From the title, this post could be very deep and thoughtful.........it's not so read on!
Lovely, but I'm still short!
I have about 70 pieces. Many people have said they are getting theirs to me, but I don't have them yet. Also, some have sent squares but no wishes. If you haven't sent a quilt square, and you would like to, please send them ASAP! If you have sent a quilt square but no wish, please send the wishes ASAP! If you are a blog reader (meaning not family or friends who already know me) and you would like to send a piece, please email me, and I will give an address to mail to.
I have a quilter ready and waiting to quilt away. Thanks to all who have sent them and all who are sending them!
(Donna, I received all the quilt pieces. I don't have your email address but wanted to thank you. Thanks so much!)
Many thanks to so many who purchased a t-shirt during our fundraiser with Adoption Bug. We have recently ended it so I have taken down my banner on the side bar. Thank you for your support. Tammi has some lovely t-shirts and is a pleasure to work with. As many of you know, international adoption is expensive and can range from $18,000 to $38,000 so every little bit of fundraising helps! Thank you everyone and thank you Adoption Bug!
I'm excited to do a review from CSN stores. They have everything you could possibly think of including toddler beds, cookware, home decor, even this super cool-looking toy! CSN Stores has given me the opportunity to do a review of a building gears toy. Grant has always been a kid who loves puzzles and loves to see how things are put together and both of my kiddos love building with legos. What kid doesn't, right? The learning gear toy lets them build using their own imaginations. The gears work together to move the pieces around.......without batteries! Grant and Ally think that it looks pretty cool. The real test will come when they actually put it together AND continue to play with it. Stay tuned for a follow up post about it and check out the other CSN stores. Look pretty cool, right?
Allygirl has her science fair project presentation this morning. I'm sure she'll do well. She grew stalactites and stalagmites from Epsom salts dissolved in water. Good luck, Ally!
Oh my! My video placement is being stubborn...sorry! This is a video of Grant singing a Chinese song "Two Tigers". I wonder if Jake knows this? Enjoy!
I won't go into too much detail, but it is a true story of a girl that was adopted from Taiwan. She grew up in America and ended up connecting with her birth family as a young woman. Her relationship with them is complicated but begins to grow as she spends time with them. The things she finds out about her family are really amazing. Her relationships with her birth parents and siblings are unique to say the least! It is a moving account of feelings and emotions on both sides of adoption and gives a great insight into how our cultural difference influence our decisions.
Okay, I'm not spilling anything else. It is a very, very good book. Buy it or borrow it! You can also learn more about it HERE. I guarantee that you will NOT want to put this book down until you have finished with it!
Our Article 5 was picked up from the Consulate last night our time and sent to the CCAA the same day. The Article 5 is just basically the approved immigration paperwork from the US government. Our coordinator said to expect TA (Travel Approval) in about 3 weeks. This would put our travel in about a month or so! Gettin' there!
(Kel, I updated this after I saw your comment. Sorry for the "adoption lingo"! Thanks!)
I will be Jake San Er's third mom. His first mom had him for 7 months before he ended up in the orphanage. He was only there a few months before moving in with his foster family. Can you begin to imagine how hard it would be to part with a child you cared for, loved, played, fed,and potty trained after three years? How is San Er's foster mom preparing him? How is she preparing herself?
When we were several weeks from traveling to Kazakhstan to find Grant, I remember the overwhelming feelings of guilt that I had every time I put Allyson to bed. She was only 4 yrs old at the time, and I hadn't been away from her for any long period of time. I missed her before I ever left her. I felt guilty that I was leaving her in the first place. In fact, I admit it, I had tears in my eyes every night of putting her to bed for those many weeks before travel. This is the tiniest glimpse that I have into what Jake's foster mama may be thinking. After all, she has cared for him for 3 years! I can't imagine what she has to be thinking. She knows by now that San'er has a forever family. I wonder if she feels guilty for not keeping him, for letting him go? I wonder if she has tears in her eyes when she says good night to him knowing that she has about one month left with him. I am so excited for us, and so sad for her at the same time. I realize this is her "job" and she knows that the point is, to get him into a forever home. However, I can't help wonder what she is thinking or how she is preparing herself. You would think that she would be so worried about what kind of home he is going to, whether he will be loved and cared for. My anxiety is coming from wanting to meet him; her anxiety must be in letting him go. Three years of caring for him! I just can't imagine how painful and difficult that would be. I just can't imagine.
I had a visit with Dr. Rheumatologist this week. He slightly increased one of my meds as my hands have still been too swollen. This med is one of the nasty ones that I had to go off a few years ago due to an infection. However, this time, I am on a MUCH lower dose; like a tenth of the dose that I was on. What is really bugging me though, is that I gained 5 lbs! That is on top of what I gained my previous visit! Yes, I'm telling the world that I am gaining weight just as if I'm carrying this child biologically. What is even more of a bugger is that when I was pregnant with Allyson, I weighed less 3 days after giving birth than I weighed before I was pregnant! When we were in the process of adopting Grant, I gained weight too. Although, I lost it all in Kazakhstan. I really don't think I will lose any in China. I guess I have figured out that I'm a "stress eater" and a "can't be cooped up in the snow eater"! Ugh! The elliptical and Bob Harper are my new best friends.
Do you know?
1. Highest Mountain in Alps?
2. Europe's most important inland waterway?
3. Europe's largest mountain system?
4. Highest spot in Europe?
5. World's largest lake?
6. Only continent with no large desert?
And the list goes on....and on.....and on.......
I've found map quizzes on-line that we have used successfully before. They have a nice one at I like to Learn for European capitals. However, I was wondering if anyone knows a song or rhyme for learning these capitals that might help us. Anyone? Any good ideas besides flash cards? A little help here people! Please!
This kid is tough and determined.
She is a hard worker.
Loves to laugh and is great at being silly when hanging around her friends.
She hasn't had an enemy.......ever. In other words, she is sweet. Okay, so she can dish out some drama. Oh my! Can she dish out drama! But she is everyone's friend and wouldn't say an unkind thing about someone if her life depended on it.
She can be mad as heck at me, but will stick up for me AT ALL TIMES!
She always carries my books/book bag, groceries, dry cleaning, etc. and I NEVER have to ask her.
She has never complained about having to clean the bathrooms. If I am cleaning and she hears me say "Ouch!" or "Shoot, that hurt!", she tells me to stop cleaning so she can do it. (Just for the record, I don't take her up on it, most of the time). She knows how badly my hands hurt. She's compassionate and loving.
She is adventurous! I love that about her! Going away from mom and dad for a week? No problem! Heading off to another country? Cool!
She is not a homebody......doesn't take after her mommy!
She will eat just about anything including sushi, Thai food, LOVES fish sauce with a passion, Chinese food, good ole southern cooking! She will try anything. Cool, right?
Loves to read, especially mysteries.
She's a night owl.
Her room is a constant explosion of drawers not pushed in, clothes on the floor, piles of this and that. I have an anxiety attack whenever I see it!
She is conscientious of other people's feelings. She doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
She loves to cook and be in the kitchen and is quite good at it.
She is crafty! She has knitted a couple of scarfs with the knitting circle. My mom helped her sew a skirt. There is more craft supplies in her room then Michael's has in their store!
At ten years old, Ally still loves playing with and dressing up her American Girl dolls but gets very irritated if we say, "Pick up her babydolls!". Evidently, they are "girls" and not babies!
She would do anything to do away with a set bedtime. Most every night she is fully awake when I drag myself to bed. However, morning is not her thing!
Speaking of morning time, she comes downstairs with some of the CAA-RAAZIEST bedhead.
She is athletic and has found a niche in playing soccer. It has really boosted her self confidence, and she thoroughly enjoys playing. The added benefit of hanging out with her friends is also a plus.
She has NO interest in boys....at least not yet!
She keeps sweet friends and simply ignores the girls who aren't perhaps the best friend choices.
She loves bossing Grant around with "Enough tv today" and "No, you cannot have a snack right now!".
She certainly is her own person. I think she will make a great mom someday and do something great with her determined yet kind and compassionate spirit!
Love that girl!
Cirque du Soleil
Illumination show. We headed out with my parents and the kids for Eric's birthday. Eric and I saw a show last summer in Philly and really enjoyed it very much, so we wanted the kids to be able to see one of these cool shows too! They really enjoyed it. Grant loved the hip hop dancer turned contortion artist. We got home after midnight and we ARE TIRED! I let the kids sleep in a bit, but we'll see how many melt downs I can count today. We are already at one. Grant cried over his breakfast cereal choice. Nice!
We headed down to the harbor (really enjoy that place) and walked around a bit. Eric made reservations at a Brazilian steak house named Fogo de Chao. It was really cool. There isn't really a menu. You flip your coaster from red to green when you are ready for more food. They bring around plates and plates of different typed of steak, lamb, pork, and chicken. Great place if you're on the Atkins diet! Seriously, though, the food is YUMMY! They just keep coming and coming to fill your plate. The waiters also bring fried polenta, fried plantains, mashed potatoes, and these yummy little cheesy breads. The salad bar had tons of different cheeses, smoked salmon, salads, and other yummy things. I really liked the mango vinaigrette. We topped it off by sharing a creme brulee and a cup of coffee. Much better than take out Chinese! Thank you, Eric!
Happy Chinese New Year to all, too!
We realized today that if we stick with tradition, we will be a family that celebrates three different New Year's celebrations. We will be celebrating our New Year in January, Chinese New Year in February, and Kazakh New Year in March which is called Nauryz. Whew! We're gonna be busy!
We have other fun things going on this week. Eric's birthday is Tuesday! How come Feb. is the shortest month, and yet, when you're waiting for it to end, it is the LONGEST month! Come on March!!!!
That's right, ladies. He came home and wondered what I WAS COOKING! No flowers, no candy, no date, no present, no plans, not even a card. The no card thing really put him in the dog house. Long story short, there were words said, and, in a huff, I walked out the door. At some point, so did he. He treated himself to Subway and came home to eat it. The only problem was that I had a change of heart........with Chinese take out............for TWO. I came home just as he was about to devour his first bite of a bacon turkey club. We laugh about that Valentine's Day ever since. Oh the things we both had to learn about marriage!
Ever since that "wonderful" night, I never really anticipated much for Valentine's Day. Kids came along, and then I really didn't anticipate going out for Valentine's Day. But after 13 years of marriage, he did it. He planned a real Valentine's date to a city about hour and a half away from here. However, I don't know exactly where we are going. He told me several weeks in advance just so I could anticipate our date.
So, here's to anticipation! Can't wait to find out where we are going! I'll have to let you know!
So there you have it folks! Love you, Auntie Donna, and I'll be watching the mail! Thanks!
I did put my girl to work a bit. Seriously, she can really handle a shovel. Okay, so a third of the drive is done, but she did a bang up job on that third!
In adoption news, my coordinator emailed to say my paperwork would be picked up from the Consulate in China on Feb. 22. Really? Ugh! After that, it heads back to CCAA for our travel approval. She did say that our travel would be mid to late March. Looks like we may be spending Jake's 4th birthday in China (April 2). I'm ready to just get this finished and have him home.
saline nose drops
children's Tylenol & Motrin
cough & cold
med duct tape (not for children, hehe)
Oh yeah, we are home from school again today as we received MORE SNOW and are expecting more snow today! We have never received this much winter weather......EVER!
After I read her blog, and I do mean READ it thoroughly, I emailed her mom as it really touched my heart. We sent several emails back and forth. Since Sarah still speaks and writes Chinese, I asked her for the meaning of San Er's name. We thought we knew, but I wanted to take the opportunity to make sure. It does indeed mean "third son". Now, there has to be a story there.
San Er was brought to the orphanage at 7 months. The notes on this occurrence are sketchy. Did he have a note attached to him with his given name on it? I don't think an orphanage worker would give him the name meaning "third son". Did his mother actually bring him in? What is his story? I'm hoping to find out when we meet with the orphanage director and staff.
It has always bothered me that Grant's story is so sketchy. There are a couple of different stories in his paperwork. All completely different. Couldn't someone get it straight, for his sake? How unfair! I didn't ask enough questions while in Kazakhstan. I didn't push for firm answers. We had such a difficult time finding him, that, at the time, I was just happy to have him in my arms. We had already made such a stink and fuss trying to have him as our son that I didn't want to rock the boat any more than I had already. This time, I'm going for the real answers!
The one pretty shot I took yesterday. I did get out for a walk around the block. Then I went back inside and continued my eating binge. Let me just say, ladies, being snowed in is terrible for your diet. I watched everything I ate......watched it all go in my mouth! (You all totally saw that one coming, right?) It's a good thing that I don't live in the Northwest, Canada, or Alaska. I would be 900 lbs! I did make a delicious pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I could have taken a picture of it, but before I knew it, the pot was empty! Eric said it was the best he's ever had. Hmmm....he must have been hungry!
Then there is the other child. That child was outside ALL....DAY......LONG......!
Here is the pile of "winter gear" necessary to play outside that long!
It's coming! The great blizzard of 2010 is coming! We should have blizzard like conditions and 22 inches of snow between tonight and tomorrow. let me just say, that going to the grocery store hours before a blizzard AND the Friday before the Super Bowl with two cranky, tired kids is really a very stupid thing to do. The better thing to do is starve. Definitely! Surely spring is just around the corner, right?
Chinese Phrases for the Adoptive Parent I think this site is really helpful as you can click sound to hear what the phrase sounds like.
Grant's Phrasebook (Not related to my Grant) This is a cute article with those explanations on basic things
Communication Cards This idea was referred by Ann from Cornbread and Chopsticks but is actually from The Adventures of Miss Tippy Tail and Miss Kitty Boo boo
Sophie's Mandarin lessons online Sophie has several lessons online. I am giving you the link to the Mandarin tones as this is really important and I think she does a great job explaining them.
My Chinese Coach I just received this and have only gotten out the baby stage in my lesson. I'm now officially a "toddler" and as I progress it unlocks new lessons. I will say, I like that it has phrases and words to look up. Not only that, but it can say those phrases for you in Chinese so you can play it for someone you are trying unsuccessfully to speak to. I spent more time with this last night and am loving it. It does teach you how to write Chinese characters. Seriously, I don't intend to NEED to know that, but it's cool that I'm learning some! I'm glad I bought it and wish I had it months ago.
Don't know if I'm learning enough or even going to remember what I'm learning when jet lag sets in (Did I mention I don't do well on little sleep?). I think Jake will pick up English quicker than I can learn Mandarin! I just don't want to be one of THOSE Americans that doesn't bother to learn any of the native language of the country they go to......very rude! Besides, isn't learning the language all part of the experience? If anyone has any to add, please feel free to comment!
I've been trying to learn key phrases in Mandarin so hopefully I won't be a total loser when it comes to communicating with Jake. I also purchase key ring cards with the phrases written in English, written phonetically, and in Pinyin. I'll have to find that link. I also purchased "My Chinese Coach". I think it probably could be helpful as not only does it give you lessons, but it has a reference section with a ton of phrases and words. You can identify your "favorites" and keep it in a different area so you can pull it up and click play. It then says it in Mandarin for you. I though it was funny that the game also came with a sketch pad in case you couldn't find the word and needed to draw your waiter a picture!
I realize this looks completely disgusting, but it has been my breakfast of choice as of late. It is a slice of overly toasted whole wheat bread with hummus spread and a boiled egg on top with a ton of hot sauce on top. Top that off with vegetable juice to drink and I'd better brush my teeth straight away! I'm trying to lose a little
There was a time when my fertility issues were a source of much pain. I hated not being able to do something that was supposed to be a normal occurrence for everyone else. I hated having mixed emotions when I had to attend a baby shower. It was a constant reminder of my failure. I think these are only normal feelings, even though, Eric and I talked about our desire to adopt when we were engaged. I realized how thankful I was for these issues the first time I saw Grant. Considering I have had one biological child and one adopted child, I have been blessed with both experiences. Not everyone gets those opportunities. They were both surreal. Eric and I would have never guessed that together we would have these adventures. It is better than we could have imagined for ourselves, but not better than God's plan. His plan is much more interesting than mine! I am so thankful that God gave us our Allygirl. What a surprise! I am not demeaning or belittling the magnitude of that miracle. It's just a better life than I could have hoped for. Not only am I blessed with fertility problems, I am thankful for them.
I have had my splint on my hand for a LONG time. It came off about a week ago and I have been in occupational therapy for about 2 weeks. I realized just how long my hand was "hidden" when one of the kindergarteners said, "Look, Missa W*****, You got your hand back!". She then proceeded to yell it to the other kindergarteners who "oohed" and "aahed" at my amazing ability to regrow an appendage. Yeah, I'm spectacular like that.
As I've mentioned before, I have had RA for 17 years now which means I've had a lot of physical therapy. I've discovered that PTs are unique people that strive for their patients' independence as much, if not more, than the patient themselves. They are always outgoing types that see the cup half full. Having said that, I hate PT. It just not my thing. It is, however, a necessary evil. I had to get a new certified hand therapist since my usual one changed offices and was too far away. The first time I met her, I thought it best to just lay it all out there. I told her that I really hate therapy and would go through whatever pain necessary to end it sooner. I also told her that I usually tell them when I should be discharged as I don't like wasting time. She probably thought I was a miserable old bat, but I'd hate for her to have dillusions of me spending ten weeks picking up the same cotton balls and putting them in a little box. The next time I saw her, she had spoken with my last therapist who is great as they are with the same company. She said, "Jen told me that you are the most determined person she has ever met and that you really hate therapy. I told her that I already figured that out!".
The problem is that some of the scar tissue has adhered to the tendon on my thumb and is preventing the joint that I have left from flexing. It is so extremely irritating! So far, therapy hasn't corrected it, and I'm nervous that my surgeon may be going back in to fix it. Time will tell. If anybody has any ideas (that I haven't tried) for breaking up scar tissue, comment away!