Monday, October 06, 2008

Emotional Times...

Well, my birthday was yesterday and it was a very nice day. I started out by going to Jazzercise, then I went to Whole Foods for a PomPassion smoothie. I found a neat international Sesame Street CD for my children and some interesting foods to try. I came home and my in-laws called to wish me a happy day. While I was on the phone with them my parents and nephews came over with a cake and presents to surprise me. After the family party Dan took me to Farrelli's Cinema Supper Club to see "Casablanca". I have never seen it before and overall thought it was an interesting movie (I did throw up in my mouth a little when Ingrid Bergman told Humphrey Bogart, "I can't think right now, you have to think for both of us"). ;) Anyway, I had a very pleasant day.

But today... I just had to call our China agency to ask about the rumored increase in orphanage fees from $3,000 to $5,000. I visited with our agency recently in Colorado and the director told me he thought after the Olympics the fees would increase and that would lead to a stabilization and ultimate decrease in wait times. I have not seen any evidence of that so I wanted to find out the status.

Well, while I was talking to my "partner in waiting" I unexpectedly broke down crying. I am just so sad that our wait is growing every month. I don't understand how we can be asked to wait for an unknown length of time. We are AGING! Of course the question is "Who is asking this of you?" and the answer is we are asking this of ourselves to fulfill our dream of parenting an orphan from China.

The Guatemala adoption has put us through the wringer and we feel raw and troubled. I'll never understand why our journeys have been so challenging and trying. Of course I am so happy our son will be home soon, but it does not fill the void in my heart from not having my daughter here.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

MAN ON WIRE! ****MUST SEE****

Man on Wire

I was relaxing in my hotel room last night after watching "Pushing Daisies" (my new Hollywood beau is Lee Pace - LOVE HIM!), and felt like watching a movie. I was THRILLED to see "Man on Wire" was on the menu. I missed it when it played in Arizona and have been wanting to see it for awhile.

May I just say, I LOVED this movie! It was worth the $15 I paid to watch! It was exciting, inspiring, touching, thrilling and preposterous at times. It really reinforced my belief in one of my favorite quotes of all time:

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!
Live the life you've imagined".
- Thoreau

I am going confidently in the direction of my dreams...
  • I am moving forward with real estate investing despite the frightening market conditions and poor economic and employment outlook
  • I am remaining committed to bringing home both of my children from around the world
  • I am working with my husband to improve our marriage and improve our lives

My prayer is all of my loved ones find the strength and inspiration they need to move towards their dreams too, each day of their lives.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Did You Know???

Can't help but share that you can buy stamps for $0.42 a piece today and they will ALWAYS be worth current market value! That's right, I was dumb founded to learn this at the post office today as I waited to buy 100 $0.01 stamps. The man in front of me in the queue told me about this and I confirmed with the counter clerk who helped me. What puzzles me is why do they sell anything but these Forever Liberty stamps? The savings I will realize are worth at least one new pair of shoes or a bauble from Tiffany's! ;)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Crafty Weekend for a Great Cause

My younger sister Toree is a big time scrap booker and even has her own related business. At a recent scrap booking convention she learned about a fun activity for charity. She invited me and a bunch of her friends over to her house today to make cards for the patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital. We had a blast! She has all kinds of supplies, many I didn't even know how to use. It felt really good to help support a meaningful cause and I will definitely do this activity with my children when they are old enough.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Fun Weekend and Another One Coming!

This past weekend we celebrated my Dad's birthday, he turned 75 on August 15! He is in great shape and such a wonderful and inspirational person. We hosted at our house and had a great meal and very fun day. We served wine, cheese, fruit and crackers as appetizers. I made pot roast in a crock pot, and also served mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli with shredded cheese and green bean casserole. Everything came out delicious and we had nine satisfied guests including us.


We had a delicious custom cake from AJ's for dessert, it was a little crumpled though... on the way home from picking up the cake Dan was in an accident. He was hit by someone turning left while he was going straight through an intersection. The person who hit him fled the scene, but thankfully Dan is fine. His car is a little banged up but still drivable. What can I say? That's life!


My Dad is so anxious to meet our babies, it will be lovely to see them all together - hopefully soon! I know he will be an amazing grandfather because he is an amazing father to me. Here are pictures of my parents, Dan and me. Who do I look like???






I am heading to Charlotte, NC for business tomorrow and have a super fun weekend planned. On Friday I am going to visit my girlfriend Nikki in Winston-Salem. Then on Saturday I am going to Atlanta to visit my friend Rhanda. I am going to surprise her and treat her to the wine festival at Chateau Elan - it is an awesome winery/spa/resort north of Atlanta. Dan and I loved it there when we lived in Atlanta and I used to treat myself to spa weekends every year for my birthday. I miss that a lot!!!! Here is a picture of Chateau Elan - I can't wait! I feel like this is my last HOORAH before I become a MOMMY! ;)



Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fun Weekend

We had a very nice weekend. On Saturday my sister Toree hosted a Game themed party for my nephew Patrick, he came to visit from Colorado before he starts college in a week. There were two games that offered prizes for the winner, and yours truly won them both! Both games were word/vocabulary oriented.

Then, a third prize was given out as a random drawing (there were nine of us total), and I won that too! I could do no wrong on Saturday and had a blast! Afterwards, Toree and I teamed up to play the men in Cranium - we won 2 out of 3 times. It was my first time playing that particular game, and I LOVE it - I will definitely buy it to play with my children one day.

Today, I went to Jazzercise (never gets easier, especially when you only go once a month!), then swam in our warm and cozy pool. Dan whipped up a DELICIOUS chopped vegetable salad for dinner that was inspired by the one made at the Cheesecake Factory. Here's what's included:
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Roasted Beets
  • Apple
  • Edamame
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine
  • White Cheddar
  • Pomegranate Vinaigrette (we used Raspberry Vinaigrette)
The flavors are so delicious and this is a healthy and complete meal, the edamame provides a good source of protein. Yummers!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nephew Patrick's Graduation

Here are some photos from my nephew Patrick's high school graduation. Dan and I went to Colorado Springs to celebrate with him. We are SO PROUD of him!



Monday, May 26, 2008

Winter Blossom May Secret Pal

Thank you Amy R. from Illinois for being a great Secret Pal for May. This month's theme was "April Showers Bring May Flowers" and Amy was very creative with her selections!


  • Sunglasses and matching purse for our diva baby girl

  • Shovel and pitchfork, apron and magnifying glasses for gardening with Daddy

  • Soft balls to play with in the pool or in the yard

  • Pretty pink picnic blanket

  • Chinese print Kleenex
  • Note pad shaped like a STAR, just like our daughter will be

I especially loved the gorgeous and thoughtful cards Amy sent this month. Thanks again Amy for making this exchange a great one!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friendships

I spent this past week in beautiful Colorado. I went to my nephew Patrick's high school graduation in Colorado Springs, and I worked with my client in Denver for the week. About a year ago I was in the Denver area and looked up my very first CCAI Tea Monkeys Secret Pal, Ashley H. She lives in the Denver area and we met for a super fun day of shopping, talking, dreaming and getting to know each other. She is a GEM!

We have kept in touch over the year and we met for dinner again this week. We both could NOT believe a whole year had passed since our last meeting! I felt as though no time had passed and we picked up where we left off. I know we will have a lifelong friendship and I believe we were brought into each other's lives for a reason. She is a source of inspiration and comfort for me, and I am so blessed to have her friendship! :) I can't wait until we visit Colorado for ski vacations and my daughter and Ashley daughter's swoosh down the slopes together - what a nice vision that is, especially because I will be in the lodge by the fireplace enjoying hot chocolate. ;)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pray for the People of China

The devastating earthquake has hurt so many people in China. There are reports of families who had only one child per the nation's law, and lost them in the tragedy. My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering and I pray for healing to begin.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Princess Ava Turns 2

Our dear friend Michele invited us to celebrate her daughter Ava's 2nd birthday party. It was held at a local park with a railroad train, carousel and bar-b-cue pits. We had a great time seeing all the little ones running around, and of course Princess Ava was adorable! The theme of the party was Minnie Mouse/Disney and Michele made all the little guests mouse ears. She is so creative and talented!


We also got to catch up with Megan and her daughter Maya, and the Kundes and their twins Jenna and Jadyn (below in second picture). I grabbed Jadyn for a snuggle and I scared her and made her cry - I felt so bad. She is shy and I scared her. I felt much better later on when Jenna gave me a good-bye squeeze and kiss. They are all BEAUTIFUL children! :)







Sunday, April 13, 2008

Aloha!

We leave on Tuesday for a long vacation in Maui, Hawaii. I have been to Oahu, and Dan has never been to Hawaii, so we are excited. It will be nice to get away and just relax. Here are some photos of the resort where we will be staying. Aloha!


Thursday, April 03, 2008

EXCELLENT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


WOWOWOWOWOWOOWOW!!!! We received a voicemail message from our agency today that said we are "unofficially" out of the Review Room! This is a HUGE milestone and I cannot express how HAPPY I am! It has been TOO LONG since I have actually posted an update about our China adoption. Our agency is TOP NOTCH so I know this is a sure thing or they never would have told us this news. Celebrate with me peeps!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rattlesnake Scare!

This evening at around 7 p.m. Dan and I had just finished dinner and were unwinding with some wine. I was watching a real estate show and Dan was tinkering on the computer. I heard Brody our beloved 3 year old Bichon Frise barking in a highly agitated way and when he wouldn't chill out after I called for him to settle down, I looked out the window to see what was going on.

I noticed his bark was unique, not playful like when he is chasing prairie dogs, lizards or bunnies, or trying to get attention from Alfie and Katie. In fact, his bark was almost unlike anything I had ever heard before. I saw him literally bark and BACK UP from where he was facing so I screamed for Dan to go and check it out while I went outside and yelled for Brody to get in the house. By a miracle of God, Brody came in the house. We work on emergency recall once in awhile (NOW!), but he is a free spirit and I never want to squash that, so we accept his relaxed approach to obedience.

Dan looked around and screamed for me to call the Herpetological Society because he found a rattlesnake in our yard! I was hysterical, I have a deep fear of snakes and I would most definitely die of grief if any of our pooches died from a snake bite. I constantly worry about their safety because we live in an area where everyone has 1 plus acres of land and it is designated as NAOS (natural air open space), meaning it is natural desert and we have literally seen huge owls, javelina, bobcats, coyotes and snakes in our neighborhood.

I immediately called the Phoenix Herpetological Society (http://www.phoenixherp.com/content/) and they agreed to come out right away. The sun started to set but Dan kept watch of the snake. I could not find a flashlight so Dan used one of our solar outdoor lights to keep the snake in view. After about 30 minutes, a man and his two young sons came to help us. By now the snake had moved from near the pool pump to the back center of the yard.

I heard the man say "There are TWO of them" and I screamed "Jesus, GOD!". I think in a moment of complete hysteria I subconsciously turned my intense fear over to God. I also started to feel nauseous, fear is a strange feeling. Then the man announced the second one was DEAD! It had gotten stuck in the chicken wire Dan put around our tangerine tree. While I don't like snakes, I don't want to see them reach an untimely and painful death. I gave the man scissors to cut the snake out in a dignified manner and foolishly watched as he removed the dead snake. That memory will linger with me for a long time as I battle sleeplessness.

We spent a long time talking to the expert about how we can prevent this from happening again. We are putting up a special fence this weekend and as always, will be on extra special alert when our pooches are outside. We will also have our landscaper cut our bushes so they don't brush the ground.

I will say that Katie and Alfie just don't have the adventurous curiosity that Brody does so I feel less worried about them; HOWEVER, I cannot say how INTELLIGENT I believe Brody is. Somehow he knew the snake was dangerous and not a plaything. I also give the kid a lot of credit for coming inside when I demanded it, he hasn't done that before when he was on a lizard or bunny chase.

Even though there is a happy ending tonight, I still cried at the thought of losing Brody in such a senseless way. I am glad Dan did not kill the snake and made the rescuer promise he would release it in an area where it would have a chance to live but not bother man or domestic pets. Life ALWAYS has something in store you never expect... but I was certainly reminded to appreciate what you have today, life is fragile.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

V. Good Fortune Cookie!

I rarely eat Chinese food, but I had a taste for it on Thursday. So I tried a new restaurant in Charlotte before I left for the airport to come home. I was THRILLED with my fortune cookie message:

"Good news from afar can bring you a welcome visitor."

I am praying for a DOUBLE WHAMMY any day now... first, news of getting out of PGN for our son in Guatemala, and news of getting out of the CCAA review room for our daughter in China. Now THAT would be "Good news" indeed!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day & Anniversary Wrapped Into One Magical Evening

Dan and I have so-o-o-o-o-o much going on in our lives right now and times are just not easy for us. We are working very hard to keep everything together during these stressful and uncertain times. With this in mind, Dan planned a very special evening for us last night.

SInce we will be apart on our 4 year wedding anniversary on March 20 (Dan will be in Guatemala) and I flew in very late on Valentine's Day, we agreed to celebrate both occasions last evening. There is a very nice restauarnt near us that I have been wanting to try, it is called Mosaic and since Dan wouldn't tell me where we were going, I convinced myself that was our destination.

Well, when we drove past Mosaic I was kind of upset (in my bratty, controlling and spolied way, haha!) and confused. Imagine my surprise when he turned into the Four Seasons at Troon North (http://www.fourseasons.com/scottsdale/). There are so many resorts and fine restaurants in our neighborhood, I completely forgot about the Four Seasons!

We started our amazing evening in the Onyx bar and lounge. I had an incredibly delicious Grape Crush cocktail and Dan had an agave margarita. My drink had grape juice, vodka and plump purple grapes as garnish - delish! After drinks we went for dinner at Talavera.

We had the best view in the restaurant overlooking the mountains, desert and city lights in the distance. The food and wine was unbelievable and we lingered for hours just talking, laughing and dreaming about our future with our children. I seriously think it was the best meal I ever had. We agreed we need to make sure we continue to have special nights out alone for the rest of our lives. I will remember our special night for a long time!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Cricket and Some Cilantro...

That's what our petite 7 pound Havanese princess threw up last night. I was kind of... well... SHOCKED! Katie is a delicate little thing and generally doesn't eat anything but dog food and Mom approved treats. Dan has a million dollar (that's what it costs, not what it produces!) herb and vegetable garden that he has enclosed with chicken wire, fence and a gate, but I guess she found her way in and decided to sample the cilantro.

In a strange way it makes sense. The Havanese breed originated in Havana, Cuba so that means like me, Katie and Alfie are Latino. Salsa is a Latino food and has cilantro, so she tried a food natural to her culture. I don't know what to make of the cricket...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Pooches are Turning 3!

Yesterday we had a family birthday party for our darling pooches. Brody turned three on December 26, Alfie will turn three on February 4 and Katie on February 23. They have filled our lives with immeasurable joy and laughter, and have really been a source of inspiration for us to grow our family with two-legged babies! :)

My parents, and my sister Diana and her family joined us for a bar-b-que (year roud beautiful weather here - sorry snowbirds!), cake and presents. The pooches got a custom cake from Three Dog Bakery and will enjoy left overs the whole week. They received a gift certificate to PetsMart, peanut butter treats, new birthday bandanas and a donation to the Arizona Humane Society made in their honor. My wonderful family indulged me and sang Happy Birthday three times so each poochie would feel special. ;)

We all had a blast and I feel more ready than ever to bring my children home and celebrate many wonderful years with them too!

Here are some highlights from the party.

Alfie Brody Katie




Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lovely, lovely Sunday

I had the BEST day today. I have been so busy lately and really wanted to spend some time alone doing whatever I wanted. I started with a 3 mile walk around my neighborhood, it was a gorgeous day in the low 70s. Then I took a long bubble bath and headed to my favorite shops in Carefree, AZ which is about 10 minutes north of my home. The streets have great names like Ho, Hum, Meander and Easy - hilarious!

For those of you who do not know about Carefree, AZ, it is a MUST experience kind of place. It is a township with controlled development so it is pristine with no large businesses and it has a small town feel. It is a very upscale area and many residents are retirees with second homes there, so it has a slower pace. The shops are all originals and there are many art galleries and jewelry stores featuring southwestern designs, especially with turquoise. There are also eclectic clothing stores and several very good restaurants.

I went to my favorite bath product shop and stocked up on a few products, and even had a custom blend bubble bath made for me. I ADORE taking baths and would take one every single day of my life if I could, in fact when I am not traveling I take them 90% of the time.

After shopping I went to the Blue Sky Coffeehouse & Wine Bar and had a delicious chicken salad with a divine glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The restaurant is also a gallery so I looked at the art and of course stopped in the retail store. I found a great piece of art for Domi's nursery and it was half price so it came home with me. It is a brightly colored cactus to hang on the wall, I am going to get a collection of one of a kind cacti to hang as a collection. His nursery theme is "Guatemala and Western" so it will be a cute addition.

After lunch I drove to Home Depo Expo to look at upgrade options for our kitchen. I have this idea to keep our existing raised panel maple cabinets and just have black painted in the grooves to give a tailored look. Granite countertops, new hardware and possibly new appliances are all part of the vision. It will take a little time to get this going, but we'll get there!

I ended my solo adventure at the movies. I saw "Atonement" and LOVED every minute! It may be the best movie I have ever seen and I have a new Hollywood boyfriend - James McAvoy! :) I never buy movies, but I am going to buy this when it is out on DVD. The plot was riveting, the cast was stupendous, the setting was stunning and the music was perfectly in sync with each scene. Go see this movie!!! Hope everyone out there enjoyed the weekend too.