December 29, 2007

Priceless & Anniversaries

We registered for Quint today at PBK. No, that's not the only place we're registered for the kids, but it's where his bedroom set is. So we went to the trouble of signing up and scanning all the things we felt would fit in his room.

There are some things stupidity can't buy. For everything else, there's an idiot waiting in the wings to insult the adoptive parents of the world - good intentions not withstanding.


Additionally, we observed two anniversaries today:

First, today marked twenty-one months LID for China and our little princess, Keira. Sputter, gag, cough, hack, kill me now. I swear, I have the gestation of an elephant. All the better for the elephant, in fact, because if I WERE an elephant and WERE pregnant - I'd be giving birth next month. Can I get an Amen?

Second, eight years ago today at a little Starb@cks in California - sitting on a patio and enjoying a cup of coffee - AB and I had our very first date. For those curious - I asked him out. He said yes. We met for coffee and flirted our way through a couple hours of conversation. We have never been apart since. Happy 8 years together ~ love of my life...

December 27, 2007

Child of my Heart...

Child of the world,
Into my heart you came
Bringing sun into my life,
Making family our name.

This figurine at right was AB's gift to me on Christmas morning, touching my heart more than I can convey here. Pictures of the ugly cry that ensued while trying to open the package and realizing what was inside are below. Even though I had never asked for this, I had seen it several times in stores and actually went to the trouble of getting weepy every time. Simply because of what it would mean to me to have my babies in my arms, footy pajamas and all. How I long for that so much!

Calling all adoptive Moms: Run don't walk. I looked it up on the internet so I can pass along the "wheredidyagetit": You can purchase them at the major Greeting Card chains, or on the web at Willow Tree.

And just so you all know, here is the reason it was made per the website and the creator, making it all the more special to Anton and I:

"Child of my Heart is a tall figurine of a woman holding a young child in her arms. The mother and child have different hair and skin color, subtly implying that they may not be related by blood. The piece was inspired by a friend of Susan’s who adopted an Asian child. However, the adoption reference does not prevent this piece from being meaningful for any parent and child. The sentiment for the piece is a love poem to a child. It may speak especially clearly to someone who has or is planning to adopt, as it refers to welcoming a long-awaited child into a family."

And so here come the pictures (ugly crying took place after the last picture when I had to put the kabosh on picture taking):

Ok, this is curious - what could it be?

Ok, AB - I PROMISE I'm not peaking!!

Well, I'm gonna have to look because this is taped like something my Grandma wrapped!

O.M.G. - I know what this is! I just peaked at it and I know what this is...I've seen it before...OMG, come the waterworks...

Oh crap! Now I'm blubbering and AB is just snapping all kinds of bad pictures of the ugly cry. Great. Now I'll have to blog them because I have no self respect...

Still crying. I love this. It's absolutely my favorite gift from AB. Hands down.
How well he knows me...

Ok, love of my life. ENOUGH pictures of me crying - step away from the camera!

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas


Just a quick update - AB and I had a wonderful Christmas day sharing gifts, and great food (Anton made a prime rib! YUM!). We even had some dear friends over to share it with us, along with our favorite little 2 year old, Keira Grace. It was a long day but AB got me some really wonderful things which I will share with you later.

Oh! And thanks for all your prayers - my Dad was released from the hospital on Sunday and was home in time to spend the holiday with family. He's doing great and feeling much better!

Hope you all spent the day relaxing, sharing, and enjoying those you love!

*This picture was taken by our little tree tonight before the guests went home and the gifts were all accounted for. We truly had a wonderful time together!

December 18, 2007

Suppose I could say "Hi"

So, here's the latest in bullet points - I'm the worlds worst blogger lately - what is my problemo?

Here's the tree. Small, and kind of bare. We only put on our favorite ornaments this year and skipped all the hub-bub. Tis the season for an underplayed holiday, which just breaks my heart - since it's my favorite. I just can't seem to get into the spirit without my kids. It's like a hole is missing in our family and nothing we can try to do is filling it. Next year we've decided to go to the Christmas tree farm up in the hills with some friends and cut a fresh tree, take the hay ride, drink hot chocolate, etc. So help me, if I do not have at least one of my children on my lap for that hayride, I'm going to vomit and call off Christmas. Ahem.

Two things - I've never revealed our son's name here, and I have absolutely no idea why. Probably because I didn't want to give hope to yet another process until I was sure, sure, sure that were heading down the path of completion. So, without further ado - he will share his fathers name, because it's tradition and because it's a cool name! Anton M.B., V. Confusing - but I'll explain - my AB is a fourth. Our son will be the fifth. To avoid confusion in the house when we're calling out names, we've decided to give him the nickname "Quint", which means five. Love it!

For those curious about our process, at this point, it's anyone's guess. Our paperwork is still at CIS. After a tough ice storm, their offices shut down and the latest is that the gal helping us up there is on vacation until the New Year. Fabulous. Our luck just keeps getting worse.

Regardless, AB has taken a keen interest in the decor of Quint's nursery, as I chose and did all the decor for Keira's room. He has a very strong opinion this time around and why not, it's his son! So, we're going with red, white, and blue - Americana colors. Burnt red, and a beautiful rusty blue. The crib was a gift from yet another very generous family and we are so grateful! All we need are a couple additional pieces of furniture, and we're set! I'll keep you posted on the pics of the nursery as it unfolds - we won't begin that project until the dossier has gone to Ethiopia.

  • Grandma Nila treated the babies to some AWESOME Disney dishes. We were at the Disney store and my Mom simply couldn't resist to get Quint and Keira some adorable culinary musts. So as you will see, we have a little bit for each of them. Too stinking cute!!! Thanks Mom - you're the best!

  • I found my dearest kitty, Chloe like this on the couch the other day. She didn't bother to move when she saw me and she rather liked me taking her picture, I think. If she had a drink in one hand and the remote in the other, my lifelong suspicions could have been confirmed that our pets really do break the rules when we're not around. just cracked up when I saw her.
I love my old girl - today I wandered out to the living room and saw AB on his knees next to her as she lay on the couch and he had the TV paused and was just loving on her. He said "she's a good old cat, honey". I said "I know... she really is". It just made me weepy seeing him love on her, because he's totally not a cat person - but she just has a way about her. Then he said the dreaded thing I fear all the time "this may be our last Christmas together with her - she's old babe". I know - I know...(sob), I said - and she's been whining a lot lately - and in pain. I can't imagine it - but fourteen years together may be winding to a close. I love you, sweet girl - and so does everyone who comes in contact with you. You're a sweet, dear fur baby and we love you! Stay as long as you can...

  • On another note, please pray for my Dad - he is back in ICU and many of you know that we spent an arduous month in California back in January at his side as he fought to stay alive. His condition could be very serious this time around, and while he is awake and alert, he is very ill I believe. This is a horrible time to be stuck in the hospital and I'm feeling so badly for him.

And last but certainly not least - I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful time with your families and friends and lots of yummy food and amazing memories!

To all of us waiting for our children - may this Christmas be the last one of it's kind - and next year hold lots of Fisher Price under the tree!

Love and hugs -

December 12, 2007

Young Love?

When you get married, there is this undeniable stage of infatuation, lusty new love, and excitement. You hold hands in line for the movie, you play footsies under the restaurant table, you whisper in each others ears those little "lovies" that only the two of you are in on. It's just this wonderful time when the world is your oyster and nobody can tell you anything!

But people are people - and so they try. They make cracks under their breath like "give it time" or "I remember those days...all three of them" or "enjoy it while it lasts". They roll their eyes when they catch the PDA (public displays of affection) and they cackle openly when you find yourself saying "we'll never be like that" (when referencing the 'old married couple' stereotype).

AB and I have been together for eight years, married for almost seven. And I want to go on record as having admitted right up front that there are days we bicker and argue to the point of hardly being able to be in the same house with the other for a second longer. Times when we wonder, to ourselves of course, what the path would have looked like if we had never crossed ours - and always in the heat in the storm, we seem to think these hot-headed things.

But for most days, we are still that newlywed couple - with what many of my friends would describe as sappy, overt, and often downright mushy displays of affection and love for another. When we start spending time with new friends, they will often say "I can't imagine you two fighting - it just seems like you must sit at home and make each other laugh all the time". Well, let me burst that bubble - hardly! Trust me when I tell you that our marriage itself is very rarely a big laughfest. Maybe you can relate?

More often we find ourselves working towards the goal of the good times. In other words, we spend a lot of time getting through the day to day, paying the bills, cleaning the house, working, making dinner, going to church, etc. But once in a while, we find ourselves sitting at opposite ends of the couch on a cold winter day, book in hand, fire in the fire place, dogs at our feet and we happen to glance up and make eye contact and then it hits us. I could have missed this. A wrong turn, a different choice, a date with another person - and I could have missed out on you. But here we are - in our cozy home, reading a good book and woolly socked feet intertwined. Here we are, still in love, every day coming home to each other and every day choosing to love the other the best that we can. Here we are, still plugging along through heartache and disappointment, turmoil, and bills, and life in general - and you're still the one. I still call you HBO and you still call me HBOO. Silly nicknames that only we get. Silly, and yet our very own language - sweet and irreplaceable.

Yes, here we are, an Old Married Couple - and what sweet relief there is in it. The very stigma I feared eight years ago has become a comfort and safe haven to me. Reliable warmth, and love, and companionship that I feel so thankful for. No pressure to always impress, or to be someone I'm never going to be. No need to explain why I've had a bad day. No reason to cry alone. I have my best friend - the other side of me. To laugh with, to cook with, to share my thoughts with, and to curl up against on a cold night. The longer we're together, the more I find my home in AB and from what he tells me - the feeling is mutual. It's a secure and safe place and I'm finally finding rest and a comfort I sought out for many years before meeting him.

Last week and this week, for no other reason that is apparent to me than that for some blessed reason - he loves me, AB sent me cards in the mail from his work to our home. As I opened them, I realized that they were the core reason why I love him like I do. Just blank little cards, with a different puppy on the front of each, and inside he wrote words of love and encouragement to me. Reminding me why he loves me, and encouraging me to be strong as we wait for our children. Re-iterating his love to me, and making me feel like a newlywed. Honey, thank you for that - I'm so grateful to have you in my life.

So, I guess this is all to say - we are beating the statistics - 1 in 2 marriages end. We are still in love, despite life and it's many obstacles. We are still making people roll their eyes with our kissy face, and yet, we are also happy to be home on a Saturday night - watching TV in sweats, and eating our favorite foods. We're a newlywed old married couple. I wish the same for you and your love - let's beat the statistics!

Here's to holding hands in line for the movies and playing footsies at dinner...

Here's to Young Love, Wise Love, Aged Love, Imperfect Love, and our Love...

Here's to us!

Now bring on the kids so we can go and lose our minds...

December 8, 2007

This Little Piggy

I can't really explain it - so why try, right? All I can tell you is that when I picked up this little girl at a "Baby Petting Zoo", it was love at first sight. I told AB that I might need to have one someday...even though we all know they lose that je nois se quois the older they get...and even though I can readily admit we had, err...ham for breakfast this morning (don't hate me)...but I digress...

After being passed from hand to hand and squealing for all to hear, she fell right to sleep when I picked her up and cradled her. Lovin' me this little Miss Piggy...just as cute and sweet as she could be.

December 7, 2007


So referrals came in yesterday - and I don't address this to often on here because it's depressing. But as you may know, my dear M3 Sistas are all coming up (FINALLY) on their LID's being processed - one in particular, Robyn, who should be seeing her sweet little Avery's face in January with a 12/20/05 LID. After all this time, over two years of waiting - the longest families have had to wait in about over ten years - and she's finally reached the finish line. Then we have Valerie, who is right behind her with a 1/4/06 LID, and Erin with a 2/6/06 LID. It's just amazing to me that in the next few months we're going to be not just watching through blog world as others get their referrals, but actually laughing, crying, and celebrating together as we bring these little girls into our fold. Finally, more solid proof that those in the process DO finally reach the finish line. And not a moment too soon...

I read somewhere that the CCAA had made a statement that they don't care how long the wait gets. It's not what concerns them. They're more concerned with improving the orphanages, improving the "paper-ready" process, etc. But, for families that were willing to wait, no matter how long that might be, they would received the referral for their child. Oddly, that comforted me. My wait for Keira since LID is quickly encroaching on two years. But my journey and paperwork process for her began three years ago in February. If the CCAA handed me an envelope with my actual referral date inside - I don't think it would matter what date it said. 2008, 2009, 2010? I'm not giving up on Keira. From the moment that I made a commitment to pursue her, she was ours. She was our daughter. She was our family. I could no sooner walk away from that than rip my own arm and leg off. If someone told me tomorrow "it's over, their not referring any more children", I think I would spend many sad years grieving for my daughter. So, amidst the pain of missing her, I try to have hope.

But hope is something I am learning a lot about lately. Hope that, like Robyn, I will find myself near the finish line and ready to meet my daughter. Hope that my kids, however far away, will find their way home to us in the next two years. Hope that despite how badly my heart is aching for them, they will be home and playing together, and it will be as if they were never gone. Hope that I won't miss sleeping too terribly much when I'm in the throes of motherhood. (gulp)

I have posted here recently about the ups and downs we have had trying to adopt our son from Ethiopia. I wanted to share that experience so that those who are curious can be assuaged and those who are considering can be prepared.

First of all, during the course of this year we felt drawn to, discussed, and made a big leap of faith to pursue the adoption of our son through Ethiopia. We are asking for an infant, as young as possible, and we made the decision to put this adoption ahead of Keira's because of the increasing wait for China. Also, Ethiopia has a strict rule that a child must be in the home three years before another can brought in. That meant that if Keira was home first (at least a year away barring a miraculous speed-up) we would be forced to wait another 3 years to pursue Ethiopia. Well, we aren't spring chickens, people. So we decided to get a move on.

At first the process was smooth as pie. I was moving through the dossier stage with such speed that I thought "my gawd, everyone should do this! It's so much easier!" Well, I had to eat those words. We ended up getting strung up and hung up on the dumbest of details and one thing led to another hang up. Soon, we were stalled out completely -waiting on Gov't. officials and people in charge of saying "yes, I guess you'll be acceptable parents". This slow down created an utter taste of disdain and apathy in our hearts and suddenly the paperwork was sitting in a pile collecting dust. Suddenly, both kids were being held hostage at the CIS level and our dreams of having a family were slipping through our hands. Oddly, we were too numb to do much about it.

Three days after Thanksgiving, I had a meltdown in the Disney store (no lie) followed by an immediate and totally unexpected gush of financial support -which caused a bit of a wakeup call for me. Something just clicked. I thought "what the heck am I doing? These are my children we're talking about. My life. My heart. Get MOVING". The next day, I had such a fervor as I had not had before. I started making phone calls, organizing details, pulling together documentation, notarizing documents, and basically just getting back in the drivers seat of both our adoptions.

Within days, I had resolution on several of the hang ups and even better, it seemed we would be getting our dossier to Ethiopia in December - if all went as planned. The weight that had lifted off of me was tremendous. I couldn't believe how much better I was feeling - like all I needed was a little encouragement, support, and motivation (thanks Mom).

You might recall that Keira's nursery furniture, which is gorgeous, was given to us by a family that Anton knows at school. This week, a second family heard that we were adopting a second baby and offered us a beautiful crib and mattress that they had hardly used at all. So, when Anton brought it in the house a couple nights ago and put it in Keira's room (unassembled) I had a moment of angst - two empty cribs. Sigh. Sniffle. And then, it was like "NO! None of that! Two cribs for two beauties that are on their way to us. Two cribs, two nurseries, two miracles. I have not come this far to give up now. I have never taken this kind of an emotional journey in my life - I'm not backing down now that I can almost see the finish line."

Needless to say, we've had yet another shift in mood over here. I think we're done moping around. I mean, we had to get it out of our systems so that we could buck up for the next haul. It could be months before we see our son and maybe more than a year before we see Keira - but it's no longer the point. The point is, no matter how fragile or tired we feel some days from the journey, we don't believe for a second that God led us down this path only to desert us or forget that we were here. No, actually - He has found multiple ways to remind us that He is ever-present and at work and that we are not forgotten! Neither forgotten are our children, who are slowly winding their way to us - from halfway around the world.

Every time I hear this song, no matter who sings it, I cry just a little when I think of my kids...

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Written by Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the Yuletide gay

From now on your troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days

Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Gather near to us, once more

Someday soon we all will be together

If the fates allow

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

December 5, 2007

Princess Party

I love my M3 Posse...

Definition: Amazing friends all adopting or who have adopted from China and who utterly "get" me and love me anyway. We technically met in 2005 through our agency, but it wasn't until June or so of '06 that we started really spending time together. After that, it was a downhill slippery slope of getting together almost weekly. We suffered withdrawal if our hubby's wouldn't allow us a "girls night" every couple weeks, and we certainly took very quickly to dragging them along. But not long after, we found that even our husbands had bonded in some strange and delightful way. Through Wii and Guitar Her0 - through Poker nights, and birthday parties, dinners out and potlucks in, and just plain old "we're coming over...break out the chips and dip". Somehow, we wove this tight-nit circle of fun and friendship. The beauty of course being that we all live relatively close to each other and can run at the drop of a hat if one needs the other - which we certainly have been prone to do. Well, all this to say.....

One of the things about me that I'm still not sure if I should try and change yet or not, is that I am a bit of a princess. (ahem) Now, AB does not help matters at all, because he truly spoils me rotten. I've even asked him "why do you spoil me?", and his answer is that he can see no reason not to. (wonderful man) But I've been known to, well, hold my pink Wii remote in the air and, well...(cough)...say aloud for all to hear "I am the princess" (kind of sing-song-ey if you will). Ahem. Well, there it is. I didn't say it was pretty. But seriously, I do love me some princesses - and if you haven't seen "The 10th Kingdom", you must rent it and watch it - it is such a wonderful movie - family friendly! I'm still waiting to go see Enchant*ed....can't wait!

Somewhere along the line, my M3 Posse assessed me and realized that this Princess mentality I have is just a part of my personality for better or worse. And somehow, rather than find it utterly disdainful, they love me anyway. Not only that, but they tolerate and actually celebrate me for who I am - they love me despite me, if you will.

For my Birthday, they surprised me by showing up at my house and kidnapping me away to a beautiful little girlie Cafe called Celebrity Bak*ry. Yes, this is where the previous post with that pic of chocolate cake came from. So as you will see below, my luncheon was filled with friends, fun, and of course, German Chocolate Cake - which was to die for! Top that off with a crown that lit up when I wore it, and you've got yourself a Princess Party!

Thanks girls, you really made my Birthday special - and 1000000 thanks for the Gift Card to Hobby Lobby!!! Already made a dent in that one...

You guys are the best! I love you!!

La Cake, La Crown, and La Coke

Party Princessa

Party Princessa Mia in training

Princess Erin from the North Kingdom

Princess Valerie from the West Kingdom

Princess Robyn from the Country Kingdom

Princess Kelley from the East Kingdom

December 2, 2007

One foot in front of the other

My parents came and we had a wonderful time together. I'm putting one picture on here, because you can't really condense 10 days into a slide show that doesn't take all night to create. Needless to say, I was sad to see them go - and its hasn't even been a full week since they left. Boo.

AB made a wonderful meal for Thanksgiving (I expected nothing else), and yes, I made my pie. It was FABULOUS - I cannot lie! Pics below...

On to another subject - one foot in front of the other. Our Adoptions are kicking my ass. I'm sorry to spell it out for you all like that. But I cannot sugar coat the madness. I have missed all of you, truly. I have missed reading about your lives, your ups and your downs, and commenting on your day to days - like reading a good newspaper - my blogger pals are my coffee time in the morning.

To put it bluntly - we are beat down. With all the good intentions, the worse thing I can hear right now is "hang in there" or "it'll get better" or "before you know it, they'll be home". I know all this and I know it's well-intentioned. Really, I do. But right now - we are just beat down. We hit a major and unexpected hurdle in both adoptions last month and it's been an uphill battle to keep moving forward. I feel like we're fighting tooth and nail, and still no progress. A friend (V) recently told me "what is wrong with our society when children who desperately needs parents and would-be parents who desperately want children cannot find a way to each other without all this political and bureaucratic nonsense?" So, we're just feeling like this is one of the biggest trials of our life right now. To keep moving forward and to keep our chins up is keeping everything we have, every resource we've got, in constant motion. One misstep and we're a mess. One moment of lethargy or apathy, and we slide ten steps backward down the hill. Like hitting our 20 month LID the other day. Made us both feel utterly disappointed - nothing happy about it at all.

Have you ever been walking up a lot of steps, or climbing up a hill (or what feels like a hill) and you're winded? Lungs are burning, side is aching, and legs are a little wobbly? You stop to take a breath, but your so winded that you can't get a good one in? So you bend over and there comes the side ache? The cramp in between the ribs that give you a good burn? You're legs are a little shaky and you're thinking..."what the heck was I thinking? I'm not in good enough shape to be doing this. I'm freaking tired, my side hurts, my legs are wobbly, and I can't catch my breath! I feel so dang old!" We are so freaking tired of this and our legs are stinking wobbly. I feel like we are just sitting on the side of the steps, trying to catch our breath, trying to re-orient ourselves to the task, trying to find the will to get back up and keep going uphill, trying to re-motivate ourselves to reach the top - all the while trying to ignore the tremendous pain our legs, back, sides, and burning lungs are in. Sometimes you just have to sit down and say "I'm tired and I'm sitting down". This is not really a problem if one of you keeps moving and carries the other on their back. But what if you both arrive at this place at the same time and you find that all of sudden, you're both sitting out? You're both winded and tired - discouraged and worn out? You pretty much just sigh and look at each other and say "this sucks" and hope that sooner or later one of you will get back up and say "ok, come on, let's keep going...or we're never gonna get there".

Lately I have not had the heart for Bloggerville. I've tried. I've certainly got a lot done. I've read three books in one week, I've decorated the house for Christmas, entertained the family for a week, caught up on my work, had lunch with friends that I haven't seen in a while, and attended a Christmas party. But blogger. No. Haven't even read your posts and I feel terrible about it. I do. It has taken all I have to leave the two or three comments that I have left for some. But it's not like me to skip town, figuratively, for so long. Only, every time I attempt to sit down and tell you about my latest - it seems so dull and boring. So lame and uneventful. And even though, I know you aren't judging my content that harshly (I hope) it still seems like anything I would tell you would be so half-hearted.

Meanwhile, I've had some e-mails wondering where I've gone. Some sweet comments telling me I'm missed. Even some blatant "where the heck did you go" requests. So, I'm going to make an attempt to put one foot in front of the other. I'm going to try and get back in the blogger saddle and see if blogging my way through this tumultuous time will somehow help to steel my resolve. If this doesn't work, I'm pretty sure I'm out of ideas - since I've spent the last month trying to find ways to buck up.

Now that Christmas is here, I find I have never been so lonely for my children. It was all I could do to make myself decorate the house - and our attempt to have a real tree this year ended in a half-hearted "nahhh" from me, and a "we'll just stick to the fake (and spent, I might add) tree we have in the attic". Lame.

For those who actually visit my blog, and are not reading this through bloglines, I have tried to add some holiday flair, although I did not want to part with my header, pink and blue and all. We'll just have to make do with the mismatched colors...

I'm back - and I promise to limit my depressing posts to this one only. I think. (Ha!) Yikes.

Was anyone else glad that Helio won DWTS? I LOVE that little guy!!

And now for some berry pie!