Winter blues

Once the holiday season is over and we've had a first snow, the winter starts to drag. It's only the end of January and we have a long way to go. Part of the problem this season is that we truly haven't had any sun in I don't know how long. It's been bitter cold, then grey and wet for an endless amount of time now. I asked Callie when the last time we saw sunshine was and she said "What sunshine?" My point exactly. Since winter break we've been cooped up inside and the natives are getting restless. One of the nice things about St. Louis is that we can always count on days here and there in the winter when it is warm and sunny enough to play outside, ride bikes and go to the playground. That hasn't quite happened. It's literally pouring right now with no end in sight. I know I'm one of those people that is affected by lack of sun and outdoor air. On top of the weather, yesterday I had an unexpected root canal. And my best friend is in SUNNY Florida for a week. So, I'm crabby. What to do when crabbiness strikes at our house- bake! I am a sugar person, the more the better. We've made cake, cookies, brownies... Luckily my kids love to bake too and what better reward that a sweet treat.

Can you feel the love? See, sugar makes everyone oh so happy!


Our weekend at the pool

As a mom, I always wonder what my kids are going to be like as they get older. This includes what activities they will like to do. Our children have taken a lot of different classes, played a lot of sports, and we generally let them decide what they want to keep doing or stop doing. We've done soccer, baseball, gymnastics, ballet, music, basketball... Last summer Jack joined our community swim team and learned this was his passion. He had a great summer swimming and decided to join a year round team. So this weekend he had a swim meet Saturday and Sunday. That's 2 mornings of getting up by 6:00am to be in the water for warm-up by 7:00am. I am amazed at my son's dedication, devotion and hard work for this sport. I couldn't feel more proud watching him race and then be so happy and excited. The amount of swimming he does in weekly practice is enough to make my head spin. There is no way I could keep up with him. Way to go Jack. You are awesome!

Part of the fun of a swim meet for the kids is the downtime. Can you guess what the favorite activity to do is during break???

Here are a couple of the result scoreboards. (he is Ullery, J.)


A good morning

If you thought you were having a bad hair day.....

This is the sweet little face that I get to wake up to each morning. It takes a lot of detangler and often tears to tame this mane!

On an adoption note, we received our LOA on Dec. 28th. This is the letter of acceptance that China sends officially stating that Bao Guan Ting can be adopted by us. It puts us one step closer to bringing home our dear daughter. We are still thinking April. Hang on little girl, we are coming!


Happy Birthday Sweet Caroline

Callie turned 13 on Friday. Did I write 13? I meant 5! She is one outgoing, precious little girl. We decided to have a "special day" for her which included 2 days worth of events of her choosing. She woke up friday morning to a room full of balloons upon her brother's sweet suggestion the night before.

She was thrilled with her gifts.

We spent the morning at Paint Me Pottery (sorry forgot the camera!)
We went to a Japanese steakhouse for dinner and she was given the royal treatment.

She ended her day with a much requested sleepover with her big brother.

The next day included going to see the Princess and the Frog, and ice skating.

Ice skating had a lot of this.... (notice her big brother completely ingoring the wipeout!)

and this....

but mostly a lot of this.

My dear Callie, you keep life exciting, busy, pink, and full of giggles. I love you little princess.
Happy 5th Birthday.


The adoption story

For those of you who haven't heard the story, here it goes...

When Carter turned 1, I got that feeling again. You know, the one Brian is scared of!!! I knew I wanted another child but really didn't think I wanted to go through the emotional rollercoaster of trying to get pregnant. Adoption is always something I have thought about. I think it's a wonderful way to add to a family. I started talking to some families who have adopted and after a lot of soul searching decided this was what I wanted to do. Now on to Brian. Can you imagine me asking Brian for one more child??? And then, adopting? Now I am giving him a bit of a hard time but he listened to me, did his own soul searching and being the loving and giving man that he is, said YES.

We initially chose China for the stability of the program and one of the only international programs open at the time. Little did we know that the wait times were growing on a daily basis. After 6 long months of interviews and an endless amount of paperwork, we were officially logged into China. This means our personal dossier was recorded in China and that is the date we began waiting in line. When we applied to the program we were told it would be 3-4 years before receiving our baby. During those 6 months we learned that the wait would more likely be 8-10 years. Now Brian and I are not old, but not young either. I know this wait sounds unreal, but if you plug our LID (date we were logged into China) into China Adopt Forecast, it predicts we will get our baby in 18 years! No Joke. There are so many reasons the backlog for babies from China is what it is, but that is another post.

After another round of discussions, Brian and I decided to switch to the Special Needs program. I joined lots of groups and met lots of wonderful people through RQ (An adoption website for those involved in China adoption.) On October 1, I was looking through a list of avaiable children in the special needs program and saw her face. That was it and I was in love. Her need listed was confusing. I asked my agency for her file and we had it reviewed by several doctors. Despite the complicated process and still no concrete answers, we are taking a leap of faith and decided to adopt this little girl, Boa Guan Ting. On October 6 we submitted a letter to petition to adopt Guan Ting and on Oct. 13, we received our pre-approval that Guan Ting was now ours! Many people have asked about her special need. The honest truth is that we are not exactly sure. She has an abnormality in her brain and until we bring her home, we will not know the extent of how it will affect her. And that's O.K. We have made the commitment to love this little girl and I can't wait to get her home and have her be a part of our family. Just as you love your unborn child, the love I already have for her is abundant and overflowing.

So about Anna... her given name is Bao Guan Ting. It is translated as "graceful observer." She is called Guan Ting. She was living in the Bao'an SWI in Shenzhen District until she was 1. Shenzhen is at the southern tip of China, right across the border from Hong Kong. At that time she left the orphanage and was placed in foster care. She is still with the same foster family. Her foster family seems to really care for her and she has a strong attachment to them. Anna's bithday is 06/06/2007. She is 2 months older that Carter so I will have virtual twins. According to her foster family, she loves to be with people, loves to eat and play outside, and has an outgoing personality. She should fit right in our controlled choas of a family.
I know this is a very abbreviated version of a long story. So much time, work, thought and emotion has happened over the past year but in the end, we will be the most blessed family to have Anna come into our lives.

Our best guess as to when Brian and I will go to China and get her is April, but stay tuned and we'll keep you updated. She will be close to 3 years old.

Above are some pictures of Anna. They were taken in Oct. 2009.


Here we go...

Dear Friends-

We wanted to start this blog to share with you our journey in adopting our precious daughter. It will also be a great way to share the ins and outs of life with our family and let those of you not so close to home see a glipse of all the little things so easily missed. I hope to make this entertaining and sincere. Welcome aboard. We hope you enjoy the ride!