Thursday, December 21, 2006

The $1 Dress...


Yes indeed, this lovely and sweet floral dress (with matching bloomers) only cost $1 and some change at Carter's! "How" you ask? Well I will tell you, I spent enough money during my previous splurge (ahem, I mean visit) to earn a $10 gift certificate, and what do you know, Carter's has continued on with their 50% off everything sale! I am beginning to wonder if they ever charge full price??? ;)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gratitude, Take 2

I am in LOVE with my three doggies! I can't help it, they are so cute and snuggly. They get along with each other, they don't shed, they don't eat furniture and they have left the Christmas tree and presents alone (they have messed with Dan's miniature Christmas village, not that bad!). Our oldest cherub, Brody the Bichon Frise turns 2 the day after Christmas - our baby has grown so fast! Look for pictures from his party next week! :) He is getting a custom cake from Three Dog Bakery because he deserves it!

We received two packages in the mail today and I was very excited until I realized they were both for the dogs! Grandma and Grandpa Colligan from North Carolina sent some presents and so did fellow four-legged family member Cousin Chloe from Kansas. They are raking in the gifts this year, but they deserve it and more for all the joy they bring to us!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gratitude

During this holiday season I find myself reflecting on how grateful I am for everything I have. My family and husband, my health, financial security, great friends, and most of all, I am grateful...
That my dogs weigh less than 20 pounds each! They might smother me otherwise! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Snoopy Doggies

Dan and I took our three little babies to see Santa on Saturday at PetsMart and decided they were pretty good this year (no one is perfect!), so we went ahead and bought them their Christmas presents. While I acknowledge they are all little geniuses, I knew they had no clue what we were doing. When we got home, I put the bag on a table in my office and forgot all about it until tonight...

I had just arrived home from a business trip and decided to use Dan's computer in his office rather than boot up my laptop in my office. Just as I was checking e-mail I heard a very loud SQUEAK! SQUEAK! Wondering what was going on, I went out to the living room only to find all three little lovebugs fighting over one of their Christmas toys! The little snoopies went into my office, on the table, into the bag and helped themselves to an early Christmas gift! The gift was really mine because my heart warmed seeing their little tails wagging in the wind simultaneously at 100 miles per hour. We bought one of those toys for each of them but they will have to wait until Christmas to enjoy!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Saga Continues!

Here we go again! I was in the same shopping plaza where Carter's is and thought I would "just take a peek". What do you know? Everything was STILL 50% OFF! These were all great buys and so lovely!

Here is a darling pink and white sundress with matching panties.



Here is a darling vibrant red romper with matching panties. I believe red will be our daughter's signature color - should be AMAZING with her dark hair and eyes! :)


And finally, the practical side took over and told me she won't need a cute dress everyday, some days we will just lounge around! So here are some onesies with matching pants. The top onesie says "Daddy's Little Princess" because we all know what's coming! Hee! Hee!




Friday, December 01, 2006

More Clothes for the Honey Pot!

OK, I know we have a long wait ahead of us, but a force greater than me pulled me into Carter's for a 50% off everything sale last weekend! As my Mother says about good deals, "You can't go wrong!". Well, let me say this, if buying these adorable clothes for our baby is wrong, I don't want to be right! :)

Outfit #1 is a darling overall jumper with matching panties, onesie and cropped cardigan. Notice the ladybug patten!

Outfit #2 is capri pants with a sweater tank!

Outfits #3 through 7 are pink onesies for everyday wear (in style!).



I may have to start another blog just to feature clothes and gifts! Hee! Hee!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Mini-Me! :)



Well, I was doing some Christmas shopping on-line and couldn't resist buying this pantsuit and polo top for our baby! These are clothes I would wear as an adult - classic, feminine and tailored. ;) I am following in Nancy and Michele's footsteps - the shopping has already begun!

Monday, November 20, 2006

You Gotta Have Friends...

On Saturday night Dan and I hosted yet another Waiting Families meeting. The family that was supposed to host had to cancel because their little girl was sick. We had about 20 people over and two little angels, Maya and Mia. It was a lot of fun, but the most fun came afterwards when two couples (Donna and Joe, Nancy and Brian) and their guest stayed for a visit.

We just sat out back on the patio and talked and laughed and enjoyed the beautiful Arizona fall evening. I know more than ever that we are doing the right thing by developing a close network with other families who are adopting from China. It is so gratifying to follow other families' journeys and see them travel to China and return with their new child. We can't wait for Nancy and Brian to get their referral - they are next! :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Parenting in Practice...

This parable is popular and comes in many different variations. I like this Native American version. It is one of my favorites because balancing a pure, well intentioned and forgiving life with the sincere understanding that there are less than wholesome beings in the world is a never ending challenge. I think I will share this story with my child when the time is right. :)

The Little Boy and The Rattlesnake

The little boy was walking down a path and he came across a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake was getting old. He asked, "Please little boy, can you take me to the top of the mountain? I hope to see the sunset one last time before I die." The little boy answered "No Mr. Rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you'll bite me and I'll die." The rattlesnake said, "No, I promise. I won't bite you. Just please take me up to the mountain." The little boy thought about it and finally picked up that rattlesnake and took it close to his chest and carried it up to the top of the mountain.
They sat there and watched the sunset together. It was so beautiful. Then after sunset the rattlesnake turned to the little boy and asked, "Can I go home now? I am tired, and I am old." The little boy picked up the rattlesnake and again took it to his chest and held it tightly and safely. He came all the way down the mountain holding the snake carefully and took it to his home to give him some food and a place to sleep. The next day the rattlesnake turned to the boy and asked, "Please little boy, will you take me back to my home now? It is time for me to leave this world, and I would like to be at my home now." The little boy felt he had been safe all this time and the snake had kept his word, so he would take it home as asked.
He carefully picked up the snake, took it close to his chest, and carried him back to the woods, to his home to die. Just before he laid the rattlesnake down, the rattlesnake turned and bit him in the chest. The little boy cried out and threw the snake upon the ground. "Mr. Snake, why did you do that? Now I will surely die!" The rattlesnake looked up at him and grinned, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

Little Panda from China Says...

We are officially logged in with the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA)! This is a HUGE milestone in the adoption process and we are very happy to be at this point.

The estimated wait time until we get a referral for our child is 15 - 17 months. Our dossier still needs to pass through CCAA review, and they just finished reviewing dossiers from January 2006. There is a tremendous backlog, but we are staying positive and keeping the faith! :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Baby's First Blankie

I did it!! My new friend and fellow waiting Mom Donna, gave me directions on how to make a "no sew" baby blanket, and I made this for our baby. It was actually quite easy and I love the way it turned out! Thanks Donna! :)

I also recently purchased a new book "Mama Loves Me" and an adorable piggy bank for our baby. We have a very long wait ahead of us, and at this rate we may end up buying everything she'll need for her first 20 years of life while we are waiting! ;) Happy shopping and decorating, right?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Daddy in Training

My husband's birthday is approaching and I want to give him a little tribute here... Dan is a warm, kind, sincere, honest, loving and patient man. He has taught me what matters most in life is loving and lasting relationships with family and friends.

Although he can occasionally go overboard indulging our three little doggies with affection, I would rather he did that than ignore them! Here is a sweet picture his Mother took during her recent visit - I think this photo says it all. He and our pets have mutual adoration for each other. We all love him and he will be an AMAZING father! Happy Birthday honey!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Halloween!

From the 3 little piggies...


We had a party for our family on Friday night - Dan's parents were in town visiting from North Carolina. Here are the haunted treats I made - witches fingers, eyeballs and bloody punch with worms and ants! :)















And here is a picture of me, Dan and Dan's parents - the cowboys and the cats!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Little Panda from China Says...

We found out today that our dossier was mailed to China (DTC) on Wednesday, October 11! We should receive our log-in date (aka LID and final green flag) within a few weeks. The paperchase is finally, truly and sweetly over! :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Up, Up and Away!

Just when you think you know your husband inside out - BAM! - he throws in a MAJOR surprise. My birthday was on Thursday and Dan gave me a sweet card and a some Ghiradelli chocolates. Not bad, but he has conditioned me to expect BIG and ROMANTIC gifts, hee hee! :) He told me he had a surprise planned for Sunday morning and to be ready to leave the house at 5:30 a.m.!

I groaned and complained the whole time. My comments and complaints included:
1) What surprise requires sleep deprivation?
2) Sunday is my only full day of rest - I need to lay in bed.
3) Our dogs can't be left alone too long - they have attachment issues (more like I do, but it's all the same, right?).
4) Is this surprise for me or you?
Blah, blah, blah...

So, begrudgingly, I woke up at 4:30 a.m., took a bubble bath (anytime is the right time for a bubble bath), threw on some sweats and got in his car. I grabbed 4 CDs because I had no idea what was going on. Imagine my surprise when we pulled into the parking lot of a Safeway 5 miles from our house and saw a van with "Unicorn Balloon Company" painted on the side pull into the parking lot too! My surprise was a hot air balloon ride!!!

This is HUGE because I have asked Dan many times to do this with me, but he has a fear of heights. My darling overcame his fear just to make me have an unforgettable birthday! Here are our pictures from this AMAZING adventure.






















We are definitely going to be repeat customers - this was the most peaceful and enjoyable experience we have ever had! I am now left with the fun challenge of figuring out how to surprise him for his birthday on November 10...

I had a rough week, but Dan's loving and thoughtful surprise reminded me that relationships and experiences with loved ones are all that really matter in life! We will definitely take our daughter on a balloon ride when she turns 6 (the youngest age allowed!).

P.S. Thank you to everyone for your support this past week - I envision BIG parties with all of our daughters running around like the little princesses they are! :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What if this was all?

I received a speeding ticket in the mail today and had to chuckle because plain as day, along with the citation there was a picture of me in my car jamming to some tunes. Guess what? I figured out I was going to the AZ Secretary of State to have our documents certified when this happened. Chalk this up to yet another adoption expense! ;)

It was another challenging day all around, and I decided to unwind and relax by the pool to watch the sunset. I got myself a glass of Pinot Noir, snuggled with my dogs (Dan was at work), and found myself wondering - what if this was all? What if something beyond our control happened and we weren't able to adopt this child? Would our life as we know it be enough?

As sad and heartbreaking as that thought may be, I know that we must be prepared to face this possibility. The wait times are so long now, China is allegedly preparing to change their international adoption policies, more and more cases of lead poisoning are being reported in China, etc., etc. - so many factors that may prevent us from realizing this dream.

But I cannot let go of the hope and love Dan and I have for this child. I have never wanted something to happen so much in my entire life. I have amazingly vivid dreams of my future family, and I see how amazing a father Dan will be... I just really, really want this to happen.

Thoughts and prayers, prayers and thoughts - please send our way. May we have the strength to believe and accept that God's will will be done.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Oh Happy Day!


Major milestone today - our last set of documents arrived from the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles and don't you just know I was off and running to Kinko's to make copies and Fed Ex to our agency! To say I am relieved is a HUGE understatement - the last five months have been really intense. I had a difficult day at work so receiving these documents was even more meaningful and joyous! :) I just know there is an angel (if not several) guiding us through this journey to our baby.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Great Party!


Last night Dan and I hosted the FCC-AZ Waiting Families meeting. About 25 adults and 3 little adopted angels came over. We had a blast and enjoyed the potluck format - so nice to have a get together and not have to do all the cooking!

One family (the Friends) has already returned from China with little Soscha and they spoke about their experience in China and adjusting when they came home. It was great to hear about their real life adventure. Another family that joined us just came back from China three weeks ago and their little doll is named Fiona! Our niece Rahcel says "that's a princess name" - I agree!

Thank you to everyone who joined us and made the night so much fun!

Friday, September 15, 2006

We got our GOLDEN TICKET!!!


Well, well, well, from the depths of despair to the pinnacles of glory! Our I-171H finally arrived in the mail today. I will be at the bank first thing in the morning to get our final documents notarized, and I will drive to the AZ Secretary of State on Monday to have them certified. Then, I will send them via courier to Los Angeles to be authenticated by the Chinese Consulate. A LID by the end of September appears to be doable! At the very latest, certainly by my birthday on October 5. YEAH!!!! :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Race to the Mailbox...


Dan and I heard from some other families that they received their I-171H about 3 1/2 weeks after they were fingerprinted. Well, yesterday was 3 1/2 weeks for us and still nothing! I have been racing to the mailbox every day, so today I thought maybe if Dan checked it would be there. No luck!

This is how I am feeling today...

I just yearn for the paperchase to be over so we can move on to fun things - like finalizing our baby's name, buying a mini-wardrobe, toys, books, nursery decor, etc. Soon, right? I'll try and keep a good thought.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I'm A Little Teapot...

Dan and I had a nice, long Labor Day weekend. He talked me into trying a new "really nice Irish pub" he just happened to find. I have nothing against Irish pubs, but I know the menu usually features deep fried everything and is a carb lover's demise! I managed to have a good grilled chicken sandwich and a few fried mushrooms (v. good!).

After dinner, we had time to kill before our movie so I suggested we go to As You Wish pottery store where you select unfinished pottery and they fire it to a beautiful glossy finish. After much debate, we settled on a teapot and miniature teacups and saucers. We had a blast designing and painting this gift for our daughter. I wrote "Love, Mom and Dad" on the bottom of the teapot.

I painted the teapot and Dan painted the cups and saucers. Everything came out so cute, but Dan had to say "My pieces look better than the teapot". Uh, huh... Welcome to my world. ;) Take a look at these pictures and tell us what you think...




Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Welcome to our Journey!

Hi there, my husband Dan and I have created this web site to share status, good thoughts and fun ideas with our families, friends and other folks out there who have taken a similar journey. We are adopting a child from China, a child who will be so treasured and loved.

We are still working on our dossier, and are waiting for our I-171H document. This golden ticket is our final approval to adopt from the US government. Once we receive that document, we will have our dossier notarized, certified by the Arizona Secretary of State and finally authenticated by the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles. We hope to have the whole dossier sent our agency for translation by the end of September. Once the dossier is translated, it will be sent to China and we will receive a log-in date (LID). The wait then begins as we anticipate 12 to 14 months before we get our referral and travel notice.

We are keeping busy while we wait and have become very involved with the Families with Children from China (FCC) group. We have met many families who are waiting like we are, and many others who have already returned home with their precious little angels.

Speaking of angels, we already have three children. OK, they are four-legged children but believe me when I write they are treated like human babies! Brody is a Bichon Frise, Alfie and Katie are Havanese. They are all around 1.5 years young! We love them so much and have a lot of fun just watching them play, wrestle and snuggle. :) The pictures shown here are from their first Halloween, and Katie's first haircut - so cute! (Proud Mom moment).



Despite advice from many people, I have already started designing the nursery. I am posting pictures of the fabric we selected for the nursery. It is made by designer Michael Miller and I purchased it on the e-Quilter.com web site. My Mom is a great seamstress and will make the bedding (sheets, blanket, dust ruffle and pillow). It takes all my will not to buy outfits! We already have a small fleet of stuffed critters from us and our family! :)