Friday, September 30, 2005

Warning: Boring Post to Follow

I wanted to let you know that my sink is still clear, and all the rooms that were at mantenance level have not been downgraded. These are good things. (I'll bet you were all dying for an update on that.)

I finished writing up all the contact, medical, and miscellaneous info that I need to leave with Kelly and Danny. It is all in a folder, along with Boo's "homeschooling" lessons. This is a good thing.

I finished wrapping the gifts for the kids that they will open each day we are gone. This is a good thing.

I wrote four letters to Boo and three to Bug that they will get "in the mail" when we are gone. I think I will write one more for Bug. This is a good thing.

I THINK I finished buying/collecting all the things we will need to bring for Bao. This is a good thing.

We got a boat-load of mint condition bills on our first try at the bank. This is a very good thing.

Bug is acting like his is getting sick. This is not such a good thing.

Are you thoroughly bored yet. This is a bad thing!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Parental Rite of Passage

Tonight, for the very first time, I took one of my kids to the emergency room. I don't think Mr. Bug has ever believed me when I've told him that someone could get hurt when he throws things. I think he believes me now.

It was a rock. And it met up with Ms. Boo's head.

She needed 4 stitches. And she is doing fine. She wasn't in much pain after the initial swelling seemed to subside. And she acted completely normal for the 3 1/2 hours that we waited to see the doctor. She colored, played with some toys from the closet in the hall (which was well-stocked, being that this was a children's hospital,) played connect 4 with me, and chatted. The admitting nurse gave her some stickers, one of which depicted a little girl, that looked kinda like Boo, listening to some headphones. In big, bold letters next to the girl was the word "ROCK." We got a chuckle out of that.

The doctor was able to use topical anesthesia, so she didn't need to get a shot. Once she got used to the idea of someone sewing her head, she laid there just fine and it was over lickety split.

They gave her a popsicle before she went home, and now she is sleeping with her little Tazmanian Devil bandaid covering her wound. Could it get any better?


Monday, September 26, 2005


As you may have noticed, Wonder Woman has joined us. I thought she'd be just the right choice for my profile photo. I could have used Lucy (from the Peanuts Gang) or Pebbles (from the Flintstones,) but neither seemed quite as appealing as Wonder Woman.

I took this photo a long time ago, and had all sorts of trouble uploading it (in my pre-flickr days.) I don't really like this photo that well. So I tried to take a new one recently. But, much to my dismay, when I went to get Wonder Woman out of the display case (yes, my MIL bought me a display case) I couldn't find her. I am sure she has been lost since I took that first picture some time in August of '04. I am bummed that she is missing. I have no idea where she could be. And, frankly, I am not very hopeful that I will find her, either.

But, here she is anyway, gracing the margin of my blog.

For the list of my PEZ dispensers (which would have to be updated,) click here.

Have a Heart

Originally uploaded by PEZmama.
Boo drew this for me. I thought I would share it with you so it can brighten your Monday. She is into drawing, lately, especially hearts (which she draws upside down!)

From the time I scanned this picture (yes, I have outsmarted my scanner,) to the time I started typing this post, approximately 17.35 hours have passed. I told you my computer was slow. But, this is good practice for the kind of stuff I hope to post while in China (if we can find a digital camera and a lap top to borrow... anyone?)

Plus, I think a picture on my blog automatically snags me some cool points, right?


Saturday, September 24, 2005


I am using words like "stoked" and "peeps."

My site feed is now enabled.

I have links in the margins.

I'm getting cooler by the day.

(Though I will admit that I have no idea what "diggety-smack" means.)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Various and Sundry

- I met the goal of getting the sink cleaned out and have managed to keep it clear (though not SHINEY. My apologies to the Fly Lady.) I also cleared/cleaned the counters and stove top. I still have a bunch of stuff to do in the kitchen, but I have reached maintenance mode in the bathroom, living room, and kids' room. Still to clean are the family room (started decluttering that today,) my room, and the nursery, as well as the rest of the kitchen. And, though the dirty laundry pile is dwindling, the CLEAN laundry pile is HUGE.

But some things are getting done. AND, I have spent some good time with the kids every day since my last post about this.

I must say, I am beginning to feel a little bit like one does after building a huge house of cards. You know how they hold their arms out to keep everyone at bay and say, "DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING." Maybe not that bad, but I really don't want stuff getting messed up again - which is unrealistic, I know.

And I am beginning to manifest some of those qualities I see in the neat freaks I know, where they are always wiping counters or rearranging things. The constant movement always impresses me as some sort of nervous twitchiness. No me gusta.

- Plans for China:
arrive in KunMing on October 8. Begin adoption process on October 10. Fly to Guangzhou on Friday, October 14. Bethany's medical exam on October 15. Consulate appointment October 17 at 10:30 am. Leave China on morning of October 19.

- Plans for tonight:
Camping with the family. Until now, all of our camping has been confined to the back yard. Tonight we are going to a campground and we will even cook dinner and breakfast there. Boo is stoked. But we aren't fully packed, and Paul is now home.

I must away. Have a good weekend, peeps.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I Had Surgery Tonight

I was actually supposed to have it last Wednesday, but it was re-scheduled, due to illness. The funny thing is, it was on my calendar for a few months. But, before I even flipped the calendar to September, I saw it there and I thought, who has surgery? Why didn't I write down any details? I don't know who, I don't know where, I don't know why.

So I wracked my brain for a few hours. But I could not remember who had surgery. Then I forgot about it.

About a week later I received a reminder in the mail from church. Apparently I was scheduled for nursery that night. I made a mental note, though I had completely forgotten about the surgery.

Paul and I were doing some long-range planning when we finally flipped the calendar. "Surgery?" he said, when he saw it. "Who has surgery?"

Oh my GOSH! I just started laughing. "Um, I think I do. Only it's nursery, not surgery." Then I had this vague recollection of standing at the calendar, distracted by something going on with the kids, and trying to think of the word (nursery) that I was trying to write down. Apparently I wasn't paying much attention, because "surgery" is what came out.

But Bug was sick last week, and we weren't able to go to church. So, I had "surgery" tonight.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Everything AND the kitchen sink

Actual conversation at the McDonald's drive-thru:

DT: AAAAAAAARGH! (In a raspy voice-) Welcome to McDonald's. Can I take your order?
Me: Uh, yeah. I'd like an Oreo McFlurry.
long pause
DT: AAAAAAAARGH! (In a raspy voice-) I'm sorry, could you repeat that, please?
Me: I'd like and Oreo McFlurry.
DT: AAAAAAAARGH! (In a raspy voice-) That'll be $1.90 a the first little window!
Me: Thanks.....Matey.

When I pull around to the "little window," there are two kids standing there. The kid with the headset, who looks like he is about to jump out the window, says, "Are you the one who just called me matey?" When I answer in the affirmative, he turns to his buddy, then back to me. "He didn't believe me!" His buddy just looked at him and says, "Man, if I tried that kind of stuff, people would be reaching through the window to slap me. But you get away with it every time!"

Glad they had some fun.


I felt frantic most of the day yesterday. Part of this is my own fault, and part of it is that there are just a few too many things on my plate. Though there are usually a lot of things to get done, I generally do okay with letting go of stuff that isn't important. But some days I let it get to me. Yesterday was one of those days.

Looking back at it today, I realized that a lot of what happened yesterday could have been avoided with a little bit better planning and organization.

Our house is extremely disorganized. Messy. I am no housekeeper. But it drives me crazy because it gets overwhelming and it needlessly complicates things. So I focused on getting some stuff cleaned up today. Mainly the sink, which was piled with dishes and in need of a major scouring. When I was first introduced to the Fly Lady, I was a little skeptical about her whole shiney sink thing. And, though I think her method of cleaning the sink could be categorized as overkill (and over-chemical, for that matter,) I have realized that when my sink is clean, my kitchen tends to stay much, much cleaner as well. So I knew I had to tackle the sink.

I still had a load of dishes to unload from the dishwasher, and half a sink left to load up, when I had to get dinner started. So, add to my half sink all the dishes from dinner! But I think I can get all the dishes done tomorrow. (And the scouring is already done. Yippee!) My goal: to keep the sink clear until we leave for China. Like I said, the sink really is the heart of it all. So if I can keep it clear, it will be the catalyst for getting other cleaning jobs done.

Also done today - washed two loads of laundry and cleaned the bathroom.

But here is the problem. I didn't spend any good time with the kids today because I was too busy cleaning. As I was cleaning, I was thinking about a post on Robin's blog about having too much to do and not being able to play with the kids. I left a comment for her in which I requested advice about how to balance the housekeeping with time for the kids. Then I thought, maybe I should just ask folks here.

So, here are my questions. Is it possible to have a clean house AND spend quality time with the kids every day? If so, how is that accomplished, short of hiring a maid? Do you schedule your cleaning time and your kid time each day? (Keeping in mind that some kids, especially kids like Boo, get crabby if their moms aren't able to play with them frequently.) What methods have you tried that have helped with cleaning, eliminating clutter, etc. (I am not as interested in knowing what products have worked as much as the methods.) For the sake of spending time with the kids, what things (laundry, dishes, etc.) are you willing to let go and for how long?

I admit that things would likely be easier to maintain once cleaned. (We have not yet reached maintenance status here.) And I realize that I have not developed the habit of neatness. But I am looking for small pieces of practical advice that people have had success with.

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HEARD: from Heather. She e-mailed me and briefly mentioned that Warren would be clear to start running again in 2 weeks. Thanks for all of your prayers on their behalf.

HEARD: Part of a sermon yesterday about deliverance by Johnny-fresh MacArthur. The dude rocks. ROOOCKS! Leave it to him to preach about stuff that most others don't. Check out his ministry, Grace to You.

HEARD: A Rich Mullins song on the radio yesterday that doesn't get played very often. It gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. I crank it every time. I'll leave you with the words:

There's more that rises in the morning than the sun,
And more that shines in the night than just the moon.
There's more than just this fire here that keeps me warm,
And a shelter that is larger than this room.

And there's a loyalty that's deeper than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing.
The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the giver of all good things.

So if I stand, let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through.
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to you.
And if I sing, let me sing for the joy
That has borne in me these songs.
And if I weep, let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home.

There's more that dances on the prairies than the wind,
And more that pulses in the ocean than the tide.
There's a love that is fiercer than a love between friends,
More gentle than a mother's when her baby's at her side.

And there's a loyalty that's deeper than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing.
The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the giver of all good things.

So if I stand, let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through.
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to you.
And if I sing, let me sing for the joy
That has borne in me these songs.
And if I weep, let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Unmistakably Uncool (Part 3): My Blog

We have already established that I am not cool. I would just like to hash out the myriad uncool things about my blog - for two reasons. 1) because they may offer some insight into me, and 2) because this may help me flesh out some changes I am considering.

Allow me to list the uncool aspects of my blog (in no particular order.)

1. Improper use of the asterisk.
-Apparently, the cool method for emphasizing words in the blogosphere is to highlight them with asterisks. For example: Does anyone really *read* this blog? I, on the other hand, am still doing what *someone* has decided is the equivalent of *yelling,* by using all caps. Did you hear me? I said ALL CAPS!

***so*** rude.

-I am also aware of some protocol which makes use of the asterisk to mask the names of companies. For example: I buy baby wipes at Tar*get. I don't know why people do this, (using the asterisk I mean, not buying the wipes. Cuz I actually DO buy wipes from Target.)

2. Improper use of the period.
-None of the cool bloggers use the period like I do.... I don't know why. I don't even really know what it means when I do that. But I do it a lot..... If I wanted to be cool I would stop. doing. that.

3. Low picture volume.
-cool bloggers have a picture with just about every post that is related to the theme of the post. Me, on the other hand, I can't get my scanner to work, so that rules out personal pictures. And my computer is so. ridiculously. slow. (I know, I'm such a poser.) So that rules out me sitting and browsing through all the public photos on flick* and finding one that is applicable. (And we don't own a digital camera, which in itself is uncool.... so I am just proving my own point.... in more ways than one.)

4. Lack of comments.
- Some blogs I read have 36 comments on every post. To get 36 comments on any given post, I think I'd have to bribe each of my readers to leave a comment... 9 times. This comment shortage is probably the result of the next 2 uncool characteristics...

5. Lack of a consistent theme.
-One day I am writing about adopting. The next day I am writing about eating chicken. The next day, I am asking people if they prefer writing with black ink or blue. Weird, maybe. But not cool.

6. Lack of groupies.
-(I'll bet there is a word for "groupie" in the blogosphere, but I don't know what it is.) I am the first to admit that I don't read a blog long if it's just about "whatever," especially if the "whatever" isn't particularly thought-provoking. I'm guessing that the thoughts of most people who happen by this blog are not generally provoked. This is because: a) reading about how cute my son is doesn't really get people's minds moving or b) people who link to me from one of my comments at an adoption blog, or a Christian life blog (for examples,) have found that I don't post much new or consistent material regarding topics of their interest.
-This lack of groupies also means that I can't compile a list of links to the fifty or so blog buddies who all read each others' blogs. All cool blogs have a list of fifty or so blog buddies who all read each others' blogs... and leave comments, by the way.

7. Lack of links.
-Let's face it, linking to a picture of a sweatshirt I want isn't exactly a reader's delight.
-And I don't have links to cool stuff in the margins, either... though I am thinking of changing my template to allow for this.

So all of this has me thinking...

Should I add links? Perhaps. A link to the PEZ website would definitely be cool. (Right?)

Should I begin shamelessly plugging my blog? A good thought. Maybe I could even offer a reward to those who leave a comment... just like a coupon... they can redeem it for 1/100 cent!

Should I get a theme? I got it, MY LIFE. Oh, I mean *My life*

Should I stop buying wipes at Target? *Absolutely.* They are MUCH cheaper at Tar*get.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Dispelling the Myth

If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times. People are constantly telling us that we are "so good," or "so generous," and even "heroic" because we are adopting Bao. I have been trying to think of a one-line response to those statements. I think one is finally beginning to take shape in my mind.

The most appropriate thing I can think to say is, "No, God is so good (generous, etc.)"

Now, I know that not all of my readers are believers in Christ. But for the sake of understanding me (or perhaps the Christian faith) a little better, let me explain why I say this.

Before I get to anything spiritual, I just want you to think about it. We are not giving Bao anything more than we give Bug and Boo. With respect to being a parent, there is obviously sacrifice. But our willingness to parent Bao through adoption doesn't make us any more generous towards her than to our biological children. I think people get a false sense of generosity because Bao's beginnings might be considered less than ideal. But bringing her out of that doesn't make us generous. It makes us just like any other parent who gives what they can to their children.

More than anything, I wonder if people think we are generous because they see us as somehow giving up a spot in our family (that belongs to someone else?) by offering it to a child who doesn't really belong there. Deep down they are thinking, "I could never do that."

To that I have only one reply. I used to think that too.

I am not generous. The truth is that I am atrociously selfish. This isn't poor self-esteem talking. This is the truth. My selfishness becomes more apparent to me with each passing year. And it reared its ugly head about three years ago when Paul and I talked about adopting a child. We dismissed it pretty quickly. Selfishly, I thought about how much I would dislike raising a child that I couldn't raise from birth. And I disliked the idea of helping a child deal with the emotional and developmental effects of being adopted. And I think I had it in my mind somewhere that I could not love a child that wasn't "mine."

So, what happened?

God intervened. Truly, God is the generous one in this situation. He has changed my understanding of family and given me a "want to" for something that I never would have wanted to do on my own.

It began with the realization that even Bug and Boo aren't mine. They belong to God. They have a place in my family because God put them here, not because Paul and I made them. (Certainly Psalm 139:13 teaches that it is God who creates each one.) It became more evident to me that the children I call "mine" are the ones God places in my care.

But I still had some major hurdles to cross with regard to my own selfishness. And over the next year or so, God continued to work on me. Slowly the thought of bringing an adopted child into our family turned into a desire. It was the real deal. I can't exactly explain how he did that, I just know that he turned my "I don't want to" into "I can't wait!"

And I don't even think I can explain my desire to have Bethany as part of our family. I just WANT to. And God gave me the want to. Whatever objections I had before are gone.

Maybe people think we are generous because we are willing to shell out a lot of money to bring Bao into our family. (Of course, apart from insurance, we would have been willing to shell out a lot of money to bring Boo and Bug into our family too...) But I think if that's all it comes down to, then people don't really understand. When you WANT something, you do what it takes to get it... and it isn't because you are generous, or good, it's because you really WANT it. And, let me tell you, a want to from God is major. You can't escape it if you tried... and you wouldn't *want* to escape it anyway!

But even the finances are just more evidence of how generous GOD is, not us. In the last two weeks, people have given us no less than $945. I'm not talking about people selling some stuff and giving us the profits. I'm saying people are FLAT OUT GIVING US MONEY! And at least three of these people HARDLY KNOW US!

And it isn't a coincidence that the same people giving us money are also believers in Christ. God works even on the hearts of STRANGERS to manifest his generosity in our lives. (This is also quite a testimony to the love that God instills in the hearts of believers towards one another.)

God's goodness and generosity are making all of this happen. Without them, I never would have had the desire to do this.

So, maybe I should give a copy of this badly written essay to anyone who says "you are so generous."

But I'll think, "NO, God is so generous" will have to suffice.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

This is why we don't watch...

This morning, after Mr. Bug and I finished breakfast, we sat down to watch Caillou together, as we often do. But we were a little early, and no me gusta that Dragon Tales show that is on before Caillou. So, when I switched on the TV, the weather report was on, and I figured I would just watch that until it was time to switch to PBS.

I paid attention to the weather report - all 7 days of the extended forecast - and now know what the weather will be like for the first time in probably six months. But I STOPPED paying attention when this commercial came on for Wife Swap. It was some silly preview about the "Miss Manners" mom switching places with the belching, behind-scratching mom. I immediately drift off into thoughts about why any mom, who thinks they are doing a decent job of mothering, would want to "hand off" to someone they don't even know, and how silly the show's premise is, and do people really watch this?

While I am off in la-la land, the preview keeps on running, and switches to highlights of the children's behavior. Without any warning, my TV (via one of the belching mom's offspring) yells at me, "KISS MY BUTT!"

And my son, who knows what a butt is, and that we don't use that word in our house, thinks that is totally hilarious.

So hilarious in fact, that he tries yelling it himself... which is even MORE hilarious.

All hilarity aside, I was a little peeved. I spend enough time debriefing my kids when they come in repeating the latest piece of garbage they've heard the neighbor kids say. It bugged me a little that my kids have to hear it even when I decide to watch a weather report.


In Other News
- folks have been asking about when we are leaving for China and what not. We officially booked flights today. Leaving October 6. Returning October 19. Before we'd even started planning flights, someone asked me how long the flight was. I told them that I thought I remembered something about it being 13 hours.... and I was right... if we're talking about the flight from Detroit to Tokyo. All told, we will be in a plane for 19 hours on the way out... and that only gets us to Guangzhou. Two more hours the next day will get us to Kunming. Aye, aye, aye.

- I finished the blanket that I'm leaving at the orphanage. It is totally lopsided. But it's warm, and I think that's all that matters.

- We took the training wheels off Boo's bike yesterday. By this morning she was able to start from a dead stop and keep on riding. The kid isn't even 4 1/2 yet. You GO, girl! (No pun intended.)

- The boy child is learning to work his charms on his mom. This evening, when he was supposed to be sleeping, he was sitting up and yelling as loud as he could. I issued very stern warning. His response was to throw his arm around my neck and say, as innocently as you can imagine, "I love you, mommy." Unrelenting in my firm demeanor, he just started laying sloppy, wet kisses right on my mouth. I am the first to admit that the boy is cute. (And, obviously, he knows that.) But, I was not taken in. He ended up getting what he refers to as "spank your bottom."

- The end. Good night.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Back to the Basics

It never ceases to amaze me that God is such an awesome provider. This whole experience of adoption has reminded me of this over and over again.

First, there is Angie, an adoptive mom to two girls from China whom I just "happened" to meet at the library (in another town) but who lives in the same (small) town as me. (And I could walk to her house in 5 minutes!) When we met, she was waiting for the referral for her second daughter. She has provided information over and over again. She has been the person I called up on the phone and read our referral to - all the "boring" stuff that no one else wants to hear - she listened. After hearing it, she said she needed to come over and see the pictures... and that she was coming over NOW! She arrived with a gift and proceded to ooh and aah over Bao's pictures. Now she is offering those last minute items, like a thermos and an electrical converter, that we didn't want to buy for our trip. She is a blessing to me.

Second, there is Diane. I mentioned Diane a few times recently. But let me just tell you how nice it is to talk/e-mail with someone who is EXCITED to HELP. Do I want information about sites in Kunming? Do I want some language lessons before I leave? Do I want a letter to the orphanage director translated? Do I want a description of Kunming for Bethany's scrapbook? Do I want the name of a good travel agent in Hong Kong? Diane has offered all of these things.

Third, the ladies at church. Anyone who goes through any major life event without the support of "the ladies at church" is missing out. What do you need? They'll get it done. They got us all the silly stuff that our agency said we needed to bring - ointment for a yeast diaper rash, ointment for a bacterial diaper rash, little dixie cups, ziploc bags, and, as all good church ladies do - CLOTHES! Stuff that their kids have outgrown. Stuff that they picked up at the department store. And they are so anxious to meet Bao. Not a trip to church goes by without someone asking "when will you be able to bring her home." Soon, ladies, soon.

Fourth, the Church ladies. Now, by this I mean fellow believers (members of God's Church) who don't go to MY church. The Church ladies are blowing my mind. Ami is one of them. I met her through MOPS, and we have become good friends. She has offered to take the kids for a few days while we are in China. (We won't need that, but the fact that she offered is a big deal, to me.) At the last evening of scrapbooking at Ami's house, I got re-acquainted with Kristy, whom I'd met ONCE before. ONCE. That evening, Kristy took me aside and told me how much she had been praying for us and for our daughter. She told me how she had a GIFT for us, and that she wanted to do whatever she could to help with what we needed. She asked questions, and she let me answer them FULLY. Then she'd ask more questions. She was genuinely interested in what we were experiencing, and she was committed to supporting us EVEN THOUGH WE ARE STRANGERS! (I hear you, fellow Christians, we are not strangers in the Body of Christ... but...) This is how God has chosen to bless me. He sends a stranger to me and gives her a heart for what we are experiencing. My heart is forever endeared to Kristy, and to the God who sent her my way. (And all the scrapbooking ladies - who, save Ami, I have not hung out with more than 4 or 5 times - have decided to have a shower for me during our next scrapbooking time. I am so amazed by their outpouring of love towards a family they hardly know!)

Fifth - people who are going through the same thing. Four of the ladies that I lived with in college have already or are in the process of adopting. (Just for perspective, I lived with 9 girls at different times during college. Of the seven I am still in touch with, five are in the "having kids" stage of life... and four of them are doing at least part of that by adopting.) My spiritual mentor while in college - planning on adopting. The coolest part is that my closest friend is along for the ride with me. When I told Helen that we were going to adopt she said, "No way." She was stunned - because she and Jeff were planning the same thing. We'd both been praying about it with our husbands, but hadn't told anyone else. She's waiting for her appointment to go to Ukraine. I call her and tell her every development on our end. And she's always so excited for me. Such a blessing.

Sixth - folks. I can't tell you how many e-mails I have received in which people have just encouraged and supported me. And so many people have prayed. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I stop praying. But someone has always been praying for us even when I'm not. I think some people have prayed for this adoption more than I have.

I don't know how God orchestrated all of this. I don't know why he even chose to - other than the fact that he loves me and he knows how to bless me in just the right ways. I think of what I would be like right now if all these people had not been involved. I would be a nervous wreck. But I'm not. I just get to sit around here at home watching my other two kids and thinking how fantastic it is going to be when Bao is able to join us. There isn't enough room in my heart to hold all that love. I feel like I am about to explode.

Thank you God. I am overflowing. I am simply too blessed to keep it all in.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

One Month from Today

We finally have travel dates.

As Shaggy would say... "ZOINKS!"

Our Consulate appointment is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on October 17th. We will spend the week prior in Kunming, Yunnan Province, completing the adoption and waiting for Bao's Chinese passport to be issued. The agency has told us to be in Kunming no later than noon on October 9. Astute readers will note that that is exactly one month from today.

And I am going to hazard a guess here: if we have to be there by noon, then I think we will meet Bethany later that day.

So, one month from today. Hmmm.

Now, I might start getting impatient.


Guilty Pleasures

The chicken-on-the-bone night was lovely. We had steamed broccoli with it, and an all time favorite guilty pleasure - Lipton noodles.

Lipton noodles are not even close to being a regular treat around here. I don't know why - where else can a person get a full day's supply of sodium in just one serving? But anyway, thanks to their nutritional value, they aren't a favorite of mine so to speak. I try not to buy major processed stuff - Hamburger helper, Rice A Roni, frozen meals, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, etc. And those examples are pretty easy for me to stay away from. While I don't hate them, I don't miss them either.

But the Lipton noodles are a different story. I just have a soft spot for those. I haven't bought any in probably two years - seriously - but they were on sale AND I had a coupon. So, I bought three packages because 1) it's nice to have an easy side dish to throw on at the last minute, and 2) I LIKE THEM!

So, although the chicken didn't turn out great, the noodles were super. And my kids loved them too (as well as the broccoli and chicken-on-the-bone. So there were actually a few minutes of peace at dinner. Small miracle.)

Anyway, all this reminded me of a post I read recently over at grrlTravels, which discusses the (edible) guilty pleasures we all like to indulge in once in a while. When I read the post, I could only think of one guilty pleasure. Tonight, I was reminded of a second - my beloved Lipton noodles.

What was the first one, you ask?

Chocolate frosting. Like, right out of the plastic tub.

And, since I'd already gone overboard with the Lipton noodles, I decided some frosting would be just the thing to finish off the evening. I ate three spoonfuls. It's a rare treat, believe me, but man was it ever tasty.

So now, I will open it up to you all with a long overdue official poll:
What do you eat that you'd consider a guilty pleasure?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Stuff I've been up to (and how I feel about it.)

- Made Bao's "snugglers." (hopeful, excited)

- Went to Bible study today. Without my Bible. (scatterbrained)

- Ordered a blizzard at Dairy Queen that was officially represented as an Oreo Blizzard, only to find out that the cookies were not the real thing. (betrayed... then full.)

- Rediscovering my love of toast. (happy!)

- Called the agency to try to get more info. (informed)

- Washed the first load of Bao's clothes. (bored)

- Working on the blanket that I will donate to the orphanage. (productive)

- Lost a paper RE: Bao that had sentimental value. (bummed)

- Reading "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger." (challenged)

- Shared a homemade fruit smoothie with the kids. (satisfied)

- Transplanted some stuff in the "garden." (glad)

- IMing with Shelby. (thankful, happy)

- Planning a meal of chicken-on-the-bone for this evening. (greatly anticipating!)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Just to clarify

The news from the agency today (in the previous post) is disappointing on all fronts - the most important of which is that it means a longer wait to be with Bao.

But, in terms of the trade fair, it is also very disappointing. From what I have heard, the last place on earth anyone wants to be is in Guangzhou during the trade fair. Extremely crowded. (And I think "extremely" is an understatemnt.) Most folks do a good deal of shopping for authentic Chinese merchandise at a huge market in Guangzhou. Normally I would just forego the shopping altogether, but we really want to purchase some gifts for Bao while we are actually in China. And the trade fair weeks are about the worst times to attempt shopping.

Additionally, it is disappointing not to stay at the White Swan. They have a medical clinic at that hotel and, frankly, I like that idea....

Of course, upon further reflection, I don't really know if getting an appointment for the 12th or 13th would even work out. We'd need to have Bao's Chinese passport by then, and if government offices are closed the week prior, getting one is probably not possible.

So pray whatever you want, I guess. I have no idea what outcome to even hope for.


The latest e-mail from our agency

Dear families in 2004 Group 9:

Thank you for your patience as we have been anxiously awaiting to hear from the US Consulate in Guangzhou about your travel plans. Today we received news from them …but not news that we were hoping for. They advised us that they are all booked up for the month of September. With the October Holiday (the entire first week of October all China offices will be closed and the US Consulate will be closed from the 3rd – 5th of October) they are also full up until the 11th of October too. Unfortunately we still do not have a confirmed date from them on when your appointment will be. They are working on this. This situation is very unusual and to complicate things more, trade fair in Guangzhou is from the 15th – 20th and the 25th – 30th of October as well. We had really hoped that you would be able to travel before this time and it would not be an issue for the group. However, this means that during these dates of trade fair, hotel rates swell to three times the normal rate. Thus, if you are traveling in Guangzhou during this time, we will be looking into alternative hotels for you as the White Swan Hotel will be extremely expensive and availability also very limited.

For now, we continue to wait to hear about a confirmed date for you but we know that you will not be traveling until sometime in October. We hope and pray that the US Consulate will advise us of your confirmed date very soon and feel very sorry for this unfortunate set of circumstances. We know that the wait has been difficult and would like for you to all be able to go as soon as possible.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We encourage you to hang in there and pray that they give us a confirmed date shortly.

China Adoption Team

Okay, peeps. Please pray that we would be able to get an appointment on the 12th or 13th. We obviously don't want to go later than that. And, given that the consulate appointment is our "last stop," it would be great to get out of there before the trade fair starts.

I am so........ disappointed? I don't know what the word is for it. Whatever it is, I'm that, only a whole lot.

No dumb advice please. I am just so sad that we will have to wait so long to be with Bao.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

They must not be readers...

... at least not during their work day.

Our agency sent an e-mail this morning with the subject line: "Still waiting..."

So, tomorrow.

In the mean time, I have been buying some snacks for travel/meals while in China. It would be nice if we could eat one meal a day from our stash and only have to buy twice. I also bought some formula for Bao. It's normally $22 and change, but it's on sale this week, and I had a $5 coupon (in B3) from the manufacturer. "They" know I am having a baby. It's creepy how they just know. I have 2 more of the same coupons. They arrived in the mail, addressed to me. That they know doesn't surprise me, but I really do think it's creepy.

Anyway. I bought that formula because of the coupons - yay for their marketing schemes. And I know it can't be all that bad cuz my parents used it when my sister was a baby. But really, I don't have any earthly clue about which formulas are better.

But I am going back with the other coupons tonight to purchase 2 more cans while they are still on sale.

In the mean time, I am trying to gather up all the stuff we need to bring for Bao. The stuff from church was helpful, but I still need a few more things for her. I got out Boo's old clothes on Sunday and will start washing those soon. The dilemma I have is whether to bring 6-9 month clothes, or 12 month. I have no idea how big she is. I suppose that too big is better than too small. But, honestly, it isn't something I am up to worrying about. So, whatever I bring will either fit, or we'll make due.

Packing is my least favorite thing to do. Let alone packing form someone else. Let alone packing for someone else when you don't know what size they wear.

Got to call the pediatrician and gather up all of Bao's meds. Got to get tickets. Got to pack the kids for their trip to K & D's house. Got to get a few papers notarized. Got to get our will written (don't ask.) Somewhere along the way it would be nice to get the house cleaned (HAH!) Then there are all the dumb decisions we have to get out of the way like, should we bring a stroller? Should we bring a car seat or buy one there? Yada, Yada, Yada. Me no like this part.

So, that's my stream-of-consiousness post for today. You can blame the US Consulate. If they had scheduled an appointment for us, this post would have just been happy-happy-joy-joy.



Monday, September 05, 2005

China, if you are listening...

To the lovely people at the US Consulate in Guangzhou:

I thought I would post this little request, just in case you are reading. It is 10 pm here, so I know it's 10 am for you, and I figure you have about 7 more hours left in your work day. So, I was wondering if you might use some of that time to make my day.

I'm waiting to get an appoinment over at your place for some time in late September, or early October. Whatever you have available is fine with me. I was just hoping that you might schedule that appointment while it is still today for you. That way, when it turns into today for me, I will have the joy of knowing when we will get to visit you, and more importantly, to meet my new daughter.

So, if you would be so kind as to work on that in the next few hours, I'd really appreciate it.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Saturday, September 03, 2005

Wise Decision

This evening the whole family travelled over to Hellion's (AKA Helen) house for a lovely evening of food, folks, and fun. On the drive home, which is about 50 minutes, any doubt I had about the wisdom of leaving the kids here while we go to China, was erased. We made a wise decision.

I love my daughter. I love that she is curious and funny. I love that she has developed different ways of expressing herself - hand gestures, facials expressions, sound effects, and altering the tone of her voice. Really, she's a hoot.

But not in a car. On a 50 minute trip.

She talked almost the entire way. And she asked a million questions. I always answer her questions, because I don't want to dampen her curiosity. But the questions just kept on coming. And my dear husband, who is a delightful man, allowed me to field every. single. one.

Why does Helen work on Saturday?

Why can't I see any boots here?

When you go to Helen's, without me and Bug, does Zeke stay outside?

Does Zeke make you sneeze?

What if I don't know any kids in my class tomorrow?

Why didn't we see tall buildings in the city?

Can I wear this shirt tomorrow?

Why did I have only brownies and not ice cream?

What shoes will I wear tomorrow?

Of course, every answer I gave just made her ask more questions.... or state more observations...

Kelly and Danny didn't use the bathroom last night...

William is going to say naughty words to the kids in his class...

It's really a miracle I didn't jump out of the moving car. Finally, I had to put the top on. I told her she could ask me two more questions and then I would be done answering questions until tomorrow. She came up with:

Why do people always, sometimes have a birthday at the same time as me?


Who wouldn't have noses?

As I answered these, I envisioned myself on a plane with her for 13 hours. And living in a hotel for 2 weeks without her bike, her sand box, or a yard to run around in. I think I realized a long time ago that those conditions would drive her crazy. It wasn't until tonight that I realized it would drive ME crazy too.


Friday, September 02, 2005

I have some birthday money,,,

... still left to spend. I thought about putting it toward the adoption expenses, but what I have won't make much of a dent in that. I think I've settled on what I want to do with it. Here was the list of options.

(in no particular order)

Buy one of these sweatshirts in a store - because I hate paying for shipping. I need a new sweatshirt, and I like the ones that are hemmed this way. (As opposed to the ones that hug the waist.)

I once told my sister-in-law that I thought it would be cool to get this for a birthday or for Christmas or something. I don't think she believed me. (There is also one where you can buy an education for an orphan in China. How cool is that?)

Get a massage.

Go nuts buying stuff for Operation Christmas Child, school supplies for needy kids, or baby clothes for the Crisis Pregnancy Center. I usually buy for these whenever I see appropriate items at a good price. But, when I know I have a chunk of change to blow, it can be serious fun. I'm a nutcase about these kinds of things. Really. (No, I mean REALLY.)

Eat at Cafe Istanbul.

I have two gift cards for a local sewing store. I was wanting a machine that can do some stitches that my current machine can't. I can get a machine that does those stitches without spending my own money, but I would lose some of the decorative stitches that my machine does now. If I kick in some of my own money, I can get a machine that does them all. (And that was way more than you cared to read about my sewing machine....)

Send a copy of a cute adoption book for kids to Mike and Jenny, Matt and Ingrid, and Jeff and Helen - all of whom are in the process of adopting.

Make small scrapbooks for each of the families in our travel group.

I am now accepting donations towards the fulfillment of this list! :)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This is the real deal

Okay. Just got an e-mail from the agency saying that Bao's travel approval came through from China. The agency contacted the US Consulate for our appointment. They expect to hear back from them by Tuesday, or maybe even tomorrow. TOMORROW! TOMORROW!

We might know, *tomorrow* the date we will meet Ms. Bao.

I read that e-mail and I felt like peeing, puking, and crying all at the same time.

This is no longer mere excitement. I don't know what it is, but it's way past excitement.


In other news: Heather has been around to comment on the old blog again. This can only mean that things aren't TOO crazy around her house. Translation: Warren must be doing okay. So, welcome back Heather. Glad Warren is healing. And glad to hear from you too.

(Edited 9/2: the commenting Heather was not the one I thought it was!)

Actual conversation that took place today:
Bug: Stop looking at me, mom.
Me: (silent. wasn't looking at him and didn't start.)
Bug: Stop looking at me, mom!
Me: (silent. wasn't looking at him and didn't start.)
Me: I'm not looking at you, Jonathan.
Bug: Why?

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It's September 1

I might meet my newest child this month.

I am getting butterflies just typing this. I can't wait.

I have no words to describe how excited I feel. I am so excited.... so, so, excited.