Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year In Review - 2008

Where to start on the year in review. Since I can't remember what happened five minutes ago, I've had to peruse my blog for highlights from 2008:

January:
  • I did a project in South Carolina
  • We started our Little Caesar's Pizza Fundraiser
  • I made a "like to have" list for Ellie. This was funny to find. Here's what I wished for. Interesting to review.
  1. A child who sleeps through the night from the first night she comes home.
  2. A child who is calm and will sit contentedly in my lap through a church service, doctor's appointment, etc.
  3. A child who does not throw themselves down in the middle of the store having a tantrum.
  4. A child who does not try to flip themselves out of the cart in the grocery store.
  5. A child who likes fruits and vegetables.
  6. A child who LOVES to be clean.
  7. A child who doesn't puke on me.
  8. A child who doesn't pull the cats' and dogs' tails.
  9. A child who can sleep through noise.
  10. A child without colic
  • I began a Beth Moore study, Stepping Up, at church
  • Kevin began the Deacon-Partner program at church; he will be ordained Sunday as a Deacon.
  • Our contracts were sent for our adoption
  • Josh played basketball.

FEBRUARY

  • Josh won first place with his Science Fair project on predicting weather
  • It snowed
  • Josh got the flu and strep
  • Ellie's bedding came
  • Our friends Heather and Charlie lost their dear first referral to respiratory illness while she was still in the orphanage
  • We began to paint Ellie's nursery and purchased her furniture
  • Our homestudy update was completed
  • Josh had his first "love letter"

MARCH

  • I got pneumonia
  • I dreamed about Ellie (the night she was born, no less)
  • Our dossier was delivered to our agency two days before Ellie was born
  • We celebrated Easter
  • We had a concession stand fundraiser at the church's Easter egg hunt to help with our adoption
  • We went to Atlanta with Kevin for one of his training classes
  • Baseball season started
  • We made a Build-A-Bear for Ellie. It is the only thing we got back from the orphanage and is her favorite bed item. She pulls on it and loves on it every night.
  • We were fingerprinted
  • Ellie born
  • Our friend Emme born and brought home to mom J.
  • Addison, Ellie's soon-to-be BFF (per the moms, of course!), born

APRIL

  • Josh visited Middle School
  • Josh and DeeDee were in a fishing tournament and Josh won a fishing pole
  • The church held it's annual dessert auction.
  • Apparently I had a lot of fun at Once Upon a Child in Clarksville based on the photos I took of all the clothes for Ellie.
  • Josh hit a homerun in his baseball game
  • The blog had it's 10,000th visitor - our friend Mayme
  • We had our photos made for the church directory
  • I was deeply enthralled in American Id*l
  • I developed laryngitis

MAY

  • Josh's 4th grade class put on a 50s musical
  • I took a project in south Georgia
  • We celebrated Mother's Day with both mine and Kevin's mom and grandmother
  • We worked the concession stands at the park for another fundraiser
  • Josh's baseball was in full throttle
  • On MAY 14, 2008 we first saw Ellie's face when we got her REFERRAL!
  • We began whirlwind travel preparations and "met" our travel friends, Elizabeth and Bill
  • Joshua "Graduated" from elementary school
  • Our friends Charlie and Heather received their referral for Samantha
  • Our friends Kat, Ivy and Karen brought home their children from Kyrgyzstan
  • Josh had field day at school
  • We frantically gathered "good" money, packed, made travel arrangements and arrangements for all the things back home so we could travel for Trip 1
  • We flew half way around the world and MET OUR DAUGHTER for the first time in an orphanage in Tokmok
  • We visited Flamingo World - a Disn*ey knockoff in Kyrgyzstan
  • Milana came home from Tokmok with M. and T.

JUNE

  • We visited Buarana Tower in Kyrgyzstan
  • We visited "The Princess" repeatedly and then got information that she was a sick little one and made the very difficult decision that we could not accept her as a referral. We returned home broken-hearted.
  • We grieved
  • Kevin's family came in for a family reunion in Kentucky
  • We celebrated Father's Day
  • We awaited our next referral
  • We found out, through what we deem nothing short of miraculous, that Ellie was not sick and after having her records reviewed by international adoption doctors, we accepted her referral once again
  • Kevin and Joshua went to Centri-Kid camp

JULY

  • Josh had his tonsils out
  • We celebrated the 4th of July without much ado as Josh was still recovering
  • Kevin installed cabinets, flooring and a counter in our office (former garage)
  • I went to Macon, Georgia for another project
  • The judge went on vacation -- enough said
  • We got new pictures of Ellie
  • Josh developed thrush in his mouth after his surgery
  • We went to the zoo with Josh's cousins
  • We got Ellie's carseat
  • Four AO families brought home their little ones from Tokmok, including April, Michele and Dominique
  • I got to see my friend Diane as I came home from Macon
  • Josh learned to put a worm on a hook
  • Court didn't happen and passports are taking longer all of a sudden
  • We went to the zoo with Kat, Charlie and Jia

AUGUST

  • My parents bought Ellie's stroller
  • Josh began this year's football season
  • I had a shower at church
  • Josh's team had their end of the year baseball party
  • I made hair bows for Ellie
  • Josh wanted to baptize the cats
  • We registered Ellie for free books each month from Imagination Library
  • Josh started middle school
  • I went to a consignment sale (compliments of my friend Michelle) and got TOO MANY goodies
  • Court happened!!
  • We got our first tentative travel dates
  • We had a yard sale fundraiser and made $1300
  • We began the countdown until I returned for Ellie and made travel arrangements
  • Josh's team continued to win football games
  • We had a Krispy Kre*me donut sale
  • We celebrated Aidai's birthday

SEPTEMBER

  • Our friends, the McGowans, come home with Emma
  • Nana and Grandmother celebrate their birthdays
  • Josh continues to have an AWESOME football season
  • Vietnam closes adoptions to American families
  • Packing, presents purchased, airline tickets reserved, countdown of days until time to leave

OCTOBER

  • Jennifer and I prepared to travel to pick up Ellie
  • A and S, M and P., R. and E., and S. traveled to pick up their daughters, Baby C. came home
  • Nephew Ben graduated from his Naval RTC
  • Elizabeth and Ellen travelled with us to pick up Aidai
  • Our luggage was delayed
  • We had GOTCHA DAY for Ellie
  • We climbed a mountain
  • We lived through Almaty
  • We came home -- praise God for home
  • Ellie had her first pediatrician visit
  • We didn't get to Trick or Treat as Josh was sick and I had contracted the "can't leave the bathroom" problem that Jennifer had

NOVEMBER

  • Ellie attended church for the first time
  • Josh's team had playoffs and then won the SuperBowl in football
  • We voted -- Ellie experienced her first election
  • Ellie met her great-grandmother
  • Ellie's citizenship papers arrived
  • Ellie and Josh had their first photo shoot
  • 50,000th visitor to the blog (whoo hoo!!)
  • Our Sunday School class had a shower for Ellie
  • We celebrated Josh and Kevin's birthdays and our anniversary
  • Ellie had her first Thanksgiving -- in Florida
  • We travelled to Florida for Josh to play in the SnapperBowl

DECEMBER

  • Christmas cookies
  • Christmas decorating
  • Ellie begins crawling and loves to stand/cruise
  • My friend Dianne's 40th birthday party
  • Visits and photos with Santa
  • Josh wins DARE award
  • We visit with Kat, Jia and Charlie
  • Ellie's First Christmas -- Joshua's 11th!
  • Logged in for China - two years
  • Volunteer at mission
  • Lindsay and Jason bring home Hudson
  • Coby comes home from Vietnam to big sister Annslee
  • Kelli brings home Aiden from Vietnam

So, all in all, with the highs and the lows of the year, I am glad it is in the "books". It is a year I will never have the opportunity to live again. It was a cross roads year for our family -- transitioning up from a family "in" the adoption process to a family who "has" adopted -- a place I'm glad to be. Josh has transitioned well from elementary to middle school. He is transitioning from a little boy to a young man with the normal amount of adversity and, at the same time, sweetness (can a boy be sweet?). Kevin and are transitioning from a one child to two children family and "starting over". God has fulfilled His promise and given us our dream of another child.

All our family members are well right now and that's a huge blessing. Kevin's brothers and their families are doing well and are all stateside.

We are most certainly looking forward to what God has planned for us in 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy 9 Month Birthday, Ellie!!

What a comedy today was. Happy 9 month birthday Ellie -- you poor thing; with a mom like yours you'll be lucky if I don't forget you at the supermarket one day. *sigh*
It started at Mickey D's this morning with the coffee. Let me just say that at our local McD's I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER gotten my coffee order right. WHY???? Why do I continue to order it??? What I want every single time I go there and order is a large iced vanilla coffee. Today,I got an Iced Latte --no flavoring, size medium and no sweetner. The first big slug almost made me spew coffee all over the car. I parked, went back in and got some Splenda -- three packs to be exact -- to get it to a point where I could drink it.

Josh had his physical today. He is doing well with all test results coming back good. He got three shots for which he was all worked up about and then decided they didn't hurt nearly as badly as he thought they would.
After the doctor, we went to Subway for lunch. When we left, I sat my drink on the middle console to put Ellie in the car. I forgot it there and when I started the car, I flung it all over the car. It took forever to get it all cleaned up.

Then we got the bright idea to go to the library -- the downtown library which has a parking garage. We got there, got our ticket (which has to be stamped to get the free parking) and parked. Ellie was asleep so I said we'd just put her car seat in the stroller and go on up. Somewhere between THAT idea and getting to the door of the library, I realized I didn't have the parking ticket to get it validated. Back we go to the car. Twenty minutes later we had removed EVERYTHING from the car, diaper bag, purse, wallet -- everywhere and NO ticket. Hmmmm.... what to do now? So, we decided to go in and ask the library about it. We were told that they would stamp our check out receipt when we were done. Our library has this cool scan your card self-check out. Josh decided to scan his card as we went by and LO and behold his card said it was no longer valid. So we went back over to the "real" check out desk and she said apparently it had been replaced. Oh yeah, Josh remembers, he got a new card. So I tell her to just check my card and LO and behold apparently, my card is on HOLD because I have a "lost" book. Now, those who know me, know that I am a FREAK about taking care of books. I have NEVER lost a book -- EVER. I take the dust jackets off books before I read them. I cannot bend pages, I cannot write in books. I was just flabbergasted. When she told me the book, I realized it was a book I checked out and took with me to Kyrgyzstan. Lord, have mercy, I might have lost it!!!

So, we left without checking out books and me in a tizzy. As I walked to the car, I told Josh, "Just one day I'd like to not lose something." *smile* It was a good lesson for him, however, about how moms have to take responsibility for their actions too. And how we are human and make mistakes. So, when we left, instead of free parking, I had to pay a lost ticket fee of $6.00. YUK.

When I got home, Kevin went straight to the book -- it was in the van. Great. So, it has now been returned and hopefully I'm off the library's "blacklist".

We also went to the park today and fed the ducks. Ellie just stared at them. She's really enjoying blowing raspberries at everyone and laughing when she does it. She likes to "pat" you on your arm when you hold her. She likes to stand all the time. Her crawling is sort of a scoot, and she'd really prefer you just pick her up and move her. She is becoming much more "communicative" or else I'm getting better at reading her cues because her sounds are very definitive when she wants something as opposed to when she's just making noise. She is eating about 40 ounces a day of formula -- 8 ounces about every five hours. She eats solids well and prefers "real" food over baby food, but will eat baby food too. She weighed in at 15 pounds last week at the doctor, and I think she's gained more since then as my left arm is beginning to cramp from holding her so much. I noticed at church Sunday that her tights (once falling off her) are starting to get tighter and she has some "rolls" in her legs. Her hair has really grown a lot in the last few weeks and she is now sporting a mohawk down the middle. It lays down for a little while after a bath but then pops right back up again shortly after. It's pretty funny, actually. People are starting to comment about it. She has little curls rolling up here and there in her hair. She still has issues with sleep. Josh's pediatrician said today that at about nine months even kids who sleep well will sometimes start to have some sleep issues (great!) and that a bedtime routine is key along with "working up" to allowing her to lay in her crib for a few minutes at a time before picking her up -- pretty much the same advice as her pediatrician. Starting next week, she will begin Mother's Day Out at our church for a few hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm hopeful this will go well for all of us. We had said early on that we thought we'd wait until January before we tried to leave her anywhere. She has been in the nursery the last few weeks at church and I've been there with her, but allowing others to care for her. She has done very well there. She seems to like being with the other kids.

Spiky hair (aren't those eyes beautiful?)

Standing (yes, we still have all the Christmas toys strewn everywhere!!)

Tub time

And though we are really tired, our lives seem to spin out of control a lot right now and we are still looking for that "new normal", we wouldn't trade her or our really crazy lives with her for anything in the world. She and Josh are just having a great time. She laughs at him and loves him; she is great for his self-esteem. He loves her and plays with her; he is great for her to play with and have someone extra to love on her. They are doing well together and it is such a joy to watch them together.

And, this is what Josh has been doing during his Christmas break . . . Wii baseball.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in Mayberry

Each year our church has a fun play, somewhat different each year, entitled Christmas in Mayberry. This year, we were asked to play Joseph, Mary, a shepherd and Baby Jesus. We had no speaking lines -- good thing as I can't remember my name -- but we spent A LOT of time behind the scenes praying that Baby Jesus didn't blow raspberries at the crowd like she did in practice or have one of her infamous "hissy fits". In a perfect world, she would have been asleep. I don't live in a perfect world. She was sleepy, but not enough to lie still (she doesn't understand still very well) and finally POP went her head and she sat up -- pacifier in mouth -- and just stared at the kids and the congregation.

In the midst of it all, I could tell she was choking on something, but I couldn't figure out what it was. I was trying to communicate this to Kevin and in my mind I'm going, "I can't just beat Baby Jesus on the back in front of a huge crowd of people. What do I do? Why can't she breathe? What is she choking on?" Finally, she let out a huge cough and went on about herself. We think she still has some really bad congestion from her cold and that it was just running down her throat. Scared me though.






Of course, when you are Baby Jesus, you pretty much can't do anything wrong, I suppose. Thank goodness my mom was able to get some photos of us. It was a fun night. Josh was so handsome as a shepherd and even though he says he didn't have a good time, I know that he did!! Please don't ask me to explain why the kids in our photo were in Halloween costumes. I'm still not clear on that either.
Thanks to my mom for taking pictures for us or we would have had none!!

What's the Deal with the Wigs?

Tonight, our church had it's annual Christmas in Mayberry production. What fun!!! Kevin, Josh, Ellie and I were asked to play Joseph, a shepherd, baby Jesus and Mary. Thank goodness we had no speaking parts or we'd have never made it.

However, at rehearsal today, there was a pile of wigs, and you know, I'm a sucker for a good "Wig on the Baby" photo. Brittany, our friend, grabbed her camera and took the following photos. Poor baby will HATE us in years to come.

Marilyn Mon*roe Ellie

Rock Star Jon Bon*Jovi Ellie

And last but certainly not least, the "Don't Laugh Daddy Does My Hair T-Shirt" Curly Sue Ellie

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Congrats to Jason and Lindsey!

Our "neighbors" Jason and Lindsey are currently in Russia picking up their son. I'm so excited to hear that today was Gotcha Day.

I've been LOOKING for several weeks for your blog (I thought I had it bookmarked but I can't find it and the link isn't on Micah's blog anymore). Email me and tell me what it is as I'd LOVE to read about your trip and see photos!!

*****
UPDATE:

Thanks to my friend Iris who has emailed me the blog addy. I have now cried and cried. I suspect I will never again view photos of someone's time in country getting their children quite the same. Once you've been there and experienced the emotions, you are never the same person. I'm off to find some tissue.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Blog Links - Cleaning House

I've been "cleaning house" on the old bloggy. I've updated all the Kyrgyzstan adoption links based on the ones I follow and know about. If you aren't included and would like to be, email me and I'll add you to the list. ALSO... I found that several blogs have gone private and I don't have an invite. *smile* While this is totally your perogative, I'd surely like to follow along, so if you want to, email me an invite!

God Stories

I LOVE to watch God in action. I love to read and hear stories of how He works because it is always in ways that I could not have imagined -- in ways that make you go, "Yep, that's God at work." I am particularly excited anytime I read about the creative ways God helps families bring orphans home.

Check out Greg and Lisa's blog to read a beautiful story of how their family allowed God to use them to help bring another child home. On behalf of another family who was helped by so many people, I just want to thank their family for allowing God to lead their hearts to help.

What a blessing. Do you have a story of God's provision for your adoption? Leave your story in the comments or email me and give me more opportunities to praise Him for helping so many children find homes.

Ready to Move Past Christmas

Lest I seem "bah humbug", know that I enjoyed Christmas, but I am really READY to get on with a new year. 2008 was a mighty hard year for us, and although God blessed our family with the arrival of Ellie, with Josh finally winning his "Super Bowl" and with so many other blessings I can't count (but will at my annual year's end post), I'm ready for a "normal" less stress, non-adoption waiting, non-fundraising, regular year. 2009 will be the FIRST year since 2005 that we have not been talking about completing an adoption. I'm SO ready for that.

So... in honor, I've changed my blog a little bit. Enjoy.

Christmas Day


Josh's big gift? An IPod - these are his mini speakers.

Ellie's "Princess" Ride-on toy. No, her feet do NOT touch the ground -- maybe soon. But, she does like all the buttons and taking things out of the storage in the seat.

Wii Guitar Hero -- dual controllers so he and Braiden can play at the same time.

Overkill

More Wii goodies and his "Man this is soft" robe

Josh LOVES his robe

Popcorn gift bag with movies

Loving her doll house. She kept trying to stick her head inside it so she could see it

The cat even loved the doll house

She was more impressed with her stocking than what was in it

This is what sleep deprivation looks like - poor Kevin

Happy with her blocks

MeeMee comes to visit

DeeDee and his hat

Visiting Itunes for some downloads


Getting tired -- this is new.
I'm not sure if it's because she is teething or if she's just discovered her thumb.
As you can see from the photos, we all had a great Christmas. I even got my birthday wish -- a NAP on the couch. Later in the day, after the grandparents came to see the "goods", we went out to the women's mission to help serve Christmas Dinner. I'll admit that I didn't do much in the serving area; Kevin and Josh did, though. I was able to visit with some of the women though, and Ellie was a great hit. She got held by several of the women who admitted that they were sad and missing their children and grandchildren. Since we've returned with Ellie, it seems as if something in my heart has switched and I'm (sadly) more in tune with the hurt in the world. I want to do what I can -- however small -- to help. I feel "indebted" for all the blessings we have received. I've committed to pray for one woman at the mission who is in a rehab program and has two children, 12 and 10. It might be a small gesture, but it is something I can certainly do.
After the mission, we went to Chef Wang's for my birthday dinner. It was WONDERFUL, and my friend, Susan, came as well. We went to her house afterwards and enjoyed some time visiting, watching Joshua's Ipod speakers blink and watching Ellie crawl around -- well, shuffle on the floor, I suppose.
Sadly, she SCREAMED bloody murder ALL the way home. She got so mad she threw up at one point and we had to pull over to clean her up. Not surprisingly, as soon as we got home and got her out, she was fine. These "episodes" only seem to be worse at night. They are horrible. I hope it will soon pass for her.
Happy Birthday, Jesus. We're so glad you came!! Thank you for all you have done for our family and most of all, for our salvation.
***
I've come back to add a little more on this post because I realized I didn't post some of the things I want to remember in years to come. This was Ellie's first Christmas and we were SO blessed to have her home. I remember sitting on the couch thinking, "WOW!" How lucky are we to have her here? It's a struggle, somewhat, finding that magic line of making sure each child feels special, has the "same" amount of presents and feels the "same" amount of love. I want Josh to know that he is still JUST as important as ever and just as loved. And, I want Ellie to have the most special wonderful first Christmas (that she'll never remember, eh?) that she can. I struggle each day feeling torn between the two and hoping that one day I'll "get it right". What's the secret??
Now that the rush of the holidays is past, I am actually enjoying the time with both Ellie and Josh, who are both playing with their toys. Sunshine (the dog) thinks she's Ellie's babysitter and Ellie has just flipped onto her tummy and is crawling all over her rug. We are going to to really have to start watching her or get the "corral" that the Davidsons have to keep her in one place. She is such a curious little one taking it all in all the time. She looks like a hoot owl with her head spinning all around to see everything. She just looked up at me and said, "HI!!!" with that big two toothed grin she has. Such a long wait and so very worth it. She is changing before our eyes everyday. Her face and cheeks are puffing up; her hair is growing longer. She has a mohawk right down the center of her head with some "horns" curling up on the sides. Her hair is becoming darker too.
It was a good Christmas. Truly good.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Photos Only - Christmas Eve

Josh plays Santa
Uncle Stoney arrives

Ellie exploring her presents
Josh's "big" gift from MeeMee and DeeDee - an electric guitar

Cool guitar, huh?

Gonna' be a rock star, I'm certain!!
Maybe we can compromise with contemporary Christian star!

More of Ellie exploring her gifts


MeeMee's photo ornaments

Kevin's pen and pencil set

DeeDee gets shirts

Hanging out with MeeMee
Ellie and Josh both got letters from Santa
Ellie decided to eat hers
While Josh read his outloud to us

Prior to MeeMee and DeeDee's house, we stopped off to see our friend, Ms. Betty. She has really cool Hallm*rk musical toys that Ellie loved playing with. Her daughter Jonquil came by as well and Ellie enjoyed visiting with her too.


She was also presented with a Bible

That she promptly kissed.

It was a nice Christmas Eve. More stories and photos of Christmas and my birthday tomorrow. I'm off to bed!!
















Forty One Things

This post has been brewing for a few days. Happy birthday to me; I'm 41. So, in honor of that, I'm posting 41 things --- there is no correlation between the "things" other than I wrote them and they are my thoughts. So, enjoy, or skip. Regardless -- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

  1. I love God. I believe in Jesus as our Savior. I believe he was born in a manager and that his mother Mary must have had the most amazing life and that she had to have had AMAZING faith to do what she did.
  2. I don't care that people know how old I am. I am 41 and proud.
  3. I like animals a lot.
  4. I am surely missing sleeping anytime I want to and I am dreading tomorrow morning when I won't be able to get another nap during the day and will have to get up early to see what Santa brings.
  5. I am afraid of spiders -- terribly afraid of spiders.
  6. I make a lovely manicotti when I have time, but I haven't made it in years.
  7. I have had several names in my life due to a failed placement (way back before that term even existed) and I was named by the first "mom" I knew. n
  8. Apparently I am allergic to pine trees.
  9. I don't like cold weather. 70* is my "magic" number in weather.
  10. I LOVE one piece pajamas but only have one pair that is flannel, old, with a rip in the back neck area and has Winnie the Pooh on it.
  11. When I get to heaven, I am going to be tall. It is my reward for being short and not being able to reach the top shelves and having to lurch myself over the sides of cribs.
  12. I miss the Mickey Mouse Club that I used to watch after school when I was little.
  13. When I was little I ate lima bean sandwiches. The bread HAD to be white and VERY fresh, though. I had standards at least.
  14. I miss my brother Derek.
  15. I don't visit my grandmother as much as I should.
  16. I spend too much time on the internet.
  17. I do not manage my life very well.
  18. I love my husband -- shouldn't that have been farther up on the list? I cannot imagine how different my life would have been had we not married each other. Sometimes I feel sorry for him being married to me. I'm certain my friends feel sorry for him. *smile*
  19. I love my children -- even on the days I want to pinch their heads off. *smile*
  20. I like casseroles. (half way there).
  21. I don't like change at all. (Imagine how freaked out I am right now - ha!)
  22. My favorite movies are: Grease, Christmas Vacation, Point of No Return, Romancing the Stone, Home Alone, Wild Hogs, Talledega Nights (I have this weird sense of humor), Facing the Giants
  23. When I was little I was a voracious reader. In the summers I'd read 20 books a week. I would LOVE to read now, but time is a commodity I don't have right now. I'll read again one day.
  24. I like looking at the Christmas tree while sitting in the dark in my living room. I like the lights.
  25. I don't like liver, brussel sprouts, gravy, grits, dumplings or avocado.
  26. I think the reason today's children have so many problems is because their parents don't take enough time with them. I don't think it's the school's job to raise my children or to teach them values.
  27. I think common sense has left 99% of people (myself included some days).
  28. I want to live to see great-grandchildren and be healthy in the process (who doesn't?) or to have Jesus return so we can all go together.
  29. I would love to have a clean house -- just for a day as of late.
  30. I would love to have a clean car -- see above.
  31. I would like an entire week where I don't lose anything, especially my keys.
  32. I wish there was no hunger in the world. I wish children and others did not have to suffer; I wish there were no orphans.
  33. I would love to visit Italy.
  34. My favorite holiday is Halloween.
  35. I value tradition and time with my family so much more the older I get.
  36. I am the "oldest" of my girls who are part of "GNO".
  37. I am so blessed to have made so many new friends in the past few years in our adoption process. It has been the best side-effect of the process.
  38. I love Waffle House and IHOP -- the breakfast places.
  39. I value quiet.
  40. I am sorry that Ellie's mom felt she had to give her up; I am happy that God chose my family for me.
  41. I hope 2009 is a calm, regular year with little to no drama. Boring is good after the last three years.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas at the Grandparents

Tonight we had our Christmas with my parents. We had gone up to Kevin's mom's last weekend for a wonderful late lunch and spent time with her and her sisters.

Tonight, mom cooked for us and we opened presents!! Thank you for getting Joshua an ELECTRIC GUITAR. Yes, I know, it was what he wanted, but oy, won't that be fun? Now, I have to find someone to give him lessons.

Ellie got a blanket, bib, several tub toys and an Elmo telephone. She had a lot of fun -- it takes very little to entertain her.

We stopped by one of our friend's house and she had gotten Ellie a Precious Moment*s 30th Anniversary Bible. It's very cute, but I've told her we won't be letting her actually use it for a while.

There will be photos tomorrow. I'm off to bed!!

Two Years

Tomorrow (or in about two hours here), we will have been logged in for our China adoption for two years. Currently referrals are through February 23, 2006. Will we continue to wait? That's a question neither of us feel ready to answer yet. Right now, if we had to make that decision, our answer would be no -- or at least mine would, and I suspect Kevin's would be too. Financially, emotionally, space in our house, time in our schedules, sleep -- all factors that contribute to that decision. But ... knowing how much lives change in a short time and how long we've waited and how certain we felt that our log in date was a "sign" that this was a sure thing, well, we are wise enough to wait and listen for God's leading. However, if it does take as long as the forecast is, we most definitely will not -- we just feel we are too old. The forecast for when we will get our referral? May 2013 -- yes, you read that right, another FOUR and a half years. Not seeing that happen, folks. *smile*

Two Months

Two months ago today, a plane from Detroit landed in Nashville and I cried as I got off a plane because I was so happy to be home, so happy to see my family and so happy to finally have home a little girl that I had waited for for three years.

It seems like only yesterday and yet it seems like several years since I got off that plane in Nashville. Ellie has made so much progress in two months, and yet I still remind myself frequently, that it has only been a short time for her to adjust fully. So while she is not sleeping "like I want her to", she has made much progress in that area. I suspect until she is sleeping a full 10 hours straight (ha!) I won't consider her sleep successful. *smile* I'm too old to get up 3-5 times a night. I suspect there is going to have to be a prayer vigil in the future for her sleep -- or more importantly, for my sleep. *big smile*

So, Happy Christmas Eve, everyone -- we'll be celebrating for several reasons.

Christmas comes to Kyrgyzstan

For those who have followed along with my requests for help for the children of Kyrgyzstan at Christmas and have read about the challenge to raise money to provide the kids a present and a trip out to eat, there are sneak peak photos over at John Wright's blog.

Just the two photos made my eyes tear up. The joy in their faces. We take SO MUCH for granted. Take a second to visit the site. I'll post another link when there are more photos of the event.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crawling Training

Kevin was out of town this week for a night and Josh and I had a GREAT day at the local mall. We went to Build A Bear and Josh built a dog and Ellie "built" Hal and Hollie Moose. Josh's dog got an outfit. We decided Ellie's didn't need an outfit. During the process of making the animals, we selected hearts to "warm" and wish on before sticking them inside our creations. During our wish process, we wished that Ellie's Kyrgyz friends/babies would soon be able to come home to their forever families. We were excited to read some good news on the front when we got home. Apparently the President of the country indicates the needed paperwork will be completed after the holidays. Here's hoping LOTS of babies come home in early 2009.

He looks mortified, but it wasn't because he was there,
it was because I was taking a picture!!

Ellie and Josh give Hollie a "bath" after she is stuffed and sewed up

Josh enters all the data for his and Ellie's creations.

Josh also got some much needed new tennis shoes. He was so proud of them and wanted them to look really nice so he had me IRON the shoelaces when we got home. Sad part? I did.

Ellie got carried through the ENTIRE mall instead of riding in the lovely stroller the grandparents bought her. She did sleep in it, but that was it. Three hours of carrying her makes for some tired arms. *smile* Josh was a great help though, the entire day.

When we got home, Josh and I sat in the floor with Ellie and she worked on her "crawling". We call it her crawling training since she never got off her tummy. We took the following video for your entertainment. She is really working hard to get across the floor!


video


Thanks to our friends J. and E. who sent Ellie and Josh some goodies for the holidays. Ellie got a princess outfit, along with a book called Princess Baby and two Vikings onesies. Josh got a Vikings coozie and some Vikings tatoos. We were both surprised and grateful for the goodies!! THANK YOU.




Another thank you to fellow-mom and blog reader, Julie, who has sent Ellie some Primo Duplo blocks. Apparently during the TEN YEARS since Josh was a baby (ha!), they quit making Lego Primo Duplo blocks -- which is crazy because all kids love them. Ellie has thoroughly enjoyed the blocks! Thank you Julie!!


And, last but not least, my mother bought us some new ottoman's for the living room. They are the kind that have storage in them. We needed more storage for the toys that seem to be taking over our house so these were a great solution. We are moving out the large coffee table with pointy corners in fear that Ellie will hurt herself on them as she learns to cruise and walk. Long story short, Josh thought they made a GREAT place to put Ellie in to play. She also thought it was a GREAT idea because she could use the sides to push up and then stand up and laugh and "talk" to us. Here are the results of that fun activity. NO, we did not put the lid on.


Hey, this is pretty cool. I think I like this!!

This picture above was obviously too "lit" and too close, but her eyes were so prominent and pretty that I really liked the look. Note the drool running off her face. She is doing some serious drooling with her two teeth coming in.

Best news of the day -- WHOOPIE PIES have arrived from Elizabeth, Bill and Aidai in NH. Josh got his first one and he asked me why they were called Whoopie Pies. I told him it was because your mouth says, "Whoopie" everytime you get one. And yes, I have saved one for you, Jennifer!!