Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Favorite Picture From Christmas

Telling each other thank you for their gifts from each other ... they can be so sweet at times :-)

Friday, December 26, 2008

13 Days Until Departure!

With Christmas now behind us it's time to start thinking of our trip. Not that I wasn't thinking about our trip over Christmas, because I was ... I just had a lot of other things on my mind too! It's hard to believe though but we have only 13 days until departure. So much to get done!

We were there in May the last time so we really only had one climate to think about, hot and humid. This time we will be up north for about half the trip and then in the southern part of China for the last half. We're told to expect Chicago type weather in Beijing and Xian but Florida type weather for Guangzhou. Sure wish there was an easy way to pack for that!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

From our home to yours ... Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

From China with Love!

While our hearts are sad that we are not with Rebecca for Christmas, we know that all too soon she will be, and it will be forever!

In the meantime we just have to treasure every little note and every picture. Amanda certainly made us smile when she sent these - Rebecca's Christmas pictures!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eve of Christmas Eve

Hi, remember me ... I know, it's been a while. But work has been just terribly busy with end of year stuff besides the fact that I'm about to be off for 6 weeks. It's been a little tough this year trying to get all of the Christmas things done because of not being able to take time off from work. So, please - if you typically get a Christmas card from me, well ... I haven't quite had time to do that.

I can't help but feel that my family has been a little on the neglected side lately. Thank goodness they are understanding and thank goodness I have the sweetest, kindest and most helpful husband that ever could have existed. We had planned to take off the week together but I really wasn't sure until late last week if I was going to be able to take off or not. Then his job has been pretty crazy too and so he had to cancel his vacation. We were going to get a lot done this weekned but Ryan got sick and there went the weekend. So, in between working some and caring for my dry-heaving honey-bunny, I made a list of those things that just had to be done on Monday. I started early yesterday & got most of them done. I even finally got the presents wrapped! At the rate I was going, I was pretty much just going to have to hand everyone their gifts without any pretty paper.

Which brings me to today ... I decided that today was for Ryan and Emma so we headed out this a.m. and went to the Speed Art Museum and spent several hours playing in their awesome Art Sparks area, an interactive and hands on play area for children. The kids had an awesome time and I was able to relax and just enjoy them having fun. Seems like it's been ages since I've been able to do that.
Emma had the best time painting and painting some more and Ryan spent a lot of time in the building area. It was another one of those days when they just couldn't possibly have acted any better or gotten along any better. Not sure when it's going to sink in that how they get along is probably directly proportional to how much stress I'm feeling. After our art time, we had yummy burgers at Dizzy Whiz - I swear they have the best burgers in the 'Ville.

We topped off our evening making treats for our neighbors. Emma had chocolate from head to toe but she loved every minute of it ... and I loved every minute of having them in the kitchen with me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Emma & Molly

I'm so far behind on blogging ... sorry, work is kicking my beeee-hind lately but hopefully it will ease up next week.

Since the first of the school year, Emma has been attending a new preschool. It is at our church and Ryan attended there when he was a little guy too. Most of his friends today are the same little boys he went to preschool with back when he was 4! So, we made the painful decision to move Emma, not because of any angst with her old daycare but to have her in an environment where she would become buddies with the little kids she will start school with.

All that to say, as much as we feel it was the right decision, we miss her old daycare terribly. It was onsite at my work so she was able to go to work with me and come home with me ... and I could go see her in the middle of the day or anytime I could fit it in. It's also caused her to now be in daycare an hour longer each day and I SOOO miss our daily commute.

All that to say, a week or so ago (I lose track of time!) one of my co-workers set up a playdate/girls night out with me and Emma as well as Emma's friend Molly from her old daycare & Molly's mom. They were best of buds for several years and used to have the best time playing with one another. The girls were absolutely delighted to see one another! They kissed, and they hugged and they kissed and hugged some more. It was SO cute! I know Emma misses Molly terribly & the whole playdate thing was such a great idea but something I would probably have put off 50 times but thankfully Lori set a date and planned the evening.
Thank you Jesus for such kind and thoughtful friends!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Special Day in my Heart - 5/23/07

There's a story I've been just dying to share but really have not had the time to get all of my thoughts together. Mostly though, I pretty much get eyes full of tears when I even think of this story and know full well that if I'm sitting in the den typing and crying, well - that's going to elicit a lot of questions from the kiddos. Somehow I've never been able to adequately explain happy tears to either one of them.

While I'm not the best of storytellers, here goes ... I subscribe to a newsletter sent out from the rainbowkids website and back last May or so I read one of her articles that said she was traveling back to China with her oldest daughter who was adopted from China. Part of their trip included plans to volunteer at the Starfish Home. This was the very first I had read about Amanda and her mission to help medically needy orphans.

On May 23, 2007 she posted the most precious and touching story about a little girl named Rebecca who lived at the Starfish Home. You can read her story here:

To say I was instantly smitten is an understatement of epic proportions. If you've linked to this blog, would you agree those are the cutest set of cheeks you could ever imagine? What touched me the most was the description of her delightful personality. The young lady holding Rebecca is Martha's daughter that had traveled to China. She was in the hospital with Rebecca during her heart surgery and in another post on her blog she talks about how Rebecca would cry if Jenn stepped out of the room for just a minute.

Here's an excerpt from that post:

"Now Rebecca, that little mischievous child I praised so highly, is another story. Apparently Rebecca went into surgery and came out of the anesthesia asking, “What in the world am I doing in this hospital bed?” She was a handful from that moment on. Jenni, who is a patient as any human ever was, tried to amuse Rebecca as much as possible. In the end, Rebecca would cry if Jenni left the room for even a moment.

Rebecca is one of those little girls who was blessed with a gorgeous face and an active mind. Her body must move at the speed of light to accommodate her curious nature."

So, all of this to say - if you've wondered why I've been so tickled with every little tidbit of information that I have received on Rebecca - everything from pictures to tales of that ornery personality - it's because of this wonderful story told by yet another person that gives her all to help the orphans in this world.

When we get home with the lovely Rebecca, we hope to be able to meet some of these wonderful people in person. Martha & Jenn are high on that list as well as Elaine (the lady who named Rebecca).

We also recently learned of a church group in Tennessee who has been sponsoring Rebecca. We most assuredly will be traveling to Nashville to visit their church. I was told that among many things that they have sent her is a Build A Bear and another family in this group even sent her a pair of crocs! I have seen those in some of the pictures I've been given of Rebecca. Somehow "thank you" just doesn't seem adequate to say to all these wonderful people.
I've really struggled with how to explain my feelings ... but so many times we give to things without really giving a lot of thought to the individual impact. I think mainly that's just because you think you're never really going to know the impact or you think that what you are doing really doesn't make a difference in the big scheme of things. One thing I can say for sure now though is that this has totally changed my perspective on that.
For this one, all these touches from different people from various parts of the world - it's made a difference. Now that is just the perfect correlation to the Starfish Home!

Ok, now that I'm crying again ... it's time to head off to bed. 28 days until we depart for China. In just about a month's time, Miss Rebecca will finally - after all this time - be united with her forever family. At long last she will finally be held by the mother that fell smack dab in love with her on May 23 of 2007.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Consulate Appointment!

We received the news today that our consulate appointment will be January 20th at 9 a.m.! Now we can make our travel arrangements!!! Looks like we're leaving for China on Thursday, January 8th & returning on January 22nd. WOOHOO!

On a not so woohoo note, Emma is going to be a flower girl in a friend's wedding on January 24th. Oh my, a jet lagged flower girl :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Starfish Connections

I recently blogged about all the "Starfish" connections that we have encountered via the cyber world. It's just simply amazing to me and I struggle to find the words to explain how much I treasure and appreciate each little note on Rebecca that I receive. I have no idea how many volunteers have passed through the doors at the Starfish Home during the time that Rebecca has been there but it seems like that for the ones that have somehow found me, they all were touched by her little soul. All these little glimpses into her personality - what a treasure chest of words! I still haven't even blogged about the very first thing I ever read about Rebecca, I need to get that done.

Anyway, earlier this week there was a delightful comment on my blog that tickled the absolute daylights out of me. The pictures from my new friend from the Netherlands were a delight & then now from a lady who lives in Canada - how cool is that!

"Nearly fell off my chair when I saw Rebecca's cheeky little face.........we spent 3 weeks at Starfish last March ......please check out our blog and email us. I probably have some photos to add to your collection. I am so happy for her and for you."

We've traded emails now & she posted this on her blog - what a sweet post!

All these people who have met our daughter and all of these people that care about her life. Isn't that just amazing!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rebel for a Cause

Check this out! I ran across this on the Ni Hao Y'all site.
Stefanie has such a heart for adoption and especially for special needs children. Her story really touches my heart because not only have they adopted several special needs children, but she works tirelessly to help others and is such a strong advocate for special needs children. She truly puts into action that which is in her heart.

She recently had a giveaway on her site to raise money for her sister's adoption and I was the lucky winner of a beautiful Suzanne Myers necklace! She made individual charms for it for each of my kiddos & even though Rebecca is still in China, her name is proudly displayed on it too. I would take a picture & share it with my blogging buddies but unfortunately my canon baby is the repair shop. :-( It looks like this one, but the stones are different.

But - bop on over to My Charming Kids & enter to win your own Rebel! I absolutely love mine! There's even more in the package than the camera too, wow - lots of stuff. More importantly though, the proceeds go to help bring children home to their forever families.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Travel Approval!!!

Hip Hip Hooray! We're almost on our way!!! Travel approval came today!

With that said though, we will not be able to make our travel arrangements until our consulate appointment has been made and our agency is working on that. Hopefully we will know the consulate date later this week.

Our agency is giving us a tenatative departure date of January 8th. We had hoped and prayed for a December departure date, but I'm so happy to just have a date that we will take whatever we can get!

It won't be long until Miss Rebecca is with her forever family!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Miss Personality

I’ve posted several times about the pictures that I have received from various people who have visited the Starfish Home and have talked about what a blessing those are. To everyone who took the time to do this, bless your soul! Your kindness is truly appreciated.

There’s another aspect of this that I would like to share as well. Not only have we been blessed with lots of adorable pictures but we have also been given several glimpses into her little personality. The resounding theme on Rebecca seems to be ‘strong willed’ and ‘delightful’. Sounds like she is the perfect child for our family!

Here are a few of the comments I would like to share from people who have spent some time with her:

• Rebecca is one very special little girl, strong willed, independent and determined, and when she smiles or hugs you your heart could burst! She is so curious and hungry to learn and see new things.
• Your Rebecca is sweet, demonstrative and very engaging.
• She’s a hand full!! You will have lots of fun with her! She’s ticklish, has the cutest giggle, loves to run and hide and climbs the ladders at the playground until the highest level! Her eyes just sparkle!!!!! Be prepared to be wrapped around her pinky!!!

All of this is going to be really funny when I finally get around to telling some more about Miss Rebecca!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yet Another New Picture of Our Baby Girl!

I mentioned in my last post that my cyber-buddy-from-the-Netherlands sent more pictures & I'm just now getting a chance to get them copied over & uploaded. Goodness, you just don't know how much I appreciate this. Nor can you imagine the irresistible urge to just kiss the cheeks off our baby girl!

Come on January!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Rebecca Pictures!

There are truly kind, caring and compassionate people all over this world! A month or so ago I crossed cyber paths with a family from the Netherlands who is also adopting a daughter from the Starfish Home. She had received some pictures of her daughter that also included some of ours & she so graciously forwarded them to me. I posted those on 10/31, the day we received our LOA.

They have since traveled to China & have now adopted their daughter. They were able to spend some time at the Starfish Home and she took the time to take a whole boatload of pictures of Rebecca for us! Can you possibly find someone any nicer than that? I'm truly humbled! She sent me a link last week with over 30 pictures on it and I have looked at them so many times. Then they went back late last week to visit again and took even more pictures!

THANK YOU JET! May your kindness come back to you ten-thousand fold!!!

Here's a few of my favorites from the first set she sent us. I'll post some more taken from their last visit later.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rebecca - The Story Behind The Name

Some of you may already know, but that’s the name she has now in the Starfish Home and we have chosen to keep it.

Her name is of Hebrew origin and some of the meanings are: Captivating, To Snare and Servant of God.

I’ve shared with some friends and family how different this adoption has been when compared to our adoption of Emma. With Emma’s adoption, there were yahoo groups that had been setup for people logged in during certain times. There was also a yahoo group for the people adopting from our agency that were logged in during the same time frame. Needless to say, I “met” many people who were in the same exact time frame of their adoption that we were. We had fun activities such as cyber showers and post card swaps. It was a lot of fun.

With this adoption, those same types of yahoo groups exist but adoption as we knew it has changed drastically. Namely, the process has slowed wayyyyy down. Given the 2+ years that we have already waited, coupled with being so stinking busy – I just haven’t had the time nor the energy to form the same types of relationships that I had during the first adoption. There have been a few I’ve really connected with, but it’s just different. Hard to explain.

With all that said though, lately I have crossed cyber paths with lots of people who have either been to the Starfish Home, work diligently to raise money for the starfish children’s surgeries or people who will be going there.

Which brings me back to Rebecca’s name ... Believe it or not, but I have been chatting back and forth with the lady who actually named Rebecca! Is that awesome or what! When I asked her how she came about naming her, this was her response:

“We picked Rebecca because we love Biblical names and wanted the Lord's hand to be on her life.”

How appropriate, because that is the same desire we have for our daughter.

We adopted Emma in May of 2005. I looked back through some notes I have kept to see when I first started asking our agency when we could apply to go back for another daughter. The first email I sent was in late September of 2005. Brian & I were talking about it – and I was praying about it weeks before that email was sent. Anyone want to guess when Rebecca was born? She was born early in September of 2005!

I truly believe that even then, the Lord’s hand was on her life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miss Rebecca

I received a few new pictures of Miss Rebecca yesterday! January just can't get here fast enough!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stroll Down "Costume Lane"

Looking at the two pictures of Rebecca in her little costumes reminded me of the costumes Emma has had. It's funny because when I had Ryan, I had all of these visions of homemade birthday cakes & homemade costumes. Ryan did indeed have homemade birthday cakes for his first two birthdays. The second one just about did me in though & it's been store bought ever since. it was a train set where the individual train cars were cakes made out of mini-loaf pans. The train tracks were those chocolate wafer cookies and I used mini-marshmallows to make smoke coming up from the train. The cake was pretty cute - my kitchen was a disaster area! Pretty much the same kind of story for his first few Halloween costumes. Poor kid.

Then along comes Emma & my creative juices start flowing again but this time I'm armed with friends who can actually create things!

Check these out.

Emma's first Halloween with us & she goes as an Elephant. The outfit was lovingly made by my friend & co-worker Susan who grew up around the theater and is VERY talented. She made this without a pattern!

Her second Halloween, she was a Candy Corn. This one was made from a pattern by another talented lady who we go to church with. How cute is this?!

For her third Halloween, she was a Scarecrow. Believe it or not, but it was made from the same pattern as the Candy Corn but this time my mom made it. I loved the fabric pieces she picked out for it!

Then of course I've already shown the "Skunk" one for this year - it certainly fit the "little stinker" that she is. But, she's now discovered that her friends wear princess things, pretty things, frilly stuff - so I guess the funny/different stage is over for now.

She put the full court press on trying to get me to go out and buy a princess costume for trick or treating but I told her she would have to wait until next year. We modified the "skunk" as much as we could by adding a tiara - I just haven't had a chance to download the pictures yet. Emma The Princess Skunk.

My poor kids :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween at the Starfish Home

Here's two pictures of Rebecca dressed in her Halloween attire the last two years. In 2007 she was a witch & then this year an adorable little chicken!

Come on TA - I've ready to go get my baby girl!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Ok, lots to blog about but no time to write.

A quick snippet about Rebecca - Fedex delivered our LOA on Saturday. We filled out the necessary paperwork and then drove to Lexington after church on Sunday & dropped everything off in our agency's mail slot! Hopefully TA will come soon!

On another note, I mentioned a few weeks ago about buying some monogrammed things for the girls. She has the cutest items for sale! Check out her site:

Here's a few pictures of buttons I bought for their backpacks. I also bought some that I put on lined baskets in the top of their closet. Cute stuff!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

LOA!!! LOA!!! LOA!!!

We received our coveted LOA today!!! And wow, what a surprise it was! There were some received a week or so ago so I didn't really think it would happen until mid November.

Our agency has down January 8th as our tentative travel dates. I'm praying for earlier, but will take whatever we can get!

I mentioned getting a new picture of Rebecca, well here it is via a family from the Netherlands. They were at the Starfish Home adopting their daughter and emailed some pictures to someone else from the Netherlands who will be traveling there VERY soon to get their precious daughter. Then she passed it on to us! What a huge blessing. You know, you just do not go to bed thinking some kind soul is going to bless your socks off - but that's exactly what has happened over and over with this adoption.

Our sweetheart is the one on the right!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Happenings

Halloween has snuck up on me a bit this year, I can't believe the kiddos will be out trick-or-treating tomorrow night already! We attended "Howlin' Halloween" at Ryan's school the other night and then we met up with some friends at a local fall festival. Fun stuff because not only did the kiddos get to dress up & get candy, but we were able to hear a friend sing with his group from church.

This year, Ryan decided he wanted to be an "Old Man".

And Emma, well - she's already a little stinker so what better costume to fit her personality than a SKUNK!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Waiting for Rebecca

We received the coolest update. A picture of Rebecca checking out our family picture!
There's so much I want to share about this story but I really need to gather my thoughts a little better before I start. For now I will say though that Rebecca is in a wonderful foster home and they are preparing her for the fact that she will be joining her forever family. Hopefully it will be soon!

Over the weekend we received pictures of her from a family who had visited the foster home back in Aug/Sept when they adopted their son. It was a little on the emotional side for me to look through those, but goodness what a blessing. Then late yesterday I received some more pictures from someone in the Netherlands that will be traveling there to adopt their daughter in a little over a week. I need to get her permission before I post one of those though since it also contains a picture of her daughter.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I received the best email today right as I was leaving work! We finally received our PA (pre-approval)!!!! This step basically means that our documents have been reviewed and have been passed over to the next department.

Hopefully we will receive our LOA (letter of acceptance) soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Great Idea for Halloween! - Wendy's Trick or Treat Coupon books

Wendy's Management Group, Inc. sells Halloween Treat Books each year as part of a fund raiser for The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Easter Seals. The book cost $1.00 and consists of 10 Junior Frosty coupons. A GREAT DEAL (a total value of $7.90), and a wonderful, safe treat for the kids! Stop in and purchase your Halloween Treat Books at any Wendy's Management Group, Inc. Wendy's during the month of October! Not only will you be giving the best treat to the kids, but you will be helping the cause of adoption.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Willie & Waylon and the Boys

I left a funny story off from my post yesterday. Late last week I shared with my husband that I had read that Palin was going to be on SNL. Emma's little head pops around & she asks "Palin Jennings!?" Waylon/Palin Jennings. Hahahaha.

Then Sunday at church, Emma asks me if the band is going to sing "Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys".

I'll shamefully admit I have this bizarre interest in Willie Nelson music, but I've never been that big of a Waylon fan. Not knowing that, Brian picked up a Waylon cd for me last year on our way home from Thanksgiving in Oklahoma. We've listened to it a few times but not enough that I would have thought Emma would have known his name or a song he sings.

That child doesn't miss a thing!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Funnies From The Short People of the House

  • Ryan recently purchased "Guitar Hero" for his nintendo ds & subsequently discovered some older rock songs. He seems so very surprised when it's a song his dad knows. Not sure exactly how old he thinks we are, but I guess that's another discussion. He has brought up the song "Smoke on the Water" several times - I can't say that I've ever heard it, and if I did - I guess I just didn't know the name but I can pretty much guarantee that Emma hasn't heard it. So she comes into the den the other night and is playing one mean rock-n-roll air guitar and she starts singing "Smoke on the water. Gently down the stream". Oh how I wish I had that on video.
  • I was teasing Ryan the other day about buying a lawn sweeper thing for his parents and he replies that he can't buy it because his money is all on "disk". I finally figured out what he meant, his money is in a CD. LOL.
  • Emma & Ryan are really into cars these days & have to discuss every single car that we pass or that passes us. If it's a corvette, Ryan has to discuss what generation. If it's a mustang, the discussion centers on whether or not it's a GT. Not that either one of them know what the GT means, but when I asked Emma how you know a GT from a non-GT - her reply spoken very slowly "it has a Geee-Teeee-" on the side. Am I smarter than a 4 year old? Apparently not. Oh, and last but not least. A "Mitsubishi" is an "eetsi beetchi"
  • When talking about the weather, Ryan asked what the "Wind Shield Factor" was.

Oh man - we really should get them out more often :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin Wishes & Compliant Brothers

We took a trip out to the pumpkin patch for a birthday party this past weekend. Emma requested the biggest pumpkin in the patch and Ryan was more than happy to help with that task.

She did the surveying

He did the gathering

What a good big brother!

Of course Ryan had to show off his muscles ...

And then Emma did too.
We all know it takes BIG muscles to PICK out the pumpkin.

Happy Pumpkins to You!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

40 ...

Today marks 40 days of waiting for information on Miss Rebecca. I know the number 40 is significant in some religious traditions so for fun, I looked up some facts on wikipedia.

  • "Forty days and forty nights" describes the period for which rain fell during Noah's flood
  • "Forty days"was the length of the period that the twelve spies explored the Promised Land (Numbers 13)
  • "Forty years" was the length of Israel's wandering in the wilderness. This period of years represents a generation, that is, the time it takes for a new generation to arise.
  • Moses' life is divided into three 40-year segments, separated by his fleeing from Egypt, and his return to lead the people out.

But did you know, forty is an octagonal number, and as the sum of the first four pentagonal numbers, it is a pentagonal pyramidal number. Adding up some subsets of its divisors (e.g., 1, 4, 5, 10 and 20) gives 40, hence 40 is a semiperfect number.
Given 40, the Mertens function returns 0. 40 is the smallest number n with exactly 9 solutions to the equation φ(x) = n.
Forty is the number of n-queens problem solutions for n = 7.
Since the greatest prime factor of 402 + 1 = 1601 is prime and obviously more than 40 twice, 40 is a Størmer number.
40 is a repdigit in base 3 (1111) and a Harshad number in base 10.

And even better: "To understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days. ~Arabic proverb"

40 more days like this & I'm not so sure any of my friends are going to remain understanding :-)

Anyone ready to go back to Emma pix?

Dumpling - Part 3

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dumpling - Part 2




Okay, which is your favorite ... and why?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Little Dumpling

While Ryan was at baseball practice Saturday a.m., Emma & I went up to the library and she played model while I played wannabe photographer.

What a fun way to spend a few hours! Baby girl was working it!

I've picked out my favorites & I'll be posting some more this week.