Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Busy Day and Baby Names

Today was a busy day. After I got off work this morning, I waited around for HR to open so I could pick up my employment letter (version #4--think it's right this time!). Then I went home and tried to sleep, planning on getting up around noon and getting to work. Couldn't sleep, too much to get done. So I went to the doctor's and picked up my letter (version #2--VA no longer abbreviated!) and then on to Mom's office. One of her co-workers, Jeff, has been my wonderful and patient notary. We signed and notarized the rest of my documents (all without the abbreviation VA!) and then I copied everything to send on to Lindsay at CHI. I then went to the UPS store and expressed my homestudy to CIS (Immigration) and my homestudy and copies of everything else to Lindsay. Then it was off to get my hair cut, buy new shoes, and get my passport photos for my dossier. The only glitch was that the photo place had forgot to put photo paper in the printer and then the toner ran out...they said it would be over an hour to get it all together. Since it was already 1pm and I was flagging, I decided to go home to bed and I'll pick the photos up on Saturday.

CIS should get the packet tomorrow and Lindsay gets hers on Monday. Hopefully everything will be okay with my documents and I can send them off to the Secretary of State next week for certification (I still have one more reference letter to grab first--it's written, just need notarized and put in my hands!). Once those certifications are done, I just sit and wait on my I-171H (the "magic form") from Immigration, copy and notarized and send that to the SOS for certification. Then the dossier will be done!

So that's the paperwork update. On the homefront, Lesa has a doctor's appt in the am and hopefully they will decide it's time for baby! I'm so ready to be an aunt. Lesa's mom flew in today, so they are officially ready for baby day. I have to work 3p-3a tomorrow, so hopefully I can sneak up on my lunch break and play with a baby (I hope!).

Naming the baby--wow, what a project! Mom gave me another website to look at today...not too many new ones but some had different meanings than I have seen. My daughter will keep her given name as the middle name but I'm not sure about the first name. I've always like Emily, but somehow it just doesn't seem to fit. My favorites are Amara, Amira, Amaya, Emma or Emmie, Abigail, Kylee or Mylee (unsure how I would actually end up spelling these). I also like Addison and Madeline--but these probably won't work because my niece will be named Madison so it will be too confusing to have a Maddie and an Addie or two Maddies. By next week, I'll have a whole different list of names. Let me know your favorites!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hip Hip Horray!!

Homestudy is here!!!!!

More later...have to get busy on other stuff. But the homestudy is here!!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Light at the end of the paper tunnel....

I just got off the phone with my SW Beth. She was double-checking everything she needed to send me for my dossier. MY HOMESTUDY IS DONE!!!!!!!!!!!! I should have it in my hands in the next couple of days. Then it is super-shipped to Immigration where it is met by another round of waiting (they said 8-9 weeks but they have been overestimating in all the other states so I'm hoping VA is exaggerating too). All I have left is my magic Immigration form. I'm going to copy all my paperwork and send to Lindsay at CHI to review...if she says they are okay, I have a couple to get notarized and then off to the State capital for certification. That way, when the form comes from Immigration, I can zip it off to the capital for certification, they can zip it back and I'll be done. That huge pile of documents have been whittled down...it's almost done. Then the real panic attacks can start! Plane rides (augh!!!!), money, childcare, diapers...what have I gotten myself into???????????????

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rainbows and baby blankets

Here is a picture of a rainbow I took the other day (actually, if you look closely enough, it was a TRIPLE rainbow). The colors were SO vibrant, which the camera does not do justice. The weather was so strange...it gully-washed for over an hour but the sun was out and here was this unbelievable rainbow. So, I'm standing in the pouring rain, barefooted, it had dropped 20 degrees, I was freezing and wet, trying to figure out how to use the panorama feature on my new camera (maybe I should practice INSIDE), and trying not to fall down the driveway. So the picture doesn't line up great but you get the idea...it was unreal. Here are the ends of the rainbow that better show the colors!













Here is a beautiful quilt my mom made me. She is an incredible seamstress (used to make all my clothes) and this is a new project for her...it is so pretty and soft and matches the nursery perfectly. Again...pictures can't do it justice!



Here is a great picture of fat Sam. Not to leave out the other animals but I loved this picture. I'm not sure what he is looking at, but he is awake in this picture...very rare state of being for him!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hurry up and wait!

So this week has been a little frustrating. My references still have not made it to Richmond! So much for express mail--I'm officially done with the United States Post Office. From now on it is UPS or FedEx (which I was planning on using for the important stuff anyway). My home study is ready except those references and as soon as I have it in my hands, I'll send one to Immigration. I have everything else done (still have a couple things to notarize--but they are done otherwise). I got my officially notarized police clearance in the mail today. So all that is left is the homestudy and the magic 171H form.

Chad and Lesa still have not had their baby! Lesa is absolutely miserable and I wish she would hurry up (so does she!). So any day now, I'll be an aunt! She has a doctor's appt this am, so we'll see. I think they are as ready as they can be...is anyone ever ready? I know I won't be!

I do have a new family member to report. My cousin Christy had a baby girl on May 14th, her name is Callie. She has an older brother named Logan who is 3. I have not met the new little one yet, they live in KY and it will probably be a while before I can go down. But congrats to all of them!

Not much else to report. Bought some new clothes this week for the baby (JC Penney's was having a sale--when are they not?); I got a bunch of bodysuits and onesies--essentials! Also bought some more books this week. Anyone that lives in VA or WV should check out the Green Valley Book Fair. It is open several times a year for a couple weeks at a time. They have a huge building (actually 2) that are full of books of every kind. They are very inexpensive and usually in pretty good shape. I bought quite a few little board books and a cloth book (for travel--easy to pack and easy to carry on the plane). Check out www.gvbookfair.com

Well, that is all for now. No more meltdowns as of yet. If my homestudy doesn't get done soon, I'll go crazy.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tagged

Okay, I got tagged by Stacie...not really sure what this is about but I'll play along. I certainly have nothing better to do (what with my very busy social life, and all!). Looks like fun anyway.

FOODOLOGY

What is your salad dressing of choice? Don't usually use any but Italian if I have to pick one

What is your favorite fast food restaurant? McDonald's

What is your favorite sit-down restaurant? Applebees

On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant? 15% and then round up to even number

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? potatoes in any form (fried, baked, mashed, boiled, in soup, etc.)

What is your favorite type of gum? Dentyne Fire

TECHNOLOGY

What is your wallpaper on your computer? A picture of my dog and two cats laying on my guest bed together

How many televisions are in your house? 2

BIOLOGY

What’s your best feature? my sweet disposition!!

Have you ever had anything removed from your body? Yes...an accessory navicular bone from my left foot (in other words, an extra bone--I still have one in my right foot)

Which of your five senses do you think is keenest? Smell--very sensitive

When was the last time you had a cavity? currently

What is the heaviest item you lifted last? patients at work

Have you ever been knocked unconscious? Maybe when I was little and Jimmy hit me in the head with a softball? He didn't want me to play but my brothers let me and he beamed me!

BULLOLOGY

If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? NO

Is love for real? I hope so!

If you could change your first name, what would you change it to? I like my name, not too many people have it!

What color do you think looks best on you? Blue

Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake? Quite possibly

Have you ever saved someone’s life? Quite a few times but, not heroically...just part of my everyday job

Has someone ever saved yours? In a round-about way, I'm sure some of the decisions my parents made saved me many times but I don't remember any specific life-threatening instances

DAREOLOGY

Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000? Absolutely, as long as the public street was far, far away and no one took pictures!

Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100? Not for $100, maybe for a couple million

Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000? No way

Would you never blog again for $50,000? Probably, but I'd find another way to communicate

Would you pose nude in a magazine for $250,000? I'd break the camera, so it's not really an option!

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1,000? No.

Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000? NO

Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000? Yes

Give up MySpace forever for $30,000? I don't have a myspace page but if someone would pay me to give it up, I'll hurry up and create one!

DUMBOLOGY:

What is in your left pocket? My right hand...just kidding, no pockets today

Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie? Never finished it

Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house? Both

Do you sit or stand in the shower? stand

Could you live with roommates? Sure

How many pairs of flip-flops do you own? 1 very well-worn pair

Last time you had a run-in with the cop? Run into them all the time at work

What do you want to be when you grow up? A mom

Last friend you talked to? Maria, she called me on her way to work to thank for for switching days with her...truth is, it was a big help to me because I hate Sunday nights in the ER!

Last person you called? Mom

RANDOMOLOGY

First place you went this morning? Came home from work

What can you not wait to do? Baby time!

What’s the last movie you saw? The Holiday

Are you a friendly person? I hope so


So, now I'm supposed to tag three people, but I don't know anyone else that blogs. So no tags :< !!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Preparation while waiting.

Still waiting...papers, papers, papers. Where are all my papers? Still waiting on my home study...maybe the beginning of next week...then send that to immigration and wait, wait, wait...

So in the meantime, RETAIL THERAPY!!!

BOOKS
Here are some of the books I've gotten (hope everyone has stock in Amazon!). These are the kid's book I've bought that deal with adoption and multiracial issues.

CLOTHES
Still only buying stuff on clearance...this kid's already got more dresses than I do! This is only about 1/3 of the outfits I have, these are my top picks. My favorite is the green patchwork dress, bottom left on the first picture.

















DOLL
Here is a doll - my Mom actually bought this for me.
"My First Doll" in dark skin--actually a little difficult to find.


LIFEBOOKS
Lifebooks are photo albums, scrap books, or journals documenting the beginnings of an adopted child's life. This includes the country of origin (info about it and the political situation, etc.), the situation surrounding the reasons the child is up for adoption, orphanage or foster home pix, etc. These are meant to be private between the adopted child and their parent...a link to the past to fill in some of the questions (and possibly raise more). I am going to make a lifebook but I'm also going to make an "adoption book" which will be easier to be shared with everyone. It will have lots pictures of things like the plane ride home, meeting the animals, our first meeting in Ethiopia, that kind of thing. These are the two photos albums I chose (the Memories is for the adoption book and the Love one is for the lifebook.









This is the first page of the adoption book...I love my little person hole-puncher...just used "multi-cultural" paper. I'm hoping to get as much done before the adoption as I can (cause time will be limited with a baby in the house)...going to make some pages that will just need pix added later.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Lucky Charm - I hope!

Here is a picture of the necklace I ordered and received in the mail yesterday. The three symbols on it represent the different facets of adoption. The sun is for the birthmother who gave the child life, the heart is for the adoptive mother who will forever love the child, and the star in the middle is for the child who connects them. I have mine on right now and hopefully everytime I need a little pick-me-up...I can touch it and remember what this journey is all about. I also bought two more to carefully store away. One will be given to my daughter on a special day when she is mature enough and interested enough to understand the symbolism. I will also take one with me to Ethiopia if I think there is any chance of meeting the birth mother (that is, if she is alive and known). Sometimes this is an option and I think it would be wonderful to give her a small thank you gift for her amazing sacrifice.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Forward Movement!!

Paperwork

Finally, a break in the waiting!!!! The home study is done!!!!!!! Well, not 100%--it still has to be reviewed by Lindsay at CHI and my social worker Beth is still waiting on 2 references letters to arrive (I've been told they are in the mail) but it is written and ready to go. Hopefully I'll have that in my hands by the end of next week. Then I can send one on to the Immigration people. After they receive that, they can do my immigration clearance and issue me my magic 171H form. That will be that last piece of paper I need. I still have some things to get notarized and a couple more things to come to me (like my State Police clearance) but those are easy and quick things. So at least things are happening again! Still looking at a couple months to finish the dossier because the Immigration clearance will take a couple months (hopefully not that long but I'm being realistic). That is the paperwork update.

Culture Update

Today, my friend Maria and I went to the Ethiopian restaurant in Harrisonburg. Interesting...very interesting. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one...we went during the last 45 minutes of the lunch buffet and they are closing on Sunday for the entire summer (they are moving to a bigger, more central location). I have a feeling that the food wasn't up to their usual quality...everyone says it is really good, including my sister-in-law Diana (although she has a much more experienced palate than I do). So........it wasn't great. There were a lot of spices I'm not used to (of course, most people do use more than salt and pepper in their food!) and I found it very different. A lot of the food is just things that I'm not used to and need to try a few times to develop a taste for them. I really liked the rice mixture they had and the chicken was very good. Doro tibs is basically cubed chicken breast mixed with some other veggies...really good and tender. The doro wat is a chicken stew that had full drumsticks in it...this was also very good but very spicy. Not a hot spicy, but a make-you-drink-a-lot-of-Dr.Pepper spicy. I was really looking forward to the himbasha bread (honey and sweet spices) but there wasn't any on the buffet.

I have to discuss the injera. If anyone out there has tried this and would like to comment--please do. Injera is a bread-like pancake thing that you are actually supposed to use to eat everything with instead of utensils (although they did have silverware)...I found it pretty inedible. I have texture issues and soggy flat bread just didn't do it. Maria said that she didn't like it either. Maria went to Ethiopia this spring (her brother is a missionary there) and she felt like the food today was a pretty good representation of what I'll find in-country although she actually found it quite a bit more flavorful today. This might be a good thing because I found the spices a little overpowering...I actually prefer bland foods. It's all what you get used to and are exposed to. So hopefully, when they reopen, I'll try again and find a few more things I like (but I have never gone wrong with chicken!).

After eating, I spent time with Maria looking at all her pix of Ethiopia and some of the "curiosities" she brought home. Very beautiful country, beautiful people. Her brother is coming home in a few months and hopefully I'll get to meet him and be able to learn more before we go.

So, back to more waiting. I'll keep everyone posted.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Read this blog

Please go to the right-hand side of the page and link to "Silas." This is another couple's blog (working with a different agency) that I've been following. They just got their little boy today. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Highchair

Okay, so I bought a highchair on Sunday. I think I finally figured it all out. I had found the brand/style I wanted (Evenflo) but was having trouble finding the fabric/color that would look good in the kitchen/dining room. I was browsing through KMart yesterday and found one that matched my Pack 'N Play (Safari Expressions). It is beige and light blue plaid with just a little picture of safari animals on it. Apparently, the brands only distribute certain fabric patterns to certain stores because I wasn't able to find this one at Wal-Mart or BabiesRUs but on the side of the box, it said "Manufactured for KMart stores." Aha! So I bought it, knowing that it will probably not be there next week (at least that is how our KMart works). It has adjustable seat height, reclining back, folds up, rolls around, has a snap out tray that is dishwasher safe, the tray depth itself is adjustable (I guess in case your baby is fat!), and has a little place that you can snap in toys! So, another piece of furniture down. Only one more big purchase that is necessary--the car seat!

Nothing new on the paperwork front...just waiting on everything to come in.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Happy Day 5/5

Happy 4th Birthday Oliver!!!!
Here is your baby picture and your now picture!



























Happy Derby Day!






Feliz Cinco de Mayo!





Happy 10th Anniversary to me and my job!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The good, the bad, hopefully no ugly.

Today was my last meeting with my SW for my homestudy. She said it will take about 10-14 days to finalize the homestudy; that is if she gets the rest of my references and my state police clearance before then. The meeting went fine, she asked some tough questions, very much like a job interview only closer to a "life" interview. But luckily, this was friendly and casual, so it didn't matter that it took me three hours to come up with some of the answers...just kidding.

On the dossier front, things are not going as smoothly. I have to redo several documents (see previous post) and I am still struggling with my letter to Ethiopia. I am supposed to put in some "personal experiences" I have with Ethiopia...which are extremely limited. Given time, that will change but I'm working on it. There is an Ethiopian restaurant in Harrisonburg (the Blue Nile) that I am planning to visit if anyone is interested in experimenting...Dad, we better start developing a liking for this so we don't starve when we go. So overall, the paperwork is not going badly, just not as quickly as I want. It is hard to read other blogs with people finishing their dossiers (Congrats to Stacie and Kevin for finishing theirs) but I have to keep in mind that I only started this process about 8 weeks ago and things are actually moving at lightning speed...most people have a lot more time invested in the process already. I am also at a great disadvantage because I do not live anywhere close to my adoption agency branch. I am working out of the Tennessee branch (which covers most of the SouthEast) so it takes a little longer to get my stuff done because I can't just walk in and get it reviewed. But they say patience is a virtue...I just wish you could buy it somewhere, cause I'm good at shopping.

On that note, I'm doing better with the shopping spree. I have only bought 2 baby items this week...a pair of lime green pants with pink embroidery (sounds like strange colors to go together but it's really cute!) and a pair of jeans with a butterfly on the leg. Still sticking to nonseasonal clearance items. I read a great article in Parenting magazine (thanks Leisa @ work) about traveling on airlines with babies/toddlers. Things about guidelines on formula/baby food, how to change diapers in tiny bathrooms, how to "con" the airlines into an extra seat without paying for it, and had lists of what to take on board and what to check. I'm going to tear out the article and put it in my "travel" section of my big BINDER (read Stacie's blog to understand the binder joke) and hopefully I'll remember it when the time comes.

So that is all that's new here and none of it's really new. The next few weeks will just be papers and waiting. Did I mention papers? Deborah, I'm not sure how you did it because I've heard that China has like 2-3 times more paperwork than most of the other countries...but when I look at Kaili, I can't help but get so excited that I can forget all about the journey to get there.