Mar 30, 2008

Hi Owen!

video

I've been trying to post this for a week! Finally it worked!

Last Saturday we pulled out the video camera and were talking to Cackie about Owen. Here's some of our conversation...

Mar 29, 2008

What a Week!

Just a warning... this is going to be a long one!

So, last Saturday my sister was here and we took advantage of the opportunity to go and do the major shopping needed for our trip. We stripped the OTC medicine department of Walmart! I think we got just about everything we needed. We got a couple of other things, too... care package stuff to send to Owen and some clothes we needed for the trip. After that we headed to Target to pick up some other stuff... more clothes, a few things we couldn't get before. After that we were almost beat and headed out for some lunch. Nice juicy cheeseburgers revived us and we headed to Costco to get some other stuff. After that the car was full and we had to head home!
On Sunday we went to church and then had a wonderful brunch at the U of M Holiday Inn. We were stuffed and could barely stay awake to watch the UT game that was in progress when we got home. I did a bunch of knitting on Owen's blanket during the UT & Memphis games, which was great.
Monday was soo busy at work that I almost forgot that I was waiting on a call from CCAI! But, by Tuesday I was super anxious for them to call and was sooo glad to find out that our Gotcha Day will be May 5th!
From that point on I started working furiously on trying to get us booked on the "perfect" flights to China. On Friday I finally heard back from the "alternate" travel agency and they had really good flights for us.
At one point I had been trying to use our AmEx points to get a better deal on flights, but on Friday afternoon the return flights that we wanted started to disappear! So, we ended up booking the flights that we wanted with the travel agent and we'll use our AmEx points to get discounts on our Beijing hotel.
So, from Tuesday on we were preparing all we could do to get get ready to leave on 4/29.
Oh, OK, we had to watch UT get whooped on Thursday night!
On Friday we took Cackie to Michael's Mom's and then headed to the Honda dealer to buy 2 company cars for him. (The gas savings alone will be a HUGE help!) Then we went out to dinner and watched the Tigers on to the ELITE EIGHT!
On Saturday we got a bunch of painting done in the new kids room. Michael was able to get the ceiling patched and painted and then he was able to get the accent wall painted with the base coat. I worked on the dressers that needed to be painted and basically got all the painting done.
Now we're off to bed.... gotta rest up for tomorrow's work!
I have a bunch of pics to add, I'll just have to add them tomorrow!

Mar 25, 2008

Cinco de Mayo is the Day!

Do the Chinese celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Not sure, but we're gonna find out! May 5th will be Owen's Gotcha Day! YAY!
CCAI is now requesting our consulate appointment for May 13, 14 or 15 and once we have that we can book our flights! They don't anticipate a problem with getting our first request since it's soo far out. So, now the countdown begins! I'm beyond excited right now!

Mar 20, 2008

March Madness!

Well, I've decided that filling out the NCAA tournament bracket is 100 times easier than trying to arrange flights to China!
I finally heard back from CCAI yesterday, they had just received confirmation that the paperwork processing in Tianjin will take 5 days, not the 7 days that they had been told. That's good because it cuts two extra days out of our trip!
So, I started discussing travel dates with them... we already knew that we didn't want to travel at the end of April because of the trade fair in Guangzhou and there's also the issue of the International Labor Day holiday from May 1st thru 4th. We should be able to travel during that time and do our touring in Beijing, but the big question is will the orphanage let us have Gotcha Day on May 5th just after the holiday?
We really don't know the answer to this, so CCAI is going to have their Tianjin rep contact the orphanage to find out. If they say yes, we'll plan on leaving the last week of April and have Gotcha Day on the 5th. If they say no, we'll leave the first week of May and have Gotcha Day on the 12th.
Hopefully I'll hear something tomorrow, but I really expect it to be Monday. Once we get that confirmation we can request our consulate appointment and then start booking our tickets.
In the meantime I've been trying to figure out flight options for us. We got super spoiled on our last trip when we flew Singapore Air, I just don't know if we can fly a United or Northwest. The quality of Singapore Air just blew the US airlines away!
There's the possibility that we can use our AmEx points to get discounted tickets on Cathay Pacific, just need to know dates before I check on availability!

Picture Blog Updated!


I've caught up! I can't believe it!

I try to keep our family picture blog over at http://wallsfamily.blogspot.com/ up to date, but it can be really hard. I've been trying to catch up over the last few weeks and tonight I finally got caught up. Go check it out...

Mar 19, 2008

For all those who have lost in five years of a senseless war. I honor your sacrifice, pray that we change our priorities and bring our troops home.

Mar 17, 2008

Our Little CowGirl

This is the Lil' Angels picture that was done at Cackie's school. Isn't she just the cutest? She's full of herself, too, lol! I just LOVE these Lil' Angels photos. Can't wait for next year's picture!

Blast Off!



As promised, here are finally the pictures of Cackie & Owen's new bathroom. This was my first attempt at stenciling and now I'm hooked! It was really easy to do... I even made the stencils myself! I still have some work to do, one wall needs moons, stars & planets added and most of it needs the accenting of the planets. But, I'm really pleased with how it's coming out. Cackie LOVES it and that makes me feel good!

Mar 16, 2008

Love my new look!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Rebecca! She did an awesome job on my new blog look.
I love it! I'm soo thankful that she was able to work with my 3 column blog. I highly recommend Rebecca if anyone is looking for a blogover!

Mar 13, 2008

Snow

Snow!

As I sit here writing with the front door open enjoying the 60 degree temperature it's hard to think about snow. But, just last Friday it starting snowing here in the early afternoon and before it ended overnight we had about 6 inches piled up.

It was AWESOME! I grew up with snow and I tend to miss it when the weather gets cold. But, one good snow a year would be enough for me. Usually we don't get one good snow, heck... this is the most snow I've seen since I lived in Knoxville and we got 3 feet!

Friday night Michael & I stayed up late watching the snow fall. On Saturday we got bundled up and spent about an hour making a snowman and rolling around in it with Cackie. She thought it was the greatest thing ever and was quite disappointed when the poor snowman fell over and melted on Sunday.

Enjoy the pictures! It's fun looking at them and thinking of how beautiful and fun our snow was.

Travel Approval is Here!

Our TA is here! Whoo hoo!
CCAI is trying to nail down some info about how long it takes to process the paperwork in Tianjin and should have that info early next week.
So, no planning travel dates yet. But, it's coming very soon!!!!

Owen's Finding Ad


Last week we received Owen's finding ad!

For anyone who does not know what a finding ad is, here's the scoop from http://www.research-china.org/...
Since 1999, the orphanages in China are required to run a provincial newspaper advertisement for children that are found and brought to their orphanage. We call them "Finding Ads." These ads contain information about where and when the children were found and which orphanage is caring for them. Originally these were text-only ads, but most provinces now include photographs in their ads. These photographs are usually the earliest available pictures of the children, some from as young as a few weeks old.

I contacted Brian Stuy at http://www.research-china.org/ to see if he could get a copy of Owen's ad. He does not normally have ads from Tianjin, but does have a few and Owen's was one of them.

Here's what the ad says...
On March 4, 2005 a baby boy was found in the passageway of the Test Department o the 3rd Central Hospital, Tianjin City
He was about 4 days old (estimated)
He has a cleft palate and lip
Name now: Wei Jian Hang
We don't know what his name was before he was sent into the institute.

I'm so thankful to have this ad and to see what his cleft looked like before surgery. To us, the cleft doesn't look too bad. Not sure if that means we should be hopeful that his palate is not to bad, or even if the two are related.

Either way, we are very thankful for Brian and his services!

Another Day.... No TA!

This wait for travel approval is starting to get really tough! Even though we likely won't travel until early May, I want to know when we are going!
I spoke with CCAI on Tuesday to do some "pre travel" planning. They are hopeful that TAs will come by the end of this week. That means today or tomorrow. Stay tuned to see if they were right...

Mar 12, 2008

No we haven't fallen off the face of the earth...

I've been soo busy, haven't had much time to be on the computer.
I've got pictures from our wonderful snow last week and a great Lil' Angels portrait of Cackie. I even got pics of the awesome bathroom that is almost finished and Owen's finding ad.
I just need to find some time to sit down and get it all posted.
My blogover is in the works, too. So, stay tuned for beautiful changes and great pics!

Mar 3, 2008

It was just a matter of time...

It seems that since the first of the year kids in Cackie's class have been sick left & right. The flu, strep, pink eye, viruses, etc have been going around. But Cackie has been really healthy all this time.

Last week she started complaining of a headache or two and she started acting up a lot at school. She also started getting VERY emotional about EVERYTHING, the only other times she has been really sick were preceded by behaviour like this, so I worried that it was coming soon.
Sure enough, Saturday she woke up from her nap complaining of a headache and she seemed really warm. We gave her some ibuprofen and she was back to her normal self. Then, at 4:30 am she woke us up and she was SOOOO HOT! She's pretty much had a fever ever since. It's been anywhere from 99.5 to 104.1 depending on where she is in the meds cycle.
Just last week 2 kiddos in her class were diagnosed with strep, so to rule that out I took her to the pediatrician this morning. Good news is that it's not the flu and it's not strep, just a virus.
She's doing pretty well through it all. She still wants to play, just not as long as she usually does. Watching movies helps to keep her sitting still and resting. I don't usually let her watch so much TV, but if it helps her rest that's what she needs right now.

I'm just glad the fever didn't kick in until Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning we had breakfast with Amy & Michael from When Love Takes You In. I met Amy on the CCAI-April 2007 Yahoo Group that I started and when life got super crazy I turned it over to her. She's AWESOME and I was soo glad to meet her and her husband in person! Cackie's friends Glenys & Cassie met us too and it was a great to see them all over breakfast.

After breakfast we met up with a woman who I was buying a double stroller from. To put it lightly, she was just a little kooky, I'm glad our dealings with her are over. So, now we have a double stroller for our trip to China. I have a feeling it's going to come in VERY handy! I cleaned it up real well and washed the seat covers and put it all out on the porch yesterday to dry (it was a gorgeous 70 degress here!) Baby cat took the opportunity to lounge on it most of the afternoon. Cackie thinks it's cool and has already decided that she gets to sit in front and Owen in back.

After that little detour we went to the unpainted furniture store that is going out of business and were lucky enough to get matching chest of drawers for the kids room. Now I really need to finalize paint colors for their room so I can figure out what to paint the furniture.

The rest of the day we didn't do much. I haven't been feeling so great either, so we took it easy.

Yesterday I tagged a bunch of old clothes to sell at the consignment sale next month. I feel like I made some progress on that.

Today we haven't done much again. I'm worried that Michael & I may be coming down with the stomach thing that's going around. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I'm starting to not feel well at all.
Guess that's about it for now. No news on our TA today. Our visa applications will go to the Chinese Consulate tomorrow, just a small delay there with Cackie's application because she's a former Chinese citizen.
I'm off for medicine duty...