Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Make your own catchy title

It's late; I'm single parenting for a few days. I just don't have the creativity to come up with a catchy title tonight, so this is "create your own blog header" day. Leave a comment with your suggestion.

I SO happy to see a bloggy visitor from Down Under. I had been wanting to see a visitor from Australia and viola' when I checked today, there you were!!

So, Kevin's off at a Solid Waste conference. Don't you KNOW that is a really exciting place to be? How can you talk about that for three days? Oh well.

I'm now really respecting those of you who are single parents. I don't know how I would ever have clean clothes. I can't seem to make any progress with anything while Kevin is away from home.

Today Josh visited the middle school he will go to next year. We had to go buy a combination lock for his locker--TODAY. He needs to practice, he said. He's got to know how to get to his stuff. *smile* He now has mastered the art of the combination lock and we had timed events in the car -- four seconds flat was his record. How did he get to be in 5th grade???

AND NOW.... American Idol. I admit it -- I cried. I liked Brooke White and all, but when she started crying, I did. Josh thought I had lost my mind. I tried to explain to him about compassion, about feeling sad with other's are sad and about how much work she had put into this and how is was her DREAM and that this was the end of her time on American Idol and how hard that must be for her. I still think he thinks I'm a bit left of center right now for crying over American Idol. All that being said, Oh My, her first song was YUK! And even thought I'm not a huge David Archiletta fan (he's ok, but he needs some more stage personality), I though he did a fantastic job. I also was surprised at the judge's reactions to DreadBoy, Jason Castro. I thought he sounded a whole lot like Neil Diamond. I guess, however, the point was to take those songs and make them applicable for today's market. None to worry, Jason "ain't gonna'" win anyway. David Cook is my choice for the #1 slot, and apparently Paula Abdul's as well. Of course, since she doesn't know what world she's in, it's hard to count her opinion for much.

On the adoption front -- No News -- nothing, nada, zip, zilch, nary a word. The families that are due to leave Friday are still planning to go. Families due to pick up their babies in a few days (for Trip 2) are still scheduled to go. My hope is that our agency and coordinator has been busy with those details and the restructuring issues and that she hasn't had time to get our referral together. Nothing I can do, so I'm just waiting and going on with life. My new mantra is "maybe next week."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wait ... aka No News

I was reminded by a friend today, who commented on my post about wanting to travel during our "preferred time" that God has the perfect time already mapped out. Sometimes, I need that reminder as I try to be God's appointment secretary and tell Him how it should work instead of praying that His will be done for our family.

I sent an email to our agency and feel, based on his answer, that we do not have to worry about missing Joshua's graduation. I think, but of course could be wrong, that our referral will not come this week. Not because of problems, but really because God's appointed time for Ellie to enter our lives has not yet come. And, because I trust Him to do things much better than I ever could, I will continue to wait until He says it's time. I probably won't be patient about it *smile* but I will wait. And, while we wait -- here's you a funny to enjoy ... It took me a minute to understand that the cat is in a bird cage (hey, it's late).

We did receive a copied set of our dossier in the mail today. It is the copy we will take with us when we travel. That seems like progress to me.

I am reminded to go to God's word when I need a reminder of how He wants me to live my life. In His word, I found the following reassurances for me tonight. I suspect if I were to look back on my blog, I would find these same verses somewhere else. Somehow, it's a lesson I have to have repeated from time to time. I think the message to me is clear: Wait.

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Hebrews 6:15
And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Psalm 5:3
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

April 25th - 16 month LID for China

As of April 25, we have now waited 16 months in line for our China adoption. While we are in process to bring home Ellie from Kyrgyzstan, the slow boat to China seems to have stalled out and been sucked into the Bermuda Triangle.

We were recently informed that we have made it through the Review Room. This a small piece of progress. Our dossier has been reviewed and we have been approved by the CCAA to adopt.

China's last batch of referrals were through January 9, 2006 with the CCAA only referring four days worth of LIDs.

According to a website called China Adoption Forecast:

China has 350 days of dossiers to be processed before they get to your dossier. China currently processes about 5-7 days of dossiers each month.

If China did all future referrals at the exact same speed as they did this month our referral would come JULY 30, 2014 (6 more years)

Our best guess - a weighted average of recent CCAA velocities, guessing that CCAA will perform about as well in the future as they are performing now, but might return to previous trends: JUNE 7, 2011 (three more years).

I'm going to be real honest here and say that I'm not willing to wait that long. After Ellie is home, we are required to wait a year before we would even be able to adopt from China. I think, at that point, we have to make a decision. As I explain to everyone who asks, including our social worker: God has led us this far. I'm sure He will provide the direction we need at that time. But, as of right now, He has not led us to do anything about our China adoption.

Corruption in Adoption

Many stories are flooding the media about corruption in the world of adoption in Vietnam. I have made so many good friends who are adopting in Vietnam, many who are thisclose to getting their match and referral. The U.S. government has said that families without referrals by September 1 will have their dossiers sent back to their agencies and they will not be allowed to adopt from Vietnam as the program is closing to the U.S.

Sadly, I read on a friend's blog that the Vietnamese government is less than happy with the media coverage of the incidents of baby selling that are allegedly going on there. There are stories that hospitals are selling the babies of mothers who cannot afford to pay the hospital bills. Other stories tell of grandmothers selling grandchildren. Amazingly horrible stories.

I have tried to think how I would feel had I found out as an adult that my family did not want to give me up but instead had lost me due to some story like the one above. How do you manage to reconcile that loss? Even as a happy adult who has a great life with wonderful parents, would you not mourn the loss of the life that should have been yours? Are you able to reconcile that this is the life that God meant for you to have? I don't know. I think it would be devastating to anyone. I don't think adoptive parents ever go into adoption wanting this situation to happen. I surely hope not. There are so many layers in the adoptive process that ultimately, there is no true way to be certain that it doesn't happen. We, as adoptive parents, do a lot in faith. We, personally, have tried to look for the red flags with agencies that indicate their might be corruption. And while we are very satisfied that this is not happening with our agency, can one ever be 100% certain? It's very scary.

I hope that the families and individuals who are affected by this situation in Vietnam are ultimately able to find their children and that the orphans in Vietnam are not left behind and forgotten.

My prayers go out to all involved in this situation. It could have been us.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Prayers for I-171H, Referral and Travel

I am going to start praying diligently tonight for our form I-171H to come in the mail this week. It was six weeks this past Friday and we were told eight weeks. However it is the last document needed in our dossier (which is already at the agency). Should we get our referral soon, this one piece of paper is required before our dossier can go to court.

I am also thinking that this just might be the week. I could be SO wrong, but I'm going to think it anyway. We have "friends" (online friends, anyway) who are with our agency who are leaving this week to go meet their babies for the first time. I am SO excited as I'm going to pick their brains to pieces when they get home!!! I've already probably worn myself out with them asking tons of questions already. It helps so much to have someone to tell you what to expect, so to A. and M., THANK YOU very much for being patient and answering questions!!! I hope you guys have a wonderful trip!!

Ironically, I'm not at all as anxious as I thought I might be. If you could see our calendars, you might understand why. Two nights this week there are ballgames and one on Saturday. Kevin has to be at a conference for three days. Joshua has a school musical on Thursday night (assuming the ballgame gets cancelled due to so many kids being in the musical). There is church Wednesday night. We work the concession stands for our baseball team on Monday night. Our friend is having cancer surgery tomorrow so I'm going to run to the hospital for a while to sit with his wife, my friend. I need to work in the field at least two days this week and catch up some 125 QA review jobs the rest of the week. Ahh... who has time to be anxious??? Once I see her face, though, all bets are off!

We have looked at our calendars and we have a perfect two week window to travel that would not interfere with too much so we are going to begin praying for a referral this week and subsequent travel during that two week window.

And, for those of you who've read this far, one last cute story for you to end the night. I've been reading another adoptive family's blog, Hoping to Adopt with God Holding our Hands. They just recently returned with their daughter from Kyrgyzstan. While they were there, they recounted a story of seeing a goat slaughtered, skinned and cooked over a fire -- right outside their hotel window. On the way home from Wal-mart on Saturday evening, Josh and I were talking about what he might expect on his trip. I was telling him the story about the goat. He said, "Don't they have food over there??" I said that it was not as plentiful as it was here and that they ate what they had to. He said, "Don't the churches help them out?" I said, "Well, this country doesn't have nearly as many Christian churches as we do." He thought and said, "What about the missionaries?" I told him there were only a few and they couldn't feed everyone. He thought some more and then said, "Well! I'm just going to have to talk to Brother David about this!" Brother David is our preacher!! I shared the story with Brother David this morning at church and he and I had a great laugh over it. I love that my son is concerned about this and in his heart wants to do something about it. I hope he always has a passion for helping those in need. Granted, I'm sure the goat folks didn't think a thing of it -- this is routine for them.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fishing Tournament with Dee Dee

Today was the 19th annual "Get a Kid Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs" tournament in our community. This was the first year Josh and DeeDee participated, but I'm told they plan to make it a tradition.

My understanding is that Josh did a bit more playing than fishing and that he spent a lot of time with his line stuck in the trees. But Dee Dee reports they had a good time so that was what mattered.

Sadly, neither of them caught a fish at all. Next year, they said, they are taking the boat out. This year, they decided to fish from the banks.

Each child who participates gets a goody bag with chips, fruits, toys, cookies, etc. Apparently, each child's name is drawn for a prize as well. Dee Dee said most kids were getting toy fishing sets, footballs and such so both he and Josh were surprised when they came out with Joshua's prize and he had won a real fishing pole! Pretty good prize for a $2.00 registration fee.

All in all, I think the day was a huge success for both of them. I'm glad they had fun and that Joshua got to spend time with Dee Dee.

Dessert Auction

Last Wednesday night, our church held it's annual dessert auction. Each year, people bring in desserts to auction off to raise money for scholarships and the bus to take the kids to Centri-Kid church camp each summer.

This is usually an event I go "all out" for each year. I take the day off and bake all day. This year, I made 3 plates of 18 dipped strawberries, a strawberry lasagna (yum!), a Kentucky pie, two Oreo pies and new this year ... a Black Forest cake. I hope the person who bought it enjoyed it as there will be no more Black Forest Cake making in the Latham household! It looked so pretty on the recipe card. That should have been my first clue that I was WAY out of my league.

You bake two chocolate cakes, cut them in half to form four layers and use three of them for the cake and one to crumble for use on the outside. You make your own whipped cream using real whipping cream that you beat with sugar. Ok... that stuff gets sticky and you are adding it (white) to a brown cake that you have just cut. Common sense not prevailing, I used it cut side up. There were crumbs all in the icing. Not to worry, I think, they won't be seen. Then, I realized it was happening on the edges as well. Ahhh... now, I understand the reason for "patting" the crumbled cake on the outside edges of the whipped cream when you are done. The problem with that is that the crumbled cake falls all over the edges of the cake platter. How do you get it off??? I had cake crumbs all over my kitchen. It was a full out disaster.

It turned out pretty nice, I suppose. There were some straggling crumbs on the platter -- I got tired of trying to fish them off. I'm not sure how it tasted and am afraid to ask. What if it tasted awful??? Oh well... next year, I'm back to my tried and true carrot cake.
By the way, here's a tip from "grandma's kitchen" (said so on the recipe card). When beating whipping cream, chill the bowl and the beaters and it will do better. I tried it and it seemed to work. Of course, I don't know how it would have turned out if I hadn't, either.
All in all, though, I am glad that I learned how to make "real" whipped cream.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Good News, but no referral - yet.

We got an email from our agency director confirming that even while audits/restructuring is going on, they WILL continue to give referrals. YAY!!! The families in front of me who have their referrals will travel soon as well too, so this is great news!!!

I hope we will see our Ellie's face sometime in the next 10-14 days. WOW!!!

Sorry I'm not posting much. We are deep in the midst of clearing out the garage/office, putting down the flooring, sorting through the stuff stored in there and getting what can go to the storage building for the upcoming yard sale. We've managed to get 95% of the stuff out of the room and tonight there is a small path through the house. I just can barely stand it. I don't know where anything is and I can't get to the kitchen. There is just clutter everywhere. Tomorrow, we should finish the flooring, maybe get some cabinets put together and sort through more stuff. I have several piles through the house that need to go to yard sale storage so we'll get that taken there as well. That will help a lot.

The good news? The house will be a bit more decluttered and organized when Ellie gets here!! I wonder what she looks like.

Welcome to blog readers from the Netherlands, Indonesia, Cambodia, Slovenia, Belguim, Nigeria and Brazil as well as all of you "local" US and Canadian readers. I appreciate the time you take to stop by and read a little.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Potential Good News ...

I spoke on the phone to our agency today and was told that there is a potential referral "in the pipeline." Of course, we don't know when we might expect it with the changes/restructuring going on in Kyrgyzstan right now, but I asked if this could be our baby we were talking about and he indicated it could be.

He also indicates he doesn't think this restructuring will last long -- maybe two weeks or so. I'm so hopeful this is true and that our Ellie has been born and we might see her face soon!

Little Faith - Big Results

As I awoke this morning thinking about what I posted yesterday about our delay, imagine my pleasure that God had provided this in my inbox this morning. I subscribe to a daily devotional called The Purpose Driven Life. Today's devotional was so appropriate and so comforting I wanted to share it. I've highlighted in bold my favorite parts.

Little Faith + Big God = Huge Results
by Rick Warren

[The boy’s father said,] “. . . If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” (Mark 9:22-24, MSG)

*** *** *** ***

Is it possible to be filled with faith and doubt at the same time? Yes!

You can have faith that God wants you to do something and still be scared to death. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is going ahead and doing what you’re called to do in spite of your fear. [Wow!!]

You have to begin with the faith you already have: it may be just a little, but you start there. A beautiful example of this is the story of the man who brought his sick son to Jesus in Mark 9. Jesus looked at the man and said, “I can heal your son. If you will believe, I will heal him.”

The father then makes a classic statement: “Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.”

Have you ever felt like that? “Lord, I have some faith. But I also have some doubts.” This man was filled with faith and doubt, yet despite his honest doubts, he went ahead and asked Jesus for a miracle. And he got his miracle – Jesus healed his son.

No matter how weak or how frail you think your faith is, it’s enough. It’s enough to get you through what you’re facing, and it’s enough to complete the vision God has planted in your heart. [Double WOW!]

Matthew 17:20 says, “If you have faith as small as the mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible to you.” (NIV) That’s not a lot of faith; in fact, it’s just a little faith. But what else does that verse teach? “If you have faith as the mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, ‘Move’ and it will be moved.”

Mustard seed faith moves mountains. Don’t get this reversed. We like to read this verse backward. We want it to say, “If you have faith like a mountain you can move a mustard seed” – as if it takes enormous faith to do a very little task.

God wants you to start with the faith you have, and based on the example of the mustard seed, you don’t need a whole lot of faith to do great things for God. You just need a little.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Small Delay in Adoption Process

It has taken us a few days to process recent news in our Kyrgyzstan adoption process and we have chosen to keep this information to ourselves until we were able to take it in, talk with our agency and others in the process, get a true feel for what it means and decide how we feel about it.

Apparently, an individual who was over adoptions in Kyrgyzstan has resigned his position. Because of this, and probably some other things we might not be privy to, the country is taking some time to look at its adoption process, determine if any changes need to occur and try to make this process better for the children in orphanages. Because of this, the Kyrgyzstan Embassy is not currently processing any dossiers.

We are told this process is a positive step for the country and for adoptions but that it might delay adoptions. I've heard numbers mentioned of between two to six weeks. This has happened twice before in Kyrgyzstan without negative impact at all. We have no reason to think it will be a problem this time.

So, you are asking, just like I did, how this will affect our adoption. We don't know exactly yet. We are still number one on the list for a referral. We do not know if referrals will continue during the restructuring time or not. I am going to make a call tomorrow to find out if they will still be receiving referrals. I have heard from two other families with our agency that they were told referrals will continue. HOWEVER, with that being said, I'm 50/50 about whether I want my referral right now. Granted, I most definitely won't turn it down, but it will be more difficult, I think, to have a photo of my Ellie and not be able to travel for an undetermined amount of time. The good news with that is that if we do get a referral, she will continue to get closer to her three month age (which is how old she will have to be to go to court) which will reduce the amount of time we might have to wait to return to pick her up. We still do not have our I171H, though, and now our dossier might have to have additional processing work done on it. I’m not worried; that’s what our agency’s job is.

We have looked for the blessings in this. We really wanted to travel after school was out so that Josh wouldn't have to miss the last (fun) weeks of school. We will have just a bit more time to raise funds -- that's always a plus.

We do not know, nor does our agency, what sorts of changes might come out of this, but we don't feel concerned about it affecting us in a negative way. It might affect us financially (it seems to always affect us that way), or change our timing a bit, but it also might not change anything. I think speculation at this point is fruitless. Our agency is communicating very well what little information they have.

The thing we know is that God knew this was going to happen and He is already there and handling it. I am reminded over and over of the verse in Genesis 50:20 that Joseph says when talking to the brothers who sold him into slavery about what they meant for evil against him, God meant for good, to save others. While my situation is not like Joseph's and I know no one means this for evil, I know that God can and does turn bad things to good. I've seen it many times during our llllooooonnnnnggggggg adoption process. I trust Him. I know He will take care of us. I know He did not bring us to this next-in-line spot to disappoint us. So, I will wait, again.

I had some sort of crazy dream about getting our referral last night. I've tried really hard to remember what it was, but I can't. I suppose it's just been on my mind a lot. We've not let this stop us from continuing to prepare for her arrival. My heart continues to tell me it won't be long.

We appreciate your continued prayers for this process to move along quickly so that we can get on with Bringing Home Ellie.

"I don't like my freckles"

Every day Joshua surprises me. This is not always a good thing, but it makes life interesting. Take for example, the night Kevin called me upstairs to see Joshua's face. OH MY!!! I had to go downstairs and get the camera for this one.

Apparently, he had gone into my bathroom and put on "makeup" to cover his freckles. He doesn't have very many and they are terribly cute sprinkled across his nose. I don't know if someone said something to him about it or if it was just something he got on his mind, but, nonetheless, it was bothering him and seeing that mom put on makeup, he thought he would try it.
SADLY for him, he got my bronzer-blush pot instead of the base makeup. Here is the result you get when you do that ...

If I'm not mistaken, there's some glitter on there as well -- who knows??? BUT, you can't see any freckles, can you?

I had to take a rag and lots of soap to get it off his face. He said, "So why don't you look like this when you put makeup on?" I told him he had used the bronzer and that makeup was not for boys. He told me, "Well, you look the same all the time -- night and day." I'm not sure that was a compliment -- possibly, but probably not. I'm not sure it was even relevant.

Needless to say, I told him how wonderful I thought his freckles looked. I'm sure he's officially mortified now. Apparently, I'm entering his "dumb mama" phase as I'm not to tell him he looks handsome or cute or anything of that nature.

A few nights later, I was cleaning his bathroom and so I told him to take a shower in mine. Kevin ended up taking over cleaning the bathroom and I went downstairs. A few minutes later Joshua comes downstairs and says he needs a band-aid. This is nothing new -- he needs minimum one or two a day. I told him he knew where they were and he could get one. He comes over to me and starts to cry. "I cut my hand on your razor." ARGHHH! So, we wrap some tissue around it to stop the bleeding with me assuring him he will not bleed to death (he utters these words as he has a kleenex wrapped around his finger -- he's so into drama) over and over. Finally, I explain to him that he really should NEVER touch a razor; they are sharp and cut you. He thinks he has learned this, he says.

Never a dull moment at our house.

Welcome blog readers from South Africa and India!!

Weed It and Reap

I saw a sign in someone's yard last week that said, "Weed it and Reap". I thought it was clever. So, today, we began the weeding. No, I didn't take any before photos. I would have been embarrassed for you to see them. How in the WORLD do so many weeds grow in the winter? I couldn't even see the pea gravel in the pea gravel path. Kevin got the side of the house weeded and spread what was left of the mulch out. Josh and I got maybe a third of the path done (it's not long either). We raked up some leaves and got some of the stuff that had accumulated in the yard picked up. And we did all this in an hour. We have committed an hour a day for the next little while to work on the yard in the afternoons. Hopefully, we can get it looking nice again (our reaping) after winter.

There is something soothing to the soul about weeding and raking. The tiredness you feel and the accomplishment you can see afterwards is just refreshing. Now, if you are ten, it's just hard work, but, I'm not ten anymore and it's a nice change of pace from working on the computer, cleaning house, inspecting houses and being at the ballpark.

I'll share some "after" photos in a few days.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rainout and Rug Doctors

Today's baseball game was rained out (yay! -- don't tell anyone I said that!). My parents called and asked us to go to dinner with them at O'Charleys so we did. We've all been so busy we've not seen each other in a long time. It was so good to see them. However, I'm still really tired and don't know why. Maybe it's just that my body is still recuperating from pneumonia. I still cough some and my voice still isn't quite right.

Josh and I went to the Dollar General tonight to rent a Rug Doctor. We don't have carpet in our house (we have Pergo wood floors), but we do have two couches that were embarrassing to look at and sit on. Poor Josh, he has really gotten stains all over our oldest couch from eating snacks and just being a boy. I have photos of him using the Rug Doctor (he begged to!) that I'll post later, but I just don't have time to download them right now. One and a "half" couches are done. I had to sit on the other half of one of the couches. They will finish up tomorrow after church. I know the completed one looks a thousand times better. The other is still too wet to tell, but it has to be an improvement!

Each trip to Wally World (aka Walmart) finds me buying a few more small items to slip into our travel cache. Tonight I picked up a power adapter, a box of and a plastic pouch of antibacterial wipes, two packs of toilet paper type wet wipes and a pack of inexpensive wash clothes that we can just throw away if we need to. In recent weeks I've picked up individual packets of Kleenex, travel size Lysol, and travel pouches to hold our passports, tickets and other important papers . We have looked at luggage as we don't have any large suitcases, only smaller ones that are fine for work trips but not to leave the country for two weeks. Tonight we looked at those space saver bags. They look like something I think we are going to need.

Kevin found a really inexpensive Wenger video camera case last night at TJ Maxx. We are trying to figure how to carry a video camera, regular camera, laptop, changes of clothes for two or three days (in case our luggage is lost), needed snacks, video games, books, etc. etc. and still have them allow us on the plane calling all that "carry-on". Haha. I'm personally having a bit of a breakdown thinking about returning by myself ONLY because I'm trying to figure how to put a baby in a sling, carry a backpack with laptop, camera, video camera, diapers, formula, bottles, wipes, changes of clothes, bibs, toys, necessary papers/documents/money, etc. AND pull a large piece of luggage without flat out falling out from exhaustion during the 24 hours it will take to get home. Boy, I hope she doesn't weigh a lot. I've been thinking I need to break out the treadmill and build up some stamina.

So we continue, in little ways, to prepare for her entrance into our lives -- even though we know it will be at least August before she actually comes home. The time will fly -- just like it has so far.

Welcome Spain, British Columbia and Mexico blog readers! Nice to have you visit my corner of the world!

Friday, April 18, 2008

How Ellie is Helping Her Country

Somewhere there is a little girl. She may or may not be born yet. God knows who she is and what her purpose in life is. And, this sweet little baby is already fulfilling part of her purpose in life.

I've spent a lot of time talking to whoever will listen about the work of John over in Kyrgyzstan. I'm trying to find those who are willing to go in with me to raise the $320 to send to buy slippers/flip-flops for folks living in a home for the elderly and disabled. In addition, I've been trying to determine what else I might could gather to take to the orphanage when we travel.

I got a call on Wednesday from a friend whose daughter is involved in 4-H. This friend had been talking to her daughter about the orphanages in Kyrgyzstan. Her daughter and her friends have decided to start a project, pending teacher and school approval, to gather items for the orphanages so that we can take them when we go. These girls are 12. They have taken the initiative to help children in a country where they know no one. Is this not what Christianity is all about?

Ellie, my sweet baby, is already having her impact on the world, on helping her homeland -- her country.

I hope these girls are so incredibly successful in their efforts that we have to pay extra to ship it all there with our luggage. I hope they get the emotional blessing from giving to these children. I want to take plenty of photos of the places and people they helped so that they can understand the implications of their help. I want them to see what a difference they are making in the world. I want them to be a generation of helpers and givers instead of a generation of takers and wanters. I hope that while we are there that Joshua's life is changed as well -- that he comes to understand the reality of poverty and the blessing of living in our country and the need to give, to support and love others, just like Jesus would do and how he has been called at an early age for a reason and that this might just be part of that reason -- so he can help.

So, we continue to wait. The uncertainty of it all right now is hard. It will be as it is supposed to be and nothing I can do will change anything so I continue to pray for Ellie and all the other children there who want and need families.

Welcome to blog visitors from Korea!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Celebrate Me Home"

This year's "going home" song on American Idol is "Celebrate Me Home" -- a version by Ruben Studdard.

Tonight as Kristy Lee Cook watched her time on AI and they played the song, I thought about how appropriate it would be for a photo/video song for Ellie as she comes home and then I began to tear up remembering that when I first found my birth family, I made them a CD of songs that were about me and my adoption. One of the ones on there was Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins. It's a song about coming home at Christmas -- my birthday. It has just made me all emotional. This is not surprising because if you look at me the wrong way lately, I cry. My emotions are just all in turmoil -- the waiting and knowing how close we are is hard.

I got teared up today thinking of when I had Joshua and how special a time that was to me and knowing that a woman is going through the same thing and is going to make a decision to give her daughter up for adoption. It just breaks my heart to know she has to hurt so badly for our family to be so happy. This referral needs to come soon or I'm going to dehydrate from tears.

My Ellie has been born. My heart knows this. I know because of the constant ache I feel at knowing she is in a hospital on the other side of the world -- without me. I know because of the constant need I have to pray for her -- for God to keep her safe until I can come. I know because I am torn into about knowing I have to leave her there after the first trip. I don't know if I can do it and I know I have to. How will I? Darn it, the tears again. No one warned me I'd cry so much. I'd claim hormones if I were pregnant. What do I get to claim if I'm not?


My condolences to you who voted April 15 as our referral day. Unfortunately, this is ALSO the day I picked, so there, I was wrong too. Next date up -- May 5. I'm SO hoping that you guys are on target. I'd love to have a referral by Mother's Day. :-)

Welcome to visitors from Portugal, Brazil and Australia! Awesome to have visitors from other countries.

Stay tuned later tonight for a post about how Ellie is already helping her country.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Bargains from OUAC

I have to quit working in Clarksville. Every time I go there, my car just veers itself right on into the Once Upon a Child parking lot and I am just pulled inside to the bargains that are calling my name.

Monday was no exception. I am always so proud of my bargains when I go there. Again, no exception on this trip. Here are photos of some of my bargains. Buying little girl clothes is a new experience after buying little boy things all these years. But, in all honesty, I actually miss buying little boy things.

This first one still had the original price tag of $15.00 on it. I got it for $4.50. I also bought a hair bow to match (see, it's hanging on the hanger). Ironically, I must really like this look because I bought one in the next size up in a different color the last time I was there. I didn't remember, but Kevin did!

For those of you who have ever purchased things at Gymboree, you will understand why I prefer to get my Gymboree from OUAC. This little one piece playsuit would have been $22.99 at Gymboree. I got it for $8.50. The hairbow above matches it -- double use! :-) I thought of my friend, Jeff Land, when I got this -- he loves frogs! The two frogs on this outfit are too cute! I'll have Ellie wear this when she meets Reed.

This is also a Gymboree one-piece outfit. For some reason, it was only $6.50. It has some cute smocking type work across the top.

Is this little outfit too cute or what? I'm calling it the 101 Dalmatians outfit, or maybe the Cruella DeVille look. Either way -- too cute!!! Best part of it all, it was 50% off, so it was $2.25.

Another 50% off item, this is a Baby Gap burgundy velour dress. I'm thinking it will be really cute with a little shirt underneath. Final price: $3.75.

This was my favorite purchase. It's a cotton dress with pink "Ellie-phants" (on roller skates?) smocked around the collar. Add a pink hair bow to match and she is set. This was my most expensive purchase at $8.50. It would have definitely retailed for more than that, I think.

And, while I'm not a huge Carter's fan, I loved this little one-piece outfit that also had "Ellie-phants" on it and says, "Living Life in Peace". I was particularly fond of the 50% off price tag which made it $1.75.

Loved this little dress and cardigan sweater, especially at 50% off, final cost $2.75.

And the final purchase of the day was for Kevin. Kevin and Joshua are huge UK fans (University of Kentucky). Josh had a UK shirt when he was tiny. I found this three piece set that still had tags on it (apparently someone else was NOT such a UK fan). $7.50 for a cutey-patootey cheerleader outfit. So cute!!!

So, I was very pleased with my purchases. All the items look new -- babies so quickly grow out of things that they rarely ruin them. I am always very impressed with the quality of clothes at OUAC. I'm more impressed with getting really nice clothes so inexpensively.

Kitty and Little Kitty

Joshua has two "cats". One is the stuffed variety that he has had since he was a little guy. We've actually had three "Kitties" because Bear (the dog) ate the eyeballs out of two of the early ones. Thank goodness he doesn't have the fondness for stuffed animal eyeballs that he used to and this one has lasted quite some time. Kitty is a Ty Beanie, one of the larger ones, and has been retired for some time, so finding them was beginning to be a problem. Kitty goes on all our trips with us and even went to Centri-Kid camp last year and slept under the bed. *smile* I can assure you Kitty will travel to Kyrgyzstan with us.

Joshua's other cat is "Little Kitty", the meanest, rip-snortin' cat this side of the Mississippi. He hates every cat and pretty much everyone -- except Joshua. Why this is is a HUGE mystery to us. He has always liked Joshua -- even when the other cats were afraid of him, Little Kitty wasn't. To give you an idea, the 140 pound dog is afraid of Little Kitty. Little Kitty's favorite thing to do it go up to Bear and rub his head on him. Bear sits very, very still with his eyes very wide and doesn't move until the cat leaves. Little Kitty sleeps with "His Boy" and gets sorely upset when "His Boy" spends the night away from home. He will go into his room and meow loudly several times before just getting on up in the bed to sleep without him. Right now, as I type, Josh is in my bed as his bedding wasn't quite dry yet and he needed to get to sleep. Little Kitty is asleep at his feet.

Every night before I go to sleep, I go into Josh's room and kiss him, fix his covers and give Little Kitty some love. The other night, here is the scene I found -- Little Kitty snuggling with Kitty.

So, do you think he's going to rip Kitty's eyeballs out -- or is he in love?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Homerun "Dude"

I just realized that bad mommy that I am I forgot to post that my wonderful baseball playing son hit HOMERUN at his game on Saturday.

I am SO proud of him!! His team won their game 20-1. Here are photos of his homerun. Thanks to A. whose blog I steal all my great ideas from. She has introduced me to scrapblog where I can scrapbook and not have to cut, paste or even leave my computer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Where He Guides, He Provides

Now that we are so close to a referral I'm feeling the full spectrum of emotions. I can't imagine what I'll feel when we actually get a photo of a "real" baby instead of carrying around the dream of a baby.

Our pastor had an excellent message today at church. Of course, I managed to turn it into a message just for me -- when I'm certain it was not intended that way by him. The message was on opportunity and how it can lead to success or failure depending on how we respond to the opportunity. The story he used was the one of Joshua, Caleb and the other ten spies who went to Canaan and reported back to the Israelites about what they saw in Canaan. Ten of the spies reported that it was too dangerous and that this Israelites were doomed if they tried to take the land. They reported that the Israelites should go back to Egypt and even suggested that Caleb and Joshua be killed for even indicating that they try to take the land. Caleb and Joshua, however, knew that God had called them to this land and had promised them possession. They knew that no matter what happened, God was in control and would not leave them and that there were no people or circumstances He could not overcome. Where God guides, He provides.

So, imagine me, sitting in my pew with this wide range of emotions and doubts and fears about how close we are in this process and how we are going to have to travel to a strange land -- a place where God called us and from where God promised us our daughter. How can I not know that He has guided us there and will provide both financially, emotionally and for our safety? We do not have to fear the "Canaanites" or the "giants" that are in front of us, because He has called us and will protect us in this journey.

Ironically, the ten who doubted God died. Their families continued to wander in the wilderness and also died before seeing the promised land. Moses, because of his disobedience also did not see the promised land. But Joshua and Caleb? They believed in God; they had faith in His abilities. The received the blessing of the possession of Canaan. They received the promise of God. I believe and I cannot wait to receive the promise.

How wonderfully timely this message was for me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Only 31 More Visitors Until ... 10,000

UPDATE: Thanks to my friend Mayme for letting me know that she was hit number 10,000 to our site! Mayme and I have known each other since school days. We live in the same area, and she and her family are adopting from China! Thanks, Mayme for following along!!!!

I looked at our counter today and was surprised to see that likely tomorrow, we will have our 10,000th visitor! I'm amazed! Granted, that doesn't mean 10,000 individual visitors as each time someone visits the site (be it daily if you do), it counts a "hit", but still, it seems monumental to me. :-)

Thanks for reading and following along with our life.

To honor that momentous number, I'd like to announce that we found out yesterday that we have moved up to the number one spot with our agency. The family in front of us has received their referral. We could receive "the call" any time.

How exciting!!!!


Church Directory Photos

We had our church directory photos made last night. It was the first time we've had family photos made in three years. Three Christmases ago we decided to give family photos as presents and we had them made and then nothing since then. Now, the irony of this is that my mom is a professional photographer and, of course, I take photos like crazy and yet we've not had any made. Granted, we've had photos made at holidays at home and things, but nothing formal.

So, we were just led blindly right on into purchasing a bunch of pictures. *sigh* I know better, but they had some specials for Mother's Day and I got both moms and me (also a mom!!) three framed and matted 5x7s -- The Trio, he called it. There is one of all three of us, one of just Josh and one of Kevin and I. I also got a few 5x7s of just Josh and just Kevin and I so that we could share with the extended family. It probably will BE Christmas before I remember to get them mailed off. We are told we should get them in about three weeks, so I'll scan and post them here when we get them.

He tried to talk us into buying Christmas cards with our photos and I told him, "Oh no! We will have another member in our family by then and we'll want to include her." That's when it hit me that this will be our last family photo without Ellie. So, now, we have these great family photos and will have to have them all RE-DONE!!! before Christmas to include our newest little angel. Oh well... I'm not going to complain.

I wonder what she is going to look like? My friend who got her referral yesterday said her baby's photo is one of her wrapped so tightly that all you can see is her face and her eyes were closed. Man! I hope Ellie has her eyes open in her photo. I wonder what her given name will be? We are so close now. There is so much to do. As my mom says, "Take one day at a time and let God handle the rest." Man, that's what I'm going to have to do. The phone could ring any day. I'm not READY!!! Of course, my mom also pointed out that I'm never ready and that I'll be on the way to the airport and remember that I left Joshua at home. HAHA! She's got my number, doesn't she. What she doesn't realize is that Joshua won't be left behind. I might leave my passport, but that boy is going to be super glued in his seat ready to go!

Friday, April 11, 2008

How Great Thou Art

I got an email this evening from a friend who got a referral for her daughter today. Since then, my soul has been singing and the song it has chosen is How Great Thou Art. I'm not sure why, it just continues to run through my mind, soothing and calming and reassuring me that God is fully in control of all things about our adoption and that even when I become overwhelmed with it all, He is not.

I thought I would share the lyrics, after having looked them up online. Taking the melody out and simply reading it as a poem makes it somehow even more beautiful. I think I sometimes become so accustomed to just singing the words without thinking about them. This song was written by Carl Gustav Boberg in Sweden in 1885. He wrote it after a two mile walk home from a church meeting in a thunderstorm. I LOVE knowing the stories behind why songs were written. It makes the songs so much more personal.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.


Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"


How beautiful.

A Blog Visitor from Kyrgyzstan!

Since I've added "FeedJit" to my blog to see where my "visitors" come from, I've made a request that someone visiting in Kyrgyzstan visit my blog while they are there and someone has!!! Yay! Today I looked on my map to see where my friends/readers were from today and here's what I got:

United States [85%]
Brazil [12%]
Kyrgyzstan [1%]
Canada [1%]
United Kingdom [<1%]
Sweden [<1%]
Singapore [<1%]

Is that awesome? I can't imagine WHY anyone in Singapore would be reading my blog, but I've had readers/viewers from all over the world. This is very exciting to me. Thank you to whichever family is currently in Kyrgyzstan visiting their baby or picking them up for visiting my site!!!

NO!!! Michael Johns Voted Off AI

WHAT????? One of my FAVS got voted off American Idol last night. America, what are you thinking??? So, we voted off Michael Johns over Kristy Lee Cook???? What are we thinking? Can you tell I'm stunned? I think there has to be "some other story" there. I'm sure he will have a successful career, but I'm just amazed. I suppose it truly is a popularity contest as opposed to talent.

On a more serious note, however, I chose not to watch Idol Gives Back this year due to the fact that I just didn't feel emotionally prepared to watch it this year given where we are in the adoption process. I'm just too emotional. And then, on last night's show, they show the "highlights" and show the little boy begging for his blind father and show where he and his sisters sleep on some nasty foam mat on a concrete floor and my heart just broke. They showed the children in the orphanages -- again, too much. I can't imagine the impact going to the orphanage in Tokmok is going to have on me. I must remember to take lots of extra pairs of contacts because every time I cry the protein ruins my contacts. 14 days, hmmm... 28 pair??? Sounds right.
My prayer is that I never become so jaded that the tragedies of poverty, hunger, homelessness and orphans stops breaking my heart.

Poll - Results a Dead Heat

For those of you who have voted in our poll to the left I think it is interesting to see that the poll results are in a dead heat. There are only two votes separating April 15, May 5 and May 20. I will tell you that I voted for April 15. We are now only 4 days away from that day and I think I and 20 or so of my good friends are going to be wrong on this date. I'm wondering if those folks who have chosen May 5 are going to be the ones who are closest? It would be REALLY nice to have a referral before Mother's Day.

If you haven't voted, vote now to be able to claim "bragging rights" later!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Baseball Season Officially Starts

Tonight was our first exhibition game for baseball. The Joelton Padres, unfortunately, lost 3-4 to the Dodgers. It was fun, and, of course, doesn't "count" and it was nice to be back in the ball park taking photos and watching the excitement of kids playing baseball.

Here are a few photos of Josh from tonight's game. I haven't found my "happy" place yet in photographing baseball this season. It usually takes me a game or two to get to the place where the creativity starts to flow and I come home with some photos that make me happy and excited.

I remember the beginning discussions of our adoption taking place in a ball park when Joshua was playing 4-5-6 year old ball. I remember telling some friends, "We've decided to do it." Who knew, that our son would be playing 9-10 year old ball before Ellie came home? I'm not sure I would have signed up for the ride if I had known how long the line was going to be. *big smile* I'm sure it will be a decision we will never regret.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Moving Up - again and more "Josh-isms"

How I WISH I could find the code for The Jeffersons theme song so it would play here. Ahhhh.... I tried, but alas, no luck. So imagine in your heads (again), "Well, we're movin' on up ... to the top ..."

It appears we have moved up a couple more spots on our agency list making us number 2 on the list for a referral. WHOO HOO!

I have been pondering, for a while, how to handle the issue of our referral, sharing information/photos, etc. Unfortunately, in the world of international adoption, much about the referral/matching and subsequent period of time until the adoption is complete has to be kept private. We are allowed, at our discretion, to share this information with family and close friends, but there are laws prohibiting sharing this information with, basically, "The World". To that end, I am setting up a password protected blog that will run concurrently with this blog. It will have the details for family and very close friends that we will not be allowed to share until the adoption is final. I'm sorry that it has to be that way, but it is just the way it is. I will continue to blog information that I am allowed to -- including when we get our referral, but I will not be able, on this blog, to reveal detailed information. After the adoption is complete, I will find some way to "merge" the two -- even if it means "copy/paste" from one into another so we will continue to have a log of journey so we can share all of it one day with Ellie.

Today when we told Joshua that we could possibly get our referral within the next two weeks, he said, "I'll be so happy; I'll finally be able to see my sister and give her a hug." Doesn't that make you want to MELT??? I asked him was he really serious and he said, "Yes!" I said, "Well, we'll only have a picture at first." He said, "I get it and I'm putting it in my room to look at." AWWWW!!!! I told him we'd make him a copy and he could take it and show it to his friends at school. He said, "Why?" Ok... well, um, because I thought you might want to. He said, "I'll show it to my teacher." I think he really is excited.

I was at a consignment store today and came across an embroidered sippy cup with the name ELLIE on it. How coincidental! I asked if I could buy it (it was a sample, of course) and they let me!!! Josh thinks it's too cool, but his favorite thing was a pair of shoes I found. He looked at them and said, "They are LITTLE." Then he measured them and said, "My finger is as long as her shoes." I told him that at one point his feet were that little. He was like, "No way!" I showed him the picture of him when he was about three months old -- that sits on our dresser -- and told him that this was him when he was small. It's just all amazing to him!

I spent some time on the phone tonight with another adoptive mother who is with the same agency as I am. She has adopted a daughter from China and is also still "in line" for China. We both were talking about the fact that we've gotten so good at waiting that we can't quite wrap our minds around not waiting anymore. It was great to talk to someone who understands the "loss of joy and excitement" that occurs in adoption when you wait a long time. Initially, you are SO excited about the adoption and can't imagine that it's not going to just happen very quickly because you decide to do it. Then you wait, and wait and wait some more. You experience one failure or set-back after another and your heart just becomes a bit jaded and hardened. It's a defense mechanism to more hurt, I think, to shut off the excitement. And then, when it's almost time, it seems like it's impossible to turn it back on again. It's probably something that someone who has not adopted can't quite comprehend. I've struggled with it a lot these past few months. I want to just be giddy with excitement that we are so close, but there is a strange detachment right now -- one that I really want to go away. I'm sure, once I see that photo, that it will become much more real! I'm just glad that God managed to connect my life with others who experience the same feelings so that I don't feel so "off" and "wrong". It's nice to have others to validate that what you are feeling is something they have felt as well.

And, so as not to end one some downer of a post, know that I am excited that we are near the end. I think our entire family is ready to meet this little girl of whom we have prayed for, cried over, sacrificed for, loved and laughed about for these past three years. We are ready to move on to developing what will be our "new normal" as a family of four. We are ready to experience the next phase God has to offer us as a family -- to welcome her home to her community, her family and her friends -- the ones who truly brought her home!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Back to the Land of the Living

Long time no post, eh? I am still living and started to feel better this weekend. Sunday afternoon I got out and took Joshua to his baseball practice along with cleaning on the house some. It was the first time I'd been out of the house in two weeks except to go to the doctor. Feeling "all about myself" I went all out today and worked in the field inspecting houses from 8:30-5:30, headed to the ballpark to test out a lens on my camera and now think I've obviously WAY overdone myself, have lost what little voice I had, have a horrific headache and am flat out ready to sleep for about 24 hours. UGH!!!! Why does getting my strength back take so long???

Oh well, no time for whining. Maybe tomorrow I'll stay home, enter the work I did in the field today and try to rest a little more. I'm such a wimp!

In the meantime, more adoption updates. We are officially "half way" through our referral window that I predicted (March 10 - May 5). Earlier, I was thinking we'd get an early referral. Now, I'm thinking we might be a bit outside the window. However, a referral within four or five months in the international adoption world is unheard of so we are still very happy. Our preference is to be able to travel right after school is out. However, Joshua just got the a part in the children's play at church and their production is June 1, so timing is just everything at this point.

We anticipate getting our I171H within the next four weeks which might just coincide with our referral. We have heard from one of the grants that we applied for that they will be reviewing our application this month. We also anticipate hearing from another source sometime in the next two weeks as their application indicated 4-6 weeks and it's been four. We continue to pray that God will use these vehicles to help us fund the rest of the adoption.

We were disappointed, again, this weekend that the ball tournament was cancelled due to rain. This is the second one that was cancelled. I know God has it under control and this weekend, I surely did not need to be working in a concession stand, and I would have had terrible guilt if others had been there working and I wasn't. I will say, however, that "The Girls" had it all planned out and were going to go buy the food and be there for the entire weekend. I can't imagine what my life would be like without them. I'm glad I don't have to.

We hope to be able to plan out a yard sale for the weekend of April 25-26. It might be that we have to plan it a little later as there is so much going on and with my energy not being what it needs to be, I'm not sure I can get this all together.

Today I received an email from our social worker with our China agency that it is time to renew our I171H there as well so I've begun filling out more paperwork for that. I'm about "paperworked" out.

So... I got my camera back from Canon and took it out to the park on Sunday to see if it was "good to go". I really ran pictures through it to see. Out of the 281 I took, only 104 weren't totally blurry. UGH!!! So my mom suggested using another lens to see if it was the lens. Today, I took the other lens and there were only a few that were blurry -- definitely user error on those. I suppose NOW I have to send the lens back to Sigma to see if they can fix it. If they can't I'm going to be really upset, because my other lens, while great for just regular photos, just can't compare to my Sigma telephoto lens. I would have liked to have had it for our first game this Thursday night, but I'm guessing that's out of the question now.

Here are a few photos of Joshua from the past two practices. By the way, look for a whole lot LESS hair on Joshua tomorrow. We've let him grow it out -- at his request -- but we just can't stand how "moppy-headed" he looks anymore. Since we have baseball photos tomorrow night and church directory photos on Friday, it is TIME to have his little head sheared down some.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Steroids - American Idol Update

I went back to the doctor today. I'm going broke in co-pays. My ear was stopped up; I have laryngitis and I'm still coughing pretty seriously. So, the doctor says it's time to break out the steroids. He says my body's immune system has revved up into high gear and is fighting everything, which is what it's supposed to do; however, I've got a lot of things inflammed now. The prednisone should take down the swelling and allow me to heal more quickly. I took dose one this afternoon and my ears have been pop-pop-popping all afternoon. I feel like Snap, Crackle and Pop are having a reunion in my ear drums. I'm hoping this means tomorrow when I wake up, they will be clear and I can hear. I also hope I'll be able to talk again. Did you realize you cannot order at the drive-through with laryngitis? I tried to get a drink at the Sonic. It took a LONG time for them to understand me. I finally got my tea though -- yay!

I'm certain I am on the "uphill swing" now as opposed to the downhill slide. Hugs to my friend Terri who is also battling the funk at her house.

I had several people comment on my AMERICAN IDOL post yesterday (it's about time Heather came out of the woodwork!!). I was about 66% right with my predictions. Brooke White was a shocker for me. I know she's not going to win, but I was surprised, at this point she was already in the bottom three.

I was not surprised to see Ramiele go home. She just never found her niche. She also was a bit immature, it seemed. Interestingly enough, she was born in Saudia Arabia where her parents worked. She is Filipino-American. She is a nursing student in Florida and sites Sushi Bar Waitress as one of her occupations. For those interested, her official website is here.

I liked Dolly's comment about Simon when she said something like, "Someone has to tell them the truth." AMEN. Randy tries to be politically correct. Paula tries to be motherly and nice. Simon, for all his faults, is not afraid to bring on the tough love and tell them when they really stink. He was right on target, as far as I was concerned about Carly's wardrobe. Good grief, someone tell the girl that those tight pants with boots went out in the 90s! Granted, I'm in NO position to be the fashion police, but I'm not young, cute and strutting it around on stage for millions of viewers. Don't they have a wardrobe department??

Speaking of Dolly, I'm sure she's had more nipped and tucked and fluffed and stuff in her life than one woman ought to, but darn, doesn't she look good for her age? I don't know what her age is. Why yes, good ole Wikipedia states that as of January 19, 2008, she was 62. WOW!! Her outfit was a bit over the top for me, but I'm betting my mom would have liked it what that "slingy" thing in the back.

So, I'm reality show free until next week. I really wish they had not had Big Brother and American Idol overlapping so often. Poor me, right? I should be doing something more constructive with my time anyway -- like getting ready for Ellie!

Along those lines, today I saw closet online that I liked so I "clipped" the photo to save to see if we can rebuild the closet we have to be more function for Ellie's stuff. Here's the closet I saw. It just looks very organized. I'd like that in a closet. It did not, however, seem to have enough room to hang clothes. My girl seems to have a nice collection going. I have stopped, however.

Best news of all today is that Fed-Ex attempted to deliver my camera back to me. They need an "in person" signature and I was gone to the doc. Tomorrow, for sure I'll be home -- on the couch -- and will be able to sign for it and try it out to see if they fixed it back up. I'm very excited as our first baseball game is April 6 and I want to be ready. Plus, there is a tailless squirrel in my yard that had better watch out when I get my good camera back.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

American Idol

So the highlight of my day is probably going to be seeing who gets voted off tonight on American Idol. Have I ever mentioned that I'm a reality show junkie? I had to cut back. I told this to someone at the ballpark and they cracked up laughing. I was serious. I was watching Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, The Bachelor (at one time) and American Idol. The reason I had to cut back was I couldn't record them all since they were on at the same time. So, this season, I'm just watching AI so I have to get my entire reality show fix out of one show -- it's a lot of pressure for those folks over at Fox, I know. Fortunately, I think this year's contestants have all shown a lot of talent and I can't imagine the next few weeks.

I will say that I'm terribly surprised that Kristy Lee Cook (Kevin says she's a true Southerner because she has two first names, but in reality she is from Oregon) is still there. She must have a huge fan base because as far as I'm concerned, she just can't sing too well. She's cute though and has a good complexion. Of course, this isn't a beauty pageant.

I'm also a little surprised that Ramiele Malubay is still around -- she just can't seem to pick the right song. She's cute, too though, so maybe that's it. And, as Paula says, "She's got great pipes." She CAN sing, but just hasn't seem to find herself yet.

Now, one of my favorites was Amanda Overmyer. She was different. Man, I wanted to get to that hair and make it all one color or one color with some highlights -- whew, didn't she look like a skunk? I think she had a beautiful face but her hair was always distracting me. I think the thing that got her was that she got a bit overconfident. Her sound was pretty much always the same. But I liked her -- a lot! And I'm not a rock fan, overall. I hate that she didn't make the tour -- especially over Kristy Lee.

Another of my favs who will definitely not win is Brooke White. She seems so wholesome and real -- the kind of person you'd be friends with. And I love her folksy, piano/guitar style. She seems so talented. The night she did, "Let It Be" I was so moved -- it was beautiful. But then, the next week she flits out looking a bit like a flower in this yellow flouncy *ugly* dress and sang, "Here Comes the Sun" -- huh?

My two male favs are Buckhead, Georgia's Michael Johns (he already has a great sounding stage name, doesn't he?) and Blue Springs, Missouri's David Cook. I think two of the performances I will remember from this year are when Johns performed We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions -- it rocked! -- and when Cook performed Michael Jackson's former hit Billie Jean to his own remix. Incredible!!

Unfortunatey, I just can't "click" with Carly Smithson. I think it's the tattoo running down her arm. I get so engrossed trying to figure it all out that I lose track. I will say, however, that I loved her rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart a former Bonnie Tyler song. I gave her far more kudos on that one than the judges did.

I liked Chickeze too; he had personality and his mom was fun to watch when the judges were commenting. :-)

I'm just "ok" with Jason Castro (whom the tweens seem to love), Syesha Mercado, and David Archuleta. I think David Archuleta will have a great future in music if he chooses, but he just doesn't do anything spectacular for me, personally.

So, my guess for tonight as to is in the bottom three: Kristy Lee (she always is), Syesha and Ramiele. I think Kristy Lee will be safe (again, but why??) and one of the other two will leave. We'll see how close I get in a few hours.