Saturday, December 30, 2006

Recipe: Pretzels with Hershey Kisses

I was asked for this recipe and am finally getting around to posting it. Sorry for the delay.

The key to making these fun, easy treats is the timing. You'll want to watch the timing in the oven carefully and immediately upon removing add the M&M's/Smarties.

Round or Square Waffle shaped pretzels (1 bag)
Christmas M&M's or Smarties (1 large package)
Hershey Kisses (4 bags)

Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Place pretzels on cookie sheet in 1 layer. (I found I could put about 3 dozen on a sheet at a time. More than that and they cooled too quickly before smarties could be added at the end.)

Unwrap kisses and place 1 kiss in the middle of each pretzel.

Bake at 275oF for 3 mins. (Just enough to soften, not melt)

Remove from oven and place a smartie in the centre of each kiss. Press down gently but not all the way to the bottom.

Place tray in refrigerator and cool for at least 30 mins.


Thanks again for the recipe and initial ingredients Julie! These have been a real hit over the Christmas season and I'll be taking more with me to parties on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Welcome Home Sweet Tess!

What an exciting Christmas this has been for my wonderful friend Julie and her sweet baby girl Tess! They arrived home safe and sound on Christmas day...the looongest Christmas day of their lives lasting over 35 hours! that's a lot of celebrating time!

Here is sweet Tess snuggled into her bed. Julie's friend noticed while they were in China that Tess liked the tag on her receiving blanket so when they got home she took to the little blanket I made for her as a gift. What a treat to see how much she enjoys it!

Sweet dreams Julie and Tess...zzzzzzzzz

LeapFrog Farm Fun!

My 2yo nephew had such fun Christmas Day playing with the LeapFrog Fridge Farm. It wasn't new a new toy for Christmas but he sure does love it! He's all boy and enjoyed everything that moved and made noise this year!

Here he is having fun creating new animals. I love to watch kids sing and dance!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Day Fun!

Monday morning I was up early after a night of anticipating the fun! I'm so glad that we can still enjoy Christmas as adults! The realization that God sent his one and only Son to earth in the form of a baby is amazing! He sent Him to be the Saviour for you and I! Wow!!! Such an amazing blessing!

I also love Christmas and was awake early anticipating the excitement of seeing Christmas through the eyes of Rebecca and Keenan!

As our family was waiting until 11am to get together, I headed over to my friends Carol and David's place at 9 to enjoy Christmas breakfast with them and share in the gift opening at their home. I'd brought home a couple of Carol's gifts to her kids from Disney last week so it was fun to see them opening those.

At 11 I headed to my parents and the fun with my niece and nephew began! At 7 and 2 they were such fun!!! Here they are with Daddy just waiting for an opportunity to rip into their gifts! Keenan had quickly learned at his Mom's earlier that morning that many of the brightly wrapped gifts under the tree would be for him!

The kids were both great and it was fun for me to watch Dad sit back and enjoy the gift giving this year as Rebecca was now able to read the tags and did a great job of handing presents to each of us.

This is my wonderful brother Dave showing the spare tire cover I gave him. He laughed when he opened it because I'd 'customized' it. For the last number of years Dave had driven a old Ford pickup truck that got him from A to B most times and was held together with rust, duct tape and prayer! The F and D had worn off the truck before he ever got it so we always referred to it as his 'OR.' This year a coworker of his gave his a Jeep that was not working but had a good body on it. Dave spent much time working with a friend in his garage and got the Jeep on the road and it works great! What a wonderful gift. We're also thankful that he now has a reliable vehicle to drive 45mins. each way a number of times each week to pick up his son. Anyway, back to the wheel cover. I figured since we'd had such fun with his 'OR' is was only appropriate that this new vehicle be his 'EE!'

I was surprised when Rebecca said there was a gift for Hannah under the tree! Wow!!! With her referral appearing to be more than a year away I really hadn't anticipated Mom and Dad buying anything for her this year. It gave me goosebumps when Rebecca called out, 'This one is for Hannah!' What a perfect gift from Grandma and Grandpa...her very first piano! Hmmm...wonder when I should ask Sharon about putting her on a waiting list for lessons? I hear in CA people sign up for preschool slots before their children are even born. Wonder if I should do the same for her and piano lessons? After all, she'll be heading to the best teacher I know for lessons...her Mommy's teacher! :o) (Don't worry Sharon, I'll make sure she p...ppp...pp...praictices (phew...that was tough to get out!) unlike her mother! ;o)

Christmas day was a great day! It was fun spending time with my parents, brothers and the kids. They were so good and had such fun playing with all their new toys. Keenan is all boy and it was all about cars and trucks this year. Rebecca is all girls and her favourite gift was her 'Biggest Littlest Pet Shop Playset.'

Christmas night Sharon and Larry and I were together which is something we've done almost every Christmas night for years and years. I always enjoy the special time we share together. We exchange gifts (yes, spoiled again!), chat about our day, share what we received from others and then just relax enjoying one another's company. Sharon is like the sister to me and I love the time we share together!

I hope all of you had a wonderful and safe Christmas! It's now 2 days later and the fun is continuing. I'm in Windsor spending time with extended family. Yesterday we were together with Mom's side of the family and today will be spent with Dad's. It will be crazy as there are about 16 kids coming (4 under a year old!) plus probably 25 adults. Can't wait! I love spending time with family and my arms plan on holding those babies close gathering cuddles and snuggles to hold me over until sweet Hannah is here.

Merry Christmas everyone! And I leave you with this fun...



Monday, December 25, 2006

Celebrating Christmas with Babies Home!

There were many, many times today when I thought of my precious Hannah. I'm guessing that she's not even born yet but still I miss her. Oh how I miss her! How I long to see her smile, look into her beautiful eyes and more than anything to hold her in my arms and tell her that Mommy loves her!

Today I was reminded by this beautiful photo montage created by Connie, that many friends who were in my shoes last year are celebrating with their precious daughter's this year. My dear friend Julie arrived home today with sweet Tess! What a beautiful Christmas gift to Julie!

I'm praying for a Christmas miracle and that referrals speed up in 2007. If that happens there is a possibility that I will at least have a picture of Hannah next Christmas but it really will take a miracle. So happy that our God is a God of miracles and if it's His Will then I will have Hannah's picture by Christmas of next year! If not, I'll be much closer than I currently am and that's ok too.

Please enjoy this beautiful montage of answered prayers! The music is by the Christian group Third Day and the words are written below.

By Thrid Day
There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here
It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas
Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy childand
we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his lifeand prepare a place for us
so we could have a home with him above
It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep,
I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll tell you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Wishing all of you a Very Merry Christmas! May today be extra special as you share it with family and friends and for those in this wonderful world of adoption, may today you dream of the little one that some day will join your family! My life has been blessed this year because of many of you! I am so thankful for the many amazing friends I have met online.
Please take time today to remember
Jesus, The Reason for the Season!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's Never Too Late for Final Touches!

Sharon and I had a wonderful day together! I picked her up around 11:30 and we hit the mall just to wander with the crowds and sight see. We are both finished our shopping so it's fun to be there without any pressure to buy. I did end up purchasing a new pink sweater and necklace for myself. Hey...might as well shop for someone since I was there and today that someone was me! ;o)

After returning home we enjoyed puttering in her kitchen preparing Monday's Chrismas turkey and tasting it just to make sure it was worthy of Christmas dinner for her family. Yup! It passed with flying colours.

Before I left we added some pretty red bows to the trees out front of she and Larry's home. There is nothing like big red bows at Christmas to give the yard a cheery touch. Since we're having a green (and much warmer than normal) Christmas in these parts it's good to get all we can in the way of outside decorations.

I've spent this evening making turkey soup to enjoy later in the week. Mmmm...I love homemade soup!

Can you believe I haven't started my wrapping? Ummm...nope! There's just something about wrapping on Christmas Eve day and often that's when it happens for me. After going to church tomorrow morning I'll come home, enjoy a piping hot bowl of turkey soup, put on either a Christmas movie or music and set to wrapping. I'm looking forward to it!

Here'a a picture of my little home all decked out for Christmas. It's a good thing I put these lights up outside in November as sadly the inside has not one single decoration this year. Just didn't have time before we left for Florida and decided when we got home to take the pressure off myself and not decorate this year. I have Hannah's flowers and lots of beautiful cards from friends and that will be it for this year. I'm sure next year the tree will come out again but for this year I'll enjoy those of family and friends.

9 Month LIDiversary!

Wow!!! How did that happen? 9 whole months since my file was logged with CCAA? 9 months closer to Hannah! What a precious Christmas gift that is this year!!!

This month's beautiful LID Celebration flowers were a gift from my wonderful friend Deb. Thanks Deb!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hannah's Chariot has Arrived!

2 weeks before heading to Disney I purchased a new stroller for Hannah on eBay. It hadn't arrived by the time I left so my friend Carol offered to keep an eye on the house and check for the delivery. When I called her to chat on Tuesday she told me it had arrived and that she would be picking up the box the next day. I was excited to learn that they didn't charge me duty at the border. Yeah! A nice treat! Thanks so much Carol! It felt good knowing that someone was coming and going from the house each day.

Rebecca was excited to see the large box waiting for us and she and Piglet were only too happy to help me open it up.

When she was getting ready for bed that night she asked if she could sleep in the box. Hey...why not? I remember doing the exact same thing with a fridge box when I was a kid. (Man did I learn how similar we are on this trip! She's a chip off the old block and it's fun (and scary! :o) to see the many similarities between us.) She gathered up some of her favourite toys and put them in another box at her head; we added a sheet, blanket and pillow and she was all set. After prayers for 'box girl' and taping up the top flaps she was all set! (I was only too happy to sleep in my own bed after being away for more than a week but it this was a fun treat for her!) Sweet dreams Boo!

This my friends, is Miss Hannah's new chariot! I love it!! It's a Peg Perego Venezia stroller which is brand new and was never out of the box but was purchased for less than 1/2 price because it's 'last year's colours.' problem! It's black and tan.

The option that I was most looking for in a stroller is shown here - the ability for the handle to flip from front to back. This was an easy option to find in the past but quite difficult to find these days. For a baby, if you take something away and put it behind your back it's not behind your back, it's just gone. The same can be with them in a stroller. When they can't see Mommy it's not that she's behind them pushing the stroller, it's that she's not there. Having the ability to change the handle so that she can see me when I'm pushing her was a very important feature as it adds greatly to the bonding and attachment that is so very, very important. Also, who wouldn't want the ability to look into her sweet little face when she's falling asleep? :o)

Oh, I dream of the day when Hannah will be riding in this stroller! Until then, I'll box it back up and store it in the basement for safe keeping until the day when that happens...which sadly seems to be getting further away rather than closer. After the announcements made by the China Center of Adoption Affairs last week I am now preparing my heart for a spring/summer 2008...UGH! referral and travel to China. Once again, relying on the fact that God's timing is always perfect and in some ways it's a little easier now that CCAA has said not to expect a speed up in the referrals any time soon and that they anticipate it continuing to take at least 2 months to get through each month of Log In Dates (LID's). They are currently placing babies with families that were logged in in September 2005. Since my log in date is March 23, 2006 that's 7 months worth of files ahead of mine. Allowing 2 months to place each of these 7 months I come up with a ball-park figure of spring 2008 for referral and travel late spring/early summer of 2008. Throw into that mix the Beijing Olympics in August of 2008 and not knowing how that might affect adoptions I once again have zero idea of when Miss Hannah will finally be in my arms. All I do know is that it will happen and it will happen when God says it is time! Until then praying....and pacing...and praying!

PS...Mission accomplished! She's just too cute!!! She went home 2 days ago and I miss her so much! Love ya Boo!!! Sweet dreams!

Monday, December 18, 2006

The first night we arrived at Disney we'd arranged to meet up with my cousin, his wife and their 2 kids. Can you believe it? They live 1 1/2 hours away yet I met their 8 month old son Carter for the first time at Disney!

Sean and Trish were just ending their Florida holiday after enjoying a Disney Cruise (oh yah....a dream of mine for sure!) and a few days at the parks, when Rebecca and I arrived. Even though the girls hadn't seen one another in more than a year they quickly hit it off and were inseperable. Here they are enjoying the Merry-go-round together at Downtown Disney. Sean...not so much! He's not a fan of circle rides. Sorry Sean! :o)

We tried to find a place to eat at DD but with the waits being almost 2 hours long we decided to hop in their van and head off grounds to a Ponderosa. (It was funny. Rebecca was amazed that there were cars at Disney and that you could even leave Disney property! In our 3 trips there we've always stayed on-site so she's only known life in buses and on Disney property. Her comment made us all laugh!)

While at the Ponderosa we were able to experience something amazing! The waiter came to our table and told us that the shuttle was scheduled to take off in less than 10 minutes. Well that was it...the restaurant emptied into the parking lot to watch the amazing site. Sadly the video does not do it justice but I think you can tell by my excitement (how embarassing!) that it was quite the experience! We were more thank 100kms from Kennedy Space Station and could still see everything sooo clearly! I called my dad when we were waiting for it to start and wished he could have been there as it's always been a dream of his to see a space shuttle take off. Hopefully another time Dad.

Amazing....just amazing!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Back from Disney!

We're back! It's been quiet here at Catherine's Chatter as my 7yo niece Rebecca and I flew down to the sunny south and enjoyed a fabulous week together at Walt Disney World in Florida! She's absolutely AMAZING and we had the very best time there! The weather also cooperated as it was warm and sunny for the most part which was a nice treat for us.

Here's a quick pic from day 1. I laughed at myself as I checked out the tourist ensembe! The was the first year we didn't use a stroller (except on our 15 hour day at Magic Kingdom....yup...opened the park at 9am and closed it sometime past midnight!) For those who know me they know I'm never a light packer. Here we have a backpack, video camera, Christmas Minnie hats x2, fanny pack and autograph album!

More later...time to unpack and more importantly, catch up on everything Tess!!! CONGRATULATIONS Julie!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lunch with Friends!

I'm late posting this...sorry! Busy, busy as I'm sure are all of you this time of year!

Saturday I had the awesome privilege of meeting bloggy friends new and not so new for lunch at Boston Pizza. Doris and Dan were driving through the area on their way to the city for a Christmas party. We arranged to meet for lunch and decided to try and make it a group affair. What a wonderful treat that 9 of us were able to get together at this busy time of year and share lots of fun, laughter and adoption talk. As well as Doris and Dan, Kathy and Joel, Michelle and Mark, and Rhonda and Josh (camera shy) were all in attendance. Our waitress quickly realized that food wasn't our number 1 priority and asked us to come find her when we were ready.

Prior to ordering it was fun to share little treats with one another! The first time I'd met Kathy she'd given Hannah her very first Christmas book and an adorable little frame.

I'm quickly learning that these get-togethers are a wonderful time to get to know one another and also share little treats with other waiting parents. As much as it's fun I'm realizing that we could all 'gift' ourselves into the poor house if we aren't careful. I've decided I'll take something the first time I meet someone but after that it will be fun just to see one another. :o)

Doris and I had met in the summer and exchanged gifts then but since we were 'hair accessory buddies' in November we decided to wait and exchange at the lunch. She found a whole bunch of cute little purple things for Hannah's hair! Absolutely adorable! She also gave me a magnet for the back of my car that says, 'Touched by Adoption.' It is purple pretty! I've been finding it tough to find hair accessories but Doris found lots! Thank you! I can't wait to put them in Hannah's beautiful dark hair!

Another fun treat that she gave me what one of our March DTC 'Marching Panda' buttons! I haven't ordered any of our Marching Panda accessories yet so this was extra special!

Rhonda brought each of us beautiful lotion. Mine is 'Coconut Lime.' Yumm! She also found these great little key chains with the Chinese symbol for 'Wisdom' on them. Thanks Rhonda!

Michelle had put together (errr...Mark put together) these cute little baskets of goodies....ladybug clip holders, Chinese dress wine bottle cover and absolutely adorable little bear mittens! Oh how I pray Miss Hannah is home to need those next winter!

After lunch we took time to take the obligatory group photos. Here are the girls all smiles!

And the guys, well they're looking 'tough.' :o) I think with all the talking and gift opening that went on over the lunch hour they were wondering what they'd gotten themselves into! LOL!!

Iit was a wonderful lunch and a great way to stay connected during the long wait! I couldn't help but imagine as we sat there how different our group will look a year or 2 from now...9 adults and 5 beautiful little girls gracing our table! Oh, now that will be fun!

Thanks everyone! Had an absolute blast and we'll do it again for sure! Doris, I haven't forgotten your offer to visit. We'll figure something out in the spring and head up the highway to visit you!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Chocolate Fountain Trainees

As Saturday evening rolled around it was time for another exciting non-sleepover party for my niece Rebecca and her friend Victoria. We call them non-sleepovers because sleep happens very late...or very early the next morning and there's not a lot of it in the end! Rebecca knew she was spending the night at my place but Victoria and I surprised her when we both showed up to pick her up! (If you heard screaming and felt a slight trembling of the earth on Saturday around 5pm that was the girls screaming and jumping with excitement!) A party was being formed!

Earlier that day Victoria had gone shopping with her Grandma and bought Rebecca a matching shirt to hers using her very own money! She'd saved so hard and it was neat to see that she'd wanted to buy something special for her friend! The shirts read, 'Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Looks just like you!'

We weren't even out of the driveway before the gift had been ripped open and the girls were begging to wear matching shirts. As long as she could change while still wearing her seatbelt it was all good. So, less than 2 mins. after leaving the house I peeked in the rearview to see these 2 amazing little girls looking proud as punch in their matching shirts and singing up a storm!

Last time we were together I'd dug up an an old Sandi Patti cassette ( CD player in my car) called the 'Friendship Company.' The girls love it and like the first track to be played over and over. (Oh well, it's a step up from the Barney cassettes we wore out when they were little. Hmmmm...guess Barney will be in my car again someday...nooooo! :o) I digress...

After a quick trip into the grocery store (where they enjoyed playing 'twins') our next stop was the Bulk Barn! As I alluded to earlier, this post is tied into the chocolate fountain experience of Friday night. I figured what better way to train the girls in the art of chocolate fountains then to start them young by decorating chocolate houses. Mmmmm...

At the BB they chose a number of things to decorate their houses. As much as they each wanted to chose different things to decorate with, in the end they enjoyed making them similar to one another's. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery and these girls love to imitate one another!

Prior to the decorating party it was a quick supper of pancakes - their favourite supper these days. When I'd picked them up at 5:00 I said my goal was to feed them supper before 8:00. Victoria was quick to point out at 7:50 when we sat down to eat that we had achieved our goal and supper was started...and finished...before 8:00! I'm getting a little better. I hope Miss Hannah doesn't mind dining late, or better yet, mommy needs to get more organized so that she can eat and be in bed at a reasonable time.

But, this being a typical non-sleepover for the girls, bed wasn't something we rushed to. After donning coordinating nightgowns we made the royal icing, opened the candies and the girls set to work. 1 candy for them, 1 for the house. 2 for them, 1 for the house. You get the picture! My awesome friend Deb made 40 of these houses for her teen girl's group last week yet was still more than happy to make them for Rebecca and Victoria too. Thanks Deb!!

It was so fun to watch them be creative and see how they decorated. They've grown up so much. Just a couple of years ago this would have been such a different scene. Now they took time to plan and patiently hold things as they attempted to slide off the walls or roof. We made a huge mess but they had fun so that's all that matters!

After a half-hour of eating candy, decorating and eating more candy.... the houses were declared completed masterpieces! I think they look great! We let them sit and finish drying then sprinkled with icing sugar snow as the final touch to their winter wonderlands! Beautiful!

What was our next adventure? Teeth brushing, hand washing then bedtime. Ya right!!! These two chatterboxes are hard to get to sleep at the best of times. This time just to ensure they didn't sleep any time prior to 2am I pumped them full of sugar first! Hey....that's what I'm supposed to do when I'm sending them home, not having them stay at my place! Oh well, it's safe to say we all fell asleep about the same time.....earrrly Sunday morning!

Victoria was going to be moving away this past fall but Rebecca and I are really excited that she isn't! I'm thinking 'Chocolate House Sleepovers' might become another yearly tradition just like our 'Apple Picking Sleepovers!' I'm all for that!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Feeling Like Teenagers!

And you know that was a long time ago!! :o) Tonight was our annual Sunday School class Christmas party. Joy-Lynn's husband was working so she and I decided to travel together. She picked me up and we were on our way. She quickly put my mind at ease with, 'Don't worry. I know where I'm going' as we drove right through the intersection that we needed to turn at! :o) After a quick whirl around a grocery store parking lot we were back on the road and heading the 2 kms. to the place we were going....but....we kept taking wrong turns and ended up laughing until our sides hurt as we went around and around the same streets of the subdivision we were in! We laughed about being stuck in a National Lampoon's movie that was a cross between the Christmas movie and the European holiday as we kept passing the same house with the blow up snow globe Santa on the front lawn and another with waaayyy too many lights and ornaments for any house with good sense! Some people just don't know when to stop!

After a 'short' 15 or so mins we arrived at our destination. Grace had been said and they were digging into the appetizers. Yummm!!! There were close to 40 of us there so the selection was wonderful! I could skip the main meal and dessert...just bring on the appetizers....unless there's a chocolate fountain involved! :o) I'd heard about chocolate fountains from Mary-Mia's blog, and seen chocolate fountains but mmmm...this was my first experience and we'll just say we didn't leave disappointed by this amazing treat. My hat's off to the wonderful person who realized that chocolate could be melted and flow in abundance in waterfall fashion. Oh baby!!!

Terri was the owner of this delightful little machine (and the hostess of our party) and she knew how to set up this buffet of goodies that were to be bathed in hot, flowing chocolate. Now, I enjoy fruit but probably don't eat as much of it as I should. Let's just say that wasn't a problem tonight!

Joy-Lynn (who's going to be Hannah's babysitter after I return to work!) braved the waters...err chocolate...and showed me how this fountain thing was done! Oh yah...she was a great teacher and I quickly followed her trail of dripping chocolate! Mmmmm...

Yup.... looks like I had no problem learning how to do this! Ya grab a wooden skewer, put as much fruit on it as you can possibly squish on and then hold that puppy under the flowing chocolate until nare ye a bit of fruit can be seen! Now that's a dessert I can handle!

Joy-Lynn and I stayed at the party for a couple of hours but then I found out just how much fun this quite girl can be!! There are new theatres that opened up near us tonight so we left the party early and hit the show. We didn't know what we were going to see or what time it started, just that we wanted to be spontaneous and see where it took us!

Once again the trip between the party and the theatre was an adventure as we traveled up and down the winding streets of the subdivision we were in, all the time with Joy-Lynn saying, 'I know where I'm going.' Eventually ;o) we pulled up to the theatre only to see that the movie we decided to see, 'The Santa Clause 3' didn't start for 45 mins. Did we sit quietly and chat as we waited? Ummm nope! We were on a sugar high and turned our wait into an adventure.

We called back to the party and tried to lure our friend Jen away but she couldn't make it although she found it hilarious that we tried! We went in and bought our tickets then realized we still had half an hour before the movie started. Back into the car we went and drove to one of Joy-Lynn's friend's homes to try and kidnap her and take her to the show with us. Sadly nobody was home. Once again we wound ourselves in and out of streets all the time laughing and repeating, 'I know where I'm going' as we drove in circles! (Amazing Race candidates we'd never be!)

We pulled into the theatre parking lot for the second time and went in. When we went to go into our theatre they said they were still cleaning it so we'd have to wait. This time, did we sit and wait? Umm...nope again! Realizing we didn't have anything to drink we piled back into the van and headed across the street to Wal-Mart to buy pop from the machines out front. If I'm going to pay $5.50 for a small popcorn (oooo...can you imagine dipping that in the chocolate fountain???) I'm gonna balance out the cost by saving on the pop. Thought they might say something as it was the first night and they might have been being strict but they didn't.

Anyway, after entering the theatre for the 3rd time we found seats (that still smelled new and weren't even sticky!) and enjoyed the movie. I love Tim Allen and this series of movies is one of my very favourites. Having this new theatre close-by will be wonderful! It has stadium seating so I was afraid it might be expensive but it's not so I'm sure I'll be visiting fairly often. Next movies on my wish list to see will involve taking my niece: The Nativity and Charlotte's Web.

Joy-Lynn, hope you arrived home safe and sound. I wasn't worried about you because you assured me that you 'knew where you were going!' :o) Thanks SO MUCH for such a fun, spontaneous, crazy evening! My stomach is still smarting from all the laughing we did...and maybe some from the vast amounts of chocolate injested! Yup....felt just like we did as teenagers! What fun to have an evening like that! We'll have to do it again in the new year!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

And the 'Stroller Coaster' Dips Again

Here we go again! The CCAA website was updated just a few minutes ago and shows another batch of referrals have been issued. This batch covers August 26, 2005 to September 8, 2005....14 days. This is great news if you're in those dates but for the rest of us....UGH!!!!!!!!! Another small month of referrals.

There had been rumours out early last week that this months referrals could go 'deep into September.' I didn't post much about it here because with referrals I'm at the 'I'll believe it when I see it' (read: cautious) stage as lately we've been disappointed so often. Sadly, the big referral batch didn't happen although the rumour was a good ride for a few days and definitley brightened my spirits.

So I'm back to anticipating a late 2007/early 2008 referral should the current trends continue.

I am SO THANKFUL that GOD is the one in control because days like today are tough. Really tough. So many mixed emotions. Happy for those receiving their referrals. Thrilled for Julie and Lisa who leave next week to meet their beautiful babies face to face!! But, yes, I'm also hosting a pity party for those of us who are still so far away. If you'd like to join me please feel free. I should warn you though, it's not going to be a long party. For a little while we'll feel badly, quite possibly cry a little but pity party will be over for right now because hey...God's timing is perfect and it's not His timing yet and there is so much life to be living for right NOW! I refuse to put God in a box and tell him that life will begin once Hannah arrives. Oh no!!! I love her already but I also want to be thankful for today and each day God gives me!

To help me up I'm starting a thankful list...
Today I'm thankful for my great God, family and friends!!! I'm thankful for some upcoming exciting events:
- getting together with adoptive friends this weekend
- preparing for a Disney trip with my niece in only 8 more sleeps!
- Christmas and all the preparations as we celebrate Jesus, the Reason for the Season!

Yup...beginning to feel better already! Like I say, if you want to attend this pity party ya better show up quickly as I'm already beginning to remind myself of the good things God has given today and my mood is beginning to lift.

Congrats to those who will receive their referrals shortly!

Congrats Julie and Lisa!!! (I can't believe I won't have access to a computer the week you receive Tess and Maisie! Could you hold off travel just one short week so that I don't miss any of the wonderful details of meeting your daughters?!! LOL!!!)

Thankful to God for providing me with the funds and job to ride this 'stroller coaster' and for all the AMAZING friends He's bringing along on this journey. This journey takes so many of you on this stroller coaster with me and I am thankful for each of YOU! Some of you have known me for years and others just months or days. I'm so happy to have you along! Hang on friends....we're going around again.

This ride is far from over!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mmmm...Christmas Baking!

Tonight my friend Joy-Lynn is hosting a Christmas cookie exchange so part of yesterday was spent preparing these yummy little treats. They're not officially 'cookies' but am sure they'll pass the test!

Friday I was trying to figure out what kind of cookies to bake. Scanning the web, analyzing how much time I'd have over the weekend to bake, etc. What a wonderful surprise it was to arrive home and find out that there was a package waiting for me at the post office. I hopped back into my car, looking forward to finding what little treat awaited Miss Hannah. What a fun surprise when the package was for me from my cousin Julie in Michigan! What a sweetie you are! Julie has made these tasty morsels the past couple of times we've gotten together at my aunt's place on Boxing Day (December 26th - A holiday in Canada except the stores are open and big sales! Kinda our version of Black Friday.) In the box was all the fixings I'd need to make these tasty treats! Round pretzels are impossible to find in Ontario. If anyone sees them, please let me know as these are a real crowd pleaser and very easy to make.

Anyway, as the weekend progressed I thought what fun it would be to take these little treats to the exchange so bright and early yesterday morning I was up making 16 dozen treats.

In the meantime I'd also emailed my friend Norma on Friday asking for her recipe for coconut tarts. She sent it so figured I couldn't let all her hard work go to waste so I made these too. Yummm! Note to self: Next year don't put tarts in oven and then climb up on the roof to hang Christmas wreaths. :o) Oh well, they're delicious all the same even if their tops are a little crusty!

Thanks again Julie for the wonderful gift! I'm looking forward to seeing you on boxing day!! Love ya!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Spoiled Once Again!

Oh my!!! When I drove home yesterday there was a huge package waiting on the front porch.'s Secret Pal time again! This month's theme was 'Travel Essentials' and my SP thought of absolutely everything! I kept pulling item after item out of the envelope. It kinda felt like that clown that pulls a stream of kerchiefs from his sleeve. Just when I thought the envelope could not have held one more item I'd place my hand in and pull out another treat! SP - You're the BEST!!!

The first items I found were a cozy neck pillow and matching blanket for the flight. Mmmm...I've often looked at these pillows but never purchased one. There were also 2 luggage tags with the Canadian flag on them! Neat! A cute little face cloth with a panda on it will be much used both in China and again at home.

The next items were to help out while in China. A box of disposable bags for dirty diapers. Oh yes...we'll be sure to use those when we leave those wonderful little bundles of fun in Grandma and Grandpa's room I mean, our room. There were also some really great things I hadn't thought about buying package of Q-tips, a first aid kit, Shout wipes, Lysol wipes, Wet Ones, gum, hand sanitizer (the fancy stuff at that!) travel size Johhson's baby stuff and a tiny bar of baby soap too!

Another great item was this fun picture frame with airplanes all over it and a caption that reads, 'What a Trip!' How perfect!

My SP also comes up with some ingenious ways to use the March DTC logo. This month it's with 2 CD's entitled, 'Chinese for the Adoptive Parent' Parts I and II! I've looked absolutely everywhere for CD's where I can learn basic Mandarin and haven't been able to find them. How did you know SP? Thank you!! ( learn a teeny, tiny bit of the language. That's another hurdle to jump.) She also included a laminated sheet with words and phrases in English, Mandarin and the english translation. Now I'll be able to tell Hannah such things as 'Wo men hui yong yuan shi ni de jia ren' (phonetic spelling) (We will be your family forever) And, my very, very favourite....Wo ai ni...I LOVE YOU! Oh yah...gonna use that one lots and lots!

Thank you SP!! Once again you outdid yourself and I am very, very thankful!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Yeah!!! 8 Month LIDiversary!

What a wonderful day! Today is my 8 month LIDiversary, celebrating my file being in China for 8 whole months! Wow! What a wonderful feeling! As rumours of a large referral batch dance through the adoption world, it gives us another reason to celebrate! If the referrals go deep into September 2005 LID's (as the rumours are leading us to believe) it could finally be the beginning of the speed-up we've been praying for. What a blessing that would be!

What all this means in layman's terms is that if this month CCAA refers a full month's worth of LID's and if this is the new trend, then I could be seeing a referral late next summer (August Bridge???) and travel in the fall!

As you can see, there are still a lot of if's but this girl is celebrating 8 months today and that allows me the opportunity to dream!

Still enjoying the flower celebration too. Nothing extravagant. Just a little $4.99 bundle of carnations from the grocery store but oh those flowers make me smile every time I see them and think of beautiful baby Hannah!

So Much To Be Thankful For!

Happy Thanksgiving

to my wonderful friends to the south!

Enjoy some turkey...and stuffing...and potatoes...and pie for me, k?

Have a wonderful holiday and tomorrow, shop 'til you drop! Come on, I've seen your blogs and I know you can do it! :o)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Beautiful Gift of Love!!!

When I arrived home a few weeks ago there was a box waiting for me (well...Hannah) on the front porch. It was light when I picked it up and I read that it was from my wonderful friend Della! Della and I met in Bible College ummm...a while back...and I knew immediately it was something that she had made for Hannah. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the gift of love that was contained within that box!!!! 9 pairs of handmade booties for precious Hannah's sweet feet! I cried as I oooed and awwwwwed over every pair and held them so carefully. What a precious gift! Not knowing what size she'll be when we meet, there was a variety of sizes in the beautifully wrapped box and each pair was beautifully made with such care a love!

I can't wait to put them on my precious baby girl but until that time, this year they will hang lovingly on my Christmas tree reminding me that Lord willing, sweet Hannah will be here by Christmas next year!

THANK YOU Della!!!!! Love you lots!

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Please Meet My China Travel Group!

Last night I had the awesome priviledge of meeting the families I will travel to China with! We are all with the same agency and share a LID. Our files were sent to China together in March of this year and logged in on March 23rd. Currently our little group of files are either waiting patiently at the door to go into the review room or already in there and doing their very best to show CCAA what a great group of Canadians are and how thankful we would be to be parents of their precious children!

Our travel group met at the Mandarin Restaurant with is a huge Chinese food buffet. What better place of all of us to get to know one another? It was so nice to finally put faces to names and meet one another. It seems we probably still have a long wait in front of us so we'll have lots of time to get to know one another more prior to travel.

Here's my great group!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Waiting Mommies Meet-up!

What a great evening! There are a number of waiting mommies in our area who have met via friendships, blogs and yahoo groups. Tonight we decided to get together and what fun we had! With the exception of Jill and Andrea, it was my first time meeting the rest of these wonderful gals!

From left to right we have Rebekah, Paula, Kathy, Andrea, Laurie, Jill, myself and Michelle.

We had an absolutely wonderful evening getting to know one another, sharing adoption stories, baby names and of course, gifts for our sweet babies! (It was funny to watch 8 women open gift bags decorated with baby themes yet none of us looking pregnant. Hmmmm...I guess this is what 'paper pregnant' looks like!)

Kathy gave Hannah her very first Christmas book! It's has the fun reindeer who sticks his head through each page of the book. She also gave us adorable little frames that will be the perfect size for displaying Hannah's referral picture!

Paula found this cute little Hello Kitty dish with matching baby chopsticks and scooop spoon...perfect for feeding baby congee. Guess I'd better learn to make congee (whatever that is!) before heading to China as it seems to be a staple for babies there.

The 8 of us had a great time and the evening just flew by! Before we knew it it was almost 11:00 and we'd arrived at 6:30! Where did the time go? It was so interesting to share adoption stories, family stories and so much more.

Laurie is our resident expert as she has an absolutely adorable 2yo from Hunan province at home and is in the process of adopting her second. We asked her a ton of questions and she was great with sharing all that she could about her trip to China, meeting her daughter and the time after that. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful Laurie. God has blessed your family in such a wonderful way and now He is preparing another little girl in China to join your family too!

We found out through our time together that our LID's are spread over the months of March through Ocotober or November this year. (Michelle, Jill and Laurie are currently waiting to hear their LID's as they were all DTC in October.) Another neat thing is that we're with 2 different agencies. It was neat to learn things from one another and from the seminars that some have attended. So much to learn....and so much time to learn it! Guess that's a positive spin on the referral slow down.

Had a great time gals! Looking forward to getting together again early in the New Year!

Out of the Mouths of Babes!

I received the neatest email this morning! It was short and sweet and yet at the same time gave me God-bumps upon God-bumps and brought a huge smile to my face!

Last month I met a new friend who lives in Orlando, FL. Next month, my sweet niece and I are boarding a plane…destination everything Disney! I hadn’t planned on taking her this year but an amazing deal came my way and sadly for a 7yo, she’s had a tough fall and she needs a break. What better place than Disney and who else but her aunt who is a complete Disney freak to take her? (This is our 3rd trip in as many years so you’ve guessed it – I’ve passed my love onto the next generation! Yeah!!) So yes, we head off in a few short weeks to the land of everything happy, make believe and where Rebecca’s on a first name basis with the Mouse himself! After all, he and Cinderella have both sent her post cards personally ;o) so they must know her name!

Anyway, back to the original story. My friend and I have been trying desperately to figure out how we can get together while Rebecca and I are visiting the sunny south. I tried to change 3 different dinner reservations from 2 people to 4 but with the huge success of the Disney Dining Plan (a great program!) we’ve been unable to do so. So, what we’ve worked out is that the night R and I are dining with Cinderella, my friend and her granddaughter are going to meet us at the Grand Floridian and after touring the beauty there, will head back to our resort for the girls to swim.

My friend mentioned these plans to her granddaughter last night and this was her response.

‘Is her niece Chinese?’

Can you imagine?!!! She’s never met me nor even heard of me yet that was her question! Too cool!

I love it when that happens! I see things like this as God’s way of reminding me that He is in control and in His timing He will bring Hannah and I together. Ahhh…peace! What a wonderful feeling…God’s peace!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thanks for the cute hair stuff Cathy!

October's colour for hair accessories was orange. Pretty appropriate considering the beautiful fall colours.

I received this cute assortment of orange do-dads for little Miss Hannah. They're all great but I just love the fishie barrette! Can't wait to see that in her beautiful head of jet black hair!
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