Friday, December 30, 2011

The day we got "The Call"!

Monday morning I always wake up both full of anticipation that it could be "The Day" and already with a sinking pit thinking that it won't happen.

Monday, December 19th I was full of anticipation and no matter how I tried (yes, I actually tried) I could not get that sinking sensation of it isn't going to happen.

But then the day happened. Morning came and went (way too quickly with a million things going, but with no phone call). I got E home from preschool and down for a nap and it was now almost 2:30 pm EST. I decided to get myself some lunch and watch a Christmas movie during nap and get nothing done (I was a bit sad at this point, but trying to just concentrate on Christmas and not on the lack of phone call). Just as I got my lunch ready and sat down the phone rang. I grabbed it and saw a phone number I didn't recognize. I answered the phone and someone very hesitantly asked for me and in the span of a few seconds I thought
"That sounds like "A", no it can't be, wrong area code, why would she be calling this late? Just wishful thinking".
I said that it was me and she responded more normally with some chatting and I thought

"Oh my, it definitely sounds like A. How sad that I know A's voice so well, I've been talking to her way too much lately, why is she calling?!?"

Then she said "Didn't you get my message?!? I called 2 hours ago and really thought you'd call me back by now" - um, hello phone - what is your deal?!? No missed call, no voice message - what is going on?!? Of all the times for my phone to fail me - aargh!!! Of course I would have called her back immediately! I am GLUED to my phone on Mondays and Tuesdays. How did it not ring?!?

Anyway, she asked me if I was driving and then told me that our referral was sitting in front of her. I was in COMPLETE SHOCK! I don't know how you can be in shock when you hear something that you've been expecting to hear for so many months now, but it's still possible. I could hardly talk, I definitely heard less than half of what she said, but we made plans to have a phone conference the next morning.

I called Brian and told him. The phone rang way too long before he answered, I was worried that he wouldn't answer. I was crying and I had to repeat "It's a boy" about 3 times before he heard (and understood) me. He was definitely happy to hear that it finally happened and we talked for a few minutes, we could barely think straight but we were both quite happy! The amazing news we have waited and waited for! Thank you God that it's finally here!

The hard part was that I wanted to shout it from the roof tops but we hadn't even seen the referral yet so we had to wait. I paced around the house and got nothing done - then the real work began. I had to wake up E from her nap and pick up B from school and tell them NOTHING. That was HARD! I was jumping out of my skin excited and had to act normally.

I honestly only remember parts of the afternoon. I know that I actually had a terrific time with the kids, running a couple of errands, then coming home and playing together, making dinner, and getting packed to leave in 2 days . Brian came home and we had a wonderful evening. We didn't do anything special, but the lightness in the air of knowing that the waiting for referral was finally over just made for an amazing evening! :)

The next morning, bright and early, we'd get to see our new little boy....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Christmas Gift...

In 2003 we had an amazing Christmas gift - our son, B, was born. We saw his face for the first time and it was amazing.

In 2006 we had an amazing Christmas gift - our daughter, G, was born. We saw her face for the first time and it was amazing.

In 2011......we had an amazing Christmas gift!!! Less than a week before Christmas we were able to see our new SON's face for the first time!!! And it's AMAZING! We got our referral!

More to come soon... :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What my child learned on vacation

It's our goal in general (but especially moving from the amazing school district we were in to a state who is 49th out of 50th for education) to supplement our children's education at home. I think that my children learn as much (or more) when they travel as they do in a week of school so even though it goes against the teacher in me, I am learning to be OK with pulling my children out of school once in a while to travel (note: if they get to a point where they are struggling in school I wouldn't do this, but while they're young and able to excel in school despite being absent, I've learned to be OK with it). My husband has no qualms with this but I still struggle. So to justify myself this is what I came up with:

ELA: Reading - signs, brochures, books to his sister, teaching Ella how to read (this is awesome, he's trying to teach her simple signs out in public like EXIT and STOP by showing her how to sound them out, etc.), reading about animals in the zoo, asking us questions about words he sees (this happened a lot this week) and trying to sound out strange looking streets and cities.

Writing - Making lists of things he wants to do, writing down a bit about our trip to keep with pictures as a keepsake

Math - Budgeting - our child saved money for the past couple of months and he spent time counting it, thinking about how he wanted to spend it, checked prices to see if he could afford it and if it was worth the price, came home with almost half of what he brought which showed some good choices.
Time - worked on telling time in general, talked about how long until we'd be places.
Fractions - dividing treats up between 2, 4, or 6 people.
Basic addition and subtraction is something we have him do pretty much all the time in daily life. He even did some multiplication (plus he's done a lot of math with the board games - and while he was home with strep right after our trip we had a lot of fun playing Monopoly and Dominos).

Science - Learning about weather in different places - seeing how the mountains we were driving through affected the weather, climate, and landscape of the area. Of course the zoo taught him a lot about natural habitats, he read about eating habits, he LOVES to learn at zoos and museums, he eats up all the info that is posted and will stop to read every sign he sees!

Geography - Map skills - my boy loves maps and he is getting very good at reading them. He figured out where we were going sometimes by himself, other times with help, but I can see how much better he's doing with this over time.

Culture - Going to a different state and comparing and contrasting it with both AZ and the North East. Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time (and running in the FREEZING cold water - but both kids loved it).

PE - My father-in-law wore a pedometer and measured the steps we took each day. Pretty much each day (other than driving days) we walked at least 20,000 steps. Plus, if you've ever been to the San Diego Z00, you know that MAJOR hills were a part of this trip. We also climbed down and up a cliff overlooking the ocean, and he's just a boy who loves to run, jump, dance, and play! :)

Music - There was actually a lot of live music at Downtown Disney. Plus he loves to sing and play around with music some when it's just silly.

Art - it doesn't take any work to ask my child to be artistic. He drew pictures, created his own maps, colored Christmas pages, studied how people created things out of Legos, created some cool things out of these glow stick connector things (pretty sure he's going to be an engineer when he grows up - figuring out how to make things work right is his passion) and just had fun in any artistic way presented to him.

We also got brochures in German because even though we're not great at keeping his German up he's still fascinated by it and we're trying to nurture that. Plus I got some in Korean so I can practice reading the Korean (even though I don't know what I'm reading...). ;)

Just a portion of the things we did on vacation and I know that this enriches his learning a lot, even though I still feel a bit guilty about taking him out. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

17 months and catch up

We were out off town last week so I'm doing some blog catch up. On Thursday (the 8th) we reached 17 months without HSTK and no referral in sight. It was really good to be out of town last week. I was also essentially off line (one or two emails but that's it) and it was a much needed break. I'm still playing catch up with messages and emails, so forgive me if I haven't gotten back to you. I had so many sweet and caring messages from friends last week and I really appreciate it. This wait is definitely starting to take a toll. I'm hoping that we'll hear good news soon, but I'm praying for God's perfect timing and that our referral will be the child he wants in our family.
I have some fun ideas for posts but right now I'm feeling a bit restless and frustrated so it's hard for me to get it all down. Thanks for bearing with me. Have a great week. Hope you're all enjoying this Christmas season! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5 years ago....

I woke up at 4:15 thinking that I was having braxton-hicks because I couldn't possibly wake up out of a dead sleep with contractions that were 2 minutes apart lasting a minute. A glass off water, laid on my left side, then told Brian to get out of bed and grab Ben. I called my friend, Linda, and we were out the door dropping B off at Linda's house. The hospital said that they've never checked someone in so fast, and they didn't think my doctor would make it in - but she did. At 5:39 am (yes, less than an hour and a half labor - I know you hate me, but it was a bit scary, actually) our beautiful GEM was born (don't you love her initials? - oddly, we didn't even figure it out until after she was born! How weird (or slow) is that?).

She continues to shine in our lives and for her birthday we took our princess to Disneyland this year. No, we don't usually do huge birthdays like this, it just worked out that we could take our vacation over the kids' birthdays. But it was a fantastic way to celebrate. Brian's parents are Disney Vacation Club Members and we are so blessed to travel with them. The kids loved having Grandma and Grandpa celebrate with them.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

8 years ago...

I woke up in the morning and realized that our plans for that day had changed. I found my Mom (Brian was in Iraq) and we drove through a snow storm into Syracuse. The nurses asked me questions and guessed that I had hours, but when the doctor saw me she told me I had to get to the hospital NOW! She called ahead and we walked across the street (they wanted me to use a wheelchair but I wanted to keep walking). About 3 1/2 hours later at 1 pm our little pumpkin was born. He didn't have a name until Brian called from Iraq at close to midnight. It drove both of our Moms a bit crazy not knowing his name and it made me laugh. Of course when Brian called we were both so relieved to talk to each other that we forgot to name him. We hung up (I knew he was calling back but our Moms didn't) and they screamed at me "A NAME!" - when Brian called back we discussed it and BHM had his name. What an amazing Christmas gift! Love that boy! Thank you God for bringing him into our family! :)

Today we celebrated at Legoland. What a fun place for an 8 year old boy! There were tons of thing built out of legos which completely fascinated B - I swear he is going to be an engineer one day. He loves creating and figuring out how things work. He's an amazing boy. So happy we were able to celebrate with Grandma and Grandpa as well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Birthday Party and update

So Saturday we celebrated B and E's birthdays with their new friends. We went to the local park, had pizza and cake and played a lot. The kids had a blast and they have such nice friends. It was a great time. It was a good opportunity for me to get to know some of their friends' families and for them to play with friends outside of school. We're all still adjusting to this move. By far, this has been the hardest one on all 4 of us. Ben wrote to his friend, L, the other day and said that he wishes he still lived on the East Coast. :( Me too, buddy, me too. We do like AZ. The area is nice and there are lots of nice people. I don't want to spend all my time complaining, we just miss everyone out east and feel isolated here.

I talked to our agency today. It as a very upbeat, hopeful conversation and I felt good afterward. It sounds like referrals should be coming in soon (something they don't have control over) but the part that really helped is that she really seemed to have our back. She told me that we've been waiting longest (I knew this, but it was nice for her to say it out loud) and she said she fully intends to advocate for us (she started earlier this month by submitting a few families who have been waiting longest to them and asked SWS to consider how long we've been waiting. I am so thankful that they are trying all they can. This part is not in their hands, but they really seem to be doing all they can.

Not much news otherwise. Have a great day! Happy Thanksgiving week!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two Years ago today...

We worked hard to get to Maryland (and not get lost). My husband had to take the metro into MD and I drove, picked him up there, and we made our way to this agency someone had randomly mentioned to us at a different agency's intro meeting. We went inside and waited. I remember looking at millions of pictures - babies and children who now are in families.

We went into an office and met a woman - a woman who went to the same Alma Mater as my husband and is from the same area of the country as me (completely unimportant, but a neat connection). A woman who spoke so warmly and calmly about a very confusing and overwhelming journey that we were about to embark on. (On a side note - a woman who assured us that a child would be in our arms in about 18 months...note the 2 years -but I know she had no control over the changes).

That day we signed a contract and wrote the first of many checks to OUR adoption agency! After 2 years (almost exactly - we first started looking more seriously into adoption in November of '06 when E was 11 months old) of talking about this possibility it was now happening. I was excited and completely overwhelmed, yet ready to dive in!

It's been 2 years since we started this journey and sometimes it feels like we're treading water. Not much has happened. But at the same time we have done so much - 2 home studies, multiple sets of fingerprints, had multiple things notarized, have USCIS approval (more than once), and are at a point where we can truly be ready to see our child's face any day. That is the biggest thing. We've been waiting, but the time should be here soon! I am in fact, overdue for an elephant, but I'm also thankful.

I am so thankful that we are close! I am thankful for the friends I've made! I'm thankful that God has used this time to grow me in so many ways. I am thankful for the child that is still to come into our family. I am thankful that my kids are (almost) as excited as Brian and I are to have this child in our family! I can't believe she was 2 when we started this and I worried about her being sad not to be the baby any more. Now I realize that she's about to turn 5 and she is SO READY to have a little sibling. She doesn't want to be the littlest (at least she doesn't think she wants that....) anymore. :) B is chomping at the bit to see a picture of his youngest sibling (and to know if he will, in fact, have a brother - both kids are hoping for what they don't already have, B, a brother, E, a sister - but they will both be thrilled with their sibling). :)

It's been a long 2 years in terms of the wait, but it has been an amazing 2 years in many other ways. E has started preschool. We had G, Jackie, and Hellen come stay with us, we moved, we've welcomed other family members (including the newest cousin in our family, born on 11/11/11 - how cool is that?!?), and we've grown as people, as family, with friends. What a blessing. Thank you, God, for all you've done. Thank you family and friends for your support - without it, we wouldn't be quite where we are now. I hope that soon I will have a very exciting post to share, but there may be some fun family times to share before then. Not sure what God's timing is, but I know it is perfect.

ETA: This post is really how I feel today, but know also that this process has been hard and I'm so thankful to friends who listen to my anxious thought each day as I try to leave them behind and trust. Sometimes I think I try hard not to sound negative that I don't share how hard it is. It. Is. HARD. I long to see my child's face EVERY day - all day. And it's hard to patiently explain to my children (AGAIN) about how we don't know when or who or anything really, but that it will be in God's timing. Thanks for listening. Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

16 months and Blog Award

Hi! How are all of you on this beautiful Tuesday? I noticed that it is in fact the 8th and that means that it has now been 16 months since HSTK. There is a very real chance that we will not see 17 months without a referral! Though it's not guaranteed (the part that is very hard for me to deal with). I heard rumor yesterday that someone with SWS received a referral so it sounds like they definitely did resume! That means it could be any time!

My wonderful friend, Erin, over at Erin's Creative Energy gave me this blog award. I am so thankful to have her. Our husbands are actually close friends from college and we met in college as well and became good friends. We keep in touch better than our husbands usually. :) Miss you, Erin! Thank you for thinking of me. :)

The Liebster Award spotlights up and coming bloggers who generally have less than 200 followers.
Upon receipt of the Liebster Award, there are a few very simple rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog

2. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you

3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Now I will pass this award on to 5 other blogs that I truly enjoy.

Ok, this is the hard part. A couple of the ones I thought of have over 200 followers and it's hard to narrow down the ones who don't, so bear with me.

1. Gotta start with my waiting buddy, Kelly. She is next in "line" behind me with the same agency. She has been a wonderful source of support, prayer, and long distance friendship! Check out her blog: Minus 1 Project - right now you can guess the date of her referral! :)

2. Next is my amazing friend, Sandra. I miss her and her wonderful little boy, B (great name!) so much now that we don't live out east any more. Hoping to move back near her soon!

3. Next is Becky, from Day by Day (who I owe a phone call - sorry, I was so sick last week and all weekend). What a blessing God has given me in allowing us to move to the desert at the same time! We live an hour apart (door to door, we've both clocked it) so it's not too difficult to get together and we have a few times. Looking forward to seeing her soon! Her son, J, came home in September and he is absolutely adorable! I am smitten with him! :)

4. My friend, Kala, who brought her son Matthew home summer 2010 and is in process to bring home Nathan! Check out her blog, Together We Make a Family.

5. Our Dreaming Tree of Three is a wonderful blog by my friend Susan. Her spirit really shines through her writing and her photography. Please check it out.

6. Because I'm usually a complete rule follower and I feel like being a rebel I'm throwing in a 6th - Chois R Us is super close to 200 followers and since apparently (according to this award) at 200 you're not longer up and coming but you've arrived - help her "arrive" and go follow her blog if you don't already! :) Grace is another amazing friend and her blog will keep you laughing! :)

There are more I wish I could share, but I am going to get off of blogger for a bit, so have a great day and hopefully I'll be back here with amazing news VERY soon! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

M Family Happenings

So Sunday after church we decided to go to IH@P. That went like this: we arrive and E is antsy so Brian takes her outside to run around. They come back in, we sit, and E runs to the bathroom and pukes all over the bathroom floor (at least she made it that far- and avoided her clothes - impressive at 4). No IH@P for us. We go home, she spiked a fever and was sick for 2 days. Home all day Monday. Fever was gone by afternoon so we did take the kids out trick or treating for a little bit. I see Halloween as a silly day to dress up and eat candy. For the most part we try to down play it in our house, but still allow the fun parts of playing dress up and eating candy. :)

So - we're out trick or treating, having a grand old time, and B runs into a cactus! Little cactus spikes end up stuck in his leg and (because I was trying to help afterwards) stuck in my hand as well. We go home and pick them out with tweezers, what fun. Now I laugh though. Only my child is so oblivious that he runs into a cactus (maybe he can blame the mask?)!

So since E had a fever on Monday I keep her home from PWOC on Tuesday and we spend another day at home. Definitely ready to be out and about on Wednesday. I get a few things done but by Wednesday afternoon - stomach bug hits me. Quite sick all day on Thursday. Today is much better but not fantastic (still a bit nauseous and weak) so hopefully I'll be fully recovered by tonight/tomorrow.

So that's what's going on here. I am trying to focus on today and not on next week or sometime this month when our referral could come rolling in. But some days that is hard. :) It really SHOULD be soon, though there's no guarantee. Hopefully there will be very good, exciting news posted here soon! :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

I-600a approval - Paper Ready AGAIN! :)

We got our updated I171H in the mail yesterday. It doesn't expire until 2013 so it's time to bring home our child and not have to do this end of the paperwork again! :)

Just thought I'd share this bit of happiness! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1 week until November

1 week until the possibility of referrals returns. I am so excited for that possibility to return, but trying to prepare myself and tell myself not to spend energy and time "waiting" even once it does return. It will happen in God's perfect timing, and that may not mean November (can you tell I kind of have my heart set on November? Really trying to change that....really unsuccessful so far).

I figure (this is my own supposition, not based on anything anyone has said to me) that referrals really won't start rolling in for 2 weeks at this point. Since our agency has told us that referrals usually come on Mondays and Tuesdays, I figure that it will be the following Monday and Tuesday when they finally start to arrive in the US.

Please pray for the families waiting, but most importantly for the children who need to be in families that are waiting all over the world.

Our next set of visitors!

My best friend, H, and her 4 kids: CJ, BE, CG, EM - came to visit. I have to use middle initials to clarify b/c our B's have the same name and 2 of her kids have C as their first initial, so this works. :) CJ is B's very first friend. When he was 13 months old (I know this b/c it was before Brian deployed) he could say her full name, and it's not an easy name to say. We then lived together for a few weeks - H, CJ, BE, B, and me - it was hard b/c our husbands were gone, but it was wonderful to have that kind of support. Anyway, now our boys are best friends, plus B considers CJ still one of his best friends, and our girls (CG and E) are the best of friends. You have never seen 2 kids of this age play so angelically for so long. :)

Anyway, we loved having them all here for the week. Unfortunately B had school all week so we were a little limited with the school calendar, but my B is a bit of a home body so he was happy that he got to be here to play at home most of the time. While they visited we were able to get into Tucson to do some shopping (we did birthday and Christmas shopping for each other's kids so we didn't have to send packages this year - did I mention that 5 of our six kids plus H and her husband M have their birthdays in just over a 2 month time span right around Christmas?).
We also went to Tombstone (we did that after school b/c B really enjoys it) and walked around. We didn't go to the OK Corral (we did with my parents) b/c it's a bit long for some of the younger kids, but we did enjoy the early part of it where they do the fighting in the streets. Plus there was fudge and sasparilla in Tombstone, so lots of fun was had by all. We went to Bisbee later in the week and walked all around. Such a cute area. Not entirely kid friendly to be honest, but we had fun all the same.

On Friday we went back to Tucson to pick up M from the airport. We were so happy to have the opportunity to see him, but we wish it was for longer. It was also nice that he was able to drive back with H b/c it's a long drive by yourself with 4 kids. :) Our husbands get along really well, but they often don't get to join us for visits. :(

We wish that we could live near them, and see them on a regular basis. It is really hard to see them go and get back into routine after 3 weeks of visitors. But I think it feels a little more like home to us after having everyone here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nonni and Paika

We had my parents here visiting for almost 2 weeks. It was wonderful to see them. We got to go to Phoenix for the weekend. It was extremely hot while we were there so we tried to stay somewhat indoors. We went to the Musical Instrumental Museum which was pretty fun. We were a bit surprised by how much the kids enjoyed it. I should preface that with the fact that I really should know my son better - if it's a museum, it's for him. He loves museums, could spend weeks exploring the Smithsonian over and over, and he is wonderfully behaved there. Considering the fact that sometimes taking my kids to the grocery store has me pulling my hair out, I don't quite understand this phenomenon, but he just loves to learn new things in an interesting way, he loves to learn about different parts of the world, different periods in time, and different cultures. So I should not have been surprised that he really enjoyed this museum, a LOT! E liked it quite a bit and at first was very engaged and interested. After about 30-45 minutes she was pretty done but she did pretty well hanging in there a little while longer so we could see most of it.

On Sunday the guys (Brian, my Dad, and B) went to see the Giants play against the Cardinals. Brian and B are big Giants fans so this was extremely exciting! It was the first time B went to a pro game, and the first time for both of them to see the Giants (it's pretty much impossible to get tickets to the Meadowlands so he hadn't seen them before).

The girls went to Tucson to do some shopping and have lunch together. It was a fun time for all involved, though Mom and I were both kind of happy to make it home earlier than the guys. :) E was sound asleep by the time they got to our house and since Mom and Dad were still on Eastern Time, that was quite an adjustment.

While they visited we went to Tombstone and we were even able to meet my uncle there and he came and stayed the night with us! :) We went to Bisbee, on the Mine Tour, to Karchner Caverns (we didn't go in the caves, but we hiked around the outside). The Hike was fantastic, beautiful, and B led the way the whole time! He is becoming quite the hiker! It really brings out his confidence, which I love! E was about done by the last 1/2 mile but she really did well for a 4 year old! It was a 2 1/2 mile hike, but the first half was mostly up the mountain, and the second half was winding, and the path was rocky and uneven, lots of ups and downs - it was hard work for all of us, so I was almost finished by the last 1/2 mile! :)

We had lots of fun playing games - this is a normal passtime with my parents and my kids and all 6 of us love it! A new game my parents introduced was Qwirkle! Great fun! B got good at it, E is still figuring it out a bit, but she enjoys it. We all enjoy playing games that are fun for adults as well as kids. I love that it's a rare occasion that I have to play Candyland and Chutes and Ladders (we still own them, and they come out once in a while, probably much more once the baby is old enough, but I am so much happier with other games!). :)

Sadly, Mom and Dad had to return home. But we're excited for Christmas. And we had to get ready for our next set of visitors....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paperwork mailed to USCIS!

Finally got our I-600a extension and new home study with court certification all mailed in to USCIS today! :) Happy to have that done. Now we should be able to just sit back and wait for our referral! 17 days until November and 72 days until Christmas - there's a very good chance we'll see our child's face in that time frame! :)

Wonderful update on JJ - it was looking good for going home yesterday from the hospital! What miraculous healing has been done in his life! :) Hoping to hear confirmation that he's home sweet home soon! :)

Our happy times - we just had my parents here for a week and a half - wonderful time! Miss them already. Today my best friend, H, and her 4 kids are coming into town. I think I'm bouncing off the walls as much as the kids! :) Off to get the house picked up a bit for them. ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011

15 months and some current events

OK, to start - it's been 15 months since HSTK. Here's hoping by 16 months we'll have a picture. We've been told that referrals will start up again in November. I am so ready for November, yet at the same time dreading it. It's actually been a nice respite being out of the "waiting" mode and I'm not looking forward to being there again. However, I'm really hoping it's not very long that we're in it. It looks as though we've been waiting longest at our agency so November is a very realistic timeline. Our agency is telling us November or December. They're saying travel in March/April - I'm saying travel in April/May. I guess we'll see. :)

I have a couple of friends at our agency (whom I've never met in person) that I've been waiting most of this time with. Kelly and Monica (check out their awesome fundraisers) are numbers 2 and 3 (from what we've figured out, there is always room for error) and we've been waiting together for quite some time. Kelly is about a month behind, and Monica about 2 months so we're all over a year of waiting at this point and it's been such a blessing to have people to email and write to, pray with and for, and have someone who understands to talk to. I'm rambling here, forgive me. I have other awesome friends who have been waiting too, but I thought I'd give a shout out to the two who have been enduring this with me for so long at our agency. We are all ready to see our babies' sweet faces! :)

In other news: B had an awesome soccer game the other day! He was right in there playing hard or cheering hard for his team the entire time AND he even scored! :) He also assisted a goal with his throw-in. But most of all I was just so proud of how attentive he was to the game the entire time - playing or not. :)

My parents are visiting. Nonni and Paika are definitely a huge hit in this house. Every meal starts with figuring out who gets to sit by who. We have played games, read books, gone to the pumpkin patch, went to Tombstone (with Uncle Doug who was also in town!), done some other touring in the area and it's been awesome. B got to go to his first NFL game with Brian and Paika which was awesome for all of them. We went hiking yesterday and B was leading the way the whole time. I love to see him when he's confident and feeling strong. It's a work in progress because he does not always portray that confidence at all. E did very well for a 4 year old. It was a 2 1/2 mile hike, but it was in the mountains therefore it was rocky, rough, and uphill or narrow much of the way. By the last 1/2 mile she was about done but she spent that first 2 miles really doing an awesome job (that portion took us about and hour and a half to give you an idea).
Right now we're off to attempt making pumpkin pie starting with a pumpkin - completely from scratch! :) B is quite excited!

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Catch up Post #2: NY and NJ

While in NY we were able to see both sides of the family. We spent a good amount of time at Nonni and Paika's and at camp with Grammy and Grandpa, Aunt Robin and Uncle Joe and we got to see Lindsay and Joey too! We got to celebrate Corey's graduation from high school with Uncle Doug and the boys which was fantastic! Amazing how many people we were able to see!

We had a get together with the other side of the family as well. E really enjoyed seeing R, G, K, and D (so did B, but they're closer in age to E). We were also able to go out to N and S's house to play and swim with them. We also hit a lot of our local haunts - walking all over my home town, ice cream at Stewarts, visiting Carousel Mall, eating out at Friendly's (before having to move to an area that doesn't have one - this is my kids' FAVORITE restaurant) and spending lots of time with Nonni and Paika before moving so much further away. :(

After a little over a week (not enough time!) we headed to NJ. Hurray - we got to see Grandma and Grandpa and lots of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins there. E loves babies so she was fascinated still by M and T - our new little cousins. Even B was pretty excited to see them though if E, M, and K were around, they only held his interest temporarily (true with E too, but to a lesser extent, she really loves babies, but she only sees E, M, and K once in a while too, so it was a hard choice). Those girls are so sweet. I know that at times it's hard to have younger cousins always wanting your attention, but they do well at entertaining and including them! :)

We also got to see the other side of the family there too. E and E enjoy each other more and more each time. It's so much fun to see them interact. We were very happy that Uncle Mark and Danielle got to come visit while we were there too! We are so sad to be moving away from them. It was amazing to have them just a couple of hours away! We miss you! I am also so happy that as much as our kids love playing with other kids, they ADORE their Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. The joy they display when they get to see them is amazing. :)

We miss everyone in NY and NJ! Can't wait to see you all at Christmas!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Catch up Post #1 - Leaving Virginia

I'm starting to catch up and I want to keep a bit of a record of our move so I'm going to start at the beginning.

The night before we left Virginia (a place I'm still pining for right now) we slept on cushions provided by our wonderful neighbor (thank you M!) and sleeping bags. None of us slept well and we were up at 5 am. We got everything clean and out to the car by 7:30 and we locked up and bid farewell to our townhouse. :( I took the kids to McDonald's for breakfast (a rare treat - I'm not a fan of fast food breakfast) and then took B to his last day of school. E and I spent 3 hours running our last few errands - the housing office (AGAIN), something to do with our car, and my memory has already failed me. But I remember that it was 3 things that I was a bit concerned about being back at school on time since it was a short day (about 2 hours). Then we picked B up and headed to NY. The good news is that the drive to NY went really well. The kids were good despite the fact that at the very beginning of our cross country journey our DVD player didn't seem to be working. I messed with it a bit and got it to work part way to NY. We arrived in better time than anticipated and were able to enjoy a relaxing evening with my parents and some great time in NY.

The emotions of leaving are something very different than my past experiences. Leaving NY the first time was scary but I knew we'd be back to visit a lot because my parents are there. Plus Brian and I had been living apart so it was a joy to be moving in together again!

Leaving Kansas was strange. I loved our time in Kansas. I had fantastic friends and have many wonderful memories. But the end was tough. I was so sick and everyone was moving around the same time so it just seemed to be time to move on. We were excited for our next adventure and to get settled before E was born.

Leaving Indiana had sad moments. Saying goodbye to S, J, C, and M was HARD on all of us. And leaving a church family that we really enjoyed was sad. But we were so excited to move to VA. We were moving so much closer to family and I already had some friends there (R, M, H, and K - I miss you all!) which really helped us settle in a bit faster and feel at home.

Virginia became home faster than anywhere else that we lived. We really were comfortable there. We made amazing friends there. We built a community around us. We had support. We had family that could get there easily. My brother-in-law even moved with in 2ish hours of us and we got to see him and his girlfriend frequently.

The adoption community that surrounded us made me feel like our child would be surrounded by Korean culture and other children who had the same background. What a comfort! We actually had extended family come visit us during the time we lived there. K, S, G and G - we miss you and your kids so much!

The program at school that my son was in was PERFECT for him! He was doing awesome there! He had great friends! He misses L and K a lot! My daughters preschool made me happy just to be there it was such a warm, loving, happy environment and I had friends there. She still tells me that we should move back to VA and not ever move again. Poor baby is struggling with this move.

I could go on and on. Our whole family has never been more at home anywhere. We knew eventually we'd have to move but to find out how soon it would be, and suddenly find out it would be without our child home from Korea, and that the room I'd prepared for him (or her) wouldn't be used, and that we'd not only be moving away from this community but as far away as you could get from the Northeast where we have family was a blow. This is the first move that took me away kicking and screaming (in my head). I have tried hard to have a good attitude. I am so thankful for my husband's job, I am so thankful that we're together as a family, I am so thankful for so many things, but this was an emotional blow. It still is to an extent but we're settling in and I know we can enjoy it for a couple of years.

We've had friends who have kept in touch (facebook is such a wonderful thing), we've even had my son's best friend keep in touch and he has amazing parents who are so supportive and helpful! I am so thankful, and I don't think I can express that enough to them!

When I picked B up from school that day and drove away I had tears in my eyes, but it was time to move on. I can't wait to go back, but I'm trying to enjoy the journey. I want to document this trip b/c traveling cross country was an amazing experience with the kids. The trip was also filled with so much emotion that I know I can't fully separate that from the experience. But this was the hardest part. Leaving. Next I'll share more about NY and NJ visits. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Catch up posts to come and a tiny bit of adoption news!

I have been sadly neglecting this blog since moving. Part of it was hitting a wall with our adoption - having everything slow down significantly this spring really slowed my motivation. Then moving was just busy and somehow it seems once you've neglected your blog for a while - it's hard to get moving again. But this is my commitment to moving again. I have 2 kids who should have some memories preserved, which is one of the reasons for creating this blog. I'm not good at journaling in a book, so I'm using a blog. Well, in order for that to work, I actually need to post! So there will be some major catch up going on here starting with our trip this summer.

On the up side - I've heard that referrals are starting back up in November and it appears as though we actually have been waiting the longest at our agency so we are very hopefully to actually receive a referral in November. As I learn more I will update. Happy October! Enjoy the fall!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11

I've been thinking of writing this post but it seems daunting. What to write? How to capture the emotions of 10 years ago? I'd like to though, so I can share it with my kids one day.

10 years ago tomorrow, when I woke up I thought "Hurray! We've been married 1 month! We'll celebrate tonight". Nothing much really, but it was a happy day.

I drove to school (at 5:45 am - so happy I don't commute to work anymore!) and settled in with my kids. During my planning period I heard a few strange rumors when I went into the office so I went to my classroom and turned on the radio (the cable was out at the school that day). One of my co-teachers and I listened to the slightly confused and amazed woman who was reporting about a plane flying into one of the towers. At that point they weren't sure why it had happened. People were mostly confused and worried for those inside the building, etc. Then we heard the true panic and astonishment as the second plane flew into the other tower. You could hear the pandemonium in the background of the radio broadcast. It felt so unreal, like it wasn't actually happening. We listened for the rest of our planning period. Just after turning it off we heard about the Pentagon (the office was across the hall from my classroom so sometimes news trickled in.

Then kids come into my classroom again and I had to act like everything was normal. We talked about it a lot with our kids after that day, but that day we didn't tell them, we let them go home and hear from their families. We needed time to process and understand what was going on. Our students had moderate to severe special needs and it wasn't appropriate to show them our shock and dismay right then.

By lunch I had heard about Flight 93 and when I got home that afternoon my husband and I sat at his fraternity house (he was a senior in college) and watched the footage that became the only thing anyone watched on tv for about a month (maybe not quite that long, but as I sit here and think back, I know that we watched it for a long time).

My thoughts and feelings that day, and in the days to come were both for the welfare of our nation, but also very personal (and I suppose selfish). I realized that day that my husband (who was in ROTC) would be going to war soon after he graduated. There had been talk of conflicts in the Middle East and possible US involvement, but I knew without a doubt that this cemented the decision. There would be war and my husband would go. I have to say that I did not react well to this realization. I clung to my husband in an unhealthy way. I let worry consume me for a while and it wasn't healthy for our marriage. I can see this all in retrospect, though I didn't realize it all at the time. Now I know that my husband can not be my everything. I have to cling to God for that, and trust that He will take care of our lives. I've learned a lot in the past 10 years. Our world changed a lot on that day.

It changed even more for the families of those who lost loved ones on that day. My husband and I are from NY and NJ. We both have family members whose stories scared us in retrospect, but we were fortunate that our families were safe. Today I hope that we can stand together as a nation, remember those who were lost and pray for their families. I know that those families have created new lives, but that they still missed their loved one every day.

I hope that we will remember the fire fighters, police officers, ambulance workers, National Guardsmen, citizens and volunteers who worked hard that day, and especially those who gave their lives that day. Sometimes I think we spent 6 months honoring all of those people, and then as our lives went back to normal we forget about all that they did that day. Today we should remember. I hope we can honor the military who later went to war to protect our nation from terrorists. They went over there, to keep us safe here, so that our lives could go on as normally as possible. The military portion could be a whole post to itself for me (or book) so I'll leave it there for today. For today I will remember and I will celebrate and praise God for the life that we have in the good ol' US of A!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodbye Sarah

Earth lost a powerful force this weekend. A beautiful, caring, fun loving, amazing girl named Sarah. I know as a Christian I often struggle with why God would take someone like that away from this earth. I guess He just wanted her to be up with Him.
Please keep Sarah's family in your thoughts and prayers. Pray for peace and comfort for them. I've never known 3 sisters to be so close, and I can only begin to imagine the loss that they are feeling. R is one of my closest friends from college and I love her so much, and I love her family. I will be praying for them and remembering Sarah always.

'"For my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.' Isaiah 55:8

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Please pray!

My friend, Sarah, needs prayer. I'm not sure how much detail to share but she is currently hooked up to life support and things have definitely been touch and go. Please pray for her. Her sister is one of my dear friends and her family is wonderful. I am heartbroken and just pray for God's miraculous healing for her. And for His comfort for the family.

Thanks. I'm a bit distracted right now b/c I think about Sarah all the time right now, yet I'm not telling the kids why I'm so distracted and I feel kind of bad, but it's just so scary and sad, but not above God!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Check this out!

My friend, Sonia, is working on bringing home her 3rd son in about 6ish months. I am still fathoming paying for 1 adoption and we've been working on this for coming up on 2 years. They are shaking out their piggy banks trying to bring Joshua home.

On top of that Joshua has a heart condition (and some other medical issues that you can read about on their blog) that means he needs to be home SOON! It's questionable whether or not his condition is operable so the plan is to get this boy home soon so he can know the love of a family. In the mean time we're praying that operations will be possible and healing will be complete. But getting him home is the first hurdle.

Please help them out by sharing this blog, praying for this family, and if possible chip in to their wonderful give-away! Those bracelets look awesome (I already bought one for E, hoping to win one for me!). :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 years ago today...

I married the most amazing man in the world (sorry to all of you who think you did, but I actually did)! :)

10 things I've learned in 10 years of marriage:

1. The first year of marriage is HARD. I think we do a disservice to young couples by calling it a "honeymoon period" b/c it gives the impression that it's downhill from there. Let me tell you, it's all been better since the first year. And it just keeps getting better!

2. Sometimes separation can help bring you closer.

3. Men and women communicated differently - I've learned to be blunt and not hint around at what I'm trying to talk about. It has helped a lot!

4. Lists are hard - even though you know you've learned a lot, it's hard to recall it when you're making a list.

5. Even though Brian is the love of my life, I still do need other friends. He can't be my everything. I needed to learn to rely on God for that.

6. We grow closer with time in all ways and enjoy time together more and more.

7. Kids can make marriage more interesting rather than putting it on a back burner.

8. Sometimes you have to work to make your marriage a priority over soccer practice, volunteer opportunities, work, and yes, even your children. Not saying your children's needs are ignored, just that you remember that your marriage really needs to be a priority! That helps our children feel secure.

9. Did I mention that I married the best man in the whole world? I've learned this more and more over the years.

10. I'm constantly learning and amazed at God's awesome work in our lives and how that really led us to where we are. We never would have gotten here on our own.

I want to share one last bit of news that has me celebrating and SO excited!!!! Read my friend, Becky's post here: Day by Day Just so happy for them!!! I can't wait to meet Joshua!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First day of school and 13 months!

So the two dates above were the same day. Yesterday my kids started school. Being from the northeast I find starting school in August slightly sacrilegious but it was actually a good thing. The kids needed a place to go make friends and all 3 of us were craving some routine after 7 weeks for abnormality (which also means my son only had 7 weeks of vacation, sssshhhhh - don't tell). I kept thinking we were traveling for longer than we were. I've lost all sense of time. Apparently we only traveled for 5 weeks and we got here 2 weeks ago.

How it went:

E's initial reaction was not quite positive. She packed up quickly the moment she saw me, ran over and said "Just like I thought, I didn't make any friends!" but much of her later report was more positive. She did play with one girl, her teacher is nice, and she liked a lot of things that they did. She is really struggling with this move and it's heartbreaking for me because I can't make it better.

B had a much more positive reaction. They went to the playground 3 times and he played with kids and had fun. He's feeling more comfortable than E but it takes time. He seems to remember that it took him time in VA and isn't getting too impatient. He did come home with a worksheet today where he wrote the following sentence that broke my heart: "I can trust my best friend, L, because he's nice and we play together." L lives in VA and I know B really misses him. Hopefully we can get skype up and running and skype with L soon.

13 months since HSTK. Hopefully only a few more left and we'll finally see our baby's sweet face. Plus I'm hoping a few of my friends and I will have similar timelines for traveling to Korea (K!) - how cool would be to finally meet there?!? Our home study is moving forward. Our interviews are next week and our home visit is fairly soon after (we think). Fortunately my amazing friend Becky came and helped me unpack today! We got the kids' toy room all set up and I am so thankful!!! Hopefully I'll get pictures up soon. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Random thoughts on Arizona, moving, and the adoption process

We're in AZ. We've been here for a week and a half. It's definitely a different area but we're mostly enjoying it. Though we miss VA a lot!

We have a house full of boxes. We're working on getting those unpacked. Next week when school starts I can probably get even more done. It seems like right now it's a lot of start and stops so having a couple of uninterrupted hours in a row will definitely help.

We had an obnoxious mover who thought it was his business to push and push about why we were adopting internationally instead of domestically. I find this so frustrating because it's rarely from someone who wants to sit down and listen to our reasons, it's just from someone who wants to judge us for not doing what they seem to think we should do. Thanks - did you adopt? No? Then why do you feel you know more about it than I do? Sorry, this really irritated me.

E was a huge help in unpacking the kitchen. She would take something out of the box, sit on the floor (in case the object was fragile), unwrap it and bring it to me. If it was kid dishes she would put them away herself. What a huge helper! :) Later both kids helped in this way, but E was the one who truly enjoyed it.

Did you know that some times here if you get a soda from the fountain it looks like it's running out. The soda part and syrup part come out separated. B thinks it looks like a candy cane. It tastes the same, just strange.

When you first arrive here you really notice the brown everywhere (this was especially true in May - this is definitely the "green" time of year) but after a bit you start to look out and see the beauty of the mountains and how awe-inspiring it is here.

B chose his school. We looked into different schools around here (local school, on post, and a brand new charter school). B learned about the schools and visited and chose where he wanted to go (even though he has to wear a uniform). He's really excited and thinks his school is going to be great! I love his enthusiasm. I wasn't sure it would be there this year. E is super excited about her preschool. Both kids can't wait to make new friends.

Speaking of new friends - we got together with Sandra's friend C and her 2 kids. Thank you so much Sandra! It is wonderful to have a friend here and the kids had a wonderful time. I miss you though!

Our home study is moving along. It's a bit frustrating that our agency is about 4 hours away but the plan right now is to go out on a Sunday and do our joint interview Monday and our individual interviews Tuesday. Still working on what to do with the kids during the joint interview. Hopefully we can figure something out. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 21 of travel!

First - thank you so much to all who left encouragement on my blog! Your kind words, verses, etc. are so greatly appreciated! I don't know that I could ever express how much it means to me!!! Thank you!

Not much news just wanted to tell you that I'm still here. We've been to NY, NJ, IN, and now we're in Nashville, TN. We did hear that our "application has been approved" from our home study agency. Hopefully we'll be moving forward soon.

We also found out that our household goods still exist and that we WILL be able to get them one day! :) It took almost 3 weeks to find out about them - no one wanted to call us or email us back. I decided to be annoying but politely so - I emailed and left (polite) voice mail messages a few times a day for 2 days and someone called me! :) Not sure if they would have anyway but glad to have an idea of what is going on. We'll have our things at our house by August 2! :)

Last piece of good news - E got into a preschool (she was on 2 waiting lists)! :) I got to talk to my new friend, C, today that Sandra so kindly connected me with! I am excited to meet her! She recommended this preschool! Praise God! Things are coming together, slowly but surely!!!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A day we didn't think we'd see...

1 year ago today we were HSTK. We were told that we were likely to receive a referral in 4-6 months. Every few months since then something new has come up and it has not been the journey we expected. But I know that God is in control and He has a plan. I have to trust in His timing and not get upset by delays. Of course financially this move is tough. The cost of a brand new home study as well as the amount we're going to have to pay each time they do a home visit (or interview, etc.) is much more than we'd originally budgeted for. But I know that the money we have is not our own and I need to have faith in God's plan.

I hope you all had a great 4th of July! We did and this weekend the kids and I are blessed to have time with my in-laws PLUS my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. It will be such a fun day today so that will be a terrific distraction from my own thoughts! :) Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Update: Application sent, in NY

Well we finally sent our "application" in to Dillon Southwest (not to be confused with Dillon that is in the rest of the country which even our agency didn't realize until talking to them). It was a lot of work so we're definitely celebrating being done. Hopefully our 8 reference letters (yes 8) will be there soon and we can plan our interviews and home visit so this can get approved for a (hopefully) fall referral.

Brian is in AZ. No household goods, but at least we're getting there. Baby steps. I am very excited to see my friend, Becky when we get to AZ. It is such a blessing and comfort to know that I'll have a friend just an hour away.

The wildfires are 59% under control (which is good - it was 17% not long ago) and most evacuations have been lifted at this time. Praise God! Praying for rain to put those fires out completely.

We're in NY visiting family. It's wonderful to be here though hard to be in transition. We miss everyone in Virginia but it's a bit surreal that we've actually left and we're not just on vacation. I can't express how wonderful everyone was. Saying goodbye was HARD. I made some amazing friends, a few only in the past year but they came to be such terrific friends I didn't want to leave (K, S, and G - miss you already!)! I know we'll be back, which helps. It's still hard to know I can't see them whenever we want. When it starts to seem real I get sad but then I get busy with family and just go back to not really believing we're gone. I'll face reality eventually. ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Packers are here, fire?!?

It's been a crazy month. I haven't blogged much. We're in the process of moving, a bit sooner than expected. We're headed to Arizona (via NY, NJ, IN - yeah, not quite the right direction so this is a long trip). It's been a lot of work getting ready for this.

On top of that we've been re-doing ALL of our adoption paperwork. Almost done! That will be mailed out Monday morning! We need our lab work to come back so the docs can sign off on everything.

We've had a few hang ups with getting our things moved, then I ended up not feeling well yesterday and today, and my brake lights are out and need to be fixed before we moved. These are the things I've been worried about, but they really pale in comparison to a new concern...

There are hugs wildfires in the part of AZ we're moving to. The very southern part of our new hometown has been evacuated and the 10 day forecast does not have a drop of rain. Instead there's sun and wind (not helpful!). Please pray for rain for AZ. Monsoon season should be starting in a few weeks, but it hasn't hit yet. Please pray that those rains will come very soon.

Thanks. I'll keep you posted on what I hear.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Is it Wednesday?


B had a fever from Thursday afternoon until yesterday. He's on antibiotics (when I called to get him in the doctor's offices on base were all closed for the 4-day so we finally went to the ER Monday and he got some meds). He has a sinus infection and bronchial spasms. It changed some plans but we still got to see my wonderful brother-in-law and his awesome girlfriend who came to visit us (B's fever had subsided for a full 24 hours so we thought he was better before they came. It came back that night).

B was finally back at school today! Hurray! And I got to see my friends S and C and their daughter! But I still have trouble remembering it's Wednesday, so no whatnot today - but do check out Elizabeth's blog - it's great!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Adjusting our plans

Well, SWS (the Korean agency that our American agency partners with) has run out of EPs (exit permits, the number of children the Korean government allows be adopted internationally each year) for the year. It's fairly early this year but they gave out a lot of referrals early in the year which is unusual from what I've heard.

Our agency has said that they aren't going to give out any more referrals until fall to keep the time between referral and travel on the shorter side (3-4 months). Travel is likely to resume around late January (again, according to our agency's best guess based on their phone conversation with SWS). Other agencies that work with SWS are just saying that the wait for travel has increased a whole lot. Not sure which is accurate. Not sure which is better. The unknown of who our child is and what the future holds is starting wear on us. But I know once I see that sweet child's face I will want him (or her) in my arms SOON!

What does this mean for us? For those of you who don't know, we're moving to Arizona. Our original plans were that we wouldn't be leaving this area until late summer (believing we'd have a referral and USCIS approval by then). Now we're taking the summer to move out and get settled. It works out better for B and E because there's no concern about them starting school on time. We're taking a bit of a cross country trip and it'll be about 2 weeks for the kids and I to get out there (fortunately only 3-4 of those nights will be in hotels). Brian is going to spend those two weeks working and unpacking (don't I have the best husband ever! - then again, he doesn't have to drive cross country with kids....). When we get there we should be able to get settled pretty quickly and get moving on our home study update. Our agency here is contacting Dillon in AZ to facilitate this. Hopefully we'll talk with them early next week so we can do things like get medical exams, etc. done here before we move to save time. Hopefully we'll get everything updated and then we won't have to wait long for a referral.

We have prayed for God to work out the details of our move and our adoption. This is NOT the answer I wanted, but I know it's part of God's will and we will know that it is "good, pleasing, and perfect" once we see how it all unfolds.
These two verses continue to come to mind:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Whatnot Wednesday: Disney Edition


We went to Disney a couple of weeks ago and I need to blog about it before I forget the precious (and not so precious) moments. :)

*E started saying "That was awesome!!!!" (really stretching out the awesome) after almost every ride. She'd pump her fists in the air and get all excited. Very cute. Very much encouraged, especially by Uncle M and D (my BIL's wonderful girlfriend who came on the trip too). We did get a video, one day I'll put it on facebook. She'll probably be in middle school. That's how good I am at getting videos up anywhere.

*B is a thrill seeker. The faster the better! His favorite rides were Expedition Everest, Space Mountain (which is faster and darker since the renovation they did - I liked when it was tame with the neon signs personally...), Rockin' Roller Coaster, Dinosaur, Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain (these two were "tame" for him but he still loves them).

*E also loved the thrills - that she was tall enough to enjoy anyway. Dinosaur, Splash and Thunder Mountain were her faves. But she still enjoyed Fantasyland and other tamer rides as well.

*A downpour and a spitting camel can be real highlights of a trip. Even to Disney.

*When we're at home B feels he's a bit too old for Disney characters. But while we're at Disney - he's still in awe. It's so cute to see his face when a character is coming over. His grin was so big it lit up the room.

*My kids both need sleep while we're on vacation. We really thought we could get away with few naps and slightly off bed times without meltdowns this time around. At least for B. Unfortunately we forgot who we were dealing with. My boy NEEDS his sleep! He is a different person when he's overtired and we saw that a bit more than expected. Both kids took naps a few times during the week. When that happened we generally had a great evening, so we embraced it rather trying to push through the day without a nap.

*I finally learned how to say "Please stand clear of the doors" in Spanish. This is my 8th trip to Disney with my husband and/or his family. The first trip I took with them they used to recite it each time on the monorail and I tried to figure it out. It took me 7 more trips and 11 years to get to that point... Big accomplishment. Just don't ask me to type it, I didn't say I could spell it.

* We went to a princess lunch at Norway. It was wonderful and despite his protests B enjoyed it quite a bit. He ended up wanting to have his picture taken with Belle and then he had a great time with Grandpa, Paika (my Dad) and Uncle M while E saw Princess after princess (and LOVED it!).

*Girl's tea with my Mom, MIL, D, and E (oh, and me) was wonderful. E was dressed like a princess and ordered scones and strawberries and E had chocolate tea (chocolate milk - glad she ordered it b/c she tried everyone else's tea and didn't like it). She did go around the table and put sugar cubes in for everyone who wanted one. She acted like the hostess throughout and loved it!

*B really enjoyed the parades and fireworks. It's the one time he enjoyed slowing down and watching. Otherwise it was go, go go. But he definitely enjoyed each parade and show that he went to. He also got to go to Fantasmic (one of my favorites) with Brian. They had fun, but he was scared. Brian said it was pretty cute to see him get so nervous and kind of cling to him. He's often such the big boy now, but he is just 7.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"I Wish for You a Beautiful Life" OR "What not to read while you're sitting on a plane in the middle seat b/w 2 strangers"

So I was traveling this week. I was on a plane in the middle seat, between two strangers (yes, you probably figured that out from the title) and I read " I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children"

An AMAZING book that gave insight into some Korean culture, as well as reading some very raw emotions from Birth Mothers. Needless to say - I was SOBBING! In the middle seat. Between two strangers. Big UGLY cry that I was trying to keep silent and discreet. Of course, I'm sure I failed but the people on either side of me kindly ignored me.

I would HIGHLY recommend reading this if you are an adoptive parent. Honestly it's a great read for anyone that has an interest in adoption or Korean culture. I read the book in a very short period of time - maybe 2 hours? It didn't take long and it was very engrossing. But I would highly recommend tissues and privacy! Definitely makes for an easier read...

Monday, May 16, 2011

A year and a half...

Today is the 18 month mark. It's officially been 1 1/2 years since we started this process. Hoping we see that beautiful face soon.

Just to make it clear - we're not with Eastern, I'm just praying for those families (and personally praying that SWS doesn't end up with the same issues soon, this scares me). I know this is all in God's hands and I have to give it up to Him daily and let go of what I can't control.

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

10 months and update

OK, last Sunday marked 10 months since HSTK. Not a milestone I ever wanted to meet but here it is, one week after that and still waiting. Praying it's this week but trying not to have my expectations low.

We also got news that the director of the Korea program at our agency is moving to a different position and there is going to be a new director of the Korea program. I have mixed feelings. I'll miss S - I really like her. I was thrilled to see A, our Social Worker, was taking her place because I like her a lot, I'm also concerned because I know S has a good rapport with Korea and A is new in this position. I'm hoping they take their time with the transition. I'm beginning to think we may need them to advocate for us since we've been waiting longer than most at our agency (maybe 1 or 2 other families waiting as long).

Also our fingerprints need to be renewed. They expire after 15 months which is the beginning of August, so we're filling out the paperwork for that. Not something I'm excited about but not too difficult either so I figure it could be worse.

We got both of those emails today when we got home from Disney World! More on that trip later, but suffice to say that two exhausted parents getting info like that isn't ideal. But again, I know it could be much tougher.

Speaking of worse - ESWS released some crushing news. They ran out of EPs - as of December 1, 2010. Therefore starting December 2 there is a 14 month wait for travel. That's heartbreaking. Can you imagine staring at your child's face for 14 months without being able to hold him/her? Prayers for those families and those children who are in foster homes, becoming more attached to foster parents, not knowing that they have yet to meet their forever families. That is not likely to make for an easy transition.

So please keep Eastern Families in your prayers! And I'll stop my whining and pray too. Sound like a plan?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whatnont Wednesday

Hi! Welcome to another edition of Whatnot Wednesday and don't forget to check out Elizabeth's blog to see the originator of Whatnot Wednesdays and link to others or link up yourself and join in the fun. :)

* I have a 7 year old boy. That means that I should really learn to sew or buy stock in pants because my boy puts so many wholes in his pants it's ridiculous. First of all, he is this skinny kid who needs 8 SLIM with the adjustable waistband pulled all the way to the last button. If I don't buy slim then the adjustable waistband by itself isn't enough. This said, it's not easy to find pants that fit him (and that he is willing to wear). So when he goes through them like water it's enough to make Mama want to pull her hair out! We are on a budget here darling boy, trying to save for an adoption. But, I want my kids to run and play and be kids. So I bite my tongue and buy more pants with a joyful and thankful heart. I love my active boy and wouldn't trade him for the world. So I count my blessings and look for good sales!

*"I'm still learning" Any time my angelic little girl does than angelic she first bursts into tears when my voice is anything but pleased with her (she is quite sensitive, takes after me so I can't fault her here). Once she has calmed down, we've discussed it, and she's been repentant she will look at my with her BIG brown eyes and say "You know Mommy, I'm still learning". Yes baby girl, and you will be your entire life (these conversations always end with big hugs).

*At B's school one of the centers they have is letter writing. So B and his friend L have written back and forth in class. They also wrote letters in class to someone who lives out of town and B wrote to his friend C in Indiana (S - did you get it yet?). He was so excited to send out the letter. During spring break I had the kids draw pictures for my parents (we had to mail something back to them so I stuck them in with it) and B spontaneously decided to write my parents a note on the back. You have to understand that the one thing B has always hated doing is writing. This was pretty exciting! Thank you Ms. M for getting my child excited about writing!!!

*Did you all have a wonderful Easter? I hope so. We enjoyed our service at church more than expected. We had a family service (meaning no child care, kids are with you in service) which I was personally dreading. B goes with us to the beginning of each service and he's pretty miserable for the 15ish minutes he's in there so an entire service did not sound like fun. We've been talking with him for the past few weeks about this and Easter went surprisingly well. We realized once we got there that E could have gone to class, it was only the older classes that were canceled, but since we'd set the expectation we didn't tell her and kept both kids with us. They were fantastic! Thank you God! Here's hoping we're turning a corner on that front with B.

*I've decided to give up Diet Coke. I have a bit of an addiction. I'm only doing 2 weeks, but it could be a long 2 weeks. The past 2 days I've had quite a headache by 7, here's hoping we can do a bit better today. Here's hoping I don't go postal if I don't get a referral next week and have also gone a week w/o Diet Coke.... :)