Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Tree Challenge *Updated*

**Links to those who have accepted the challenge can be found at the bottom. If you wish to be added, please send me an email/comment and I'll be happy to add you! Thanks to everyone who is participating! Also, it is open to anyone who wishes to participate. If you're a waiting family or one who is home celebrating with your child in your arms, it's for you too! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!**

I've decided to issue myself (and anyone else who wishes to take it on too) a Christmas Tree Challenge.

With this wait getting longer, longer and l-o-n-g-e-r I think a number of us are struggling with the thoughts of spending one more Chirstmas without our child. I'll admit this has been a really, really hard week for me too. I've finally faced the fact that not only will Hannah not be with me this Christmas but there is a great possibility that she won't be here next year either. That's a tough pill to swallow. This is the 2nd Christmas I'd anticipated spending with her so to know she won't be here for #2 and quite likely #3 is yucky...just plain old yucky!

I continue to trust God's perfect timing but He also created me with all the normal emotions a gal faces and the feeling of emptiness that sometimes creeps in is pretty normal I'm guessing.

So, in order to get myself in the proper mood and realize that I have a TON of things to be thankful for this Christmas (including the day in the future when Hannah and I are brought together!) I've decided that I need to set up the Christmas tree and decorate the house! I need it for so many reasons.

So my challenge to those who wish to accept it is to put up your tree too. Do it for yourself. You deserve it!

When you've put it up, take a picture and share it on your blog. It's such fun seeing everyone's beautiful trees. We have much to celebrate and be thankful for and for that reason, my tree will go weekend! LOL! I'm away this weekend but next Saturday will be the day. Hope it snows!!

Who's in?

Here are links to those who have chosen to participate in the Christmas Tree Challenge:
Abby's Adoption Story
Pregnancy by Adoption
Two Kayaks
Waiting for Lauren Elizabeth
Mother, Mother Ocean
Journey to Annaliese
Secret Recipe for a Hoppe Family
Our Journey to China
Imagine Alyzabeth An
My Red Thread to Ava Grace Ya Han
Jensen's Journeys
Life With Briana
Made in China
Life's Scatters
3D's Adoption Journey
Stories of Life in the Middle of Adoption
The Priceless Princess
Mother & Daughter

PS - If I've missed anyone, please let me know. If you did a Christmas tree post but didn't mention the challenge I didn't add a link here. I figured I couldn't claim every Christmas tree going up as a response to my little challenge! LOL!

And yes, it's now Monday evening and the box with my tree is still tucked away in the basement. That should change soon though.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Have You ICEd Your Cell Phone???

ICE = In Case of Emergency

Emergency services around the world are urging you to 'ICE' your cell phone. What is this? It's a great program that I'm encouraging you to participate in.

All you need to do is in the address book of your cell phone, add 1 (or more) entries using the name ICE 1, ICE 2, etc. With each ICE entry add the phone number of someone you would like contacted in the case of an emergency.

Most of us carry cell phones but in the case of an emergency our address book means nothing to the police, fire fighter or ambulance attendant on the scene. An ICE entry indicates to them someone you would like them to contact if your are in an accident, etc.

I've added 5 ICE numbers to my cell phone for my parent's home, each of their cell #'s, my brother and friend. Figure out of all those people they'll be able to contact somebody.

One of those things we hope we never need but is good to have.

Go ahead...ICE your phone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Welcome Lea!

We have a great group of waiting mommies who live in the Greater Toronto area. Every other month we get together for dinner, a gift exchange and just enjoy the time we spend together. I love that this group is made up of ladies adopting from China, Vietnam and Ethiopia. There are also many who originally came to the group as 'waiting mommies' and are now home with their sweeties.

Another great part of our group is that it's comprised of bloggers and non-bloggers alike. We often tease the 'non-bloggers' that we still love them even without having a blog. :o) Well, today a waiting mommy friend decided to open her blog and share her journey with us.

Please hop on over to Lea's blog and say 'hi!' I've shared with the gals of the waiting mommies group what a wonderful, loving supportive group the IA bloggy world is and honestly, I know this wait would be TONS harder without YOU! So thank you for hanging out here as we wait...and thanks for popping in to welcome a new friend too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma!

This weekend my parents, niece and I headed to Windsor to celebrate my Grandma's 90th birthday! It was so good to see her even though I'm not sure if she knew who I was most of the time. I'm pretty sure at one point she knew me but other times not so much so. It's hard to see those we love failing, even a little bit. I love her so much and she is my only surviving grandparent. Given my ahem *age* I am very blessed to still have even 1 grandparent alive.

I like this picture of my mom and grandma together. We had a small family birthday party at the seniors home that Grandma livs at and in this pic she's opening her birthday cards and gifts.

Here is a picture of my mom's brothers and sister and their spouses. Unfortunately my one aunt was away or else it would have been all the children together. What a great picture to have!

This one is of 4 generations togehter. Grandma, mom, myself and Rebecca. I am so glad that Rebecca is able to know Grandma and spend time with her.

In this last pic Dad hopped in so that we could all be in a picture together.

Happy Birthday Grandma!! I'm glad it's only a month until we'll get to spend time together again at Christmas!

Love you! xoxo

Friday, November 23, 2007

Celebrating 20 months Closer to Hannah!!

Wow...this month has sped along quickly! What fun to be celebrating my 20 month LIDiversary!! (Although, my head keeps thinking the number 23...don't know what's up with that?!! And yes, it may be a little early for a Poinsettia but I wanted to enjoy it for the month of December rather than just the last 2 days before Christmas which would have happened if I'd waited until next month. So, Merry Christmas!)

Today my file has been logged with the China Centre of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) for 20 months which brings me 20 months closer to my precious baby girl! Wahoo!!! As much as it's exciting to see the number of months begin with the number '2' I'm still pretty confident at this point that I'll work my way through the 20's and see numbers starting with a '3' by the time I get her referral or have her in my arms, but that's just fine with me.

Today I'm celebrating being in the waiting line for 20 months!! As today is 'Black Friday' I've thought about this journey as being in a waiting line. In this line I've brought along a lawn chair, some great reading (blogs, blogs and more blogs!!!), See's chocolate and Tim's coffee. You know me by now and know that I've talked to as many people as I can that are in line with me and we've formed some amazing friendships that I hope will last a lifetime!!

When I get discouraged I stand on my tippy toes, stretch my neck and look to the front of the line. Guess what?? Those friends are seeing pictures of their little ones!!! There are also many, many others who are already home with their sweeties and every single one of them says the wait is worth every minute and I trust them 100%.

So, I'm ready! Settling into my lawn chair for the next bit of the wait. Coffee anyone?? Let's chat!

(This is one of those posts that kinda took on a life of its own as I typed it. I tried to include as many of you as I could. To those I missed, I'm sorry. After a while I was confusing even myself and figured it was best to stop while I was ahead! Please know that if you're reading this and leave comments so that I know who you are, you are appreciated!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tess and Her Taggies

Julie and I have been wonderful friends for almost 3 years now. Wow! Time sure flies! It was her announcement on a scrapbooking site of her upcoming adoption of Tess that planted the final seed in my heart and I began my own adoption journey to Hannah, just 5 short days later. She and I became fast friends and even though it took over 2 years for us to finally meet in person, we clicked immediately online.

Long before I began blogging *gasp!!* Julie and I corresponded via emails. She was also the person who was instrumental in helping me set up 'Catherine's Chatter - Waiting for Hannah.' So when I was making my very first gift for my own precious Hannah I decided to make something for her little girl too. At the time they were both only in our hearts but they were there all the same.

My friend Michelle had made a tag blanket when her son was born and I loved the concept. I decided to make one for Hannah and Tess too. Little did I know how attached Miss Tess would become to her precious taggies! I still remember the email Julie sent shortly after returning from China telling me how Tess loved tags on all the toys she had so Julie had given her Taggie I and a new friendship between she and her little blanket was formed.

Over the past 11 months that Tess has been home, she's accumulated Taggie I, II, III, IV, V and VI! Some are still around, others have wandered away. Don't worry sweetie, Taggies VII, VIII, IX and X will be on their way to you tomorrow! LOL!

I love this picture that Julie sent a few weeks ago! Isn't she adorable?!!!

And, just this morning, here is Tess (who is growing up so quickly) took Taggie #? with her as she went on an adventure to enjoy the first snow of the season.

I love you Tess and am so thankful that you and Taggie are such special friends!

PS - When you decide what college you're going to just let me know and I'll make sure you're well stocked in Taggies boasting your school's colours! :o)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

To all my preious friends south of the border...

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

May today be extra special as you're thankful for the blessings you have and those still to come!

Today I'm thankful for each of you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Waiting Mommies Dinner #7

I'm late posting this but wanted to share a picture of our latest waiting mommies dinner. It's hard to believe that it's only been a year since we first started getting together! Last November when we got together for the first time many of us had never met before. Now, one short year later the ladies that attend these dinners are some of my most precious and cherished friends and I am thankful to God from bringing us together!

Here's the group that gathered together on November 9th. Back row (l to r): Ange (who showed us pictures of her adorable son waiting for her in Vietnam!), Bev, Karen, Tammy, Jill, Rebekah and myself. Front row: Lea, Suzanne, Julia, Paula, Liz and the oh so adorable Ava!

Each time we meet together it's fun to hear what's been happening in one anothers lives and also see new referral pictures. Congratulations Ange!! We also have a gift exchange that is optional to participate in. This month's theme was 'Reading is Fun' and we encouraged people to give their favourite childhood book to someone else. Hannah received a beautiful board book and matching bunny for the 'Guess How Much I Love You' story! Too cute! Thank you! And yes, I teared up in the restaurant when I read it. What a beautiful story! My arms ache for the day when I'll be holding Hannah and reading this beautiful story to her.

Hannah, Guess how much I love you? I love you more than I ever knew I could even though right now you are only in my heart you are a part of my life, dreams and future. I'm praying for you and excited about the day that God will bring you and I together. Hannah, mommy loves you!! xoxo

Friday, November 16, 2007

Praising God for Answered Prayers!

I am excited to tell you that the US government has granted the necessary visas for Sandi and Hannah and that they are on their way home this weekend!

Praising God for answered prayers!!

Sandi's agency has also set up a fund for any who might care to contribute financially to the 'Hope for Hannah' fund.

Thank you for all the prayers you have offered up and will continue to offer on behalf of this family. God has answered our prayers but we also know that Sandi's journey has just begun. Still praying for she and Hannah as they deal with the death of Sandi's husband and Hannah's new daddy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Please Pray for Sandi and Hannah

This week we learned of a very sad situation in China that I am sure many of you are aware of.

A couple travelled to China and met their daughter Hannah on Monday, November 5th. Sadly earlier this week the husband went into a diabetic coma and passed away.

China is allowing the adoption to continue but the American government is unclear at this time as to whether they will issue a Visa to allow Hannah to enter the United States. Americans are being urged to contact the congressmen in support of Sandi and her longing to bring Hannah home. She has lost her husband already and we don't want her to lose her daughter too.

As a Canadian I have tried unsuccessfully today to contact the American government so I'm going to a Higher Power and asking you to do the same. I have been praying for Sandi and Hannah all week and am now asking that you join me in praying that Sandi will be allowed to bring Hannah home with her to the United States.

I was going to post information here for Americans as to where they can contact but I read here that the Senator's office received more than 1,000 calls this morning and they are working on a solution. Once again the international adoption community has rallied behind one of it's own. Thank you for all who contacted the government but we have now been asked to stop as they're working on a solution.

But, please don't stop praying. God is bigger than any government!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget...

Today as we pause and take time to remember those who have fought for, and sometimes given their lives for the freedoms we too often take for granted, I wanted to commend a wonderful group of women I work with who are, in a very loving way, thanking those heros of the heart.

I've shared with you in the past about my wonderfully crafty co-workers. This time their gift was a precious gift of love!

A few years ago some of the girls started meeting for lunch together with the goal of learning to quilt. Quickly they were fashioning beautiful blocks for quilts and also 3 wall hanging quilts that were raffled off with the proceeds being donated to the United Way.

This year they chose another project which to me stands out above them all. This year they created a beautiful quilt that today, Remembrance Day 2007, was given to the mother or spouse of a Canadian soldier who has given his/her life in overseas operations. The design consist of 24 maple leafs with a heart in the centre of each of them.

The quilt was finished and delivered to the Canadian Comfort and Remembrance Project who passed it on to the Canadian Dept. of National Defence, where the back was signed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Rick Hillier, as a gesture of his support for the families who have lost a loved one.

Friends, thank you so much for taking the time to create this beautiful gift from the heart! I, on behalf of Canadians am so thankful for your gift of love.

On a similar note I wanted to share a wonderful new tradition that has happened near my home over the past couple of years. My home is located between the city where fallen soldiers are brought to when their bodies are returned to Canada and Toronto. Each of the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom are driven from Trenton to Toronto. Recently the section of highway where these soldiers pass has been renamed the, 'Highway of Heros.' I'm not sure when or how this tradition began but now, each time that the body of a fallen soldier travels along this stretch of highway, each and every overpass is lined with Canadians who take time out of their daily lives to say 'Thank you.' Flags are draped, fire trucks with uniformed fire fighters standing at attention and others wanting to do something to say thank you. On a recent trip to Toronto I was brought to tears as I drove this stretch of highway as people were preparing to say their thank yous. What an amazing sight to see! Someday I hope to not drive along the highway but to take time to stop, stand at attention and say thank you out of respect for a life that was lost too soon.

If you're a quilter and would be interested in finding out how your group might participate in this project, or a similar one, you can find more details here:

Canadian Comfort and Remembrance Project

Quilts of Valor
Operation Homefront Quilt

Friday, November 09, 2007

Oops! Forgot the Fabric Softener

Yes, it's that time of year. I've finally packed away my sandals after wearing them all of September and even well into October, firmly ignoring the fashion faux pas I was creating by wearing white after Labour Day. With age I've decided I'll wear what I want, when I want....until I have a daughter that says, 'Mooooom' in disgust that I've embarrasses her! Then I'll stop...maybe. Until then, it's white sandals while I can.

Now that takes us to this picture. Socks are back in the laundry and it's a known fact that when socks are washed, especially with a hoody, that fabric softener is a must. Guess I forgot that earlier this week as this was what happened when I pulled the laundry out of the dryer. I think most of us have had this experience and the mini fireworks show that is caused when socks are pulled off a hoody, currently being held they by static.

This leads me to my 2nd problem yesterday. After folding the laundry and de-socking my hoody, my brain should have gone to, 'Hmmm...wonder where else socks may be hiding.'

Did it go there?


What did happen was that mid-morning (after getting dressed, going downstairs to make and eat breakfast, driving and walking to work, working for a few hours, going to Tim's for break - of course) I found myself in need of the restroom. Took care of those needs (sorry if TMI) then walked to the sink to wash my hands. Suddenly my pants felt a weird intruder in the leg. Kinda did a little leg kick (thankful that nobody else was in the room) and when nothing happened I dried my hands and started for the door. Nope. Something was definitely out of place.
Went back into the stall to find this sock stuck inside the leg of my pants. Where had it been for the last 3 hours and why hadn't I felt it??

Had myself a little chuckle, tucked it in my pocket and thought to myself how thankful I was that that little number hadn't decided to fall out the bottom of my pant leg as I walked through the office. Thankful for static cling this time!

Monday, November 05, 2007

8 Days Closer to Hannah!!!

Yeah!! The bottom line of this picture reads DECEMBER! Not October. Not November. But D-E-C-E-M-B-E-R! It took 9 long months to get through October and November so my heart did a little flip-flop last night when I read that the referrals this month were into December. As much as I knew they were, seeing it in print on the CCAA website made it all the more real!

Another reason to celebrate is that this month they covered 8 days of LIDs! Can I hear another 'Wahoo?' That's more than were covered the past 7 months of referrals so once again I'm a happy girl! Given the fact that CCAA also had a well deserved week of holidays in there I'm extra excited. It may not be a 'speed up' but at least we're not slowing down. (I just did a quick calculation and there are 105 LID's between December 9, 2005 and March 23, 2006 - my LID. In the past year CCAA has matched exactly 105 LID's in the past 12 months of referral batches. If they continue as they have been, I could be seeing Hannah's face 1 year from now!! I lost sleep last night thinking of Jenny's upcoming referral. Whatever am I going to do when it's my turn?? Any volunteers to sit up with the crazy, excited woman the night before her referral call?)

By now you're getting to know me. If you come here you're going to find (most times) that I'm all about celebrating the good things in life. God has a plan for Hannah and I and each month He is revealing a little more of it. When will we meet? I don't know but God does and that's all that matters. He is leading each step of my life and orchestrating the perfect moment that my baby girl will be placed in my arms. Trusting Him. Believing Him and Loving Him through it all.

If you would like or more reason to celebrate today, keep an eye on Jenny's site as she will receive her referral for Abby today or tomorrow! Congratulations Jenny!!!


On a much different more challenging and heart breaking note, please pray for Jud and his family today. I learned of Jud's story earlier this summer and have been praying for them since then. Sweet Jud is a 2 1/2yo who was full of fun, love, excitement and laughter. In May of this year, Jud was diagnosed with Krabbe disease and it has progressed at a very rapid rate. It has been truly amazing to watch the faith of Jud's parents as this disease has attacked their poor son causing him to no longer be able to move, see or speak. Barring a miracle of God (which we believe is still possible) sweet Jud has but hours left on this earth. Should God choose to call him home he will once again be able to run, jump and play in heaven but it will be a very, very difficult time for his parents. Please pray for God's will to be done in the life of this precious little boy and his family.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Way to Go Jill!

Jill and I met in the summer of 2006 when we were attending an Open Arms picnic. Her family and I were one of the very few 'waiting families' there and when she found me and invited me to sit with them, a friendship was born!

Jill has started a wonderful new business selling all natural Bath and Body Products that she makes in her home. Oh how sweet her home must smell! On Saturday there was a sale at a local golf course featuring Moms who have opened businesses of their own. It was neat to see all the different creative ideas these women have come up with but Jill's booth was by far my favourite...and the busiest! Her little booth never stopped hopping and she was taking orders for some things that she'd run out of.

This picture was taken earlier in the day and when I see how many items she had on her table I can see how well she did at the sale! Way to go Jill!!! Her products are wonderful! I tried a number of them and didn't leave empty handed. Local stores have also begun to carry her products. Wahoo!

I love to support friends and this time it's extra special as she is waiting for her daughter from China too!

All the best Jill as you dive into this new business! I'm looking forward to the baby line that you're working on. I'm sure Hannah will be using Breathe products just like her mommy!

Here's a link to Jill's site! Take a moment to check out her beautiful products that are also very reasonable. Christmas shopping anyone?

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