Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn Moon Festival

Picking Pumpkins With Panache!

Letter to Rebecca

Our local FCC (Families With Children From China) organization hosted an autumn moon festival this past weekend. The last few years they have had it out at a farm in our county and it's just a beautiful, scenic area. Have I mentioned yet how much we love Kentucky? :-)

It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with other adoptive families and to have some down time to just let the kids run and play. There was a petting zoo, hay ride, pumpking picking and hay bales to play on. What more could you ask for!

One special part of the evening is where the children write notes (or have parents write notes) to their birth families in China and those notes are attached to red balloons and released. This year Emma opted to send a note to Rebecca instead of to her birth family. Brian helped her with the note & she had him write:

"Dear Rebecca -

I hope you will join our family soon.
I like my family.
We can get a swing and play together"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Speaking My Love Language

Brian & I took a class based on the book “The Five Love Languages of Children” a couple of years ago at our church. Part of the class included learning what your own love language is as well as the love language of your spouse. Basically, it helps you understand those things in life that make you feel the most loved. The categories (as I remember them) are:

 Words of Affirmation
 Quality Time
 Receiving Gifts
 Acts of Service
 Physical Touch

I was really surprised at what my primary love languages were because had I been asked to choose, I probably would have picked something else. But after taking the quiz and thinking about the results, I knew the outcome of my quiz was right. My love languages are ‘Acts of Service’ and ‘Quality Time’. Which makes a lot of sense because I absolutely love it when people do things for me and the time I most treasure is time spent with my family and with friends. And acts of service that I treasure are not necessarily the big things in life either. What some may consider inconsequential can absolutely make my day.

As an example, I came home the other night and in the foyer was a wide array of things to step over: baseball bag, cleats, dirty socks, two back packs, roller blades and seemingly more. You can see our kitchen table from the doorway and it was covered with newspaper, mail and all kinds of things that Brian had brought in from cleaning the van the night before. My heart just sank and my mood went south. I didn’t say anything though because I’m so thankful that Ryan loves playing baseball & rollerblading and I was more than thankful that Brian had cleaned out the van because it had been a mess. I ventured into the kitchen and it was a mess too, but thankfully Brian had dinner ready and waiting for us. Again, I didn’t say a fussy word at all.

We had our dinner and I ventured upstairs to change clothes only to discover that Brian had been working on the upstairs and had done some of the household chores that I severely dislike. My eyes welled up with thanksgiving. I could have kissed his feet, but he had left for church. I promise, the man couldn’t have bought me 12 dozen roses and made me any happier. A diamond ring pales in comparison to coming home to a sparkly clean bathroom and bedroom.

Emma likes to say “Thank you Jesus for friends”. Well, I was saying a big “Thank you Jesus for my wonderful husband” that night!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Big Changes for Big Mac!

Have you heard the late breaking news?

Big Mac has a new running partner! Move over Sarah, little M is stepping in!

Simpsonville Fall Festival

Miz Divine wanted to be in the beauty pageant at the fall festival in our small community. She didn't win :-( Of course I thought she was the cutest one up there but unfortunately my opinion doesn't matter. haha.

The main concern for her for the day was getting to play on the bouncy things, riding the ponies and visiting the booths. The winners of each category in the pageant were invited to ride in the parade, but Emma having the connections that she does, was invited to ride in another car anyway. To make it even better, it was her favorite - a YELLOW MUSTANG! There's just something about yellow mustangs that my baby girl loves! That beats a silly ol' princess crown any day :-)

It tickles the daylights out of us that there are so many people in our little community who love Emma. It seems like every time you turn around, someone is holding her or playing with her. I think I have mentioned before that one of the questions we were asked during the homestudy process was if our community would be accepting. The answer to that is a resounding YES. She's one loved little dumpling! Thank you friends and neighbors for being so sweet to our baby girl!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Running Ryan ...

We get such a kick out of Ryan, I swear that child wants to do everything. He plays two seasons of baseball each year and then there is basketball. He recently signed up for band at school and is now toting around a saxophone. Last year he ran in our little town's fall festival and so of course he just had to do it again this year. We teased him on Saturday and told him he had his own little "iron-man" thing going on because he had a really long baseball practice on Friday night, up early for the race on Saturday and then had a baseball game right after the race. He was one stinky-sweaty boy!

He came in fourth in his age division for the 5k and beat his time from last year.

Surely this doesn't mean we're starting a new hobby ... :-) But it would be okay I guess if he does!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Family Tree

One of the activities that Emma's class worked on last week was this family tree. There wasn't any notification sent home saying this was a project, so we weren't asked to provide family names or anything like that. You can only imagine how tickled I was that not only did Emma make a place for her two older half-brothers Jesse & Cliff, but she also included Rebecca!

Makes a mom go "ahhhh"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Overwhelmed With Household Chores

Okay friends - I need some input. How do you handle household chores in your house? I'm just overwhelmed these days with a messy house and have yet to find a system that works. Ryan & Emma both get an allowance each week and part of the deal is that there are certain chores they are supposed to do. There are a few problems with this.

1. We're gone so darn much that it's hard to ask them to do chores when we get home when really they need to just take their baths and go to bed.

2. They get their allowance regardless of whether the chores are done or not. Meaning, the amount of money or actually getting the money is not really tied to the work. Which is fine with me because I want them to be cognizant of the idea that we all need to work together and that that is just part of being a family.

3. They will do things when I ask, but surely I'm not the only person in the house who realizes the trash can is full. This one drives me CRAZIEST of all.

So - any ideas? I read something the other day about kids having a chart where cards are posted on their chores and if they complete all the chores on their sheet then they get a 'mom buck'. At the end of the week they can redeem their mom bucks at a 'chore store'.

It sounds good in theory but the two problems I see with this is:

1. We don't need more "stuff" in our house.
2. This sounds like more work for me!

Opinions, ideas, suggestions?
Valium? (just kidding on that one).

An overwhelmed Carolin ... counting the # of remaining ball games in the season ...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We've Been Re-Fingerprinted

Brian & I had appointments down at the federal building this morning to have our fingerprints retaken. One thing marked off that "todo" list!

This was our 3rd, yes THIRD time to be fingerprinted for this adoption. The first was in April of 2006, then June 2007 & now. Goodness I'm glad this is the last time!

Through our first adoption we found out that I have troublesome fingerprints. For some reason they are just really hard to read. It took several instances of rejections/retakes and then a kind hearted FBI agent in Texas who had to listen to my crying and carrying on to get someone who would actually read mine. During that time I read about using Cornhuskers Lotion to aid in getting good prints. It works well, but holy moley that stuff stinks! I had taken my bottle along this a.m. and had slathered up before they were taken and the computer didn't throw up like it typically does.

I told Brian that I'm going to go home tonight and have a ceremonial throwing away of the cornhuskers lotion since this is our last child ... he said I may want to hang on to that lotion. Will there be another little Hunter after Rebecca??? Hmmm ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Brian & I finally got around to celebrating his birthday. We had the pleasure of going to Cinci on Monday night to hear his favorite classical guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel. Even though I had purchased the tickets prior to his birthday and had made arrangements for both of the munchkins, it was still somewhat of a last minute thing because of "Ike". Nature had quite the party in Louisville on Sunday and apparently there was some damage in Cinci as well. We had called several times throughout the day to check on the status of the show because the power was out at the intended location. They were able to change venues though & off to Cinci we headed!

The drive up was nice as we were actually able to have a conversation w/ one another ... not something that is easily done when Ryan & Emma are in the van! We had a nice dinner too and didn't have to get onto anyone during it either :-) The show was wonderful! The bad thing is, we didn't roll back into the 'ville until after 1 a.m. and the alarm sounded at 5:30. Needless to say, I'm still tired! But a nice evening with my hubby is well worth it!

Just hope I didn't wear out wear out our friend who stayed with the kids! Sorry Amy!!!, but we do really appreciate it!

As I said earlier, the show was magnificent and we were able to sit on the 2nd row. Not only is he a gifted musician but he's also entertaining as well. He likes to joke and cut up and throw in some funny songs with the more serious ones. He's an amazing guy to watch because he can make those guitars make all kinds of sounds.

A snippet about Tommy: (from his website)

Two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel has a professional career that spans over four decades and continues to intersect with some of the finest musicians throughout the world. A household name in his native Australia, Tommy has garnered hundreds of thousands of loyal fans worldwide. Tommy's unique style - he calls it simply "finger style" - is akin to playing guitar the way a pianist plays piano, using all ten fingers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where our baby is ...

I've had several questions as to where Miss Rebecca currently is. She currently lives in Xi'An which is in the Shaanxi Province. When my central time zone geek friend gets to work this a.m., I'll see if he can draw me a handy dandy little arrow pointing to it. These maps may be a little difficult to read, I'll see if I can find another. But, it borders Inner Mongolia and is somewhat in the middle if that helps.

It's gonna be cold there in December! I did a little reading yesterday about the Xi'An area but plan to do more this weekend. I do know that is the area where the Terracotta Warriors are. We are so excited & can't wait to get there! We're planning on taking Ryan & Emma so I'm really excited about the kids getting to see this part of China. Ryan particularly likes to go and see new things so I think this will be a wonderful trip. And Brian & I, well - we just can't wait to get our arms around our little dumpling and kiss those precious cheeks!!!

Here's a map of the Shaanxi Province:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cloud 9

Well, I'm trying desperately to come down from Cloud 9 and give thought to the practical aspects of what still needs to be done. Darn that practicality! It's very hard for me not to just keep staring at the sweet little face! But kids, work, ballgames, gymnastics, laundry ... and most importantly - more paperwork, calls.

The first item to get sent out is what is called a "Letter of Intent". I wasted no time in getting that out. We received the call on 9/4. The LOI was sent that night! We now wait for what's called "PA" (Pre-Approval) and "LOA" (Letter of Acceptance). Our agency thinks the LOA will take about a month. Then after that we wait for Travel Approval and scheduling of our consulate appointment before we know our travel dates.

There are other things to get done while we wait for that. First of all, our immigration paperwork needs to be updated. That request will go out tomorrow. Our fingerprints expire at the end of this month and the request to be re-fingerprinted was sent late last month before we knew we were getting "THE CALL"! I found out today that our fingerprint appointment is scheduled on 9/18. This will be the 3rd time to have this done since we started this process. I STILL do not grasp what it is about fingerprints that expire, but hey - if it helps gets me to China then count me there!

In the meantime, I'm reading the book "Toddler Adoption" to help best prepare us for adopting Miss Rebecca! I've read that the transition for a toddler can be a lot different than what we experienced when we adopted Emma.

For the prayer warriors out there, please keep Rebecca in your prayers. We pray for as smooth a transition for her as can be possible. While I am beyond excited about becoming a forever family with her, and I look forward to our future ... my heart realizes she's leaving all that she knows. And that's got to be difficult regardless of how prepared we all think we are.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Meet The Newest Member of the Hunter Family

We received the most wonderful call yesterday a.m.! We’ve been matched w/ a little girl off the Special Needs list who just turned 3. She was on the special needs list due to a heart defect that has already been repaired. She has been given an excellent prognosis for a normal life!!!

Isn’t she adorable!!! She already looks like a little Hunter girl!!!

Her name is Rebecca but we haven’t settled on a middle name yet.

From what we know, she’s a little on the ornery side which is a good thing. A meek/mild child just wouldn’t make it in our family!

The special needs process is a little different than the process we went through when adopting Emma. There will be paperwork sent to China and then an approval sent back and some other things so it will still be a few months before we travel. Maybe December? Just not sure right now. Right now, I’m trying to focus on the paperwork but it’s hard to not keep staring at her chubby little cheeks!

What a wonderful Lord we serve! The blessings he bestows are beyond words!

“For this child I prayed and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him” 1 Samuel 1:27

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Emma's First Day of Preschool!

Emma had her first day of preschool today!!! Our church has a half day preschool for 4 year olds that runs concurrent with the school year, so we went ahead and moved her over from her regular daycare.

We had gone out a few weeks ago and purchased her supplies and a new backpack and she has been so excited about the change. Ryan went to preschool there too and it was nice in the fact that these were the same kiddos he started school with and therefore the first day of kindergarten was not at all a big deal for him. I can already tell that it will be the same for Emma! We had an orientation session the other day and while I was being "oriented", she went off to the class room with her new teacher. She simply smiled really big and waved to tell me bye!

Anyway, for her first day of school she wanted to wear a pretty dress and she was just as happy as could be carrying her new backpack and lunch box! The things in life that make us happy!!! It does tickle me though how easily she adapts to things and she had a wonderful day today.

On another note though, my commute is much quieter now :-(

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I've been too stinkin' busy to blog, but we had a Wonderful.Fun Filled.Activity Laden Labor Day weekend. Last year we had ventured out to Worldfest in downtown L'Ville and had a great time so we decided to venture out again this year even though it was pretty hot. We only stayed a couple of hours, but of all the things to see and all the food to choose from, you'll never guess what Emma's favorite thing was ... The belly dancers! That child was simply transfixed. She tells me she wants one of those tops. For those of you who know what a wiggle worm Miss M's can be, she didn't move a muscle while watching them. All I can see is, Oh dear ...