Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goodbye 2007!

Goodbye 2007! Bring on 2008! I feel like I've been living on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen all year long.

This journey unknowingly started back in June of 2000 when Kevin and I were engaged. I trained for my first job after college with a young woman named Hannah, and I loved saying her name. I didn't know quite what it was, but something told me that if we ever had a daughter... we should name her Hannah. Luckily Kevin is an agreeable kind of guy, and readily agreed that we could name a first daughter Hannah. Little did I know back then that Hannah phonetically translates into 汉娜 which I've been told means "Chinese elegant/graceful/delicate." I take that to mean Chinese female. Even before we were married, God was trying to tell us that we would have a daughter that is ethnic Chinese. I just wish it didn't take me five years to figure out that God was speaking to me in Mandarin!

We're welcoming 2008 by doing some traveling this next week, so don't freak on me if we don't blog or respond to e-mails for a little while.

I'll leave you with my latest shopping find for when we're putting the nursery together after referral. We have new wood laminate floors for most of the house including the nursery. I've been shopping online for months trying to find a rug for the nursery floor goes with the pink and brown crib bedding. I think this idea looks even better than a rug! These are interlocking soft foam tiles by Skip Hop used to create a cushioning play area for a small child. Two thumbs up for this product that is fashionable, much more functional, and much cheaper than a rug that will get dirty from all things messy and gross that toddlers do! I even think I've seen pictures of babies playing on foam tiles at the St. Lucy's Center in Taiwan, so our Hannah Claire might be used to playing on something like this before she gets to play in her own room.

One more reason not to drink and drive

Here's a story about an adoptive mother and her child stuck in China. The adoption has been finalized in China, but the CIS won't approve the special needs child's visa because the adoptive father had a DUI in January. One more reason not to drink and drive...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Listening to Mary's Song this Christmas

I took this photo at our chuch's our Christmas Eve service.
Mary is inspiring me tonight.

Luke 1:46-56 "Mary's Song"

Mary responded, “Oh, how I praise the Lord. How I rejoice in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed. For he, the Mighty One, is holy, and he has done great things for me. His mercy goes on from generation to generation, to all who fear him. His mighty arm does tremendous things! How he scatters the proud and haughty ones! He has taken princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. And how he has helped his servant Israel! He has not forgotten his promise to be merciful. For he promised our ancestors – Abraham and his children – to be merciful to them forever.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home. (NLT)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

fun weekend!

We had a great weekend! Kevin and I enjoyed a delicious brunch at Rebecca's home, celebrated with family at a gorgeous Christmas themed wedding, laughed at the antics of Bears fans loving their victory over the Packers today, and spent some time with Grandma at the nursing home. I retold her the Cabbage Patch Christmas story as she didn't remember it. Grandma exclaimed, "I found the doll for you?!?!" and seemed excited to be told that she had made me so happy as a child.
Tisra, there were a lot of people in diapers at the nursing home, but I couldn't find any Taiwanese babies. No Hannah Claire to be found at "Grandma's house."

This weekend has been horribly windy. We came home tonight to discover that our flag pole made out of steel pipe had been blown down and our American flag was ripped to shreds. A neighbor folded up our flag nicely and placed it at our front door. Thanks, anonymous neighbor. Kevin is mourning the loss of his flag pole, as he most likely won't be able to fix it until spring.

my last minute Christmas gift tip

At the end of the month always has great restaurant gift certificate offers. Right now you can get $25 gift certificates for only $3 with the coupon code: GIFTS. At the checkout hit "recalculate total" to make the coupon code work. This coupon code expires on December 25th at 11:49pm CST. You print out the gift certificates on your printer. When you take them to the restaurant, the employees call a phone number on the certificate to validate it's authenticity. My extended family has used a lot of these and enjoyed some pretty good deals!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

10 months

Today marks 10 months of waiting for referral.
These are my favorite Christmas digital scrapbooking
papers and elements to work with this year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cabbage Patch Christmas

A photo of me 25 years ago in December 1982.

Either in 1982 or 1983... I can't remember which year... all I wanted for Christmas was a Cabbage Patch Kid Doll. I really really really really wanted one. That was the first Christmas that these dolls were all of the rage, and parents would stake out stores and fight to get one. On Christmas morning I was so excited. I knew that Santa had to bring me this doll, as I'd been a good girl and Santa knew that's what I really wanted. Christmas morning while opening my presents and checking out what Santa brought, there was no Cabbage Patch Kid babydoll. (Santa Claus was not able to obtain the said doll locally.) I opened up a Cabbage Patch Kid toy suitcase and expected to find a doll inside, but instead I found a letter from Santa. I started reading the letter where Santa explained that he did not bring me my doll... and was so upset that I couldn't finish and started to cry. My parents coaxed me to finish reading the letter with tears flooding my eyes. Santa did not bring me a Cabbage Patch Kid doll because there would be one waiting for me when we arrived at Grandma's house later that day! I'm sure that the two hour car ride to Grandma's house felt like such a "long adoption journey" to my doll which I named Lisa Lynn. She had dark brown hair, blue eyes, pigtails, and I loved her very much and took her everywhere with me. The end. Now class, I'll let you draw your own parallels between "Cabbage Patch Christmas" and "Journey to Taiwan for Hannah Claire."

Updated 12/22/07:
I found a couple of cute old photos to go along with this post.

Obviously the first pic is of my Lisa Lynn, and then here's all of the neighborhood mommies with their babies. The little stylin' momma in the purple track pants reads this blog, and I'm sure that she'll get a kick outta this picture!

Friday, December 14, 2007

I make nice people cry.

This week someone hesitatingly asked me how our adoption was going. She was worried about asking because I hadn't said anything about it to her in a long while. I explained that there's been month after month of all boys this year, and our timeline went much slower than expected. I was so excited on Mother's Day 2007 to hear that it would only be 60-90 more days until referral... and I've just kept hanging on thinking... any day now, any day now... for so long that it almost doesn't seem real anymore. Well, I must sound pretty depressing, because I made this sweet soul start crying! It really surprised me when her tears started rolling in. I tried to reassure her, but didn't know quite what to say. "Don't cry for me. I've cried enough for both of us." I'm threw with crying. Now we just wait.

If we ever adopt again, we're not requesting a gender. Every child is a gift from God. And no, we have no plans to do this again any time soon. One babygirl and one babydog sound like plenty for now.

Scrapbooking Pages from Family Christmas 2007

Here's tonight's project... I digiscrapped some photos from my family's Christmas party last weekend. Whew! The very last smaller photo is our Christmas photo for this year that I printed out at Shutterfly and stuffed them in Christmas cards.

my waiting mommy bracelet

I bought one of Amy's waiting mommy bracelets this past month. It is quite pretty. I'm impressed with how sturdy the construction is. Thanks, Amy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Christmas Singing Goat

We had family Christmas at my parents' home this weekend and were fortunate to receive our first very cute toy for Hannah. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Kevin and I will be sure to pack the singing goat puppet on overnight trips to Grandma and Grandpa's house so Hannah and Grandma can sing "Sound of Music" tunes all they want!

Monday, December 10, 2007

An "Enchanted" Evening

Kevin and I went out on a date tonight. He called me at work a couple of minutes before I got off to let me know that he had dinner ready and then we're going out. I found out that "dinner ready" means that the take-out Chinese was hot and ready! After dinner we made a pit stop at Starbucks for peppermint mocha fuel and we're off to the "big city" for a movie. I've been waiting for Disney's "Enchanted" to come out for months and months and months, and it was very funny, and lovely, and just great great great! It's interesting balance between classic Disney fairytale and reality, for sure!

"Enchanted" did make me cry, but only in one spot. When the little girl and the princess were at the hair salon surrounded by a full day's worth of shopping bags, the little girl asked if this is what shopping with your mommy feels like. (The little girl's mother left the family years ago.) Visions of "shopping with mommy" really choked me up... Whew. Didn't expect those feelings to come on so strongly out of nowhere.

Anyway, if you have no idea what movie I'm talking about, here's the trailer in this first video clip.

Now, just to show how great a movie this was, this clip below is from the big budget song and dance scene. Don't watch it if you want to save the build up for the middle of your movie viewing experience.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

To Answer Tisra's Question on Printing

Dear Tisra,

I can print very good 8 1/2 x 12 prints at home with my Epson Stylus Photo R380 printer. Kevin did a great job researching photo printers and bought this for us (well, really just for me) for our anniversary this year. It wasn't expensive, and we're getting really quality here at home with premium photo paper. You can get this printer for only $99 now, so you might want to add this to your Christmas wish list this year.

I'm also a big fan of Shutterfly. I plan on printing Shutterfly photo books when we have baby home. Right now I really don't feel like I have much that I want bound in a book. What I really like about these Shutterfly books is that you can even design your own covers. That's pretty cool. I can also order multiples at a time... one for me, and an extra one or two for the grandmas. I hear that grandmas can get a little demanding when you haven't sent them enough baby pictures!

I'm always oh so very happy with the 4 x 6 prints that I order from Shutterfly. I upload them in the very highest resolution that I can. It can take awhile to upload them, but when they arrive in the mail I'm jumping up and down because they look so nice. I ordered 75 copies of a Christmas 4 x 6 digital scrapbooking page to put in our Christmas cards this year... and I can't say enough about how crystal clear they are. I also plan on digiscrapping our baby announcements in 4 x 6, having Shutterfly print them, and just putting them in envelopes with the print as the actual announcement. You could do the same thing for party invitations. 4 x 6s are so cheap that your invitations would be be beautiful, inexpensive, and personal. I have not been very happy with the quality of digiscrapping prints that I uploaded to two local drugstores and had them print out at the store in an hour. I have a feeling that the photo file gets compressed or something, as the words look all fuzzy.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Glitter, Scrapping, and the Band Flies to Amsterdam

I've been busy downloading glitter digital scrapbooking freebies this week. Flerg is a new designer that has some interesting work with GLITTER and several freebies on her blog. I'm usually not a "glittery" person, but a little limited use of glitter can make layouts extra special.

Kevin has started to become interested in the mechanics of my digital artistry. He's trying to get me to use Photoshop more and create my own papers, elements, even glitter rather than using what designers have made. Um... it's hard! I'm not sure that I have the patience to create my own when I know that I can pay someone else a few dollars to do it for me. Kevin scanned a picture of the pink fabric from the Hannah Banana jammies (that mysteriously jumped into my cart at Target last week) to make a background for me. Isn't that sweet? Also bought me a digital scrapbooking guide published by Better Homes and Gardens at Wal-mart to try to learn how to make my own stuff. Some of the ideas are pretty cool, like I can see scanning an image of a spatula to use it as an element when making a page about baking cookies with the kids. That makes sense.

A high school classmate came over tonight to learn about digital scrapbooking. She's a traditional scrapper, and wanted to see how this was done. It always amazes me to hear about traditional scrapbookers spending ALL DAY at a workshop to make three pages, and spending hundreds of dollars at scrapbooking stores and for special dye-cutting equipment.

I've tried traditional srapbooking, and found it completely frustrating. I can't imagine driving over half an hour to the nearest store to buy your stuff, having plan what you need while in the store feeling overwhelmed by all of the stuff, paying oodles of money, bringing it home and making a mess all over the kitchen table with little bits here and there, getting frustrated when something doesn't look write, and it's now ruined because it's all glued down or the paper is already cut and you just can't put it back together. With digital scrapbooking I can use the same favorite stuff over and over, gets lots of freebies to work with to test out a designer's stuff before I buy from them, and do it all from the comfort of my home office in my jammies at 2am while eating cookies. The only mess I make is when I drop cookie crumbs on the floor, but Sedona takes care of gobbling those up. Thanks, Babydog.

I just learned of this idea tonight and think it is sooooo cute. People are making little photo books out of Altoids tins! My mom and dad are Altoids fans and usually have several flavors in the car at one time, and I'm going to have to ask them to start saving their tins for me. I would love to make the grandmas both little baby brag books that fit into Altoids tins. How cute!!!

Rock Band Update:
Our Rock Band "Sedona Sunrise" has been doing really well. We just built up a big enough fan base to get our own jet, and flew to Amsterdam for a gig tonight. I do need to work on my Metallica. I can only score three stars on "Enter Sandman," but I'd rather be playing songs like Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl." My brother-in-law is a drummer. Maybe he can give me a few pointers at family Christmas tomorrow. Dear adoption agency, you're free to call anytime, you know... even when I'm in the middle of drum solos. Our band will continue on our European tour this week, but we'll still take your calls... even from Paris. The tour must go on, and we just can't sit around home waiting for that referral phone call.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

This Wintery Week

I've been a little quiet this week in bloggy land. Not much to say, so we're just going on livin' our lives. Kevin's convinced that his Guitar Hero guitar wasn't working right, and had the manufacturer send him another one. Well, they messed up and sent us a new guitar AND a new drum set... so we're enjoying "drum offs" challenges at home in the living room this week until we have to send back the drum set.
It snowed last night so now there's beautiful white stuff blanketing the grass. I made a little digiscrapping page today to remember our snow rituals as a couple.

Last Wednesday I visited my friend Amy to help design her blog and showed her how blogger works. Amy's a mom in control, and I can learn a lot by watching her interact with her children. There was a biting incident with a friend, and her son was on the receiving end of the munch. I was amazed at how well and calmly she handled the situation. "Was that a good choice?" "How do you think that made him feel?" When she asked the friend if he bit her son, the five year old had different answers. First the answer was no, then it turned into "I don't recall," and finally it turned into a yes. I can't believe I heard a five year old use the words "I don't recall!" He sounded like he was testifying before Congress!

Amy had some gifts for Hannah Claire. I'm now the proud owner of two little pairs of tights because "no one ever gets you tights." I also have a little jean jacket and a beautiful light blue flowered Asian inspired linen jacket. I especially love the jacket. It is sooooo beautiful!

Jeff, Abbey, and Reed tipped me off that Target had some pink Hannah Banana jammies. During a Target run on the way home from Amy's house, these jammies just happened to fall into my cart! Amazing! How'd that happen? I don't recall!

Finally, Sedona the babydog went to a new pet spa for the first time this week. Mommy thought a lady's garage was a funny place for a spa, but the new groomer did a nice job. Sedona thinks she's all right, because she got a rawhide candy cane bone for the car ride home.

Kevin and I have been working on Sedona's self control this month. We drop a treat on the ground, and she has to wait until we say "okay, get it!" before she's allowed to have it. This is a nice command to stop her from eating up things we drop on the floor while cooking.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Q and A on adopting from St. Lucy's Center

Judy posted some very valuable informaiton regarding adopting from the St. Lucy's Center in Tainan on her blog. Thanks!

US State Department Fiscal Year 2007 Numbers on International Adoptions

The US Statement Department released their 2007 numbers on international adoption last week. Here's the 2007 numbers from the top sending countries, with the 2006 numbers in parenthesis. Wow. Look at how Taiwan increased...

China 5,453 (6,493)
Guatemala 4,728 (4,135)
Russia 2,310 (3,706)
Ethiopia 1,255 (732)
South Korea 939 (1,376)
Vietnam 626 (163)
Ukraine 606 (460)
Kazakhstan 540 (587)
India 416 (320)
Liberia 314 (353)
Taiwan 311 (187)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

MSNBC reports: Foreign adoptions in U.S. decline for third year

Times are a changing. My grandparents cut things out of their newspaper and mail them to me in an envelope, sometimes with notes on the side. Mom and Dad e-mail me links to read.

After reading that post... I'm thinking, "Gheesh. Just wait until next year when the Guatemala numbers are way down due to Hague treaty implementation."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

blogging with belly laughs and tears

Two blogging adopting friends recieved referrals this week. Jane and Judy's funny and touching referral stories have made me laugh out loud and cry messy tears because they are so sweet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

tonight's drum solo interrupted

So, I'm in the middle of my drum solo tonight playing "Rock Band" on the Playstation and the phone rings. Kevin answers. It's the adoption agency. Of course, when the adoption agency calls... you stop everything, even your drum solo. I don't care if I'm booed off the stage. That's the end of my performance! My adoring fans on the Nintendo Playstation will have to deal with it. When the adoption agency calls, the concert is canceled!

You can stop holding your breath. This wasn't the referral phone call.

Yes, we're at the top of the list. Yes, referrals have been moving very slowly. Our referral will most likely come from St. Lucy's Center. We discussed our case and how make our family shine to it's fullest potential when being reviewed. I'm confident that our coordinator will strongly advocate for us should issues arise.

Seems like I've been saying "any day now," for a long time. A referral is still any way now, but I'm not counting on one before Christmas. I'm trying very hard to think like Kevin. "It will happen when it happens."

If you'd like to join me in prayer, pray for the social workers and caregivers in Taiwan. They make decisions every day that shape the lives of the little children that are entrusted into their care. I pray that they read our adoption paperwork and see that we're a couple that will be great parents. We're ready to open our hearts and our home to a little one that will become the center of our world. Hannah's becoming more and more real to me in my heart every day.

Until then, rock on. I'll be on tour with the band trying not to obsess about all things adoption (my usual state of mind). If you're local and want to come over... come on in and belt out a few tunes or bring your cowbell. We'll always need some more cowbell.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our Family Rocks Together - Thanksgiving 2007

My family's Thanksgiving gathering was Saturday, and here's the pics from the event. There was a little rockin' going on in the basement before and after dinner. We took a lot of pictures to make a scrapbook for Grandma. She doesn't have much short term memory anymore, so we made a scrapbook with notes from family members and photos of the day for her to take back to the nursing home. We're sending a similar scrapbook to my cousin in Botswana in the Peace Corps.

I was on a walk with Sedona dog and my mother this week. During the walk a little neighbor girl asked my mother if I was her sister. Mom thinks this is just great and laughed about it all day! Man... I know that I'm way overdue to have my hair colored, but I didn't know that it was that bad. Waiting for baby must really be bringing on the grays.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

a little Thanksgiving blessing

Sophia and her mommy and daddy are home!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

9 months paper pregnant

It's Thanksgiving, and we're officially nine months paper pregnant.
Still waiting... and hoping... and wishing... and praying.
We've got our fresh bird, and will be setting it into the brine overnight Friday night for my family's Thanksgiving gathering on Saturday. The Rock Band game for the Playstation arrived at our house yesterday. I've been playing the drums and Kevin's on lead guitar. We need a vocalist if anyone wants to come over and sing! We didn't know what to name our band, so we named it Sedona Sunrise, our dog's name, by default. When Sedona jumps up in the middle between us while we're playing, we've had fun accusing her of trying to spit up our band. Family beware: you'll be expected to join our rock band at the Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings this year. Bring your own drum sticks and cowbell if you like, because "I got a fever, and the only prescription... is more cowbell!"

Kissed Studio Sale and 30% off Gymboree Early Bird Specials (30% off then 20% more off with promo code!)

I got some good sale e-mails in my in-box that I'd love to share with you.

Kissed Studio makes digiscrapping templates:

To show how much we appreciate all of our fabulous customers, we're offering up to 50% off the merchandise in our store! The sale runs through Sunday night, November 25, 2007. Come in and stock up!! 50% off All TP Template Packs, Recipe Packs, Printables, Mini Albums & Calendars. 25% off All Signature (SP) Template Packs. Kiss-n-Kaboodle Packs as priced. We have a new Kiss-n-Kaboodle pack up in the store. It contains ALL of our TP Template packs! 100 layouts total!

Gymboree is having a Black Friday Early Bird Special tomorrow 30% off your entire purchase in stores opening thru 12pm or online now through Friday at 3pm Eastern time. After the Early Bird Special expires, things will be 25% off your entire purchase until November 25th, and you will earn $25 in Gymbucks when you spend $50 or more.

Update: I placed an order online tonight... and was very surprised to learn that the website also let me use a 20% off promo code that I received in the mail earlier this week! My promo code was 418272337628 if you want to try and use it. Not sure if it can be used more than once. It expires 12/24/07. These outfits are so sweet and make me feel all gooey happy inside. Retail therapy at it's best!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Like Free?

Digital Scrappers, here's the motherload of freebie links! Check out Scrapping with IkeaGoddess. From here you'll find links to lots of designers that have nice quality freebies because they want you to test drive their designs, and then buy from them. Sweet.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

All I want for Christmas...

I added the option of Christmas music to this blog today. You can click on the button at the top of the sidebar to let it play in a background window. The first song on the playlist is Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You." That's my theme song right now. All I want for Christmas is to see the picture of my little girl.

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is...

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
You baby

I won't ask for much this Christmas
I don't even wish for snow
I'm just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe
I won't make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won't even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeers click
'Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do
Baby all I want for Christmas is you
Ooh baby
All the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children's
Laughter fills the air
And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won't you bring me the one I really need

Won't you please bring my baby to me...

Oh I don't want a lot for Christmas
This is all I'm asking for
I just want to see my baby
Standing right outside my door
Oh I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby all I want for Christmas is...

All I want for Christmas is you... baby (repeat and fade)

retail therapy for winter

I haven't had any baby clothes retail therapy since a t-shirt purchase in September, and I finally broke. This striped toddler sweater dress with a hoodie was just too cute and I couldn't resist. Too cute!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

stockings hung by the chimney with care...

I had the day off today, so I spent it sleeping in till nearly noon and decorating the house for Christmas. Hannah's stocking arrived this week. I'd so love to shop for baby toys for Christmas.

We have a toy stuffed nativity scene that reminds me of a handmade nativity scene that I used to play with as a child. Kevin thought it was pretty funny to throw around Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and the "wise guys" around the room and watch Sedona carry them around her in mouth. Sedona doesn't tear things up, but she does like be chased around the room with baby Jesus in her mouth!

Photos from the past... just for laughs.

Last night Kevin found a hard drive that contained all of my mom and dad's scans of their slides. I love going through old photo albums, but looking at these computer images was even more fun because I could edit the digital pictures and share them in fun ways with others. Here's some photos from my past, just for laughs.
Cousins in the tub.

Sarah and her baby sister.

Halloween fun back in 1984. I'm a witch and my sister is Poochie.
I was a "glamorous witch" this year at work on Halloween.
Maybe I enjoy being witchy?

Fun with Taiwan Lucy

Lil' Miss Lucy is such a cutie! This week I helped her momma Jackie with her Taiwan Lucy blog design.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to Kevin!

Happy Birthday today to Kevin, the love of my life!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stork Alert Downgraded from Orange to Yellow: keeping busy getting ready for Christmas

I'm not expecting any adoption news until after Thanksgiving. Our adoption coordinators are in Taiwan with volunteers renovating a birthmother home at the St. Lucy's Center in Tainan.

That's all right. We've got plenty of things to do until Thanksgiving. Kevin is gathering up his ingredients to cook another Good Eats Roast Turkey that marinates in a brine overnight before Thanksgiving. (This is very good! Try this recipe this year!) Kevin's brother Shane is visiting is from Florida. What does the nice sister-in-law do to a visiting brother-in-law from a warmer climate? She makes him help clean her garage and get up on a chilly rooftop to hang up her Christmas lights! I've cleaned most of the house last week, and this week I hope to put up all of the Christmas decorations. Last year I left a empty spot where our Christmas stockings were hung by the fire. This year I ordered a matching embroidered needlepoint stocking for Hannah. It has a navy blue background and features Santa's sleigh with reindeer. I hope that that we'll have her referral before Christmas so Santa can fill her stocking. Hannah has lots of clothes, but the poor girl has hardly any toys at all!

last year's Christmas mantle with an empty place where Hannah's stocking should hang

Keep Nicole and family on your prayer list

Please keep my friend Nicole and family on your prayer list. They'll need a lot of strength, patience, love, and wisdom as they work to help their daughter adjust to her new life and family.

Fun with Blogging Mama Andrea

I created this design for Blogging Mama Andrea this weekend. I'm happy with the soft color palate, and I hope she'll like it too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

presents from Jia

The journaling on this page reads: There were some surprises in a box waiting for me when I arrived home from work tonight. I opened it up to discover a present from Jia to Hannah Claire. Jia, with the help of her mommy Jane, sent Hannah Claire some of their favorite baby items. We're now proud owners of a pair of Baby Legs (in pink and brown!), stacking cups, and a no spill snack cup. Kevin was pretty impressed with the snack cup. In typical Kevin fashion, he tested out the snack cup with one of his own snacks. I wonder where we can get some adult sized no spill snack cups? Haha!

Dear Jane and Jia, thanks so much for the baby goodies! They're very sweet. I'm very much looking forward to kissing little feet while pulling on pink and brown babylegs.

The tips for new bloggers blog

I wish I had found this blogging reference a year ago: Tips for New Bloggers. I used this as a guide to figure out how to give Tiffany's blog the black polka dot background.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

looking at the calendar towards the nine month mark

I'm looking at the calendar thinking... "Let's see what day nine months on the waiting list falls on. I'll be paper pregnant and overdue that day!" The 22nd of this month falls on Thanksgiving Day. I'd sure like to have something extra special to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. My mother's due date with me surely wasn't calculated correctly, as I was born 28 days after the due date!

Added 11/7/07: Right from the source... my mom posts that her due date really was calculated correctly and I truly came into this world a month late. I'm sure that being 9 months pregnant for an extra 28 days wasn't comfortable. Sorry, Mom!

Fun with Sweet N Sassy Sophia

Today I created this header for Tiffany's new blog Sweet N Sassy Sophia. Sophia is such a little beauty, and her mommy hears that she's going to be quite a little sassy handful. If we lived closer, I'm sure that Tiffany and I could be great shopping buddies! Thank you for your donation, Tiffany.

Four day 30% off sale at Gymboree

November 8-11 save 30% off at Gymboree using online code: GYMFRIEND. If shopping in-store, e-mail me and I'll e-mail you a printable coupon. Yes, it's hard for me to hold back... so I'll shop vicariously with you. Oh, wait a minute! Maybe my cutie niece needs some Gymboree for Christmas?

Speaking of shopping, here's a line of stores owned by Gymboree called Crazy8. I haven't bought anything from them yet, but their lines are lower priced and very cute as well.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy National Digital Scrapbooking Day

Yesterday was National Digital Scrapbooking Day. My favorite digiscrappin' shop Peppermint Creative is having a 30% off sale this week. They have a new autumn kit titled October Rust with leaves, browns, and greens that is my favorite kit ever. If you are looking for something to scrapbook your Halloween photos with, their Witches Brew kit is just adorable.

Friday, November 2, 2007

grouchy: need retail therapy

Yes, I've been quiet here. I apologise to the people around me in real life that read this blog. I'm grouchy and get emotional very easily right now. I've raised my voice with people at work too. The girls at work and my husband all need medals for putting up with me and my ever changing mood swings. Working nearly 60 hours this week out of necessity to cover a coworker's vacation doesn't help either.

I bought a pink tote and some perfume for a little retail therapy to perk myself up. It is from an Asian retro line titled "Miso Pretty." Cute stuff!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reed's missing toys

Dear Baby Reed,

I'm sorry little one. Hannah Claire didn't take your toys. She's still in Taiwan. And yes, please see if your daddy will let you use Skype to video conference some adoption phone calls for us. Hannah Claire's mommy is getting quite anxious.

Watch out for that big kid Kobi. He's pretty wild with his toys lately... especially with his baseball gear!

Hannah Claire's Mommy

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tadpole Soup

If you haven't already read this family's Taiwan adoption blog, you need to. Check out the exciting things that they ate this weekend. Kevin and I draw the line at tadpole soup. No thank you. I'd try the squid, but I have a feeling I'd rather have the sausage and pineapple on a stick.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thank you

I just wanted to say thank you to all of the support I've gotten from other adoptive families. I've received several uplifting e-mails in my in-box lately, along with good tips from mommas who've been there, done that.

I've been asked a few of the same questions lately, so I figured that I'd reply to all.

Question: Will you let us know about your referral right away?
Answer: We may need to take a few days to look over the referral information. If there are any medical questions, we'll use the Riley International Adoption Clinic to evaluate the medical information before we accept the referral. We'll share the good news with everyone once we make a decision to accept the referral.

Question: Will you share referral pictures with us?
Answer: Yes yes yes.

Until then... I carry my camera with me and look for help from Psalm 27:14. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.

Fun with Love is a Place

I have just finished installing a new blog header for Jane at Love is a Place. This just might be my favorite thing I've ever made while digiscrapping. Jia's so cute that it's pretty easy to be inspired!

Here is a site that I'm playing around with. Picnik is a web based free photo editor that is very easy to use. I'm anti-Photoshop because it's just so complicated... but Picnik is user friendly and allows me to edit photos easily and quickly. For Love is a Place I made some photos sepia tone and used the vignette function to make the edges of the photo darker. They have premium features that you can subscribe to for $24.95 a year. For now I'm very happy with the free features.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blog Headers with Love

I've had a little fun making blog headers for some other blogging adopting parents lately. If anyone else would like a new blog header, I'd be happy to make one for you in exchange for a free will donation to help with projects for the St. Lucy's Center and Chung Yi orphanages in Taiwan. Right now funds are needed to pay for shipping costs for the donated Christmas presents for children at Chung Yi.

Click on the graphic below to read about the details:

Get a new blog header in exchange for a donation to help orphanages in Taiwan!

Stork Alert Downgraded from Red to Orange

It now sounds like those referrals have already been matched with other families, but I hear more are on the way. This is wonderful news, as these little girls join families that are surely just over the moon with excitement. This also bumps us up in line on the pink list, so we're happy things are movin' right along after being delayed months with no infant girl referrals. I'll downgrade this stork alert from red high alert to orange. Whew! One can only check phone's dial tone and junk e-mail box so many times in one day! Hee hee! I've started carrying my camera in my purse everywhere I go just in case we get the call, and told the girls at work to make sure that my camera is out and that someone is taking video or pictures if this all goes down when I'm at work.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

American Girl Dolls

My mother told me a few weeks ago that she's looking forward to shopping for American Girl Dolls. I think that's so sweet! Today I got an American Girl Doll catalog in the mail with a beautiful Chinese-American doll on the cover. While Mom was at work, I brought over the catalog and put it on the kitchen table with a note about the girl referral rumors... and that I hope she gets to start shopping for her Hannah very soon.

Stork Alert for the "Pink Line"

A friend just e-mailed me that another family posts our agency has three infant girl referrals from Chung Yi. I'm all shakey excited. Not sure what this means for me, but I'm so glad that that there are more referrals for the "pink line" because these families have anticipated these referrals "any day now" for so long. YAY YAY YAY!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Woah... What Happened?

Yes, this is the right place. Yes, the blog design looks way different. Nope, I'm not done. There may by some tweaks here and there.

I still really love this "Are We There Yet?!" onesie and have it in a couple of sizes, as I think it will be funny to have our daughter wear it on the long trip home.

Fun with Adopting Families

Kevin has accused me (jokingly of course) of becoming a blogaholic. Here's a test one can take to find out your status.

My score was 56 percent. A score in the 51 through 80 present ranks me as a dedicated blogger. The site states, "You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!"

Yesterday's gathering of Indiana Taiwan adoption families was really great time, but Kevin joked that I couldn't wait to get home to blog about it. See, honey. I waited until the next day. I'm just a dedicated blogger, not a blogaholic. Haha.

Due to babysitter difficulties, we ended up meeting in a home rather than at the restaurant. I think we had an even better time because we had more time to just hang out, relax, and get to know eachother. We had 6 adults and 7 kiddos, and it was amazing that the kids played so well together. It was a beautiful October day, and the sand and swingset kept them entertained for hours. We joked that the family's recycling bin made it look like there had been a frat party. At the end of the night there were many empty bottles of wine, beer bottles, pop cans (Yep, I'm a Hoosier and I say "pop"), three pizza boxes, and one jug of milk.

I took some parenting notes from these supermommies. Here's my favorite. When your older child is crying too long and isn't really hurt, pretend to be overly interested in their owie. "Oh no, this really looks serious! If this isn't better in a few minutes we're going to have to go to doctor and get a shot to fix it." Amazing! Whimpering stopped immediately. Gotta write this stuff down!

Someone asked me yesterday when Chinese New Year would be in 2008. I googled the answer:
New Year's Day - Thursday, February 7th
Lantern Festival (15th day) - Thursday, February 21st

8 months

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

invitation to lunch

Dear families adopting from Taiwan,
You are invited to join three (or more?) couples adopting from Taiwan meeting for lunch at an Italian restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, this Sunday, October 21st, at 1:00pm. If you are interested in joining us for food, fun, and a glass of wine... e-mail me at I just might need two glasses to mark 8 months on the waiting list!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

baby coupons

Tonight at CVS I had an Extra Care coupon to get $2 off a Playskool baby item. When I get these coupons it makes me kinda sad. I want to spend them because I get good deals, but it'd hard to pick something out. I don't want to choose a pacifier, bottle, or nipple product because babies are picky and I have no idea what kind she'll like. So... baby got some $3.99 - $2 = $1.99 heat sensitive spoons tonight. I've previously had a CVS Extra Care coupon for one free Playskool baby item up to $5! Hannah Claire has a bowl and spoon too in our kitchen cabinet. They've been lonely, sitting there all by themselves with no other baby items. Someone tipped me up to sign up with diaper companies and they've started sending me coupons in the mail. Pampers knows my name and address and wants my business. If anyone has some baby coupons scoop to share let me know where I can sign up.

Sigh. No news. Believe, me... you'd know if there was any.

Tuesday Baby Quiz

Which mammal has the longest gestation period? No cheating and googling for the right answer! I'll post the answers in 48 hours. Hint: The correct answer is not an adoptive parent, although it feels like it when you're +12 months "paper pregnant."

Answer posted 10/18. You're a bunch of smart mommas!

Gestation is the period of time between fertilization and birth of mammals—in other words, the time spent in the mother's uterus. The shortest known gestation period is 12 to 13 days. This record is shared by three marsupials (mammals in which the young are born prematurely and finish developing in a pouch located near the mother's abdomen): the American or Virginian opossum (Didelphis marsupialis); the rare water opossum, or yapok (Chironectes minimus), of central and northern South America; and the eastern native cat (Dasyurus viverrinus) of Australia. The longest gestation period for a mammal is that of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) with an average of 660 days, and a maximum of 760 days.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chung Yi Christmas Presents - Part 5

I had so much fun shopping for Christmas presents for a baby girl at Chung Yi that we took on shopping for a boy aged 8-11. I left the toy selection all up to Kevin, and he got excited about Matchbox cars that are off-road vehicles. I'll add some art supplies and toiletries and we'll be all set.