Thursday, September 27, 2007

We're back...

and we had a great time in Florida! Spending the day at Epcot with our bloggy friends was GREAT! There is some kind of special connection between waiting families that I can't really describe. We share a very special bond and truly know all the feelings (good and bad) that happen during this whole process.

It was great to spend time with three other families who will be traveling with us to China (same agency and same LID): Evelyn & Jesus, Stephe, and Karen. I put a little yellow star to show our China travel group in the photos below...

Here's a shot of our group all together.

This was taken at the end of our Epcot day, so we are all a little worse for the wear. It was overcast most of the day, but still hot and HUMID!! Now I know why I live in Phoenix. The humidity in Orlando is pretty miserable and doesn't make for good hair days!

Hey, can you guess what's being demonstrated here??

Needless to say, we were a pretty rowdy group and got a few strange looks here and there. Oh well, we had FUN!

After Epcot, we made our way back to the home of Lori & Andy, who were GREAT hosts, and spent the night chatting away. Towards the end of the night we had a champagne toast...

and a very yummy and pretty cake.

This time with bloggy friends was just what the doctor ordered and I'm so glad that Joe was able to come along and meet our future travel buddies. This wait has been long, but we are certainly making the best of it and enjoying all the good times along the way!

On Sunday, Joe and I spent the day at Disney's MGM Studios. It rained on and off all day, but we still had a great time.

Can you guess who the dummy is in this shot??

On Monday and Tuesday we drove up to Jacksonville to visit with family. I have an Aunt & Uncle and three cousins who we haven't seen in years. My three cousins have seven kids in all who we have never met. We have a GREAT visit and a lot of fun with the kids.

Here's my Aunt and Uncle with cutie pie Veronica...

and Joe throwing his back out playing horsey with the kids...

Here's me with my cousin Karlene. I have no doubt that if I didn't live so far from Karlene and her sister Kelly we would all get along great and be close friends as well as cousins.

This is Veronica (Karlene's daughter) and Emily and Jacob (Kelly's kids). Karlene's son, Colin, is the one in the bright blue shirt in the horseback photo above.

Joe made fast friends with Bailey and Frankie at Kelly's house. I think he was missing Addy and Lucy a lot.

We also met my cousin KJ, his wife Odessa, their beautiful twin boys and daughter, but it was a quick visit and I forgot to get the camera out at the time.

I am so glad we made the trip up to Jacksonville to reconnect with everyone. Thank you all so much for opening your homes to us! We had a great time visiting with everyone and LOVED playing with the kids, who by the way, are ALL just GREAT!

On the way back to Orlando to catch our flight back home, we stopped by an outlet mall for some shopping.

Here's our OshKosh finds for Lauren...

we also found a few things at Gymboree (you have to double click this photo to see how cute the mouse and cat barettes are)...

and a Coach bag for me. I know, it's a sickness and it's GOT to stop.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Heading out on Friday morning...

for a much needed vacation. Joe and I are headed to Florida to meet up with a big group of bloggy friends. These are the same wonderful ladies I met up with in Philly last year about this time. Of course we all thought our one year reunion would be with our daughters in tow. I guess we'll have to wait another year to meet each others little ones.

I'll be seeing Steph again, who will be traveling to China in our group, and we'll be meeting two other people from our travel group. Considering our agency is out of state, I think it's really cool that we will get to know three other people in our group!

We'll be spending two days in Orlando. On the first day we'll be meeting up with everyone at Epcot, in China of course! On Sunday, Joe and I are going to spend the day playing at Disney's MGM Studios park. On Monday and Tuesday we'll be visiting with family in Jacksonville. Actually, it's because of my blog that I reconnected with my cousins after many years and I'm really excited to see everyone!

You know the old saying, when it rains it pours?? Well, this weekend another group of my bloggy friends are meeting up in Utah and I'm going to miss them!! We all got together at Lisa's place in Utah last year and I would LOVE to see everyone again. Well ladies, have a great time and I will be thinking about you! I'm definitely in for the next get together, hopefully Lisa and I will have Lauren and Tate by then (we are the last two without our kiddos).

We are bringing the laptop along with us, so we may be posting some pics over the weekend. Everyone have a good one!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A few things to share...

My friend Kim's sister does amazing things with glass. She has her own Etsy site called Victery Glass.

I recently purchased a couple of pendants and thought I'd show them off here.

She has quite a few new pieces posted on her site right now, including a couple of Asian inspired pendants.

This past weekend, Heather and I went to the Creating Keepsakes convention here in Phoenix and got lots of great scrapbook ideas. Here's a few things I especially liked:

This flip album is a cute idea with one page for each letter of the cover. The album was filled with small photos, embellishments and journal.

This little accordion fold "book" can be displayed on a shelf...

The front and back cover is made out of mini paint canvases.

I also think this recipe box is really cute...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Froggy surprise...

After a busy day at work, I pulled up to the house to see a big box at the front door. Amazon box, but I didn't remember ordering anything.

Well, to my surprise it was a Frog Pod from my bloggy friend Emily! It's her way of saying thank you, but in a BIG way.

Emily, you totally made my day and I so appreciate it! This froggy bath toy holder is going to get A LOT of use someday...hopefully sooner, rather than later!

For those of you thinking of getting one of these...I have to say, it's REALLY cute!

19 month LIDversary...

Well, today marks another monthly anniversary. It's so hard to believe we've been waiting for 19 months now! That's 577 days in anticipation of our daughter.

Some days have been up and some have been down, but not one single day has passed that we haven't thought about Lauren. I wonder what she will look like, what kind of personality she will have, how old she will be when we get her, who her birth mother is and what her situation is. I also wonder what it will be like to be a mother and if I'll be a good one. I wonder how we'll get through the first few months and how she will do when I go back to work.

There are also tons of other things I've thought about during this wait, but these are the things that I think (and worry) about the most.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Finally, it's here...

our new I-171H!!! We applied for this and got re-fingerprinted back at the end of March and just received this on Thursday due to a homestudy update mix-up.

I'm just so happy to actually have my new form with updated expiration dates! Our fingerprints now expire in June 2008 and the I-171H expires in March 2009.

This means we will have to redo our fingerprints one more time, unless there's a sudden speed up on referrals. We shouldn't have to reapply for our I-171H again unless there's even more of a slow down than there already is. Please, let's all hope not!!

I'm posting this photo just for the sheer cuteness value. It's Ruby, my friend Christine's adorable jack russell. She went swimming with us all on Labor Day. She must have jumped in for the ball at least 50 times that day. She was shivering as the sun started to set, so Joe scooped her up and warmed her up with the towel.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tagged for Top 10...

I've been tagged by Stephe to list the top 10 baby things I still want/need for Lauren and me. So, here it is...

Top 10 List

1.Rainforest Healthy Care High Chair by Fisher-Price.

This chair has a really cute toy that attaches to the lights up and makes sounds. I'm hoping this will keep Lauren busy while I'm getting dinner ready. Am I just being delusional?

2. Baby's Quiet Sounds Day and Night Handheld Color Video Monitor

This seems to be the ultimate monitor for paranoid, first time parents who need to watch their baby's every move. Sign me up!

3. Baby Hawk Mei Tai baby carrier.

I've heard SOOOO many good things about this carrier, and it comes in some very cool fabrics. Check out the site and see for yourself.

I'll have to pick out something I like that isn't too girlie for Joe to wear. Hmmm, that may be a challenge.

4. Peg Perego Aria stroller.

I haven't really checked strollers out in person yet, but I'm leaning towards a Peg Perego. I know the MacLaren is really popular, but that itty, bitty storage basket on the bottom isn't gonna do it for me. When I read the reviews, that basket seems to be a common complaint. If you have a MacLaren, what do you think?

Check out the basket on this baby!!

5. Boon Frog Pod

I'm not sure why, but I love this thing. The top of the frog, with the handle, detaches to scoop up all the bath toys and store them neatly. It also holds shampoo and soap.

6.Fisher-Price Musical Tea Set

It's always been a dream of mine to have a tea party with my daughter and her dolls.

I can't imagine a cuter set than this to play with.

7.Fisher-Price Little People Sweet Sounds Home

Every little girl needs a doll house and this one looks perfect for toddlers, don't ya think?

8.Round table and chair set

This is a must have for tea parties. I've been wanting a round table instead of a rectangle and I love that this one has a little storage shelf for crayons, coloring books, etc.

9.Little People Animal Sounds Farm

This is a sentimental favorite because I remember playing with my Fisher-Price farm as a child. Of course, back then we had to use our imagination because there was no sound!

10. Dance Baby Dance Classical Stacker

This is a fun twist on the classic stacking toy. It lights up and plays music as baby stacks the stars. Looks like fun to me and may help keep Lauren busy while practicing her hand eye coordination.

I'm tagging Lisa to list out her top 10 items. Anyone else what to play? If so, leave a comment so we know to check your list out. Happy shopping!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Will work take a back seat?

Since Joe and I have no kids, work has always been a BIG priority in my life. I've worked for the same local government agency for the past 22 years and plan to retire as soon as my pension plan allows, or shortly there after. For the past few years I've been a contract administrator in the engineering department. It's a VERY busy and stressful position with LOTS of looming deadlines and federal and state laws to comply with.

I've heard people say that once they have kids, priorities change and work takes a back-seat to family. The same people say that because of this they don't feel as stressed out at work because it's just not as important to them as it used to be. It's not really that their attitude at work changes in a negative way, but they just seem to look at things differently.

On exceptionally bad weeks, like last week, I wonder if I will feel the same way when I get back to work from maternity leave. Will I somehow see things differently and not get stressed out as much or will I be even more stressed out between work and thinking about Lauren at daycare.

For those of you who have returned to work full-time after their leave, I would love to know if things have changed for you and how.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I was nominated...

by Lynn of Somewhere in the Sun for the Nice Matters Award.

"This award is for bloggers who are nice people, good blog friends, and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also, for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world."

Lynn is a mom to three beautiful sons and is adopting Olivia from China. They first saw a photo of their daughter on my agency's special needs list and it sounds like they fell in love with her right then and there. Olivia was very sick when she first arrived at the orphanage, but was treated and is now living in foster care and is doing great. They are currently doing their paperchase and hope to be traveling to China early 2008 to get her. For those of you not familiar with the special needs list, sometimes a family will find a child first, and then submit a letter of intent to adopt the child and do their paperchase. It's kind of reversed from our process.

Lynn, thanks for nominating me for this bloggy award! Blogging has meant a lot to me during this wait and sometimes I think I'm keeping my sanity during the rough spots because of my bloggy friends.

I'm supposed to pass this award along to seven other bloggy friends. Only seven??? Okay, here they are:

Stephe of Giorgia Danette
Julie and Tess of To Tess and Back
Lisa of Tate-r-Bug
Jacquie and Lily of Bottle and Bones
Kim and Grace of Life with Amazing Grace (password protected)
Kim of The Seventh Diamond
Mary-Mia, Rose, and Marie from Do they have Salsa in China?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Kudos for PBS Kids...

for the Arthur episode I just watched. This episode featured Arthur's friend Binky and his family adopting a baby girl from China. The show gave a great "child friendly" overview of what adoption is and how a biological child might deal with having an adopted sibling. I think this episode will be a very positive influence for any child who watches it.

During one of the commercial breaks, they aired a one minute "video postcard" (videos sent in by viewers) of two friends who are adopted from China. The girls show where China is on the map, one of them shows her referral, and then it shows them having dim sum with their families. Very cute.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fun find...

I was surfing Babies R Us , thinking about actually starting a baby registry, and came upon one of those shopping cart seat covers that double as a cover for restaurant high chairs. I've seen those used in the grocery stores and they look like a good idea both for comfort and cleanliness. The one they offer is just a standard baby alphabet print, with no options for cool fabrics. Nope, this just won't due for the long awaited baby Lauren.

After some web surfing I found the ultimate site for cart covers called KozyPal. They have the best fabric choices of all the sites I found, including some really fun and funky prints.

My favorite is this one called Carnival Bloom.

As you check out their fabric selection, you can click in and see how it looks made up and on a cart.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September referrals are out...

The CCAA got through 5 days of LID's over the past month, so it's officially taking them 5 months to get through the month of November 2005.

My guesstimate of an August 2008 referral for us is based on 7 days of LID's each month. If they go under a little bit or over a little bit here and there, we should still be on that target. If they consistently increase to more than 7 days of LID's each month, we'll get our referral sooner and if they consistently decrease the number of LID's each month, we'll get our referral later than August 2008.

I'm trying to be realistic about the time frame, but anything sooner would be GREAT! It will be a major milestone for us when they actually get into 2006, so that's what I'm looking forward to at this point.

Monday, September 03, 2007

We took "Labor" Day seriously...

this year and we got to work on a couple of projects around the house that we have been putting off. On Saturday morning we dropped Lucy off for grooming and got to work on our master bedroom closet.

Here's Lucy before and after our groomer got a hold of her...

Our bedroom closet is gigantic...we joke that if we lived in Manhattan, our apartment would be the size of our closet. The bigger the closet, the bigger the mess! It was a total disaster, but after a full morning of work it looks like this...

I don't even want to mention how many goodwill bags we loaded up after the big clean-out. I'll just say we have a very substantial donation. ;)

Yesterday afternoon I took on a major sewing project for our master bath. We have a glass block window that gets way too much sun and heats up the entire room. So, I got the bright idea a few months ago to whip up a roman shade. Well, let me tell you, this was NO small task. I've made lots of window treatments in the past, but this one raised the degree of difficultly quite a bit.

We started it about 4pm and were hanging it up at around 11pm! Our only break was for dinner. I did all the sewing and Joe cut all the dowels and the piece of wood at the top for mounting. He also helped me with measuring and manuvering the fabric while I sewed. It's a large shade (45" x 60") and I used the black out liner for the sun, which is pretty darn stiff and not very easy to work with.

For my first (and probably last) roman shade, I think it turned out pretty well. There are gaps on the sides, which would normally drive me crazy, but I'm hanging drapes up later which will cover the sides.

The shade is made from a drapery panel that matches our drapes in the bedroom...

Here's how is looks drawn up...

After all this work, we are taking a full day off to relax today. We're heading over to a friend's house to lounge by the pool. Joe is smoking some pork ribs for dinner...YUM!