Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Calm

Well, we leave two weeks from tomorrow and I am amazingly calm. I'm sure the panic will set in anytime now. I have moments when I can't believe we're actually doing this, and the time is here. But, for the most part, I feel very peaceful, which has taken me quite by surprise. I'll post again at 2 am if I start to freak out.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Just a little taste of our Christmas morning.

Sadly, I think this is the only one we have of all four kids together. Gotta do better next year.




I love this one of my big boys. They look so............big. Don't know when that happened. I must've blinked.




Remember Smores, who won me the $25 Amazon gift card? Well, you'll see him in a few minutes, but even Smores' box scored big points. Will have to sneak this out of the house during nap time......



Matching sister clothes for DD and Abby. Yes, Gymboree.




This is my absolute favorite Christmas morning picture ever!!!! It is a truly genuine response, no faking or exaggerating or posing here. I happened to be snapping away with my SLR, and caught this perfect expression. The joy of giving your child something badly wanted, yet completely unexpected (one of those things they want super bad, but because they know who's really bringing the presents, they had no hope of actually getting it). I love it!



By the way, in case you're dying of curiosity.....it was a Pokemon card booster box, which contains 36 packs of Pokemon cards. Outrageously expensive, but I scored it on ebay (shhh...don't tell him). Apparently, an 11 year old boy's dream come true.

I love this next one because it was a picture of one sweet little girl, but little brother in the background stole the show just by his natural enjoyment of his own present. Can you see the look on his face?


I'm absolutely exhausted, because I've been staying up late for a week working on scrapbooks that I didn't even finish. Maybe for a New Year's present......

And in our minds and hearts.........



We're coming, baby!!!!







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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CA

We got our dates!!! We will arrive in Beijing on January 14th, and fly to Guangdong (Abby's province) on the 17th. CA will be on January 25th. I don't have plane tickets yet, but those dates should put us home on January 28th, which is DH's birthday (and he's not traveling with us, so he'll get to meet Abby on his birthday), and just in time for his promotion on January 29th. Oh, and I'll still be home on January 9th like I wanted for little man's 2nd birthday.

So, why did I stress about the timing of all this?? I couldn't have scheduled it better myself!!!! God gets all the credit for these perfect plans - His timing always IS perfect, isn't it????

Praising Him today, and off to enjoy a JOY filled Christmas. I was so sad for a while that Abby wouldn't be here, but just knowing when I'll see her sweet face makes it OK. I'm going to bake, wrap, watch It's a Wonderful Life, sing, praise God, and play games to my heart's content for the next few days. I'll pack next week.........

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's HERE

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Praising God today, for holding me up during this seemingly endless wait!!

By lunchtime today, we just couldn't take it. We tried to call our SW again but were just getting voicemail, not even a real life receptionist to answer. My DH was going to email the main office, but then decided that he might as well try to call. I had called them only once before, a few months back, and they hadn't taken my call. They had then reprimanded my SW for it, letting her and us know that we should be going through her to get questions answered. Which I honored until now, because frankly I got pretty tired of being ignored. We just wanted a straight "Yes, TA is here", or "No, sorry". If it was the latter, we were going to push for more answers as to why it had taken so long.

Well, suprise #1 - they actually took his call. Not so surprising, I guess, was the answer that YES, TA is FINALLY here!! They did get it on Thursday, when I had gotten that "mysterious" email from the travel agency. We still don't have dates, because they're still trying to schedule or CA (Consulate Appointment). They're hoping for arrival in Beijing on Jan. 14, which would be PERFECT. That would put me still at home for my little man's second birthday, and BACK in time for my DH's big promotion ceremony!!

Thank you for all your prayers, and for listening to my roller coaster emotions the last few days!! Now let's pray for that CA!!!

God is GOOD!!!

And the Saga Continues

Well, I made it to Monday morning.
I feel like I'm in labor, except instead of waiting for the pains to begin, I'm kind of waiting for them to END. Or waiting for the OB to schedule an induction (I've done that before).

Friday, December 18, 2009

No news

Well, my SW said she hadn't heard anything but she would contact the China Team (at our agency's main office) and find out. She emailed them twice and they never responded one way or another. Which I frankly find a bit rude, but, hey, I'm just an adoptive parent a week away from Christmas dying to hear news about traveling to get her daughter. I would've asked our SW to actually call the China Team, or I would've called myself, except from past experience I already know that would just get ignored as well.

So I'm not sure if their lack of response means TA is not here and they're too busy to bother telling us so, or it is here and they don't have CA scheduled yet so they don't want to tell us.

I'm not feeling quite ready to face the weekend.

On Pins and Needles

OK - I haven't heard anything official yet, but.......
First, I emailed the travel agency back yesterday and directly asked if our adoption agency had asked them to contact me. They said no, they were just updating their files and wanted to touch base with people that should be traveling soon.

However, I did confirm with about 10 different APs that adopted with our agency within the last few months that they did receive that same email from the travel agency a day before they got the call about their TA. And, some of these people contacted the travel agency just like I did and they also denied that they knew anything about TA being there. So I'm feeling pretty positive that our agency has our TA right now. Why, oh why, must they play these games and not tell people right away??? I just hope that I get a call today and don't have to wait 'til Monday. And I hope I'm not just getting myself worked up for no reason.....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't want to get too excited.........

I just got a suspicious email from the travel agency that our adoption agency works with. They were sending some paperwork to help us prepare for travel and wanted to ask about our passport numbers, which I'd neglected to send to them. They have had my paperwork in hands for MONTHS, and I don't really know why they are sending this to me out of the blue right now.......UNLESS they know something I don't know. Our agency likes to book the Consulate Appointment before notifying their clients that TA is here, so I'm wondering if they contacted the travel agency to line up our travel.
I emailed my SW but haven't heard back anything.....
There's no way I'm sleeping tonight!!!!! Please pray that this is IT!!!!!! And pray for a few other families waiting along with me!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Love this Song

None but Jesus – Brooke Fraser

“In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored

When You call I won’t refuse
Each new day again I’ll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know You’re Sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will


When You call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days

All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope, all of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord Forevermore

Monday, December 14, 2009

Easing my doubts

I started the day today in prayer, literally pleading with the Lord to help ease the anxiety and doubt that I felt coming over me once again about Abby's adoption. It seems the more time I have to wait, the more room it allows for doubt and fear to set in. Are we doing the right thing?? Is this really all from Him, or have I imagined it all up, have I dreamed up that He is asking me to step forward here, that He is the one who has called us to do this? I've had times where I've been SO sure, so certain that no matter how it all turns out, we stepped forward in faith because it was definitely His voice we heard calling. Yet once again this morning I found my faith wavering, not my faith in Him, but just that this adoption will actually happen, or that it was even meant to be. I have to admit I've had days (this morning being one of them) where I've felt like He is not watching, like He's busy elsewhere and does not see me, for after all, what is our little daily drama in the scope of the whole world???? So I do what I do at such times, and I prayed for strength and for a renewal of my faith. And this is the sweet gift He gave me......

I opened up my Bible just for a brief moment before racing off to the gym (I usually have my quiet time after I get back. I have to make it to the gym before DH leaves for work, or I don't get to go). Very randomly, just cracked it open, and I was reading these verses: "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:28-31

What a nice reminder that He is watching over our every move and has not forgotten us, or Abby!! With a smile on my face and already feeling better, and enjoying the fact that I have such an awesome Father and that He picks me up every single time I start to stumble, I headed off to the gym.

I got back and managed to finish a shower and still have a housefull of sleeping children, which meant time for a truly QUIET quiet time. Again, feeling His love here, because He knew I needed it today. Turned to my devotional, where the focus verse of the day was Matthew 14:31 "Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?" And the reading to follow reminded me of how Peter leapt out of the boat without hesitation when Jesus called, but his faith fizzled out and he started sinking. What a very appropriate reminder for me today!! The prayer at the end said "Heavenly Father, when your direction is obvious, help me not to doubt". By this time I was pretty astonished, and realized His message could not be any clearer if I was looking at a burning bush...... And I felt so incredibly loved, and so GRATEFUL that He is so patient with me, when I continously develop shaking knees if I have to wait more than "average" waiting times for anything. And grateful for the fact that He hears me and so tenderly and DIRECTLY answers me.

And as if that were not enough, I turned to my SECOND devotional (yes, I love devotionals). I was actually reading Dec. 13 because I don't read my devotionals on Sunday. A quote from J.R. Miller awaited me "If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears."

Awesome!!! Isn't He SO GOOD?????!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank you Smores

Something WAY cool happened last night. This will show you that the title for yesterday's post was completely accurate...... I am going completely crazy at this point waiting for our Travel Approval. One thing that brings a bit of sanity to me is reading other people's blogs, and Stefanie over at NiHao Y'all has served to distract me the last few weeks in a BIG way. She had asked people to post Christmas gift ideas, and eventually this turned into a bit of a contest. She decided to break the ideas up into age groups, and then after a predetermined date she would select a winner for the best idea for each age group. I had sent in a few ideas before, but yesterday at the very last minute I decided to send in what actually is my favorite gift I'm giving this year, and I'm not really sure why I hadn't already sent this in. I sent in to the 4-7 category (even though my DD who is getting this is 8) because I really think it's probably most appropriate for the younger age group. But my sweetie has been wanting this for years and I was never willing to pay full price for it. It was finally on sale this year and I know she would STILL love it, I know Abby will love it, and little man after them will get a lot of joy out of it for years to come. Anyways, this was my submission to Stefanie's contest: Smores the Pony




And I'm still shocked because I WON. I never ever win anything, this is so AMAZING!!!!! The prize is a $25 Amazon gift card, and let me tell you, this has made THIS Christmas shopping mama very, very happy. I feel ridiculous about how excited I am about this, but frankly I know it's a side effect of losing my mind over the wait for Travel Approval. My kids thought I was really funny doing my little jig around the room last night when I found out, even though they only know half the story because of course, I could not tell them what the winning idea was.

So thank you Stefanie, you made my day!!!!! Of course, I absolutely LOVE the runner up, and now I have to go searching for that for my two little ones.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Breathtaking

I had to take a minute to type this, because it's been on my mind all week and I want to flesh out the thoughts on "paper". I hesitated to post because I realize that I am speaking about a group that I am now a part of, and I didn't want this at all to seem to be self serving or a pat on the back for myself. Then I realized that most people reading this would understand where I'm coming from. Please know that I am not speaking of myself at all, but just that I find myself in awe at the people I have found myself SURROUNDED by. I don't think what my family is doing in any way compares to what most of these families are doing, not even close.

I posted a couple of months ago about how grateful I am to have found an online community that has walked the road of adoption before, because they are my true cheerleaders in this whole process. Well, lately I have felt completely overwhelmed lately by the stories I've been reading about on other peoples' adoption blogs. And maybe not so much the stories, but the love. It is so amazing to me that so many families out there feel called to adopt, and then respond with such PASSION. I was literally in tears a few nights ago reading about a family waiting for to travel for their SN boy, and that's when it struck me. This is not what the world would consider "normal". Not only do these families seek to add to their numbers by pretty unconventional means, but then to be so utterly excited at every little step of the process. To feel pure JOY at the privilege of getting to be a part of these little ones' lives......... Little ones that most others would consider "imperfect". It has been such a blessing to me over the last few months to get a peek at these families' journeys, to watch so many of them wait and wait with great expectation, and then be united with their children, and then to watch them blossom into a family; some journeys smoother than others, but all having a breathtaking amount of LOVE behind them. People besides themselves with anticipation waiting to bring home children that they did not genetically contribute to, children that will have countless medical and emotional issues to deal with in months to come. And these people can NOT wait to bring these children home. And then, they travel halfway around the world and bring them home and deal with grieving children, temper tantrums, and a mountain of communication issues - all things they knew ahead of time would have to be dealt. with. And they CHOSE to do this - and continue every day to choose to love these kids!! And the real kicker, they count THEMSELVES blessed.

These families have inspired and changed me in countless ways. I have seen the love of Jesus firsthand by watching all of them, and I frankly do not have enough words to express what a thrill that is!!!!! It is HIS love that is ACTIVE, changing the world, at a time when so many are SO cynical and would make us think the worse of those around us. I have hundreds of stories to share with those people now, and with those who would question if GOD is really active today - He is, He is , HE IS!!! And I get to read about it EVERY NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. My favorite story of HIS love in action this week is here. Read it from the beginning and have yourself a good cry.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Don't Laugh

For the last couple of years, my kids have INSISTED that I make them a birthday cake. I think they must be doing this because they enjoy laughing at their mom - they revel in finding something that she is pretty much a failure at, and knowing full well my weakness for them and for trying to meet their every birthday request, they take advantage of that. Personally, I think it's cool that they're asking me to make them a cake rather than trying to get the $30 DQ Blizzard cake that I request on my birhtday, so I just play along. They don't ever ask for a specific cake either, they just want me to surprise them. So for Jake's 11th birthday this week, I masterfully created the Wii remote cake. I'm trusting those of you reading this will be kind enough not to laugh. I did it out of love.......
(click on the picture for a REALLY good laugh with a giant close up)




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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Article 5

I emailed the Consulate in Guangzhou one more time last night in a desperate attempt to get ANY information at all about the status of our paperwork. They promptly responded letting me know that our Article 5 was picked up by our agency on Nov. 30!!!! This is the very last step of this wait. The Art. 5 gets delivered to the C**A and they will then issue Travel Approval - then we're on our way to Abby. What is most exciting is that this is it for the US side of things, and the last step where any hiccup could've taken place is BEHIND us. In theory there could still be holdups, but not of the type where someone could tell me something is wrong with my paperwork.
Sadly, we will not be traveling in December at this point, though. I had hoped and prayed to have Abby home for Christmas. But just knowing we have such a mountain behind us is enough of a Christmas present for me. It looks like our agency is planning to send a group the first week of January, and hopefully we can make it out with that group!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wish I Had News....

Wish I had TA news to share, but nothing yet....
I am trying to remain sane. It's really a rollercoaster - I feel completely at peace one minute and the next I feel like I'm going to lose it!
Stayed busy this past weekend shopping and decorating the house for Christmas. Started back to school today and I'm actually trying to cover as much ground as possible before we have to take a break, which helps keep me somewhat sane, I guess. Today we're also going to make our count down to Christmas chain, which the kids LOVE - it is definitely a favorite tradition around here. I thought they would've outgrown it years ago, but it's the first thing they remember and beg to do every year. We put a Christmas related activity on each link of a paper chain, and do what comes up each day as we pull a link to count down to the big day.
I just really wish I had a date marked on the calendar for our China travel, because it is really stressful to do all this planning and not know if I'm going to be here or there come Dec. 25.
So all I can do is just enjoy the season, one day at a time, and realize that we WILL eventually get there. I just wanted her home for Christmas so badly......................

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a very nice and quiet Thanksgiving today. Deep fried turkey with all the trimmings, which of course must include some congris (red beans and rice, Nana's style). We were very glad to have the time to celebrate, and to have Grandpa here to celebrate along with us. I have to admit, just as it always is these days, part of my heart was in China. And I can't wait 'til next Thanksgiving when our full family can be around the table!!

For now, I guess I'll keep busy with shopping. The big decision is whether to start out at Toys R Us at midnight tonight or wait 'til 5 am and start at Target. So much to ponder, so little time......

Friday, November 20, 2009

No TA

Well, no, no Travel Approval this week. I actually got an email from the Consulate and it doesn't seem our Article 5 had even been issued as of that point. So, more waiting. But I'm actually at peace about it. Just looking forward to Thanksgiving, and trusting in God's timing. I know the day will come, and it is truly in His hands. And no, I wasn't feeling that calm all week. I actually had more downs than ups. But as usual, His peace prevails after much time spent in prayer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Will This Be It?

Well, I'm trying not to be too hopeful, but it's really hard!! According to other's timelines, this week could very well be the week that our Travel Approval comes in. Everyone has been waiting about two months from LOA, and we hit two months yesterday. Our agency doesn't notify you right away, they like to get the Consulate Appointments set up first and then call you with exact dates. So, since a few other TAs for people with September LOAs trickled in last week, it is possible that they have ours and are waiting to get that CA set up before calling us. Or it might come in this week. I've seen mostly first week of Sep. LOAs get their TAs, but I did see one 9/14 (only a day before us). The suspense will probably kill me, and I don't know how I will get anything at all done this week!!! Our agency has a group leaving on Dec. 2, and we are still hoping we will be able to get in on that group. It just so happens to be a certain little boy's 11th birthday that day, but he's OK with the possibility of mom and big brother leaving to China on that day. I have the earth's coolest kids! He must know that I will, of course, feel guilty, and make up for it by buying him twice as many presents : )
And adding to the excitement is the fact that we are only 11 days from Black Friday!!! YAYYYY!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

More Gift Ideas

Christmas is moving closer faster and faster. Since I am still hoping to be in China for two weeks between here and then, I'm trying to get my shopping going early. Of course, I don't want to buy too much before Black Friday, because then what excuse would I have for being gone for the entire day - plus I don't want to miss out on snaggin' some good deals. I still think it's smart to at least plan ahead. Here's some of what I have in mind. (Just click on the pictures to see the item on Amazon).


For the boys (ages 10 - up):


Let me start by saying that we are a HUGE game family. We have more board games than I care to admit, and until recently thought we had probably played everyone worth playing ever created. And then, our wonderful neighbors introduced us to both of these games. We already have the original versions of each of these, so we'd be adding on to them with follow up editions that you actually add to the original game and it turns it into a very different game - sort of like spicing up an old favorite. If your family enjoys board games, especially strategy ones, you MUST look into these. WARNING: HIGHLY ADDICTIVE STUFF!!!!!! And although I listed these under stuff for the boys, DD actually plays with us all the time. I just think she kind of plays along just to feel included, but the boys are the ones passionate about actually playing this (and maybe mom, just a little bit).


Settlers of Catan




We actually already have the original one above, so we'll be adding to it by gifting the boys (wink, wink) with this expansion set:



If you don't own any of these games yet, you have to start out with the Settlers of Catan first, and then build from there if you choose. The Settlers game stands on its own, but it is just fun to add to it and change things up a bit.



Here is the second game our kind neighbors introduced us to:



Yes, it's called Killer Bunnies. I know how violent that sounds!!!! But I promise, it is non-violent, non-threatening, and not at all gruesome. It's actually great family fun!!!! I'm so glad to finally have moved on from Hungry Hungry Hippos and Hi-Ho Cherry-O (Of course, with a one year old in the house, I guess I'll be playing all that again pretty soon - although that's what older siblings are for, isn't it?). It's just great to be playing games with my kids that I would actually even play WITHOUT them. The box says ages 12 and up, but my 8 year old plays it just fine. And, as seems to be the theme in our game-life this year, you can add to this one too. So although we have the "original" Killer Bunnies, we plan to add:


Again, you need to start with the blue box, and then if you wish you can add one of the booster decks.

Boys or Adult (such as myself)


New Casting Crowns CD - Comes out Nov. 17 (oh my - that's almost TODAY)




And I have to admit, I would absolutely LOVE one of these, but I'm not officially asking for one (it's just too expensive to ask for it for myself - maybe on my birthday when we are not also spending on everyone else).


I'm sure I'll add more later as I think of them, but frankly this post is taking way too long away from my shopping time!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Care Packages

Well, just passing the time, trying to not lose my mind waiting for the Travel Approval to arrive. But I already feel like I've lost it!!!

I don't think I've posted pictures of the care packages we sent to Abby in the last couple of months. The first one we sent the week after we got our Letter of Acceptance, around mid-September. We wrote a letter, which was translated for us by the lady who runs the care package service (redthreadchina). We also included some cookies and candy for the children and nannies, and laughed when we saw the picture because we didn't realize it would be so much!!!! It was kind of neat that we could send up to twenty pictures to be put in a photo album, so we sent pictures of each of us and pictures of the house and her room. We also threw in some books for Abby, plus some coloring books with markers. It was really, really hard to choose what we would send - we just wanted to send everything!!! Here's the picture:





Then another month quickly went by, and I felt it was time to send our little girl a reminder that we are still thinking of her..... This time I chose a dress (which by the way, you don't actually CHOOSE - you say you want a dress and the lady chooses it for you, but I was amazed at what $15 bought - it's beautiful!!), a Hello Kitty doll, and wrote another letter. Here's the picture of Care Package #2, which I sent out in October.






And just so that you can get a closer look at the dress that Ann from redthread picked out:

Isn't it beautiful??

I love sending packages because it helps me feel connected to Abby. It also helps me to feel like I'm doing something for her even though she's so far away, and I want to do so much more. I would be due for sending another one next week, but I'm kind of hoping we'll get Travel Approval and travel dates and actually be on our way to her ourselves fairly soon!!!!






Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blessed

Mornings like this remind me that I am extremely blessed to be able to live here. Sometimes I forget about these amazing surroundings. Today, I was awakened early by a sick child, and after I settled them back in, I went for a walk. This is when I really wish I knew something about photography, because I just don't feel these pictures come even close to doing these spectacular views justice. This is what I was gifted with:

















Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Frustrated

I'm feeling some major frustration right now, as I just got an email from the US Consulate in Guangzhou. I had inquired about the status of our paperwork, which is waiting for a signature from them to then be sent over to the "official" adoption bureaucracy for more signatures, before we get our Travel Approval. Very complicated red tape, I know. What's irritating is that I forwarded these papers to our agency on Oct. 6. A week later they confirmed they were sent to their contact in China on Oct. 8. And yet the Consulate is telling me they received them on NOVEMBER 3. It is beyond me why it would take this long, and I just feel like we've lost a few weeks where we weren't moving forward at all.

So, as of right now, everything is where it needs to be. It just took a while to get there.

And I am reminded again to stop my fretting, and my anxiety, and to trust Him with this adoption and this timeline. But I am a bit of a control freak, so having to completely let go is difficult for me. He really knows what I need to work on.......

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Christmas Wish

OK, since we're talking about Christmas this week, here's MY personal Christmas wish. I actually found this video last year and posted it on my wall on Facebook - I watched it over and over back then and just cried and cried. We weren't even DTC at the time, could not even imagine having seen Abby's sweet face yet. As a matter of fact, at the time I fully thought that we had about a five year wait before we would have her home for Christmas. Almost a year later, things are SO different! If this tugged at my heart strings back then, I can hardly watch it now!! My prayer is that we can end our year the way this video ends. So, get your box of tissue ready. If you haven't seen this before, you'll be needing it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Less than Two Months........

Yes, less than two months until Christmas!! And since we're pretty much stuck in the house this week with a sick little one, I've decided it's about time I started Christmas shopping. And I'm having a blast!! I completely fell in love with THESE ADORABLE FRIENDS and ordered one for every kid in the family (extended family too). I was about to order them from Target and then found out they were considerably cheaper on Amazon. And, about a minute after I hit that "order" button I went back to check something about the little cow friend, and the price had already gone up $8. So, if you want some for some of your loved ones, I'd say order PRONTO!!

Something else I ordered this week for my boys that I'm super excited about is THIS

They are totally into movie making and have actually gotten pretty good with their very limited equipment. James was even saying the other day that he could see himself pursuing a career somehow related to editing or movie making. So when I saw the above kit in the current Timberdoodle catalog, I knew I had to order. Usually, I ponder this type of decision forever and then end up placing a last minute order and paying twice the shipping, if I can even get it at by that point, so I'm pretty proud of myself for actually ordering now. Plus, it really looks like half of my usual shopping season will be spent in China this year, so I want to be prepared.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Great Pumpkin Meet

The big kids all competed in their very first swim meet (EVER) today. I was very proud of all of them for giving it their all - they swam their little hearts out!! No wonderful times or finishes (although Jacob did finish first on one of his heats, but that only placed him like 12th overall). The most challenging part was dealing with a 21 month old who had been up since 6 am and had no nap - but even he did excellent!!! I was going to put him to bed early tonight, but he's been in such a good mood, he's still hanging around here somewhere. I don't know if that should make me happy or terrify me! Anyhow, here's some pictures of our new family hobby:








Oh - and did I mention that I forgot my camera, so the boys took pictures for us using James' Nintendo DSi?? Pretty useful little video game, if you ask me. You can also play music with it, so James is using it as an Mp3 and I get his "old" one!!!!!






Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Boys

OK, as promised, here's the short version of what I love about my boys:

Before I became a mom, I could've never dreamed about what an amazing, special love there is between a mother and a son. I share a connection with each one of my boys which is truly indescribable and was truly a complete suprise to me. There is just something so incredibly sweet about the way a boy will stick up for his mom, as though someone secretly gave him the charge of knight in shining armor and he's going to protect mom from the world if it's the last thing he does!!!! My boys all want to keep me safe from what they see as dangers to me, which the majority of the time includes Daddy's schemes to tickle me or play some type of joke on me. They will NOT go for that!! So sweet : ) And, they are really very sensitive with my feelings - they are always concerned about not hurting me, and if they think they have for whatever reason, they are oh so sad. Either they really, really love me or they just think I'm on edge and about to explode and they fear for their lives!!

I love that they seek out opportunities to dote on me - they love getting to make me a sandwich, bring me a blanket, or otherwise show their love.

I love that my big boys (at 13 and almost 11) still like to cuddle with me and read a good book.

I love that these are the same boys that have been linebackers and quarterbacks and can get rough and tough and bang heads with other boys without a second thought.

I love that they come to me when they want to be comforted.

I love that they like to find ways to spend time with me by sharing in some of my interests - like cooking.

I love that they have put up with my craziness for these many years and still like me!!

I love that they all have beds filled with stuffed animals. (OK- NOT on the bed for the little guy yet, more like all over his floor).

I love that I get to see the world through their eyes - and it gives me such a different perspective!

I love that they fill my house with trains, trucks, action figures, and Pokemon cards.

And they fill my front yard with BMX bikes, and dirtbikes (although I guess Lanie is guilty of that too), and little red wagons.

I love that they love the Lord with all their hearts. When I wake up in the morning to find them already on the couch with their Bibles on their laps, I can peek into the future and see them as the Godly men, husbands, and fathers I pray they'll grow up to be. And I thank God that He blessed me with these three boys, that He didn't let me miss out on this part of motherhood, and that He gave me the incredible privilege of playing even the smallest role in bringing up those boys to become men who would honor and serve Him.


OK, and just because this was cute:





This is what typically happens when I pull out the camera. I love that I caught him running away.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I LOVE THIS GIRL:


I love that through her God gave me the joy of experiencing what it was like to be the mom of a girl, a girly-girl at that. (Don't get all worked up. I'm working on a separate post about the boys).


I love that she gave me a reason to buy Barbies again (at least Barbies that would get played with and not just sit on a shelf).


I love that she loves to go shopping with me.


I love that one of her favorite things to do is looking at our albums or watching family videos (that's the scrapbooker in her, I just know it).

I love that she cries at the drop of a hat (it shows me she is sensitive).
I love that she has a great sense of humor, and is always surprising me with her jokes.

I love that she actually ENJOYS school.

I love the way she looks up to her Daddy (both earthly and Heavenly fathers).

I love that she loves to take care of her baby brother.

I love that she looks up to her older brothers, but won't be bossed around.
And a million other things, too numerous to list on this blog.

But then, there's the one thing:

SHE

WILL NOT

STOP

TALKING

The funny thing is, I have to admit I love even that. And wouldn't change a thing about her. But boy, I'm glad she's homeschooled, because I'd be getting notes from the teacher ALL the time about that last one!!

And I realize that last thing is what I will miss the very most when she is all grown up!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Step Closer

OK - to those of you not in the international adoption world, this will mean pretty much nothing, except that we're one tiny step closer to bringing Abby home and things are moving along pretty fast. To my friends who have in the past or are now undergoing this journey, you'll understand a bit better. We got a letter from NVC confirming that our "cable" was sent to Guangzhou on October 9!!!!! That was after DH spent his lunh hour on the phone trying to find out that exact information and was getting nowhere.
Now it's time to figure out if my phone can make international calls with my current plan, so we can call Guangzhou and find out about our Article 5!
I'm still holding out hope for having her home for Christmas!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good thing she likes wearing dresses



Lanie doesn't want to miss out on the dirbike action. I love that she's such a girly-girl, yet she also loves to play rough!! The girl seriously has no fear!

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video

Giveaway

Click here for a great giveaway of one of these super cool retro dresses. Surely there's a little girl in your life that would look adorable in one of these. I want one for ME. I'm also all for giveaways, because I will soon have to keep TWO eight year olds looking adorable all the time, and that's surely going to break the bank!!
And by the way, for those of you wondering, that very cute little girl in the picture is not Abby (but I do intend to copy the full outfit, right down to the knee socks - so sweet). If you want to see pics of Abby, scroll down to the bottom of this page. You'll find several other cuties I am madly in love with down there too.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thankful for Technology

I've been so grateful for the other adoptive parents I've gotten connected with on the internet. I just don't think anyone understands this whole crazy adoption process like another one of those crazy souls who took the same plunge as you're about to take!! I've been sharing the news about Abby with those around me a lot more these days - I was very quiet about it until recently because so much was still up in the air. But since we received our LOA, I have felt like it's time to share with EVERYONE. And frankly, I've been a little disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm I've received in response. Not that I'm doing any of this for any kind of response from ANYBODY, but it would be nice to think people are happy for you instead of just looking at you like you just lost your marbles. Mostly because you're filled with this overflowing joy and want to shout from the rooftops, and feel like there's no one there who really wants to hear it. Which is why I appreciate the great community of people online who have done this and UNDERSTAND my every feeling right now, who understand that yes, I am OVERJOYED to be called to travel across the world to bring home and parent a BEAUTIFUL eight year old girl who was born with a heart defect. It is so nice that someone out there GETS it and rejoices with me!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Guess what I went and did??

OK, I have a confession to make. I've been trying very hard to hold off and not buy any clothing for Abby, considering that 1) I don't have recent measurements so I don't really have a clue what size she's in and 2) I expect that she's a bit smaller than Lanie is, so she'll have a ton to wear.

That being said, Gymboree (yes, them again) just came out with a Holiday Panda line that's been driving me crazy. So today I took the plunge. I bought this:






Dress, tights, and hair clips. I did it only because I had a 20% off coupon. And I'm keeping the tags on just in case it doesn't fit. But I hadn't bought her a single piece of clothing and I just couldn't stand it!! I settled on a size 6, so I hope I guessed OK. I think this will keep me satisfied for now!





And then, just some random cuteness I just had to throw in:





Tuesday, October 6, 2009

DS230 and other mumbo jumbo

Today I took the very last step I can take to Abby for now, besides just waiting. I mailed our completed DS230 (which is her Visa application) out, along with our I800 approval and a bunch of other paperwork, off to our agency. They will in turn send it to the US Consulate in Guangzhou, who will then issue an approval and that gets sent by courier to the CCAA. They will at that time issue our Travel Invitation. Then our agency will schedule a Consulate Appointment, and we're off!! I'm still really hoping we can get there and back before the end of the year!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First Post

We have been wanting to chronicle every step of our adoption process of a sweet eight year old girl from China, and thought blogging would be a great way to do that. However, we have so much going on in our lives that we knew the blog wouldn't be limited to the adoption. So, instead of thinking of this as an adoption blog, we are looking at it as our family blog, a way to document not just our journey to Abby, but all the ins and outs of our every day life as an Air Force family homeschooling four (soon to be five) amazing kids. So, here's a peek at our kids, with very recent pictures (as in TODAY, for the kids we have at home right now, anyways). Abby's pictures are probably almost a year old, but they're all I have available to post right now.