Monday, March 31, 2008

At long last . . .

This is the piece of paper that all the fuss was about. The UPS guy left it on our front mat this afternoon. (Good thing it wasn't raining -- he didn't seem to be too worried about its safe arrival.)

Anyways, this arrived at 3:30pm and by 4:30pm it was at Fed Ex! Barring us forgetting to include something in the package, this should be at American World Adoption Agency in Washington D.C. by Wednesday and hopefully in China within the next two to three weeks. HOORRRAAAAHHH!!!! America World still has to assure everything is correct and then take it to the Chinese Embassy and U.S. State Department for additional certification before it can make its way to China.

It is amazing that it took nine months of our life to compile the fourteen documents that made up our dossier. Nine months, a lot of tears, and a lot of yelling at the computer or the phone or the mailman (in my head!) Anyways, China, here we come!!!!!! (Well, not really, it's still years away, but at least the paper chase is completed.)

First day as a sort-of-stay-at-home-wife-soon-to-be-mom

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

That may be a bit dramatic. But the freedom I am feeling is truly beyond words.

I have been, for so long now, looking forward to the month of April when I would get a few weeks before little XY joined our lives to do all the things I have been wanting to do since we moved here nearly a year ago. Folks, the month of April is here!

All right so technically the month of April starts tomorrow, but for all intents and purposes, when it comes down to it, April is here now!

I finally filed the box of bills in the "to file" drawer. I organized the closets in the guest room. I got a box ready for the yard sale I am hoping the wifia will hold sometime this summer. I did laundry. I did the dishes.

In between, I jumped on my computer and did some work for RLSF. But I didn't have to be in front of my computer all day long. I could do other things. It felt Grrrreeaaattt!

I have been looking forward, since the day we were married way back in the olden days of 1998, to the day that I got to be a stay-at-home wife. Instead of JB and I splitting duties because we were both working full-time, I could be the stay-at-home wife. (Although if JB had his way, he'd gladly swap roles and be a stay-at-home husband. He thinks that would be an awesome job!) Anyways, as of today, I am a stay-at-home-wife. In a month, that'll be a stay-at-home-mom.

I will still be working part-time, but it will be so great to have some more freedom to take breaks, hang out with XY, walk the dog, clean the house, chill with friends.

So happy . . . I'm so happy . . .

A funny joke to start your day

It's always good to start your days with smiles. I actually thought of my friend Funky Monkey when I wrote this blog. Not that she should go down to the river or anything, but just that I thought it would help bring a smile to her face -- and a tiny smile is a good smile when you are in a difficult place.

Most of you know I don't drink at all so don't think as a joke exemplifying me as a person. I just thought it was funny.

A minister was completing a temperance sermon. With great emphasis he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

With even greater emphasis he said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he said, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river." Sermon complete, he sat down.

The song leader stood very cautiously and an announced With a smile, nearly laughing, "For our closing song, Let us sing Hymn #365, "Shall We Gather at the River."

Also, for some more laughs, check out the laughing baby link here.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Freeeeeeeeeeddooommmmm!!!

I spoke with my mom via phone this morning and informed her that Scrubs' e-collar had now been removed. "Oh thank goodness," she muttered. "I couldn't bear one more picture on the blog of him in that contraption."

Word on the street: contraption is officially removed. We are still having to watch him like a hawk to make sure that he doesn't get into his staples, but so far, so good. This hawk-watching included me going to church this morning and JB staying at home. We are taking part in an eight-week-new-member class for our church. Since I will miss next week to fly to Fort Lauderdale for my two baby showers, I decided to go as a representative of our family this week and leave that to JB next week.

Scrubs does appear to have an earache, probably from not being able to scratch his ear for a week but otherwise, he isn't any worse for the wear. He'll have to stay inside another week as his paw and leg heal, but he's back to his old games already.

Anyways, I promised my mom some proof that freedom had ensued for little Scrubby. Here it is.





At his favorite spot by the window behind the couch. It was the first place he went when the cone was removed.


Chillin' out with Wendi after she got back from Church


Snuggling with Wendi after she got back from church. You can see his wound healing nicely on his right leg.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lots of changes

On Friday, I completed my last "official" day as an editorial assistant at Mayo Clinic. I will still be on payroll for the next 60 days as I help them transition into a new assistant so the "ending" does not feel quite as "final" as I thought it would, however, I am no longer tied to my computer during the day. My work at the RLS Foundation has always been very flexible. I can do it in the evenings, weekends, or late at night. But due to the nature of my work at Mayo, I have had to stay close to my phone and email. As of yesterday, that requirement has expired.

It's funny. For as long as I can remember, all I have ever wanted to be was a mom. That's it. No career aspirations for this chick. Back in 2003, when we started trying for a family, we had enough money saved to "survive" through medical school -- to cover the difference when I stopped working and started being a mom. When I didn't get pregnant, that money was used instead for all our infertility treatments, and in exchange, I kept working, instead of staying home. Whenever I get down about how much money we spent on infertility treatments with "nothing to show for it," I remind myself that I worked an extra five years. Five years that we thought I wouldn't be working at all.

While I have been a "stay-at-home" since moving to Eglin in June of 2007, I definitely didn't enjoy the luxuries of not working. I worked at least 40 hours a week, and sometimes closer to 50. That doesn't leave much time for laundry and scrapbooking now does it? Now, I am down to just one job, and I can start enjoying the role of "wife" and "mom" like I have always wanted to. I also not have to sit in front of a computer for such long periods of time or jump and back and forth on my timecard from job to job.

I have decided to keep working at the RLS Foundation due to the flexibility that this job offers me. I can totally organize my day around our new son. I will have some conference calls that are "scheduled" but otherwise, I can really do the work as it suits me and our family. In addition, we still need to pay for our China adoption so my income goes straight into the "adoption saving account" just for this!

Speaking of the RLS Foundation . . . since it is now my only job, I thought I would show you a quick snippet of what I do for them everyday.

This is the cover to our latest issue of NightWalkers, the quarterly publication that I am the editor for. This 20-30 page publication makes up a big part of my job. This was a special anniversary issue which was two times as large as our normal publication.


Not only am I writing articles for NightWalkers, but I am working with other individuals who are writing pieces, answering patient questions, or submitting photos. JB is actually a writer for the Foundation. He does the "In the News" section which features a breakdown of scientific research for the layperson.

I do other things for them though too. I am in charge of the website, PowerPoint, and healthcare provider membership. I also do a lot of work with the media and all kinds of other editing and writing for brochures and fundraising appeals. It's work that fits me perfectly, and I really enjoy it.

As of Friday, my work week is now only 20 hours long. I am sad to leave Mayo but excited to get to be at home and be a wife and a mom!

P.S. We are now following JB's birth certificate with our UPS tracking number. It should be here this evening or on Monday! Our Dossier will be heading to America World on Monday or Tuesday. At long last . . .

Do you think he enjoys a good ear scratching?

Our poor Scrubby can't scratch his own ears right now. It's really pitiful actually. He'll try hard. His leg will pump so hard and the only result is a loud thudding noise as he hits his cone head, over and over and over again. JB and I have been trying to scratch his ears for him as often as we can, especially when we hear the thumping. Scrubs really enjoys this. You can't see this video too well, but turn up your volume as you listen to Scrubs letting JB know that he appreciates the help with that spot behind his ear.

Also, thank you thank you thank you thank you for all the helpful comments on yesterday's posts. If you didn't get a chance to comment, please do. Even if I don't know you personally, your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Advice request

Two days ago, our car seat arrived via UPS man from a dear friend. Then, yesterday, the pack-n-play showed up on our door. What great blessings! Both gifts were sort of a "reality check." These are some significant pieces. And we have them at our house. These pieces indicate that we plan to have a little body occupy them. Holy cow!

And . . . thanks to Amy's comment on our blog, we've started to realize that we are probably somewhere between 3-6 weeks away from bringin a tiny tike home. Amy, don't worry. I'm just giving you a hard time. (If you missed it, Amy reminded us that five weeks would be a maximum time frame. It could happen a lot earlier.) Way to go Amy! (I only tease you because I know you can take it.)

Last night JB said he kept waking up and thinking about the fact that we were going to be parents. He said he was starting to make lists of things that needed to be done before he got here. When he left today, he suggested I start "puttering" in the nursery, making a little collection of items we would want to take with us. Realistically, this could be happening in the next couple of weeks. Holy cow! Holy cow! Holy cow!

And that's where my request for advice comes into play. Unlike some parents who drive to the hospital twenty minutes down the road, and can return home for necessary items on a daily basis, we are going to drive across the state to pick up our little XY. We hope to only be gone about 4 days, staying 1-2 days at my parents' home after he leaves the hospital and before making the drive back to Destin. However, we have to be flexible as his needs and adoption needs may change.

So the question: what items do I have to have with me during that time? Please remember that I am an organized person. I don't want to pack eighteen bags. I want to know the things that are mandatory. I want to eliminate any superfluous items. I also know that I can buy some things there but want to try to avoid that.

Okay all you moms who try to so hard not to throw too much advice at new moms -- fire away. Your advice has been requested. My need: items that are needed within the first one week of birth.

Thanks!

Support WKU!


Don't forget that WKU's men's team plays tonight on CBS in the Sweet 16. Watch and cheer for Big Red! (That's big red there on the front page of espn.com today.)
Also, I was talking to my friend and former teammate Jaime W. today. She reminded me that her brother Jeff, who was the grad assistant at WKU when I was there, is now the head coach of Louisville's women's team. They are also in the Sweet-16 and play on Saturday at noon. As much as I hate to cheer for another Kentucky team, I'll be tuning in on Saturday to support Jeff!

Tall Girl

June, thank you sooooo much for sharing this. Click away to read: Life as a Tall Girl. This New York Times.com piece was written by 6'4" woman. I can't believe how perfectly this woman captured everything I have ever said about being tall. I know some people don't "get" why rudeness bothers me. But she explains it so well.

I am not sure if I ever posted my own tall story on the blog. I wrote this for one of my writing classes in college. How's the Weather Up There? If you have the time to read both of them, you will see what I mean when I say how perfectly she captured my feelings. It sounds like they were written by the same person.

A good sport

My dear Scrubs. He has been a great sport and has handled his collar much better than he did when he was a tiny pup. He regularly takes Benadryl for his skin allergy. We are giving him an extra Benadryl or two a day to help him stay a bit calmer and not want to play so much (his favorite thing!) So far, so good. It's a bit frustrating as I can't take him outside and can't really leave him alone so we have a bit of cabin fever. He really can't go into his kennel with this thing on (how could he turn around?) and we also don't want to risk him managing to get to his staples until the wound is healed more. But we're coping just fine. He's pretty pitiful looking and has thus garnered an extra helping of ear scratches from both JB and I. It is especially pitiful when he tries to scratch his ear and just ends up hitting his collar. He gets this look on his cute puppy dog face that seems to say, "My ear itches so badly and I'm completely helpless here." One of us tries to help with the itch whenever we can.

Cabin fever was alleviated a bit yesterday when the wifia came over for lunch. I can't say enough good things about the six wives who help ease the loneliness of being on a military base while our husbands work long hours. They have been such a blessing in our lives. We continue to meet every Wednesday for a potluck and one Thursday evening a month (without kids) for a book club. They were nice enough to come to my house yesterday so I could keep an eye on the little Scrubby. Keenan is really starting to walk now! He's getting taller and getting thinner. William is running now -- forget walking! And Della is managing to keep up with daily big-boy antics that accompany those two active guys as best she can. She's very easy-going.

As for JB, he found out yesterday that he passed his Step III Boards that he had taken with Matt in Asheville. (Not that I doubted he would!) But good job JB. I'm proud of you. He's been on a surgery rotation for the last five weeks and has one week more to go. He is not a huge fan of surgery in general but does enjoy when he gets to do a lot of stitching and suturing. When we brought Scrubs home from the vet the other day I remarked what a great job the vets did on his stitches and what talent they have. JB just looked at me and mumbled, "Wendi, this is what I am doing everyday."

It's difficult when your husband leaves in the morning and you truly have no concept of what it is he does everyday. My mom can watch my father coach or pop in on him as he teaches in a classroom. But I can't just peer into one of JB's surgeries or examination rooms to "see what he is up to." I get stories at the end of the day -- edited to avoid things that are too sad, too gross, or too private. I do know that he is currently doing a lot of breast reconstruction surgeries and post-gastric-bypass-plastic surgeries. He tries to explain to me how these are done (moving skin from the one place to another, etc.) but I truly can't even picture it. He left early this morning as one of his patients (he has about 70 of his own during intern year) was admitted into the hospital last night. I was barely getting out of bed when he was running out the door and had just enough time to page him so that he could find his pager before Scrubs and I were waving at him as he pulled out.

The other thing that JB and I say to each other about six times a day is, "Can you believe baby ___ will be here in just ___ weeks?!" Today, the counter starts with a 5! Yikes! We are continually, literally, pinching ourselves to remind ourselves that this baby actually exists and is going to be sleeping in the little room in our house. I'm sure Bri is not having to pinch herself to remind herself that he is real. I'm sure he kicks her enough to accomplish that reminder just perfectly.

It's getting really, really, really close!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Erica Video

Some of you who have been reading my blog since the very beginning, remember the story of Erica. Erica is the cousin of my cousin Sarah, and she lost all four of her limbs to bacterial meningitis. Now, thanks to some awesome prostetics, she's getting to even wear high heel shoes. You can check out the video featured on NBC news in Chicago, by clicking here.

Adoption praises!

When will I learn to completely give things to the Lord?!

They received the birth certificate in North Carolina, and it will be going out in the mail tomorrow! I've given them the UPS number so it should be here by Friday. This means our dossier should be in Washington D.C. by Monday.

We also got word that we are going to be able to get some adoption reimbursements from the military and Mayo for the May-baby adoption. Another bit of good news. :)

The other good news is that there is no snow storm here (even though they are expecting one in Rochester.)

How much better can it get?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Funky

If you think of it, will you pray for my online friend Andi -- aka Funky Monkey. If you haven't read her blog lately, you can drop in there for a complete update, but happiness was replaced by sadness this week for their family, and my heart breaks for them.

I was just cleaning up my blog this week and I put a new set of links on the right side. My heart has been healing of infertility/pregnancy loss/barrenness and yet how it is still pricked so often. Funky has pricked my heart again, and I am reminded of a song I just posted by Natalie Grant. It's called "Held". You can listen to it on youtube by clicking HERE. She sings of how sometimes there isn't a silver lining. Sometimes it just really stinks. But through those incredibly painful times, He holds us.

Praying the Lord holds Neil & Andi in his hand tonight. I am living proof that he brings comfort.

"May Baby" (aka "XY") doing fine!

I spoke with Bri's mom Joan yesterday. Bri had another appointment yesterday and little XY is doing great! (Bri and Joan have another nickname for him but that would give the name away so that'll have to wait until post-delivery. It's cute!) Heartbeat looks good, he looks good, and we are all just counting the days until he makes his grand entrance.

We are excited about our joint shower in less than two weeks. Next appointment in two weeks. ETA -- 6 weeks and 1 day!

Return of the e-collar



Well folks, I had sworn off ever having an e-collar present itself in our home again. If you weren't around the defrosting Polar North when Scrubs previously had to don a collar, you can reminisce with me by visiting the past blogs here or here.

As you can see from the pictures above, Scrubs' is now bonding with e-collar all over again. The reason? Well, a bunch of stitches and five staples for starters. The vet wanted to give him a new collar, but we insisted he use his old one which has properly rigged to prevent neurotic Scrubs from busting out of it.


Needless to say it was quite a long evening in our house last night. It all started when JB and I decided to take Scrubs over to the bay. We do this quite often, but lately, John especially, has had his doubts about whether we should take him there. He's made a new friend: a 10 month old lab named "Deuce". They play so well together and have a great time. But when you put two puppies together, they listen even worse than they do when they are solo. Deuce's backyard borders the bay and there are no fences. Keeping Scrubs out of the water when it is just Scrubs is fine. But add Deuce, and Scrubs has no intention to heed commands whatsoever.

We've also been worried because we have heard of two other dogs cutting themselves in the bay on clams. And then, last week, Scrubs went in for a drink and came out with some cuts on his pad. Not too bad, but bad enough that it was bleeding and caused him to limp for a few days.

So all that leads us to last night. We headed over to the bay, and Deuce immediately came running out to greet Scrubs. His "mom" Bobbie came with, and we had a good time chatting until the dogs decided to head down to the water and then take off down the beach. When Scrubs came back, he was bleeding pretty badly and had sliced his leg open somewhere along the way. Unfortunately, it was very deep, and we could see the muscles in his leg! Deuce was fine, but mainly because he is nursing a shoulder injury and moves a lot slower than Scrubs. Scrubs has only one speed -- all out blazing fast. Deuce was fine with taking his time navigating through the clams. Smart Deuce!

JB debated trying to fix thewound himself. He felt he could do everything but sedate Scrubs, and with as deep as it was, cleaning the wound and stitching it up would hurt pretty bad without sedation drugs. It would have been very cruel. So off to the emergency vet we went. A bunch of stitches and five staples later, he was free to go, unable to sit up without falling over due to the loopy drugs they put him on.

The bummer of this situation is that we can't take Scrubs over to Deuce's backyard or the bay anymore. It's just not worth it. I'm not sure if we can find him somewhere else to swim so this may prohibit that favorite activity. JB said that we were lucky it was his leg. It could have cut his abdomen, and we'd be looking at something a lot more serious.

I also felt really bad because we saw this coming, and I, especially, didn't listen to JB or my own gut and instead, let Scrubs go off and frolic yesterday instead of leashing him as soon as he got into the water. Now, he's got an e-collar and a cut up his leg that we'll have to deal with for the next 7-10 days. We also had to pay a pretty penny to get him fixed up. The hardest part is you can't really leave him unsupervised at all in this get-up in fear that if he manages to wrangle his way out of it, he could pry out his staples leaving us glued to the house for a week. He also has a superficial wound on one of his pads that they said needs to be treated gingerly. "Gingerly" and "Scrubs" don't really go well together.

Anyways, so that was the start to our Monday. Pray that I can find things to keep this energetic young pup busy while we wait this out!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Kruger

I wanted to show you all an amazing video. It is a bit long, but it is well worth the watch as a Cape Buffalo survives an attack by a pride of lions and a crocodile at Kruger National Park in South Africa. This is where we went on our own Safari this past spring. Don't worry -- there is nothing gruesome so even the squeamish can participate. It also made me feel good to watch what a group can do when they stick together. I know it sounds corny, but you'll see what I mean when you watch it.

P.S. To understand this video, it is important to understand that before Lions eat their prey, they suffocate it.

Go WKU!

WKU's men team is in the Sweet 16!!! How cool is that?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Our neighbor Amy ran into me today and asked if she could bring her little girl over to take some pictures in our flowerbed. Of course she could! Jamie with her son Donovan joined them for some photos in the garden. I took a break from March madness to join them for the photo shoot and take a few of my own.






In addition to the flowers you can see in these photos, JB has added a second mini bed around a neighboring tree. It looks so beautiful, you almost forget about the fact that we have weed-grass.

The backyard is equally as impressive as we now have a fence! Unfortunately, Scrubs still can't use it as there are piles of horse manure scattered throughout in preparation for the sod that is to come. JB brought him out to give him a try at exploring but our little wonderful dog went right to the piles of poop. So he'll have to wait to explore until the sod has been laid.

It's been a glorious weekend! We hung out with Tristan and Shannon on Friday evening, went to Jonathon's second birthday party on Saturday afternoon, and had an awesome lasagna with Matt and Tiffany last night. Today has been spent chilling around the house. I took Scrubs on a walk and he went and played at Deuce's house for about an hour. What a beautiful spring day.

I hope your Easter holiday was just as relaxing as our's was!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

WKU

I have to admit something I've never really said out loud. Okay, so I guess I don't have to admit it, but I plan to, and that opening sounds a little more dramatic than just starting with, "Listen to this."

Here's the truth. I love to listen to basketball. It doesn't matter who is playing or who is winning. There is just something about lying on the couch with buzzers and sneakers and whistles. It is so peaceful to me and I take the best naps during basketball games! I always wake up in the close games and check out who is upsetting who. It's part of the reason I just love March Madness. I love just putting it on one channel and having game after game after game playing in the background.

Many of you know that I played college basketball. Although some of you have only met me online and aren't aware of this part of my past. I was a basketball and volleyball player in high school who decided to take basketball to college. I attended Western Kentucky University on a full basketball scholarship. It's hard to believe that I graduated from WKU in 1999. I have been gone nearly a decade!!! Where the heck did time go? It's hard to believe a game that was so much a part of my life from the time I was 11 until I was 21 (and even longer if you count my five years of coaching) is now something that I only reflect on during March.

Anyways, I thought I would take a moment to share a few quick pictures from my freshman year at WKU. Newspaper articles don't scan well however, and this was before the digital age, so I don't have a whole lot of photos. Maybe someday, I'll pull out some more memories and reminisce in more depth. But for now, enjoy a few snapshots of my life in Bowling Green.


Here is me outside the back door of our locker room after first arriving on campus for the start of my four years on "the hill". Look at how tan I was folks!



Here's me with my roommate Kristi. Here's the truth. Kristi was very unhappy when she found out I was her roommate. She asked the coaches to change her to someone else. She thought I was totally not compatible with her. That was probably true. But I am so glad that they didn't give her her way. We were night and day -- different in nearly every way, but she became such an amazing friend to me. I am so blessed to have her in my life. She is now pregnant with her THIRD CHILD!!! She is also the one person, other than JB, that I truly tell all my secrets too. Hard to believe we spent two years in this tiny room and didn't kill each other. Kristi won't tell you this, but she won ELEVEN state championships in high school in track, volleyball, and basketball. She is an amazing athlete -- although, my one claim to fame is that I think I am a better volleyball player than she is -- that's the about extent of my bragging.


Here is Bri and me outside of our locker room in November of my freshman year (1995). You can see the date in the bottom right corner. Bri, Joan, and my Mom, Dad, and Brother, came up to spend my first Thanksgiving with me at WKU. I remember we ate dinner in Ol' Charlies. It would be the first of four pretty lousy Thanksgivings. Year two it was in a hotel. Year three catered at the President of the University's home. And Year four, in Cancun. These may sound pretty exotic, but you know, you really just want to be in a home on Thanksgiving, and I didn't get that for my four years at WKU.


Here is my chair in the locker room. Don't look for Kit. folks. I was Huisman my first three years. When we got married before my senior year, I did get a new chair with my new last name!


My locker! Many a day were spent on that stool!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Western Kentucky Men win!

Western Kentucky's men's basketball team, a 12 seed in this year's NCAA tournament beat Drake, a 5 seed on a buzzer beater. WKU's coach was a graduating senior when I went to WKU. Check this out!!!



The women play tomorrow!!!

GOOD NEWS!!!!

Good news. The first North Carolina birth certificate came back to me today. Now, of course, this isn't certified; however, it means that the envelope successfully navigated its way back to the base. It also means that if anything were to happen to the current certificate, we have a back-up. Thank you for your prayers!

Bit of Bri

With all this China adoption stress . . . someone mentioned baby XY. Aaaaaahhh . . . a breath of fresh air. Yes, that is what I should be focusing on. Six weeks and five days. Can you believe it!? Bri, can you believe it?! With all the stress of China, there is the amazing comfort in knowing that in just six weeks and five days (or sooner?!) little XY will be joining our family.

I was cleaning out my picture boxes last night. I have some goals before XY gets here. One of those goals is to get all my photos organized so that I can start fresh when he joins the family and not still be "digging out." Anyways, I came across a few of about 1,000 photos I have of Bri when she was little.

Many of you have asked me what Chris and Bri look like and whether this baby will look like us. Both Bri and I are excited by the possibility that he very well may look a lot like JB and me. Not that it matters of course, but we were always planning on all our adoptions being international. I never really thought I would have a child that looked like me. But little XY very well may. I'm excited to think that early trips to the grocery store won't evoke adoption comments. It'll be fun for strangers to not second-guess who's child he is!

First of all, both Bri and Chris are pretty tall. I believe Bri is 5'9" and Chris is about 6'0". Did I get that right Bri? They are also both lighter skinned with lighter eyes and lighter hair. Well, at least, Bri's hair was lighter when she was little. She's now a solid brunette. (But so is JB!) I have blue eyes and JB has green so this is fun for us as well as little XY will have light eyes due to the Chris/Bri combo!

In addition, for those of you who knew Bri and I "from the beginning" you know that everyone, and I mean everyone thought that we were sisters. Everyone said we had uncanny resemblance. While I don't think we look that much alike today, I do think there are a lot of similarities when we were little. Here are a few photos. What do you think? (Oh and Huisman is my maiden name. That is Bri wearing my Bbball shirt! She was my biggest fan!)




I also found a photo of JB and Bri taken while I was away at college. Isn't this a cute photo? I think JB was about twelve here! Okay, not really. Actually, I think he was probably 18 or 19. Wow!

I also found a more recent picture of Bri. I think this was taken about two years ago. I just love this photo. I am enclosing this here so that we don't picture Bri as a little kid anymore. She is now 17, almost 18, and preparing to launch a new life for herself. I have loved this "kid" since she was born. It is amazing that now I will get to be a mom to her "kid."

Some of you have also asked about our birth "plan." We are currently making sure that we always have a phone, cell phone, or pager on us. As soon as we get word that Bri is ready to go, we are going to drive to Fort Lauderdale. We figure that we can probably get there faster making a 9.5 hour car drive then we can trying to find a flight, pay for a flight, and take a flight especially because flights out of Fort Walton Beach go through Atlanta if you want to get to Fort Lauderdale. It will also be cheaper as well. If little XY is healthy and everything goes well with the paperwork, we will be able to take him into our "custody" 48 hours after he is born. There are a few more steps until his adoption is finalized, the first of which occurs when he is 3 months old and the second when he is 1 year old. However, for all intents and purposes, 48 hours is our first step.

Now there, a post like this helps block out all the North Carolina birth certificate problems! I feel much better. Love you Bri!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More bumps?!

If you could, would you pray for JB's birth certificate in North Carolina. To make a long story, (hopefully) shorter, the first document never did come back regular mail, even though the Dept. of State said that it did. Worried that it still hadn't come back, I sent a second copy of the certificate in on Monday. They still haven't received it. And I still haven't received my rejected one. This makes me concerned that the new one, once it gets there, won't come back either or that the old one won't get there. I called them today, was transferred no less than a dozen times, and finally found someone who could help me. She said they are closed for a long weekend (ugh!) but that it should get there soon, and that I can use a UPS number to get it sent back quicker. I found someone to let me borrow their UPS number so that is taken care of.

But what compounds this is an email I got today from our family coordinator. To make another long story, (hopefully) short, is something called the "Hague Convention." Apparently the Hague Convention for Intercountry Adoption will be ratified on April 1st , 2008. As of this date, USCIS (Immigration offices) will be implementing new forms in place for adoption cases in Hague Convention countries. Of which China is one. She said that we have to have our dossier in by May 1st or they will have trouble proving that we actually applied with USCIS before that date and we would instead need to reapply on new forms. I cannot imagine having to apply again with USCIS. Not only would it cost thousands more dollars, but this was what we had to go get fingerprinted for and so much more. It would be a horrendous problem.

Anyways, you can probably tell from my post that I am just royally stressed out by all of this. I am also kicking myself for not having taken care of this birth certificate earlier and not having sent it secured mail instead of regular mail.

So, your prayers, are appreciated. Big time prayers appreciated especially!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

JB's flowerbed

In order to prevent myself from writing an entire post expressing my frustration with Cox Communications (who is the ONLY choice for Internet/phone/TV here and has HORRIBLE service), I thought I would instead share some pictures of the beauty blooming in JB's flowerbed.

Isn't it amazing how one flowerbed can make you forget that we have no grass . . . only weeds? I suppose that is some good imagery that transcends the yard.





THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BUT PROBABLY DON'T

Thanks to my Tante Jan who sent this fun list. Check out #20!

1 . Money isn't made out of paper, it's made out of cotton.
2. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp (marijuana) paper.
3. The dot over the letter i is called a "tittle".
4. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.
5. Susan Lucci is the daughter of Phyllis Diller.
6. 40% of McDonald's profits come from the sales of Happy Meals.
7. 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.
8. The 'spot' on 7UP comes from its inventor, who had red eyes. He was albino.
9. On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents, daily.
10. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister.
11. Chocolate affects a dog's heart and nervous system; a few ounces will kill a small sized dog. 12. Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into the shark's stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode.
13. Most lipstick contains fish scales (eeww).
14. Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear pants.
15. Ketchup was sold in the 1830's as medicine.
16. Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower' because in the time when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the upper case' letters were stored in the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters.
17. Leonardo DaVinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time hence, multi-tasking was invented.)
18. Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.
19. There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos.
20. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan; there was never a recorded Wendy before!
21. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, purple, and silver!
22. Leonardo DaVinci invented scissors. Also, it took him 10 years to paint Mona Lisa's lips.
23. A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it instantly go mad and sting itself to death. 24. The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" was a Captain Kirk's mask painted white.
25. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19 You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar (good to know.) 26. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can't sink in quicksand (and you thought this list was completely useless.)
27. The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law, which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.
28. The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was the Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.
29. Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It's the same with apples!
30. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying!
31. The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.
32. Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries.
33. Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a space suit damages it.
34. George Carlin said it best about Martha Stewart .. "Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she's behind bars. O. J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant are still walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the ONE woman in America willing to cook, clean, and work in the yard, and they haul her fanny off to jail."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ta-da!!!!!

Folks, our socks were blessed right off of us today! Seriously, they flew right smack off of us! You want to see why?!?!? Take a look at the three pictures below and the video. Man, Rachel, you are going to be sad you can't see this until after you get back from Mexico.




video

Yes folks, you saw that right. It's a real bonafide nursery. It brought with it the smells and wonders of another baby that has Scrubs going out of his mind!

As I wrote in a recent post, we were a little overwhelmed during the past few weeks when a lot of adoption money was owed at one time. The majority of this was for the China adoption, but it was still a whole lot of money at once. Now don't get me wrong. I am not complaining or saying we were in extreme need, but all of this money being due at once meant it would take us a little while to dig out, and we weren't going to have dug out by the time little XY arrived. We had basically consigned ourselves to the fact that his nursery furniture, unless given to us in a shower, would have to wait awhile. And we were okay with this. We had his bassinet and were okay waiting until the funds came in or until God provided.

I got a little disappointed after my shower the other night because I came home with all these wonderful things, but I had nowhere to put them. But again, I really wasn't worried about this. I truly knew God would provide at some point.

Then, last night, I got an email from a dear new friend. She and her husband have done adoption and understand the costs involved. Her youngest is getting ready to move into a "big girl" room, and she therefore, wanted to bless us with her nursery furniture. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!!? By nursery furniture I mean crib, changing table, bookshelf, dresser, glider, wall hangings, lamp, and more!

We are so very excited that little XY will come home to a real, official nursery. I'm sure, quite honestly, he could care less, but we are thrilled beyond belief. I still have a lot to do to the room, but doesn't it look great?!

I may still paint the room or at least do some stenciling. Tiffany has volunteered to help me paint and Sarah to do stenciling. I wonder if they have any idea how creatively and design-ly challenged I am.

Wow -- a real nursery in my home. Get here soon little guy. Well, not too soon. I've got a lot more I want to do first.

Remembering Minnesota

As our weather moves into the seventies, and my Minnesota compadres are busy celebrating the fact that it is above freezing today (34 -- yipee!) I thought I'd pay homage to Minnesota with a video illustrating the extend of cold in my former hometown.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Resent

I resent our paperwork to North Carolina. I actually have yet to receive the other document back yet, but remembered that we had ordered two birth certificates so I sent the second one. This time I included the infamous ten dollar check. The only other thing we have to do is get passport sized photos. After that, we are good to go. This error delayed us by two weeks. Oh well! I have decided to let this go reminding myself that our LID (log-in date) determines which child we bring home. I'll let God make that date whatever he wants. These adoptions are a great lesson in trust . . .

Noah

How cute is this baby?! This is my friends' newly adopted little guy. Congrats Aaron and Kristen! He is amazingly beautiful. I can't wait to meet him when little XY and I visit Minnesota in June.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

My first EVER baby shower!

A gift from Erik and Andrea -- a little towel wrap that JB decided to try on himself.

We are home from our first baby shower! What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful evening. The best way to show the events is probably through photos so here we go.


The shower was at Matt and Tiff's house. They did an AMAZING job. Here is the appetizer table in Tiff's kitchen.


Tiff had a framed picture of our ultrasound as well as flowers and this adorable little bear! She also had a picture everyone can sign (I think I am going to take it to my other showers to get more people to sign it.)


Matt rented a smoker and cooked some AMAZING Texas bbq! Matt's Dad runs a bbq restaurant in Texas so this was a real treat. It's the first time I have ever had brisket! Yum! It also happened to be the most beautiful day ever. This was the best day here in Eglin since 2008 began. It was about 70 degrees with sunny skies and a gentle breeze. It was wonderful.


Matt and Tiffany got us our diaper bag filled with all kinds of fun goodies -- things that Tiff said I needed, but I would have never guessed that I did!


Michelle B. got us this "tummy time" gym. I have learned that tummy time is very important, especially to the seven family medicine physicians at our shower. It's nice having good advice and good medical advice at that!


"William Hawthorne" in all his glory. The William normally avoids getting dirty but today, he was all boy, complete with dirt, chocolate, a new bruise on chin, and an old bruise on forehead. Good practice for the little boy in our future.



Here we are with Zach (the birthday boy from yesterday) who wanted to help us open our presents. After we opened the first one, he got bored with the time it took us to look at each piece, and wandered away to play.


Madison proving that "girls can get dirty too." (Although Mom said if she knew how dirty she was, she wouldn't have been as happy-go-lucky!)

A gift from Erik and Andrea -- a dress outfit for the 2+ years. This outfit is so cute and looks just like something their son Johnathon would wear. TOOOO cute! Their other gift was the towel wrap shown in my introductory photo.


Sarah gave me a starter "non-disposable diaper" set. I plan to try this when little XY is a bit older. No promises that I'll be successful or stick with it, but I do want to try it a bit, just to save money and save our environment. So Sarah got me started with a few items. This was the coolest present! I loved it! She also made some burp clothes with sewn on insignias including a Dalmatian.

Erik and Andrea with their son Johnathon.


This picture of Sarah, Della, and Rob (with JB) cracks me up. Look at Della in the background!

Here is Shannon with little "Turbo" Nathan.

William before dirt and bruises and food set in.


Sarah and Della. Isn't that red hair great?

Tristan feeding Turbo.



Zachary saying cheese

I asked Joslyn to smile. She decided to smile right up close and personal like.

I can't talk about my shower without telling Bri that I love her and thank her. It's hard to put into words how having this shower made me feel today. First of all, I went for a long time thinking I would never have a baby shower. Then, I went for a long time thinking I would never have a shower for a newborn baby. When I opened a gift from Tristan & Shannon (tiny little newborn diapers) it really sunk in that little XY will be two days old when we get to take him home and be his forever parents.

I talked about Bri a lot tonight. I haven't seen her since January, and I know that a lot has changed for her. She is obviously more pregnant and as a result, even more uncomfortable. I am unable, truly unable, to put into words what her gift means to John and I. It is so surreal. JB jokes that we plan to "go to store, get gas, and pick up a baby" but that is how it feels. I am not pregnant so sometimes we forget that he is actually, really, truly, going to be coming to our home to live forever. But that wouldn't be the case without Brianna and Chris and their truly unselifsh gift. We are humbled by their maturity in the midst of such a difficult situation.

Thank you to everyone who came and "showered" us with such great food, fellowship, and gifts. How blessed we are -- especially considering this is only the first of many showers to come. Thank you all! John and I still can't believe that we opened gifts for our son. Wow!