Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I'm looking forward to 2009 with much anticipation. This will (hopefully) be the year we officially complete our family. :) And yes, I have said that before. But I MEAN it this time!! LOL!

2008 was a great year. I decided to go back to school for my social work degree, a decision that has been in my heart for a long, long time. I'm completely enjoying my classes (well most of them) and can't wait to complete my degree (long time yet). 2008 also brought many fabulous memories with my great kids and husband. We all went to AZ in February/March to see my in-laws, then traveled on to Disneyland for a few days. It was the first time there for all but one of us (Todd) so it was a magical trip. :) 2008 was also the year we decided to add another child to our family...a decision that surprised and delighted all of us.

Tonight, we'll celebrate the new year quietly, all home together, just the way I like it. So, Happy New Year to all!

P.S. Today marks 9 months of waiting for Chloe's referral.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Very Blessed Christmas





This year was probably my favorite Christmas yet. Jake was absolutely sweet and grateful for everything and Sara was so excited...she really "gets" Santa Claus this year and was really into every single tradition.

We had lots of fun on Christmas day opening our gifts, and we're blessed to be home with each other all day. Christmas night we hosted dinner for most of Todd's family and Christmas Eve we spent with my family. Then Sunday we had the official family Christmas for Todd's side. It was wonderful to be together with everyone we love.

Here's to 2009! Hopefully the year of our newest family member!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...




Santa, we're ready! :) The tree is decorated and lit. The stockings are hung (all five of them, one for Chloe too). The kids have been (mostly) nice, and are SO excited for all things Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everyone! Blessings and peace from our family to yours.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Sorry, but the title of a GREAT song made the best title for this post. I stumbled upon this blog tonight. It's written by a missionary in Uganda. She's an angel from God, that's for sure. Anyway, through her, you can directly sponsor a child in Uganda. Better than spending money on a sweater for your Aunt Ruth who will just tuck it into a drawer, aye?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just Watched an Amazing Documentary

If you get a chance, PLEASE watch this movie. It's called, "The Devil Came on Horseback" and you can rent it through Netflix. It's about the genocide in Darfur and it's extremely moving and disturbing at the same time.

Also, check out www.savedarfur.org. These atrocities are STILL happening. There are forms you can fill out on that site to send to congressmen and President-elect Obama to help stop the genocide. Additionally, you can donate to the cause as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Agency Update...

Well, we got an update tonight from our agency. Two more families received referrals, which is great news, but they were both boys, which means no movement for us. So, we remain around number 6 in line (I don't know where we are for sure). Of course, we were hoping for a little more movement, a little faster, but God knows when baby Chloe will be ready for us, and we have to wait for that perfect timing.

Hope you're enjoying the holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baking Cookies...


What else do you do on a snow day? Bake cookies, of course! The kids had a ball rolling them out and test tasting. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ready for Some Action...

OK, now that the holidays are here, I'm feeling anxious to see my baby girl's face. Gladney has successfully submitted the two dossiers for the first two referrals they received from TWCA. This is good because it means that the TWCA should be ready to send Gladney new referrals at any time. I say NOW is a good time, don't you think? :) :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Snow Day!



Today is the kids' first official snow day! We got about a foot of snow last night, and it's still blowing and snowing outside. Todd couldn't even make it out of the driveway this morning, poor guy.

And today we've been waiting for 8 months for our referral from Taiwan. 8 months...and how many to go?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bubble Tea

Americans are to lattes as Taiwanese are to Bubble Tea. Bubble Tea is a very yummy tea beverage with tapioca balls in the bottom. Read more about Bubble Tea here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sara's Family Day



On this day four years ago, Sara Rose was placed into our arms. It was an amazing, wonderful perfect day that I will never forget. Happy Family Day Baby Girl! :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Urgh, Pink Eye

My poor son has pink eye in both eyes, along with a hefty sinus infection. So far, the eye drops for the pink eye have been quite traumatic for him. Anyone have any tips?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter Already?


Even here in the frigid north, snow on the ground this early is very unusual. But, it's still beautiful. I have this crazy desire to put up the Christmas tree. :) Here's Sara and her friend J.J. playing outside this morning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Woohoo! A New Look!

I'm so excited for my new look here at Hello, Hola, and Ni Hao! Thanks so much to Leslie at Sweet Berry Designs! She did a great job, was EXTREMELY fast, and economical too! You can see her work here! Thanks again Leslie! I love it!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good News!

Wednesday we had a conference call from our agency, Gladney. Gongzhan, the program director for Taiwan, had just returned from a visit to Taiwan and China. He reported that the visit went really, really well, better than he had expected. He told TWCA (the agency in Taiwan that facilitates our adoptions) that Gladney and the families are ready for new referrals. (Gladney hadn't received any referrals since they took over the program from Commonwealth in July.)

Anyway, the day after Gongzhan got back from Taiwan, Gladney received two referrals! YAY! :) Movement is wonderful. Gongzhan said he is "very optimistic" that the process of families receiving referrals will move "very quickly." Yahoo! I'm so excited!! Another piece of good news was that the court process after referral is moving very quickly right now too. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers...they seem to be working!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Overheard...

So the other night after Jake was telling Todd something and Todd misheard Jake, Jake said, "Daddy, you and I are both the same."

Daddy: "Yeah, Jake? Why's that?"
Jake: "Because I don't listen, and you can't hear."

LOL!! :) Never were truer words spoken. And no wonder I talk to the cats so often.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

GREAT video...



Especially note the part at the end about NOT being color blind. Good stuff.

Halloween...




Okay, it's possible I may be a bit biased, but I do believe I have the scariest Darth and the very cutest cheerleader EVER. :)

They had alot of fun trick or treating, and even more fun gorging themselves with candy last night. (We let them eat as much as they want on Halloween night, then give them a couple pieces at a time each day after.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

There's this fun game in Bloggy world were people tag each other. If you get tagged, you tell 7 weird/unusual things about yourself in your blog, then tag 7 other people. Beth tagged me (hi Beth)! So...here's odd things about me.

1. I've got some quirky food rules. If at any time it swam, I'm not eating it. :) And, for other meat, if there's a bone nearby, I also will not eat it. See, I love animals..but I also love meat. So, to justify the eating of the animal in my head, I have to convince myself it just came from the grocery store, and not an actual animal. If there's a bone on my meat, it's pretty hard to pretend it wasn't alive at one time. Completely nuts...I know.

2. In high school, I tore my ACL in my right knee. I had a full blown knee surgery and I still have a screw just below my kneecap you can actually feel. Grosses people out. :) Then, about 4 years ago while playing volleyball, I tore the ACL in my LEFT knee. Better doctor did the repair, no screw on that one. What can I say, I'm a clutz.

3. When I was 20 years old, I was within 10 days of getting married when I broke it off. 10 days. I shudder at the thought of marrying that guy. He has since managed to get himself a criminal record. Luckily, I married the RIGHT guy 5 years later and we're still going strong.

4. My husband and I are both HUGE coffee freaks. We love mochas and he makes me one every single morning. :)

5. I've finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up...now that I'm 34. :) I LOVE my social work classes and can't wait to complete my degrees.

6. I'm tall....5'10" and I HATE it. Always have.

7. I'm the baby in a family of FIVE girls. My poor parents.


OK...so here's who I tag:

Lori
Lisa
Angela
Allison
Holly
Kari
Angela

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What We're Up To, and Thinking of Chloe

We've had a busy week! The kids are getting excited about Halloween. Jake is going to be Darth Vader, and Sara a cheerleader. :) I'll be sure to post pictures. This past weekend we had 10 hours of Hague training to catch up on. It was great meeting with other adoptive families, and we had some really, really good advice and story sharing.

Sometime this week, we should hear an update from Gladney on the Taiwan program. We're hoping and praying that we hear good news.

Chloe is never far from our hearts. Today, the kids were listening to a song on their Halloween CD, the ever-famous, "I Want Candy." They decided on their own to change the lyrics to, "I Want Chloe." :) And, since there was a sale and free shipping, I ordered Chloe a stocking to match our Pottery Barn Christmas Stockings. :) Her first personalized item. And she's probably not even born yet. Sigh.

Monday, October 20, 2008

CUTE pics...



I just got these pictures forwarded to me from an adoptive family get together in June. Aren't they cute? :) Thanks Dave!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Fun...




We've had fun doing all the fall fun things. We did the corn maze, picked pumpkins, went to the haunted GT lighthouse, picked apples, went for a hike in the woods, ate pumpkin donuts and drank apple cider. :) I LOVE fall. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What a relief!!

Apparently, our agency was confused about dates in our files. They were using one date, when they should have been using another. Doesn't make sense, I know, but the bottom line is that our wait will NOT be 2-3 years. In fact, I think we're around number 7 in line for a referral.

Gladney still hasn't received any referrals from Taiwan for our program, but the director is in China/Taiwan right now asking for referrals. Hopefully, we'll start to see some movement in our program.

Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes. It seems as though things are back on track for bringing Chloe home! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Settling in for a long wait..

Well, it looks like this wait is going to be longer than we thought. Potentially A LOT longer than we thought. Today, our agency told us 2-3 years. I believe they're giving us an ultra-conservative quote, but it was still very, very hard to hear. We've requested more information and will post when we know more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Phew....

Hats off to working moms...seriously, how do you do it?

As part of my social work degree, I'm doing an internship at a local adoption agency (which so far I LOVE). Yesterday was my first day (I'll work either one or two days a week). I dropped the kids off at school at 9 am, went to the internship, worked for just 5 hours, ran an errand, then back to school at 4 pm to pick up the kids. Definitely an abbreviated day, compared to most.

Anyway, I was absolutely EXHAUSTED when I got home last night. It's. Not. Easy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Funny of the Day...


I saw this on another blog and laughed!! Too funny. :)
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Six months of waiting...

Today marks our sixth month of waiting. Our original estimate for referral was 6 to 9 months, so I thought we'd be getting close by now. With the switch to Gladney, I'm afraid we're probably delayed for at least a few more months.

We're keeping busy though...the kids are enjoying school, and I am enjoying my classes as well. And, it's fall...my favorite time of year! :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

And, Happy Birthday, Big Boy!



Today is Jacob's 7th birthday. I can't believe how big he is already! Seems like just a few weeks ago that I was struggling with how to be a mom! Now, my little baby is seven years old and in first grade. I love him SO much. He's such a momma's boy. :)

Above is the first glimpse we had of our handsome son, and one from last week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl



Sigh...seriously, where does the time go? Sara is four years old already.

Birthdays for the kids are so bittersweet for me. On one hand, I absolutely love their happiness and excitement on their birthday, and look forward to all that is to come. But then they are growing up, and that saddens me. But even more so...I think so much of their birthmothers on their birthdays. Today, I know Sara's birthmom is thinking of her, and I feel so close to her, yet I can't comfort her, let her know that Sara is so, so very loved. Today, she is in my prayers.

Pics above are: The first ever picture we saw of Sara, her referral picture. And one from today.

We love you little girl...happy birthday.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I171H and update...

We got our I171H in the mail today, woo hoo! What is it? Basically, it's US immigrations approval for us to bring in an orphan in the country. What does it do for us now? Not much...we don't have a referral yet...but we're ready when it's time to travel, as far as the US government is concerned.

In further news, we heard from our new agency today that there may be a delay in new referrals until they get a chance to process existing families and post placement reports. I think the TWCA (the agency in Taiwan where our referral will come from) wants to make sure that Gladney is ready and some more things are cleared up before they start with fresh referrals. Frustrating, but understandable. What does this mean for us? There's probably a very good chance we won't see Chloe's face before Christmas. :( Such is the world of international adoption though, and we try to roll with the punches.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Shhhhh...it's a secret...

Here's a conversation I had with Jake after school on Thursday:

Jake: Mom, I have a new friend.
Me: Oh yeah, what's her name?
Jake: Megan and we have a secret that I can't tell you! (Coy little smile on his face.)

1 minute later...

Jake: OK I can tell you...Megan asked me to be her boyfriend...and I said YES!!

So sweet...my boy has his first official girlfriend. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Good news...

We had a conference call with Gladney last night and they let us know that they are approved to take over our adoptions from Taiwan! Yay! This is excellent news. It will be a couple of weeks before we're assigned a case worker and get detailed information about where we are, but for now, we're happy that our Taiwanese daughter will still become a reality! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to school!




Jake was so excited to go to school this morning. He's a first grader! I can't believe it. He'll be in school full time for the first time of his life, and I have to say, I'm a bit bummed! I'm definitely going to miss my buddy. Sara starts school tomorrow, she will go to preschool two full days a week.

And, mommy started back to school last week. I'm working on classes towards my degree in social work. I'm very excited!

Nothing from the adoption agency yet, but we should hear whether or not the transfer was successful sometime this week. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Night at the Beach Bums...



We have a semi-pro (?) baseball team here in our relatively small town called the Beach Bums. We finally went to our first game Tuesday night. The game was relatively uneventful, but we had a ball hanging out and chatting with friends! Pics of Jake with his friend and me and Sara.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Couple of new pics...



Since the kids are turning 7 and 4 soon, we got updated pictures. :)

Big day for Jake...




Today Jake got an awesome opportunity. Todd's dad (Jake's grandpa) has had part ownership of a 4-seater Cessna plane for many, many years. It's his hobby to fly, usually just on Saturdays. Today, Jake got the opportunity to fly for the first time with grandpa!

Above, is Jake with Grandpa in front of the plane, Jake getting ready for take off, and a picture of one of the beautiful islands in Grand Traverse Bay. Jake had a ball, and I'm so glad he got to go!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Colombian Connections...






We're very fortunate that just 3 hours south of here is an annual gathering of a group of adoptive families with children from Colombia. This is the fourth time we've attended and much to our delight the group grows larger and larger each year. This year was fun as we got to share the news of our upcoming adoption with the rest of the crowd.

Above are pictures of the Colombian flag, the whole group of Colombian kids, Jake trying his hand at golf, Sara trying hers at softball, and the ride home...Jake crashed. :)

Fun with friends...



Last week we got the chance to go to the beach with my friend Jen and her two boys, Carson and Caleb. My kids had a blast with them and hopefully we'll get to go again soon! :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our agency closed...

Well, this week started out horrible. Monday we found out that our agency, Commonwealth (we used them for Jake & Sara's adoptions too) is closing. Bankrupt. So, I panicked. At first, there was no information coming out and we assumed that this meant we were through with our Taiwan adoption. I know from reading over yahoo groups that all over Taiwan agencies are pretty full and wait times with them are over 2 years. We didn't want to wait two years.

Well, luckily, information starting trickling out and it kept getting better and better. Then yesterday we got word from Commonwealth. Our case (and all Taiwan families) is being turned over to Gladney, a solid and reputable agency. And, no other fees will be charged, and our wait should not be majorly effected. The international director from Gladney and the program director from Commonwealth are going to Taiwan later this month to get approval and finalization. So, now we wait for that to go through. There's no reason it shouldn't, but I'd appreciate any thoughts or a prayers that the transition is seamless.

Thanks!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

For Grandma....

A performance by the grandkids....


video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Poem...

I just stumbled onto this poem online and thought it was just beautiful...

Dear Sweet Daughter
Author: Gayle Leubecker

Dear Sweet Daughter,
As a girl I had a common dream, to be a mom someday.
My baby would have eyes of blue and hair the hue of hay.
But now my dreams have been transformed. New visions fill my head.
Now the tresses that I long to stroke are raven black instead.

And in my dreams those eyes are not so big or blue or round.
Now in my dreams they're almond shaped and colored cocoa brown.
And in my dreams my arms can stretch across enormous seas.
They reach half-way around the world and hold you close to me.

As you grow in your mother's womb, carefully knit together,
You're also growing in my heart, where you will stay forever.
And in my dreams the moment that your mother says good-bye,
I'll be right there to comfort you and hold you as you cry.

Our features may not look alike; we're different as can be.
But still I know the Father has created you for me.
And though I've not yet seen your face, or held your tiny hands,
And though we're half a world apart in very different lands...

I'll be right there to get you just as soon as God allows.
But til He says the time is right I give to you this vow:
I'll pray for your protection every night on bended knee.
For God will hold you in His arms, until you're here with me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Long time, no post

Wow, summer is a crazy, busy time for us. I have lots of pictures to post, when I get around to it, that is. :)

Adoption wise, we got fingerprinted last Wednesday for the immigration approval (which is probably still 2 months off) and today we received our translated homestudy in our email. How weird to see all of our personal information in Mandarin Chinese (the language mostly spoken in Taiwan)!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer fun...






We've had a ball this past week in our beautiful community. Friday was fireworks, of course, then Saturday we got to go on Todd's parents' boat to watch the Blue Angels. The kids loved the air show.

Today was absolutely perfect, sunny and about 71, so we ventured off to a local strawberry farm and picked strawberries. A first! We picked about 2 quarts, and I think the kids have polished off all but about 1/2 of a quart already.