Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A few Christmas Day photos...

Joe and I hosted Christmas dinner this year. It was a really nice day and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I wanted to share a few photos...

Addy taking a little snooze under the tree before everyone arrives

Joe helping the "girls" open one of their gifts

Emily showing off her pretty dress

Getting ready to dig into the presents

Emily in the middle of her pile

Josh picked out a doll for Katie, but HE was more interested in it

There was a present under the tree for Lauren from my brother and his family, which really touched me. This is Lauren's very first Christmas present. The box looks a little worn because the kids picked this out on their Manhattan trip at FAO Schwartz and ended up carting in all around for the day in the rain. This doll will ALWAYS be very special to me.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays...

One of my favorite things at Christmas is the sight of the tree with all the gifts under it. I can't wait until Christmas day when my nieces and nephew tear into everything. There's nothing like watching kids open their gifts.

Merry Christmas to all my bloggy friends! You all have made such a positive impact on my life over the past year. I can't imagine going through this adoption process without you. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your families this year.

This is such a special holiday for many of you who are back from China with your beautiful children. Please hold them tight and know how very blessed you are.

For the rest of us still waiting to travel, my hope this Christmas is that we continue to move closer to our dream come true...and it sure would be nice if that movement was faster, rather than slower!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It slipped right by...

It slipped right by without any notice, but this past Sunday we have been logged in for 10 months! Wow, that sounds like a long time when I say it.

I am anxiously awaiting this month's batch to see how far they get. I still haven't given up all hope that they could start matching a month's worth of LID's each month at any time (a girl CAN dream). I also can't wait to be out of review. I know the new guidelines aren't supposed to be in effect until May 2007, but I will still feel a lot better when I see the CCAA's website updated to reviewed through February.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I wish it was that easy...

I'm the proud owner of my very own "easy button" just like in the Staples commercials. When you press it, it says "now that was easy".

I tried already, and it doesn't seem to work for the adoption process. Our dossier is still in review and nothing has changed.

If it did work, I'd forward it onto a blogger buddy, have them use it and then pass it on. We'd have quite a chain going in no time! ;)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Referral Party...

Yesterday evening we had some friends over from our local FCC Waiting Families group to celebrate Nancy's and Brian's referral to their beautiful daughter Lily. Most of us met over the past year at our monthly meetings and have been getting together as a smaller group once in a while. It's really nice to have a local group of friends who are all going through the same thing and who truly understand the ups and downs of the adoption process.

From left to right we have Kim & Scott and their daughters Jenna and Jadyn, Nancy & Brian, me and Joe, Laura & Dan, Michele, and Heather & Damon. We have a great group!

Check out this beautiful cake that Heather brought. It's designed to match Nancy's nursery decor. Besides looking great, this cake tasted great too! The Chinese characters say "forever family".

I was so glad that Kim & Scott were able to make the party with Jenna & Jadyn. They have only been home for a couple of weeks and the girls are doing SO well. They are totally adorable and as sweet as they are cute.

Here's Jadyn...

and Jenna...

It was so much fun to see the always give me hope when I get to see a family who has been to China and back. Maybe this really will happen for us!

Michele is next up in our group for her referral. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will come with the next batch. If she doesn't make this one, she's definitely up next month. I can't wait to see Ava.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Nothing like a good melt-down once in a while....

Lately I've been really stressed about the adoption. According to our agency, all dossiers in China that haven't been reviewed yet are subject to the new CCAA guidelines. Since they have reviewed dossiers through January 2006, ours is being reviewed right now after almost 10 months of being logged in.

The official announcement from the CCAA on the new guidelines is expected next week, but our agency has already given us a heads up on a couple of changes, one of which will effect our dossier. Also, the Rumor Queen has listed lots of other possible changes and there may be another strike against us if she is right.

I have hardly complained about the adoption process. Instead of sitting around whining about the wait, I've been keeping myself busy and focusing on the positive things about waiting (there actually is lots of positive things). Actually, the waiting to me is nothing compared to the uncertainty of this whole thing....that's what REALLY gets to me.

Earlier this week, I let the negative thoughts take over and I had my first full-scale, cry-fest, melt-down because I was just absolutely sure that the CCAA would take a big red "reject" stamp to our dossier. Why, oh why, does the big annual CCAA meeting HAVE to be right at the time they are reviewing OUR dossier after 10 months of it sitting on a shelf some where gathering dust!!!!!!!!! It sickens me to think that they could actually hold already logged in dossiers up to a brand new standard. Don't they know that when you change a rule, it's only supposed to be for the newbies?? Don't they know this in China??

I feel now that I will not rest until the CCAA's website is updated to say they have reviewed dossiers through February 2006. Please tell me that I'm not alone in this total frustration and that I'm not the only one in melt-down mode. I'm assuming one day I'll look back on all this and won't believe I was so stressed out, but right now I just can't help myself. Joe and I so want to be parents and we've just been through enough already...please send good vibes to China on our behalf so they let our dossier go on through to the next step.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Who could resist this face?

We are still working on our master bedroom and bath. You would think that with the four day weekend we had, that we would be all done and kicking back right now. Nope, that's just not the case.

We were off to a great start on Thursday and by the end of the day we had the bed torn down, all the furniture moved into the center of the room and the bedroom painted. On Friday, we were off to IKEA to buy the bed frame and then Sam's Club to pick up the box spring and mattress. We have nicknamed our Mazda MPV mini-van...SUPER van, since we some how managed to fit in a king sized headboard and footboard completely assembled and flat packed from IKEA...that box was HUGE. I had to drive home since Joe couldn't even fit into the drivers seat because we had the seat pushed up as far as possible. Poor Joe had to ride home in the passenger seat slouched forward almost laying on the dash. By the time we got home with everything and set it up, we were done for the day.

We are still working on painting the master bath. The amount of tape up prep work is just I know why painters cost so much. When we actually get our project done, I'll get some photos posted.

Addy was so exhausted while we were working on the bedroom that she just had to lay down. I thought she looked so cute with her face between her paws, that I had to snap this shot.

Our Addy is just an amazing old girl. She was diagnosed with cancer (a tumor in her upper jaw) in June 2005 and she is still going strong. Back in May 2005, I noticed some swelling on the right side of her nose (where that dark mark is) and after some testing by our vet, she diagnosed the cancer and off we went to a cancer specialist. I swear, this place was like the Mayo clinic for animals.

After lots of tests to verify the type of cancer and whether it had spread, she was scheduled for surgery to try and remove the tumor. Before the surgery they did a scan to determine the margins of the tumor so they could get it all. This is when they decided they could not proceed with the surgery since the tumor had gone past the center line of her top jaw, which would mean her entire top jaw would have to be removed. They felt she wouldn't be able to function after the surgery and recommended that we do not proceed. That was such a difficult conversation and so hard to hear and deal with.

Without removing the tumor, they gave Addy just a few months. Well, that was 17 months ago and she's still hanging in there. She eats two full meals a day and goes on two 1/2 hour walks a day! I think she's just amazing, plus she's just about the sweetest thing you've ever met.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Izzie with Santa....

My friend Colleen adopted a furbaby back in June. Izzie is so smart he's had his own blog from almost day one. Check out his recent photo with Santa....isn't he darn cute??

Izzie, I can't wait to finally meet you later this month!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's beginning to look...

a lot like Christmas! We had a very productive weekend. We've been slacking off and had kind of let the house go a little, so Saturday we cleaned the house from top to bottom. Once the house was clean, I was motivated to put up the Christmas decorations. Here are some shots from around the house. As you can see, I'm not into fancy decorations...I'm more into the natural, woodsy type of decorations like pine cones and greenery.

The tree is also up, but we still need to decorate it. That is next on the agenda.

This coming week Joe and I have Thursday and Friday off to start our master bedroom and bath project. I'll be off to Lowes soon to pick out the paint color and we'll finally have some color on our bedroom walls! I'm really looking forward to the completed project.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Meet Miss Lily...

Congratulations to Nancy & Brian who are the proud new parents of this little cutie pie, Lily!!!! You guys are such a warm and loving couple and will make fabulous parents.

Since we live so close, we hope that Lauren and Lily will develop a special friendship and that Lily will have a positive, big sister influence over Lauren someday.

Lily, we can't wait to meet you!!