Again!




More snow! Unfortunately, the roads will be plowed before they go back to school on Monday.

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Our own Dr. Seuss

Grant's sentence he wrote for school:

"I love my brother and I love my mother"
"I love my wisdom and I like to be neat"
"I like to eat!"

Very sweet, but I think he has been reading too many Doctor Seuss books!

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PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Can you believe how adorable this kid is? These updated pictures just came and he is holding one of the toys we sent him. He looks very well taken care of and has a little dirt under the fingernails and a cut on one finger. I think that means he plays hard! I just can't get over how much he looks like Grant! I'll have to post a pic of Grant at that age. You won't believe it!

Two posts in one day again!

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Tooth Fairy- the regular visitor!

We spend a lot of time at the dentist and orthodontist and I do mean a lot! Ally's first dental work was done at age 2 years because she needed some enamel work done on a front tooth that came in a bit messed up. Grant had 8 cavities at age 2 years when he came home from Kazakhstan. Ally already sees the orthodontist and has braces with the palate widener contraption. You get the idea......I've paid my child's dentist's son's college tuition. I'm sure he was pleased when he heard we have another child coming home. He is probably calling his travel agent now booking his trip to Tahiti.

Both kids had work done today. Grant had to have a filling replaced that had fallen out. Allyson had one baby tooth and one adult tooth pulled. The problem was that the adult tooth was under the baby tooth and was still in the gums! Yep, that took about 1/2 hour of pulling and wiggling. Poor baby girl was a trooper (must take after her momma). I had intended to return her to school as I didn't want her missing anything and exams are coming up. BUT, I just couldn't send her. Sooooo, she's working from home with me. Grant, however, is back at school. The kid LOVES school.

Here's her teeth! Tooth Fairy better pay big for one of those!


Workin' but still smilin'!


Maybe she's smilin' because she is enjoying a chocolate milkshake with a spoon, of course!


I was reading a private blog today at "Stoll My Heart" where she was telling how her adorable 2 yr old was talking to her imaginary rooster and it brought back such a funny memory of Ally that I just had to share. She'll kill me if she knows I posted this. So, SHHHHH! Mums the word!
Anyway, she was about 2 or 3 years when she had an imaginary wolf "friend". They had a love hate relationship. According to Ally, he had "big eyes, big teeth, and crazy hair". She would hear him (mostly by howling herself) just to send Daddy up to the attic to look for him. Was she afraid? Absolutely not! She loved pretending to be though. And let's not forget about her other 2 "friends" she named "Caffeine" and "Sushi". I accidentally sat on them a few times. We had to even buckle them in the car, take them to library story time, and they were often naughty. Love those memories. She had such a vivid imagination and was/is a ton of fun!

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Oh Boy! Update!!!!!!

Forget about wordless Wednesday. I can't keep quiet. I'm so excited because we just got our first update! There are no pics as of yet, but I'm still hoping for some. The update said that Jake Saner is a smart and cute boy,lovely and outgoing personality. He loves laughing and is not afraid of strangers.
His speech is very well, is able to communicate with adult regularly. He is able to say some simple poems and sing children's songs. He can run and jump now, and he likes playing with other children same as his age. He likes watching TV.
He likes eating meat and snacks,good sleeper,his nutrition is good,his physical development is normal. It also gave his measurements. Either they are slightly off or he is in the 90th percentile for height. Then again, maybe I was the one in error!

I read the update to the kids and they were VERY excited. Grant did ask if Jake snores! He is probably a little worried because Allyson is quite the snorer! I thought that was funny.

We finally received Grant's passport in the mail. Goodness! Glad I started early!



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Wordless Wednesday



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NEEDED 100 GOOD WISHES!

Just a reminder that I am still collecting for our 100 Good Wishes Quilt for Jake Saner. I would like to finish collecting quilt squares and wishes in the next 2 weeks. I am FAR from my 100 squares. All you need is a 8x8 piece of fabric and another small scrap of the same fabric to attach to a card of some sort with the wish written on it. If you would like to see more description, please click the link to the left that says "100 Good Wishes Quilt Click Here".

I would love for Jake to know that so many people were looking forward to having him in the family and circle of friends. I would love for him to know that he is just as important as a little newborn coming into the world; that he is wanted and precious!

Also, this will be the last week for our t-shirt fundraiser. If you would like to see what we have, just click the "t-shirt fundraiser" on the right side bar.

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Pics of Haiti---Incredibly Moving

You've got to see these pictures of the people in Haiti. Click HERE

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No More Temper Tantrum

I'm finished throwing my temper tantrum. The only reason is because I received my NVC letter in the mail today, scanned it, and emailed it to my agency. Honestly, I would still be throwing my fit if I didn't get it. At least I'm honest, right?

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No NVC letter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATED: I just got off the phone with NVC AGAIN. They said, per the supervisor working on my case, that my case was cabled to the Consulate on 1-20-10 and that my NVC letter was sent by snail mail yesterday as well. She also said that they could not email this letter. I'm wondering (maybe Joanne knows), can the NVC letter be faxed over?Honestly, this added step is actually ridiculous. These children are stuck in facilities an added 2-3 weeks because of this nonsensical step. They are keeping them from time with their forever families. Maybe they should think of their birth children and decide which 3 weeks of their life they would like to pass on. I'm sure they would say, "NONE!". ME TOO!! I know there is a ton of red tape. I've done this before, but, as you can tell, I'm at the end of my rope. Let's roll! Get this done and over with and move on with our lives. Obviously, I've had a long day. This post wasn't even the long of it, for sure. I'll get off my soap box now and go to bed! After all, tomorrow is another day.

No letter from the NVC saying that they cabled me to the Consulate it China which means we cannot move forward. My agency has been on the phone with them. I've been on the phone with them several times as well. They have no idea what I'm ta;king about which is the same response my agency is getting as well. My agency sent them an email which even included a copy of the letter they are looking for. I contacted my congressman's office. The young lady that handles visa problems said she would look into it. I emailed her a wealth of info as well. Just wondering how many more times I should call them tonight. In my last phone call to NVC, the woman said she would send the info to her supervisor to see if we could get this letter in an email. I emailed the NVC as well. Wondering how long I should wait!

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Can you spot it?

Can you spot what Allyson is trying to care for?




This lovely little guy! She googled to see what Woolly Bear caterpillars eat and now thinks she is keeping him as a pet!



I torture my kiddos with this every morning. Actually, I believe it is inflicting self torture on my own poor soul!


But these little hands are just so cute!


And then, these smiles are just so cute, too! Notice anything missing? The tooth fairy *a very REAL fairy* visited last night.


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Complaining, Celebrating, and Confusion

Okay, I'm happy my agency is on top of things. They are calling NVC tomorrow (closed today) to make sure my approval was cabled as I haven't received my letter yet. I'm happy my paperwork is moving along, but I just have to vent. I'm sick of trying to figure out complicated paperwork. I'm tired of the I797, I797C, I800, I800A, DS230,I864, not the I864W, and so on and so on. It will end soon, right? At this point, I see a number of a form every time I close my eyes!

I will be revealing my agency soon. It's not like it is a big secret or anything. It is really a matter of needing a place to vent openly if things go sour. We are using a different placing agency than we did last time. So far, my agency is full of superstars as far as I'm concerned. Last adoption....not so much. I could give you nightmare stories from our last adoption and sweet dreams from this one.

On a completely different note, it is my wonderful mom's birthday today! Happy 60, Mom! You don't look a day over 20! I AM your favorite daughter, right!? We are going out for texmex. Mom and I are still quite a pair with our gimpy hand and gimpy ankle! People must think we've been in an accident together!

One more thing, I discovered that we needed an overhaul in our geography lessons when this conversation occurred in the back of the car.
Grant: "I wonder which car we will take to China, mommy's or daddy's."
Allyson: "Duh! Mommy's! It has a DVD player"
Ummm, yeah, it's just that bad!

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A New Hero

We took the kids to see a Saturday Matinee of The Spy Next Door with Jackie Chan. Grant has discovered his new favorite person! During the whole movie, he was saying" That was totally awesome" or "Cool" and laughing out loud. He was walking out of the movie theater with karate hands and feet while "hy-ahing" all the way. Needless to say it was a hit at our house, and I'm sure we will be buying that movie at some point. During the movie, Jackie's character tells how he grew up in a group home without a family so the other kids became his family. Grant mentioned this on the way home. I don't think he has heard it referred to as a group home before. We explained that he spent time in one in Kazakhstan until we came to find him. I could tell he stewed on that a bit, and then, as always, moved onto something else.
He did ask several weeks ago why his first family couldn't take care of him; why he needed a second family. He also asked who his first mom was. Unfortunately, I only have unknowns or vague answers for him as we simply don't have a ton of info. We are always as clear with him as we possibly can be, and we always make a point to tell him that God's plan was for us to be his family. That was the first time he had extra questions which is good. I thought maybe the information we gave him, while nothing we haven't said before, maybe bothered him a little or sank in more than it had before. He certainly doesn't bring it up a lot. It is my understanding that at 7-8 yrs. old, these children will sometimes grieve for the parents they never knew. However, I'm sure the circumstances and the personality of the child affect how and when this happens. It is certainly a painful topic for us, as we don't want to hurt him in any way, but realize that Grant must understand his circumstances that brought him into our family and come to terms with it. However, as I have said before, we try to find that balance of "adoption as just another way a person has a family", versus "you had a first family and we are your forever family". Wow, this post was supposed to be about the fun movie we went to see and ended up in a whole new direction! Sorry!

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Weelly Good Mismatcher!



The kids had "Mismatch Day" at school today. Initially, Grant kept picking out clothes that matched which should tell you something about his fashion skills. Ally and I helped him out a bit. Later, while sitting on the "throne". He hollers out to me, "MOM!". When I went over to him, he said, "You're a weelly good mismatcher!". Thanks, Grant, thanks.

Allyson, on the other hand, has her own unique style!


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The Dragon Sisterhood

There is a new book out by Beckett Gray titled The Dragon Sisterhood. It is about Chinese adoptive parenting and about Chinese adoption: racial identity, family of origin and attachment.You can find out more details at The Dragon Sisterhood. It is available at Amazon.com (click here). It's really not gender specific. I honestly do not know a ton about this book, but I think it is definitely worth checking out. Beckett Gray is the director of the charitable non-profit group, The Dragon Sisterhood, providing education based financial need scholarships to Chinese adoptees. She has also set up a yahoo group called The Dragon Brotherhood. If any of you check it out before I do, please let me know what you think!

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Adoption News

My agency emailed to say that the immigration officer would be approving my case today! Looks like we are getting closer! Hope March comes quickly!

I called a travel clinic today and found out that it will cost $640 to vaccinate us for China. The sad thing is, we are already vaccinated from our trip to Kazakhstan and just need an Hep A update for Eric and I and a Typhoid vaccine for all 4 of us. Ugh! Shouldn't our insurance at least cover the
Hep A since they are giving that routinely to kids now? I think I will call. I think the Hep A is given a month before traveling. We didn't need the Typhoid vaccine for Kazakhstan for some reason. For those that have traveled, what vaccines did you get?

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My Poor Dog


The sad thing is, she doesn't even care that she's wearing a boy's dress shirt.


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Campout


Grant had this list ready for me bright and early Friday morning. In case you have a hard time reading it, it says: hot dogs, chips, get them cooked. He said I needed to go to the store and "have it ready when Daddy comes home". He said that he and daddy were having a camp out. Eric came home too late on Friday and you would have thought it was the end of the world. He has talked non stop all day about it and even wanted to stay home until it got dark. He really didn't even want to go out for lunch this afternoon!



Being the good mother that I am, I obliged and fixed a tray of "hot dogs and chips" for them. He had already set up his personal DVD player with Star Wars.

Being the good dad that he is, Eric "camped out" in the bottom bunk with the kids watching the feature presentation. Ally had no interest in watching Star Wars for the 15th time, so she picked out something different. Hope they are having fun! Me? Well, I watched "The Biggest Loser" rerun while enjoying chips and fresh salsa. I know, I know, what an oxymoron!

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Shhhh.....Don't Tell My Family!

I forgot to post about a little secret. I made mashed potatoes and roast beef the other night which is one of Eric's favorite dinners. The secret is in the mashed potatoes. Shhhh! I only put a few potatoes in them. The rest was steamed cauliflower, Brommel and Brown "butter" (a yogurt based butter), and fat free sour cream. I'm tellin' you, they were yummy. No one even knew the difference and mom even thought they had more flavor. I tend to agree.
Any blog readers have any sneaky suggestions to keep dinners healthier, fewer calories, and still yummy?
BTW, Grant has BIG plans for us (or at least the boys) tonight. I"ll post all about it later. He has been talking NON-STOP about it for days now! All his idea.

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Are You Sure?

Thanks to an amazing gift from my parents, we are taking the kids with us to China! When we applied for Grant's passport before the holidays, I brought along his notarized, state issued Certificate of Foreign Birth, readoption certificate, and certificate of citizenship (thank you
George W. ). The lady at the post office said that all she needed was the state issued Cert. of For. Birth. I asked, "Are you sure?". To which she responded, "Of course!".

I received a letter today from the Dept of State addressed to Grant, and it was not thick or slighty heavy. I knew there was a problem. Turns out, I need to send them the original Certificate of Citizenship to get a passport.

Ho-Hum! Guess I'll get that out tomorrow.

On another note, I saw my hand surgeon for a follow up. My "lovely" splint stays on for a couple more weeks, but I can start therapy. I mentioned to him that we were traveling to China in March to adopt a little boy who was almost four. The first words out of his mouth were, "Aren't you worried how he'll do, how he'll adjust? At four, he must be used to his surroundings". Now, honestly, I know that is what everyone is probably thinking when we tell them, and my surgeon isn't the first to bring this up. I'd also like to mention that I'm really not one of those AP's that "gets their Deigos in a bunch" when I'm questioned in a manner some would deem politically incorrect or insensitive. I just told my surgeon that "Yes, it was a concern. But I'm more worried how he would be without a mom or dad for the rest of his life". He kindly congratulated me and contined questioning trying to figure out why we would have an interest in adopting. I've learned over the years that not everyone will understand why people spend so much money to travel across the world to bring a child home. That's okay that they don't "get it". It's not a big deal. I get it. That's what matters.

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My Quilt Square



Like it? This is my fabric for my square for the 100 Good Wishes Quilt. I think it is so cute!I found this on ebay. I think I will have the kids pick out their own fabric square.

(In case you're wondering, I haven't resolved the Toshiba problem but am still working on it.)

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Trying Toshiba Again

I tried conversing with Toshiba again today. After giving at least another hour of my life to them, the repair depot said they "understood my problem" but didn't have the authority to over ride the system and sent me to the never-never land of customer service. After waiting more than 30 minutes for a "customer service" agent, the lady on the end of my phone said that basically there is no proof that they broke the SD card slot and that now the computer is not under warranty! They actually want me to pay to have the initial repair to be fixed that they didn't do correctly when it was under warranty AND pay for the SD card slot to be fixed that they broke when the "repaired" it. Then, the "customer service" lady said she could do nothing else and that she was the supervisor so there was no one else in her department to speak with. She transferred me BACK to the repair depot department only to wait another 45 minutes.Then , once again, I was cut off by the automated operator. I cut my losses for the morning.

I got home this afternoon and, so far, have been waiting 54 min. and 38 sec for someone to tell me that they will transfer me to the repair depot. Evidently, you cannot dial them directly. I've learned my lesson: I'll never buy another Toshiba product again.

Update: I spoke with a real person after 97 min. on hold. I'm determined like that. However, although she was very nice, nothing is resolved. I guess a supervisor of some sort called me back to say that another daytime supervisor would call me in the morning. At this point, I'm just gunning for not waiting on hold until I die!

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Trashy Toshiba

We have a couple of laptops. One of which is a Toshiba that is being repaired......AGAIN! The AC adapter port was broken which broke the AC adapter. They fixed the port, did not fix the adapter, and broke the SD card slot in the process which is why it was sent out to them again. Are you still following me? So I called them today because it was sent quite awhile ago and I hadn't heard anything. The guy said the repair was on hold and that the depot would call me. I asked to speak with them so he directed my call that way. I felt the need to explain that they didn't complete the repair the first time and then sent it back to us with a broken SD card slot and that the AC adapter was broken because it got stuck in the broken, lousy AC adapter port!

But, no, I wasn't given the opportunity. I was on hold for 45 minutes with a jolly computerized woman telling me she was overrun with calls and I was in-line to be answered. She also so pleasantly stated that I could "press one and leave a message and we will get back to you". I realized I was getting into a time crunch so I boldly pressed one losing my place in limbo. Pleasant Computerized Lady said, "This operation is invalid" and politely said "GOODBYE!

In other words, I just gave Toshiba 45 minutes of my life I'll never get back. Seriously, folks, my kids were at school and I was at home BY MYSELF. Now you understand why I'm still holding on to my anger!
This is obviously just my personal opinion

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Quote of the day & Other Tidbits

Quote of the day:
Grant to Ally: "Don't mother me around!"
I guess he had enough!

I started realizing over the weekend just how little 3 yrs. (almost 4 yrs.) really is. I think I may need to buy pull ups in case Saner isn't able to stay dry at night. I wonder if he is going to be too young to really play with Grant (like Grant would like to play!). I'm also having flashbacks to when Ally was three. Three years was harder than two years. After all, they have had a whole year of experience at being in the "terrible twos"! Oh my! My mind is racing.

On another note, we have settled on a name.....sort of. We have given him the name Jake Saner. We have gone back and forth with flipping the names around and think we should probably keep the American name as his first name. However, still holding on to the right to switch the names around to Saner Jake! At least it's narrowed down even more, right!

For any blog readers that are adoptive parents, how much Mandarin did you learn and how? We are trying to learn specific phrases and are hoping to have a few lessons to correct our mistakes.

Lastly, if any blog readers would like to send a quilt piece for our "100 Good Wishes" quilt, please email me at wwoodse@comcast.net and tell me who you are, and I will let you know where to send it to. I think it would be so cool if some of you would like to participate as you have been helpful and encouraging to me! Thanks!

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Playin' Hard!


The girls played hard all day but lost their games. They are actually not in their soccer season now, but wanted to participate in this indoor tournament. They had a winning season so I think losing was a new lesson for them. Ally scored 2 goals and the games were close. Good job, girls!

Can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight!

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Another State, Another Hotel

We moved on to a different state to stay the night. Ally has an indoor soccer tournament tomorrow bright and early! The kids enjoyed more swimming and then, after getting in their pjs, enjoyed some ice cream! Soccer should be ALL day.....should be fun! Hope the girls can stay awake!


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Happy New Year!












We traveled to another state to visit my sister-in-law and her family. Eric's parents were able to come as well, and we had such a good time with them. They surprised us with a very special treat. A limo arrived and took us on a "Tacky Lights" tour. We saw some amazing houses all lit up for Christmas. One of them even had his lights synchronized to music on a radio station he set up! The kids thoroughly enjoyed it. Okay, so the adults enjoyed it just as much. How cool is that!
We then had a late dinner and headed back to the hotel so the kids could swim before bed. I was the only one to make it to midnight which is ironic considering I am always the first to go to bed!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. I am certainly excited for this year. In about 8 weeks, we get to meet our new addition. Can't wait!

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