Sunday, August 31, 2008


40 days.

Interesting "40" factoids:

  • Number of days it rained during The Flood; Noah waited another 40 days before he opened the window

  • Number of days Moses was on the mountain with God; his face shone for 40 days after his time on the mountain

  • Spies to Canaan took 40 days to search out the promised land and bring back fruit

  • The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years

  • According to the book of 1 Kings, the prophet Elijah fasted for 40 days and 40 nights during his journey to the mountain of God

  • According to the Gospels, Jesus fasted and was "there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan... "

  • Jesus was seen on the earth 40 days after his crucifixion

  • Number of days in Lent

  • My age

A last minute addition as pointed out by my friend, Jeanne, 40 weeks is the term of a pregnancy. Forty weeks back is January which is when we began our paperwork for Ellie. Thanks, Jeanne!!

I find the significance of 40 days in the Bible to be a period of time when God made major transformations and changes. Hopefully, after our 40 days we will experience the fulfillment of His promise to our family to provide us with our daughter. What a major transformation and change we will have!!

Happy Birthday Aidai

Today is sweet little Aidai's 4th birthday. Happy birthday, Aidai!! I know her parents, Elizabeth and Bill, wanted to be back to pick her up before her birthday so I'm sure this day will be hard, but we are so very close to our return. I'm sure we can celebrate while we are in country!!

So.... I hope you have a great day, Aidai, Elizabeth and Bill!! I can't wait until she is HOME forever. We are close now!!


At lunch today we were talking about it being Aidai's birthday and we thought we should be supportive of our travel mates and have cake in Aidai's honor (ok, yes, we wanted cake!!) so we decided to go to Walmart and get a cake and have a party for Aidai. Josh picked out a cheesecake and when we got home, we put candles in it, blew them out, made wishes that Aidai would be home very soon, said a prayer for her and all the other children in orphanages waiting for their families, and ATE CAKE!!!

Here's photos of the event along with a photo of the first time I saw Aidai with her mommy and daddy in Tokmok. Doesn't she look happy?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Donut Sale

Josh's football team offered to help us out with our adoption expenses by setting up a donut sale for today. We met at an intersection close to where we live and sold Krispy Kreme donuts from 7:00 - 10:30 a.m. We ordered 200 dozen donuts and were able to sell all but 10 boxes. We could have probably sold the last ten boxes but we were hot and tired and had to get ready for Josh's football game so we just quite. We've decided to take those ten boxes to Sunday school classes tomorrow. I might save a box to take to my Grandmother -- she'd like them, I think.

Our thanks to Mike, Maggie, Carla, Angel, Kaleb and Christian who helped us sell donuts and to all the folks who purchased them.

We are now another step closer to getting The Princess home.

Football Season Officially Starts

Today was the Joelton Vikings' first season game against the Greenbrier Bobcats. There is a fierce rivalry there because last year this was one of the two teams that beat us. Greenbrier is known for having a great football program. Imagine all our surprise and appreciation for our boys' hard work when they won 22-0. IMPRESSIVE work!! It was a very hot day and the boys played really hard despite the heat. Here are a few photos of Josh (#74) during this game.

Interestingly enough, I don't normally see Josh knocked down during a game. He is a solid boy who does a great job at his position. So, when I saw this, I had to ask him about it. I said, "I saw some boy knock you down." He said, "Yes, he was about 12 stories high!" This boy was very tall and must be really strong.


This number is in honor of my little baseball playing guy, Josh. Yesterday he sang happy birthday to Ellie:

Happy Birthday to you

You live in a zoo

You look like a monkey

And you smell like one too.

Ahhh.... boys.

41 days . . .

Friday, August 29, 2008


Today is a special day for some of my Kyrgyz adoptive family friends who should have passed their 30-day wait after court today. Congratulations my friends -- you have daughters!!!

Happy 5 Month Birthday Princess Ellie

I thought I would be back to get her before she turned five months old. And then, I was certain it would happen before six months. It seems, however, that she will have turned six months old before I am allowed to go back for her.
In International Adoption circles, however, getting a baby home that is only six months old is the exception and is really extraordinary. For that blessing I am grateful. I just didn't want to miss any of the special times in her first months. We will make up for it, I'm sure.
We will be singing for her today and I've eaten enough Little Debbie cakes over the past few days to count as her birthday cake so she's covered there. (Remind me not to buy those again!!)
Happy 5 Month Birthday, Princess Ellie! We'll be there soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is it Just Me?

You know, I suppose I must look at the world in a way that 99.99% of the world doesn't, because things that seem just flat out common sense or even just good business practice to me just somehow doesn't to others.

I have learned my lesson about mentioning company names on my blog, so I will not tell you who my insurance carrier is. I will tell you that they have been my auto insurance carrier since I was 16 years old (24 years now -- yes, do the math, I'm 40) and that we (hubby and I) have three vehicles covered and our house with this same insurance carrier.

Back in June while I was out working I backed over someone's brick mailbox. It leveled the thing (unbelievable, really) and did damage to my bumper. I called while there and filed the claim so that the other person could get their mailbox fixed. I did not however, move forward right away with getting my car fixed until just recently.

So, I call them and they send a guy out to do a claim on the damage and he does his thing and comes to the door and tells me that while he was out there he had to do a PRIOR DAMAGE report on the bumper because of some prior damage to it. I told him that yes, there was a small area of paint missing on the other side of the bumper. Likely I scraped it on something (I'm a horrible backer, apparently). He said that claims would have to make a decision on what to do about that. Huh? I said ok and he said they would call me. This was on a Friday morning. By yesterday when I had not heard from them, I called them. I was "on his list" to call that day (right).

He proceeds to tell me that they will be deducting $329 from my estimate due to the PRIOR DAMAGE to the bumper. What??? I asked him to please explain to me why he would be deducting money from the estimate when he was going to have to replace the bumper no matter what condition it was in. We went over and over and over this. He got very snitty with me and I finally told him that I was not going to talk to him any more about this that he would need to deal with my husband about it. I got his number and hung up.

I called my agent who called me back today and gave me the same story about how they were replacing a bumper that was not worth the full value when it was damaged. Well, it will still cost me the full price when I replace it, won't it? He said, "Well, you wouldn't expect to pay full price for a refrigerator that had a dent would you?" I told him that No, I certainly wouldn't, but that I wouldn't have paid 24 years of premiums on that refrigerator either and that the reason I allowed them to debit my account each month was in case something like this happened they would pay for it. I told him he was comparing apples and oranges. I also told him I didn't call and complain when my rates went up, I paid it and that I expected them to pay for my damage if I had an accident and that my bumper is damaged and I would like to have it replaced.

Can ANYONE make me understand why a bumper that HAS to be replaced is worth $300 less because there is a 1/2" paint scratch on the other side of it????? So, this has now been turned over to Kevin because I'm just not in a happy place to deal with it.

Paperwork? What Paperwork?

A blog reader asked what paperwork was required for our return trip. I actually did start working on that process this afternoon.

We have to fill out paperwork for Kyrgyzstan visas, Kazakhstan visas, I600 forms to give to the Embassy, collect copies of last three years tax returns, copies of our homestudy and employment letters and our original I171H. Additionally, since Kevin travelled on Trip 1 but not for Trip 2, we have to have three Power of Attorney forms filled out, notarized and authenticated (yay, I thought all that was done -- apparently not), copies of photos of him with Ellie and copies of his passport.

There are also several documents to be read about what the process is for trip two, fees, etc. so I've been trying to read up on those things as well.

I sort of feel like I'm gathering a dossier all over again.


Hotel confirmed.
Airline tickets on hold until 30 day wait is up (September 11).
Paperwork - not even started
Packing - beginning to put things in a pile, need to begin washing Ellie's clothes
Progress is being made.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Dear God,
Please watch out for our baby. You were the Creator of her and know her destiny. You have placed her in our hearts and into our family -- even when we thought she might not be the child you had chosen for us.
You have given us everything we have asked of you in her. She is a beautiful, petite little girl. She has the most beautiful brown wavy hair and delicate lips. Her long fingers and tiny legs are intricately made by you. Her birthmother must have been a delicate beauty as well. Lord, thank you for her birthmother. Comfort her in the way only you can.
Lord, keep Ellie safe and healthy until we return. Move the hearts of her caregivers to pick her up and love her every day, to carry her outside to hear the birds and feel the wind and sun. Let her body absorb the nutrients she needs to continue to grow. Help her to understand in her heart that we are coming back for her, that we think of and pray for her every day, that we are preparing her room for her, buying the things she needs and preparing to have any medical care she needs when she comes home. Let her heart know we love her -- prepare her heart for us to help it be a stress-free transition for her.
Love her for us while we are not there.
To You be all the glory.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Measurements

Today we were fortunate to get new measurements and to see that Ellie is growing. She has gained weight and has gone from 9 pounds last month to 10.5 pounds this month. There was no increase in her height so she's still a mere 21 1/2" long. She's a petite little princess. I suspect, based on the last two sets of measurements that she will be right at 12 pounds when I pick her up. Friday she will turn five months old.


45 days - basically, a month and a half, right? Holy smokes, I've got to get busy .... I'm off to do something!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

2 Timothy 1:3-4

Resolving to relive parts of our adoption process through the last year to see the "ah-ha" moments in it, I started reading back through my blog from January 2008. I only got through January (gosh, I write a lot of stuff -- why are you people reading all this stuff??) and found four Bible verses that MOVED me -- again. They were messages directly from God, that reveal His purpose and plan in our adoption and apply even now. I want to share them again.

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.

Ecclesiastes 3:12
So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy
and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

Psalm 113:9
He gives the childless woman a family,
making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!
But this verse struck me to the core...

2 Timothy 1:3-4
Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted.
And I will be filled with joy when we are together again
God breathed inspiration into Timothy to pen these words and yet, here I am thousands of years later and am stilled by their accuracy to convey what my heart and soul feel.
I can't wait to continue to read through the months and be reminded of His plan, His glory and His actions through the past year and reminded that this wait is for His reasons and His purpose as well.

46 Days -- My Friends are now in the 30s

Today marks 46 days until I leave to go get The Princess, Ellie-belly. My friends, who will travel a week prior to me, are now in the 30s. I'm very excited for them for passing this milestone as well. It's going to be a good week.

20 Months LID - China

See how good I'm getting at waiting? *smile* While we continue to wait to bring our Ellie home from Kyrgyzstan, our dossier remains logged in somewhere in stacks of dossiers in China.

The question is ever present in the back of our minds as to whether we will continue with that adoption once we have Ellie home. Our answer to that seems to change like the wind, but we have agreed that it is not something we can begin to decide until Ellie comes home and we settle into whatever is to become our "new normal".

I know that God will decide for us -- already knows, as a matter of fact, so we continue to wait to hear from Him as to how he wants us to proceed on this path.

Nonetheless, twenty months ago, on Christmas Day 2006, somewhere in China, our dossier was logged into a list of names of people who want to adopt. It will be interesting to see if the end of the Olympic games brings on a speed up in the process - or not.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Infant Car Seat - Check

Another big ticket item can be checked off the list as we now have an infant car seat. We have the Graco Snugride in the Kasey pattern. It is good for infants up to 30 pounds. Josh put it together tonight along with the stroller (with a small amount of help from his daddy). He loves to put things together so that was a big help. They are now covered back up in plastic and sitting in the office waiting to be used.
We've had several folks ask us what we still need. The honest to goodness truth is, nothing really. We have been blessed to have had three years to gather the things we might need, and, along with the generosity of so many, we have pretty much everything a little one could need. There are a few things left to get, but they are minor and include: diaper pail, trash can for the room, curtain (my mom has already given me the money to order that, I just haven't yet), developmental toys, a high chair, a jumpy or exersaucer for her to play in (I'm thinking I'll check a consignment sale for this) and formula.
My friend, A., who's also adopting, reminded me tonight that I need to start freezing some meals for when I return. I might take a day to cook up some things -- anyone have any great ideas on meals that freeze well?
We've been working on getting things ready around the house as well. We've stored things in the attic, begun sorting all the things in the office that needed putting away. We're now down to just needing a bookcase for all the books and putting in some type of door in the hall and the office will be complete. With a LOT of effort on Kevin's part ALL our clothes are clean (for once) and put away. It should last until in the morning at least. Each day we try to get a few more things done. We're getting there.
Ellie-belly, we are SO ready for you to come home.

How Hard is it to Order a New Remote?

We have satellite television at our house. I'm not going to mention the provider because mentioning company names on my blog always gets me in trouble (anyone remember the $175 sippy cup?? -- need I say more?).

We've had this same provider for about 8 or 9 years now. I suspect the remote control we've had is about that old as well. It has been dropped so many times we couldn't keep up with the number. The back is missing and the numbers and words are worn off of it.

So, when we replaced the batteries this time and it still wouldn't work, I knew it was time to order a new one. I went online to Satellite Company's website and searched the FAQs until I found where I could just do this via Live Chat. WOW!! I wouldn't have to call them, press 400 buttons and still be on hold for 40 minutes before I got to talk to the wrong person and have to be transferred. It is my lucky night. HA! I copied the transcript of this conversation because it was just humorous to me. You can tell the parts where I'm feeling a little "snitty". I mean, please.

Please wait while we find a representative to assist you...
You have been connected to (24DrDcb) Will S.
(24DrDcb) Will S: Thank you for choosing SATELLITE COMPANY NAME, the leader in DVR and HD. How may I assist you?
Maria: I need to order a new remote. Ours does not work, despite replacing batteries. No lights come on at all. [Notice I have clearly stated the problem.]
(24DrDcb) Will S: I’m very sorry to hear that you are having an issue. I’d be happy to assist you with that. Please give me 2-3 minutes to look into this for you. [Don't you LOVE how sappy sweet and polite CSRs are -- you know they are going, "Great, another problem!"]
Maria: Ok
(24DrDcb) Will S: Thank you. [See, all nice again.]
(24DrDcb) Will S: Are the batteries inserted properly? [UH... yes]
Maria: Yes
(24DrDcb) Will S: Thank you. [Ok, enough nice, let's just get this done.]
(24DrDcb) Will S: They should be inserted with the flat side of the battery first.
(24DrDcb) Will S: Are all four batteries this way? [ I KNOW how to put batteries in a remote control. I understand they have to ask because there ARE morons who don't know. But, when I said they were inserted properly, he continued to give me a lesson on what that looked like. Yes, I know, he's doing his job. I tried to be patient.]
Maria: Yes, they are inserted correctly. I know you have to go through your list, but the remote just doesn't work. We've had it for years and years. The buttons have no words on most of them. Nothing lights up. It's just broken.
(24DrDcb) Will S: Thank you. [This must be programmed into their computers. You know "Ctrl+T = Thank you."]
(24DrDcb) Will S: In this case, a replacement remote is needed. [Um, yes, that's what I said in the first sentence -- what happened to the customer is always right?)]
(24DrDcb) Will S: Your warranty covers the full cost of the replacement. [Actually, it's that maintenance fee you all tack onto my bill every month that covers it, but I didn't point that out.]
(24DrDcb) Will S: What is the UPS shipping address you would like the package shipped to? Maria: [I provide my address here]. Thank you so much for taking care of this.
(24DrDcb) Will S: You are very welcome. [Oooh, a new nice statement - Ctrl+W = "You are very welcome."]
Maria: When should we expect to receive it?
(24DrDcb) Will S: When you receive your remote, you will notice there are no return shipping labels. We do not ask that you return the defective remote to us. We are shipping your equipment by UPS BLUE 2ND DAY and you should receive it in 3-5 days. [ok, note he says I do NOT have to return the remote]
Maria [written before I got the above response]: And should we return the defective remote -- will there be a return authorization?
(24DrDcb) Will S: Yes. [So, now we SHOULD return it and there will be an authorization - huh?]
Maria: Ok, you said there would not be labels and we should not return it, but then you said I should return it -- which one? [yes, I'm sorry, I'm feeling snitty at this point]
(24DrDcb) Will S: There will be a return authorization but you do not need to return anything. [why is there a return authorization if I don't need to return anything?? Doesn't this seem wasteful and a lot of work?]
(24DrDcb) Will S: Sorry for the confusion. [I'm still confused. Ctrl+S = "I'm sorry"]
Maria: That's ok -- thank you.
(24DrDcb) Will S: You're very welcome. [Ctrl+W again]
(24DrDcb) Will S: Is there anything else I can assist you with?
Maria: No, that will do it -- thanks!

So, I have a new remote control on the way -- which is really all I wanted. My mother would say I'm just too uptight. I think she might be right. Next time I'll let Joshua handle it. *smile*

47 More Days

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I have been chastised for not posting much in the last few days, so here's a long one to make up for not posting sooner.

Today "officially" started the 2008 Joelton Vikings football season with a jamboree against the Springfield Yellowjackets. I think both teams were afraid to truly "show their stuff" in an exhibition game for fear of the competition stealing their plays to study for the next week as both teams walked away with no score, tying at 0-0. It was a short 40 minute game so had it been a real game, someone would have probably scored.

Here are some photos of Josh (#74) in action. In the first one, he is opposite #54 so you can't truly tell it's him (unless you are his mom!!!)

Someone said to me today at the park, "What's wrong with you? You aren't your normally bubbly self." I told her I supposed I was just tired. I went to take some photos of our Children's Minister's renewal of his and his wife's wedding vows. It was their 25th anniversary. I came home and looked at all the photos and thought, "Hmmmm... I was off today." As the night has continued to progress, I have begun to run a fever, my body hurts, my tummy feels a bit rumbly and I have a general funky feeling. I'm not sure if I'm coming down with a virus or what.

Last night, Kevin's company bought tickets for people to go to the Sounds game -- our minor league baseball team. The company provided food and a special area to sit up on a deck overlooking the field or in seats behind first base. We managed to get a few extra tickets and took Josh's friends (well, they are our friends too) Braiden and Kirstin with us. We all had a good time. It was really nice to get out of the house and do something regular and to not think about adoption for a while. That's what I'm very much looking forward to when I get home (that, and no more fundraising *smile* -- and especially to having our little Ellie home!!). Here are a couple of photos from last night. We all had a good time even though the Sounds lost.

We also signed Josh up for basketball today. Apparently, basketball practice starts the Tuesday after Labor Day and is on Tuesday and Friday night. Since we are already practicing football on Monday and Thursday night, I can see this being a bit much. It will make our days pass quickly until time to return for Ellie. Josh liked basketball a whole lot last year and the exercise value is worth it for us. Fortunately, he'll be playing at a school that is about 5 minutes away so it won't involve a lot of gas or driving time.

On another note, there are many families (I've heard between 40-60) that are caught up in a situation in Kyrgyzstan related to the adoption of their children. Most have already visited their children for Trip 1 and my understanding is that some visited as long ago as January of this year. Because of so many problems with the court system in Bishkek (we were in Tokmok's court system), with the judge originally not hearing cases for some reason, a new committee being established, a new Minister of Education coming on board, etc. etc., the delays continue. So many families are waiting to go through court so they can bring their babies home. I cannot begin to imagine how hard this must be for those families and would not insult them to indicate that I did. So, in the effort of trying to bring about some miraculous change, this Sunday night at 8 p.m. CST, there will be a candle lighting/prayer vigil for these families with the specific requests that these prayers will open the minds and hearts of the officials to move the process along so the children can come home. Please join in for a few minutes tomorrow night and pray not only for those officials but those families who have gone there, held their children, left them (thinking it would be 6 weeks before they returned) only to be waiting for month after month with no definite answer as to when they can return. Pray for their continued strength and faith. Pray for those babies in orphanages waiting for their families to return for them. Pray for their health and for their caregivers.

And, last, the answer to the question asked of me, "Where do you get those cool numbers marking the numbers of days you have left until you travel?" I google the words "Number X" where "X" is the number of days left. Then, after I get results, I click "Images" and get the most lovely array of choices. I was going to do a countdown calendar, but I decided I liked the numbers better. And, to that end, here is another number for today -- 48 days.

Oh, and a "brag on your husband moment". I was entering work (with a short break to blog before I hit the bed) and my sweet hubby is cleaning bathrooms, washing clothes, vaccuuming and generally cleaning the entire upstairs for me. He IS such a good man.

48 Days

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kyrgyzstan Links

I have found a couple of sites that are worthy of checking out if you are a family or individual who has an interest in Kyrgyzstan.

This blog is of an American girl currently living in Bishkek teaching at The London School. She has quite a few good links on her site. She also loves cats, so she must be great.

Jane's Daily Blah

This is a photo site by a person named Austin. I'm not certain that all the photos are from Kyrgyzstan, but I think they are. Regardless, the photos are fantastic. I think some of the photos are likely from Ellie's birth town as he indicated he has travelled there.

austincharron's photostream

This blog has FANTASTIC photos including some of football in Kyrgyzstan and Santa Claus. The fashion photos are pretty cool as well.

Just About Kyrgyzstan
Same author's Russian blog (can't read it but the photos are awesome)
Russian Version (be sure to click on Previous Posts and go backward through her site for some incredible photos)

This one is kind of a news blog for Kyrgyzstan:

More as I find them.

Can A Photo Break Your Heart?

I got new photos today (as noted in the post entitled "50"). I've had trouble looking at them. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE that I have photos of her. I know that when she is older, they will be important to her. I know that 60 days or from now when I am back home with her and our family is together, those photos won't bother me as much as they do right now, but today, they do.

I can't share them here, but my daughter is lying in a crib -- looking up. Her clothes, while clean, are old, too big and don't match. And, what I believe bothers me most are her eyes. Not that anything is wrong, it's just haunting to me. She isn't smiling; she is ... existing, breathing, eating, sleeping -- existing.

I look at them and ache to reach through the screen to pick her up. I can physically feel her in my arms. I'm going to be honest -- this is really, really hard. I can talk, jokingly, to others about how she'll never be a contestant on What Not to Wear when she gets home. I can joke that she'll never be put down and be spoiled, but inside, my heart is hurting from the longing to get on a plane and go get her from there. I try to not think about the hours she lies there waiting for someone to look in on her, feed her, give her any attention at all, but I can't help it -- I do think about it, frequently. And while I'm trying to do all the things I can to pass the time and to make sure I'm the most ready I can be for her, all of it is just futile and worthless because in all honesty, everything in the world being ready DOES NOT MATTER -- she is ready. She needs her family; she needs to come home -- just like countless others who are waiting.

Update: As I read back over this post, I was struck that this must be how God feels when He looks down on lost souls -- how their eyes must haunt Him, how they are just existing and how His heart aches to get them out of their lost condition. I imagine the great life we want to give Ellie -- if we could just get her home. God has great things planned for the lost as well -- a better life, an eternity with Him. The reality is that all the worldly things in the world don't matter if we don't get to come home in the end. WOW! Thank you, God, for the reminder.


Fifty days. Tomorrow we'll be in the "forties". Small movements toward her.

Thanks to Holly, I got new photos of The Princess today. It is always a joyful day to open your computer and find photos of your little one's face. It is also, often, bittersweet. She was lying there in her crib, staring up at Holly -- no smiles, just there. Her clothes are older, too big and didn't match. I fully understand why this is, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. The irony of her closet being so full of clothes waiting for her is not lost on me. Oh that I could bring home an extra one while I was there. *smile* But for lack of a completed passport, she will continue to lie there for almost two more months before I can get her out of the crib and hold her and tell her how much I love her and have missed her and how her family will never, ever leave her alone again. As Holly so aptly wrote in her blog, she is no longer an orphan. She is our daughter -- forever.

Jennifer's passport came today. Now, we can apply for our Kazakhstan visas. Another hurdle jumped.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Fifty-one days until I get on a plane headed east to my baby girl.

While it seems like a long time, there are so many things rushing through my head that I want and need to get done before she comes home, I can't think straight. I'm trying to just accomplish as much as I can each day, but it's all so overwhelming, I end up feeling like I've accomplished nothing.

Today, I finished painting her small dresser. It was grandmother's in her last apartment. I also finished painting her baby doll cradle. I spent two hours in her room going through the piles of stuff and trying to organize. Everything this is too big or too small for her is now in either a storage box or a bag designated for the orphanage (too small items). All items are sorted by categories into a separate drawer: socks, shoes, hair bows/headbands, diapers, books, bibs (how did I end up with over 20 bibs??), toys, sleepers, blankets. We have not painted her closet and installed the closet system yet. That is "still to come". I did install the plug covers tonight as well. There are still some boxes to move out of her room. I need to order her curtain and hang it and finally finish the stencil I started ages ago. We still have the things to hang on the wall.
And, that's just her room. How can a baby so small take up so much space? This week we will enter the "forties" of our wait. Time is passing -- surprisingly more quickly than I thought. I hope we will be ready.

Stroller - Compliments of the Parents

At my shower, my mom said she was going to buy the stroller we had picked out. I told her to wait because I had a coupon for 20% off at Babies R Us but that it wasn't good until August 15. So, today, we went out there and she got it for us.

I am very excited to get it. I can't wait to take Ellie to the zoo, the mall and walk her around the neighborhood. I hope she likes it!

My mother pointed out, however, that both strollers and carseats have hard bottoms. She's thinking she might make a pad out of memory foam to put under the seat on the stroller. I think Ellie would like that.

Here is a stock photo of the stroller as I don't plan on taking it out of the box just yet. It's a Chicco Cortino.

I have another 20% off coupon that is good for next week so I think we're going to try to get the infant car seat then. 20% off really helps.

Still a Little Boy at Heart

Yesterday when we came home, Josh said he wanted to go out back and drive his remote control boat in the pool. He had used the money he made working at the yard sale to buy this boat. I told him that was fine because I was cleaning the house.

I went to look out the back door to check on him and found this:

I haven't seen him play trucks in ages. It was so sweet that I rushed around to find the camera and snap some photos through the door before he saw me. I didn't even have the heart to get mad that he pour sand all over the deck right beside the pool.

I remember when he was little and he played trucks all the time. He and Braiden were always construction workers and were always building something. He used to call a bulldozer a "bullsofer" pronounced bull-so-fer. It was so sweet.

So this was a fun reminder of all the fun we have had watching him grow up -- and he's still not there yet.

Random Photos

I have been doing a poor job of adding my photos to my posts as of late, so I'm doing them all in a batch post so I can be caught up on those.
Emily and Braiden at the petting zoo on the day we went to the zoo

Kat and Charlie at the zoo with us
Funny sign I saw at a house I inspected this week

Shower gift from my friend Michelle.

Gifts from Ms. Kay (Josh's former Sunday school teacher) and Ms. Jill. They kindly gave us a gift card and these were my purchases with that.

Group gift from my friends who had the shower for me at church. I JUST hooked up the monitor and it will hear you drop a hair on carpet it's so good!!

These goodies were from our friend, Tracey. She gave us a gift card and these goodies were the result of that. She also gave us a cuddly baby toy and a photo album as well.

Gifts from my friend (and soon-to-be traveling partner) Jennifer. Check out the feet on the giraffe outfit -- they are little giraffe heads. Jennifer was also concerned that The Princess did not have socks. She is now covered along with some sleeping gowns.

This was also from Jennifer. The blanket is so incredibly soft. You can't tell from the photo but the outfit says "Little Princess" and has a picture of a frog with a wand.

So, now I'm caught up -- for now -- with the photos I have.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It is Quiet

My house is quiet. The animals are asleep and Josh is outside playing with his remote control boat and his trucks (more on that later).

As I fold clothes and pick up the house (much needed, I'll tell you!!), I realize the house is silent. I think about what it will be like in 52 days + 12. Fifty-two days until I get on a plane and twelve days until I return.

I wonder how our lives will change? Of course, I'm not crazy enough to not think things will be upside down and backwards for a while, but over the past few days as I do things I stop and think, "When Ellie is here, how will this work?" Simple things like running into the store in the mornings to get a cup of coffee will become a bit more challenging. I suppose coffee will be made at home (as it should be now). Things like waiting in the car rider line -- what if she screams the entire time? Things like grocery shopping with a baby who has a dirty diaper.

So... as my time draws closer, I'm trying to enjoy the things that won't be the same again. I plan to go see a movie with my friend; read a book; make hair bows; paint her closet; clean out a closet or two; paint my toenails; maybe, even scrapbook or make a few Christmas presents (yeah, right -- mark that one off). However, I know the time, although it seems slow, will go quickly until there isn't as much "quiet". I can't wait.
Psalm 107:30
Then are they glad because they be quiet;
so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Isaiah 14:7
The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet:
they break forth into singing.
1 Timothy 2:2
For kings, and for all that are in authority;
that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let's Have Some Fun ...

Found this on another blog and wanted to test it.

Using my name ...
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There are 1,269,921 people in the U.S. with the first name Maria.
Statistically the 23rd most popular first name.
99.4 percent of people with the first name Maria are female. (This makes you wonder, doesn't it???)

For Kevin:
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There are 1,025,999 people in the U.S. with the first name Kevin.
Statistically the 34th most popular first name.
99.7 percent of people with the first name Kevin are male. (Again, hmmmm....???)

For Josh:
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There are 664,689 people in the U.S. with the first name Joshua.
Statistically the 72nd most popular first name.
99.77 percent of people with the first name Joshua are male. (Are these numbers just statistical abnormalities?)

And last, but certainly not least (oh wait, she is the least, or smallest, of us), The Princess:
LogoThere is
person with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?


There are 9,147 people in the U.S. with the first name Ellie.
Statistically the 1951st most popular first name.
More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Ellie are female.

"We Get Mail"

You know in magazines how they have a column where readers write in and tell them things? Well, I wanted to share this beautiful email I got today that really touched my heart. For privacy, I won't share who sent it to me, but they will know and will know how much this meant to me. One day I'll be able to share it with Ellie.

Oh, also, I want you to know, I had read that your court date was set for Aug. 8, I believe? Well, when we were on the beach, on the 8th, I explained that someone else I "knew" through the yahoo list, who was adopting from Kyrgyzstan, was having her court date that day, for a little baby girl named Ellie. I reminded the kids of how excited we were when we heard that our court date had happened and that we were approved, and that we should think good thoughts for you guys and baby Ellie. Well, my oldest daughter (11 years old and adopted from Russia in 1997), immediately said we should pray, right then and there on the beach, for God to guide the thoughts of the judge, and for him to approve you for baby Ellie. I agreed, and so we did. It just made me so proud of them. You know how you try and try to instill the right values in your children, and hope and pray that you are doing a good job as a mother? Then, when they do something like that, you just feel so good, that maybe you're doing something right, after all. Anyway, I wanted you to know that, even though things can seem very depressing and lonely with this adoption stuff, that there were 5 little kids praying for you on the beach, big time!

Can you imagine children being so sweet in spirit to stop their beach time and actually pray for someone they didn't know at all? Is that beautiful? I think it is. It gives me faith that all in the world is not bad -- the light of Jesus does still shine brightly in the next generation. Thank you for thinking for us and for praying for us.

Where Does Hair Come From?

Visualize if you can:

Josh is at the kitchen table, working on homework. I'm at the couch, entering work (well, supposed to be, but now blogging). Josh casually says, "Where does hair come from?"

Ahem. Do I know? "Cells in your body die and it grows hair."

"Oh, what if the cells die?"


"Well, what if the cells where the hair comes from dies?" Oh.

Then you are bald.

"Is that why some babies are bald?"

Uh. No. I don't know.

Where do these questions COME from.

By the way, we got a new photo of Ellie today from our friend Holly who is in Kyrg visiting her son. We were so blessed by that photo. It came at a time we desperately needed to see her. I took it when I went to pick up Josh from school. He laughed out loud and said, "Well, she's sure wearing some ugly clothes." That was it. It is more than I expected from him at this point.

She is growing and looks well. It appears she has been moved from the tiny baby room to the bigger babies room. I am happy that she is growing and yet sad that I'm missing it.

53 days until I step on a plane.

Where does hair come from?


This post I got today from Purpose Driven Life sums up my attitude on life. I want to be authentic. I try to be authentic. Sometimes I'm told I share too much, but the reason I share is usually to help, to be authentic. I hope you all enjoy this devotional as much as I did. And, it's not all about being authentic only in church.

Authentic Friendships
by Rick Warren

But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:7–8 (NCV)

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

In Christian fellowship people should experience authenticity.

Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It’s genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing.

It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives.

They share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer.

Authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in many churches. Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, there is pretending, role-playing, politicking, superficial politeness, and shallow conversation.

People wear masks, keep their guard up, and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of real friendship.

It’s only as we become open about our lives that we experience authentic fellowship. The Bible says, “If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. . . . If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves” (1 John 1:7–8 NCV).

The world thinks intimacy occurs in the dark, but God says it happens in the light. We tend to use darkness to hide our hurts, faults, fears, failures, and flaws. But in the light, we bring them all out into the open and admit who we really are.

Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection, and being hurt again.

Why would anyone take such a risk?

Because it’s the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” (James 5:16 MSG).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yard Sale

As you all might have noticed, there hasn't been a lot of blog activity going on the last few days.

We have been preparing for and holding a yard sale to help raise the last funds we'll need to travel back to pick up The Princess. On Tuesday, I was truly feeling despondent after going to the storage building and going through what was in there. In our minds, we wanted to raise $500 from the yard sale and the items we had in there just didn't seem like quite enough to get us to there. Remember, we've had a yard sale every year for the past three years, so I can kind of judge how it's going to work, how much we might raise and so forth.

Then on Thursday, we had so many people give us things for the yard sale. Jamma and Larry gave us tons of their daughter's name brand shirts and jeans that all the teens wanted. Our neighbor gave us a treadmill, tons of shoes, boots, purses, clothes, toys, coffee maker and VCR, media stand. Our friends Jennifer and Jason absolutely loaded us up on so much good stuff that I'm not sure where they were storing it. Their boys went through their toys and gave us so much good stuff, including about 20 video games which fetched a good bit. They gave us an elliptical machine, a glider/exercise machine, lots of household items, purses, camera and on and on. Kevin's mother had given us all of her yard sale items and his aunt and cousin gave us several loads of things as well. My friend Iris brought us by a Power Wheels jeep and a rocking horse. My mom let me have all her things left over from our last yard sale. We still had several things that folks had donated from that sale as well that sold this time.

And special thanks to my parents who allowed us to have our yard sale at their house where there is lots of traffic and who prayed we made more than we expected.

As I sorted through all the items, putting prices on them, I thought of all the love that was shared with us from each of these people. Each toy given up by Jennifer's boys was bit of love shared with us for our daughter. It's the truest example of Jesus's love I can imagine.

By the time it was all said and done we made right at $1300. What a blessing!!! I would have never thought we could have made anywhere near that amount of money.

Poor Kevin walked away with a sinus infection for all his efforts. He thinks it's from stirring up dust and such from all the boxes. He moved so much stuff this weekend, I'm surprised he's still walking around. And, kudos to Joshua and his friend Braiden who helped us move boxes of stuff on Friday night, Saturday morning and to break down on Saturday afternoon. I've never seen two ten-year-old boys work so hard. I was so proud of both of them.

Fifty-four days until we return. Hang on little bit, mama is coming. Soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Making Plans

Yesterday I made our tentative airline reservations to go back to get "The Princess". I never thought this would actually happen. They are on hold until September when I will feel a little more comfortable about purchasing them.

I have also made our hotel reservations as I was afraid the hotel would fill up before we made them. Elizabeth has also made hers so we will definitely be at the same hotel. This is good. I need to have Kevin call back tonight to give them a credit card number to make sure the room is secured.

I need to also call today to ask our agency to make the reservations for us at the hotel in Kazakhstan. They have volunteered the coordinator to do that.

Jennifer has applied for her expedited passport. Hopefully, it will be here in a couple of weeks and we can apply for our Kaz visas. For those of you who don't know, my friend (from way back in junior high), one of "The Girls" of GNO (girl's night out) Fame, is travelling back with me to get "The Princess".

So, plans are underway. We are getting closer. 57 days until we leave to go back for our little girl. I'm so excited -- and scared to death at the same time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Load Lifted

It's funny. I went to my friend, Mayme's, house today to look at some infant sized clothes that she had bought for her daughter, Emma, who is coming home from China in just a few weeks. She, like me, had been buying clothes in varying sizes for a LONG time. Because Emma is 18 months old, she had several outfits in the 6-9 month size range she wanted me to look through to see if I could use.

We got to talking and I found it so ironic that we both felt the same way recently, and I wanted to share to 1) see if others have experienced this, or 2) let those behind us in line in on this information.

We both agreed that when we found out (me) that we were through court, and (her) that her referral was approved that we both felt like a HUGE load had been lifted off our shoulders. It was a load that we never really knew we were carrying until it was gone. I just feel a peace about everything from here on out. It was a peace I didn't feel too often until I heard that court was through and we had travel dates. It's like coming home at the end of a long vacation -- you were happy to leave on the trip, but coming home is oh so very, very sweet and you realize there is no place you'd rather be. It's a place where you can "let your hair down", enjoy life and be yourself.

We had a GREAT visit. It is always refreshing to talk about adoption to people who are in the throes of it all and who get what it's like to be there. It's also fun to hear their stories about how God put them together as a family. Mayme and I have families that are very similar, I think, and we could have likely talked all day long if we'd not both been crazy busy.

And, for those who were waiting to see a few more photos of my consignment sale finds, here are a few more of my favorites.

LOVE LOVE this one. It's a Christmas-y type balloon outfit accented with gingham bows and a raindeer appliqued on the front. TOO CUTE.

Another cutie-pie Christmas dress (can you start wearing your Christmas frocks in October so she can get them all in before the season is over??).

This was the cute little Gymboree outfit that I got for $8.50. It's three pieces and cute cute. The photos aren't so great. I have several cameras and end up using the camera on my PHONE to take these.

This is the Strausberg outfit -- pink corduroy -- very soft and smocked - $8.

And I love how soft this little jacket is. It's supposed to be a "bunny jacket" because it has a hood with ears. Cute, but SO SOFT!!!

That's about it for the consignment sale. I bought a few more things, but we are leaving this topic behind now.