Dec 29, 2007

Christmas Update

Wow! Has is really been only a little over a week since I’ve updated? It seems like tons of time has passed. Reality is that we’ve been having a lot of FUN (for the most part) and that has kept me from getting on the computer much and doing any updating.
The Friday before Christmas was Cackie’s last day at school before the Christmas break. Her class party was that afternoon, so I left work a little early and went to enjoy with her friends and their parents. Mayhem is truly the only way to describe the feeling in the classroom! Nineteen 3 year olds enjoying treats (i.e., sugar) doesn’t make for much quiet. I sat with Cackie while she enjoyed her snack plate (sliced turkey, cheese, cookies, cheetos, cupcake & grapes…yum!) She sat down at a table off to the side and was shortly joined by 3 of her boy buddies, such a flirt already! The kids were all super excited about Christmas and Santa’s impending arrival. Alex was fascinated with Santa coming down the chimney and exclaimed to me that he saw a house earlier that week with 3 chimneys! The chimney thing must be something that the class has talked about a lot, earlier that morning I caught Cackie in front of our chimney saying “Santa, you come down chimney… OK?”
After we got home from her party we stopped by Holiday Ham to order some items for our Christmas brunch. We had thought a lot about how we wanted to spend Christmas day and decided that we definitely didn’t want to spend it in the kitchen. So, we figured that a nice big brunch with munchies for later in the day would be a nice change of pace. It turned out really well and the whole family enjoyed it. We’re seriously thinking that it will be a family tradition from now on.
After stopping to order our brunch, we took Cackie to Michael’s mom’s to spend the night. This was a huge help to us to relax and get some things accomplished on Saturday. The Tigers were playing in their bowl game, so we ordered in sushi and watched them get beat L while wrapping some presents.
The Saturday before Christmas we had a party at our house for our FCC “family”. Michael made a couple of pots of chili and friends brought the extras. It was nice, easy and relaxing to spend the evening together. We even had a surprise birthday celebration for our friend Angela! The kids played together really well, they did get into a few confrontations but that’s to be expected with 3 year olds. It was really great to see them all together and watch their developing personalities. I can’t wait until we have Owen home and he can join this great group of kids. I look forward to watching these kiddos grow up together!



The Sunday before Christmas my sister and I braved a trip to Walmart. It was pretty crazy, but not the worst I have ever seen. We were able to get just about everything we needed for our Christmas brunch and even picked up a couple of last minute gifts. The rest of the day was spent getting things ready, baking cookies and wrapping gifts.
On Christmas Eve I had to go into work for a couple of hours, but Michael & Caryn were home with Cackie getting ready for the big day. I started getting a headache after I got home and spent a lot of the afternoon sitting and watching TV, something that I rarely do and it was quite nice to just relax. Late that afternoon we went out and picked up some movies and had a cozy little lasagna dinner. While the lasagna was cooking we took Cackie outside to put out her “magic reindeer food” to help guarantee that Santa and his reindeer would make a stop at our house.



My parents got here around 9pm and we were all glad to see my dad moving around pretty well after his knee surgery. Cackie finally fell asleep around 11 – 11:30 and we were all ready to crash by that point.
Christmas morning Michael & I got up around 7:30 and started getting things ready for our brunch. I’m sure we weren’t super quiet, but Cackie was still able to sleep until just after 8. She stayed in her room quietly for a while until she begged us to come out. The first thing she exclaimed to her Aunt Caryn when she woke up was that Santa did not come in her room because she didn’t see him! When she did come out of her room she was more excited about seeing the table loaded up with breakfast treats, especially the grapes. She hardly paid attention to the mound of presents under the tree in the other room!
Around 9 am Michael’s Mom & stepdad arrived at the house and we let Cackie dive into unwrapping her presents. She had a blast, but didn’t quite understand that she couldn’t open each toy as she unwrapped them. After she was finished we had our brunch and Michael’s Mom & stepdad left. At that point the rest of us unwrapped the remaining presents under the tree. By the time we finished it was 1pm! Cackie and Dad laid down to take naps and the rest of us napped in the living room or just puttered around with things. We had a wonderful rest of the day, just hanging out and relaxing. In the evening we watched a couple of movies and actually got to bed much later than I had intended.
All in all it was a pretty great Christmas and we’ve pretty much decided that we’ll do a Christmas brunch from now on, a lot less stress and more relaxing…exactly what we need.



On Wednesday Michael & I had to go back to work. Caryn was here to help keep Cackie occupied while her school was on break and they both have had a great time together. On Thursday we went out for sushi and ended with everyone’s favorite cheesecake tempura!
Yesterday we went and applied for Caryn’s passport. Hopefully it will come back as fast as Cackie’s did. Last night Michael, Cackie & I went over to his Mom & Stepdad’s to exchange our presents with them. After Cackie went to bed we sat and watched a movie, something we never seem to do anymore.
This week I’ve also gotten some more news about Owen. The American volunteer in Tianjin (I’ll call him AVT for simplicity) saw him on the 26th and said that Owen rushed him along with a whole group of kids when he arrived at the orphanage. His comment was that he didn’t have much to say about Owen because he seems to be a pretty normal kid in a pretty normal situation. I asked about Owen being in the “kindergarten” class even though he’s not yet quite 3 and found out that some children start “kindergarten” early, depending on when their birthdays fall, etc. AVT says that Owen is the same size physically as most of his class, so we feel that he’s probably like Cackie and on the bigger size.
Hearing all this about Owen has been wonderful. It’s so good to know that he’s doing well and is a happy boy. We are starting to put together things for another care package. I’m hoping to get it out in the next two weeks so that he receives it in time for Chinese New Year on February 7.
That’s about it for now!

Dec 20, 2007

Whining

The whining is driving me NUTS!
We have had lots and lots of whining lately, so I’ve really started playing the Santa card when the whining starts up.
Yesterday after picking Cackie up from school we had to stop at the drugstore to pick me up some antibiotics (yes, yet another sinus infection for me!). She started whining from the moment I told her we were going to the store and just wouldn’t stop. Nothing that I said or did could stop it. So, I told her that for a little girl who’s hoping that Santa will bring her lots of nice things she sure was doing a lot of whining. I reminded her that Santa was at the North Pole packing his sleigh, but that he could see and hear everything she was doing and saying and that she’d better shape up or Santa might take some of those nice things and give them to another little boy or girl.
Her response was “well, he’s not talking to me” - meaning that since she couldn’t hear Santa he couldn’t hear her either. Oh, the logic of a 3 year old!
So, then she wanted to know how Santa could see her. How do you explain this to a 3 year old? “Oh, he has a magic ball that he can look in and see you.” Yeah, I can just hear the questions coming from that one! So, I told her that Santa just had to think about her and he could see what she was doing.

Then I reminded her by singing…
“He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So, be good for goodness sake.”

All was quiet in the backseat for a second and the she said “yeah Mommy and he’s coming to town too!”

Stifling my laughter was nearly impossible! Gotta love 3 year olds!

Dec 17, 2007

Thoughts

So, besides the wonderful news that I received about Owen earlier, I got another great piece of news... I got an A! My grades are in and I got an A in my accounting class. Either I improved a whole lot (100% on the final) or he was just a whole lot tougher at the beginning of the semester than he was at the end. Either way, I'll take it! So, now I feel great with a 3.5 GPA in the MBA program. Yahoo!

Now, for some catching up...


On Thursday we got a huge surprise when Cackie's passport arrived. Less than 3 weeks and we had her passport. We told her that now she's all ready to go get her brother and I thought she was going to go pack! She's really ready for him (or at least she thinks she is, lol!).


On Friday we took Cackie to see Santa. She was real excited before we got there, but suddenly became shy when faced with sitting on Santa's lap. We had a hard time convincing her to smile. In fact, a couple of times she told us flat out that no she was not going to smile. I'm not sure how they got her to smile, but they did and the photographer snapped the picture at the right time. I think this year's picture really sums up Cackie's personality.


The rest of the weekend we did a little shopping, finished putting up decorations and got packages ready to send off to Owen and family out of town. It went by fast, but all in all we had a pretty good weekend.

Tomorrow my Dad is having a partial knee replacement. I teased that 35 years later it's his turn to experience major pain on December 18, lol! I'll be thinking of him all day, hoping that all goes well.

So, now we get ourselves ready for the final stretch till Christmas. I got out the majority of our Christmas cards today and the rest will go out tomorrow. We're having friends over on Saturday before we go to ZooLights and we can't wait for that. I've got just a few small things to pick up tomorrow and then I'm done shopping! Now, I just have to find time to wrap everything!

Best Birthday Present Ever!

OK, so my birthday isn't actually until tomorrow. But, I still got the best present ever this morning. I dragged my butt out of bed, grumbling the whole way. Katie won't "get out of bed" until I do and she was ready to go, so we quickly head downstairs so that I can let her out. I head into the kitchen and get my first of many cups of coffee, let Katie back in the house (it's COLD!) and I sit down at the computer to check my emails.

This is the way things work just about every morning. But, this morning I had a fabulous surprise in my inbox... through the TianjinFamilies yahoo group, I have heard of an American who is living in Tianjin working as an english teacher and he volunteers at the Tianjin orphanage. This morning I had an email from him letting me know that he has checked in on Wei Jian Hang! Here's what he wrote....

Wei Jian Hang is in the Jinghai foster care program and attends the CWI-run kindergarten there. I will pay more attention to finding him next time I am there and hopefully I can give you some more information. Merry Christmas!

Our boy is in foster care! This makes us very happy because Cackie was in foster care as well. I have been worried about Owen's attachment to us, but now feel some comfort knowing that he is (hopefully) in a family setting that will at least (hopefully) have some similarities to what life will be like in our family.

It's my understanding that the CWI (Children's Welfare Institute) Kindergarten is more like daycare, not like what Americans think of as Kindergarten. That's great, since he will be going to daycare here and should find that the routine of that is similar.

I can't tell you how wonderful it was to receive this news today. I wrote "my friend" back and thanked him many times for this wonderful news. The hardest part right now is knowing that we're happily about to celebrate my birtday, Christmas, New Years, Chinese New Year, Michael's birthday, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc and we won't be there for his 3rd birthday or to even meet him for months! Just getting any bit of news about him helps to make that time pass and gives me motivation to get things ready to bring him home.

Michael took the first care package for Owen to the post office today. We included many things for him... a fleece hoodie, some dinosaur PJs, a warm hat and gloves, a picture book with 36 pictures of us, Cackie, grandparents, friends, etc, a book, 5 mini toy cars, a Smokie doll just like Cackie's with this picture in it's arms...

and candies for the nannies. I sure hope he gets it.












Some of the things that I've bought for Owen and sent in his care package

So, this wonderful news is the best birthday present I could have ever dreamed of!

Dec 14, 2007

Consider a boy

Consider a boy….

We go to ChinaFor a child
A daughter

We are deeply disturbed at the vastness of girls
Abandoned
Lost
Alone

We love each of these girls
Even as we are grateful to adopt just one
And we are proud to teach them about
Girl power

We want to right the balance
We want our girls to know they are not a second choice
We want to raise them to be powerful

And many of us believe
That boys in China are Little Emperors
Adored
Indulged
Loved beyond belief

Many are.

And yet
Should you have the great privilege of visiting an orphanage
You will see boys
And not just a few

Many, many boys
Who perhaps were a second child
But, in all sad reality,
Were probably abandoned because of some special need

Cleft lip, cleft palate
Heart disease
Club feet or vision problems

Issues that, in the states,
Are treatable or at least manageable
Issues that, in the states,
Would not define them or their lives

And they wait.

They wait for a home
A family
A chance

Maybe you weren't thinking of
A boy

Maybe you weren't thinking
Special needs

Maybe you were envisioning
Your fairy tale

And you should never apologize
For that

We all have our fairy tale
We all have our vision
We all have our dreams

But so do these children
Be they girls, abdicated to a less than status
By the power of culture and tradition
Or
Be they boys, left to live in an orphanage
Left without the same opportunities
As their parented peers

When I first dreamed of parenthood
It wasn't to an adopted child

I dreamed of pregnancy
Of womanhood
Of giving life

I grieved the loss of that first dream
And yet
The second dream was not
Second best.

Instead of giving birth to a child
I gave birth
To me

I became a mother
When I began to love

I became a mother
When I began to whisper sweet goodbyes
To the dreams that seemed important
So I could listen to dreams
That would not wait

So today,
I ask you to consider a boy
Consider a special need
Consider that you might be
More than what you ever thought

We adopted our daughter
As a non-special-needs child
And her needs are vast
And global
And tiring
And rewarding

We adopted through the traditional program
Because we couldn't handle special needs

Luckily, God knew better

And now,
The couple who couldn't handle special needs
Has become a family who can handle
Whatever comes its way.

Including a boy.
A boy with special needs
Who has captured our hearts,
Intrigued our minds,
And blessed our days already.

And so I ask you again,

Consider a boy.
Consider that you might be
More than what you ever thought.
Consider.

Just consider.

Melissa
Lucky Mama to Kate
Paperchasing for our first son

I feel like I could have written this. I had found this on one of the Yahoo groups that I belong to and had sent it to Michael back in late October. Today I was cleaning out my mailbox and came across it. It touched me again and I wanted to share. Many thanks to Melissa who wrote this.

Dec 13, 2007

I got a name!

Like the pine trees linin the windin road
I've got a name, I've got a name
Like the singin bird and the croakin toad
I've got a name, I've got a name....
(sorry, great song and I couldn't resist)

Well, I see that Daniel Thomas JianHang lead the poll here on the good ole blog. Actually that was a late entry on our part and while we love the name Daniel, we really wanted to keep Thomas as the middle name. But, to us, this kiddo just doesn't have a big enough nose to be called Danny Thomas!

So, we're excited to announce that our new son (with the cute little nose) will be named....
Owen Thomas JianHang Walls
We've already started talking about Owen this and Owen that. Cackie is still having trouble remembering his name, but once she's reminded she starts talking about Owen DiDi (DiDi means little brother in mandarin).
CackieDoodle & OwenDiDi - goes well together, don'tcha think?

I'm finished!

No, not with my Christmas shopping (actually, there's not a lot of that this year, but I do still have a few things to pick up). I'm finished with my class! Yahoo! YAY!
I turned in my exam on Tuesday afternoon and I felt a wave of relief. I'll feel a bigger wave when I have my final grade, though. This semester has been tough on me. TTU is using a new system for their online classes and I don't think my prof really ever got a handle on how to use it. Plus, I could never quite tell what he was looking for in the assignments, etc. I had some discussions with classmates and they felt the same way, so it's good to know I wasn't the only one.
At the same time that I'm glad my class is over, it's also bittersweet... I worked so hard to get into the MBA progam this year and get two classes under my belt. Now, I wonder if I'll get to go back and finish. I definitely can't take classes this spring with travelling to China and all the things we have to do to get ready. And, I really don't want to take any more summer classes, we just lose out on so many opportunities to have fun. So, maybe I'll start back with classes next fall, or maybe I'll forget about school and start the crafty side business that I've always wanted to do. One thing I know for sure, I'm going to make sure that I spend lots of time with my kids... that will make life perfect.
Besides finishing up with school, we've had a busy week. Michael has been out of town all week, so I've been doing the single mom gig. It's so stressfull being the only one around to take care of everything. Plus, Cackie has missed her Baba terribly (and has let me know it on many an occasion!). She'll be estatic to see him this afternoon.
We're almost done putting up the Christmas decorations. Gotta get some help from Michael tonight to get the last few things put up. Cackie has had a great time helping this year, every night she wants to decorate the tree again!
Hopefully this weekend we'll finish up the rest of our shopping and have some free time together. We've got to visit Santa as well, hopefully that will go well.
I've been printing off all kinds of pictures to send off in a care package to the orphanage. Plus, I went nuts the other day in Walmart and bought all kinds of trucks and cars to either send or have at the house. Tonight we'll take some pictures that I wanted to "stage" and hopefully I'll get it off to the postoffice on Saturday.
Well, that's about all for now. I'm hoping to have a little free time tonight to post some pictures, but it might be later this weekend before I can get to it.

Dec 5, 2007

Beautiful



This was on my calendar today and it made me smile. It is Massif de chrysanthemes by Claude Monet. Beautiful!

Dec 4, 2007

Need a new look & name

I figure it's time for a change around here. After all, we're going to be adding another male to our family, so maybe I need to update the name of my blog to better reflect that. Then, there's the look of the blog, definitely too girly! I'll need to work on that as well, maybe something with ladybugs & sailboats?
One more week and I'm done with my class this semester, yahoo! After that I'll work on a new name and definitely a new look.
I've got to start thinking about decorating as well... furniture... projects around the house... packing lists. Oh, and it's Christmas! My brain has been going 90 to nothing with all that's going on. The lists around here are starting to build up. There's the ever present grocery list and the must do list. But, now we've added the Christmas list (very short this year, folks), the care package list, the packing list, the things to do before we go to China list (bunk beds, decorate the kids room, sell all those girls clothes that are too small, etc) and the things I want to do before we go to China list. AAAAhhhh!
Maybe I need to make a list of my lists?

LOI & Tianjin (&blogs!)

We're LOI! (letter of intent, that is)
We had to submit a LOI to our agency, basically saying that we know all about Wei Jian Hang's condition and that we want to adopt him. We sent this and some other pictures and information to CCAI yesterday, they should have received it this morning.
Now, CCAI will take our LOI and send it on to China. Once China receives it and "processes" it, they will issue us a PA (pre approval). Basically, this means that they know that we want to adopt Wei Jian Hang and that they are moving our dossier from the non special needs area to the special needs area.
So, now we wait some more...

At the same time, I'm soo excited! I know of two other families who have received referrals from Tianjin this week. Their referrals are here... http://ladmans.blogspot.com/ & http://www.barry-family.net/ They both have sons waiting for them with repaired cleft lip, unrepaired cleft palate. Does this mean that we'll get the chance to travel together? Don't know right now. The special needs program with China is sooo different than the non special needs program and it's really all up in the air. I'll be talking with these families more for sure and will stay updated on their statuses.

And, tomorrow the Lewis family leaves for China to adopt their son David from Tianjin! I'll be following their blog to learn all I can. If you'd like to learn more about Tianjin, you can follow along too. Their blog is http://lewises.blogspot.com/.
They are planning on visiting the orphanage and are hoping to have the opportunity to ask about the boys who now have forever families. I'm hoping for good news, but just knowing that they are there and thinking of the other boys is a huge plus for me!

Another family that I've been following is in China right now. They were LID just before we were with Cackie and adopted their Mary just before we travelled to China. They just adopted a beautiful little girl with a repaired cleft lip & palate. Heather is a great writer, very down to earth and I love reading her journey. Isn't her Ella just beautiful? http://2china4ella.blogspot.com/

I'll leave you tonight with a Cackie'ism...
Back when we went to MS for the football game and Caryn came camping with us, just after we got to the campground we got out Cackie's tricycle for her to ride & play. She was goofing around on it and started trying to stand on the seat with her hands on the handle bars. Caryn told her to be careful, that she was about to fall. Of course, Cackie responded like a toddler and didn't listen. So, Cackie stood on the seat again, the bike fell over and she fell to the ground with the bike on top of her. Before Caryn could say anything she heard Cackie say "see, that's why you don't do that" - A sign that she'd learned something, NAH!

Dec 3, 2007

Help Aunt Caryn?

In case you haven't yet figured it out.... We're going to China!
Travelling to China to adopt is a wonderful experience, but at the same time it can be very stressful. We are definitely taking Cackie with us on our trip, but we could really use an extra helper to be there ready to assist. When we started on our 2nd adoption journey last year, we asked Caryn if she would be interested in going with us. She definitely wants to go, it's just coming up with the funds that is holding her back.
So in the spirit of "Save Ferris Bueller" (Caryn's favorite movie, by the way), I've started a "Send Aunt Caryn to China" fund. Michael & I, of course will be making our donation as part of Caryn's Christmas present and again for her birthday at the end of January. Having Caryn in China with us will be a HUGE help and we want to do all we can to make that possible. Unfortunately, it's just not possible for us to fund the whole trip.
So, if you want to help here's your chance! Send Aunt Caryn to China (we promise to bring her back!)

Dec 1, 2007

We need a name!

Ok, well... we have a name in mind, but we want to know what you think!
We've added a poll to the right hand side... what should we name our son?
We will consider any and all input! This has caught us off guard, and we're needing advice!
Please vote!

Nashville!

Hello from Nashville!

We're in Nashville, at the Opryland actually, getting some much needed family time.
We've had this planned for the last month or so. It's a huge splurge for us, especially now that we know that we'll be travelling to China in a few months, but much needed family time. We're excited to share our last Christmas as a family of 3 with Cackie and Michael's blood pressure and my stress level have greatly benefited from this trip.
We got here yesterday, late of course (mostly due to taking care of issues with Zack). We also needed to stop by the hospital and check on our buddy Tom. He's back in the hospital (2nd time since his surgery). This time because his incision (throat to belly) is badly infected. Say a prayer for our buddy! We love him!
Anyway, we got to Nashville a little later than planned, traffic played into it also and got checked into our room. I had to attend to some school stuff and then we took off exploring the hotel. Cackie was having a wonderful time! We had dinner last night and got to bed really late!
I slept in the bed with her (after she fell off the bed in New Orleans last year, I wasn't taking chances!) She was into sleeping perpendicular to me, we looked like a T (GREAT LETTER! GO VOLS!)
Today we went out for a good breakfast and then had tickets to the Rockettes. It was a great show and Cackie loved it! Gosh, what I would have done to be a Rockette! Of course, that would have meant that I wouldn't have my awesome husband and daughter and son, so it's OK that that is a dream not realized!
After the Rockette show we changed into something much warner and headed over to the ICE! display. They have taken the Grinch and frozen him! It was totally awesome and we had a great time! We were all frozen by the end of the exhibit, but it was great!
We headed back to the hotel room for a nap and to catch the SEC championship game. GO VOLS!
Cackie took a great nap (Michael, too) and then they goofed off, as you can see in the pics.
I guess that's it for now. I'll write more later. Hugs and Kisses from Nashville!

Nov 27, 2007

We have a son!



Introducing Wei Jian Hang!

We are in absolute shock that we're even sharing this wonderful news. We thought it would be months before we received a referral, but to our surprise we recieved the call last Tuesday! Here's what we know so far...

Wei Jian Hang was born 3/1/05 (just 7.5 mos after Cackie) he is in Tianjin City Chilren's Welfare Institute about 85 miles from Beijing...


He has a repaired cleft lip and unrepaired cleft palate, but according to our pediatrician he's very healthy.

The report that we received says...

He is a bright, open, cute little boy. He likes to communicate with those around him. He has a strong sense of music and whenever music is playing he will dance to the rhythm of the music.

Wei Jian Hang is a very sensible child. Every day he helps the nannies do some tasks within his own ability. If he sees the nanny giving another child a bath, he will go get some clothes on his own initiative. If he sees a child drop a piece of trash, he will help pick it up and throw it in the garbage. When he eats some fruit or snacks or has a toy, he will take the initiative to first offer it to other children before thinking of himself.
Doesn't that sound soo cute?
We haven't yet figured out what we're going to name him, hopefully soon. Our agency says 4 - 5 months to travel and because of other commitments we're hoping that will be around late April.
Lots to do between now and then!
I'm extremely anxious for my class to be over with (2 more weeks!) and then I can really dive into planning, etc.
Bottom line is we're excited and we'll soon be a family of four!

Playing Catch up

I’ve been writing this message over a series of days. Time has been so limited lately, that’s the only way I’ve been able to get all this out. Well, that and the fact that I’ve been down sick with a stomach virus and a really bad cold! Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up better and not get so far behind.

Since my last update we’ve been pulled in 18 million different directions. I’ve tried a number of times to sit down and write about all of them, just haven’t been able to get caught up. So, quickly here are some of the things we’ve been up to.

· We took the trailer out for the first time when we went down to the Tennessee/Mississippi State foot ball game. My sister rode down there with us and we met my Mom, Dad & Uncle Donald there. It was a great weekend and we had a wonderful time.
· That same weekend we were waiting on pins & needles because we had learned about a birth mother who wanted to have her child adopted. It turned out that the mother took the baby and we don’t know what happened from there, but we can now say that we experienced a bit of th range of thoughts & emotions involved in domestic adoption.
· My poor Katie came down very sick with Pancreatitis and ended up spending the better part of a weekend in the hospital on an IV. Thankfully she is completely well now, but it was quite a scare for us at the time.
· We added a new kitty to our brood! One of the teachers at Cackie’s school found a kitten in their tool shed in the back yard and brought it to school to see if anyone would take it home. I got suckered in with how cute she was and brought her home for the night. Poor thing was just covered in flea eggs, so I took her to the vet to get her checked out. She’s been with us ever since. Cackie loves her kitty and has named her Georgie since she’s curious like Curious George.
· Our good friend, Tom, had quintuple bypass surgery a few weeks ago. We were very worried about him and said our share of prayers for him. He did have a few complications, but now he’s doing well and we are soo very thankful.
· Work has been super busy for both Michael & I. He’s been taking more day trips, which has just worn on him even more.
· I’ve been sick with the same sinus infection for weeks. I’ve seen the doctor much more than I would like because the darn thing just doesn’t want to go away! Now the antibiotics that I was taking have given me a rash, lovely!
· A couple of weeks ago, Cackie & I took a weekend trip to visit my Mom & Dad and go to the UT football game in Knoxville. UT whooped up on Arkansas and it was a great game. Cackie liked showing off Mommy’s new car and getting the chance to see her LaoLao, LaoYe and Aunt Caryn.
· School has been absolutely kicking my butt! You’d think that a CPA would do well in an accounting class, right. Well, it’s been quite a struggle for me this semester. Not sure if it’s just a bad book, bad teacher, or the fact that it’s an online class that is making it the hardest.

Wow! All this in less than two months. No wonder I’m tired. Of course there have been CCAA updates and referrals along the way, I’ll try to get those updated as well. I’ll try to get some pictures added in later, too. (we’ve got some really good ones!)

For now….
~Deanna

Oct 9, 2007

Official update from the CCAA


The CCAA came back from vacation and updated their website. It's official, only 5 days.
I have a lot to write, but it will have to wait till later. Till then....

Oct 5, 2007

E-I-E-I, Silly…

Tonight is one of those nights that I would love to remember forever…
I picked Cackie up from school and she was in a great mood. They have been studying the letter “F” for the last two weeks and had their “F” party today, which means that she came home with a bag full of fruit cup, flower stickers, fabric, fruit rollups, funyuns… you get the idea.
She was soo agreeable and after watching the Backyardigans we went into the spare bedroom to hang out on the bed and play. I rested, or tried to, while she covered the both of us in stickers! Michael came home and couldn’t believe how quite the house was, lol! Cackie and I were having a great time!
Then we went out to dinner for sushi! Yum! They gave Cackie some kids chop sticks and she had fun picking up her rice and chicken, she’s getting the hang of it. The whole time at dinner she was just too cute, very agreeable and silly. Silly is her favorite word right now. Last week she called her swim teacher “silly, silly” and her gymnastics teacher was “silly girl”. Daddy is regularly called “silly boy”, it seems that I’m the only one without a silly nickname. So, while were eating dinner she starts singing “E-I-E-I…. silly” (to the tune of Old Mac Donald).
Cackie kept asking for ice cream… Most toddlers know where McDonald’s is and some parents can’t drive by without their kids freaking out. My girl, she knows where Baskin Robbins is and asks for ice cream every time we drive by. Well, the Japanese restaurant is across the street from Baskin Robbins so she kept insisting on ice cream. The restaurant has an awesome cheesecake tempura with vanilla ice cream, so we ordered it and told her that ice cream was coming (yes, Aunt Caryn, we cheated on you…)
I don’t think Cackie took a breath until all the ice cream on the plate was gone! It didn’t take very long at all!
Then, before we knew it we were home, she got ready for bed and just now we turned out the light.
It was a really good night tonight, the kind that will leave Michael & I smiling until we head to bed ourselves….

Oct 2, 2007

Referrals!

Well, another batch of referrals arrived today. We don't know the official cutoff from the CCAA because they are celebrating the Chinese National Holiday and are on vacation. But from what has been gathered on Rumor Queen the referrals go through November 30, 2005.

FIVE DAYS! That is all! I'm starting to get sick over this wait! I am sooo absolutely thrilled for all the families who are seeing their sweet child's face for the first time, but at the same time I'm absolutly depressed about how long things are taking!

I'm such a geek that I put together a whole spreadsheet to track the referral progress and estimate how long till we get our referral. So, here's what I've calculated...

The CCAA has referred 37 LID since we were logged in on 3/29/07.

Over the last 12 months they have averaged referrals for 9.42 LID per month.

At this current rate of 9.42 LID per month, we should expect our referral in late December 2011!

That sucks!
We "celebrated" our 6 month LID anniversary last Saturday, but we don't feel like it's much progress at all. Can you tell that I'm real down about this?

We did actually do a little something to sort of celebrate... We finally sat down and finished off the medical checklist and submitted it to CCAI. This means that we have identified a few special needs that we feel we can handle and we've asked them to match us if and when a waiting child's file is sent to them that meets what we can handle. We're still in the NSN (non-special needs) line, hoping that referrals speed up. But, if there is a child who has special needs that we can realistically handle, this gives God the opportunity to match us with the child that is meant for us.

Now, all we can do is wait.


Last month I posted a picture of 3 jars with glass stones and promised to give details later. Well, those stones each represent a LID ahead of us in the wait. The jar on the far left has 365 stones in it with the rest in the middle jar. Each time a batch of referrals comes in, I will take stones from the middle jar and move them to the jar on the right. By my calculation, there should soon be 37 stones in the jar on the right. I'll wait to move them until the official update comes from the CCAA. Then I'll take pictures and add them.

This is just a visual representation that helps Michael & I to "feel" the progress that is being made. If things keep up at this pace, there may come a point where we need to make a decision. This is a decision that we don't want to think about right now, but that we need to be prepared for. I keep praying each night that we will not have to make that decision. If you find it in your heart, please pray for the same.

Catching up

Well, it’s been a while since I updated anything. We’ve been totally busy! If I could just get a computer that can put on “paper” the stuff that I “write" in my head, then I wouldn’t constantly be catching up! (and the content would be much more amusing, too!)

I should be working on the cushions for our camper right now, but the house is sooo quiet that I couldn’t resist sitting down. Cackie just went to bed and Michael is at the football game and I’m sitting here typing and eating my sad little Lean Cuisine.
OK, highlights of September… (not that anyone really cares, but I want to document for when we decide to go down “memory lane” years from now)
The weekend after Labor Day we took Cackie to see her first Broadway show, not on the real Broadway, but close enough for a 3 year old. The Lion King was in town and we knew we had to take her. I was a little worried that she wouldn’t be able to sit still or concentrate, but within seconds of the curtain going up those worries were gone. She was totally amazed by it. The costumes and the puppets are just amazing and they definitely kept her attention. At intermission I thought she was going to have an absolute fit because they stopped. We explained to her that they were taking a break and would be coming back to sing some more. Her response was “and then they are going to come back and sing more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and MORE, and then it will be over!”

This was the second time Michael & I had seen the show, first time was back in January 2005 when we were waiting for Cackie and then we bought the Simba doll to be able to give to her. So, we took the Simba doll with us to the show and figured that we would get her another to add to it. Well, during intermission while Cackie & I went to powder our noses, Michael picked out a Pumbaa doll for her. If you don’t know who Pumbaa is, he’s the farting warthog! Good choice Michael!

We had a fabulous time and the show was awesome. Cackie really enjoyed the theater and we found out that they do a couple of family shows a year that are geared towards kids. I’m hoping that we can fit a couple of those into our schedules and help her grow an appreciation for the theater.

Swim lessons have started back up for Cackie, this time once a week. We are soo happy about this; it’s a great opportunity for her to “zip her lips and open her ears” and have fun, too. She really enjoyed the swim lessons back in July and was excited to start up again, especially since her buddy Hallie is in the class with her. Michael & I think this is so great for her to be involved in and as long as she keeps wanting to go, we’ll keep up the lessons when they are available.

We've also started Cackie in gymnastics lessons! (This is one busy kid!) Back at the end of August when I found out her dance lessons were cancelled I was soo upset, I really wanted her to be involved in a long term activity (swim lessons are only for 6 weeks at a time) both for her physical well being and to help boost her listening/learning skills. So, I checked into the gymnastics program at the gym, hoping they had something open. Sure enough, they called to tell me that the class I wanted was open for her! Wonderful! What I didn’t know at the time was that she’s the only student in the class! Even better, private lessons at the group rate, the day & time that I wanted and she’s having a BLAST! She just had her 3rd lesson and according to her “coach” she’s doing really well. The first week they had her on the balance beam (low) and the mini uneven bars! She was learning to flip herself over while holding onto the lower bar and then was standing on it and swinging on the upper bar! How cool is that? The second week she was learning to hang from the rings and swing out over the “foam pit” to fall into it. That night Michael was with us and all he and I could hear from her was “help, help, help!” Tonight her coach said that she’s listening and paying attention real well for a 3 year old and is progressing in her skills. I am soo thrilled to hear that and I love to talk with Cackie about doing somersaults and jumping on the trampoline on the way home. Besides knowing that Cackie is having a great time, there’s a plus for me as well… the gym area is surrounded by a walking track, so while Cackie is taking lessons I get some free time and have logged 2 miles a week for the past two weeks! Win win for both of us!

Let’s see, what else? Cackie came down with a sinus infection a couple of weeks ago, nothing serious thank goodness. Of course, it’s always easy for her, but when I catch it I’m down for the count. I missed 3 ½ days of work last week with bronchitis and pink eye! Just when I thought I was going to be able to catch up on things at work, too. I went to the Dr. last Thursday and the best news she had was “well, it’s not pneumonia!” Yay for me!
I think I caught the pink eye when we went mattress shopping the week before. (Michael has been complaining about our mattress for a while. After one night out of town in a decent hotel, he came home and proclaimed that we couldn’t get a new mattress fast enough!) I think I must have rubbed the pillow when testing out one of the beds and caught the dreaded pink eye!
So the mattress was delivered on Sunday, I was already feeling run down and by Monday morning I knew I needed to stay home. I managed to work Tues and part of Wed before it was back to bed for me. So, my side of the bed has gotten a nice “breaking in”. Good timing on my part, wasn’t it?

The best part about being confined to bed, much better than feeling like I was hacking up my lungs and dying, was that I was able to catch up on my latest guilty pleasure… 24! I started getting the series from Netflix and had made my way through the first season and just into the second. The disks had been sitting for a while since things were so busy, but now I’m caught up. A new one came in today and I can’t wait to see it! (please, don’t spoil it for me!)

Well, I guess that’s the highlights of our September. Hopefully we will make it through October a little healthier and I’ll have more time to add some Cackie’isms and such.

Sep 12, 2007

The Potty Referee

I have a new title around the house, I have dubbed myself "The Potty Referee".
How does one become a Potty Referee, you ask? Well, there's an extensive 4 year training program, continuing education courses... oh wait, I'm sorry... that's how I became a CPA.
Here's the real story...
Anyone who has been to our house knows that there are 2 restrooms downstairs, the full bath between Cackie's room and the spare bedroom (very convenient for little girls to fill up cups of water, take them in Cackie's room and throw them at each other... oops, sorry that's totally a different story/nightmare) and the half bath/laundry off the area that my Dad has dubbed "the concourse".
Well, here recently Cackie has started referring to the half bath as "Daddy's Potty", we guess because he is sometimes in there when she wakes up in the morning. She has become fascinated with using "Daddy's Potty" and will often opt to go in there over using the one attached to her bathroom. (exciting, huh?)
So, tonight we're trying to get her to go to bed and we ask her one last time to go potty. She got out of her bed and took off before we realized that she was not in her bathroom. Michael called out for her and she yells back "I'm here in your potty, Daddy." I headed toward the half bath to check on her when I hear Michael say "well, I'm going to use your potty then". As he said this, the look on Cackie's face was a cross between "how dare you" and "oh, no, what have I done".
So, my response was... "well, you're using his potty... it's only fair that he uses yours". This was followed by the usual toddler arguing and I feel into the trap of trying to defend my husband using the potty in his daughter's bathroom rather than waiting.
Thus, the title "Potty Referee". I can just see my uniform now. (why is that guy smiling????)When I start hearing "Hey ref, you suck" from the fans in the stands, I shall resign my post.

So, just after I had written this, but before I hit post.....
Cackie has gotten into a habit of calling us back into her room just a few minutes after good night kisses and lights out. We hear her calling on the monitor "Daaaaaddddddyyyyy, come here". Michael responds "Why?" Then, you hear this sweet little voice "because I love you" (this kid has never played fair!)
So, he goes into her room... gives her more kisses... tells her goodnight again... and then I hear (in an irritated voice) "Daddy, you used my potty"
Sorry Cackie, I've already refereed one match tonight... that's my limit!

New Car!

Our car saga is officially over!

On Friday we went out and bought a Honda CR-V that looks like this...

(yes, right now it's pretty much still nice & shiny like that)

I LOVE it! Michael LOVES it and Cackie has a new "big girl" booster seat so she loves it, too. We went to the dealership intending to get the one that we had driven earlier in the week that was green with camel colored cloth interior. Over the week, I had worried that the interior color was too light and would show dirt real easily. We got to the dealership, took one look at the green one and knew that I was right. It already had a little dirt look on one of the door armrests, I could just imagine how bad it would look within a week, let alone a couple of years. So, being the awesome shoppers that we are... I had already checked out the dealer's inventory online and knew that all the other CR-Vs were leather. Within the next few minutes Michael surprised me twice... first he said let's just go for the leather, it will stand up a lot better. Then when we headed toward the red one that I really liked, we noticed it was the souped up version with the Navigator system (I like gadgets, so I thought the navigator would be really cool to have, but it was definitely not a necessity) he surprised me again when he said "let's get this one." That was it, we sealed the deal and got rid of the old car. Hopefully we will have far less problems with the new Honda.

While we were working on paperwork, etc we were trying to keep Cackie busy. This is never an easy thing to do, but we got help from one of the dealership employees. She asked if Cackie could have a balloon and Cackie's eyes lit up. They went off to get the balloon and she came back with the biggest one I have ever seen...

(sorry for the bad photo, it's from my cellphone).

Cackie & I took off on Saturday, running errands and we hit a local craft fair. Poor Michael never even got to drive the car for the first time until Sunday. Now he keeps telling me that he's going to take it when he has to go out of town and make me drive the truck.... Yeah, right!

Sep 11, 2007

Never Forget


How to Remember 9/11

CCAA Update

Here’s the latest update on the CCAA website…

All files through July 2006 have now been reviewed. This means that there are only 7 more months before they get to our LID month of March 2007.

There is much speculation as to why the CCAA has reviewed through July 2006, but has only referred through November 25, 2005. Some question whether this means that they are getting ready to refer bigger batches and need to have the files reviewed and ready to go. Sounds plausible to me.
Most agencies are saying that the review room and the referral room are two separate functions at the CCAA and they operate on their own schedules. This one just doesn’t sound very efficient to me. But, this may be just how the process works.
Only time will tell…

Sep 7, 2007

When I get big...

Most of the "Cackie'isms" lately have come with this clause attached. It usually comes out as "I can do that when I get big" and usually she's referring to something that there is no way that we would ever let her do now, such as driving, drinking alcohol, riding her bike in the street, letting the cat sleep in her room... you get the idea. Hey, at least the kid knows that she has some limits, right?

So, here's a "when I get big" example....
On Monday we went out test driving new cars. If you've purchased a new car anytime in the last 15 years, you know the drill... you peruse the back lot, looking for the vehicle that meets your needs (they always ask you what color you want, like that matters more than $$$), then when you find the ONE, they go back to the office to get the key so that you can then take it for a test drive. So, we found the car we wanted and while we were waiting for the key we checked out some other offerings on the lot. We'd open the door and Cackie would climb in the drivers seat and play driving. (This in itself amazed me. I don't think she has ever been in the drivers seat of either of our vehicles, yet she instictively knew to turn the wheel from side to side and make vroom vroom noises!) She was having a grand ole time and was behaving, so no complaints from us.
The saleman came back to us with the key and we were ready for the test drive. We all headed over to the car we would be driving and Cackie headed straight for the drivers seat, climbed in and said "I want to drive." LOL! Then, the inevitable came when we told her no. "I can drive when I get big..." stinker

So, then yesterday we're driving home from her school and she wants to talk about my sick car (when the car went in the shop we told her it was sick and needed to go to the doctor (now it just needs to be put out of it's misery... can I shoot it?) anyway... we're talking about my car and the conversation goes...
C: "Mommy, when I get big I can drive"
M: Yes, Cackie when you turn 17 you can drive. Just 14 more years.
C: Do I need to wait that long?
M: Yes, Cackie.
C: OK Mommy, When I get big I can drive.
M: Yes, Cackie
C: And you can sit here in my seat!

Great, she's 3 and already planning on how she can get even with me! When she starts driving, I get to sit in the back seat, strapped into the car seat, lucky me! Who knows, if she starts out driving anything like me, I'll be safer that way! Sorry Mom!

Sep 4, 2007

Update

Before I find time to whine & cry about the China wait, (more on the picture later...)I figured I should post an update on how we're doing.

We had a much needed 3 day weekend! We were busy, but at the same time we got nothing done. The Tigers and the Vols both lost on Saturday, boo hoo! We went to the Tigers game and it was a nail biter down to the end. I'll admit, I feel asleep before the end of the Vols game (well, they were losing anyway...).

On Sunday we had the final Redbirds game of the year, they lost as well. As usual Cackie loved it, though!

On Monday we hung out around the house most of the day and then in the late afternoon we went out test driving cars... Yes, we've decided to give up on my car. Michael did a bunch of research and it looks like it's not a matter of if the engine will fail, but when. There is at least one group (probably more) that is working on trying to get the manufacturer to acknowledge the problem and/or put together a class action lawsuit. We read comment after comment where the manufacturer ignores requests and we are just too busy to spent hours a week trying to negotiate with them.

Michael checked a few things on my car (the one actually sitting in the driveway) this weekend and barely 2k miles since the last oil change and it's low on oil. Has the oil light ever come on? No, according to the dealer it was extremely low on oil once.... but not low enough for the light to come one... bull crap!

So, we've decided to cut bait and fish elsewhere... for the non-southerners (maybe I have a few non-southern readers... I did spend half my life as a Yankee) that means change your approach. That means Consumer Reports, here we come! We started reasearching every CR recommended vehicle out there. Yesterday we went and drove 3 of them. Good ole standbys... Honda & Ford. I think right now we're both leaning toward a CR-V. And after doing some more research tonight we may now be ready to head to the dealer to negotiate. We shall see where this drama leads us...
My depressing news of last week (more depressing than the fact that I'm going to have a car note again) is that the dance lesson that I had Cackie signed up for was cancelled. I'm really pissed and now have to find time to drive to the 'burbs to return $75 worth of ballet crap. Geez!

Oh, and we had the boys "fixed" last week. Well, sort of... did you know that they now do vasectomies on dogs? (And I always told Michael he was special...) I wanted to see them with a fresh new look ;-) , but the dang things are still there! Ninety percent of our reason for having them "fixed" was to help with behavior issues most likely related to hormones. Well, the issues are still there because the hormones are still there! We did save $$$ at least, but I had no idea that I should ask if they lopped the boogers off or they just did a little snip! Oh well, live and learn!

Well, it's late and I've accomplished nill tonight so I think I'll go to bed and read some Harry Potter.

Here's some great photos from this weekend...

Apparently laundry baskets can be used for things other than laundry (looks like more fun that way, too)...



She's started loading up her backpack with all her favorite items and wears it around the house (anyone notice that I picked out her outfits these two days... Vols then Phillies...)


Tonight sitting with Daddy watching the US Open (secretly planning how she'll be playing there in about 15 years (OK, so Daddy is secretly planning))....

Referrals!

I'm trying to stay upbeat here, but this really SUCKS!!
Four Days... that's all the LID that received referrals! Four Days!
I really need to write out my feelings about this, but I just don't have the time right now. For now I'll say that I'm extremely happy for the families who are seeing their sweet babies faces for the first time, but I'm very sad for all of us who are waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting....
More later...

Aug 29, 2007

High Five!




Well, we're now officially 5 months into the wait. Cackie celebrated today by giving us the high five!

Congrats to our friend Kim on her 5 month LID-aversary today as well.

Five months have really flown, we really can't believe that we've already been waiting 5 months. Hopefully the rest of our wait will fly just as quickly.

I've been meaning to post an update, life has just been busy. I had 3 weeks off of school and took full advantage of the time off. I even took two days off of work to work on "stuff" around the house. Good news is that we almost have the camper ready! I have some curtains to sew and cushion covers for the kitchen area (Kim, don't run... I may be calling you for help/advice!) But that's just cosmetic stuff, in reality we have some cleaning and then we'll be ready to roll. I spent a whole day working on cleaning out stuff around the house, it was cleansing both mentally and physically!

Work for both Michael & I has been pretty hectic and it doesn't seem to be dying down. Now, on top of my increasing work schedule I started back with a new class this week. Hopefully it will be less hectic this time since the semester is longer than in the summer. I'm taking an accounting class this semester, so it should be easier for me, lol! Hopefully I'll remember some of what I studied for the CPA! :::fingers crossed::::

We've been dealing with crap from the PIA (pain in the @$$) loser step son. He's trying to get whatever he can out of us, not much lately, telling MAJOR lies, etc... we're pretty much just plain tired of his crap. He started a new job today. Prayers that he keeps it and stays reasonably sober are much appreciated! It's a LOOOONNNNGGG story... one that has been going on for the whole 11 years that Michael & I have been together. It wears us out and get's really old.

Then, on top of all the other stuff that we've been dealing with, my car is in the shop again for the 2nd time in 2 weeks. It looks like a bad engine issue that is a common problem with that model year car. I don't drive a lot at all... we've had the car 5 yrs 9 mos and it has about 48k miles, so a major engine issue should NOT be a problem! We're going to contact the manufacturer to see what we can do, but after reading stuff on the internet we're not hopeful. GRRRR! This really SUCKS!!!

When it rains it pours!

Two positives right now... we've got 5 months of wait behind us and football season starts this weekend! Go Tigers! Go Vols! I can't wait to celebrate football this weekend!

Aug 10, 2007

Making changes

I've been busy making changes to the blog.... what'cha think?
I've been wanting a ladybug theme for a long time, but they are few & far between. I liked this one, but really wish it was a three column. Any easy ways to convert one? I'm not that good with this stuff!
I still have some of my old page elements to add and hopefully I'll get to those this weekend. I'm also hoping to sit down and add some new pictures as well.

So, let me know what you think! Any ideas on how to convert this to 3 column?

August 3 Referrals


Well, I updated the ticker last week, but Blogger was giving me trouble so I never got to post the official news from the CCAA. They are now thru 11/21/05, ugh! Still 493 dates before our LID of 3/29/07. Hopefully we won't miss Cackie's high school graduation due to the fact that we're in China adopting Mei Mei....

Aug 1, 2007

St. Jude Runners


Just got back to my desk from watching the St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Runners take off on their annual run. This is the 26th year that they have run the 465 miles from Memphis to Peoria. Mike in my area at work runs each year so we got a group together to go and cheer them on.

Just wanted to post this real quick while I was thinking about it. I should be back with full updates real soon. Tonight I will take my final exam for the summer semester and then I'll have some free time until classes start again on Aug 27. I'll be back to share pictures from our trip to Chicago, Cackie's 3rd birthday & birthday party, and hopefully we'll have some referral news coming real soon, too. I'm also hoping to find some time to pretty up my blog.
Until then watch for a news story on the St. Jude Runners, last year NBC Nightly News did a story on them on Friday evening. They'll arrive in Peoria on Saturday evening, so keep them in your prayers!
~Deanna

Jul 6, 2007

To properly record the progress...

Official news from the CCAA website...

A Whole Month!!??

Oh my! Has it really been a whole month since I've posted?
Suffice it to say that things have been extremely busy around here. Here's a recap of the last month, sans pictures (they'll come later, promise!)...

My sister came to visit for a week in anticipation of her friend Jennifer's son being born. Cackie loved having Aunt Caryn around for a whole week (she's still looking for Aunt Caryn to be in the spare bedroom every morning). I was sick most of that week and even spent two days at home recovering, but still ended up working my butt off from home all weekend.
Work started picking up for me in anticipation of our June 30 year end and now I'm "knee deep" in it, just a couple more weeks and that should slow down. Michael's work has been picking up, too and keeping him busy. Last week we went to Chicago for 5 days to have a couple days of vacation and then spent a couple of days with 3 of the families from our first travel group. We had such a GREAT time! It was wonderful to see all the girls again.
This week is midterms for me and I'm a little behind on my reading. Trying to catch up today & tomorrow so that I can take my exam on Sunday.

That's about it. I've updated the top ticker. The CCAA has announced on their website that they've sent referrals for all LID through 11/14/05. The wait is getting quite depressing for us. We celebrated our 3 month LID-aversary last week in Chicago, but we're really starting to feel like there is no end in sight. Just keep saying prayers....

Jun 6, 2007

Funnies....

Been blogging up a storm tonight! I'll leave you with this....
Cackie is definitely growing up and starting to notice that not everyone is alike... especially Mommy & Daddy.
Since the weather has gotten warmer and we're busier in the evenings, instead of taking baths at night she has started taking showers with me in the morning. She really used to hate showers, but now she looks forward to them... and she loves to SING in the shower!
So, poor thing, she knows all about what Mommy looks like. Well, this morning she took a shower with me and then was in the bathroom with us when Michael got out of the shower (we're trying to be open with her, so we don't hide our bodies... we don't strut around, either... just natural). He was drying off and she pointed and said you have a.... (didn't finish the sentence, lol). So, Michael said, yes Daddy is different than you and Mommy.... my wee wee is different. Cackie stared a little and then told him... "mine hasn't grown yet... not Mommy either" (and it never will, darling!). It's really hard to keep a straight face when she gets thoughtful!

OK, another....
Last week she started transitioning to the "big kids class" at school. There are a handfull of her friends who had already transitioned to that class and she has missed them soo much. So, I think she was glad to be joining them again. Well, on Wednesday when I went to pick her up we got called into the director's office. I was informed that one of the little boys in the new class (one of her old buds) was holding Cackie's hand on the playground when another little boy got very upset and pushed him away and then grabbed Cackie's hand and ran off with her. Little boy #1 got hurt and they had to fill out an accident report. I was able to figure out which little boys were involved, but I'll keep their names secret to protect the innocent... but, I'll say that both are considered highly for future boyfriends by Mom & Dad! She's only 2 and they're already fighting over her! She's definitely her Aunt Caryn's niece! Michael is going gun shopping this weekend, figures he can't be prepared too early! LOL! We are soooo in trouble!

You know you communicate by email too much when...

You recieve something via inter-office mail and it has a sticky note on it with a question. You want to respond to the question, so you start to write your answer on the sticky figuring the sender will get it.
This really happened yesterday!
This is my life folks, ain't it great???!!!!!!
Either I'm going nuts or I need a vacation... maybe both?

Pictures from the zoo...

Our new baby giraffe...

Isn't he cute???



Pictures from Sunset symphony...

Finally! I was able to upload pictures...



This is one of my all time favorites!

Yes, there is a smudge on the lens....

Help is on the way! (hopefully)

Well, I ready to admit it... I can't do it all! I am absolutely worn out! Work, Cackie, laundry, cleaning the house, trying to have a life... and now school have me worn out.
So, tomorrow I have someone coming over to clean the house. If it works out we'll set up a regular schedule for her to come by and clean. If it doesn't work out, I'll be looking for someone else to do the job. It's just too much for me! I either spend my whole weekend worrying about vacuuming & dusting or I ditch it all and then feel guilty for living in a pig pen. Michael is totally on board with me... that means one of two things.... He's tired of hearing me complain that we're living in a pig pen, or the house has really gotten bad! I think it's a combination of the two. He also wants me to be able to relax and enjoy time with Cackie, just as he wants to. So, we'll try out this person and see how well they do. If not, I have someone on reserve.
Hopefully it will help my stress level immensely!

Ladybug Alert!

OK, so it may not be the best news, but here's what came out of the CCAA today...
This represents 6 days worth of Log in Dates receiving referrals. Sad for CCAI families... they had no LID from 11/2/05 thru 11/7/05, so they're still waiting. I've updated the ticker to represent the current wait.

Jun 5, 2007

Grad School via the Web

I'm now officially a student at Tennessee Tech! Last Tuesday I registered for classes and ordered my books and class started on Wednesday. I'm taking Organizational Leadership and I think I'm going to like the course. We've already had some reading to do and when I finally received my course DVDs on Saturday, I had some video classes to watch. It worked out really well... I filled up Cackie's new pool on Saturday morning and after her nap while she played in the pool, I sat beside her with my new laptop watching my videos and reading. I have a feeling we'll be doing quite a bit of that this summer.
I have a lot of reading to do for class, so that will be a little bit of a struggle to keep up. Not sure if I'll be able to handle a courseload of 2 classes at one time. I'll just have to see what classes are available each semester and what life is like at that time. The way I figure it, one class is better than none!

Two

Two was a lucky number for us last week. On Tuesday we celebrated the two month anniversary of our log in date for Mei Mei. No news yet on the next batch of referrals, but we're another month into the wait.

Then on Wednesday we celebrated our two year anniversary of Cackie's "Gotcha Day". We both had busy days at work, but even though we were running late getting home we took Cackie out to dinner to celebrate. We gave her a Chinese drum with a monkey on it as a celebration gift. This was one of the gifts that we bought while in China and it has a monkey because she was born in 2004, the Year of the Monkey.

We went to PF Chang's for dinner and although Cackie enjoyed her chicken fried rice, she really enjoyed sneaking the broccoli from Michael's broccoli chicken! She has really developed a love of broccoli! We regularly hear "more broccoli please" from her, definitely not what I thought I'd be hearing from her at age 2!

After dinner the 3 of us shared a "Great Wall of Chocolate" . It was sooo bad for us, but sooo good! When we got home I had to whip out the Shout to spray down the entire front of Cackie's dress.