Feb 29, 2008

We've Received an Update!

Horray! We've received some updated info on Owen! Unfortunately there were no pictures, but we're thrilled to get what we can.

Here's what we know...

He likes to talk, but his speech is not clear.

His favorite toys are toy cars and toy guns.
He is closest to foster parents, older brother and another two kids (Wei Kang Qiao, Wei Kang Dan) from the orphanage.
He is affectionate to his familiar persons.
When told no, he will stop, but will be unhappy.
Giving him toys, have him bathe, changing into new clothes will make him happy. Being criticized will make him upset.

He eats rice, soup, meat, vegetables, steamed bread, drinks boiled water, but he eats slowly.

As of yesterday he weighed 28.7 lbs and was 38.6 inches tall and he is seen as healthy.

I won't know what to do picking up less than 30 lbs! Cackie was 23 lbs at 10 mos! I'm so happy to get measurements on him. Now I have a better idea of what size clothes he will need. We just need that TA now so that we can figure out what season clothing we need to pack!

He sounds a lot like Cackie... likes to talk, affectionate, will be upset if criticized. I know they are going to be two peas in a pod! I can't wait to unite them!

Thinking of Owen Today

Visual Poetry - ImageChef.com

In less than 2 hours it will be March 1 in China. That means our little boy will be turning 3!
I'm sad today thinking that we're not there with him. I pray that he has received the packages that we've sent him and that he's seen our pictures and knows who we are. I pray that he has a loving foster family who will give him big hugs and kisses for his birthday. I pray that he's healthy, safe and happy.

Feb 26, 2008

Quick Update

I just have time for a quick update, but have some news that I wanted to share.

First, last week I had contacted Brian Stuy at www.research-china.org to see if he could get finding ads for Tianjin. His website does not list Tianjin as one of the places that he had ad from, but I went out on a limb to see if he might know of a way to get one. Another Tianjin family contacted him as well and early in the week they found out that he did in fact have their child's ad. So, I was anxiously waiting to see if I would hear back from him.
On Saturday, just before we left the house, I got an email saying that he did in fact have Owen's finding ad! I ordered it immediately and can't wait for it to get here. The picture will be before Owen's lip surgery, so it will be interesting to see the extent of the cleft in his lip.

I also contacted Brian about getting a better copy of Cackie's finding ad. We were given a copy by our guide in China, but it's just a scratchy photo copy and I'm hoping to get a clearer picture for her memory book.

Also, we are sitting on edge waiting for a phone call from our agency. One family received their TA (travel approval) last week and three more received TA yesterday. We're pretty much expecting that it could be any time now that we get our TA! Once we get that we can seriously sit down with the calendar and figure out when we can travel. We have some business obligations in the way and then there are some complications of holidays and trade fairs in China, but our agency won't even discuss it with us until they have that TA in hand.
Even though it will likely be May before we travel, I'm anxious to get that TA and start making plans! Keep your fingers crossed that we have some good news soon.

Last thing....
Back on Feb 4th our agency requested updated information on Owen. We'd really like some new pictures, but just measurements would help us a lot. We still haven't heard anything yet, but I'm still holding out hope that we will hear something. Please think good thoughts that we'll receive something soon.
That's all for now....

Feb 25, 2008

New Address!

Welcome to my new address.
I have a new name, too!
I'll be getting a makeover soon and things will look a lot nicer around here.
Let me know you stopped by!

Feb 24, 2008

The Tigers lost

Well, now we can put that behind us. The Tigers played a tough game, but not tough enough. We thought they might pull it out in the last few minutes, but no such luck. The Vols won by 4 points and will be the new #1 in college basketball tomorrow.
I thought I might be OK with that because I am a Vol fan, but my heart really breaks for the Tigers. I hope they can keep the momentum and still do well, but there seems to be a lot of question as to how others will judge them now.
It's been a pretty gloomy day around here. Michael was really pumped about the game and now he's really let down. Hopefully I won't take a lot of grief at work tomorrow. There are a lot of Tiger fans there who include me as one of them when things are going well. But as soon as something goes bad against Tennessee, I get treated differently.
Oh well!

Feb 23, 2008

The Big Deal on Beale

Today's the day... #1 vs. #2. It's true that I bleed orange (it's genetic, I'm not complaining... but I can't help it). But, today I'm all BLUE! It comes down to this... I want to see Memphis win the national championship more than I want Tennessee to. So, that means pulling for them no ifs ands or buts! (They way I look at it, I really win either way!)

To say we're excited around here is a bit of an understatement! Michael has been wearing blue everyday this week. I did laundry last night and had a whole load of just blue stuff. St. Jude encouraged all employees to wear their colors yesterday and their even broadcasting the game in the auditorium for anyone who has to work tonight!

We got a surprise invite today to go watch the game with friends and now I'm even more excited about tonight. It will be a lot of fun and we can't wait. Good thing they called, too. I was contemplating breaking down and rushing out to buy that new LCD TV we want. Our friends have now saved us a couple hundred bucks!

The paper has been FULL of great articles about the game and ESPN GameDay is here!

So, if you haven't chosen sides yet..... what's wrong with you????!!

On Monday I had Cackie's pediatrician appointment to get her official approval to travel with us to China. She's now weighing in at 40.2 lbs and is 41.25 inches tall! No wonder my back hurts, lol. Anyway after her appointment we went to the Memphis campus to see if we could get a Tiger doll like hers to send to Owen. We were successful and I got his birthday care package off yesterday!
While at the bookstore I was also able to find these matching outfits for Cackie & Owen. We will definitely be taking these with us to China.

That's about it for now. I really need to try and get some painting done in the kids bathroom.

Feb 16, 2008

CDR for Mayor!

OMG! Way to go Tigers! Still UNDEFEATED!

Way to beat UAB!

A local restaurant has "Joey Dorsey for Mayor" on their outdoor sign. I'm putting in my vote for CDR for Mayor!

Feb 14, 2008

Starting to get ready!

Well, it's that time... I need to start getting everything ready for our trip to China. I've got to put together our packing list and start rounding up all the things we need to take. I've gotten some great ideas for packable toys from the different yahoo groups that I'm on and I need to start trying to find some of those now.
I think we're also going to try to get a double stroller for the trip. I had watched one on eBay yesterday and totally got busy doing something else and forgot to bid on it. It didn't sell, so I emailed the seller... hopefully she'll email me back. If that doesn't work out I need to keep checking eBay & Craig's List to come up with one.
I'm also going to try to put together a portable picture dictionary with important things that Owen might need or want. Basic needs like potty, milk, water, sleep, hungry will come in real handy. I want to make it so that I can throw it in the backpack and take it with us wherever we go. Any suggestions for what to include?
I'm also trying to find a good english/chinese picture dictionary, one that has the words in pinyin for us to help understand what he is saying. I've seen a number of them, but don't know which ones are worth buying. If anyone has a picture dictionary that they like, please let me know.
This time I feel more overwhelmed than I did when we travelled to get Cackie. I think it's because she will be there with us, so that's another person's stuff to worry about. But, I also think some of it is due to the fact that Owen is older. Last trip we spent a lot of time in our hotel room because Cackie was taking 2 - 3 naps a day. This time I expect that we'll be looking for parks to take the kids to play at. It will be a lot of fun, but the overwhelmed feeling comes from that unfamiliarity.
OK, so now I'm off to search for pictures!

Happy Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day!

Things worked out great for me today, I didn't have to go to work! I had my two week follow up appointment with my ENT this morning and I had to take a percocet before the appointment, so I took the day off of work. I'm SOOO glad I did!

Michael took me to my appointment and we had planned to go out for lunch afterwards. Unfortunately, on the way home I started to really feel the effects of the percocet, motion sickness, nausea & sleepiness set in. So, I came home crawled in bed and slept off the effects of the pill. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my day, but it was much better than being sick!

The doc says I look good and I can finally blow my nose! YAY! I don't have to go back to see him for another month.

Since Michael was taking me to the doc this morning, I had his valentine present delivered to his office yesterday...

Yes, these are chocolate covered jalapenos! The other night on the news we saw a story about them and he was practically drooling the whole time. So, I scoured the internet and found a place to order them that would ship right away. He had no clue what the package was and was truly surprised!

Here's another pic. They came covered in dark chocolate, milk chocolate & white chocolate. Michael says they're yummy, I'll just have to take his word on that one!

When Cackie & I got home last night there was a surprise package from Aunt Caryn, so we opened it together. She was soo excited to see that Aunt Caryn had sent her kisses and lip gloss, too! Thank you Aunt Caryn.

After opening Aunt Caryn's package I let Cackie open the package that came last week from Uncle Donald.
She was soooo excited to get the stickers, especially since she also recieved a card from her LaoLao & LaoYe with stickers in it. We've been covered in heart stickers ever since!
After dinner we let her have the big chocolate chip cookie that was in the heart tin. She thought that was just the coolest!
Tomorrow night I get to enjoy my Valentine's gift... a massage! Cackie will go over to her MawMaw & Grandad's house and Michael & I will get to have a date night. It's been a while and it should be nice.
We'll need to get a good night's sleep so that we can take advantage of the child free house on Saturday. Michael has gotten all the old flooring up in the bedroom and the new flooring just came in, so he'll be busy with that. Last Sunday I was able to get most of the walls painted in the bathroom, but I need to finish that up and try to get the trim paint completed. Once that's done I can start working on the stencils that I've picked out. I've never stenciled before, so it should be quite an experience, lol!

Feb 13, 2008

Yes Sweetheart

3:30 am this morning...
Michael gets out of bed and goes downstairs. I didn't hear anything (probably because I was sleeping), but I listen carefully. After a few minutes Michael comes back upstairs and gets in bed.
About 2 minutes later, I hear from downstairs.... "DADDDDDYYYYY (in a very bossy, annoyed, 3 year old voice) DADDDDYYYYYYY" Michael jumps up, runs to the top of the stairs saying "yes sweetheart". "DAAAAADDDDDDYYYYY, YOU LEFT MY DOOR OPEN."
Michael runs down the stairs, takes care of the problem and comes back upstairs.
(At this point, I don't think he knows that I'm awake. But, I couldn't resist the opportunity to point out how "wrapped" he is).

As Michael is walking back in the room I say, "you never call me sweetheart when I'm bossing you around". I think I got some silly comment back in response.

Apparently Cackie had fallen out of bed, so Michael had to go down and help her. She was calling for me, but I didn't hear her (gotta get that baby monitor turned up), so Daddy ran to her rescue (and let me sleep, too!). Good Daddy!

Fast forward to 7:30 am...
Michael & I are upstairs finishing getting ready for the day and Cackie is downstairs eating her breakfast and watching cartoons.
We hear from downstairs... "DADDDDDYYYYY (in a very bossy, annoyed, 3 year old voice) DADDDDYYYYYYY". Michael turns to me and says "am I being summoned?".

"Yes, I believe you are.... and the proper response to her is "yes sweetheart".

Feb 7, 2008

Uploaded by ludo

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Happy New Year!
The new year is 4705, the year of the Earth Rat.
I'm a rat! So, according to chinese legend, this should be a lucky year for me! My chinese friend at work tells me that I should wear lots of red this year. Wore red today, in fact!
Here are the attributes of a rat according to Wikipedia.
Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiacs, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat's natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust.
Behind the smiles and charm, rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling, insisting on having things their way no matter what the cost. These people tend to have immense control of their emotions, which they may use as a tool to manipulate and exploit others, both emotionally and mentally. Rats are masters of mind games and can be very dangerous, calculative and downright cruel if the need arises. Quick-tempered and aggressive, they will not think twice about exacting revenge on those that hurt them in any way. Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection.
Rats consider others before themselves, at least sometimes, and avoid forcing their ideas onto others. Rats are fair in their dealings and expect the same from others in return, and can be deeply affronted if they feel they have been deceived or that their trust has been abused. Sometimes they set their targets too high, whether in relation to their friends or in their career. But as the years pass, they will become more idealistic and tolerant. If they can develop their sense of self and realize it leaves room for others in their life as well, Rats can find true happiness.
According to tradition, Rats often carry heavy karma and at some point in life may face an identity crisis or some kind of feeling of guilt. Rats are said to often have to work very long and hard for everything they may earn or have in life. However, a Rat born during the day is said to have things a bit easier than those who are born at night. Traditionally, Rats born during the night may face extreme hardships and suffering throughout life. Rats in general should guard themselves against hedonism, as it may lead to self-destruction. Gambling, alcohol and drugs tend to be great temptations to Rat natives.
Traditionally, Rats should avoid Horses, but they can usually find their best friends and love interests in Monkeys, Dragons, and Oxen.
Professions include espionage, psychiatry, psychology, writing, politics, law, engineering, accounting, detective work, acting, and pathology.

China has bad weather, too.

If you've been keeping up with the news, you already know that China has been hit by numerous bad winter storms. Areas which are not used to seeing snow are getting lots of snow and ice and it has hampered their ability to move supplies and provide power.
The children in the orphanages are cold, hungry and in need of basic supplies.
Please consider donating to Half the Sky. They are distributing funds to needy orphanages to help keep the children safe and healthy.

We are soo lucky!

The tornadoes the other night came pretty close to us. We all feel incredibly lucky and thankful that we are together, healthy and safe.
Our prayers go out to all the families affected by the storms.

Here's a link to some local pictures on one of our news channels.
All we can say is that we are lucky!

Feb 5, 2008

Sobering Moments

This is what we faced within the last hour. This pic doesn't really do it justice, but it was the best I could get.
As I write the tornado sirens are still going off, but I assure you we are safe.

I experienced one of the most sobering moments when I walked into Cackie's school today to pick her up. As I was on my way there, the sirens started going off because of tornado warnings to the south of us. When I got to the school, I found all the kids and their teachers in the closets of the classrooms. It hit me suddenly how different these emergencies are now that we have Cackie in our lives.
Cackie and I quickly left the school and got home just before the big downpour of rain hit the area. Michael got home a few minutes later and got drenched just running from his truck to the porch. In the meantime I was running around the house, gathering candles... searching for the flashlight and cranking the weather radio (of course, there were no batteries in it!). I had Cackie in the hall closet because at that time the news weather forcasters were calling for a big cell to come right over our house. When Michael got here, he manned the upstairs while Cackie, the dogs and I headed to the basement. We were down there nearly 45 minutes listening to the radio and hearing reports of tornadoes and damage just 10 - 15 miles from our house. Cackie of course, didn't really understand it all but she was soo well behaved. I'm so proud of my big girl!
After we came upstairs we got calls from friends and it was a sobering feeling knowing that others are worried about us as much as we were about them.
We left our little setup in the basement just in case... there's a line of storms coming from the west and we'd much rather be safe than sorry.
Stay safe everyone!

Feb 4, 2008


Whoo hoo! Owen, we're getting closer to you sweetie!
Today we got an awesome surprise when I got an email from our agency saying that we were not only through the match room, but that they had our Letter of Acceptance in hand!
The letter will be here tomorrow and we need to sign it and send it back ASAP. The CCAA is closed a week for Chinese New Year starting on the 6th, so our completed LOA will be waiting for them when they return from their holiday.
Our agency anticipates that we'll have our TA (travel approval) two to three weeks after the CCAA gets back from their holiday.

So, this evening I've been posting a whole bunch of stuff on eBay trying to clean out stuff and make a little extra money to help send Aunt Caryn to China. Right now I'm downloading our next travel packet from our agency with info about preparing for travel and sending off for our visas.
Tomorrow night I'm going to make Michael sit down and detail his working schedules so that I have an idea of when I can tell our agency that we can travel. We're hoping for mid to late April, keep your fingers crossed!
We're so excited about this news! I've updated my work about the upcoming changes and I spoke with the director of our daycare about getting Owen in classes when we come home. I did go into work a little today and I'm glad I did. Until we leave I need to be training one of the staff accountants to fill in for me while I'm out and the sooner we start the better.
We've also started talking with Cackie about our upcoming travel and the changes that will happen when Owen joins our family. We did a lot of that before my surgery and I think it really helped her to handle it well, so all the prepping we can do should help a lot.

The weather here is TOTALLY crazy! It's 9:30 pm and it's 65 degrees outside and the humidity is aweful. We have the front door open to get some fresh air! We're supposed to get some really strong storms tomorrow, so we'll be going to vote early and hopefully we will avoid any bad weather when we go to Cackie's gymnastic lesson tomorrow night.
I guess that's about it for now. Great news today! We are sooo excited!

Feb 3, 2008

Let the Demolition Begin!

Bwah hahahaha!
Most people would get upset hearing splintering wood and loud banging on just the other side of their living room. But, not me! To me it means progress!
Michael got down and tore out the bedroom carpet today to assess the condition of the floor beneath. He came to what we've been figuring all along... the old floor needs to be ripped out. So he started in on the demolition of the old hardwood. YAY!
He got as much done as he could in a short time. It's a lot more tiring than he remembers, lol!
This evening we had a "picnic" on the living room floor while watching the Super Bowl. It was great and Cackie had a blast. She was so wound up, I didn't think she was ever going to fall asleep.
For me, it was nice to get in one more afternoon nap. Hopefully I'll get one tomorrow after I do a few hours at the office. (fingers crossed) My big news is that I sneezed for the first time since my surgery. Actually I sneezed lots of times. I can't blow my nose, so it was difficult making myself stop. It hurt a little, but not as much as I had worried that it did. I just wish I could blow my nose!
OK, the super bowl is over and I'm off to bed. Hopefully I can load these pictures tonight, but if Blogger keeps giving me fits I'll try tomorrow.

Feb 2, 2008

Making Progress

We had a pretty relaxing day today, but we still got quite a bit accomplished.
My parents left just before lunch. It was great having them here, Cackie really enjoyed it and they were very helpful in keeping things "normal" this week. But, they needed to get back home and we needed to start getting back into our routine. Before they left, Michael ran out to take care of some errands and he ordered the hardwood floor for the kids room. It will be in this week and hopefully soon he can get fully started on that.
After naps (mine & Cackie's) we went to Ashley Furniture to buy bunk beds for the kids. They are running a promotion where all our furniture will be free if the Memphis Tigers win the NCAA championship. Since we needed the beds anyway we figured it was worth it to go ahead and buy them now. So, GO TIGERS! It sure would be great to get some free furniture!
After getting home we ordered out sushi for dinner and just finished. I think we'll chill the rest of the evening and enjoy some time together.
We've been thinking of Owen a lot lately. No new info on him, but we just can't wait to have him here! We're all starting to get anxious about bringing him home.
I'm still recovering from my surgery. I seem to get better each day, but it is soo nice to be able to nap and relax. I'm definitely going to miss the naps when I go back to work!

Feb 1, 2008

I survived!

Well, I survived my sinus surgery on Tuesday. Don't remember much after the surgery, just came home crashed in the chair and then I was ushered upstairs before Cackie came home from school. I crashed after that, practically didn't move all night!
Wednesday I went back to the doctor and was told that I could remove the "mustache" bandage. Thank goodness! The doc says I look good and he won't need to see me for two weeks.
The worst part now is that I can't blow my nose! I really, really wish I could, but I'm sure it would hurt like heck if I did.
Really, you couldn't look at me and tell that I just had surgery. There are more signs of the surgery on my left hand from the IV than you can tell from my face. I feel like I'm getting better, basically recovering from a really bad sinus infection. My nose does hurt, just putting on chapstick hurts when I rub my lips together. And, this afternoon when I took my shower I discovered that washing my face is not quite as easy as it was before. I've got to be real careful about touching my face for a while.
I've enjoyed my time off relaxing. I've done some work on the computer and I've made some good progress on Owen's blanket. But, the rest has been the best part and just what I needed.
I'm thinking I'll go into the office on Monday for a few hours, then maybe take a nap before I have to pick Cackie up from school.
OK, Cackie is headed to bed and I'm going to do some more knitting. Tomorrow we've got quite a few things planned and I need to be well rested!