Friday, November 14, 2008

dossier is there...and I'm trying to laugh today

China update: I got a call from our agency on Tuesday to tell us that our dossier was hand delivered to the CCAA Monday. We were a bit disappointed b/c we thought that happened last week. Yet another small delay. It is all adding up. We should have our log in date this week or early next week. We won't find out exactly when the log in date is/was for several weeks. Point is: still waiting.

And I just had to post about our day today. Listen to this....

Right after breakfast, Nathan bombards me with pleas to read a chapter of "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" to him. I do. Anna knows this and runs upstairs to prepare a test for him. Background info for you: Anna has an unusual deep love/fascination/sort of unhealthy obsession with the Narnia books and anything Narnia related. She has basically crowned herself queen of anything Narnia and has loved the fact that Nathan has not been able to read the books or see the movie. But her Narnia-claimed throne has been threatened. Nathan is almost six and I decided that he was old enough to understand the book. So I started reading it to him. The rule in our house is that you can not watch the movie until you have read the book (for movies that are based on books). So he is nearing the time when he can watch THE movie. He only has three more chapters to go in THE book and Anna is nearly boiling over in anger that her brother will now be able to watch HER movie about HER book. Obsession to the fullest.

So, this is what I find the two of them doing a few moments after I finished chapter 14 today.

Anna had made a quiz for Nathan, based on one of her "all about Narnia" books that she has. In this photo, she is informing him that he got 9 out of 18 right. Or, in her mind, 9 wrong. She is telling him he only got 50% right (which she knows is an "F" is real schools and which Nathan thinks sounds quite good because it is a way bigger number than the 9 he just heard). He is super smiley and mostly just thrilled that she is allowing him in her room AND to lay on her bed. She is not so smiley.

Then we rush off to run errands and as I begin to close the door behind me, I notice the dishwasher has bubbles oozing out of it. All out of it. All over the floor. The kids were all buckled in the car waiting for me. I yell for them to come back inside.

And the clean up crew begins...

Do you know how long and nearly impossible it is to pick up bubbles and get them out of a dishwasher? The girls know.

I had asked the girls to start the dishwasher this morning and, apparently, they weren't familiar with the difference between dishwasher detergent and Palmolive. We generally use those nice gel tablets in the dishwasher, but we ran out and I was trying to save $ by using the cheap pour-it-in-yourself-stuff. The girls know how to do the gel tabs, but have never seen me use anything else.
By the time we left (for the second time), we were all starving b/c by now it was lunch time. So we stopped at McD's to eat a cheap and fast lunch (a great way to make you feel sick for the day, which I now do). Then it was off to the County Health Department. The kids and I were all getting flu shots and we could get them there way cheaper than anywhere else. And there is a reason it is cheaper...note to anyone who lives here: Do NOT be tempted to save $ and go there. Uggh. Totally disgusting. I totally feel like I walked out of there having been exposed to way more germs than I would have likely been exposed to all winter long. The flu shot is not going to protect me against the nasty germs I probably picked up there. Over an hour later, we were finally done and I felt like we all needed a hot bath. But I had to stop and get the kids frozen cokes b/c I had promised that to them as a celebration after the shots. Well, one of the celebratory frozen cokes (orange flavored and bright orange colored, I might add) spilled all over the van. Yes. Perfect.

By the time we got home, Kara and I both were feeling not so good. We were the two scaredy-cats of the family and opted for the flu mist instead of the shot. Apparently, it is more likely that you'll have mild flu-like symptoms from the mist vs. the shot. Good thing we have nothing planned this weekend.

All of this and it is only 3:00. And I have a counter full of dirty dishes and a dishwasher that will likely need to run through several cycles to get all of the ever-expanding bubbles out of it.
One day this will be funny. Right? I'm trying really hard to laugh now. It's barely coming out as a tiny smile. Barely. julia.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Take a look at this cutie!!

I woke up this morning to several emails with TONS of photos of Caleb attached! The Craven family offered to deliver a gift to him and the orphanage directors let them personally give it to him! It's been exactly 5 months since the Houstons did the same thing for us. He looks about the same and seems to be just as smiley. One of the things we sent him was a tiny stuffed pillow with a picture of Andy and me on it. That is what he is holding in a few of the pictures (and kissing it and hugging it!!). Here is what the Cravens emailed us about him...

"He is a very interactive, sweet, smiley, and snuggley little will so enjoy him and it appears bonding may not be so least from appearances! He imitated right away in English too!!"

"Julia and Andy....your son is SOOO ADORABLE!!!!! We were at Chengdu CWI today and recieved our son...when we asked if we could see your son and give him your package and take pictures...they just lit up like Christmas trees!! They LOVE him there. The worker said to me "He is very fat or chubby and has a lot of personality, he is a lot of fun!" Then she pointed at another lady and said "he is her favorite!". They brought him in and WHAT A DOLL BABY!! Ohh boy he is so happy and spunky! He just smiled and smiled. We put your package in a ziplock for travel and then decorated it with curly red and gold ribbons last night so he would feel like he was opening a present. When he saw it he just beamed. They told him it was from his Mama and Baba..then he turned to me and said with enthusiasm and a big smile....Mama! Baba!!! He kept saying that as he looked at me and I said Yes!! uh..No! and we opened the package and showed him the pillow and pointed at you and said Mama, Baba! He smiled and looked at you with such a happy face!! He hugged the pillow.....we kept trying to get a good photo but our camera is soooo crumby we missed most of the smiles but got a bunch of photos...I will send them to you a little at a time as it takes so long here!! He is very loved and very well taken care of there. He is a super happy boy and I didnt think he was fat or chubby at all...maybe bc his checks are full. He has a little scrape on one of his cheeks but he looks GREAT otherwise!! He is very loving and went to all the ladies and to me very easily"......

Isn't he so cute?!...even with girly clothes on! I don't know if you could tell from the photos and video we got back in June, but he had his pants on backwards in those. And he had a pink sweater on in the photos we got from the orphanage in April. Poor thing. They either let him dress himself or just don't have enough boy clothes. But despite girl clothes, dirty pants, and a face full of scrapes, we think he's one of the two most adorable little boys in the world! The other being Nathan, of course!
We are just so thrilled that someone we don't even know took such an interest and went out of their way to do such a loving thing for us! God has provided us with just the right people at just the right time to bring us a little closer to Caleb. What an incredible blessing. I am looking forward to being able to do the same thing for another family when we finally get to go to China.
Well, that's it. These are likely the last photos we'll have of him until we see him in person. Our dossier (paperwork) should be logged into China's system by now. We won't know the official log in date for a few weeks/months, I think. But our best guess at this point is that we could be in China around March, maybe April. It keeps getting pushed back and back. There isn't anything we can do. It is all in God's timing and we are fine waiting on that. julia.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Beijing and a little about me

China news first. The family that is taking gifts to Caleb for us is in Beijing right now. They will be in the orphanage on Sunday. You can follow their journey on their blog. We're hoping for some pictures of Caleb!

And a little about me next. I've been "tagged" by Michele AND Trina. Here is what it means:

I used the rules from Trina and the number of items from Michele...(See the cute "tagged" picture above? Please look at it closely, read it, and enjoy it for a minute before you read on b/c I spent entirely too long getting that silly thing on here and I'd hate to think it was all wasted time!!)

1. Rachel Ray has nothing on me. I should have marketed my style of cooking long before she came along and I could have been a bizillionaire like her. I can make dinner in less than 20 minutes, easy. And I can do it all with a kid literally hanging on my leg (or on my hip), while answering a math question, carrying a somewhat meaningful conversation with someone on the phone, and keeping an eye on kids in the backyard.

2. And speaking of food, I can do anything with a pound or two of chicken, pork or hamburger. Problem is I can never re-create it if it is good. One of my recent dishes involved pork, a bottle of toasted sesame asian dressing and some carrots I had in the back of the refrigerator. I put it all in the crockpot and, well, that's it. Mmm. So good. I told my friend Emily about it a while ago and she loved it too. Funny thing is that I totally forgot about it until she mentioned who she had passed the recipe on to. I said, really? And how did I make that? And then what did I do? And I made mashed potatoes with it too? REALLY? And I poured the dressing over the potatoes? That WAS a good idea, wasn't it?!

3. I love systems. Some may call it OCD or type A personality, I just like to think that I enjoy systems. I have a system for everything. And a place for everything. My closet is organized by color, season and type of clothing. Jeans are all hung together (never smashed in a drawer), jackets lined up in color order, long sleeves all together (in color order) etc. It is easy to do and maintain when you have a few things in your wardrobe and that's it. My husband wouldn't say I have "a few" things in my closet. Considering I generally wear all the same colors, it probably looks like I have no clothes. But that black shirt that I seem to wear everyday isn't really ONE black shirt. I have tons of plain black shirts. I like what I like, ok?! And it's all about systems! In theory, it's a great idea. In reality, we have five people who live here, three of whom could care less about my systems. So in the end, my house is just as messy as anyone else's house. But my side of the closet looks GREAT!

4. I am addicted to chapstick. It started with lipstick. I used to put in on everyday no matter what, even if I stayed home all day. That got expensive, I guess, b/c gradually I ended up using just chapstick. I have chapstick all over my house: in the kitchen drawer, in my bathroom, every purse has one, the car, you name it. It's probably there. And I don't use just any old chapstick. It must be Blistex Silk& Shine. I think I need some right now...

5. I don't like movie theaters. They gross me out. I can't stand people chomping on popcorn behind me. I think it is crazy to spend that much $ to see a movie. No movie is that good. Andy loves to go to movies. I forget how much I don't like them and succumb to going once or twice a year. Then I'm reminded how much I hate them. I'd much rather watch a show in the comfort of my own home.

6. Before you think I'm no fun and all uptight, I do have some fun things about me. I play guitar. Well, I used to. If I cut my nails and wanted to live with callouses on my fingers, I could probably play a nice version of Puff the Magic Dragon for you. That was the first song I learned. I played it everyday for hours in my dorm room my freshman year in college. And I could play a dozen or so worship songs from the 1990's. Exciting, I know!

7. I love to listen to music, loudly, in my kitchen while making meals, cleaning up meals, planning meals, and eating meals. Pretty much covers a lot of my day. I have a new love for Playlist. I can get any song I want for free. We just bought speakers for our computer so I can listen to all my playlist music and not have it sound like it's coming from a tin can. I can't sing worth anything, so I just turn up the volume and then I think I sound just like the singer.

8. I love to rearrange furniture. Yep, I've been know to move the piano and everything else not nailed down to the floor all by myself. It is driving me crazy that our couch and loveseat have been in the same place for almost three years now. That is an eternity for me.

9. I have a major addiction to chick-fil-a's sweet tea and chicken tenders. I know the drive-thru workers by name. I'm there every Monday after I grocery shop and generally a few times later in the week. I'm prepping all the kids to get a job there when they're 16 so that I can get a discount or some free tenders&tea!

10. You know what I really want for Christmas? A fancy stainless steel trashcan that automatically opens when you put your hand near it, toothwhitening strips, a bigger crockpot, and a flat iron for my hair (no ironing clothes here, only hair!). True, I am dying for appliances, bleach for my teeth and an anti-fly-away hair iron. Am I totally old and boring or WHAT?! You know what my b-day gift was this year...a toaster oven and a Shark vacuum. Yep, and I was thrilled. Jumping up and down really. And vacuuming my floor on my b-day. Heaven!

If you're interested, you're next...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To China for Owen

Take a look at this sweet new face on my sidebar!

We have been so blessed by the generosity of so many that I just couldn't pass up this opportunity to help someone else out....

I discovered (via my blog-surfing!) a family that is from northern Indiana that is adopting a 2 1/2 year old boy from China. They are expecting to travel to China soon and they still need several thousand dollars to cover the orphanage fee and travel expenses. They are doing a fundraiser on their blog at "". They are asking for donations of only $10.00. Each $10.00 donation enters you into a drawing that has a G-R-E-A-T prize package:

A Canon Rebel XSI "mamarazzi dream package" ($1,500)
A Sony camcorder ($400.00)
A custom watercolor painting by Tisra Fadely Originals ($220.00)
100 custom designed announcements or cards, with envelopes, from Your Little Stinker ($100)
A customized sterling silver bracelet set by Silverpie ($60.00)
A Touch of Stardust pleated handbag ($50)
A necklace from Bel Kai Designs ($40)
A handmade baby bloomers set by Milk Bubbles Studio ($25)

The total prize value represented in this giveaway is over $2,400.00!

So, if you have just $10.00 to donate to their adoption, you could possibly find yourself walking away with a ton of great items. And even if you don't win, you are helping to bring a little boy home into a family.

Also, they are doing a second drawing. The prize is a $250 Kate Spade purse. There is NO FEE to enter this drawing. All that they request is that you add their info to your sidebar on your blog (which I will do if I can figure out how to do it!) or post about their fundraiser. That is what I am doing! So, if any of you get a Kate Spade bag for Christmas, you'll know that I won. He hee. It's more like....if you see ME walking around with a new Kate Spade bag, you'll know I've won!
You can read all about the family, the little boy they are adopting, and the details about the drawing and how to donate your $10.00. There are also photos of all the prizes.

And just so you know, I am NOT one to enter giveaways. Andy is generally the optimist in the family and is the one to do those types of things. I am always grumbling that he shouldn't waste his time (or give out our personal inf0) for things like that. I mean, come on, who REALLY wins those things anyway, right? Well, my friend Angie recently won a $15,000 shopping spree from Pottery Barn. So, now I'm a bit more of a believer in at least trying a few things. And with this giveaway, the only one guaranteed to win is a little boy from China. And I'm all for that! julia.