Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm SO hoping that 2008 is the year that dreams come true for so many of us waiting for our referrals. I'm very excited about the possibility of Joe and I becoming parents this year. We have so much to do still before we get our referral and I'm hoping that we'll be busy enough to help the time go by quickly. We saved the best part for last...the nursery. I can't wait to get started on it.

Have a safe New Year's Eve and best wishes for dreams coming true in 2008!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

It was a great holiday...

We had a really nice holiday this year. We spent Christmas Eve with Joe's family...everyone was here from out of town. On Christmas morning, Joe and I (and Lucy) opened our gifts from each other and then had dinner at our place with my Mom and my brother and his family. It was great to spend the entire afternoon just hanging out with was a very nice day. I also got a call from my Dad, in New York, and had a nice conversation catching up on things. He plans on being her in Phx for my nieces' and nephew's fall school break in October. Wouldn't it be awesome if we somehow were back with Lauren by then. I know it's not likely, but anything can happen.

Here are a few of my favorite gifts this year. This first one is for Lauren from Grandma...a cute little soft blankie and bib...

Joe gave me this beautiful necklace. He said the three connected hearts caught his eye signifying the two of us and Lauren. I thought that was SO sweet and I love it!

My brother, sister-in-law, and mom, gave me a software bundle of Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 with Adobe Premiere Elements 4.

This seems to be the most popular choice for digital scrapbooking...many more bells and whistles than the software I use now. Plus, I can't wait to try out the video making software. This will come in SO handy for all the China video and photos!

Question for those of you who already have this software...what's the best book for tips and tricks on how to best use it? Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas friends!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. For those of you with little ones at home, hold them close and count your blessings. For those of us still waiting, our time will come and we will be sharing holidays with our little ones one day too.

Today I did a little last minute shopping with Mom and then finished wrapping gifts.

The tree always looks much better with all the gifts around it. We will unwrap with my mom and my brother and his family on Christmas day, then have dinner.

Here's Lucy modeling her new winter Olympics jacket from Old Navy. Everything on the doggie display was 50% off today.

Also got the cutest ever printed fleece and a solid color to coordinate with it at Joanne's. I think I'll make a blanket and matching pillow for Lauren to snuggle up with.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thank you...

for all the comforting words and your thoughts and prayers over the loss of our sweet Addy. Hearing from all of my bloggy friends has helped Joe and I both get through the past week without her. We are doing much better now and trying to focus on the long and happy life she had and how lucky we were to have her all those years. We are blessed to have so many good friends who have shown their support...thank you.

I couldn't help but snap this photo of Lucy the other day after her walk.

She jumped up on the sofa and laid her paw right down on the remote. Guess she wanted to veg and watch some TV...maybe Animal Planet?

Joe and I met my brother and his family and my mom last night at a brand new shopping area near us so my nephew could visit Santa.

Of course, I ended up checking out all the sale racks in the children's clothing stores. I got this cute fleece outfit for Lauren in The Children's Place for $16 total. I'm hoping it will fit next winter. It's a 6-9 mo. size. If you're already back from China, what size was your daughter wearing while there and a few of months after being home?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good-bye, sweet girl...

Late Monday night at an emergency animal hospital, we had to say good-bye to our sweet Addy. Her heart was giving out and it was time to let her go.

She has left a huge hole in our hearts. She was so sweet and gentle, but stubborn and strong at the same time. She never let us skip any of her twice daily walks and would always let us know when it was time to eat or if she was hungry for a treat. She beat cancer and lived more than two years beyond what was predicted. It just wasn't her time to go back then and she knew it. She had more life to live.

Addy was over 13 years old and she lived a long and very full life. It was SO incredibly hard to lean over and kiss her good-bye, but we knew it was time. It's still hard to accept that she is gone and we will miss her terribly.

Good-bye, sweet girl, we love you!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

22nd LIDversary...

Tomorrow is our 22nd LIDversary. I can't believe it's actually been this long.

Just like the numbers in the graphic here, we have weathered quite a long wait with more to come. I so hope it's not much longer though, because we are getting pretty worn out. I know my waiting friends understand what I mean when I say worn out.

I'm tired of answering the dreaded question..."so, how's the adoption coming?" and responding to "it can't be much longer now" and "how come it's taking so long?". I just can't answer these anymore. I wish I could carry around a little tape recorder and play them my standard answer every time someone asks me about the adoption.

On another note...I'm almost ready for Christmas. I just need to wrap the gifts and do some menu planning and grocery shopping for Christmas dinner. I love this time of year and I'm excited about the holiday as usual, but it seems the waiting is worse around the holidays. The first two Christmases spent waiting were hard, but this third one is a killer. I keep thinking this will be the last...but I also remember saying the same thing the last two times.

It's tough walking through the mall and seeing all the families waiting in line to see Santa and wishing Joe and I were there in line with Lauren. Also, watching all the parents with carts stacked up with toys for their little ones and wishing ours had toys for Lauren. I've been throwing quite a few pity parties for myself this month. I know that I'm not alone and that many of you have had a party or two of your own.

Doggie update...our greyhound, Addy, has been having some trouble. She is retaining fluid in her back legs and they are all swollen. She's been having trouble with her legs for years now, but it's SO sad to see her trying to walk around with the swelling on top her usual pain. Our vet wants to run some blood work to see if she is having organ failure of some kind. She already has high blood pressure and a bad heart murmur and she's on several different medications. Please keep her in your prayers.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

New icon...

I finally created a picture icon for my mom to use when leaving comments.

She's had a high speed internet hook-up for a while now and surfs the blogs on my sidebar. I think it's really cool how "into it" she is. Most of our phone conversations include at least one reference to someone in Blogville. Sometimes I think she's more up to date on things than I am. She'll always let me know when it's time to move someone down on my sidebar to the "Waiting to Travel" or "In China" sections.

Before my mom had access to the web she was excited about the adoption, but I don't think she truly got the "why China" part of it until she was able to follow along and watch other families travel and come back home with their children. Now she is VERY excited and right on top of what's going on with referrals and what's new on Rumor Queen.

My brother also follows along and checks in on my blog daily. It really is nice to have my immediate family so into it and excited.

If you see a comment on one of your posts with this little ladybug icon, you'll know it's my mom checking in on you. By the way, her name is Linda.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Referrals are in...

It's official...referrals have been issued for log in dates through December 14th. This means they processed 6 days worth of files last month.

There are 64 days between Dec. 14th and our LID...that's 9 weeks. Since they have been issuing about a week's worth of referrals each month, we are looking at at least 9 more months which firmly plants us at August 2008. The only way it would be sooner is if we see some referral batches of more than 7 days. Isn't it crazy to think they could take 9 months to process 64 days worth of files? If that's how quickly I moved at work, I wouldn't have a job anymore!

I'm off today and just kind of puttering around the house picking up and cleaning. I don't know why, but when I'm off and at home I watch all the TLC baby shows. You know the ones...Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby. This morning, a young couple brings their little newborn home in an outfit that says "Worth the Wait"...God, if they only knew what a WAIT actually was!! I thought, you've GOT to be kidding me! Why do I torture myself with these shows??

Actually, last Wednesday afternoon Bringing Home Baby featured a couple in China getting their daughter and bringing her home. It was their first child and it was so cool to watch. Did anyone else catch it?

Well, I'm off to get some things done and make my day off worthwhile.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas tree challenge...

I'm taking Catherine's challenge and posting some pics of our tree. I just finished decorating it yesterday. I do the inside of the house and Joe does the outside.

As Catherine mentions on her post, it really is hard to get excited about decorating for Christmas while waiting for our little ones. During Christmas 2005, we were going to be home with Lauren in time to celebrate Christmas 2006 with her. Then when that didn't happen, we celebrated Christmas 2006 just knowing that was the last one without our daughter. Now, here we are with Christmas 2007 in a few weeks and again we just know we'll have her by this time next year. Do we REALLY know that for a fact....nope. Chances are, we will be...but I'm getting tired of saying "next year....".

Here's our tree...

and here's a few special ornaments we acquired during the wait...

Okay, now head over to Catherine's blog and let her know that you are taking her challenge too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I was off this afternoon...

so I decided to work on digital scrapbook pages. Click here to see them...I think they turned out pretty darn cute.

At the rate I'm going, the album may change to weekly pages rather than daily. ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Furbaby's letter to Santa...

My little furry friend, Izzie, wrote quite a meaningful letter to Santa this year. Check it out here.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday deals...

I'm one of those crazy people who gets up at the crack of dawn to start my Christmas shopping on black Friday and Joe ( holiday shopping assistant) was actually up before me to feed and walk the girls before we went out.

I rolled out of bed about 3:15am and shortly after we were on our way to Kohls, which opened at 4am. At Kohls we were to meet up with my friend Christine along with her daughter and cousins. The place was wall to wall people just grabbing things right and left. By the time I made it to the display I needed, the door buster deal I was there for was already gone! At that moment, my cell phone rang and it was Christine telling me she already had the item for me. Thankfully, she got there a few minutes before me and grabbed the last one.

After battling Kohls, we headed over to Starbucks for a caffeine pick-me up and then off to Target to stand in line for the 6am opening. There were two BIG deals I needed to get. We waited in line for about 45 was chilly, so the hot drinks were definitely a good thing. While in line we tallied up what everyone wanted and came up with a plan to each run to a separate item and grab as many as we needed. My job was to battle the electronics department, Joe was to head straight to luggage and Christine was heading straight for the DVD's. Then we would meet up and head for the toys. As soon as we cleared the doors, we sprinted to our sections and got everything we went for....score!

All our shopping the entire day was gifts, except for this 8 piece luggage set we picked up at Target for the China trip. We've been wanting "disposable" luggage since we've heard how beat up and smelly the luggage gets by the time we get home from China. I figure we wanted a single use set that we could donate to Goodwill when we get back, and this one was ONLY $49. Here it is...

The set includes:
  • 29" rotating wheel suitcase
  • 25" rotating wheel suitcase
  • 20" rolling upright
  • backpack
  • duffle

It also includes these three packing organizers, which I think will come in pretty handy for a medical kit and other small items that need to stay together.

All in all, between yesterday and today, it's been a very successful shopping weekend. We pretty much got all our gifts, except a few. I love to have all the shopping out of the way and to be able to concentrate on other things.

Our fubaby, Addy, is never too sure about change and her new Costco doggie bed was no exception. She couldn't quite figure out how to lay on this bed. Here's how I found her when I got out of the shower this morning...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thankgiving...

One of the things I'm most thankful for today is the love and support of all my bloggy friends during this wait. There's no way I'd get through it without you all!

For those of you already home with your children, hold them extra close today. If Lauren is already born, I'm thankful to her birth-mother for taking her to a safe place to be cared for until we can bring her home. Baby, momma is thinking of you today and hoping you are safe and sound.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New blog...

I created a new blog for my 8" x 8" scrapbook pages for Lauren's first year book. I'll be posting my new pages on there as I make them. I figure it will keep me motivated to work on them and maybe give new scrappers some ideas.

Several of you have asked what program I use for digital scrapbooking. I use a simple little program called Microsoft Digital Image Suite 2006 Editor. Microsoft just discontinued this program. I think it just couldn't compete against all the programs out there. It's still available until stock runs out. I love's not complicated like some of the popular graphic design software.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The day started...

just like any other Monday, me beating the heck out of the alarm clock as I search for the snooze button, and is ending in me wearing this lovely arm wear and typing with one finger.

On the daily morning walk with my co-workers over to Starbucks, I was happily walking along one minute and falling face first the next. The only thing that stopped me from going face first onto the sidewalk was the palm of my left hand with the full force of my weight (and there's a lot of that) jarring my wrist and arm. Also, my left knee has a lovely cement burn and was bleeding as I limped back to the office.

I spent my entire morning at the urgent care center getting my wrist and arm x-rayed, while my work piled up on my desk. Hmmmm...this week is off to a great start.

I've never had this bad of a hurts like hell! All I could think of this morning is...I'm glad I'm not making Thankgiving dinner this year and I hope it's healed up in time to shop on Friday!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another month...

Yesterday was our 21st LIDversary.

We are still hanging in there and hoping for a July/August 2008 referral. Well, actually we are hoping for one a lot sooner, but trying to be realistic here.

I think after two Christmas' of saying "this is our last Christmas without Lauren", I think this Christmas will REALLY be the last one without our little girl.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Great movie line...

I saw Martian Child with John Cusak (my fav) over the weekend. There was a line in the movie that gave me chills since it hit so very close to home...
Why bring a child into the world when you can love one who's already here?
Great line, huh?

The movie is about a bestselling sci-fi author (Cusak) who is widowed. A couple of years after his wife's death he decides to adopt as a single father, since him and his wife were planning on adopting before she died. He adopts this boy who has been abandoned by parents in the past and has put a wall up around him by pretending to be a martian. He plays this martian thing to the hilt and has been passed around from person to person since no one really knows what to do with him. The story is about how Cusak breaks through his shell and ends up allowing the boy to let his defenses down. Pretty good movie...if you're a Cusak fan, like me, you'll like it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Book advice please...

I'm going to place a book order on Amazon soon and I'm wondering if I could get some advice.

Should I get both the What to Expect the First Year and What to Expect the Toddler Years or should I get just one of them. Keep in mind that we are pretty clueless when it comes to babies.

I'm starting to get nervous about baby care while in China and feel like I should be reading one of these books or something similar. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Here's some more daily scrapbook pages I put together today...I'm having fun using all the digital supplies I've been downloading over the past 6 months or so...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lazy weekend...

When I say lazy, I really mean it to! Yesterday, all I got accomplished was the laundry. I spent the entire day in my PJ's just lounging around and watching TV and movies. It's actually kind of nice to have a whole day to do nothing. Guess I'd better enjoy this guilty pleasure now, because pretty soon it will be a distance memory.

This morning I actually got myself up and in the shower because we had an FCC presentation given by Dr. Rena Li. She discussed how to incorporate Chinese culture into our child's life. It was pretty interesting and I took some notes to tuck away for later. We met with Heather & Damon and Nancy, Brian and Lily beforehand and had a nice lunch. It always does my heart good to see Lily and how well she is doing. Nancy and Brian have been home with her a year this coming January and I can remember their referral party like it was just a few months ago! Time really has flown.

After seeing all the kids at the presentation today, I got motivated to FINALLY start my daily scrapbook for Lauren. My friend, Michele, did a daily book for Ava and it's so nice to flip through it and see how Ava has changed throughout the year. My pages are 8" x 8", just big enough for one photo and some embellishments. My plan is to get about 100 pages done before our trip so I can get off to a good start. These are quick and easy pages...nothing fancy or time consuming. Here's my first seven pages (double click to see them better)...

I'm going to keep kicking these out and hopefully I'll have a bunch done by the time we travel. I'm also planning on doing a larger scrapbook and a lifebook...the kind of lifebook that is written as just the facts of Lauren's life...once she is old enough it will be something she can read and we can work on together.

Monday, November 05, 2007

If you like chocolate....

you MUST bake this from scratch chocolate cake and chocolate cream cheese frosting.

This is just the thing for that monthly referral baking AND eating! I'm all for cake mixes and never really bake a cake from scratch, but this is WELL worth it and it's pretty quick too. It's not too sweet and the moist cocoa flavor in the cake is SO yummy!

Chocolate Cake
2 1/3 cups of strong brewed coffee (lukewarm, not hot)
3/4 cup vegatable oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oven to 325 F degrees.

Place first 6 ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Beat on low speed for one minute until blended. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and beat two minutes until smooth, scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Batter will be thin. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
1 pound (3 1/4 cups) confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, melted according to package directions

Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and milk in a large mixer bowl at low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate until blended. Beat on medium speed, adding more milk, a teaspoon at a time, until frosting is spreadable.

If you try it, let me know how you like it! Happy baking.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's official...

the CCAA issued referrals for LID's through December 8, 2005!

They FINALLY, after seven months, broke the seven or less day curse!! For the past seven months, the number of days worth of LID's they got through were 2, 6, 6, 7, 7, 4, and 5....and now finally 8!

If they can keep up with an 8 day pace, we're looking at July/August. There are 70 days between December 8th and our LID. My birthday is July 28th....a referral sure would make a great b-day present, don't ya think?

There's another reason why I'm so happy to see them get through December 8th...this means that Shannon will get to see her daughter, Emily, for the first time ever tomorrow. Shannon, I am SOOO happy for you and can't wait to see the photo tomorrow!

***Update*** Shannon ended up not getting her referral as expected and it's SO unfair!! Other families with an LID of 12/8 got theirs! Shannon, my heart totally goes out to you and I feel so bad. We'll all be waiting another month right along with you and can't wait to share your happiness next month!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Not much actual work happened at the office today...we decided to have some fun instead. Here's yours truly as the tinman and my partners in crime. ;)

Hope everyone is having a good Halloween night! I'm hoping that next year at this time we'll be out trick or treating with Lauren and her cousins. I know I said this last year, but I feel that 2008 is OUR year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rumors and baking...

Well, the latest rumors show referrals through December 8th. I may still be heading to Home Depot to buy the nursery paint. Anything over seven days and we are painting! Come on CCAA, we know you can do've done it before!

I spent the afternoon making treats for our pumpkin decorating party at the office tomorrow. Fall cupcakes...

and pumpkin bars...

I wasn't near Starbucks today, so I thought I'd try one of these...

It's hazelnut iced coffee. I guess I was expecting more of a "coffee drink" taste...maybe thicker and creamier to compete with Starbucks drinks. Nope, it's just like the sign says...iced coffee with a hazelnut flavored creamer in it. It's as thin as water and kinda artificial tasting. Probably wouldn't get it again. The only thing it has going for it is the low price. I drank about half and threw the rest out.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another week begins...

It's not like me to go a whole week without a post, but I just haven't been feeling too well lately. I haven't been on Blogville much either, except to check Rumor Queen each morning. I tend to check it daily as referral time gets close each month.

The big question right now....will they actually kick out a batch larger than seven days?? Rumors are indicating they might be getting to December 12th or 13th, but not to the 15th. Heck, I'll take anything past December 7th at this point, so they break this seven day curse!

Joe and I have been saying that when they get past seven days, we are painting the nursery. Hmmmm....I wonder if it's time to get the paint??!! What do you all think?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back home...

God, it's hard to go away for the weekend and then get up at 5am to go to work! I don't really recommend it...not the going away, but the getting up part.

We had a really good time up in the pines. It was cool and windy and oh so nice. Saturday morning we went boutique shopping and out to lunch at a cute place called Mama Bears.

Let me tell you, this was no diet weekend. Here's our Saturday night dinner while hanging out at the cabin...

margaritas and chili con queso dip. Yes, it was a good night. ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Heading up north...

for the weekend. I'm getting off work early tomorrow and I'm heading up to Heber, AZ with a few friends. We'll be up there all day Saturday and heading back home on Sunday.

I'm looking forward to the cool's in the low 70's for the high up there right now and that sounds wonderful! Some down time hanging out with friends may be just what the doctor ordered.

We're bringing crafts, chick flicks and the all important frozen margarita stuff. Yup, we'll have a good time. ;)

Joe will be home taking care of the "girls", but don't feel bad for him because he's heading to Rocky Point, Mexico for a boys weekend next week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

20 month LIDversary

Today is the 20 month mark for us.

Wow, it's hard to believe it's been that long. It's even harder to believe it will be another 6-8 months. At least we have reached the top of the peak and it's all downhill from here!

Come on, CCAA...let's see some major progress next month!

Monday, October 15, 2007


It seems the closer we get, the more I feel that our lives are on hold.

With referrals finally getting through November 2005, there are only two and a half months worth of files in China until they get to ours. Back when we started this process that would have seemed like a lifetime, but with the amount of time we have already waited that seems like no time at all.

The only problem is this doesn't mean we'll have our referral in two and half months. It could actually be anywhere from 3 months to 10 months or beyond, depending on how fast or slow the CCAA decides to go.

Not knowing how much longer we have to wait to finally be parents is really getting to me lately. I feel like I can't plan anything beyond a couple of months from now, because I know that once we get really close (like going to be in the next batch) I won't be able to focus on anything but the adoption.

If we only knew WHEN, life would be SO much home and at work! What a difference that would make to my stress level.