Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hawaii, the F word, and misc. grouching

I want to go to Hawaii and sit on the beach drinking pina coladas until the referral phone call. I've got some SPF 40 sunscreen and a hat, so I can sit awhile. I'm tried of snow and ice, grouchy sick people at work that use the F word (and that doesn't mean ferret) at me, and telling myself over and over "any day now" for so long.

When my sister and I were little, she once asked from the back of the car, "What's the F word?" My parents weren't quite sure how to respond. A little later my sister laughed and said, "Oh, now I remember! Ferret!"

Updated 8pm: I'm getting some e-mails asking when I'm leaving for Hawaii. I’m going to Hawaii right after I win the Powerball Lottery. I open a fortune cookie every day and buy a ticket with my “lucky numbers.” When I win, I’m buying tickets to Hawaii for any adoptive waiting mama that wants to come!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

12 months = 1 year

I'm blessed with wonderful bloggy friends. If I don't post for a couple of days I start getting e-mails asking if I'm okay... and did we get a referral and we're just not sharing with the world yet. :) I'm still here.

Today marks one year that we've been on our agency's waiting list to adopt an infant from Taiwan and become parents of a little girl we'll name Hannah Claire... but who's counting, right? (Oh... Uhhh, I am.) To celebrate we're going out to Ziffel's for ribs with another couple what we met during our adoption journey. Mmmm.

Today also is the Lantern Festival (15th day of the Chinese New Year) where children go out at night carrying bright lanterns. In ancient times this day was also kind of Chinese Valentine's Day where unmarried young people can go out chaperoned into the streets with hope that matchmakers would make them a match (cue music from "Fiddler on the Roof") but that doesn't happen in these modern times. People will also gather together to launch sky lanterns like I've blogged about previously. You write wishes on the lanterns and release them into the sky. It's a lot like a balloon launch. This newsarticle details how environmentalists in Taiwan have concerns over sky lantern launches. Uh... balloon launches aren't exactly environmentally friendly, either. The lanterns that I puchased say that they are biodegradable, but I'm sure that it takes a little while for the frame retardant paper lanterns to break down... kinda like the special little brown biodegradable frozen packages that Sedona has left in our backyard this winter.

Sorry. Visions of Sedona's special frozen packages are not the way I want to leave you with this post. Let's talk about something happy. How about some retail therapy? Yay, right? That's much better, isn't it? This little happy hearts dress is on the way to my house in celebration of one year waiting. Could any little dress say LOVE any more than this one? No, this is it. Once again, the people at Gymboree know my mind and make such beautiful little things that tug at my heart.

Dear Hannah Claire,
Your daddy and I love you so much, little one. We can't wait so see your picture, bring you home, read books (Grandma's got a little library started for you), go to the zoo and feed the goats (Daddy likes the goats at the zoo too!), make glorified messes in the high chair trying out new foods, and chase Sedona the babydog in circles around the living room until we're all dizzy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Meet my new little friend Ta

Meet my new little friend Ta. He lives with his mother and farmer who are farmers in Thailand. He likes playing with cars, telling stories, and going on walks. Ta turns five years old in April. I'm his new sponsor through Compassion International.

When I tell people that I'm adopting from Taiwan, I find that many confuse Thailand with Taiwan. I figured it was a good idea to know little people from both places. :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rebecca posts about our Chinese New Year party

Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your photos that you took at the Chinese New Year party at our house! When we have parties, I'm always so busy trying to be a good hostess (making sure that everyone has someone interesting to talk to and something good to eat) that I never end up with any pictures. I think I need to start designiating a person at my parties as a photographer. Lucky for me, Rebecca had her camera out and snapped some great pics.

We invited some family and friends out for dinner at the local Chinese buffet. The owner Susan is originally from Hong Kong and she's so great to us. She tries to teach us a few words in Mandarin every time we see her. She's extra picky with pronounciation, and wants to make sure that we don't say "hair" when we're trying to say "cat." All sounds like *mow* to me. I asked a first grader what he liked best to eat at the restaurant, and he PULLED A CRAB CLAW OUT OF HIS POCKET! Oh my gosh! I was so surprised that he was going to take that home with him. He said, "Look at this. It pinches!" Visions of doing laundry and finding a crab claw in the bottom of the washing machine ran through my head.

Anyway... after dinner we went back to our house for snacks, games, crafts for the kids, and a sky lantern launch. I had oranges on the tables to symbolize money, Chinese candies such as these pictured that contained red bean, and Chinese almond cookies.

My favorite craft at the party were the Chinese New Year street scene that one can decorate with stickers. Rebecca has great pictures of the kids decorating these on her blog. I also had magic scratch dragons where you scratch black off in a design to reveal multicolored paper below. Looks like Oriental Trading discontinued these, but they have lots of other fun CNY stuff if you search under keywords "Chinese" and "dragon."

I had purchased three dozen sky lanters on eBay with hopes to release these into the night sky. Unfortunately, the weather didn't coorporate as it was 6F and the wind gusted up to 25MPH. Here are two videos of sky lanters being released. Below are videos sky lanterns. Well, we'll have to host another party and hope for calm skies!

Our decorations came from different places. The dragons the stretch across the ceiling are from Oriental Trading. The red battery operated lanters are from World Market. The white lanterns with flowers are electric and have been hanging in our kitchen since last year's Chinese New Year party. We like them so much we decided to keep them up, at least until Hannah Claire comes home. You can find electric lanterns like this all over online. I bought these at Target last year. They had lanterns like this in stock this week at Target in the garden section with other kinds of ourdoor lighting strands. World Market has a lot of large lanterns in stock right now in lots of colors.

I was most excited about giving out red envelopes to children. I found Kello Kitty red envelopes on eBay that were printed in Taiwan, and had them shipped to us. Kevin went to to the bank and got $2 bills to put in the envelopes. We read that you were only supposed to give even numbered amounts, and not $4 because the number four sounds like the word death. Well, I'm embarrassed to write that we were so busy doing crafts, playing games on the Wii, and having a great time that WE FORGOT TO HAND OUT THE RED ENVELOPE GIFTS. I feel horrible! I'm mailing envelopes to the kids with thank you notes for coming to our party. They all made it such a fun time.

P.S. Rebecca has some of the most well behaved children I've never met.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Feeling kinda blue around all of these parents helping their kiddos get ready for Valentine's day at school with little "High School Musical" printed Valentines, making pink cupcakes with sprinkles, and dressing up in red and pink for the day. Hannah got three pink, brown, and white flannel bankets as a Valentine's Day present from me. I resisted the racks of cutie outfits with big red happy hearts. Man, oh man, did those happy hearts tug at my heart!

This is kinda funny. The adoption agency called with our update, except there was no update! No news, so we got a call just to check on us. How am I? Uh... tired of waiting... telling myself any day now for months and months... and a few more months. Maybe they'll be some referrals when people get back to work from vacationing over Chinese New Year. The last day of festival is next Thursday, February 21st. It's the 15th day of the holiday, and is called the the Lantern Festival. That day also marks one year since our homestudy draft went to our adoption agency and we officially went on the waiting list. I love paper lanterns, so I find it kind of funny that the day of the Lantern Festival marks one year waiting.

Feeling blue about waiting for a year, so I looked for something fun about waiting, and I found a song titled "Tired of Waiting" by the Kinks. Kinda a catchy little tune!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Writers strike = Empty TIVOs

Anyone else about ready for the end of the writers strike? Our TIVO is scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for things for us to watch. The only new show we're recording regularly is Ni Hao, Kai-lan on Nick Jr. Two thirtysomething wanna-be parents sitting at home together watching a show for pre-schoolers is pretty sad. Ki-lan is a lot better friend than Kevin and I are. We both would have kicked Tolee the koala out of the band for the music show because he couldn't rhyme when Hoho the monkey was laying down the beat for the music show. Follow all of that? I know, we're pitiful. I miss my shows... especially Saturday Night Live.

Valentines for 10 years

Kevin and I met 10 years ago and have been together ever since.

Happy Valentine's Day to you, sweetie!

(You've put up with me for THAT LONG?!?!?)

Credits: Everything from Love Struck by Design by Dani available at Sweet Shoppe Designs.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dixie Mandarin

I spent a lot of time last night with a YouTube video learning how to say "Happy New Year!" in Mandarin. I'm happy to report that I got my chance to use the phrase at the local Chinese restaurant tonight. I was pleasantly suprised that all of the Mandarin speakers understood what I was saying! YAY! Well, they giggled at me a little bit and each of the employees had to stop by our table to have me greet them with a "Ni Hao!" and "Xin Nein Kuai Le!" but it was all fun. Or... maybe they were giggling at us wearing our matching "Happy New Year" red t-shirts. Kevin has decided that we'll call the few phrases that we know are our "Dixie Mandarin" because our pronounciation has to sound really strange to native ears.

We went to the "big city" tonight in search of goodies for Chinese New Year. The Asian grocery that we shop is very much Korean and had literally nothing for CNY except for some red envelopes at the checkout. It's so true you can find anything on eBay, as I had Kello Kitty red envelopes mailed to us from Taiwan for this year's CNY. Then we checked out World Market and found almond cookies and some Chinese candies. YAY! I don't have to try and bake some! As you know from my previous post on glutinous rice balls, my Chinese cooking isn't going so well... and I tried the special CNY cake and didn't like it. I'm anxious enough waiting for baby news, and the last thing I need right now is more dissapointment in the kitchen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

新年快樂 (Xīn nián kuài lè) aka Happy New Year!!!

新年快樂! Happy New Year!
Wishing you much luck and prosperity in the new year!
We've been doing a few things at home to get ready for a the new year. We've mop and glowed our floors to wash away bad luck (make them shine for when company comes over this weekend) and got hair cuts (the dog went to the "doggy day spa" yesterday for a trim and I'm nagging Kevin every day to get a hair cut before company comes over this weekend). We've put up some decorations near our front door and above doors in our house. We didn't buy any new clothes and you're supposed to do that, I guess. We're fine in the clothes department, but Hannah Claire could always use some new dresses (retail therapy), right? One is supposed to pay off debts before the new year. Humm... all of my money is in the savings account waiting to write a big check to the adoption agency. I'd love have an adoption agency bill to pay right now, as that means we'd have a referral!
I've been practicing how to say "Happy New Year" in Mandarin tonight with the help of some YouTube videos. Hopefully I can remember how to say this phrase tomorrow!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Just a little more stinky poo for the crap pile.

Arg! I didn't do the math right. Our adoption fees went up $1300 and not $800. Well, I'm just going to have to start buying toilet paper instead of using all of these $20 bills we just have lying around the house.

Dad, I didn't catch the "multiple fee fee" when doing my calculations. Gets ya every time.


Adoption agency fees went up $800. Crap. Oh well, it's only money. I'll just have to wait a few months to refinish the woodwork on the yacht.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Partying with the Chinese Family and Friends Association

Kevin and I are now members of a Chinese Family and Friends Association. Woo hoo! We attended their Spring Festival (aka Chinese New Year) celebration tonight. We had a great time and I have loads of pictures. It's late and I have to get to bed, but I'll leave you with this.

Question for my Chinese and Taiwanese readers: is this Nian Gao, the traditional Chinese New Year dessert? I couldn't hear when they announced what this was. A Chinese gentleman at my table told us it was made of rice flower and the brown color is from brown sugar. I did eat a piece to be festive. I'm not a fan. It doesn't taste like much of anything, except goo. Reminds me of a more solid version of the Tang Yuan (glutinous rice balls) that I tried to make at home a couple of weeks ago. More sugar and rice flower goo. Sorry.

Here's a pic of Kevin tonight in his celebratory "Happy New Year!" shirt. We bought these matching shirts last year for our first annual Chinese New Year party. Kevin's so funny. He had two middle aged Chinese women asked him if he knew what his shirt said. Kevin played dumb, and replied, "No, what does it say?" They looked shocked, and replied that it was a very appropriate shirt because it said Happy New Year. Then Kevin would start laughing... and they grinned knowing that he was just teasing them. We noticed that we never saw any of the Chinese families giving this sign in their photos, but a middle aged Chinese man got a big kick out of seeing Kevin pose like this for this picture!

Tonight we saw enjoyed dragon dances, dances with bells on sticks, fan dances, singing, multiple musical numbers on the piano, cello, and even a whistling performance. There were many adoptive families there, with lots of beautiful little girls under the age of 12 running around in brightly colored silk dresses. I couldn't help myself, my eyes were drawn to them all night as they ran around giggling, whispering, and taking pictures with their parents' cell phones. I'll stop here and not go into details about getting teary eyed watching adoptive mother-daughter pairs.

I'm very excited to learn from another adoptive family that one of the teachers at the area Chinese school is Taiwanese! Woo hoo!

I'm really glad that we had a good time, because we passed up most of the Superbowl to go. Kevin grumbled about missing the greatest sporting event of the year a few times this week. We arrived at a Superbowl party with nine minutes left in the game. The crowd told us that it had been a boring game and that we didn't miss much. It got pretty exciting when the Patriots took the lead (boo hiss), and then that play where Eli Manning managed to run away from all of the Patriots linemen comming after him and had that great long pass to Plaxico Burress... oh that was great! This group of Colts fans likes to see Payton Manning up in the box cheering for his brother and really LOVES TO SEE THE PATRIOTS LOOSE.

Blizzards in China: Please donate to Half the Sky

Thanks to donations for blogovers, I donated $100 from Blogovers with Love to Half the Sky. This money will be spent to help take care of children in orphanges in China during this winter's blizzards that have left some orphanges without heat, running water, food, and warm clothing, and diapers. Please check out this link to Half the Sky and consider making a donation to this great organization that really makes a difference for so many orphaned children in China.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

January update from the adoption agency

We received our January update from our adoption agency this morning. I'm not going to comment on the details and there's no ETA for a the referral... but things are moving along in the right direction. Yay!

This has been a hard week on me with adoption anxiety and work stresses. I just worked seven days in a row and have had to get all of that homestudy update togehter at the same time. Sorry I've been a little freaked out grump with people in real life. This update makes it all so much better. Hugs all around today.