Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Post #100 - Random Thoughts of Nothing

So this is post #100!!! I was trying to think of a good way to commemorate this auspicious occasion. I was going to do a list of 100 things (but couldn't think of a good category for 100 things nor did I think anyone really wanted to read that many). Then I thought that maybe I would just wait until my court date (TUESDAY) to post but it may take several days to hear anything and the blog-stalkers (Annie!) get worried if you go too long without blogging (which I totally understand because I stalk the blogs too...hey Annie, get busy!!). Just a joke!

Anyway (I'm already blabbering) I thought I'd just post about a little of everything.

Adoption Update:

Several people made it through court today...the Kikstras and the Fricks. The Fricks got their referral the same day I did! So there is hope that the courts do actually finish what they've started. Very hopeful for Tuesday but also realistic...just waiting.

So if court goes okay on Tuesday, I'm still not sure when we may travel but it looks like we could be in Ethiopia over Christmas. I've already talked to the travel agent and "booked" tickets (subject to change). The dates are limited and the fares are HORRIBLE but she put us on some waiting lists for better dates and fares. Augh!

Also got my meningitis shot today. They only recommended it if you are traveling during December and January so I had skipped it before. I really don't think I need it but, in my line of work, it is definitely a good thing to have on board.


Amari Update:

So the Mumblerrrs just got home from Ethiopia last weekend with their two cutie-pies. And they mentioned Amari in their blog!!!! So I got a little update through them and asked lots of questions that they tried to answer as best they could. Pictures to follow!!!!! So hurry up court! Apparently my child is a smiley little thing...let's hope she doesn't use them all up before I get there!

Baby shower coming up on Sunday--given by my wonderful co-workers. Can't wait--I'll post about that Sunday night. I'm getting close to being ready to be a mom! How crazy does that sound? Did a little packing last week just to see how much room I have, going to be a tight fit but I thought I was going to be way over on the luggage limits, so I think I'll be okay. Problem is, with plane tickets scarce, I may be in Ethiopia a couple days longer than planned.


Pet Update:

Still unable to wean Sammy Cat off the prednisone without him having an asthma attack. And now the prednisone side effects are kicking in...weight gain (he's already 20 pounds...he doesn't need to add any more) and acne (yes, cats get acne!!). So now we are trying an inhaler with a mask!


Christmas Update:

Not really sure what to do about decorating for Christmas. I can't leave a tree up while I'm gone for a week--the cats would go nuts!! But I don't want to put it up and then take it down before Christmas and I also don't want to go the whole season without my beloved tree. So I'll probably compromise, Mom has a little table-top tree that I may borrow. I am close to being finished with Christmas shopping...I love giving presents but I'll admit, this year I was less than imaginative. I wanted to get that taken care of because I have other things to concentrate on. I wrapped some presents tonight while watching Polar Express (love that movie!). I always watch Disney's Christmas Carol while decorating the tree! Brings back great memories.

I'm a little sad about being in Ethiopia for Christmas...I hate being away during the holidays. But the good thing is that Ethiopia does not celebrate Christmas until January 7th. Which means, if we are there during Christmas, they will not be celebrating yet. I think this will be easier because it will just be a regular Tuesday. It would be harder to watch the holidays go on around and not being at home. But then I feel guilty for feeling that way because I can't wait to meet Amari. Oh, the emotions!

Speaking of emotions...found a new tear-jerking moment tonight. I was wrapping a Christmas gift for Amari and on the gift tag I wrote To: Amari, From: Mommy. Whoa!!!! That felt so strange, sent shivers up my spine.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Optimistic but realistic? Disappointed.

So my motto going into my court date was "optimistic, but realistic." I was hopeful that court would go well but I knew, in light of recent events, that there was a good chance that court could be delayed. And it was. I found out Friday afternoon that my second court date will be Tuesday December 4th. Most of court went well, there were just some papers that were missing from the orphanage where my daughter was before coming to the House of Hope. Apparently the orphanage is in the middle of their yearly inspection and not all the documents quite made it where they needed to be, whether the orphanage did not get them to MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) or MOWA did not get them to the court. So hopefully, in the next ten days, they will make their journey complete.

Travel dates? Who knows? The "usually 3 weeks" after court puts me at Christmas week but I don't know how that will work with the holidays. And of course the week after that is New Year's. I'd hate to have to wait until the second week of January but I'll do whatever I need to, I guess. Best to just wait until after court and see.

So I'll keep everyone posted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We Got Hosed (dedicated to my brother Chad)

My brother coined the phrase "we got hosed" this past winter while we were visiting our cousins. After playing with all the different toys possessed by almost-3-year-old Brendan, Chad decided that we must have had a deprived childhood. All we had to play with were matchbox cars and legos. So this post is dedicated to Chad...in honor of all the new exciting toys they never had when we were kids. (But at least our imaginations were well developed!)

The Fisher Price Amazing Animals Sing and Go Choo-Choo (from Todd and Diana). This train plays tunes, self-propels at the touch of a button, lights up, makes different animal noises, the animals can be moved around...and you can buy additions to the train!!!




The Fisher Price Sit-to-Stand Giraffe (from Joey, Angela, and Will). This one can be played with sitting or assiting to stand. Put the balls in the giraffe's mouth, it lights up and plays music, the balls swirl down the slide, disappear and then pop out one of the 4 legs...but you never know which one!


Waiting, waiting, waiting....on the green ball


Where did that come from?




On to other things. Court is still scheduled for Friday...so keep praying hard (and remember--Friday in Ethiopia starts Thursday here!). It looks like I probably won't hear anything until next week (communication is sketchy and the holidays, etc.) but I promise I will post as soon as I hear something, either way. But think positively. From what I have been reading (blog forensics!), it sounds like lots of agencies are having trouble getting through court. It seems as though MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) is having some trouble keeping up with all the paperwork...giving them the benefit of the doubt here, the Ethiopia adoption program has exploded and along with several new changes, they are probably very overwhelmed. Let's just hope for the best!

What else to say...the weather is very pleasant here (72 degrees right now) and sunny. Have all the blinds open so I can get some much needed "sun therapy." Very helpful to the mood!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I LOVE turkey!! And I'll get to play with Madi--haven't been exposed to anything at work lately so I can actually touch her!!

Did you know ToysRUS delivers straight to your house off your registry (no, this is NOT a hint)? What a pleasant surprise!! The UPS man is becoming my friend. Not to mention that I did most of my Christmas shopping online this week, so I'll be seeing more of him!

Still rambling....things I have gotten done this week (because everyone loves to hear about this!!). Cleaned out my closet and under my bed (ewww!), lowered the crib one level since Amari may be sitting up by the time we get home, worked on the nursery which now looks cozy and slightly cluttered, shopped for presents for Ethiopia (UVA hats for the guys, earrings/necklaces for girls, tulle bags to fill with chocolates...hope that will work because I'm at a loss for what to get), bought new skirt for the Embassy and visiting the orphanage (corduroy that I can wear with a nice cotton shirt or blouse), copied, reorganized paperwork to take with me!!! That's about it!!

Well, that should bring everyone up to speed. Hopefully I'll post soon with good news!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

BABY SHOWER!!!!!!

So yesterday was my baby shower, given to me by my wonderful family. Thank you all very much. It was quite overwhleming but very, very nice! It was a giraffe theme and I got lots of giraffe presents...hope, hope, hope that Amari doesn't have a weird aversion to giraffes because they are going to be everywhere she looks!! Got to see several friends that I hadn't seen for a very long time which was pretty cool. My cousins Christy and Juli came in for the weekend (with 6 month-old Callie) and we had a great time. Baby Callie is a spitter (Stacie--I now understand what you are going through with Micah!) and I learned that NO, you can never have enough bibs and burp clothes!!



So on to the details...I had a wonderful little helper, Kaili, who assisted me in opening my gifts and "test-driving" several of them. Leave it to a 2.5 year to figure out how the toys work before I could! We had a blast opening gifts and it was so much better than everyone just staring at me (augh!).



So on to the show:





Here is a beautiful picture of Amari...I realized after taking a picture of the picture that I couldn't post it yet (duh!). But Kaili solved the problem by putting a gift tag over Amari's face!
Yes we even ate giraffe!Pictures of my cutie-pie assistant!Here are some pictures of some of the gifts...sorry I'm not showing them all. People probably don't need to six pix of onesies and bottles and socks and books and outlet covers and crib sheets and etc, etc, etc. So here are some of the more interesting ones picture-wise.

Jerry the Giraffe stacking toy (kind of a creepy name for a toy!). (Chad and Lesa)
Toy bins (Mom and Dad).







Giraffe Backpack--adorable!!! (Deborah, Randy, Kaili)



Umbrella Stroller that took me 15 minutes to figure out! (the KY crowd!)



Booster chair for taking places. (Todd and Diana)Really neat hot-air balloon--to be put up in the window. (also Todd and Diana)Other great stuff not pictured...boppy pillow, FisherPrice Amazing Animals Zoo Train (really, really, really neat toy!), Moses basket, lots and lots of essentials from clothes and linens, to sippy cups and spoons and bottles, toys (including a vibrating frog teether!), books and more books, stuffed animals, wipes!!, car/stroller accessories, a jar of pickles and ice cream money for late-pregnancy cravings!! (thanks Uncle Bill and Aunt Phyllis). Wow, I can't even begin to list all the stuff! Crazy!



After the shower we hung out at my house, letting Baby Callie and Baby Madison play together. It was quite interesting to watch these two "examine" each other. They keep rolling over into each other and I think some infant fingers might have found their way into the other's mouth/nose!



Baby Callie went home to KY this morning, so Madi is back to playing alone. But not for long!!





Bye-bye Callie!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quick Update

So plans are in high gear...let's just pray that court has a positive outcome next week.

I contacted a travel agent over the last couple of days and set up some very tentative dates and accommodations. This travel agency has experience in both adoption travel and Ethiopian travel...a major plus. I have been given ballpark figures on both airfare and hotel prices. The airfare is a little higher than what I had hoped but I may be traveling very close to the holidays so it is understandable (and unavoidable!). Overall, my estimations were fairly close!

I also met with my pediatrician this am. I was not able to get in with the one I wanted because he had no openings for quite some time so I settled for one of his colleagues (who happens to be my niece's pediatrician and Chad and Lesa love her!). It happened to be another example of how things happen for a reason. Her cousin (who is single) just adopted a little girl from Ethiopia this past summer! Wow! So my pediatrician knew a lot of what I figured I would need to explain. She was more than willing to write prescriptions for not only antibiotics, but also for scabies and worm meds. She also said she would let me know if she thought of others to add. She was totally okay with the possibility of using benadryl on the return trip if Amari got majorly fussy. She was also very helpful about nutritional questions I had and suggested that I take some small finger foods (like Cheerios) because she said that sometimes the feeding habits in facilities tend to "mature" the kids eating preferences. She said that if Amari has started any solid/finger foods, that this would be a helpful distraction on the way home. Hmmm...new angle I hadn't thought about (food is always a good distraction for me).

So that is the update. Family coming in tonight to visit, baby shower tomorrow!!! Will post pix!!! Also having a work baby shower on December 2. Major excitement. This weekend is all about relaxing and enjoying myself and not worrying about lists or things to do or the upcoming court date (yeah right! I'll still be worrying about that!). Ahhh! Now I have to get some sleep...worked all night and have been up almost 24 hours. Need to catch a few winks before company arrives!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

COURT DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a court date!! Yes, you read that right...I have a court date. Court is set for November 23, aka the best shopping day of the year!!! Thanksgiving is going to be major nerve-racking this year!

I'm cautiously optimistic...several of the latest families to go to court have not made it through on the first try (for different reasons--all things that had to be fixed on the Ethiopian end). So I'm just going to wait and see what happens.

When do I go? No clue yet. The way things are supposed to happen (depending on how court goes)...travel should be roughly 3 weeks or so after a successful court date!!

AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I have to try to get some sleep because I have to work tonight!


***Update, received another email from Sharon (the director of the Ethiopia Program). Embassy dates are USUALLY scheduled for 3 weeks after a successful court date, always on a Wednesday. Which would put us at about December 19th. Since we go from Saturday to Sunday, that would mean leaving on the 15th and getting home on the 23rd!!!!!!!!!***

BTW--I had reset my registries to reflect a new due date of December 15th shortly after receiving my referral in October. I might be pretty close (thanks for pointing that out Deborah!!!).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another Busy Weekend

Hopefully soon, a busy weekend will mean running around keeping a certain little munchkin out of trouble. But for now, it still means just getting me and my house ready. So here is a run-down of everything.

I worked all weekend on the house. Since I am not married, I have to rely on the goodness of others when I need help around the house. I am fairly handy but some jobs are beyond my expertise and/or skill/strength level. Although not having a husband to help with these kind of jobs is a disadvantage (who's to say he would even be good at them anyway?), it means I have three very talented individuals with different skills and areas of expertise to fall back on..Dad and my two brothers. So this weekend, Todd was the lucky brother! Or, as the case may be, I was the lucky sister.

My garage is a source of a big headache. I use it as a storage area (which is okay) but it had gotten out of control this year. Since I had cleaned out one room to make into a nursery plus decluttered and child-proofed, the garage had exploded into a disaster area. It was hard to get the car in easily, forget car seats and strollers and baby in my arms. So we spent all of Saturday fixing up the attic into a storage area and hauling everything up there. It was a massive, tiring, but fun project. And my garage looks AWESOME! So much room!

The garage before...
Todd hard at work...

Todd still hard at work....

Todd not so hard at work...

Boo-boo! Sorry Todd, only Dora or Strawberry Shortcake bandaids in the house.
The attic before...(no after pictures because the amount of junk up there is embarassing)...
The storage platform we built between the rafters...

Our "walkway" between the rafters with flooring laid beyond it for more storage...
The garage after!!!!!


On Sunday, I resumed my cleaning endeavors. I even moved the refrigerator to clean behind it (thanks Dad for coming over to help fix the leak after I did something to make the water line drip, drip, drip after moving the fridge). I cleaned under the stove...the cats had been using it to hide their mice under so I found 8 furry mice that were beyond gross (but that didn't stop the cats from batting them around and now they are ALL missing again). I put a laundry cart beside the washer/dryer...not that I needed the storage space, it will keep the cats from getting behind the dryer and sitting on the hose. Somehow in the course of doing this, the dryer stopped working (thanks Mom for coming over to help me since moving the dryer alone is not easy). Anyone see a theme.

I also put up a medicine cabinet in the "anteroom" to my bathroom (not sure what to call it, my vanity is separate from the toilet/tub/shower part of my bathroom). I had been storing all my meds - I own a mini pharmacy! - in my nightstand which I figure isn't safe. So now the medicines are in the medicine cabinet. I washed the gigantic curtains that cover the patio doors. Then I just finished my regular cleaning...laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, changing bed linens. Whew!!! I'm tired thinking about it!

On to other things...I am now on antibiotics because one of the kids I took care of this week at work tested positive for pertussis (whooping cough). This is one of the vaccinations that I had in August but my employer didn't care and put me on the abx anyway. So this weekend I had to put up with those side effects--don't ask! I think I need to wear a mask to work my last few weeks because I don't want to risk getting sick before I go to Ethiopia.

And when is that you ask? Who knows??? On our yahoo group, someone said their SW told them 6-10 weeks for a court date...I wasn't told this but I wasn't told any time frame, just to expect to travel in about three months (which would be the beginning of January). So that depressed me. Then I read about a fellow blogger that "lost" her child that she was very close to picking up because the parents changed their minds. One of the great things about Ethiopia is that the parent has to go to court to declare that this is truly what they want for their child (cuts down on some of the corruption faced by other countries) but it also makes it more difficult for parents to "just walk away." While everyone wants what is best for the child, it is also devastating when the child you have grown to love will not be coming home to you. It is something I have thought about a lot...let's just hope court hurries up and all goes well.

Next weekend my family is giving me a baby shower. I am super excited! I never had a bridal shower (for obvious reasons!) but I did have a house-warming party when I first moved out into my own home. That was slightly embarrassing because I don't like everyone looking at me...but a baby shower is different because it is all about the baby. My cousins Juli (who came last month to visit me) and Christy are coming from KY to spend the weekend and go to my shower. They are leaving their sons behind in the care of their hubbies; Christy is bringing her daughter Callie who is about 6 months old. So I will get some baby time this weekend! I'm so excited.

Well, that is all for now. Busy week this week...work, work, work. I meet with the pediatrician on Friday so I need to compile a list of questions (do the lists ever end?). BTW, I now have a new binder (aren't you proud Stacie...back to the binders!) that is divided into all my lists...paperwork yet to be done, packing list, pet to-do list, house to-do list, thank you list, etc., etc., etc.

I'll leave you with one final picture. Mickey has claimed the crib! He thinks I bought it just for him...good thing I had put down the beach towel to protect the bedding. Hope Amari finds it as "sleep-able."

Friday, November 9, 2007

HURRY UP!!!

5 weeks since receiving my referral. No, I haven't heard anything. No, I do not know when my court date is. No, I do not know when I'm going to Ethiopia. Yes, I am tired of waiting. Yes, I am going out-of-my-mind. Yes, I wish it would hurry up. Yes, I'm tired of answering these questions. Thank you for asking.

Really, I do thank you for asking. Just stand back...I'm liable to go bonkers on some truly unsuspecting well-meaning individual.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Christmas or Birthday?

So I have bought Amari a few gifts. Not that she really needs any considering everything she is getting when she comes home, including a room that will be FILLED with all kinds of baby stuff. But those are all "every-day baby" things. I wanted to get her actual "presents." The question is...will they be for Christmas or her 1st birthday (which is supposed to be in March).


So here is what I've bought so far. E is for Ethiopia is a book that does the alphabet (the English alphabet A-Z) with pictures of typical parts of Ethiopian life for each letter. The pictures are very nice and it has a nice rhyming text.
Cafepress.com has become one of my favorite places to shop and they have some new stuff. I found this great onesie that is so cute. I bought the 12 month version so she will have time to grow into it. In case you can't read it well...it says "Pretty cute and Ethiopian."
Also from cafepress I got a Poster that I will frame for in her room. Again, if you can't read it well...it says "There's nowhere on earth I wouldn't go to bring you home to me." Tissues, please!
The other great find is a DVD that is preschool beginning language video that is only in Amharic. Tsehai is a giraffe that has a very cute sing-songy approach to learning letters and such. Check out the website to watch a sample video. Too bad there is no translation available but it will still be fun for her to watch (and to hear her native tongue--which is beautiful BTW).


So here's to hoping they will be Christmas gifts!! Let it be "Amari" Christmas (get it?? A Merry Christmas??). Actually Amari is pronounced with two soft "a"s but it is still kind of funny. BTW, Ethiopia doesn't celebrate Christmas until Jan. 7 so I have a little extra time to make it before Christmas.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Amharic lessons and Freezer Food

Okay...so call me a nerd. I openly admit that I tend to be an over-achiever in some aspects of my life. When I started seriously looking at adoption, I first picked the agency I wanted to work with and then decided on the country. Needless to say, I knew nothing about Ethiopia before I started this journey. As I started to learn more, I bought an Ethiopian Amharic phrasebook, determined to learn a little of the language before I went. Amharic is a very difficult language...it has over 200 characters (and by characters I really do mean characters...they are not letters, more like some of the Asian/Arabic languages). It is also very hard to learn to speak a language that you have never heard a spoken word of--how do you learn cadence and intonation if you've never heard it? So I gave up, figuring that between my agency's workers and the fact that Ethiopia does speak some English...I would be okay.

Well, I have changed my mind. I really want to be able to converse a tiny bit. I want to know my numbers so I can barter in the markets, I want to be able to say thank you to Amari's mom if the opportunity arises. So I pulled the phrase book out (thanks Maria for helping with the pronunciations somewhat--Maria went to Ethiopia this past spring so she was able to help with a couple basics). I was very excited to find that I could quickly count to 10 but then I disappointed myself when I realized that I could not think of an individual number without counting up to it. Like if you asked me what 7 was, I would have to count 1-6 to get there. So I decided to make flashcards (that's where the nerd in me came out!!). So I made up 30 flashcards (used business card paper in my printer) and over the weekend, my co-workers quizzed me. I am very excited to say that I know my numbers 1-10 (all individually), I can say hi and goodbye and how are you and mother and father and grandmother and grandfather and daughter and baby and "Where's the bathroom???" (that's the most important!), and sorry and thank you. So it is on to more flashcards...bigger numbers (luckily they do 10+1, 10+2, etc.), some foods, etc. I am very excited about this. And now I have something new to do on the airplane--Dad get ready to throw away your Swahili words and learn a new language!!
In other baby prep areas, I made some wildberry muffins and some pumpkin-walnut bread tonight to freeze for after I come home. Here are pix of my casseroles I did last week and then vacuum-sealed (the BEST gadget in the world--I even vacuum-seal marshmallows, they are so fun to open and watch pop back up!).




Nothing new on the adoption yet...just waiting. Everyone at work is as antsy as I am...at least I understand the process, it is hard for those who have not been exposed to adoption processes to know what all is involved. One of the doctors sat down with me last night and was very interested in my trip and all about Ethiopia (I impressed myself by how much I actually knew!!--I've come a long way in a few months)...he asked me if I would take a lot of pix and develop a slide show to present after I get home! Too cool! So I want to try to keep that in mind while I'm over there (along with the 500 million other things I need to remember while I'm over there--would it be too nerdy to make a list of what I need to THINK while I'm in Ethiopia?????).

Friday, November 2, 2007

Planning, planning, planning...

Sorry I haven't blogged in a little while. Just been busy doing a little of everything. Nothing new on the adoption process. It has been 4 weeks since my referral and I'm still waiting on a court date. Ugh...so tired of waiting. Check out Mumblerr website...they sailed through court on Monday and are looking forward to traveling Thanksgiving week to meet their new daughter and son. Check out the pix--such cutie pies!

On my end, I've been working hard at getting everything done that needs to happen before baby time. Over the weekend, I did some re-arranging and packing away of some breakables. I didn't have to put away nearly as many things as I thought. A little reorganizing gave me some room on some top shleves to display stuff. I even ended up with 3 shelves free on my entertainment center (plenty of room for kids toys, books, videos, etc.). I baked, vacuum-sealed, and froze 5 casseroles this weekend (2 pizza casseroles, 1 baked ziti, 2 chicken casseroles) so I'll have food ready when I get home. I still plan to make some muffins and some pumpkin-walnut loaves to freeze.

Mowed the yard, fixed my gate, put away the grill, cleaned the mower, stored the hose away. Still need to weed-eat (augh--my LEAST favorite chore). I think sealing the deck will have to wait until spring because the temps are now too low to use the sealer. Oh well, the rest of the outside of the house is good for winter.

I also started childproofing cabinets and drawers (that was a bigger pain than I thought it would be--took longer than I thought). I figured that by the time I get home, Amari will be close enough to becoming mobile that I won't want to have to worry about child-proofing and watching her at the same time.

I visited another day care center yesterday. It opens at 6am which gives me much more flexibility in the mornings and is brand new (all new toys, cribs, everything). It is still a toss-up between this one and the other one I had picked out. I will probably go ahead with this one...it opens earlier and is a little closer. I plan to move Amari closer to my work once she is in preschool (many more preschools around than infant care!) so I really need to focus on the baby end and not worry much about the structured preschool part at this point.

Still a lot of stuff to get done but I'm getting a lot accomplished and hopefully I'll soon have a date. I work much better with a deadline.