Sunday, January 31, 2010


This has been quite a busy, fun weekend. For starters, I held my first ever Scrap Mania here at my house. It really wasn't a big deal, just a few friends and their scrappin supplies. We usually go to a local scrapbook store and do the 6 hour mania, but I just wasn't feelin it this weekend so instead I had everyone here. I just started scrap booking last summer and really enjoy it. The only problem is I have so many pictures, I get overwhelmed at times. I don't really have a method to my madness, I pretty much just go with the flow. The ladies I scrapbook with are SO much fun. Sometimes we are productive, and sometimes we spend more time talking and laughing. I had sort of a scrap block Saturday and didn't really get much done, but the other ladies got a few pages each done as well as some birthday party decorations.

Friday morning I was contacted by e-mail from Adeye. She is the sweetest lady and has the biggest hear for orphans. She and her husband have adopted two beautiful little girls from China and are currently in the process of adopting two sweet little girls from Europe that both have Downs Syndrome. Anyway, she was having some technical issues with her blog and wanted to know if I would take a look at it. I am by no means computer savvy, but I thought I could at least look at it. After about an hour of "playing" with it I threw in the towel. I e-mailed Adye back and asked her if I could not only change her template, but give her blog a new look. I was pretty excited when she said "yes!" So, I spent Saturday night and most of Sunday afternoon working on her blog and I have to say that I LOVE it! It turned out so pretty. And the best part is, is that Adeye loves it too. So, pop on over and check out Adeye's new look. Oh, I should probably mention that they are really close to traveling (April) and like so many of us are a bit short on funds. So, maybe instead of driving through Starbucks, or McD's this week, you could take that money and donate it to a family that is trying to make a difference in the lives of two of God's children, Hailee and Harper.

If you like Adeye's blog and want a blog makeover of your own, let me know because I am doing blog makeovers to help us bring Drew home. I have also made over Tara's blog, Lori's blog, as well as my own.

Okay, now I am off to work on some much needed homework.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday & Black and White Wednesday

~Wordless Wednesday

ebay 026

~Black and White Wednesday

Once again I have decided to partake in Lisa's Black and White Wednesday. To learn more about Black and White Wednesdays, go here.
This is not the best picture, but I simply wanted to capture a moment between a boy and his dog. Oh, and I should mention that yes, that is Sadie. It was once again time for her semi-annual haircut. Anyway, since Sadie got her haircut, she thinks she has free reign over the furniture. I am not sure why she all of a sudden feels like she can lay around on the couches and beds (last night we caught her in Emma's bed). Sadie will be 4 in February (she and Mylee share the exact same birthday down to the year) and she has NEVER been allowed on the furniture. What is going on? I am starting to think that when I not home the kids (and quite possibly Matt as well) are coercing her up on the couches and beds with them. In fact, this evening I caught Emma making a bed for Sadie in her bed. When I went in to check on Emma she and Sadie were in a deep sleep and Emma had even taken the time to make sure Sadie was tucked in. (picture above)

I am really thinking alot of it has to do with the fact that Sadie is almost bald (BTW, in an effort to save some money, Matt was Sadie's groomer this time). I know for a fact that Sadie is more comfortable with shorter hair (maybe not quite this short) and I know the kids like her much better with shorter hair. Because she is an Old English Sheep dog if she isn't brushed constantly she will matt, and that is NOT a pretty sight. So, I think that the kids just enjoy her more now that she has less hair.

Anyway, whatever the reason as much as I hate seeing her on the furniture, I do love seeing her cuddled up next to the kids." title="ebay 024 by mmyag, on Flickr">ebay 024

And for those of you who don't know what Sadie looks like before her haircuts...

Our Knight in Shining Armor

Just in case anyone is having a problem with dragons, Drew has been practicing his dragon slaying technique.

This morning I awakened to s very pleasant surprise on New Day's Blog. This little guy is going to fit in so well with our family. I can only imagine the "trouble" he and Gabe will get in to together. Matt just laughs every time he thinks about it and says with a smile from ear to ear, "I can't wait."

To see out Knight in action please go here.

Oh and I have been listing several auctions on EBAY for those that want to go check them out go here. I still have several more items to put on so be sure to check back often.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Drew's January Update

We are so blessed. This is the monthly update for January. I love getting these, they are so special and have definitely made the wait a little easier. However, as much as I love them I am hoping we only get one or two more. Why you ask? Well, because that will mean that we have our TA and are on our way to bring home out son.

We are only on day 12 of the TA wait, but that is 12 more days closer to bringing him home. Can you tell I am getting excited?

Dear Friends,

We hope this note finds you doing well, and that you enjoy reading this month's update.

Drew is 3 Years 10 Months Old.

Drew’s foster mother wrote this update:

Drew is such a smart child; he will say the cutest things. One afternoon he told me, “The rice you cooked was so tasty, and so was the fish. Thank you!” After lunch, we went to the front room and I asked him to stay there while I turned on the heat. He answered, “Mom, I know that you want to make me feel warm and to not get too cold.” I was so happy to hear those words.

Drew is also turning out to be quite a host. He helps me to prepare for guests by sweeping the floors and he greets our visitors as they arrive. He will also bring fruit and water to them. He is such an adorable boy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Snapshot Sunday Nanjing Treasures

So, I finally decided to join the Sunday Snapshot that Stefanie over at NiHao Y'All hosts every Sunday.

Ni Hao Y'all

By the way, Stefanie just returned home with her beautiful new daughter Vivi. She is such a cutie and you should definitely pop on over and say "hi" to the newest American.

Anyway, as most of you know there are now a total of 6 kids in our playgroup that are from Nanjing, in fact they are all from the exact same orphanage. We used to call them our "Nanjing Sisters" but recently Sammy (the only boy) joined the group so we are now calling ourselves the "Nanjing Treasures."

So once a month we get all the kids together at my house for a playgroup. It is such an amazing feeling to see all of these kids together, playing, happy, healthy, loved, and with their families. The moms also get together once a month without the kids. You name it, we discuss it. It is a "safe place" for us to just lay everything we are feeling and experiencing as not just adoptive parents, but just parents in general. We share stories, parenting advice, and ideas. We laugh, we cry, we talk about the up, the down, and everything else in between. But above all else, we love and support each other no matter what. These 5 other women are so important to me, they are ALL amazing women.

This past Friday we got together for our first playgroup of the year. This playgroup was a little more special than all the others because for the first time in about 6 months we were all together as a "family." I know many of you know Elsa's story and because of fight with cancer, she hasn't been able to be apart of the playgroup. Well, for the first time since she was diagnosed with cancer, she was there with her Nanjing Siblings. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it was to have all 6 of these extraordinary children together again.

Whenever we get the kids together it has become a tradition to take their pictures together. And since I don't have red couch, we use our brown couch.

So, without further adoo, here is my submission for Sunday Snapshot.

Nanjing Treasures~Together Again
nanjing group 021

My creation

Oh, I should probably mention that when we do get together everyone brings their other kids as well, so not only do we have the 6 Nanjing kids, but Friday there were a total of 16 kids there! And believe it or not, between all six families we have 24 (oh I hope that right and I am not forgetting anyone) kids.

nanjing group 014

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Black and White Wednesday

Lisa over at The Long Road to China has come up with a fantastic idea, Black and White Wednesday. She started this project because she has an empty wall that needs something and what better way to fill it with black and white photos taken by her. By the way, she is a fantastic photographer.

I don't know if I will be able to participate in this every Wednesday, but I thought I would share one of my all time favorites of Emma and Matt's mom. This was taken just last month and I just love it. Emma and Grandma have a very special, close relationship and I love that since I didn't really have a close relationship with any of my grandparents.

I think this photo shows the love these two have for one another.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Ordinary Day, How True

I saw this posted on another blog and almost did not watch it. I am so glad I did though because it really makes you sit back, listen, and take it all in. Being a stay at home mom of four (soon to be 5), having a daycare, and going to school, there are days when I literally feel like pulling my hair out. And then I think about what if I woke up one day and it was all gone. The kids fighting. The mountains upon mountains of laundry. The messy rooms. The late nights of homework. The bills. The empty cupboards only days after going to the grocery. The constant texting (Blake). The Drama (Emma). The tantrums. The money spent on food, clothes, and shoes (someone is always needing new shoes). The crying and the laughter. The The timeouts and the hugs that come when they are over.

So, as you can imagine when I saw this it really made me realize that one day they (my kids) are going to be gone. Off to college, married and with families of their own. And then I really started to think, what a I going to do? My kids are my life, I am with them everyday, I love them more than anything or anyone in the world.

I think this hit me especially hard because of everything going on in Haiti right now. My heart aches for all those sweet children who no longer have a family or for the parents that will never again hear the laughter or tears of their child/ren. Those who have no bed to be tucked into at night or food to eat.

So, please take a moment to watch this and to not only thank God for all you have but to realize that one day it may all me gone too quickly. Thank Him for filling your home with laughter, tears, mountains of laundry, drama, fighting, etc.

Panic Mode

To be quite honest, as happy as we were to receive our LOA last week, we were also in a bit of a panic because we still need to come up with ALOT of money. I just found out last week that we were turned down for a grant (I will be able to re-apply though once we show that we have a little more money in our savings account). I am also in the process of applying to a couple of other organizations as well.

SO, I have been brainstorming ways to make some serious cash in a short amount of time and there is what I have come up with...

I have received several e-mails regarding my new blog look wanting to know who did it. I just wanted to let everyone know that I have done the last three or four of my blog designs and YES, I am more than willing to do yours as a fundraiser to help us with our adoption expenses.

I am also in the process of a BIG, HUGE, MONSTROUS, fundraiser right here on my blog. I have been contacting several people the past few days and most are more than willing to donate something for us to giveaway as a way to raise some more money.

Oh, and I have been going through the kids' clothes from last spring and summer and will be putting them on ebay to hopefully raise even more money. I know that several bloggy friends purchased several items last time I listed on ebay so I thought I would do it again.

So, if you know of someone or are in the mood for a new blog look yourself, please, please, please think of me. And don't forget to check back for the fundraiser I am working on. I will also be posting a link to my ebay auctions once they are up and running.

If you have any other ideas please send them my way.

Friday, January 15, 2010


So since we received our LOA (boy is it nice to be able to say and type that) we are seriously scrambling to save money in time for our travel dates. Throughout the Christmas season I tracked up quite a few Gymboree Gymbucks plus my wonderful MIL gave me some as well. I did use a couple of them, but have decided NOT to use them all instead I put them on ebay.

Gymboree has the cutest clothes for both boys and girls and they just came out with new lines that are super cute. I know that several of my bloggy friends dress their kiddos in Gymbo and that is why I am letting you know that if you want a chance to purchase some Gymbucks you can. This is a great opportunity to get tons of clothes for half price. You can even use these on sale items.

I ended up getting some cute little fairy stuff for Mylee and some matching baseball outfits for Gabe and Drew. Oh, I can't wait until I can get those two together, they are going to have so much fun!

Thanks again for all the kind comments and prayers during the wait for our LOA. As of yesterday our I800 was on its way to USCIS and because of the weekend will be there on Monday. In an e-mail from our agency yesterday we were told that the current timeframe for TA after LOA is about 10-15 weeks. So, as much as I would LOVE to be with Drew for his 4th birthday, I realize that that is probably not going to happen and to be quite honest, I am at peace knowing that soon enough we will have our sweet boy in our arms. I am thinking we will travel in April which I hear the weather is beautiful that time of year.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 107

Rather than drag this post on and on about how we haven't received our LOA yet or whine about why we haven't received it yet, I will just get right to the point...

After 107 agonizing days, we finally got our...

I was actually in the middle of e-mailing a friend about how there were several LOA's being posted on RQ when the phone rang. As soon as I looked at the caller ID I knew.

Praise God! Andrew Isaac Hong Chun has officially been approved to become our son! Now we wait, again. I was told that TA is taking anywhere from 3-5 months. Lets pray we are on the shorter end of that wait time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Elsa Update

Let me start by saying a big "THANK YOU" to each and everyone of you who said a prayer for Elsa and her family. For those of you who are new to my blog, Elsa is a little girl from the exact same orphanage in Nanjing as Mylee. In fact, she also lives in our town along with four other Nanjing cuties (there are a total of six right here). Anyway, we all get together twice a month, once with the kids and once with just the moms. We have so much fun and look forward to our times together.

Back in August we were all brought to our knees when we found out that Elsa had cancer. She immediately started chemo, became very sick, lost her hair, and spent countless hours in and out of the hospital. As a mother I cannot even begin to imagine the emotions Susan and he rest of the family must have been going through. My heart literally ached for them. Since August we have not seen Elsa (actually I was able to visit with her briefly during one of her chemo treatments), and we have only seen Susan a couple of times. We miss them terribly. Elsa is such a sweet little girl and her mom Susan is an amazing woman who I admire and am so blessed to call her my friend.

Elsa had a scan done just before Christmas. The result; two of the three tumors were completely gone and the one that was left was the size of a marble. Elsa's doctors sent her home for the holidays and scheduled another scan for January. That scan, THE scan was yesterday. I know along with myself other Nanjing moms were on pins and needles all day so I cannot imagine how Susan and the rest of Elsa's family felt. As of late last night we still had heard nothing other than the scan was done and Elsa did not have to be sedated.

Fast forward to this afternoon and I still had heard nothing. I ended up calling one of the other moms regarding another matter and she told me she had just gotten off the phone with Susan with GOOD NEWS!! Well, good news with a bit of a hiccup. The scan still showed the tumor, but the good news is that it has not grown or changed at all. Why is this good news? Because the tumor hasn't grown or changed that means it is not active and could just be calcified tissue. As of now Elsa has has once again been sent home to live her life like a normal child. She will go back for another scan in May and if the results are the same Elsa will be officially in remission.

This is such GREAT news and I am so happy for Elsa and her family. I am also happy for our Nanjing group because this means Elsa will be able to start coming back to our play groups and we will be seeing more of Elsa and Susan.

New Look

So I figured since Christmas is over I should probably get a new look for my blog. What do you think? I figured since we WILL be going to China at some point this year I would go with a Chinese inspired look this time. Obviously for us to go to China we need to get our LOA (which by the way, today is day 106).

This wait for our LOA is excruciating. In comparison to being pregnant, it is like being overdue. With Blake and Emma I was exactly two weeks overdue. I was miserable, tired, achy, and pretty much done being pregnant. For me the wait for LOA is much worse. I'm not really sure why. I think it is because we are all so excited to have Drew join our family. We see pictures of him and get monthly updates. We know he is in a fantastic environment, but it is not home. Although the physical aspects of being pregnant are not there, the emotional ones are and in some cases worse. Right now is especially hard for me because I feel like we are at a stand still. At lease once we get our LOA I will feel like we are finally moving forward.

I feel so bad for Gabe. He is only five so he doesn't really have a sense of time yet. When we started this process we kept telling Gabe that we wouldn't go get Drew until sometime after Christmas. Well, Christmas has come and gone and poor Gabe keeps asking me when he is going to get his little brother.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers that we get our LOA soon. Even if we were to get our LOA this week the earliest we could travel would be the middle to end of March. UGHHHHHHH!!!! Sorry I am venting, but I know many of you completely understand what I am going through right now having been through this process before.

I keep reminding myself that everything happens for a reason and when God is ready to unite us with Drew He will but sometimes it is easier said than done.

This was the picture we received with Drew's December update. He looks so sad. I think he just wants his family.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Fun

Last weekend we spend the entire day Sunday sledding with friends. Our good friends have a hill and a pond in their backyard and every year they make a snow ramp. They start working on it as soon as it gets cold enough and once there is enough snow they begin making the ramp and snow track. It starts at the top of the hill and goes down to the pond. Basically the kids ride sleds down the hill (track) and onto the pond. They have SO much fun.

I start back to school tomorrow and am not really looking forward to it. I have really enjoyed the three week break. I would so love more time to get more things done and I have a couple more books I would like to read, but hey, there's always Spring Break.

Still no word on our LOA. I think we are at day 105 or some ridiculous number like that. Once again I am hoping and praying that we hear something this week. I have pretty much accepted the fact that we will not be with our son when he turns 4 in March. I just keep reminding myself that God has a plan and He will reveal that plan in His own time.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying along with us that we hear something about our LOA soon. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers.

Enjoy the pictures...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday..No Tetanus Shot Needed

So, I got a call today, no, not the LOA call, but a phone call from the school. Most parents get a bit nervous when they hear from their child's school. Around here it is a weekly thing. I can pretty much guarantee that Blake is going to call from school at least twice a week to ask if he can stay after for some activity. When Emma's school calls I know they are calling to let me know that she is "sick." So, I was a bit surprised when I looked at the caller ID to see that it was Mylee's school that was calling this time. I am not used to seeing her school's number so I will admit a bit of panic ran through me. Anyway, the first words out of the nurses mouth were "this is not an emergency, but a courtesy call to let you know what happened today." I was a bit relieved but not completely. She went on to let me know that Mylee had been brought to her office today because she had been bitten by another child on her cheek. Apparently a toy was involved. A toy that Mylee wanted and the little girl was not willing to give up. So, the result, Mylee was bitten on the cheek.

To be honest when I heard that I had to chuckle a little. The nurse said the teachers washed the area off with soap and water and the nurse had put a band-aid on it. She said "Mylee was so sweet about it, she didn't even cry." I thanked her for calling and and didn't really think too much about it until Mylee got home.

Mylee couldn't get off the bus fast enough to tell me what happened. She was so proud to show everyone her band-aid.

Me: "Mylee, what happened to your cheek?"

Mylee: "K bite my cheek."

Me: "Why did she bite you?"

Mylee: "K was playing with a toy. K doesn't say words and she bit my cheek. See?"

Me: "Are you okay?"

Mylee: "Yeah, Mrs. J took me to the nurse, I got a band-aid (pointing excitedly at her band-aid)."

Me: "Next time you need to ask nicely for the toy and not try to take it away."

Mylee: "Okay, but K doesn't say words and she bite my cheek, I got a band-aid."

Me: "Can I take off the band-aid to see your cheek and then we will put on another band-aid and some medicine."

Mylee: "I will show you."

And this is what I saw...

She was quite happy to show me her "battle scar."
Mylee 004

Mylee 001

At the suggestion of my neighbor I called my Pediatrician to make sure she didn't need a Tetanus shot or antibiotic. They assured me that she was okay and to just continue to put antibiotic cream on it.

As you can see, she doesn't seem to devastated about it. I on the other hand just hope that it doesn't scar.
Mylee 006

LOA Update: Today is day 101:(

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Pictures

This is an update to earlier to day, no, we haven't heard anything on our LOA yet but I have had a couple of people e-mail me and leave comments about the extra little girl in the pictures. We have not added anyone new to our family (yet), she is my niece Riley.

I am finally getting around to posting pictures from Christmas. Rather than try to post individual pictures I just put them all in a slide show. Enjoy!

Oh, and tomorrow marks day 100 of our LOA wait. The average wait is 70 days. On the RQ chart I am second from the top. I honestly did not think we would have to wait this long. I am having to continue to remind myself that although I want Drew home more than anything, ultimately it is not up to me. Patience is definitely something adoption teaches you.

Enjoy the slideshow and please keep those prayer for our LOA coming.