- Happy 9th birthday Cole R!
- I have updated my "Eglin Visitors" page.
- The next scheduled visitors are the Wilsons in December.
- I haven't seen them in forever.
- After December, our Eglin B & B is facing great vacancy!
- We don't have anyone booked again until July 4th of 2008.
- July 4th weekend: claimed by Keith and AD to get some private baby-spoiling time.
- Please book a visit.
- We get lonely easily.
- Well, I get lonely.
- JB works a lot.
- I have lots of conversations with the dog.
- JB has snuck up on me and heard some of these conversations.
- That's a little embarrassing.
- He is sworn to secrecy.
- Actually, on second thought, I bet we'll have some visitors in May?
- Actually, I think my best bud Kristi is going to come.
- She's going to try to be here when we get back from Fort Lauderdale with our new little addition!
- Yes, the name is still a secret.
- No, I won't be slipping anytime soon and telling it.
- Why would a dog want to eat an earring?
- Actually, I can only assume he ate one.
- I retrieved the one from the back of his tongue. Ugh!
- But the other one is nowhere to be found.
- At least they were cheap earrings otherwise I may have been doing some unpleasant digging!
- Speaking of dog, he has had an allergic reaction to something.
- Allergic reaction = Benadryl.
- Benadryl = calm dog.
- Three Benadryl a day = very, very calm dog.
- Wendi's thought = can a dog be on Benadryl for his entire life?
- Or, more humane thought = could he at least be on Benadryl for his entire "puppy" life?
- John's answer after consulting with a fellow resident who was previously a vet: possibly.
- Can you believe that?
- There's a resident in his program who was already a vet and then decided to be a doctor!
- There is another resident in his program who is planning on going to vet school after residency.
- John will NEVER go to vet school.
- I can say that with 100% certainty.
- That certainty is not because JB wouldn't consider vet school.
- He would.
- That certainty is because I would not allow him to consider going to vet school or any other school.
- He's a doctor or he's retired.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Should you skip the "baby steps" (primarily artificial inseminations and injectibles) and just go straight to the grand-daddy of them all -- IVF?
Here is the article: Skipping Baby Steps
To summarize the article, the reasons for skipping the baby steps are:
- Success rate with IVF is much higher.
- More control over having "litters". (Yes, the article actually uses this expression!) Read the article to understand what this means if you aren't familiar with why this is true.
From what I can tell, the negatives would include:
- If the baby steps do work, you spend way more than you need to.
- IVF is surgery which is obviously much higher risk.
1. 3 months clomid
2. 2 artifical inseminations
3. 2 cancelled inseminstations
4. 1 semi-cancelled insemination
5. 2 IVF harvests
6. 4 IVF transfers
If each IUI costs approximately $3,000 and Each IVF costs $10,000, then if you, like me, do 5 IUI's, that's $15,000. We could have done 1.5 IVFs for that cost.
So: discussion item, what do you guys think about this? Even if you haven't done treatments, you can vote. Take the poll below to share your opinion.
Included in that packet is our home study, copies of our birth certificates, marriage license, cover letter, and a check for $685. This is $70 each for FBI fingerprints which will be assigned at a later date, and $545 for a "processing fee."
Now I have long since quit complaining about how much adoption costs. But does anyone else think that $545 is a lot to "process" our application?! It may just be me here. Oh well.
The check is in the mail!!
Next milestone: fingerprint appointment and approval from USCIS to submit dossier to China -- hopefully by February of next year.
This may seem like a normal, yearly occurrence, but quite honestly, we don't do this very often. Because we spend every Christmas with the family in Fort Lauderdale we often don't decorate our house or even get a tree. I know, I know! The horror! But when you spend two weeks in Fort Lauderdale with family, you don't feel like returning to an empty house and having to put away all the Christmas stuff. Saying good bye to family is hard enough!
However, this year, we are only going to get to go home for four days. In fact, we will have to drive back on Christmas Day as JB has to work on the 26th. So . . . decorate we did.
If you remember, I said I wanted a small table top tree that was low maintenance and puppy-proof. JB wanted a big tree. Check out the trees below to see who won that argument. Okay, it wasn't an argument. JB was very willing to get a tree that I liked, but I insisted that my husband, who is always thinking of me first, speak up and say what he wanted. He loves big trees that are real and smell like Christmas. So I sacrificed for once! (That paragraph sounds sarcastic, but it isn't -- it's the truth.)
Last night we watched Shrek the Halls, The Grinch, and Elf while decorating. John is funny about decorating. The first year we were married, I decorated all by myself while he was gone. In my house, my dad wasn't that into decorating so I made the assumption JB wasn't either. He came home and was quite disappointed. So each year that followed (that we actually decorated) we did it together. However, John does the lights and then just wanders around not sure what to do next. I keep nagging, asking him if he is going to help me. He keeps trying but just wandering, not sure what to do. So last night I asked if he wanted to make a Christmas dessert. He immediately sprung into action and while working in the kitchen yelled out to me, "This is a much better use of my skill set!" It was too cute!! He made a great "healthy" dessert. Some warm fruit with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
All right already! Here's the photos.
Scrubs "helping" JB set up the tree. Actually, we were worried he'd be obsessed with the tree (since he likes to eat shrubbery, leaves, trees, etc.) But he could care less and has totally left the tree alone!
I always said I wouldn't treat my dog like a human, but I did put a stocking up for him. (It's second from the left with a little dalmatian in it.) We also have a tiny stocking for our little boy. Could this be our last Christmas with only two utilized stockings?!?!
JB and Scrubs posing in front of the finished tree with Scrubs trying to lick JB's face.
Scrubs' ball went under the baker's rack in the back of this picture. When he tried to get it, he stuck his head through the basket and ended up with this stuck around his neck. We laughed so hard. I love my dog!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
America World has given us permission to move forward with our China adoption after hovering in a holding pattern for the last month.
This means that we can move forward with our May-baby adoption AND move forward with China at the same time.
We are going to send our paperwork to Immigration, and hopefully, we will have our Dossier submitted to China sometime in the next 3 months. It is therefore my goal to have our Dossier submitted to China by February of 2008. Our approximate wait time from that point would be about 23 months (but this can change at anytime.)
To put it all in perspective, we would be looking at our daughter coming home sometime in the spring of 2010. Our son would be nearing 21 months old at that time. Our daughter will most likely be between 9 and 15 months old so they will be one year (or less) apart.
So, now, to get my packet ready to send to Immigration . . .
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Right now my leading thought are snicker doodles. I love those!! But I remember that they are hard to make. My mom and I tried it one year and they gave us fits. Does anyone have a good idea of a cookie that is NOT HARD TO MAKE that I could take with to the cookie exchange?
Remember: something "unique" and something NOT HARD. If it is "not too hard" it will be too hard for me. Trust me on this one.
Oh and if they have chocolate in them, even better.
Post your best cookie receipt in the comments -- maybe others can use these recipes as well.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I've often heard people use the expression that they need to be pinched to convince them that something is real. I always thought people who said that were being a bit dramatic. But lately, I, too, feel the need to be pinched, and I know it isn't because I am being dramatic. I know that this child is real. I know that Bri plans to allow us to raise this child. But can it be real? How can it be real.
In the beginning, when we were first asked to parent this child and after we first said yes, I described our state of emotion as "guardedly excited." Someone asked me if they could have a shower for me and I told them, "after the baby comes home." I really meant that. When the baby came home, we would celebrate. Until then, I would continue on as if everything were exactly the same. I would continue on as if I didn't have my hopes up. I kept picturing the phone ringing and the nurse on the other end telling me that my test was negative -- again. I couldn't bear the thought of another call like that. So I pretended that while a baby in May was a "possibility," it wasn't something very tangible. Not tangible until I could hold that child in my arms. Not tangible until I signed the papers that made him mine.
A few weeks ago, JB and I discussed that sentiment. He enlightened me to the fact that while waiting until the baby comes home is a good idea in theory, it is not very practical. There has to be a certain amount of preparation that goes into welcoming a child into your home. All right. I'll buy one bottle and one pack of diapers. How's that? He smiled but one of those smiles that says, "Give me a break!" Like when he calls me "sweetheart" when we are fighting. He doesn't mean it. Not at that moment anyway.
When we first started trying to have children, I had everything picked out. I had names picked out and nursery themes picked out. I knew the way we would tell our parents, and the way I would tell JB. Each month that went by and each treatment that failed, I seemed to let one of those dreams go. After our fifth IUI, I told John that I didn't want to discuss names anymore. After our second failed IVF, I had stopped thinking about anything related to being pregnant or having a child. It was somewhere in that period that I stopped entering baby sections of stores. I stopped attending baby showers. I ordered my gifts online and had them shipped direct to the recipient. Thank goodness for the Internet!
I listen to people who are in the pre-trying-era of their marriage talk about "when we have kids," and I literally, cringe. I cringe because I did that. I talked like that. I dreamed like that. I want to tell them to be guarded. I want to tell them not to assume that it will happen the way they have it pictured.
But then I think back to the early years of our marriage -- when struggling with infertility wasn't something we talked about on a daily basis. I long for those days, and I would never take those days from another couple. They may never experience the quietness of a home. And even if they may be one of the 1 in 6 couples who live with infertility, they don't need to feel that way any earlier than necessary.
Today, the topic of showers came up again. A shower means I have to register. I have to go into a baby store and pick out things for a nursery. I have to have a theme. A few weeks ago, I finally opened myself up to talking about names, but the idea of going into a baby department is still completely intimidating. I called JB. Can't I have the shower after the baby is born? He said something about me being "not practical" again. We need some things. We currently have the five gifts that people have given us on a shelf in a closet. I hardly doubt that number of items is adequate in welcoming home a child.
When is the right time to think that this may really happen? I know that even people who bear a child on their own go through some trepidation until the child is finally in their crib in their own nursery in their own home. But surely this amount of trepidation is not normal.
This trepidation has nothing to do with worry about Bri changing her mind. People have asked me if I worry about that. I only need to tell you that you need to meet Bri and talk to her on the phone one time to know that this is not someone who will change her mind. I also know that the Lord will put this child where he should be, and as hard as that might be, I feel I can let Him do that. I know this is what she wants to do, and she knows this is what we want to do. So I'm not sure what the fear is. But it's there. It's a fear that at some point, I will wake up, and this will all be a dream.
If it is a dream, it's a dream I'd like to have again.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Speaking of the dog, we have successfully trained him to ring a bell when he wants to go out! We've had the bell on the door for months now with no sign of him "getting it." But just this last week, he has realized that ringing the bell = going outside. This means he sometimes rings the bell 4-5 times an hour. For now, we take him out every time he rings the bell; however, he is quickly realizing that we aren't letting him "play" outside so that it isn't as much fun as he thinks it is going to be. The bell ringing is becoming less frequent. He does use the bathroom each time, but sometimes, the result is quite pitiful proving that he was merely bored and not in need of a bathroom break.
We also bought a HUGE kennel off Craig's list for $40.00. We plan to take his current kennel to Fort Lauderdale in December and leave it there and use this big kennel here when we are gone. It's fantastic.
JB plans to get off around 3pm, and we are planning to go get a Christmas tree. I was debating not getting one at all, but I think I have decided to get a tree. I'd like to get a small tabletop tree so as to not fight the dog off it constantly, but John is thinking a real sized one will be nicer. We'll see who wins this evening when we go to pick one out!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Here are some Christmas photos we took at Destin Commons -- a wonderful outdoor shopping area.
The fam is leaving bright an early tomorrow morning. JB also has to work most of the day tomorrow ... so I'll have some time to get my thoughts back in order before getting back to work on Monday. It is so wonderful having friends and family in town. It is also awesome that after seeing family 1-2 times a year while living in Kentucky and Minnesota, I will see my parents, brother/wife SIX times since moving here. We saw them in June, September, November . . . and we will see them in December, January and May again! How awesome is that?!Okay, it's 10:07pm. What am I still doing up?!?!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Actually, to make things even more interesting, our birthmom was the junior bridesmaid in our wedding back in 1998. Here's another photo.
For those of you who have only know me recently or through this blog, you may remember "meeting" her when she came to visit us in June. Here is a recent picture of the two of us.
That's right, our birthmom is Brianna (or "Bri" as she likes to be called.)
So, for those of you who don't know who Brianna is, here's a quick jaunt down memory lane which will eventually bring us up to the present.
Before I was born, my parents lived in a townhouse and had some great friends: Roy and Joan. Fast forward a few years, I have joined the picture, and Roy and Joan have a son: Brant. I started babysitting for Brant when I was eleven years old. When I was thirteen (and Brant was seven,) he passed away. Six months later, Brianna was adopted into Roy and Joan's family at two days old.
Until I left for college in 1995, Brianna "Bri" and I were . . . inseperable. Here's a few pictures of us when we were both a lot younger.
I used to hang out over at their house all the time and would babysit Brianna all the time. When I left for college, we continued to stay in touch. Our families have remained very close to this day.
Bri is now seventeen years old. She will be eighteen the day this baby is due! She is also pregnant with our child. Wow. That's amazing to say. She is pregnant with our child.
Despite the fact that Bri is only seventeen, she has handled what has happened to her with amazing courage and strength. She could have made a very simple choice. She could have made a choice that no one would have known about. She could have let her life continue on as if nothing had ever happened.
Instead, she chose to give this child life. She also chose to ask JB and I to be the parents of this child. Quite honestly, I am not sure we would have said yes to anyone but Bri. It seemed natural that our families would continue to merge as they have already merged in the past.
Brianna is an amazing young woman. From the beginning, she has made us feel like we are a part of every part of this journey. She will have an ultrasound in January that I will get to be there for. She calls me after every appointment. Joan is sending me the sonogram pictures by Fed-Ex today so I should have them on the blog by week's end! When I suggested Bri give me ideas for a middle name, she told me that the name is up to us. (I have, however, shared our name with her, and she loves it. I am so glad!) She will allow us both to be at the delivery. I am so excited by all these things.
Many of you have questions. We know this family well. How will this adoption play out? We have discussed much of this, but there are many things that we don't have answers for as well. And we are okay with that. We are simply excited about being the parents of this child and helping to raise him/her (ha! I am being careful) up as she/he should go. Our child will have questions, and we will not lie to our child. Our child will know they are adopted. Our child will know who their birthparents are. How much the birthmom is involved in our child's life is something we will handle as the years go by. For now, we just want to hold and love this little child as much as we can.
I also wanted to tell you that Bri and her family read this blog. They read the comments. So PLEASE feel free to share your excitement and joy with us in the comments on this blog. You can leave comments directly for Bri. She will read them! If you have something you want to tell her . . . if you want to thank her . . . feel free. She deserves our thanks. Our lives are forever changed by her choice. We will never be the same.
I love you Bri. From now on, on the blog, the "birthmom" will simply be called Bri. Thank you "little sister" for making our dreams of parenthood a reality. You are awesome!
Here's to my great friend Tara -- now a big-time doctor in California. She put up with me for six whole weeks across all of Africa so I think she deserves a shout out. Tara is a fantastic person and a wonderful and devoted friend! I'm blessed to have her in my life. Happy birthday Tara. At least you aren't 30 (like me!)
Just for Tara, maybe I'll email her the sex of the baby today -- a sort of birthday present? How's that for unfair?
As we said when I was little . . . psych!
It's only 8am in the morning. Do you think I'd know already?! And, like I said, I think the announcement will wait until tomorrow.
Or will it?
I'm also planning on "unveiling" our birthmom here soon too. She and I have talked, and she is very comfortable with people knowing who she is . . .
But that's another announcement altogether.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
We took Hans & Rachel to the airport today. What a wonderful visit and time we had with them. They really enjoyed the weather and also the ability to go for a run each morning. JB started his ED (Emergency Department) rotation yesterday so he has to work from 2pm-10pm. Hans took over and manned the grill. We had steaks and potatoes and broccoli and carrots and applesauce. It was wonderful! When John got home around 10:15, he ate his grilled food.
JB actually got a whole lot of steaks. He was in the commisary when an announcement about a sale came on the speaker. He just happened to be standing right in front of the meat department where they started unleashing steaks for $1.50 a pound. John grabbed about 20 of them before he was flogged by a whole slew of vets intent on beating everyone else to the meat. He got out without injury thank goodness!
Anyways, the next time I will see Hans and Rachel, they will be getting married. We plan to visit Rochester in June for their wedding and can't wait to see them get married. How fun.
Rachel was bummed that she wasn't here tomorrow when we find out the sex of our May baby. I promised to email her. I haven't decided when I'll put it on the blog yet. I think I want to make Tara wait for a bit just because it is fun to picture her arms crossed, eyes rolled, and fingers furiously typing away on the computer telling me how wrrrronggg that is. Although it would be fun for her to find out on HER birthday!!! (Which is tomorrow everyone!)
Anyways ... off to do more work. So excited to see my folks and brother and his wife tomorrow. I can't wait. JB got Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off!!!! Yipeeee!!!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Mom and daughter are returning home from China! You can read the story HERE.
Here's another link with video.
Bethany Christian Services are pleased to announce the Sheldon family has received their visas and are returning home from China this weekend. “We will continue to work with the family to make sure all their needs are met,” said John VanValkenburg, Public Relations Specialist for Bethany Christian Services. “This has been a difficult situation for the Sheldon family and Bethany would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support for this family, including the efforts of Michigan Congressmen, Vern Ehlers and Mike Rogers.”
Due to these special circumstances, Bethany is accepting contributions to support the family until December 31, 2007. Checks can be made payable to Bethany Christian Services and please indicate the Sheldon family on the memo line. Checks can be sent to Bethany's Donor Records at 901 Eastern Ave NE, PO Box 294 Grand Rapids Michigan 49501. Bethany Christian Services will give all donations to the family for their “Hope for Hannah” fund.
We had a WONDERFUL day. We had breakfast at home and then headed out on the boat. Because it is off-season, you can just rent the boat by the hour and don't have to reserve it for the whole day. In addition, they are HALF PRICE! It only cost us $30 to be on the boat for two hours which is fantastic.
We took a chance and took Scrubs with us on the boat, not sure how he would do. He LOVED it (as you can tell from the photos.)
After a quick stop back at home, we headed down to Destin. We had lunch at Beachwalk. We have only ever been there for a pharmaceutical dinner, but what a fantastic place to have lunch. The prices are much more reasonable mid-day, and we were able to sit outside.
We finished with a walk on the beach and a quick visit to Destin Commons. Then, last night, we played some sequence and watched Counte of Monte Christo. This is one of my favorite movies, and they had never seen it.
All right Tara. Quit complaining. Here are the photos from the day.
Oh, we also stopped at the Air Force museum which JB said he has been to many times, and I never knew EXISTED!!! John was like, "You know, the museum." And I kep telling him I had no idea what he was talking about. How could I not know there were like thirty planes like this one right next to our house? The one in this photo can go from D.C. to Los Angeles in just over one hour!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
It is so wonderful to see Hans and Rachel and catch up with old friends. I feel like when Kelsey was here. There is just something about people who know you well that makes for such comfortable conversation. Rachel also gave me a few baby gifts! A hat, some socks, and a basketball rattle. We are starting to collect a few things which is a bit surreal.
We hope to go out on the boat and around Destin today. The weather looks like it will be great!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
- Grocery shopping for this weekend and Thanksgiving.
- Cleaning out the car -- finally.
- Talked to Lesley. Man I miss her.
- Wearing Scrubs out at the dog park!