Sunday, December 28, 2008

Future belly dancer or trick rider?

Eliza has been doing these contortionist things with her shirts these days. I've yet to see how she gets her shirts this way, but today's was an especially interesting look. Last I knew, she was watching a Barney show while I was posting on the Blog. Then I looked up and saw her dancing away to the Barney music and noticed her shirt. Well, I immediately thought: Belly Dancer!! Then she started rocking on her horse and trying to stand up on him. So, then I thought: Trick Rider!!! Of course, mommy tried doing something similar when she was about 4 and ended up breaking a wrist. Hmmm...better turn the camera off and set her straight on the rules of proper riding.

Santa is our hero!

We had a wonderful, busy Christmas. Up early, Eliza came downstairs and the first thing she saw was a new pony (the indoor kind). I said, "Look what Santa brought for you Eliza!" She smiled big and went over to touch it and check it out. She immediately got on and started rocking. When we got everyone else up, Allie went right to the Barney present and gave it to Eliza. Eliza didn't pay much attention to it until Dad squeezed Barney's hand through the wrapping paper. The rest, you'll see on the video I uploaded. It was so funny. And, no, she has not let go of Barney's hand since. Except for our post Christmas shopping day when she dropped Barney in the department store and I was clueless. She screamed and cried and I just thought she was fighting off a nap. Wouldn't you know it, we were in the dressing room when a woman called in asking if someone had lost Barney. My heart stopped. I had gotten used to not having Barney around for 3 weeks that I forgot he was "supposed" to be with us. Oh my! The woman said that she remembered seeing a cute little girl in a stroller with him, so she had been walking around the store looking for us! Can you imagine! ...She's my hero...

Eliza is feeling much better and has been so happy. She's been doing this funny, loud laughing thing. (I think she's imitating my laughter.) It's very funny and you can't help but laugh along with her, which encourages her to do more. She's been dancing like crazy and it's hilarious to watch. She also loves to pat her legs to the songs on Barney shows. She's been jibber-jabbering constantly, and playing and socializing really well. It's been so wonderful to see. She had a really, really good Christmas! Her presents were a hit; Barney, of course, being her favorite; a Barney and a Berenstein Bears DVD; the plush rocking horse; a marble tower that we can construct in many different ways and watch the marbles go flying down..a few books; and The Mixed Up Chamelion (you move colored balls that are under plexi-glass through the maze and into their appropriate colored-place with a magnet pen. She really likes playing with it.)

My heart has been full watching her get into her toys and videos, dancing and laughing at appropriate things...though she's 3.5 and in many ways is doing things that a young toddler would be doing, just seeing her "make the connections" is huge. I couldn't help think that the timing of bringing home Nina Meiying is going to be perfect with Eliza getting more social. Happy New Year friends and family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Preparations

Finally got everyone together for our Christmas card photo-shoot...typical craziness and "tossing" out 99% of the pictures because someone wasn't "perfect". It was fun, as usual, though.

We've been constantly asking Eliza where Barney is and if Santa is going to bring Barney back. She's been looking for him and smiles bright when she hears that Santa might bring him.

So, here's a sneak-peak of a shot from our Christmas card adventure and also a video of Eliza sharing a before-bed snack with Hogan and Sadie tonight! (P.S. The golden-puppy is "Carmen" from the kids' mom's house...she comes over for sleepovers and play dates w/ Hogan.)

Merry Christmas everyone and may 2009 bring us peace and joy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sick days...

Poor Eliza has been down w/ double ear infections again and a fever that finally broke this morning, after two days of consistently being 100 - 102. She's been pitiful; wanting to be carried all day and snuggled into me day and night; not sleeping and waking if she hears me leave her side. (Dad says he can't blame her...awww!) She refused food and drink for two days, even her favorite drinks. Finally, last night, I thought we should take her to the ER for fear of dehydration. I'm telling you, I tried everything to get some fluids into her. Anyway, finally last night, thank God, she started sipping a little. This morning, the fever broke and she was more agreeable to some light snacking and drinking.

I feel so bad that Eliza missed this week of school because they were planning so many fun projects and festivities for Christmas. Today is the Christmas party in their class that parents were invited to, but I just don't think she'll be up for even a visit. They sent home some cute gingerbread men and I was looking forward to seeing what else they were going to work on. They also made a calendar for 2009 and it has all these great classroom shots of Eliza on it. I loved it. Her teachers are amazing!

I've got so much to do in these final days before Christmas. The few cookies that I did get baked, have already been eaten up! I'm also still trying to get my family all home at the same time for a Christmas photo; so those won't be going out until after Christmas at this rate. Well, here's a few pictures I did snap this week. Some of Eliza wearing a cute hat as we got ready to go to the dr's (I wanted to cover her ears before we went out into the wind); another of her wearing mommy's chic-velvet hat and playing w/ her new favorite toy from Auntie Megan and Emma; another of her playing her little keyboard. I'm trying to upload some vidoes too that I took on my camera of her playing the keyboard (you can hear her coughing pitifully). I have another video I took of Eliza and Allie playing too (before she was sick though). Well, enjoy...Derek's back home now and I'm hoping to get some respite!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Barney Update and Christmas Tree Decorating

Barney Update: I bought another Barney, but decided to wrap him up as a Christmas present. I think it will be the first time that a present makes an impression on Eliza...and will, no doubt, make Santa her hero!

Since we came home from China in October 2006, this will be our 3rd Christmas with Eliza. And what a difference a year has made...this is the first year that she participated in decorating the tree and has NOT taken off every ornament within her reach. Now, that's not to say that she's still not fascinated by the shiny or jingly ornaments, but at least she puts them back on the tree this year. Looking at the pictures from this year and comparing them to last year, I'm reminded of how baby-like she still was last year. Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Barney's untimely death

Okay, admittedly this was the dumbest thing I've ever done. I killed Barney. Yes, you read that right. (That's not the dumb thing I did; it's how I killed Barney that was dumb). Each morning, I have to distract Eliza w/ either her toothbrush or a drink so that she'll put Barney down...long enough for me to snatch him w/out her noticing and hide him...just so we can go to school w/out any Barney separation anxiety. So, on this particular morning, as I snatched Barney, Eliza started to follow me. The closest hiding place I could find quick enough was the upper oven. Alright, I know you're already starting to laugh... In that moment, mental note to self, "Take Barney out of the oven immediately after coming home from dropping Eliza off at school so that I don't bake Barney at dinnertime." ..........Well, I was distracted by a stop at my neighbor's house for coffee this a.m. and completely forgot about Barney. .......You guessed it, tonight, I turned on the oven to bake some rolls. As the temp increased to 170 degrees, I saw a flash of light inside the oven. @*^#(#!!!!!! Yikes, Barney was on fire. It didn't help that Allie kept yelling, "You burned Barney; Barney's on fire; I can't believe you burned Barney!" I threw Barney into the sink into a pot of water...sizzle...sizzle. Peeeyewww! Stunk! Poor Eliza kept looking around the kitchen everytime she'd hear "Barney's name" come out of Allie's mouth. I don't think she understood, but she clearly knew that something wasn't right. So, Barney is officially buried in the outside garbage can and tomorrow morning I will be hunting down a singing Barney to replace him. Oh my... I'm a bad mommy!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

We received PA from the CCAA!!

On December 1, we got the word that we were okayed by the CCAA to move ahead in becoming this little girl's family! (Check out my other blog for updates going forward...see the link in my sidebar.)

Introducing Meiying, named for the hope that she would be beautiful and generous.

Born in the year of (imagine my surprise) the Horse.
June 8, 2002
Province of Guangxi, Guilin SWI
Residing with a loving and devoted foster family
In 2004 entered the Infants and Toddlers program cooperated with Half the Sky Foundation
Currently in 1st Grade at Half the Sky Foundation's "Little Sister Primary School"
She loves to learn, talk about the story she read, play with others, is polite
She loves to dance, sing and help other children who are "less capable"
She loves animals (drawing them, touching them, studying them)

We are so excited and feel like Meiying is going to fit right in. So now I have to get moving on the rest of the dossier process!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Artwork, Computer Skills and Ginger

Eliza's first school picture!! Not smiling, but I'm impressed that she was actually looking at the camera.

Eliza's teachers have been very pleased w/ her progress. Though they are still doing some hand-over-hand work w/ Eliza, for the most part her daily report is that she is working more and more independently at coloring inside the lines, cutting on the lines, glueing and her new favorite: stapling! Last week they made a turkey and a cornucopia (sp?).

P.S. Doesn't our granite look so pretty? And the backsplash that Derek did all by himself while we were in Kansas...

As you saw in my last post, Eliza loves getting on the computer these days and doing the Barney Dance Along Jukebox at She has such focus. I caught a great shot of Eliza and Allie side-by-side on the couch last night focused on their laptops (okay, dad's and mom's laptops). Allie was playing a "light the Christmas tree" puzzle game. It's pretty fun and hard to do. I'll have to look for the link and post it. It's a great on-line puzzle.

Lastly, here's the newest little stray that wandered (or was dropped off) to our farm. Like we need more wandering cats out here. She won't let us touch her, but she appreciates that we are feeding her. She's probably 10 weeks old. So tiny (that's a small pumpkin that she's next to) and really pretty (a tortoiseshell, no white). When I first saw her, I thought she was a raccoon. She has taken over our front porch and spends the days and nights sleeping in the rocking chair that used to be our cat, Rosie's, spot. Rosie is very miffed, as you can imagine. This little kitten tho, named her Ginger, took right over. For a kitten shy of people, it's funny how she has stayed right by the front door. As I always tell the kids, don't get attached. We have many strays (cats, dogs) that call us home for a short time and then wander on. It's sad because some have been so friendly and have stayed for months and months, then suddenly disappear and we never know what happened to them. So, for now, this is "Ginger".

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Catching up on photos...

Sorry that I wrote so much in my previous blog and then didn't even post any pictures! How dare I? Well, been sick here, sorry! Here's a few from the last 3 weeks...

The 3 Witches (Eliza, Allie w/ friend Stacy): "TAKE #1"

The 3 Witches: "TAKE #99"...finally one where the hats or wigs stayed on and everyone looked!
Hogan, couldn't quite muster keeping a witch hat on him afterall!

Exhausted, sorting the loot!

Eliza on a sugar high, looking on at the sorting of candy!

On the computer, her new favorite activity!

Barney dances to songs at!

I've always wanted to adopt...

First of all, my new header captures Eliza almost perfectly. She's always got one shoe off. She's really into watching you tie her shoes these days and tries to do it herself. So, she knows if she takes a shoe off, you'll put it back on and she can watch you tie it. She's such a smarty pants!

So, we're moving along on our paperwork. Almost ready for our agency to submit our LOI to the CCAA for a little girl. I'm so excited. Hoping that we are her family. If you don't already know, the new rules do not allow an agency to lock-in a child off the shared list for a family until CCAA approval. Meaning that other families could be applying for the same child. Still have a lot of dossier to get to, but this is going on simultaneously.

Onto today's post "title": I've always wanted to adopt... As you all know, each adoption journey is filled with paperchasing tails. I had a good one happen this morning. I went to our family dr to pick up our physicals that he was supposed to sign/notarize. Well, he signed them w/out notarizing. (The same exact thing happened for Eliza's adoption.) Big sigh, from me, in their office. They know me quite well and I feel like I've been there every day for weeks now w/ all our illnesses. Anyway, I figured I'd take the paperwork over to the Town Hall (like I did for Eliza) and get "lucky" again finding a notary that knows our dr (it's a very small town) and who would notarize it (like I did for Eliza). Get the picture here... Of course, I didn't get as "lucky" this time. She was a new notary and not comfortable notarizing his signature. Another big sigh, from me, in their office. Last resort, play the adoption card: "My agency is holding a child's file for us and is waiting for this paperwork so they can apply to China. It has to be there today." Well, the woman starts asking around to the other clerks if they know or have a document w/ our dr's signature on it that she could look at. They start pulling permits, etc. Uh oh! I quickly decide this might take a while and maybe I could ask her to drive over to the dr's with me (1/2 mile away). She looks out the window at the glorious fall day and to my surprise, says "Sure!". So, we did and she notarized it there in my dr's office. The best part of it, was when one of the young nurses overheard us and asked, "Are you adopting?" I told her this was our second adoption from China. To that she said, "You're so lucky! I've always wanted to adopt." I smiled and I said, "It takes someone who always wanted to adopt to recognize that I'm the lucky one. Usually, people say that the child is lucky. Listen to your heart and I hope that one day, you will be lucky too." She was in her early 20's. Made me think back to myself at that age. I always knew I wanted to adopt too. It took me nearly 20 years to get there. I hope she acts on it. Something tells me that she will and that made me smile for a child waiting.

Friday, October 31, 2008

All things pre-Halloween!

What seems to be becoming tradition, we're all sick; upper respiratory crud, sinus infections, inner ear infections. Been battling this in our house for 3 weeks now. It just keeps going around. Not to get in the way of Halloween preparations though. Snapped a few fun pictures of pre-Halloween preparations.

As for our plans for tonight, we always walk our old neighborhood. Allie and her friend Stacey (both 7th graders) are happily going to be ringing doorbells w/ Eliza tonight. All three will be dressed as witches and Hogan will join them w/ a witch hat. Should be fun, cute and exhausting! The good news about living on the farm is that a parent doesn't get left behind to answer the door 'cause no one wants to walk down our dark, scary 1/2 mile driveway. So, we all get to participate in T or T'ing. The bad news is, no one comes to our door for T or T. I always loved that. Okay, well enjoy. More pictures after T or T!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Warning: This is a Non-Eliza Post

So, we decided to bring in a "boarder" to keep Georgie Girl company. (Georgie Girl is in the blue blanket pictured above.) Her new companion's name is "Scotch". "He's" quite a handful and not very personable towards people. Georgie likes him okay, but he's much younger and keeps her on the move. Most days, she ends limping as she tries to keep up. It's pitiful; see the arthritis in her knees. You can see the pain and annoyance in her eyes. She's a grandma and was used to having old Clark to quietly graze with. This young fella gets "silly" over the brisk air or the blue herron that swoops down to our pond; pretty much finds any reason to start galloping through the pasture. Horses being horses, she HAS to keep up with him. So, limping away, the herd must stay together.

This picture is of Scotch checking in w/ Georgie after I put her blanket on. He was freaked out by the blanket. She, of course, is reassuring him. She's so sweet and always so good about standing still for blanketing. I'm hoping he'll learn trust from her. In his defense, he didn't have a very good start in on.

He didn't have a nice big pasture to play in so he loves making his new owner chase him all over the place before he'll let her catch him; yesterday it took her 30 minutes. He didn't have a herd to hang out with and learn social skills so "space" is an issue for him (both you encroaching his and him encroaching yours or Georgie's). Once he was broke to saddle, his job was to be the designated driver for a drunk man. No kidding! He would hang out waiting to be saddled, ride to a bar, get tied up outside the bar and be on-call to drive the drunk man back to his house. Now, I have no clue where this all took place because it sounds like something out of the 1800's to me. While we do live on a farm, we're quite a suburban area and within the urban sprawl . But that's the story I was told though. It's colorful; it allows me to approach his issues with comedy rather than annoyance. His (new, non drinking) owners are nice; it's their daughter's horse and she's 16. I've enjoyed having horse-folks out here again and watching someone ride. According to his new owner, for the first few months, every time she'd swing her leg over the saddle, he'd buck her off. Can't you just picture him doing this to a drunk guy and how funny that would be to watch. Though the rest of the image isn't very good, he'd get clobbered by the drunk and is now very head shy. Amanda, the new owner, has worked so hard w/ him to gain trust and let her ride him. They do beautifully together now.

That said, the cold weather has finally moved in. We've had frost two nights in a row and it's been windy, windy, windy. Since Eliza's been in school, I haven't had the opportunity to take as many photos of her as I used to. So, I decided to snap some of what's been happening around the farm.

This is the huge, 2-story elementary school being built right behind us. The next picture is what our view used to be. What the picture doesn't show is how close the school is.

I hate our new view; I hate that we can't ride horses, the 4-wheeler, dirt bikes, etc. out there anymore. I hate that I can't take the dogs out for a run in the fields anymore. I hate the all our deer and other wildlife have been run off. I hate that there's construction crews out there and we've lost our privacy. I could go on and on. The funny thing is, right after I took this picture, about 20 guys showed up on top of that burm and started picking up all the trash that's been blowing over into my pasture. I think they thought I was taking pictures as evidence. Hmmm, not a bad idea.

Of course, here's Sadie and Hogan (on the right). Look how big Hogan has gotten. He's the most handsome golden retriever (male) ever. He's absolutely in love with me and won't let me out of his sight.

Other than that, the dossier is coming along. We've had some good progress; our first homestudy update meeting complete, physicals, Hague-required child abuse clearances ordered from all states we've lived in since 18, and completing some other documents so that we can submit our intent and request PA for a little girl.

Well, Scotch is on the move again, so Georgie's heading after him. Look how annoyed she looks in the picture below. Can you see the arthritis in her knees. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Well, that's my non-Eliza update! Enjoy.