recent few have not
been the same style of music as Jon Bon Jovi. So I can somewhat understand
her question although my response was, "What else would you wear?"

For the record, my mom's hair is spiked.