Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looking for Blogger Help ** Updated **

My sidebar has decided to take a trip south and can now be found at the bottom of my screen. Hmmm...I'm guessing that would no longer make is a 'sidebar' but a 'bottom feeder?'

Looking for help to get it back up where it belongs! Any hints, suggestions greatly appreciated. I know I'm not the first person this has happened to.

I didn't make any changes to it that I'm aware of, it just took a dive all on it's own.

** Update**
Thank you Lisa M!! You fixed it...and I'm not sure I ever would have found it! A couple of posts ago I received an HTML error when I tried to post and bad me just clicked the box 'Don't show any more errors' and published it anyway. Well, that was it. Somewhere in the background of my post was an incomplete < div > < /div > tag that caused the problem and the sidebar moved south. It's back up where it belongs...ahhh, that feels better! Thanks Lisa!! Your help was greatly appreciated!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Celebrating 29 Months Closer to Hannah!!

Another month has sped by and oh what an exciting month it has been! CC*AA has completed matching files through January 2006 which means next month we'll see LID's for February 2006. Wow....they're matching the month before mine!! I get goosebumps realizing how close it's actually getting! After almost 2 1/2 years of my file being in China, 9 months seems like so little and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Add to that the excitement of watching the Olympics in the country where my daughter is probably already living almost takes my breath away! It's been so neat to meet the people of China and see the beautiful country via the special interviews as well as the sports venues. Did you see the triathalon? The swimming portion with the beautiful pagoda in the background was gorgeous! I also enjoyed seeing all the jumps in the equestrian events. LOL...I think I might have been the only person who was enjoying the beauiful jumps almost more than the horses and riders jumping them.

So today I celebrate one more month that my file has been in China and one month closer to my sweet baby girl!

Mommy already loves you so much Hannah!!! I can't wait for the day when I hold you in my arms and together we visit parts of the beautiful country that you now call home!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Disney Fun!!

I tell you, in my books there is nothing better than a Disney trip when you're looking for a fun time of entertainment, rest, relaxation adventures and an all-round great time! Bridget and I shared 4 days together and had a blast!! Wouldn't change a thing!

We stayed at the All Star Music Resort which was new for both of us. It's one of Disney's value resorts and was great for us. I'm still partial to Pop Century but would recommend this one to others, especially if they will have time to spend at the pool. There are dance parties, games and each night they put up a big screen near the pool and show a Disney movie. Fun! Our resort was near the piano pool which is appropriate.

After checking out our room we headed to the Magic Kingdom to begin our long day of fun! One thing that's different about being at Disney in the summer (I'm normally there in the winter) is the hours. This night was Extra Magic Hours for resort guests so yup...I was there until 2am!

It was fun to try out some of the bigger rides that I haven't had an opportunity to ride the last few trips. It's neat how Disney can be enjoyed by all ages and all adventure levels. The moutain trio: Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain were enjoyed more than once each.

We left the park for a couple of hours to enjoy supper at the Polynesian Resort's Kona Cafe. Mmmmm! We chose to buy the dining plan and are thankful we did. It gave us oppotunities to try out some neat new restaurants. We both highly recommend Kona Cafe and their Terriaki steak is deeelish.

After a bit of down time in the room to rest we headed back to the park in time to enjoy Wishes which is an amazing fireworks display. If you're ever at Disney, please treat yourself to their fireworks displays . Each is AMAZING and fully choreographed with music and stories!!

We lined up and received our Extra Magic Hours wristbands, grabbed Fastpasses and set about having more fun.

On the way out of the park I noticed a line of people so of course had to check it out. heh! It was one of those rare opportunities to have a picture taken with Mickey and Minnie together so I happily joined the end of the line and waited my turn to meet the Mouse himself! The perfect way to end a GREAT day!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mmmm...Ice Cream!

Carol and I have chatted often over the summer but our busy schedules just haven't allowed us to get together. Tonight we decided it was time to rectify that and what better way than over ice cream and coffee? Yum!

We went to Baskin Robbins near our homes and as I mentioned here, I find it quite humorous that the new kid on the block beside Baskin Robbins is Weight Watchers! Heh! Tonight I chose the ice cream...yes!

We both enjoy peanut butter and chocolate so it was ooey gooey chocolate and peanut butter for all. An easy choice for both of us although one person had more self control and got just ice cream rather than a sundae. If you know my thoughts on cherries you'll know which one was mine!

Nothing goes better after a delicious ice cream treat than a good ole cup of java!

Protecting the...guilty! This is the only pic of Carol that you'll see of our ice cream and coffee run. heh!

As we discussed getting together for an evening of summer treats we decided it really would be wise if we walked to Baskin Robbins and tried to wear off some of the calories. Here you have it: We parked on the far side of the parking lot and 'walked'!! Oh yah, that's the ticket! LOL!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Michelle!

Today is Michelle's Birthday!!

Hope today is extra special for you friend!!

Happy, happy Birthday!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meeting New Friends!

It was a treat on Tuesday afternoon to finally meet in person some wonderful people who have been bloggy friends for a couple of years! Bridget and I walked out of the World Showcase at Epcot and headed to the Boardwalk Resort. I had never seen this part of Disney and oh my are there some beautiful Disney resorts within walking distance of Epcot!
(left to right) Alyson, me, Be with Joanna, Don and Ford

Don and Be were in China a month ago meeting their precious bundle of energy Joanna Mei. Oh my is she fun and so cute!! She was happy to toddle her way amongst us and play games with each of us while we visited. Congratulations Don and Be! Joanna Mei is absolutely adorable!

Bridget and I were also priviledged to meet Ford and Alyson just hours after they'd received their referral of the beautiful daughter Alyzabeth An! If you haven't had an opportunity to see their precious daughter's face please take a moment and head on over. She's gorgeous!

Dannye and her husband Ray were also there and it was good to meet them too. It's always a treat to meet bloggy friends.

(left to right: Joanna Mei, Be, Ray, Dannye, Don, me, Ford and Alyson)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy To Have Been Wrong!

When I returned home Thursday I 'had' to check out Rumor Queen to see what had happened while I was away. Because I was leaving town last Saturday I'd updated the Tracking Referrals spreadsheet (click bottom right corner of spreadsheet to make it more legible) prior to CC*AA officially updating their website. When I'd posted about the August referral batch I believed that the referrals would cover 2 days of files and take us to January 27th.

I was thrilled when I returned home to see that CC*AA had updated their website to indicate that referrals covered January 26th - 31st! Wahoo! Not 2 days but 6!!

For those who are not living and breathing the life of international adoption I'll explain that we've come to an interesting point in the log in dates. We are now into the dates that cover the Chinese New Year holiday in 2006 so while the files logged in cover up to January 31st, there were no files logged between the 28th and the 31st.

What it means for me personally is that there are now only 51 calendar days to be matched until I see my sweet Hannah's face! Also, increasing this batch from 2 to 6 days reaffirms more strongly that I'm still on track for a May 2009 referral with travel in July of 2009!! We're getting closer and I'm getting more excited!

It was fun yesterday to retake the picture of the number of stones moving from the left jar to the right. It's more evident to see now that there are more stones in the right jar than the left. Wahoo!!!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Living Out A Dream!

Do you have a friend or family member that you dream with? You talk about what you would do if you 'won the big one.' (It makes it extra hard though when I don't buy tickets! And yet still I dream....)

Anyway, for a number of years now my cousin Bridget and I have often talked about how we would love to go to Disney World together. She's as big a Disney fanatic as I am! We'd toss around the idea of taking her daughter and my niece and making it a girl's trip. We've dreamt of a big family reunion where we invite our parents, brothers, cousins and their families and making it a big family trip. Fun! We've also talked of what we would do if just the two of us went together.

Even so, nothing prepared me for the email I received earlier this spring that read, 'I've received a special mailing from Disney. Call me!!' Well, it took me all of about 2 mins. to call her to find out what it was all about yet at the same time I don't think either of us really thought anything would come of it. We talked about the room discount she was being offered, availability dates and the complexites involved.

You see for the two of us, we're coming at this from very different places in our lives. For myself it meant arranging time off work and locking up the house and heading out. For Bridget it meant talking to her hubby and her mom to see if they'd watch her amazing family of 6 great kids. As you can guess, they both said to go with their blessing and that was the beginning of our dream trip planning!

This pic was taken of her family when they were there in January so knowing that all her kids and my Rebecca had been there this year lessened the guilt of leaving them behind this time.

Tomorrow mornig we'll both fly from different locations and meet early in the morning at the Orlando airport and our 4 days (and long into the nights) of fun will begin!!

I wouldn't trade the trips Rebecca and I have shared together for anything nor the amazing trip we shared with Sharon and Victoria in January but, I must admit that I'm excited to try out some of the adult rides that my sweet timid niece finds just too challenging right now. Rockin' Roller Coaster, Splash Mountain (yes...she is that timid), Mission to Mars, Space Mountain and possibly in a moment of Disney excitement you may even find us riding the Tower of Terror! I've done that once but am not convinced that this old gal will do it again. I'll let you know later.

Tomorrow we're heading Magic Kingdom and planning on making the most of the evening Magic Hours and staying until 2am. Yes, a nap will be in order in the afternoon due to our early morning flights but we've heard that if you can stay after midnight it's far less crowded and we're planning on testing that theory out.

Monday is Disney Hollywood Studios and Tuesday Epcot. Another treat about our Epcot day is that we've made plans to meet up with Don, Be and Joanna Mei and also Alyson and Ford - unless they're receiving Alyzabeth An's referral!!! Looking forward to meeting all of you and also a couple of other bloggy friends we'll be introduced to.

Looking forward to a fun 4 days Bridge!! 1 more sleep!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Please Tell Me I'm Not Alone

Now that I've finished watching the opening ceremonies I have a couple of questions to ask of you.

1. Did anybody else sit in their home and make those butterfly hands with the ladies in white at the end? I didn't until I saw those sitting in the stands doing it and the athletes so decided to give it a try. Lets just say none of those ladies were in jeopardy of loosing their job with my sorry attempt!

2. Does anybody else have part of their bladder behind their eyes? I teared up a number of times during the ceremonies. Just watching so many people working together as a team to create such beauty made me tear up. Watching some of the athletes walk into the stadium. The precious little 9yo girl who was involved in a few places. Lighting of the torch...just to name a few.

I found watching the ceremonies to be a very emotional journey too as I was once again reminded of the beautiful people that live in the country where my daughter will be born. Maybe she is already born? I won't know that answer until next year.

To see a people so proud of their country yet so humble at the same time is inspiring. I am so excited to see the country of China highlighted over the next 2 weeks and to learn as much as I can about Hannah's birth country. I tell you, I can't think of another event that causes a country to be featured so much as the Olympics. I want to soak in as much about her birth country as I can so that someday I can share these memories with her.

Once again my heart was opened to the thought of the precious baby girl who God is preparing for me. It will be so neat in the future to share with her how I was feeling as her birth country was opening it's arms and welcoming in the world! Mommy loves you Hannah!!

I love how the Olympics draws so many people together with a common goal. The goal to do their very best and those of us on the sidelines, to cheer each and every one of them on!

What will be your favourite events to watch? My faves are:
- Gymnastics
- Rhythmic Gymnastics
- Diving
- Swimming
- Syncro Swimming
- Kayaking
- Canoeing
- Trampoline

I enjoy most of the others too but these are my faves to watch.

What parts of the ceremonies were your faves and what events are 'must sees' for you?

Choosing to Celebrate!

As you can tell by this picture, you won't need a calculator to count the number of day's included in this month's referral batch. But that being said, I am still super excited for a couple of reasons that even 2 little glass beads are moving from the left jar to the right.

First, as I know you are well aware, today begins an exciting time when China welcomes the world to the 2008 Beijing Olympics! I'm a huge fan of the Olympics and look forward to 2 weeks of wonderful entertainment by the world's best athletes! Go CANADA!!

It was not that many months ago that rumours abounded about how the Olympics might affect the CCAA and referrals. A year ago there were rumours that they could be closed for up to 4 months around the Olympics. The fact that referrals were mailed yesterday, the day before the opening ceremonies is reason to celebrate in my books! This batch may 'only' cover 2 days but the reality is that is covers 2 days! Yes friends....2 days closer to Hannah and celebrating!!!

For myself this means that there are now 55 days of referrals before they get to my Log In Date of March 23, 2006. I'm still guesstimating a Mother's Day referral next hear and travelling to China in July! That's only 9 months away friends!! Could it be that I'm finally 'pregnant???' lol!

Secondly, I'm excited to be celebrating with friends Alyson and Ford as they will be receiving their referral for their daughter Alyzabeth An early next week!! After 30 long months of waiting it is their turn!! CONGRATULATIONS friends!! The other neat thing about Alyson and Ford's referral is that they will be able to introduce me to their daughter (at least by picture) next week when we have the opportunity to meet in person. I'm sure I'll be able to tell who they are at our meeting place purely by the glow coming from their location in the room!

Choosing to celebrate these 2 days of referrals as it means many people around the world will receive their referral of their precious children and it also brings me 2 days closer to Hannah. That works!!

One other thing that this referral batch does is that it now brings us up to the dates that covered Chinese New Year 2006. As far as we can tell, little or no files were logged in between January 28 to February 5, 2006. I would like to think that next month will jump us well into the beginning of February LID's but if there is anything I've learned in my journey to Hannah is to expect the unexpected! Only time will tell.

Congratulations Alyson and Ford and to all those others who will be seeing their sweet baby's face SOON!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Grieving with Hope *updated with video link*

Today on Good Morning America the Chapman Family were interviewed. They are working through their grief after the loss of their precious Maria Sue in May. Their faith is strong. As Steven so wonderfully put it, 'We are a family of great faith a lot of people say, but we're a family with a lot of questions. But that's what faith is, it's living with the questions.'

You can see the enitre interview here.

Steven and Mary Beth will also be sharing their story on the Larry King Live show on Thursday, August 7th.

Continuing to pray for this very special family.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tips & Tricks: One Trip Pickup

Today's tip is one that Mary-Mia uses with the girls while travelling in the van. Not sure what age they were when she started but it works perfectly with 2 1/2 yo's!

Tip: One Trip Pickup

Travlling in a vehicle is just a normal part of day to day life and this little tip worked wonderfully. The girls both know that if something is dropped from their car seats while travelling mom or the person in the passenger seat will do their best to reach it and hand it back to them. What they also know is that the second time the item is dropped she will need to wait until we reach our destination to get it back. One trip Rosie dropped her baby doll and I was able to hand it back to her and the next time it fell I heard, 'I know...one trip pickup' and she went on to play with something else.

It was a great way for the girls to think twice before they 'dropped' something on the floor and it was a much safer way for mamma to drive when she wasn't reaching behind her while driving trying to retrieve something for the 3rd or 4th time.

Something else I learned isn't a tip but just made me laugh. Don't ever...under any circumstances...take your seatbelt off while driving with the girls! One time we were stopped at a red light and I needed to fix the vent over Rosie's head so I quickly undid my seatbelt so that I could reach the vent. From the second the belt unclicked there was a frantic chorus of 'STOP CAFRIN! Put seatbelt on! It's da law!!' I quickly put it back on but must admit it took a few extra seconds as I was laughing uncontrollably at the girls teaching me a valid lesson. It was just too funny!

You're right girls. Cafrin should never take her seatbelt off while we're driving. Trust me, won't make that mistake in front of you again. :o)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tips & Tricks: Airline Seats and Frog Pods

Today's Tips & Tricks cover 2 unrelated items but both things I've learned in the past month that I'm happy to share with you.
1. Adjustable Airline Headrests
2. Sticking things to the bathtub wall

Anybody who has visited here for very long knows that I love to travel to visit friends. You won't find me island hopping or touring castles in Europe (ok, castles in Florida...yes!!) but you will find me spending time with precious friends near and far. Because of this I've spent my fair share of time on airplanes and boy was I thankful to learn this neat little tip on my last trip. Did you know that the headrests on some planes can be bent to support your head? A couple of weeks ago when I took a red-eye home from California it was something I put to the test and it was great! How often has this been available in the past and I hadn't known and ended up with a kink in my neck? Hope this is helpful to you...especially on our long trips to China!!

Tip number 2 is a great one I learned from my friend Michelle. She and her family were moving and Michelle give me some of their baby toys for Hannah. One of the toys that wouldn't work in their new home due to the bumpy surface of their bath tub walls was their Frog Pod.
The tip that Michelle taught me was how to attach the pod to the wall so that it wouldn't fall off. She said to clean the tub wall with rubbing alcohol and also clean the suction cup pads with rubbing alcohol, let them dry well and then attach them using a little water to adhere them to the wall. While the Frog Pod is now in 'Hannah Storage' in the basement, I did try her little trick with something I normally hang on the shower wall and it's worked like a charm! I had taken the attachment off the wall thinking I'd need to replace it and once I tried the cleaning with rubbing alcohol trick 2 weeks ago it went back up and hasn't budged since! Thanks for the great tip Michelle!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Missing the Cuteness...

Totally missing my precious friend Mary-Mia this weekend and her little cuties too so decided to go through my pics from a few weeks ago and share some favourites with you. Hope you enjoy all the adorable cuteness!

Teaching Cafrin how to have fun on a bed.

Marie feeding baby doll a pretzel

and enjoying one herself.

Toys and shoes lined up in my room. Clearly I need to be looking for some fancy princess shoes to keep up with the girlies!

The girl's preschool snack bags...and one for Cafrin too!

Rosie checking out her snack bag.

Marie found the chocolate.

Not too bad. Guess most of it made it to her belly.

Looks like Rosie enjoyed her chocolate too.

Rosie sporting rather damp pants when Cafrin forgot to put the stopper in the water sippys. Oops!

Fun times during potty training. :o)

Hanging out in the lounger.

Miss you SO MUCH friend!! Until next time....
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