Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hope you looked!

Ugh!!!! Notice the edited previous post. Note my frustration!!! Apparently I am with the only agency in the US that has an agreement between the agency and the adoptive parents to not allow things like the name of the baby, date of birth, Provence , or photos to be posted. (By the way... the agency DID NOT scold me, a fellow adoptive parent did) So I've removed the details of our daughter including her name.

The part that urks me is China has no problem with posting. It's a "blanket" policy of the agency. And it's sooooooo HARD to NOT SHARE OUR JOY! We've shared here for the past 3 years and we're so excited that we'd like to share with the WORLD... anyone that wants to know all about our beautiful daughter!

But we did sign the agreement and we would NEVER jeopardize our adoption or cause any ill on anyone else's so we will concede and do as we agree...

that doesn't mean I have to be happy with it.

*** Disclaimer!!! I did not and have not mentioned the name of our agency. They have done nothing but bring us happiness and I'm sure they only act in regard to our best interest.

Monday, December 29, 2008

We have our Referral!!

Here's what we know so far!
She from the ********* Providence and is the **** **** SWI.
She's 11 months old born on January **, 200*.

On Sept. 22nd she weighed 14.3 lbs and was 25.6 in. tall. She laughs a alot, likes to play peek-a-boo, and likes the bright colorful toys.

We are in love! She has big brown round eyes and looks so tiny! Her fingers are long and Mei said she may just grow up to play the piano!

Will try to update about the day later... It's so hard coming down off Cloud Nine to do this post!
She is beautiful!

We are not supposed to post pictures until she is officially ours but if you email me I'll share privately! She is gorgeous!

Stork Alert!!

Okay, so I don't THINK we could be anymore excited that this! I couldn't sleep last night for thinking about all things Lexi (and I even dreamed we got the referral and it was a boy!) so I slept in until 10:00 when Geoff called to say he was on his way back home. (There was a power outage in Savannah due to a fire and they closed the office) Then he said, by the way the RQ says the 28th is in and referrals should be arriving soon. THAT WOKE ME UP!! I got up and checked the computer to find that Evelyn in FL was on the phone with her agency! She has a daughter! So we are anxiously awaiting news here... on pins and needles... going nuts and can't function even 3 feet from the phone or the computer!

Ordinarily we could call our agency but since they are CLOSED the best we can do is hope that Mei checks the mail today. So we're bracing for a long labor just in case we don't get the call today. The timing is perfect, Geoff is home unexpectedly and doesn't have to take time off of work. I'm home! The call sheet is ready. The video camera is set up to record my cry-fest! LOL! I even showered in record time this morning! I didn't even shave my legs (which I do religiously every day!!!) Come on phone RING!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We have a Make-Over!!

There's nothing like a pending referral to bring on the much needed blog Make-Over!! I've been working on this project for quite awhile but finally put it all in place today. I created my own header and background using a digital scrapbooking kit that I bought from Sweet Shoppe Designs. I can't take all the credit though as I used a tutorial from Shabby Miss Jenn Designs. I actually purchased a blog kit from her this summer but never used it. Once I got into digital scrapbooking I decided that I wanted to make my own design and here it is!! Now I need to redo my links on the side and learn a few more things.

I also got our belated Christmas Newsletter done today. Since Christmas is over, it will be a Happy New Year letter now! :-) I have run out of time this year with so many family things going on and the birth of Christopher Evan. So hopefully those will be mailed out on Monday and arrive in time for New Year's Eve.

I'm still working on a holiday slide show. That's another story!

Geoff and I are still on cloud 9 waiting for referral news! We're getting ready for the wave of things to do once we get the referral. I don't think we will know anything on Monday but a girls got to hope for Tuesday or Wednesday!!

On another note... PLEASE NOTE! We cannot post referral pictures because of our agency's policy. So if you would like to know more, email us privately and we'll hook you up!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just Beside Myself!!

Okay after all this time, how could I be SURPRISED that we are next??? I guess the answer is because in the process I've become to expect disappointment and this month has been no different. We expect to be next but I've always been a little guarded to say the words "NEXT". After reading several Internet posts today, I'm jumping in full force and am embracing the anticipation of NEXT!

The comment below is word for word from the RQ!

"Two agencies are saying the cut off is the 28th.If agencies are hearing the cut off date, then that could mean referrals aren’t so far away. Perhaps the CCAA is going to work to get two more batches out before they leave for their CNY holiday."

This means referrals could arrive NEXT week! OMG!!! I'm so ready and so not ready!! I tear up every time I just think of finally KNOWING who are daughter is, where she is from, how old she is, and finally will put a face with the spot in my heart that is so in love with her.

So here we are! We are in labor folks and in full stork alert!

Now for the tricky part! Our agency is off for the holidays until January 5th! YIKES! We did receive an email though from our adoption counselor saying that they would notify families of Travel Approval and other things so we are assuming referrals will fall into that category. So will we hear something next week? Will we be parents next week? I'm so excited it's surreal!

You always hear that things come in threes. Here is our list of three this week.

1. On Monday, we finally got our i-800 in the mail! (After 6 months of waiting since the paperwork was mailed in)

2. We met with the Pediatrician on Tuesday to discuss Lexi. Talk about feeling like expectant parents!!!

3. Referral news... even if just rumors at this point.

So Geoff keeps telling me that I have to stop crying. I don't call it crying though. It's just happiness spilling over!

P.S. I will try to post some Christmas details but first have to have some time to FOCUS!! WOW, WOW, WOW !!! We're going to be a Mommy and Daddy really soon!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally!!! Winter Break is here!

Today was the last day of school for two weeks!!! I've had a very busy week building up to this point doing all kinds of stuff. Every year it is a really rough week and this year is no exception. The thing I missed the most about a "routine" week was getting Brennen for a few hours during the week and giving his Mommy a break. I did have my spirits uplifted yesterday though with a surprise visit from Sara and the boys. (Sara and "THE BOYS!"... it just hasn't set in yet that I'm a 2 time Grammie!!!) They had been to Wal Mart to get Christmas photos of the boys made. The sad part is that they both had to wear their Christmas outfits and it's HOT here! Like in the 80's!!! (We're hoping for cooler weather next week... "please Mother Nature!!") I immediately took Bren in and took off his sweater! But while they were here, I couldn't resist trying to get a cute picture of the baby! (I'll admit I took probably 30 pictures to get this perfect one!)

Little Christopher Evan is so tiny. In this picture he is laying in the lap of my Boyd's Bear "Father Kristmas". The bear is about 12 inches tops sitting down. His little 0-3 months outifit given to him by his Great Aunt Carolyn is too big on him but he's so adorable!

Of course, no photo shoot would be complete without a Brennen shot... this is going to be a future digital layout called "Brennen Vs. Lexi's Christmas Tree". He had a hay day with it the day after his brother was born as I loaded the car to go visit them. We've since given up on the tree this year. It's just too tempting for Bren. I had decorated all in red this year for Lexi and the beads were strung perfectly on the tree. I never even got a chance to take a good photo. The best thing I did was decorate with non-breakable ornaments (of which it WAS loaded with pre-Bren!) LOL! We're rethinking the Christmas tree in the toodlers room idea! But isn't he just sooooo cute as he is so tempted and intrigued by the tree???

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Chinese 4 Dinner tonight... want to know why????

We had Chinese take-out for dinner tonight in celebration. Take a look at this direct quote we got today from our agency...

"We finally received words from China today that this referral’s cutoff date is 2/23/2006 (from last one-2/17/2006). ******’s next waiting LID is 2/27/2006; so we should have one referral next month."

Guess what???? We ARE that family!!! We are NEXT! Next month when referrals arrive... we SHOULD see our daughter's precious face! We will learn what providence she is from... what orphanage she is at... how old she is... old much she weighs... all those lingering questions, hopes and dreams will finally begin to be answered!
Geoff actually got the email and forwarded it to me. I sat at my desk and felt tears begin to well-up in my eyes. To get this close and know it is amazing. We finally saw some kind of confirmation in black and white!! I could barely contain my joy! Just think, in 3 months (more or less) we could actually be holding our daughter! What a wonderful feeling!
I was just over the moon excited and began to tell my friends at work. I had several ask me if we knew for sure it was next month. Of course, in this journey there is no 100% sure but we have the "feeling" and obviously so does our agency!!! One friend asked me if I felt pregnant yet. We've been "pregnant" for 3 years... so I guess this is early labor!
When we get our referral, I plan to post all the information right outside my classroom door complete with pink balloons! Finally... that light at the end of the tunnel is glowing brighter and brighter!! And I sure feels good!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Babies Update

Our lives have been a lot topsy-turvy since the arrival of Baby Christopher. We've been trying to help the new parents adjust and give them time to settle in. However Baby Christopher had to be put back in the hospital this weekend with dangerous levels of jaundice. He may be there several more days as they try to get the billiruben levels down. When they admitted him last night, it was 24. At the last check it was 15.9. This poor little guy has been through so much! Sara and Chris have been really great dealing with it though. They are wonderful parents and are holding up well in a time of crisis.

In the meantime, Geoff's parents came to visit from their SC house this weekend. They met Brennen for the first time and we spent the afternoon together. After we took him home, they ended bringing him right back for us to keep while the baby is in the hospital. We surely love having him around and enjoy every single second with him but it's unfortunate that it is under these circumstances. Having Grandchildren is a wonderful thing! But I have to admit, it makes me long to have Lexi home even more. You hear Grandparents say all the time that the grand kids are wonderful and that one of the perks is that you can send them home. We don't like to send them home and savor every moment with them. We won't have to send Lexi anywhere. And what a wonderful addition she will be to our family.

Brennen was a bit apprehensive at first and wasn't sure of Geoff's parents at all. But he warmed up quickly and was very entertaining. He especially enjoyed sharing their food and going outside with Great-Grandpa Jake.

So tonight when things settled down, I took a picture of Brennen and emailed this collage above to him Mommy, Daddy and Baby Brother. We are learning so much by having Brennen around so much. He is a wonderful teacher for all the little things we need to know when Lexi arrives!

And speaking of Lexi, referrals are due in anytime. CCAA is really close to our LID. Last month they logged in through Feb. 17th of 06. Our date of course is Feb. 27th. I've pretty much resigned myself that our referral will not come until January. But in just a few days we will be able to enjoy the wonderful words "WE'RE NEXT!!!!" In the meantime, there are two very special boys that we can enjoy extra time with!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Addicted!

I need to create a new blog just for the Grandbabies! Plus it will give me another place to show my new addiction! Just this morning in about 15 mintues I put this layout together. This one was a cheater page where you just drop in some photos and add your text. It's perfect for quickly making use of pictures. I really want to go back and make myself a book of Brennen's first year. The program I'm using is called FotoFusion. It's much easier than my PhotoShop Elements. Simple and quick is best for now but I will learn to use Elements as well. So here's another layout!

Another Precious Panda In the Perfect Hands!

Last night our friends Mike and Rhonda had their long awaited Gotcha Day! It's so amazing to watch people that we know experience the joy of finally getting their child. Hannah is precious! You should check out their blog! You won't be disappointed! I get all emotional every time one of us (or any one that I read about for that matter) gets their child. It makes it more real for us. It lets us know the system really works and that our day will come soon. Mike and Rhonda have the ultimate blessing on Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Layout #2! Getting the Hang of this!!

Okay, so this digital stuff if FUN! Of course, I'll never run out of pictures to learn with. My only problem is that I am running out of memory on my computer! I have an 80G external hard drive but it is full too! I have so many graphics on my computer already that collecting digital scrapbooking materials is going to push me to get another one I guess.
We had a wonderful weekend with Brennen! We cooked dinner for Sara and Chris Friday night and then kept him for the night. It was interesting to say the least! We had a great time with him! We're learning all kinds of tricks and tips for being prepared for Lexi. For example, on Friday when I was putting Brennen to sleep for the night, I rocked him in the recliner. I don't have a glider in her room and wasn't sure I would get one until FRIDAY! As I rocked him, the dogs would walk through and he would sit back up. If Geoff opened a cabinet in the kitchen, you could hear it! It was very distracting for him. So after I finally got him to sleep, I told Geoff that we must get one for the babies room. And he now has a new thing to do on his "Honey-Do" list (change the hardware on the squeaky cabinets!)
Another tip we've learned... put the dogs up when Bren is eating. He has discovered that if he throws food off of the high chair, they will eat it and he finds this VERY FUNNY! No food goes in his mouth... just the dogs! On Saturday morning when he was finished Geoff went to let them out and I cleaned off the high chair but that didn't stop Brennen. He used his imagination and fooled the dogs. He would pretend to pick up a piece of food and pretend to throw it! The silly dogs fell for it every time!
As we were going through the day taking care of the little guy, Geoff was constantly helping and playing with him. It gives me such a great glimpse of the wonderful father he is going to be for Lexi. He's already great with Sara but watching him with a little one is extra special. At one point in the day, we were dressing him and I could just "feel" Geoff's anticipation to have Lexi home. I turned to him and said, "you're thinking of doing all this for Lexi aren't you?" Of course, his answer was "YES!". And he will one day really soon!

Playing Around

I'm experimenting with digital scrapbooking today... this is my first attempt to do something. I have a longggg way to go! But I think it will be fun!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some Recent Brennen

Brennen's First Chicken Leg... this was about it. He'd rather eat tomatoes.
Halloween Dragasaurus

Reading Thomas the Train... he loves his books! A teacher's dream!
And a Sara and baby update...
I went with Sara to the doctor last Tuesday. She is not due until 12-17 but she is dilated 1 cm. already! The doctor wants her to take it easy the next few weeks and will see her again the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. He told her he thought that she may have the baby that week but wants her to last that long to give the baby's lungs time to finish developing. So we may just have a Thanksgiving baby! Get ready world for baby Christopher Evan!

Jumping through more hoops!

We got a call last night from our social worker from the Home Study agency. We've recently been in contact with them about making some changes to our Home Study that was completed in June. I think I've blogged before about how long it has taken to get our update this time. We thought everything was okay. However since the Hague Convention requirements have gone into effect, the way things are done on the Home Study has changed somewhat. We found out about 3 weeks ago that USCIS had finally gotten to our paperwork (there is supposed to be a 90 day turn around, however it took a little longer than 120 days). Well, it appears our HS agency wasn't up to speed on the changes so we needed to do some changes in the paperwork. We've been calling USCIS, our agency, and the HS agency trying to get everything taken care of. We thought we were pretty much okay until we got the call last night. We found out that we needed to take some online adoption classes (10 hours) and redo our financial statements. It wasn't a big deal and today we have worked on them both and have the paperwork ready to fax in them first thing tomorrow morning. I guess the part that irritates me is that the separate offices fail to talk to each or if they do talk they don't always talk about the right things. The HS agency is in Atlanta. The social worker is in Savannah. It's taken 2 weeks after talking to the woman in Atlanta for us to hear from the lady in Savannah. We could have had this done weeks ago.

And not to mention at first the HS agency wanted more money to do the changes. More money. We've paid for the update. They didn't do it up to speed with the Hague Convention but that is not our fault. Thankfully, our adoption agency went to bat for us and pretty much told them that we shouldn't have to pay any more money. Of course... we did have to pay for the online classes that we took today. I swear, I took these same classes for free a few years ago just because I wanted to learn. Now that these classes are required... they cost money. It's like every one involved has their hand out and all you can do is fork it over if you really want to get your baby.

My fear is that we will end up with a referral in January and we'll still be waiting for our i800. That will be a total nightmare!! I pray we do not have to cross this bridge.

In the meantime, we continue to anxiously wait. I can only hope that once we get the referral, we will not have papework drama.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Blog Needs a Make-over...

I know I really need to do a Make-Over for my blog! I really do! When I began the whole thing I knew very little about blogging. I have to admit, I understand a lot more now and secretly wish to update but I never seem to find the time. Blogs after all are known for the ease of publishing them! But I'm a creative sort who would love to do a do-over all by myself and then love the appearance but I just don't do it. I find that I spend a LOT of my after-work time at WORK! Working MORE or just helping my friends who WORK LATE! It keeps me from coming home to an empty house except for the irritating dogs and cats and then waiting for hours for Geoff to finally get home. I am sure once Lexi is here, I will come home as soon as I can! No more working late teaching the After-school program or just hanging around helping others... instead it will be GOING HOME to Lexi. Now that sounds like the perfect plan. But maybe??? just maybe???? I'll decide to give this tired old blog with broken links from 2 -3 years ago a make-over and join the more sophisticated world of blogging!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November Referrals

Wow! Today was a great day for many people. Referrals arrived and Donna, Stephe, and Karen all got referrals! Their girls are all soooo adorable!

I wish I could say I knew what the cut-off day is but I don't yet. There are rumors that the 20th is in but nothing concrete. We still are hoping for a December referral but I'm beginning to worry that it will be January. I know... more waiting. Very disappointing waiting. We spoke to our adoption counselor today and learned that if we do get a December referral, we most likely will not travel until after Chinese New Year in February. Given this news, we may as well get a January referral because at least then we won't have to wait extra time until travel. How frustrating it would be to have Lexi's referral and have to wait even longer!

Anyhow, a big CONGRATS to all the new Mommies and Daddies out there!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I have to make an October Post!

I really DO think about our blog... I do!! I just have been super busy with work and as the old saying goes ...TIME FLIES!

So let's see... here's the update. My East Coast Panda Buddies Kathy and Melissa are on their way home WITH their daughters! How exciting! And I don't think I posted either that Diane is BACK too with her sweet little one!

Now Rhonda and Mike have their referral for Hannah and they will be traveling in November. And Lori, Donna, Stephe, Karen, and Evelyn are hoping for referrals any day now. This is an exciting time!! I really hope for at least 6-7 days of referrals this month. That would leave us very close. We hope and pray for a December referral.

Just a few weeks ago, I was feeling down about the adoption. I mean really low. And I walked into school and one of my friends walked up and told me that she had had a dream about us being home with Lexi. This wasn't her first dream about Lexi so I wasn't all that surprised but it did make me think. I was still down and just made it through the day. Then on the way home, I called my Mom to ask her advice about planting in our school Fall garden. I was tired, feeling awful and just wanted to get off the phone. Then she began to tell me that SHE too had dreamed about Lexi being home with us the night before! I was just speechless and began to giggle and silently tear up. These dreams gave me hope. It was like a sign from God that all would be okay and that we WILL realize our dream and bring our daughter home.

So here we are again, on the eve of more referrals. I'll admit I'm worried that CCAA will not go as far as we wish but then I have to stop myself and let God lead the way. That is easier said than done. It's hard to give up the worry and not give in to impatience. But I'm trying. So everyone bear with me as we take another Roller Coaster Ride on this Adoption Ride. The one thing I am sure of is that we will finally, one day reach the end of this crazy ride.

In the meantime, we are enjoying Brennen and are so looking forward to our 2nd grandchild. That sounds so funny as I don't feel old enough to have two grandchildren! But as Geoff's Dad always says, "children are wonderful". Brennen and Sara spent the past two weekends with us and we really enjoyed them both. I thought it would be fun to share some of the pictures of the future look of our house. Especially since I've been so up and down emotionally lately.

We can't wait until we can bring Lexi into this mix of crazy messes! So bear with me as I go on and off again as we wait, and wait... and wait!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

31 Months and still waiting...

Yesterday was our LID Anniversary... 31 months of waiting. Here's hoping that the end is in sight... The weekend has been good for me. I'm feeling better and am hopeful that referrals will be here early this week and will cover through the 17th!

And while I'm posting, I thought I'd share some Brennen cuteness. This picture was taken a few weekends ago when he spent the night. It's so cute! When he finished with breakfast, he got down and got his book and started reading. He really loves books! He flips through the pages and chatters his baby chatter! I love this little guy so much!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Growing My Own Ladybug Luck????

Without a doubt this has been a sad week for me. I have cried more this week over this adoption than I have in a LONG, LONG time. I don't really understand my super emotional state of being. I just know that I can barely say "China" without crying. I feel hopeful, anxious, worried, restless, and just plain fearful. This many emotions at once are hard to sort out. I can only imagine how I will feel when we get even closer. And I hope this passes soon! A girl can only tear up so many times! Today's news is that referrals will be mailed over the weekend and will most likely appear early in the week AND that the formula issue will not affect them. This is good news! I know that much lies ahead of us and I'm very anxious but am trying so hard to refind that patient happy person inside of me. One of the ways I have occupied myself this year has been through my teaching. So I decided to share this little tidbit below.... Hopefully, I won't appear to be too much of a crazy woman!

This may be a first for the adoption community... The picture above is a small container that has various stages of ladybugs. Ladybugs in the adoption community are believed to be a sign of good things... referrals. Well, with my Outdoor classroom activities at school we have grown Milkweed to attract Monarch butterflies and at this very moment have 60 Monarch Chrysalis' in our computer lab. We've hatched and released 29 already! Well, with Milkweed comes aphids and aphids attract ladybugs. So I've had my classes going on ladybug hunts in the Butterfly garden. We have now successfully found ladybug eggs, watched them hatch under a digital microscope and even have witnessed them changing from the larva stage to the pupa. The final stage we are hoping to view is the hatching of the brand new ladybug! So here is my container that i will be watching this weekend. As I look at it, I wonder how many others in the Chinese Adoption Community have ever grown their own luck! I know it's just a legend but I've had an amazing time teaching my students in the computer lab about the metamorphosis of both the butterfly and the ladybug. We're building projects about them both and have witnessed some of Mother Natures miracles right before our eyes. I really would love to see referrals come next week and I pray they will go through the 17th so that many of my Precious Panda friends will get their referrals. Then that will leave just me and one more. It's time for our little miracle to show her pretty little face! So come on referrals!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sad... just sad.

My heart is so sad over the formula crisis in China. I don't for personal reasons post often about things in China that upset me but this time is different. Recently it has come to light that the many babies in China are suffering from Kidney stones and kidney failure. Long story short is that the substance Melamine has been put into the powdered formula. This is the same substance that caused such a controversy a few years ago in the US because pets were dying from eating tainted dog food. This is a substance that when used causes the protein levels appear to be higher. It breaks my heart to know so many Chinese babies have been effected! As of Sept. 24th the were 53,000 sickened infants, nearly 13,000 hospitalizations, and four infant deaths, according to the Associated Press.

I'm worried that Lexi is one of the babies that have ingested the formula. No one really knows the long term effects these babies may suffer. I am also worried that this will effect upcoming referrals. Of course the Chinese government is now investigating. Formula and milk products have been pulled from the shelves and are being tested. Orphanages are testing the babies. There have been "rumors" that this crisis could slow referrals while they test babies. I may be wrong but I see no need to delay referrals. Any damage has been done. If Lexi has been exposed, I would like to get her home and begin whatever medical treatment that needs to be done. We are praying that our daughter is safe. We have been patient and have learned to handle the long, slow wait but this latest crisis is making my patience grow thin and I'm beginning to wonder if our recent confidence that our referral will be soon was false hope. We need prayer. We need some hope. We need our Lexi.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fun With Brennen!

We got to babysit Brennen this weekend. It was long overdue! I don't know if I posted this or not but the last overnight babysitting attempt ended with us taking Brennen to his Mommy and Daddy at about mid-night because he couldn't go to sleep and I couldn't bare to let him cry for his parents. I SAY we kept him overnight but Sara was here to put him to bed and spent the night with us. Being 6 months pregnant, she decided to not go camping with Chris and came home to stay with us. We had him by ourselves though for about 6 hours. He was awesome! We had my parents and brother over for dinner so they could enjoy him as well and we all just tried to enjoy him as much as possible! He is growing up so quickly! I just can't believe how fast it happens!!! We just marvel over his energy and how easily he entertains us! He is such a happy little boy and just wants to do STUFF! He loves his books, toys and loves to be played with.

This morning I heard that Sara had gotten up with him so I jumped out of bed and asked her if she wanted to sleep some more and I took over. It was not long before Geoff was up too and as he cooked breakfast, we played and played. We made forts out of blankets and danced in the kitchen and annoyed (jealous... jealous!!!) the dogs to no end! It was too much fun! I have missed him staying with us (it's been since July!!)

Saturday, September 06, 2008


She's a mommy... a granddaughter... a great-granddaughter... a cousin... an aunt... a friend to many (including me)... a step-daughter (even though Geoff proudly says he sees her as a daughter not a step child)... but most of all she is my daughter and I love her very much! And of course, she will very soon add sister to this list of who she is!

Happy Birthday Sara! I love you sweetie!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Who needs some Brennen Cuteness??

It's been awhile since I've posted about my dear little Brennen and since I have some new photos of him taken on Labor Day weekend, I thought I'd share...



This week we got news that CCAA made referrals ALL THE WAY THROUGH February 9th, 2006. This means to US... 18 more days! Of course, 18 days in China Adoption could mean many months but it also could mean a referral very soon! This month they went through 9 days. If they continue at this rate of 9 days a month, we could be looking at a November referral. I shutter to get my hopes up on this but there is always a small part of me that does! But to be honest, I'll be happy with November or December... as long as it happens! This does pretty much mean that we will most likely be traveling to China during season but THANKFULLY, Geoff now works with a company that understands and has already begun to tell him that they don't want him to worry about returning to work the day after we get home! His vacation from this year will pretty much roll over into next year so possibly he will have some time at home with me and Lexi upon our return. I'm really hoping that maybe he can arrange to work some from home because babies do sleep from time and time and maybe he could do some work via the Internet. After referrals came out this week, I had a new found hope and stepped up my plans at work. I'm working NOW towards completing media festival projects with the kids as opposed to waiting to last minute like usual and doing it in January and February. I've got the entire population of 604 students thinking of projects for us to do in the lab. I've also brought in my "cats" (aka monarch caterpillars) and am trying to get them interested in doing stuff around the entire monarch/milkweed habitat. I love teaching science/language arts/computers all at the same time! I have to admit though, I'm still pretty overwhelmed with the beginning of the year lab set-up. I'm still working every night doing things to get caught up but at least the year is already flying by! Next week the teachers will be sending home the mid-term 9 weeks progress reports! Imagine that! We're almost already half through the first of the 4 nine weeks of the school year!

So on to my original point of this post... Brennen.

Brennen taking a swim... "not too sure of this Grammie!"

"Ohhh... Grammie... I can splash!"

"Watch me doggie paddle!"

"Ah... Grammie, it's TIME for you realize that I'm getting to be a big boy now!"

"Hey Grammie, let me sit on your shoulder and watch my favorite movie... Shrek! He's so silly!"

"This is serious stuff Grammie!"

"Hey Now... I'm a ROCK STAR, get your game on.. let's play!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 27, 2008. Today is our 30th (yes 30!) month anniversary since LID. I haven't really posted about the long wait in awhile but I think a 2 1/2 year anniversary is worthy. Plus, today was our 3rd fingerprinting appointment. How timely is that? I didn't really realize that it was on the 30 month anniversary until after we were finished but once I double checked the date and saw that, I had a plan. This time, instead of going to Atlanta we went to Florida. But first let me digress.... I had a meltdown Tuesday night. I came home and decided I would cook our favorite pasta dish. I was doing just fine until I got the mincing the garlic and suddenly felt a sting on my thumb. That's when I realized that I had cut my thumb. I was not enough to bleed but was certainly cut in two places. I called Geoff and told him I was about to cry and what had happened. He told me it was fine and to not worry. Well, I cried. And cried. Every single time we have gone to Atlanta, the first thing they did was make us hold out our hands to check for cuts! All I could imagine was making ANOTHER trip to good ole' Florida and ME having to come back! I just couldn't bare that thought, much less another week of waiting to get this done! Short story is it was okay and the lady didn't even notice my cuts!

So after our appointment, we went to a really cool outdoor mall in Jacksonville called the St. John's Town Center. It has a Pottery Barn Kids and all kinds of cool little shops! As we walked up, we saw a PF Chang's and decided that we should eat there and celebrate our LAST fingerprinting appointment and the 30 month milestone. (Who would have ever thought that we could celebrate after waiting THIS long! But at least at this point, we are definitely on the down side of the wait!). We toasted our iced sweet teas and ordered a bunch of Chinese food that was delicious!!

Despite it all, it turned out to be a really nice day. Then we came home and had dinner at Sara and Chris' house and played with Brennen. We both still have a feeling our time will be December. Of course, it's not as soon as we wished for but it's finally in sight. I get so emotional these days that I just about can't mention the adoption without my eyes welling up with tears. I can only imagine what a mess I will be when we finally see our precious little daughter. She IS worth the wait...every single second!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay strikes a punch!

Well, today was the day. The day we had a fingerprinting appointment in Jacksonville. We were to be there at 9:00 AM. I get 3 personal days a year and any days Geoff takes right now are coming out of his vacation time. Well, last night my sister called to ask about our trip since the weather has been so bad with Tropical Storm Fay. In fact, on my way out of school yesterday one of my good friends told me that Jacksonville schools were closed. So we checked the Jacksonville website and it had not offices listed as closed. We checked again before we left at 6:00 this morning... still no closing. So off we went in the wind and rain. I noticed when we hit Jacksonville that the roads were pretty quiet and when we finally drove up in the parking lot, my heart just sank. There were only a few cars. No light on... CLOSED! Geoff got out and checked the door and there was a note on the door that it was closed due to the weather and that anyone with a fingerprinting appointment could come back any Wednesday. So guess what we will be doing AGAIN next Wednesday??? I'll tell you nothing is a certainty in this adoption journey except that you can only expect the unexpected. At least we made it home safe and sound. I'll have to take another personal day next week and that will leave me one for our referral. I want to be HOME when we get our package from FedEX. I'd like to be home when we get our referral but I don't know exactly how that works. I don't know if we will know when to expect the call... so we'll just have to see how it works. I've already decided that Geoff will be the one talking to Mei because I know I'll be crying my eyes out with joy! I'll need the level headed on of us in charge that day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Okay... so I've been a blogger slacker... AGAIN!

I can't believe a month has gone by since we posted. I didn't mean it to be this way. I guess the last few weeks before I had to go back to work snuck up on me and once we started, HOLY COW!! I forget each summer until it happens AGAIN how busy the beginning of school can be. I'm exhausted every day and it's like riding a roller coaster, you can never tell from one day to the next what the next day will hold. I'm tired of working day and night and just want to "fast-forward" my life about a month or so until the madness is over.

On another note, I'm very, happy about referrals this month. My friends Kathy and Melissa got referrals yesterday!! Yea REFERRALS!!! Melissa little one is only 6 months old!!! Kathy's little one is 18 months old! We have not seen pictures yet but I'm sure they will be precious! The rumors this month were that it would only be a 2 day referral month and I was a bit down about that but it turned out to be 5 days and I'll take that. CCAA is now through Jan. 31st of 2006. Sure we've been waiting almost 30 months now but hey, we are getting there and we just know that our turn will be here soon.

Watching the 2008 Summer Olympics has been bitter-sweet. I love watching and learning about China but I've found myself having some unexpected emotions. As we watched the opening ceremonies, I cried. I was just overwhelmed and couldn't quite put my finger on why. I found that many others in my Yahoo group have felt the same way. After all, China is our daughter's birth place and will forever hold a special place in our heart.

On another note... Sara's second baby will be another boy! We found out last week. They are still trying to name baby #2. We would have liked a little girl for Lexi to play with but Mother Nature has another idea, another playmate for Brennen. AT least Lexi will have two little nephews to take care of her!!

I'll do my best to try to get back on schedule posting. It HAS been tough beginning the year. Next week we will be heading to Jacksonville to be fingerprinted ONE MORE TIME for our USCIS paperwork. I guess until we get that referral and come home with our daughter, we'll just keep jumping through all these crazy adoption hoops!

Monday, July 14, 2008

We're BACK!

Gosh! I took my computer with us to the beach but never took the time to post! We left right after Brennen's birthday party so I have a lot of updates to do!

Brennen was a trooper at his party even if he didn't like putting his hands in the cake! This boy will rub everything else all over his face and hands but not CAKE! Well, maybe next year. Sara and Chris threw a very good birthday party. They cooked hotdogs and hamburgers and even rented one of those blow up jumpy things for the kids to play in. Brennen had a very good time but really was only interested in one toy... the tricycle that his Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Ben gave him. It was the big hit! He wanted to push it all over the place! We gave him a sand and water table. He showed a little interest in it but was just taken by the tricycle.

Then we headed to the beach to our luxury condo. We literally walked across the parking lot and were on the beach. It was so very nice! Carolyn and I hit the beach on Sunday and didn't stop until it rained on Friday. I even coaxed Geoff out on the beach on Monday. He is not a fan of water but is trying very hard to learn since he knows that will be a place that we will want to take Lexi. In fact anyone who lives here needs to be able to swim some. My brother feel off of a dock one time when he was about 5 years old and we had to jump in the get him. And even Brennen is fearless already on the beach! Sara brought him up and stayed a few nights and as soon as his feet hit the sand he made a bee line for the water. He rushed at the waves! If we hadn't had his hands he would have been swept away by waves! He really made me nervous!

We came back last Saturday to find that my milkweed plants at home and at school have just grown immensely! I even have baby Monarch caterpillars on them already. At school the sunflowers are at least 8ft. tall! And the plants that we planted right before I left in the garden are already up and a pretty good size. I'm working to get it in good shape before the students come back to school.

Today I was working outside when two of the custodians came out to check out the garden. They are always helping me do something out there. Well, I was telling them that next summer I would not be out there everyday and would need to get students and their parents more actively involved because I'd have a baby at home. They both looked at me and in shock and then remembered the adoption. They were looking for a baby bump! It was too funny! We've been waiting for so long now that people have actually forgotten that we are adopting! This week on July 16th, will be three years ago that we made the decision to go to China. We named Lexi on the same day. My, that seems just like yesterday but in also it seems forever ago.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Birthday Update

We had Chris, Sara, and Brennen over for dinner so that we could see him on his official birthday. We ordered out Mexican food and after we finished Sara and Chris gave Brennen a tiny little birthday cake. Well, I hope he improves by Saturday because the little munchkin did not take to his cake very well. He was curious.... But then as soon as he touched the cake, he decided that it was yucky!
Sara tried to give him a little taste but that was a no-go too!
In the end, he was reaching for his Grammie to rescue him! It was too funny! The real party is this Saturday. We'll see how he does then!

Tales from the garden...

Remember the Swallowtail caterpillars? Well, this is one that I put in a butterfly tent to watch make his metamorphosis.

This is him after a day. Now we're watching to see when he will hatch.

Well, yesterday I met my Dad up at school to do some planting in the garden. I really really want the kids to see some summer harvest so we replanted corn, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and green beans. I wanted to learn my Dad's way of planting. I have to say we had a great time! I love to spend time with Daddy learning about his past and how he does things. It also means so much to me that he will come up on a hot summer day to work so hard in the hot sun just because I want to. Times like this are priceless!
After a while my MOM came up to check on us. While we were piddling around I noticed this little lady!
So Mom and I started to watch her. Sure enough, she is my first Monarch of the season who is laying eggs! She laid eggs as long as we watched! It was fascinating! I did my best to get some good pictures!
Now I'm conflicted about going away next week! My principal is supposed to mind the garden while I'm away. I check daily for aphids and signs of disease on my plants and make sure they are watered. I probably will have his number on speed dial next week to make sure everything is properly taken care of!

Attracting Monarch butterflies is pretty much a hobby of mine. I've done it for the past 3 years and have loved every moment of it. I get amazed by nature every time I observe the process. However, this morning while I was out minding the milkweed plants, I leaned over to check out a plant and all of a sudden heard a loud buzzing! I looked up and right in front of me was a wasp stinging on of my Swallowtail cats! I shooed him off but it was too late! Poor thing just died. I was so upset! I know that nature has it's laws but today nature just totally blew my day! The nasty little wasp came back for it later on when I left. They use them to lay eggs in inside of their nests. I have a bunch more cats growing in my little herb garden. I sure hope he will stay away! My brother and Mom are going to be taking care of my plants, dogs and cats, and caterpillars next week. Hopefully, all will be okay!

I do plan to continue to keep my little hobby intact when I have Lexi. I think showing her things like this will bring very educational experiences to her and stimulate her curiosity. Maybe she will grow to be a nature girl just like her mom. I know I have picked up a lot this from my wonderful parents.

And yes, I am choosing to pretty much ignore the disappointing news that we got yesterday that referrals only made it through Jan. 25 of '06. I guess some progress is better than no progress. We now have 31 days between where CCAA is and where we WANT them to be!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Brennen!

One year ago today, we were blessed with the birth of this beautiful boy! Today we celebrate Brennen! We had dinner with Sara, Chris and Brennen tonight and gave him a pre-birthday party present. Saturday, he will have the birthday bash. Anyhow, here are some of the pictures from the photo shoot from last Friday. Needless to say, this boy melts our hearts!