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.

Fall Baseball

Ryan’s regular season of baseball finished up and then he had a week off for fall break. They’re back at it tonight with single elimination playoff games beginning at 6. This picture was taken Saturday morning at practice.

Ryan has really flourished under the coach he has this fall. He's an older gentleman that has been coaching for something like 35 years and he knows his business. The best thing though is that he is so good with the kids and he is really big on coaching the basics as well as sportsmanship. He works them hard and has high expectations for them but there is a calmness and kindness about him that seems to settle Ryan down. We feel blessed to have had him as a coach for this season. Hopefully Ryan can be on his team next summer too!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I've been shopping ...

Referral in hand, Rebecca's pretty little face in my mind ... what else can a mother do if she can't yet go to China to get her daughter ... Oh I know, SHOP!

Our breakfast table has 4 chairs that are somewhat large and both of the girls are too big for normal high chairs. Emma has been using a booster type seat thing in one of the chairs but it gets so messy. So, when we stopped by the Ikea store in Columbus a couple of months ago I found these and bought one for both girls. Emma is already using hers and it works so well!

I also found the cutest houndstooth dresses the other night, so I bought one for both.

And then of course Rebecca needs a backpack that matches Emma's. To differentiate between the two, I found the cutest little monogrammed buttons. One with an E and one with an R. Except theirs are black with dark pink monogramming.

We better get to China soon!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This is from a post I had over a year ago, but I have this same picture hanging up in my cube at work. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded how thankful I am for my children and for my sweet husband.

It's funny how different the children are with each of us. Ryan and I have a very special relationship and while he loves his papa, it doesn't seem to bother him too much if Brian is gone for the evening or overnight for work. It's a different story for Emma though. Brian was gone to a weekend retreat a couple of weeks ago and Emma was just devastated that her papa was gone. She even woke up early that Saturday morning and was laying in the floor with her nose in the carpet crying for him. It was awful.

Back to this picture though, I just love to see her little hand wrapped around his finger.

(Grace Noll Crowell)

My hand is large and hers is small,
And there is nothing on earth at all

More important than the task
That lies ahead of me, I ask

For wisdom, Lord, that I may lead
This child aright; her every need

Depends on me. Be Thou my guide
That I, in walking by her side,

May choose the right paths for her feet.
The days are swift, the years are fleet,

Mark me alert in deed and word
As we go forward, blessed Lord:

Her precious clinging hand in mine,
With always, Lord, my hand in Thine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

33 Days and Waiting

33 days since we sent our letter of intent (LOI) to adopt Rebecca. Not that I'm counting ...

This wait is difficult for me but I do trust that God is in control and it will happen when it's supposed to happen. I believe that. At the same time though, my heart is set on getting to China to get our precious daughter.

On a different note, Emma was a little aggravated this morning in my choice of clothing for her and as I was fixing her hair she told me she was mad at me. I told her that it was okay to be mad at me, that I love her even if she is mad at me. She paused for a minute and then asked "Does Jesus still love children when they are mad at their parents?" Bless her little heart. I assured her that yes, Jesus loves us even when we are mad. Just like parents still love their children when they are mad, except Jesus loves us more!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sibling Sweetness

We have days where Ryan & Emma aggravate the "bejabbers" out of one another ... and then we have those moments where you just couldn't ask them to get along any better. This was one of the latter ...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Waiting for Rebecca

Yesterday marked the one month anniversary of us sending our LOI (letter of intent) to adopt Miss Rebecca. This letter is one that is sent to China after you have been pre-matched by your agency. There's so many things I want to share about Rebecca but really do not feel like I can until we receive either our PA (pre-approval) or our LOA (letter of acceptance).

The process we are following isn't at all like the process we went through when we adopted Emma. The paperwork steps are completely different and there also doesn't seem to be a specific order/method in which paperwork is sent back. We really thought/expected to receive our PA within two weeks of sending our LOI but we haven't. China was shut down for a week for their national holiay so maybe that is why. From what I've read though, some people completely skip the PA step. Will we? We have no idea.

Emma is telling her teachers and friends that we are going to China in December. I can't help but feel that our window of opportunity for doing so is getting slimmer by the day, but you never know. Maybe Emma knows something I don't. :-)

For now though, I'm in nesting mode and worked on their closet this weekend and also went ahead and boxed up 3T clothes to hand down. I took care of the 18, 24 month & 2t sizes last weekend. We've been given her latest measurements and she outweighs Emma by 1/2 lb and is taller by 1/2". Future hand me downs may end up either being duplicates or handed "up" instead of down!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Chore Store

A few weeks ago I shared my frustrations with a messy home and asked for ideas on engaging the short people of the home to help without having to ask them for help. I know, I know - big wishes. Well, I took a little of what I read from the pioneer woman site and changed it up a bit and implemented a "system". Ryan & Emma both have 3 chores they must do each day to earn a token. They must do all 3, no partial credit here. The tasks aren't huge and only take a few minutes of their time but goodness it's a huge help.

Ryan's chores are: keep the den picked up, put up the clean dishes and take out the trash.

Emma's chores are: belongings placed on the stairs are to be taken to the appropriate room, setout the napkins & silverware for dinner and placing the pillows on the sofa in the den.

First of all, it's an absolute hoot to hear Emma say she needs to take things to the "appropriate room". There's nothing funnier than hearing a 4 year old say "appropriate". But the absolute best thing that's come out of all of this is the sofa pillow thing ... Prior to the chore chart, I swear Emma could just walk through the den and leave a path of destruction of pillows. It drove me NUTS. I felt like I was always picking up pillows. But boy how that tide has turned now that she is the one responsible for the pillows. Brian & I both were trying to keep our laughs to ourselves the other night when we heard Emma fussing at Ryan to not mess up the pillows! She event went so far to tell him that if he messed them up, he was picking them up!!!

They are able to redeem their tokens at the end of the week at the "mommy chore store" that is stocked with sugarfree gum, mints, some dollar store things and even a few movies. It was priceless to watch them shop the first night the chore store was open.

I think this system is going to work!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ryan's 5th Grade Diorama Project

Ryan's social studies class recently had an assignment to complete a diorama of an American Indian region. Ryan picked the pacific northwest for his area even though he is part Chickasaw by birth. I know, I know - we don't look Indian, but we are - a small part, but nonetheless a part.

He did such a good job on it and was so enthused about it! I was very proud of him for starting early enough on it such that it was done on time and without having to pull any late nights working. It also gave me an opportunity to check out some sections of hobby shops that I wouldn't normally venture into. I had no idea there is a whole line of 'stuff' out there for dioramas. There were two things that we bought for him that were pretty neat. The first one is a product that is called plaster sheets. It comes in a roll, almost like a roll of wallpaper but you cut it into strips, dip it in water and use it to form things like mountains by using wadded up newspaper under it. The other thing is a product that makes it look like real water! I'll have to admit, that was the coolest thing to me! Ryan made a river/stream by his mountain and made little salmon for it and then poured the water stuff over it. He also made a waterfall that I personally thought was neat but he said his friends had to ask what it was!

We were so enthused about the water thing that he ended up making a separate piece for the diorama to represent the ocean. This piece has waves, a whale and an Indian in a canoe.

A school project just shouldn't be this much fun!

We learned that the pacific northwest indians lived in homes made of wood as opposed to teepees.

He made the "salmon" out of modeling clay, then poured the fake water over that.

He made the canoes out of clay as well.

The "fish cooking over the fire" scene was somewhat of a last minute decision but I liked how he added the orange and yellow in it to symbolize the fire. Now the fish ... hmm, those look more like flathead catfish than salmon, but the effort was there!

To the right of the totem pole, you can kind of see the "water fall". I thought it was cool.

And last but not least, is the ocean scene - before and after.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hay Time

These were taken at the Moon Festival this past weekend. The young man pictured with Emma is the son of a couple that we met after starting the process for our second adoption. During the wait for our first adoption, the big online thing was yahoo groups and I was a member of several of them. It was a fun way to “meet” people from all over that were adopting at the same time we were. There was one group in particular that was lots of fun and had just a wonderful camaraderie about it and we did things such as cyber showers and post card exchanges. When we started the process for the second adoption, I received an email from a friend I had met through this group that knew we were adopting again, although at that time we were not officially logged in yet. She asked me if I would join a new group that she had started for people logging in during the June 2006 timeframe because someone from Louisville had joined it and she wanted me to welcome her. Well, long story short – I did & through a series of events outside of that yahoo group we have become really good friends with this couple and their children. They traveled earlier this year to adopt their little girl Jenna who is 3 & is the cutest little thing!

Anyway, we had plans to meet up with them at the Moon Festival. Both of their boys just adore Emma and it’s evident by the way they play and interact with her. You can tell from the glee on her little face how much she enjoys them … and how much she enjoyed playing in the haystack. Adam jumped with her, jumped while holding her and even pitched her in a couple of times. This went on and on and on. How in the world can a teenager have so much patience?!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Not much to share today, other than a picture of a pumpkin that I took out at Gallrein Farm. I just love my new camera :-) Fall is in the air around here and it feels so good!