Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ice Skating

Guess what? I have signed up for ice skating lessons! About a year ago my sister Monica and her family came to visit. She has four children aged 10 to 16. We wanted to go out and spend time together and rather than struggle to find a movie we all would like, I suggested we try ice skating. So, off we went to the Alltel Ice Den to rent skates and have fun.

Well, turns out I cannot skate very well and couldn't let go of the rink wall. They had one end of the rink blocked off so I had to turn around and go against traffic to get out of the rink! I was somewhat humiliated as 3 year olds and senior citizens alike literally skated figure eights around me. I vowed I would learn how to do this and then treat myself to a trip to New York to skate in Rockefeller Plaza. My adventure begins next weekend with my first class at that same skating rink. I am going to look for a scarf and matching mittens this week so I will at least be stylish. :) I am excited and I cannot wait to take my daughter out on the ice and teach her - in the middle of the desert in Scottsdale, Arizona no less! ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2007


A few weeks ago I was out of town on a business trip and Dan told me over the phone that we received a document about the adoption from the US Consulate in China. I doubted what he was saying and thought we might have received another I-171H , our first one had the wrong address and we did receive a corrected one, but sometimes things show up twice. I told him to put aside and I would look at it when I got home.

Turns out it was our "brown envelope". Within the China adoption community this is a document that assigns an actual case number for your adoption with the US Consulate in China, it literally arrives in a brown envelope. Part of the reason this envelope is enigmatic is not everyone receives one, and I have never received a good explanation as to why. I wasn't expecting one so it was a pleasant surprise and basically means we are one step closer to actually being matched with a child! :)

The wait times do not appear to be speeding up and our very wise and experienced agency founder told us his perception about why this is happening. There are several reasons, among them are local government officials don't always play by the national government rules and guidelines about reporting orphans. Another reason is China is faced with a large population of young men with a low number of women to marry because so many have been adopted outside the country.

Many waiting families go a little nuts speculating and calculating when they will receive their referral. Since the wait has grown every single month that we have been in process, I know God has the right child picked out for us and we just have to be patient. It has already been four months since we received our LID, and the time has passed quickly, so I know if we keep real busy we will be en route to China before we know it.

In the meantime, the pooches are keeping us very busy - they have become demanding little monsters! It rained a lot today so that always means surprises in the house and very naughty behavior! Brody jumped in my lap and scared me because his paws were all red. Then I saw Katie with an ink pen in her mouth. AYAYYAAY! Brody chewed a red ink pen that bled all over the carpet and got on his fur and paws. Oh well, we know new flooring is in our future anyway. We have to decide what to get (carpet ONLY in the bedrooms for sure!) and how to recast our budget to make that happen soon. I hate grout, but stone tile seems to be the best choice for dogs and for resale considerations, travertine is expected in a home like ours anyway.

My sister just adopted a fourth dog! I am stunned! She has two sons, Joey and Danny. She and her husband had two Basenjis (Cairo and Qena) long before their boys, but now that they are almost teens (dogs not the boys), they decided their children needed younger pets and were responsible enough to handle them. So, Danny received Pharoah last year shortly after Christmas and Joey just received Aha. All of their dogs are Basenjis and have Egyptian names because that is where the breed originates. Here is a picture of Joey and Aha. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Secret Pal Strikes Again!

Kathy Taylor was my Secret Pal from my Tea Monkey Yahoo group. Look at this beautiful and unique dress she sent me from Anne Geddes. Thank you Kathy for making the wait speed by and sharing your journey with me!

Shopping Extravaganza!

I have become buddies with several local Moms/Waiting Moms with the FCC (Families with Children from China) group and we took a short road trip to the outlet malls in Anthem (north of Phoenix about 20 minutes). I had a BLAST! March is a big birthday month in our combined family so I had lots of gifts to buy, plus I found some great deals for our baby too!

Donna, Heather, Nancy, her daughter Lily (home from China just 6 weeks!) and I hit great stores like Ralph Lauren Polo, Hartstrings, Gymboree, Carter's, Osh Kosh and others - there were a TON of kid stores. So much fun! Here are the treasures I found including hair accessories from Claire's and two pink outfits from Macy's when I was in San Diego recently (great sale!).

I also really enjoyed spending time with Lily, she is 13 months old now and has 4 teeth. She is very mellow and enjoyed chillaxing while we shopped. I would be LUCKY to have a baby as sweet as she is!

Monday, March 12, 2007

More Doggy News

Oh, I know I go on and on about our furbabies but I truly cannot help it, Dan and I are both so in love with our doggies. They are just so adorable, snuggly, smart and kind. Here are a couple of cute stories...

I was giving Alfie a kiss today and asked Dan,"Why does Alfie smell like bar-b-cue?". Dan just smiled big and said, "I only gave him a little". We grilled out last night and Dan shared left overs with them! He spoils them to death! A few weeks ago Brody came running up to me and jumped in my lap. His whole face and beard looked orange! I asked Dan "Why does Brody have orange fur???". Again, Dan smiled sheepishly and said "He was so cute and sweet, I gave him left over macaroni and cheese". I had to laugh although I don't believe in giving them human food.

Tonight I had a call from my boss, I needed to speak to him about something urgent. He called when I was in the middle of looking for Brody and Alfie. On occasion they go missing INSIDE the house. What happens is they go into a room and shut the door behind them! I hurried through the call because they tend to be naughty when they seek privacy and sure enough, I found them in the nursery, helping themselves to stuffed animals! They just looked at me like "What? No one's playing with them anyway!". I just can't wait to see them with our baby daughter - her dark shining hair with their white fluffy fur will make an amazing picture! ;)

I look forward to telling her about our international family. Daddy's family is from Ireland and Germany, Mommy's family is from Spain and Mexico, Brody's family is from France and Alfie and Katie's family are from Cuba. She will complete our family very nicely. :)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

So Much to Share!!!

OK, there are three things to share tonight. In chronological order...

1) Dan and I had a BLAST in San Diego over the weekend (I stayed on through Wednesday for a conference). We went to Temecula on Friday which has vineyards and wineries - smallish but still very nice with tasty wine. We left with 4 bottles which I completely forgot are no longer carry on approved - so we bubble wrapped, rolled in sweatshirts and nestled in - I am happy to report they arrived safely! On Saturday we rented bikes at Mission Beach and rode along the boardwalk and then walked along the shoreline. Dan LOVES the beach - I got a little warm but enjoyed the exercise and gorgeous day! That evening we walked to a wine bar across from the hotel (Marriott Marina) and did even more wine tasting. Very relaxing! Sunday was a lazy day, we had breakfast at an upscale Pancake House and chillaxed until it was time for Dan to go home. Much needed and enjoyed weekend with just me and pookie! ;)

2) I TOTALLY MISSED the pooches! I was SO-O-O-O-O happy to see them last night! We called them every day while we were away and were told they were very popular at the Pets Hotel - with other dogs and the staff. They were referred to as "The Triplets". I fell asleep last night smiling from ear to ear because Brody was sleeping on my head, Katie was between by legs and Alfie was by my side! We're such a close family - I love it! :)

3) I am BEYOND THRILLED TO REPORT... THE FLIP HOUSE IS ON THE MARKET!!! We closed on December 22 on our first investment house and have worked every weekend since on getting it ready to sell. Here are "after pictures", I will have to find the "before". We don't stand to make big dollars on this one, it is our first but our agents are optimistic we will make some money. We paid a professional stager to help and WHAT A DIFFERENCE it makes! Tell me what you think!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Heavy Heart

I just dropped off the babies at the PetSmart Pets Hotel because we are going to San Diego for a long weekend and I already miss them so much! I was overcome on the way home and started crying. They are so precious and I don't want them to be stressed or unhappy. Katie is shy and she was shaking, but one employee immediately picked her up (she is so-o-o-o-o beautiful from the inside out) and she calmed down a little. Brody and Alfie were thrilled to mingle, but when it was time to go to their private suite, Alfie did not want to leave my side. I just called them and they are settling in, but I bet they miss home.

I wonder if they know how profound our love is for them, how much of a difference they have made in our lives. Actually how much better our lives have become by having raised them and loved them. The house is so still and quiet tonight. I see images of them... Brody in mid-flight heading straight for my lap, Alfie literally standing on my chest as I lay in bed kissing me like a bandit, and Katie rolling onto her back demanding a belly rub. They are angels and we are so blessed to have them.