Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's Like Living in a Time Warp!

I went for my 3rd and final Twinrix vaccination last Thursday. It was due in the spring but I kinda forgot. I remember last time when I went, my doctor laughed at me when I had his secretary take this pic of him giving me my vaccination.

Today though, as I read the this post that I wrote November 15th of last year I realized that in some senses I feel like I (and my fellow adoption friends) are living in this weird kinda time warp!

Life goes on for sure. If you’ve read here for any amount of time you know that no grass is growing under these feet of mine but, at the same time, it almost feels like the adoption time is moving in s-l-o-w motion as the rest of my life moves at normal/warp speed!

Reading the post I wrote last year I can honestly say that I could write the entire post again today and it would still be true. Every single word of it. Weird!

In those almost 9 months (kinda ironic that it’s ‘9 months’) I’ve:
- visited Disney, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Montreal and Georgia plus many other places closer to home
- met more than 30 new bloggy friends in person
- celebrated the birthday of each of my family members
- celebrated Christmas and Easter
- celebrated the birth of 2 new grandchildren of Norma, my China traveling buddy
- and much, much more…

Yet, when asked when I anticipate traveling to China to meet Hannah I still can say with confidence, ‘I’m guessing it’s probably at least another year!’

But ya know what? I’m still 110% confident that God’s timing is perfect and that in His time Hannah and I will meet. I am unbelievably blessed at the peace God gives me during this wait.

'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'
Philippians 4:4-7

Oh yes, I can have rough days and a tear soaked pillow at night, but always, always ‘peace that passes all understanding.’ Praising God for the peace He is providing!

Thank You Secret Pal!!

Wow, wow...WOW! Once again my Secret Pal was beyond generous with July's gift! Thank you so much SP!

July's theme was 'Summer Fun' and oh boy will Hannah have fun and be stylin' with all her new summer treats! Absolutely everything she'll need for a day of fun in the sun with mommy was included!

Miss Hannah will be sporting this too-cute-for-words pink ladybug bathing suit with one of her 2 matching hats that have the great neck protection flap at the back.

On her feet outside of the pool she'll wear adorable, sparkled flip flops and when in the pool, teeny, tiny pink water shoes! I've secretly wanted a pair of those flip flops since they were all the rage at the last MIW dinner when a few people received them.

Upon exiting her too cute lady bug pool, Hannah will don her bright, fun, colourful beach towel while reading her new 'Who Loves Baby?' book! (These books are wonderful and I plan on sending one in a care package to Hannah once I receive her referral. They're made so that pictures can be inserted in each page so I'll send one with pics of myself and my family so that she will have an opportunity to see us and get to know me a bit before I arrive in China. Hopefully this will ease the transition a little bit.)

Thank you, thank you SP! Once again you outdid yourself and I am very thankful! The card matches the entire gift perfectly and I'm already enjoying the shower gel.

Thank you!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hanging out by the Pool in GA

Following the unwritten but oh so understood agreement of ‘Thou shalt post no bathing suit pics without signed in triplicate permission’ I give you a few pool side/fully clothed pics. Note: The adorable little kiddies were excluded from the above clause as they’re just so cute in their little swimmies!

Mali catching some serious air time playing ‘jump’ in the pool! I think we did this about 30 times before we were through!

Admiring one another’s choice of swimming vest.

Sweet, sweet Maisie who was happiest just getting her legs wet.

Friday night poolside grabbing a photo op of the Friday night gang. Oh yah…the par*taying had begun!

Georgia Gifties

It was fun to have a little gift exchange while we were together. Hannah and Mommy both received some really neat things!

- Adorable little pink shoes with black polka dots. Can’t wait until she wears these cuties!
- Coveted ‘Everybody Loves a Brown Eyed Girl’ t-shirt! (Wahoo…we have one now!)
- Beautiful handmade bracelet
- ‘Forever Lily’ book – I’m already 100 pages into it and really enjoying it!
- Cute little ladybug bib that will really come in handy
- Yummy homemade ladybug cookie (who’s a little squished after the flight :o)
- Fun, beautiful ‘Hannah’ nametag that I’ll put on her diaper bag

A fun t-shirt that we each rec’d to remember the infamous ‘Bodacious Blogger Break of 2007!’

Mom’s Survival kit that contained:
- chocolate!

My little gifts ready to be handed out.

Thanks Norma and Rebecca for all your help in helping me make these.

Thanks so much for your great gifts everyone! Each one is special because of who it came from!

Miss you like crazy!!

GA Bloggy Bash Video!

Tracy did a great job of capturing our weekend of fun in video form! If you haven't already watched this on 5 other blogs, please enjoy it here!

And yes....it was confirmed over and over again that 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!!'

Miss ya gals! Can't believe it was just a week ago today that the par*tay got started! SO much fun and this foreigner misses ya tons!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

'Currently in China' - Updated

I have 3 friends whom I've met at recent bloggy get-togethers who are leaving for China either today or tomorrow! I've added links to the sidebar if you wish to follow their journeys.

Praying for you Lisa, Julie and Elisa! Your precious baby girls will be in your arms soon!! Praise God!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Who's Who at the Georgia Bloggy Summit?

I'll give you a rundown of who's who to help make things easier.

Back row (l to r) Connie, Krista, Melissa, Lisa and Maisie, me and Susie.

Middle row (l to r) Stacy, Kathy, Lisa F (who leaves tomorrow for China!), Alison and Tawni (standing in the water)

Front row (l to r) Kris, Heather, Maryellen, Mali - Alison's precious daughter, Angela, Tracy, and sweet Lili (who's mom Deb is behind the camera)

This folks is one amazing group of ladies! It was fun to laugh, eat, talk...repeat, for the entire weekend! We gathered from across 8 states and 2 countries with one common bond....our children from China either home with us now or in our hearts. Looking forward to meeting all of you again and as time goes by, being introduced to your children!!

Georgia Bloggy Summit. First Stop? Timmy's!!!

How does any good ‘foreigner’ begin and end her Georgia Bloggy Bash? With Tim Hortons of course! :o)

Friday morning I was up bright…errr dark and early and set off for the airport. My friend Norma and I had stayed with her sister Shirley in Niagara Falls on Thursday night. Thanks for the bed and warm hospitality Shirley!

Going back to Thursday night, a real treat was that Shirley’s SIL Marie was able to get the 4 of us tickets to see Avaia in Niagara Falls. Wow! What a great show! It’s a Circue du Soleil style show featuring some great tumbling acts, clowns and wonderful horseback riding and tricks. Really neat! Thanks for getting the tickets Marie! It was great to see you and Shirley again and spend some time together. Thanks also for the directions to the airport. They were perfect which was really nice at 4AM in a different country!

Back to Friday morning. My 3 alarms (yes 3 since I’d only gone to bed 2 hours earlier) went off at 3am, 3:10 and 3:15. My 4th alarm – Norma, walked down the hall at 3:20 just to make sure I was up. Thanks Norma! I got ready and hit the road. First stop? Timmy’s of course! 3:55am with 2 hours of sleep = needed a Timmy’s! :o) (Too funny! Not yet 4am and I was the 3rd car in line at the drive through! We Canadians sure do love our Tim Horton’s!)

After crossing the border I headed to the airport, flew to Charlotte, NC then on to Atlanta, GA. I love modern day travel! In the matter of a few hours not only was I in a different country I was 2 days drive into that new country!

Stacy had driven in from Kentucky the day before and met me at the airport. It was SO good to see her again! Although we’d emailed and phoned one another a number of times, it was the first time we’d seen one another in person since last November’s Motor City Mama’s Bloggy Summit. What a sweet reunion it was!

She and I stopped at Tar*jay and also at Bath & Body Works and did a little shoppy, shoppy. We were going to grab some lunch (as it was almost 3 by now) but Krista called to make sure we hadn’t driven into a ditch! We decided to forgo the lunch, checked Stacy into her room, picked up a few groceries (because you know we girls were gonna eat!) and then headed to the par*tay at Melissa’s.

(I’ll post more posts about the bloggy bash in a bit….)

On Sunday, (l to r) Stacy, Melissa, Connie and Krista drove Heather and I to the airport. It was funny as we were getting near the airport and Melissa asked where she should go and I piped up with directions from the back seat with drop off directions. We all laughed as she said ‘Look at me. Trusting ‘the foreigner’ with directions to my airport!’ Guess that’s my new nickname with this group, ‘the foreigner.’ It works! (On a side note – if any of them try to tell you that I have an accent, take it from me…I’m not the one with the accent, eh?!!)

Flights home were good and I was back at the Buffalo airport before 10pm last night and started home. First stop across the border? Tim Hortons! Oh yah…and did I need it! Tons of laughing, chatting and eating over the weekend!! Sleep? Mmm...not so much! That Tim’s helped get this tired girl home safely last night.

Celebrating 16 month LIDiversary!!!

Wahoo!!! 16 months closer to my precious daughter! I love celebrating each month albeit wish there weren't so many months to celebrate!

Spending this past weekend with so many other waiting mommies and those home with their little ones helped to keep the whole adoption 'real' during the wait. Meeting Mali and having her amongst us, climbing up on laps, reading stories and playing 'jump' in the pool made it all so much more real!! It WILL happen and I'm excitedly waiting for God's perfect timing to bring Hannah and I together!

16 months closer to Hannah and oh so thankful and excited!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Having a Great Time!!

Hi Allison's Mom!

We're having a great time in GA but heard that you're lonely since some of your favourites are too busy to update. Sorry!!

Wanted to tell you how adorable your granddaughter is! She has been totally amazing all weekend and we've all enjoyed getting to know she and Allison.

There are more pictures then we know what to do with so we'll share them with you soon!

PS - Melissa's husband Darren deserves a medal for putting up with all of us this weekend! Thanks Melissa and Darren....you're AMAZING hosts!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Carry On Only (COO)?? I Think Not!!!

Can you believe this is what I have packed for a weekend away? Yes...a weekend! 4 days, 3 nights. That's all folks! My hat is off to my friends Connie and Lisa who have done or are planning to do their entire China trip by going COO! I can't even imagine that! I think I need a packing intervention and since I'll be with these 2 great ladies this weekend maybe they can offer me some help? (To my defense, after last weeks pillow fiasco I do have 2 pillows packed in the big suitcase which is almost everything that is in that one!) Anyway, I'm prepared (I hope) so I'm off!

Where? To the great state of Georgia to meet up with a group of bloggy pals, most of whom I've only met online! It will be wonderful to see Stacy, Connie and Krista again and I'm looking forward to meeting a bunch of new friends too! Looking forward to a fabulous weekend with friends old and new!

Cottage Time with Deb

Each summer I spend some time visiting my friend Deb at her cottage. This year our time was short as it was only 2 days but we still had a ton of fun together! Deb’s cottage is at the same place as Mom and Dad’s so it’s easy to move from one to another.

Monday was bright and sunny so we sat on the dock for a while and then ventured into town to visit the little stores. Huntsville is such a pretty little town and right in the heart of Muskoka.

One of our annual traditions is to go out for dinner and then to a movie. We’d hoped to go see Evan Almighty but when you’re in da north country movies can be slim pickings. Since neither of us wanted to go see Harry Potter or the Transformers we thought we’d have to let our tradition go by the wayside this year. But then…we thought, ‘Hey, why not go see Ratatouille?’ We are so glad that we did as it was a great movie!! Well worth going to see even if you don’t have a child with you! Although I think Deb realized she did have a 'kid' with her!

Boating Fun!

We’ve rented a cottage for the past 30+ years. For the first 27 years we were in one location then 3 years ago mom and dad began renting this one.

One of the things dad did when we changed cottages was purchase a boat and oh what fun we’ve had with it! It seats about 8 people and we just love it!

Rebecca’s favourite spot it right at the very front. She asks me to hold the tail of her lifejacket and she hangs on with a smile from ear to ear as we bump across the sometimes choppy water.

Our favourite destination? A little general store at the end of the lake where we go for ice cream. Yumm! Normally we eat it but sometimes it’s just as fun to wear it on the end of our noses!

More Cottage Fun!

Some pics from our fun at the cottage this past weekend. Saturday was a rainy day but that didn’t stop the fun! Grab an umbrella and old bread to feed the ducks and all is well. Love this picture of my dad and Noah!

Puzzle time fun for Noah. He’s all about the movie ‘Cars’ right now, can you tell?

Noah trying out Daddy’s camera.

Auntie Cathy likes daddy’s camera! It takes great pics and he lets me borrow it any time I like. What a great brother!

Rebecca was feeding the ducks some little Ritz crackers that had cheese in the middle. She figured they wouldn’t like the cheese so she’d eat it first and then throw them the crackers. I’m guessing she liked the cheese. :o)

Saturday afternoon we went to my cousin Sean’s place to visit with his family as well as Dad’s brother and his wife. Sean (left) and Dave showing off their matching haircuts.

I love all the extra ‘family time’ that the cottage involves!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Successful Surprise!

Yeah! The little surprise that my brother Dave and I planned worked!

A couple of weeks ago I found out that my mom’s sister and brother and their spouses plus a cousin and her hubby were going to be traveling to their cottages last Saturday. They live 6+ hours away from us and we haven’t seen many of them since Christmas yet would be driving right by our cottage. They were up at 3am and on the road by 5!

Aunt Marg and I started planning the surprise a couple of weeks ago and it worked out perfectly! She called my cell phone (my parents didn’t know I’d arrived yet as I was visiting with friends) when Aunt Marg and the gang were near the cottage and I drove out to guide them in. David was on ‘keep the parents in the cottage’ duty which is no easy feat on a rainy Saturday when there is laundry to be done in town. Anyway, he successfully kept my parents in the cottage and I arrived with 6 of mom’s family in tow shortly before noon on Saturday. To say they were surprised is an understatement! What fun it was to show up with family and we had a great visit together!

I love surprises!

PS - In the pic above l to r are: Greg, Marg (Mom's sister and Greg's wife), my cousin Rachel, Aunt Elaine, Neill (Rachel's husband) and Uncle Gerry (Mom's brother and Elaine's husband)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cottage Fun - Weekend 1!

Last weekend we headed north for our first weekend at the cottage. Mom and Dad rent a cottage for 3 weeks in July and we all look forward to it! It was extra fun for Rebecca as her friend Victoria was able to come up for the weekend and they had a ton of fun together! Laughing, singing, playing, chatting, swimming and so much more! Sadly I hardly took any pictures. What was I thinking?

We arrived Saturday afternoon and put the boat into the water only to realize the battery was dead and we needed a new one. Ugh! Mom watched the girls while dad and took a run into town to get a new battery and pick up some groceries.

When we returned we unloaded the van which is no easy feat as there are about 50 steps down from the parking area to the actual cottage. One look across the lake from the front room though and it's all worth it!

I have to explain this pic as it has a fun story behind it. A few years ago when we arrived at the cottage Rebecca asked Grandma for some applesauce. Since it wasn't sweetened Mom put a little 'sugar' in it before giving it to her. She took one bite and said, 'Ewwwwwww...it tastes like soap!!' Yup, Mom had accidentally put Tide in her applesauce rather than sugar. My parent's take little bits of what they'll need for 3 weeks in ziploc bags. So ever since then...the soap and the sugar are clearly marked and we all get a chuckle out of the Tide story! And you have to know that we never let mom live that one down!

Another one of the highlights last weekend was the speaker, James MacDonald of Walk in the Word ministries was the speaker. I was only able to hear him on Sunday evening but he was great! One of the fun things is that this week he's been recording a new DVD series so there was a film crew from Nashville set up in the chapel. For someone like me who distracts easily, I had to work on concentrating as a huge 50' boom camera was swinging about but it's neat to think those DVD's will go out around the world later this year. Fun!

I'll be heading back up to the cottage tomorrow after work and am looking forward to it. Will spend a couple of days with my parents and then move to a friend's cottage until Tuesday. I have something really exciting up my sleeve for my parents this weekend (I can write that here because they don't have access to a computer so won't be reading my blog) but I won't share the details yet. If it all goes to plan it will be AMAZING!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

PS - The nasty feather pillow has been moved far, far away from my room and my mom was kind enough to wash the bedding for me. Thanks mom!

Electrical Storm!

Last Sunday evening as Victoria and I drove home from the cottage we drove through the most amazing (and somewhat frightening) electrical storm! It had been hot and dry for days and with the cooler temps rolling in it was the perfect setup for an electrical storm.

I would say that of the 2 hours we drove, approx. 1 1/2 of it was lightening, lightening and more lightening. 10 seconds between flashes was a long span to go. We had some rain but not tons, just lots of lightening.

Part way through our drive home I placed my camera on the dash to catch some of the excitement. Victoria was a real trooper for a kid who doesn't care for storms. She also watched 'Mrs. Doubtfire' which helped to keep her occupied.

Here's a little of what we experienced. Kinda cool! Check out the neat lightening bolt around the 23 second mark. We saw lots of these!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mystery Solved!!

Yeah! What I have is hives and they're an allergic reaction. Still itchy but some places slightly less than yesterday. After trying over and over to figure out what might have caused them I thought back to the only other time I've had something like this and it was almost 15 years ago and I was allergic to a fur coat of a coworker that I tried on.

What happened this time was on the weekend I took one of my own pillows from home and used one of the cottage pillows as my 'hugging pillow.' Sure enough, when I talked to my dad this morning he went upstairs and checked and it's a feather pillow. Not sure what kind of feathers - I just know my body doesn't like them! (I slept with a feather pillow for years as a kid but now my body doesn't like them at all as I found out the hard way!) I have huge welts on the inside of my arms from my wrists to almost my shoulders, my chest, neck and chin. Yup....everywhere that pillow would have touched my skin. Even though it had 2 pillow cases on it it was more than my body could handle so it reacted. Yuck! Not too many new spots appearing today which is good because they seem to be most itchy when they first come up. Some places are blistering but not really painful or itchy there. I tell ya...I look like Casper walking around! :o) The best way to deal with the itching has been numerous oatmeal baths and lots of calamine lotion and Benadryl.

Oh well, it's been a lesson learned and I just feel so relieved that we've finally determined the cause so that I can avoid a similar situation in the future!

Itchy Scratchy signing off!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Good and the Not so Good

On Canada day last week I decided to tidy my gardens a little. As you can see by this picture I have a huge back yard! Yup! That's it folks! The total depth of my back yard is an air conditioner + small garden. It's easy to mow and although I often get ribbed about 'How do I ever find time to mow my monsterous lawn?', I tell them I take an afternoon off work and see what I can do. It is fun though to be able to mow my lawn + 2 neighbours all in the span of 1 commercial break on TV!

I have to be honest though and say that I have amazing neighbours! The couple that lives next door are a wonderful, retired couple and they love to putter. Due to our small size I'm blessed to have them putter in my garden too! They take great care of my gardens and know that they're free to do whatever they want and pull whatever they want. Works well for both of us.

Anyway, the lilac you can see was getting pretty overgrown so it was time for a trim. Len and I went at it with some big clippers and it looks so much better! We also pulled out a bunch of stuff and trimmed back some of the lower branches on the maple tree in the front yard.

Why am I sharing this? Because I forgot about an age old saying, 'Leaves of 3. Let them be.' I don't remember seeing any 'leaves of 3' but I have a feeling they must have been there. A few years back I transplanted some wild flowers into this little garden above. At the same time, Sharon and Larry transplanted some too. The following year when Sharon was working on her garden she got a nasty case of poison ivy. It didn't happen to me so I thought I was spared. Ummm...nope!

Last Friday morning I noticed a few bumps on my skin but they weren't itchy so I didn't think too much about them. Last evening and then this morning my arms have totally broken out and are red, itchy and swolen up and down all the exposed areas - exactly where I scooped up the clippings to take them to the garbage bin.

In trying to recreate the situation I think I might know what happened. Not knowing about the poison ivy, I had hung my t-shirt back in the closet. I wore that t-shirt again on Sunday for a number of hours and I have a feeling it must have had some of the poison ivy oil on it so that's where the new breakout has come from.

I'm fairly sure that's what it is but I'm going to pop into urgent care just to be on the safe side. Will keep you posted. And until then...off to apply more Aveeno lotion. How you doing Krista? We can be comrads in our bumpy, red, blotchy fashion statement! Others will be sooo jealous!

*Update* Hmmm...still a mystery. Just returned from Urgent Care and the doc says it's not poison ivy, oak or ash. He's not sure what it is nor where I got it although he believes it's some sort of contact that caused it. I'm glad I went though as it's getting itchier as the day progresses and is spreading. He gave me some cream to put on it and feels it will be gone in a few days. Yeah! It's kinda hard to wear long sleeves when it's 105o outside!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Numbers, Numbers...Numbers!

If you knew me in school, you’d know that math was my stronger subject and English not so much. Normally I enjoy playing with numbers. Remembering phone numbers, bank account numbers and credit card numbers comes quite easily to me. Names? Not so much… Just ask my friends in the Waiting Mommies Group. It’s common knowledge that the name tags at the dinners are not so much for the new girls as they are for this old gal who just seems to struggle with names.

Anyway, you may have noticed that I’ve updated the CCAA website info and referral information on the right of the page. Log in Dates (LID’s) through May 31, 2005 are through the Review Room. A big congrats (and audible sigh!) for all those who have made it through!

The other number listed on their site that was updated last week is the referral information numbers. It now reads, ‘The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 14, 2005.’ For all those who received referrals over the past few days…another big congrats!

For those of us waiting…the wait continues. It’s fairly common knowledge that November 2005 was a huge month for LID’s so it’s just going to take a while to get through November. It has been 3 months so far and I’m guessing it will take another 3 months (August, September and October) to get through the remainder of November. Here’s hoping though that the October batch at least wanders (even a little bit) into December LID’s. Oh how sweet it will be to see December on the CCAA website and have the monster months of October and November behind us!

The polls show that December 2005, January 2006 and February 2006 have less files logged in so in my little world that means that hopefully we will see more than 6 or 7 days of files covered each month. Only time will tell but I’m holding out hope.

My guesstimation for a referral is about a varied as can be. Some days I hold on to the hope of a May 2008 referral, yet others I prepare for anything up to and including September 2008. Whenever it is, right now I’m confident that it will happen in 2008 and that’s a reason to celebrate!
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