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


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


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


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.......