Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Military & Moving Moments

Yesterday, JB spoke with the housing office at Eglin Air Force Base and got some good news. We are eligible for a three bedroom house on base!!!!!

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. The fact that we would get a two bedroom was one of my main concerns about base living. I would be working from home and need office space. We will probably (hopefully) be having a lot of guests in this vacation hot spot. We are doing a transfer in May for sure and possibly more. We are beginning the process of adoption. If we have chidlren while we are there, we would definitely be eligible for a three bedroom. But would we want to move?

All of those things made a two bedroom seem awfully small for us. However, when JB spoke with the housing office yesterday and told them our plans for adoption they immediately responded that this one fact put us in the three bedroom track! Yippppeeee!!!! I am really thrilled about this.

The only bad news concerns the wait time. We can't put our name on the housing list until 30 days before JB's start date. His start date is June 6th which means May 6th (right after we return from South Africa), our name will go down. However, the wait list is 1-2 months which means we could have to put our stuff in storage and be in temporary housing for 4 to 8 weeks. This isn't ideal, but it is something we can handle. Since the military pays for all moving expenses, storage, temporary housing etc., I can live with this. If you think of it, please be praying that the wait time is minimal then, and that when Ron and John drive us down to Florida, they can move our stuff right into a new home!

I am excited about our decision to live on base. One thing that JB said he will not compromise on in a new home is a yard. He really wants to have a garden. Even if we did find a place off base that fit into the monthly housing stipend costs, it would definitely be an apartment or town home unless we bought. Unfortunately, buying is just not something we want to do for a three year stint in a hurricane zone. We really just want to eliminate pressure and stress. We also like the idea of no mortgage or utilities -- we simply show up and live. How cool is that?

We also got great news on airplane tickets! A few weeks back I looked at tickets. JB and Ron Ray are planning on driving down to Eglin and will then fly back. We want JB here for my transfer. Then JB and I will back down to Eglin together. When we looked at tickets a few weeks back, it was going to cost nearly $1,000 for the three of us to make these flights. Not too good. However, I looked this weekend and it was only going to cost $600!!! How cool is that? The bad news is, after we booked JB's two-way flight, we went to book mine and the time that we picked for his flight isn't a "cheap flight" option for me. This means that I may have to be on a different flight. But for the price, we'll take it.

We are also starting to think about the number of things that need to be done before we leave for Nigeria in a month. We need to pay our taxes before we leave. We need to pay a lot of bills before we leave. Just little things like that. We are also thinking about the number of things that will need to be done in the one month we have after we return and before we move to Florida. Woah! We have a lot going on. While I am sad to be leaving such great friends here in Rochester, I am so excited to be moving base, my husband becoming a doctor, and getting to start on a new journey. Lots of fun and interesting days ahead.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another foot?

There is another winter storm warning in effect. Wednesday night into Friday. They are saying we could get another foot of snow! Are you KIDDING me?! Where will we put all that snow?


Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God's final word on where your lips end.- Jerry Seinfeld

That quote has nothing to do with my blog. But, I thought it was funny.

So, here is my real blog ...

I have one regret about leaving Rochester.

That regret is that I only got to start playing volleyball with my friend Kristen recently.

I know I didn't really have an opportunity to play before this. I was constantly being put on exercise restriction with all this IVF stuff. And while I am not going to stop exercising altogether during my IVF transfers, volleyball isn't probably the wisest choice.

Kristen is the wife of one of the second year medical students. They go to our church and attend our CMDA (Christian Medical & Dental Association) Bible Study on Thursday nights. Kristen and Brandon remind me a lot of JB and myself -- only a bunch of years younger. They married right before medical school and are high school sweethearts (like us)! They also banter just like John and I! Okay, so JB and I are worse ... but it's refreshing to see other people like us!

Last night I subbed on Kristen's girls' team. This is the mid-level league which I have never played with before. First of all let me say that Kristen is an AWESOME setter. I haven't played with a setter like her since I quit playing club volleyball before my senior year of high school in order to focus on AAU basketball (and save my parents the $5,000 a year it cost to play on that travelling team). She is fabulous. We had five great hitters and ran a 5-1 ... okay so this is probably more than any of you care about so I'll stop now. But it was a fantastic evening of exercise. I seriously could play volleyball every night of the week. I have such a great time and get such a great workout. I hope to find some teams to play on at Eglin.

Speaking of Kristen, she is going to coach a club team in St. Charles -- the school I taught and coached a year at before I officially retired from education. I am going to help her a bit until we leave for Africa. It should be fun! This is the group of girls I coached three years ago. They've grown a bunch I am sure. It'll be fun to get back out there after a three year hiatus from coaching. We are going east to St. Charles tonight and then Thursday I am going to sub for another team. JB is really all-for me playing as he knows how much I crave exercise (and how much happier I am when I get it.) Speaking of JB, he is a tad bit sore from playing six matches with us on Saturday. (Tad is saying it mildly.)

Speaking of tad ... JB has been feverishly working on our condo for the last few weeks. Last night he tried to put in a new toilet, only to find out the tank is too wide for the toilet we got. He was a tad bit frustrated at that. (Again, notice the sarcasm in the use of the word tad.)

Sorry to end this post with talk of toilets, but heck, it's my life and that's what's going on.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Final Tally

This is the view from my office window. Taken with my camera phone, I love the way the snow looked like a blanket. Again, photos never seem to do winter ... justice.

All said and done, rumor has it that we received around 14 inches of snow. Apparently Winona (1 hour east of here) got double that! I cannot even imagine that much snow. There is just snow everywhere.

It ended up turning out to be a restful Sunday. I got a ton of work done for RLSF which I was behind on. JB continued to work on the condo, and then we were blessed in the evening when Lesley offered to bring Chili and cornbread by as we watched Amazing Race and the Oscars. We also played a short game of dominoes as the Oscars have a lot of dull parts. For some reason I am still struggling with my sleep. Last night I managed to secure four hours. We aren't sure why this is as I am off of the progesterone. The sleep seems to be good for 1-2 days and then bad for 1-2 days. Either way, I just try not to think about it. I have the Ambien but wasn't planning on using it yet.

As far as infertility "stuff" is concerned, I am doing well. I haven't written about infertility "stuff" on this blog in quite some time. As the thought of the May 31st transfer gets closer, the emotions that go with it immediately start to swell. For some reason, I started thinking about it a lot today. It's hard to think about doing all of that again (or the fact that I will have to do it at least 3 more times.) For the most part, when I am not going through treatments I don't think about it a lot, but lately there has been a slew of pregnancy announcements that have gotten my head swimming back in that direction. Fatigue adds to that. Either way, we look forward to another chance at a biological child.

We just keep on keeping on.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

JB's Snaps

Well even our large church cancelled this morning! In my four years, I have never seen the town shut down like this. Instead of going to church, the Jones' (who have 4-wheel drive) took JB out and then reluctant Wendi for some local viewing of the beautiful snowfall. This also included helping to dig three different cars out of huge piles of snow. I think I saw that we have had 13.5 inches, and, folks, it is still coming down! Not only that but it is supposed to be snowing all week. Worry of floods is spreading as the snow continues to pile up.

How beautiful is this snow? (And yes, the last picture IS a car!)

For even more pictures of the snow (and some of our volleyball tournament), check out Kristen's blog entires:

Snow and 40,000

Well the snow is coming down like crazy. It seems that every church in the area has closed. I still haven't see our church listed but there is no way we are driving in this! We live right near an intersection and have only seen a few cars try to muddle through.

Last night we ate pancakes for dinner, and today we are sitting in front of our big bay windows just watching it come down while watching the weather channel. My boss at Mayo was interested in me working today, but he said we'd probably connect via Internet and not via office.

There are also reports of power lines down from the ice. I'm praying our building doesn't lose power as we have a lot of elderly people here who would really have a hard time with that. It isn't terribly cold outside (mid 20s) but cold enough to be very cold inside without heat.

Completely off the topic, I also noticed that the Polar North had its 40,000th visitor the other day. Unfortunately, I haven't been watching the counter so I didn't realize it until someone asked me about it. Oh well. Congratulations to the anonymous winner. Anyone could claim it!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Big old honkin' storm (courtesy of my camera phone)

I have always found it difficult to capture the weather on film. But I have done my best.

Today, JB and I played in a co-ed volleyball tournament at the National Volleyball Center in Rochester. We played six matches and had a blast. Thanks for organizing this Kristen! We finished 4th out of 8 teams! Hopefully Kristen will post a photo of our team soon so I can steal it and include it on our blog. The tournament started at 8:30. At 2:00 it was over, and we headed back out to our cars, in a hurry to grab some pizza and then bunker down, as the worst of the storm was supposed to start late afternoon.

What we found was an icy mess! In my four years here, I have never seen anything like this. Apparently it rained but then the temperature dropped, and there was a layer of ice on everything! I hope you can get the idea in the pictures below (which were taken from my cell phone -- how cool is that?)

Thank goodness I wore my big winter boots (first time this year). Here I am stepping in a pile of snow that had turned to ice. This had never happened to me before. This pile of snow is a few inches thick, but I am staying right at the top of it.

Well here is crazy Brandon. Shorts and tennis shoes. Someone commented on the guy in an earlier post holding a frozen bubble while wearing a short sleeved shirt. That's Brandon too. Not sure if you can tell that the ground he is walking on is actually a layer of ice! You can also see all the chipped off ice on the ground in front of him as the guys attempted to get the car drivable.

Here is JB helping de-ice the Yuan's car!

Brandon and Kristen -- everyone had to get in on the passenger side and then push open the driver's side doors as the storm was hitting the cars from one side.
JB and I plan to just bunker down the rest of tonight as well as tomorrow. Most of the churches in the area have been cancelled. I haven't seen Christ Community announce closings yet, but we plan to just stay in and not venture out. Unfortunately, this also cancels our day in the cities with the Jones and Philips. We have rescheduled for a few weeks from now, and I am actually looking forward to a cozy day at home with my JB. It's still snowing as I write. I'll post more photos tomorrow if I dare go outside to take them!

So far, so good

Last night, after a "Save the Leftovers" potluck (more on this below), sixteen of us headed to the opening night of Amazing Grace. This was a fantastic movie, and I strongly recommend it to anyone -- good message and great story. Go see it!

During the two hours we were in the theatre, the storm had started, and there was already a few inches of snow on the ground as we headed home. We drove home in some pretty snowy weather and slick roads but nothing too terrible.

This morning, things are fairly quiet, however, apparently, while the volleyball tournament has not been cancelled, the storm itself will be really getting going this afternoon. We'll have to wait and see whether we can make our trip to the cities on Sunday morning or not.

So back to that potluck I mentioned in paragraph one ...

Our friend's Tara and Lesley (pictured below with my Aunt Jan on the right) are very extreme in their opinion on food wasting. If you don't believe me, check out the title of Tara's blog: "That banana is still good". I kid you not! Both Lesley and Tara are legendary for saving food that should really just die a nice death in the local trash heap. Old bananas and year-old yogurt are only the tip of the iceberg. If I want to assure people take food with them when they leave our house after a big dinner, I just say the magic words: "I think I'll just throw this away" and suddenly, Tara and Lesley swoop in, scouring the area, filling up Tupperware and plastic baggies, making sure that no food makes it to my trash can. Moving and want to clean out your fridge? Call these two. Your fridge will be cleaned for you!

Anyways, a few weeks ago, Tara and Lesley came up with this idea to have a potluck and to not make new food but instead rescue food that would otherwise not survive. So JB and I combed through the refrigerator and freezer and found a bunch of odds and ends that we would have otherwise probably thrown away. The food, most of it, was actually very good, and I felt like I had done a good deed. However, Tara actually brought some pickle wraps that had been sitting for over a week only under saran wrap. These wraps included some cream cheese, and even JB would not go near them. Tara couldn't see what the big deal was, and even Lesley popped a few, but man ... those things looked horrible! (Okay so I don't like pickles -- I'm sure that didn't help my decision not to rescue them.)

Last night, we had another one of these potlucks. Tara ended up bringing a salad littered with corn, and JB drank one of her juice boxes. Leftover lasagna, ice cream, pineapple, Mac & Cheese. Fun times!

Speaking of Tara, I also promised that I would post some funny events that happened yesterday. JB and I were on our way to lunch downtown (to Camille's -- I love that place Rachel!), when we ran into Tara, killing some time during a break from dermatology. (Speaking of dermatology, most students call dermatology "derma-holiday" do to the relaxed schedule and great money that dermatologists make. Three years ago, eleven of the forty classmates in one of the medical classes chose dermatology, obviously opting for "lifestyle" over other reasons for choosing a field.)

All right. Stay on track Wendi. We walked to the lunch and then returned, the same way we had come -- through a back hallway in the subway. However, on the way back, Tara remarked, "Wow, I've never been down this hallway before." JB and I both looked at each other, very confused, since we had walked TO the restaurant down that hallway. I think Tara ultimately believed us, but we imagined all the places we could take Tara without her ever knowing it.

And, if I am going to tell the funny Tara story, I should tell the funny JB story. We walked with Tara to this restaurant, and she went and got a booth while JB and I ordered. A few minutes later, JB turned and said, "Hey -- there's Tara", forgetting for a split-second that Tara had actually come with us to the restaurant.

Both of these events made me feel very un-blonde! Who said blondes are air headed? Tara and JB are brunettes. (Can you call a guy a brunette? Not sure.)

Okay, off to shower and then play some volleyball.

P.S. Right after writing this post, I went to Tara's blog and noticed she had done a whole post on dermaholiday! Check it out!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Snow storm

Rumor has it this will be the worst Feburary snow storm since 1891. I'll keep you posted.

Winter storm

The weatherman just said that years from now we will look back and say, "Do you remember where you were during the storm of '07?" They are calling for the possibility of a foot and a half of snow and a bunch ice, sleet, and rain. I think part of the problem is that the warm up we got means it is on the bubble of rain and snow.

We have a lot of plans this weekend. Tonight a group of us were going to have a Lesley-Tara potluck (more on this later) and go see Amazing Grace. Then tomorrow we are playing in a co-ed volleyball tournament with our friends Kristen and Brandon. And then on Sunday we were planning on going to hear John Piper, a famous Christian writer, speak at his church in the cities with the Jones and Phillips. Not sure how all this will work out. There's a chance that we may not get to do any of this!

Just playing it by ear.


I read this this morning in my devotional time:

Oscar Wilde once wrote: "In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." A third tragedy may be added: the tragedy of not being able to go forward after tragedy has occurred. When a tragedy strikes, our first tendency is to ask, "Why?" We may never know "why," but God promises to be with us always. When we make the decision to go on with life, He leads us in His paths of mercy and truth.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sweet sleep

Today I went and saw my family practice doctor. I don't know that he is actually "mine" as I have never seen him before. Actually in four years here, he is my fourth doctor. They keep giving me a resident who keeps moving on and leaving me all alone.

This doctor quizzed me on my sleep and the unfortunate set of circumstances that sent me in to see him. He agreed that travelling to a strange place and being on a medication for 22 days that caused insomnia was not a good situation. He told me he would give me 10 Ambien. He told me not to start taking them until I was adjusted to the jet lag issues that usually result from jumping successive time zones.

I was not really impressed with the idea of 10 Ambien. I have 22 days of insomnia. While, yes, he said I could cut the pills in half (but not tell him about it), I still wasn't feeling too good about 10 pills for 22 days. He said the reason for the lesser amount was the fear of dependency.

Dependency? What's that? I've never dependent on anything -- including codeine. Right.

However, the resident then left to talk with his supervising physician and came back with the doctor and a prescription for 30 pills. His supervising physician also sat down to talk about my trip to Nigeria for a full five minutes -- no questions about anything related to my health -- just questions about our exciting trip. I guess he judged me not to be a drug addict and agreed to give me a few more pills.

However, in the course of all this, I've made a decision about my sleep. I just cannot talk about it. It only causes negativity. The other night I was awake from 2:30-5:00. When I got up "officially" at 6:30am, JB was in the guest room -- obviously frustrated with my restlessness. He asked me how I slept. I told him the facts and left it at that. Then I told him I no longer felt the need to share vividly just how pathetic the sleep was.

So if you ask me how I am sleeping, I'm going to do my best to tell you without complaining about it. I don't want to be a complainer. I want to be as tough as possible. The thing is though, when you haven't slept, your desires get tossed out the window. You start thinking and feeling things you know you wouldn't be feeling or thinking had you slept well. But I'm going to do my best.

I'll also keep you posted on the winter storm that is supposed to be coming through our area tomorrow ... we have a bunch of weekend plans so we are hoping that these aren't impeded by what could be a nasty ice storm. We'll see. Good bye 40's!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I think this guy may start going to church

My friend sent this to me via email. I'm not sure you can doubt that miracles happen when you see these photos. This guy went over a guard rail and bounced end over end and landed on the other side of the culvert.

Take a look at the second picture to see what he avoided.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Today I did something I've never done before. I actually interviewed candidates for my own job.
I will be doing about 10 hours a week for Mayo once I move to Florida. (Not enough to get benefits including the $10,000 adoption benefit -- bummer!) I will be combining this with 20-30 hours for RLS -- so I will be working nearly full-time from my own desk in my own pajamas with my own Oprah on in the background.

Anyways, the other 14 hours will go to a new gal. She will work for him about 10 hours a week and then work for another physician 10 hours a week. So, the two departments got together and interviewed candidates. It was myself and the supervisor for the other department. We did three interviews in a row which was a little draining but quite an experience for me.

I probably shouldn't say much more. If the candidates go home and google me and get this blog, I'd hate to say something bad (or good) about them. I will just say that I have never sat on the other side of the interview table before. You see a lot of interesting things and really get a peek into what the "hirers" are actually looking for. There was very good and very bad, and I'll just leave it at that. We have one more interview tomorrow, and then we hope to make a decision by the week's end.

In this case I am trying to pick my own replacement. I am also trying to pick someone that I will be working with when I move to Florida. My boss has basically told me to do a good job in picking him a new person. He's way too busy to have to participate in the interviews. So hopefully, we will pick a good person.

In other news, it is feels like 25. Not too shabby don't you know. (Just kidding -- I hate when Minnesotans say "don't you know".)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Outside runners

I walked to work at Mayo today at noon. Seriously, it felt like it was sixty degrees out! It was amazing!

After work at 5, it was actually 37 degrees (feels like 29) and so I told JB I wanted to run outside. John did not want to run outside. He still thought it was too cold. I told him this was fine, and I could just run on my own. John, of course, won't sit at home while I run, and he'd prefer I didn't run alone so out he came. It was cold, and we had to stop in one spot because there was so much ice, however, it felt great to be outside.

Today, we were outside runners. It's amazing how warm the thirties feel when it was previously below zero.

Monday again

The weekend is over.

It was a good weekend. Friday evening I went to a new downtown restaurant for dinner with our friend Rachel. Then she and I caught up with our friends at a great concert in the Gonda lobby (pictured above). You can just barely see the black piano right under the statue. During the week at Mayo, any talented pianist is welcome to use the piano and play. Sometimes people sing. It is amazingly beautiful. At the concert (hosted by our friend Tara -- and incidentally, in case you didn't know, her name is pronounced Tar-uh) medical and graduate students performed a variety of songs and instruments. Some of them were decently talented but others are amazingly talented. Honestly, I often feel very ordinary at these concerts, listening to future physicians show even more talent. I have gone 3 out of the 4 years I have been here and enjoy it every time.

Saturday JB and I spent the first half of the day getting all of 5 of our group's Visas together and sent to Washington D.C. He then did a lot of work around the condo while I puttered around the house. JB also attended some lectures at the L'abri conference. If you do not know what L'abri is, check it out
HERE. We also got invited over to the Jones' at the last minute for dinner. She had made food for another couple who called in sick. And we all know Lesley won't waste food ... so she asked us to eat it!

Sunday was church (the youth led worship and did a fantastic job) and then lots of work around the condo before hanging out at the Rays and with Lesley watching American Race, eating pizza, and playing some Mexican trains.

Now it is Monday morning and another week has begun. Hope it's a good one for everyone.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Gabbi

Today is February 18th. I woke up and logged on my instant messenger to wish my sister-in-law Gabbi a happy birthday. Only her birthday was the 8th.

Gabbi once told me she has no idea how people don't remember birthdays. Gabbi is like this detail-oriented obsession person. She once told me: "wanna know something you add my bday month to rays bday month (2+7) and my bday day and rays bday day (8+4) you get graces bday 9-12". Who does that? Who thinks about things like that? Not I. I seriously had to re-read what she wrote like ten times before I even knew what she was talking about.

Quite honestly, I am horrible with birthdays. Birthdays were not a big deal in our family. I still can't remember if my mom's birthday is July 18th or if it is their anniversary that is July 18th. I made this handy-dandy chart with every one's dates, and I never use it. I never remember to look at. (This defeats the purpose of the handy dandy chart.) I am, seriously, very, very bad at remembering people's birthdays.

I wanted to throw this out there so everyone knows this. If you are a family member or good friend of mine, I will probably remember your special day. However, it could, honestly, be a month late. It is a weakness of my personality. It is a hole in the being of my personage. It is a skill I do not possess.

I am sending Gabbi a card. Ten days late. Only ten days late.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

China Requirements

Well as I had mentioned previously, as of May 1st, the adoption requirements for China will become much more strigent. Quite honestly, this is because adopting through China is a well-oiled machine. In addition , Asian and Caucasian culture seems easier to assimilate. In short, it is all about supply and demand. Things that are very expensive are that way because people are willing to pay for it. China has decided that they are such a popular adoption country, that they will make their requirements more strigent, therefore shrinking the applicant pool and assuring better parents (not sure how you define that.)

So, here are the new requirements.

Requirements for intercountry Adoption from the Republic of China to take effect on May 1, 2007 (Preliminary version)

On December 21, 2006, the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) officially notified the U.S. Embassy in Beijing of new rules for intercountry adoption from China. This preliminary version is subject to change.
1. Prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least two years (marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman). If either the husband or wife has been divorced (no more than two divorces), the prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least five years.
2. Both the husband and wife must be at least 30 years old and under age 50. If adopting a special needs child, both must be between the ages of 30 and 55.
3. Both the husband and wife must be physically and mentally fit and must not have any of the following conditions:
  • AIDS
  • Mental disability
  • Infectious disease that is actively contagious
  • Blind in one or both eyes or wearing a prosthetic eye
  • Hearing loss in both ears or loss of language function; those adopting children with hearing or language function loss are exempt if they have the same conditions
  • Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limb, paralysis or deformation
  • Severe facial deformation
  • Severe diseases that require long-term treatment and that affect life expectancy, including malignant tumors, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, etc
  • Major organ transplant within ten years
  • Schizophrenia
  • On medication for more than two years for severe mental disorders, such as depression, mania, or anxiety neurosis
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) (BMI=weight (kg)/height2 (m2) =40.
4. Either the husband or wife must have stable employment.
5. The family’s annual income must be $10,000 for each family member in the household (including the child to be adopted); the value of family assets must be $80,000. The computation of the family’s annual income excludes welfare income, pensions, unemployment insurance, or government subsidies, etc.
6. Both prospective adoptive parents must be high school graduates or have vocational training equivalent to that of a high school graduate.
7. They must have fewer than five children in the family under the age of 18 years, and the youngest one should be at least one year old. (Those adopting special needs children will be exempt.)
8. Neither prospective adoptive parents may have a criminal history; they must behave honorably, with good moral character, and be law-abiding. Neither should have any of the following histories:
  • Domestic violence, sex abuse, abandonment or abuse of children (even if they are not consequently arrested or convicted)
  • Use of narcotics, use of opium, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc., or any medication for mental illness that can cause addiction
  • If they have a history of alcohol abuse they must show they have been sober for at least ten years.
9. Adoption applications from persons with past criminal violations will be considered on a case-by-case basis when either the husband or the wife has fewer than three minor criminal convictions and it has been ten or more years since the last conviction, or has fewer than 5 records of minor traffic law violation.
10. The prospective adoptive parents must have an understanding of what adoption is and the expectations to provide a warm family for the orphaned children (or children with handicap or disability) via adoption and to meet the needs of the children for their proper development. Prospective adoptive parents must have an understanding of intercountry adoption as well, and be fully prepared for the potential risks associated with intercountry adoption such as potential diseases, developmental delays, post-placement maladjustment, etc.
11. The prospective adoptive parents make clear in their adoption application letter their willingness to allow post-placement follow-ups and provide post-placement reports as required.
The fixed number of years or age requirements that prospective adopting parents must meet that appears in this letter shall be dated from the day when the adoption application documents are logged in at the CCAA.

Friday, February 16, 2007

As the Prometrium Turns

The good news? The Prometrium I took did it exactly what it is supposed to do despite the adjustments in dosage. Success.

The bad news? I slept horribly for nearly two weeks.

The good news? My "anonymous" friend's Ambien gift proved very helpful. I took a half pill two different nights and slept wonderfully.

The bad news? She doesn't have nearly enough Ambien to give me for what is coming next.

JB and I spent about a half hour on the phone with the nurse/s from the Infertility Clinic today. When I grew frustrated of trying to understand, I gave the phone to JB, and when they could no longer understand, they gave the phone to another nurse.

Basically, because we are out of the country and because they cannot closely monitor me, they have decided to put me on nearly back-to-back rounds of Prometrium while we are in Nigeria and South Africa. I still am not exactly sure why.

JB was not a happy camper, and I can understand why. It was a rough two weeks in our household. He doesn't want to go through that for more than twice as long while we are not in our own house, sleeping in unfamiliar beds, and supposed to be having an adventure in Africa. I don't want to go through it either.

When we got off the phone, we just basically sat and started at each other, confused as to what we should do. We definitely want to do the transfer May 31st. I am ready for this, and it is our last week in Rochester.

As I write this, I am sure Kelsey and Tara are also yelling at the computer -- begging the doctors to change their mind. (Ajit would be yelling too if he read my blog -- but he's too busy trying to figure out if he can scuba dive in freezing cold water in Cape Town.) Don't worry guys. I only take it out on JB.

Gulp. Don't worry JB, I promise not to take it out on you.

In fact, I am getting proactive on this. I spoke with the nurse and sure enough, they would not prescribe sleep medication. I therefore made an appointment with my family practice doctor (who I actually don't know since they keep giving me a resident and they leave after one year.) I am going to go see him next week, and hopefully counteract this Prometrium junk by getting a sleep aide.

I also realized that I actually may not have to start taking the lupron shots until the last day of my trip! This means I am going to carry that little FRIO Bag (Thanks Aunt Linda) around with me for six weeks for one shot on the last day. Geeesh.

For a girl who never went to the doctor and never took any medications up until moving to Rochester, I am pretty sick and tired of medication, doctors, shots, pills, surgeries etc. Sometimes I wonder whether we should have ever started all this infertility-treatment crud. However, no matter what the outcome, I know we will feel like we made the right decision. I know that we have made the right decision. I'm just feeling a tad bit whiney.

And I am trying to get all of the whiney-ness out of my system before our trip. Don't worry fellow travelers. No whiney Wendy in wonderful Africa. I promise!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Our trip

After our four weeks in Nigeria, we are busy planning our two week vacation in South Africa. Here's where we will be going. This will include a rental car, five friends, and a Safari amongst many other things. I'm so excited about this trip! Here's a map JB put together. (He's so organized!)

I never learn

Yesterday, JB and I had a wonderful Valentine's Day. We went to an early movie: Music & Lyrics. It was a very fun and pretty clean romantic comedy. If you go in expecting a frivolous romantic comedy, you won't be disappointed. I was going to make dinner afterwards, but JB has been working on the condo for the last two weeks, and it is therefore in shambles. So at the last minute we opted for our favorite: India Garden. We were especially happy that our favorite waiter has returned from his year-long vacation back in India. We missed him! We even ran into the Philips there. Right in the middle of dinner, I see JB's face go into contortions. He then says that he hears Karuna's voice but doesn't see her. She suddenly emerged from a booth seat to give me a big hug.

So I titled this post "I never learn". Here's what I never learn. Each February, after a cold snap, I begin to convince myself that the end of winter is upon us. As a result, I forgo my silk leggings and boots and start dressing like it is 30 degrees outside. The fact that I called facilities at Mayo about how cold it was in my office so many times that they brought me a space heater (sssshhhh!) only helped this problem. My office no longer feels cold either.

So last night I excluded my leggings and my boots from my attire. As a result, my feet froze all through the movie and all through dinner. They hurt so bad! You know they are in bad shape when even JB's feet were bothering him. The reason?! Well, with windchill it was actually -20 last night. And we had dressed like spring was around the corner.

We ended up sitting on the edge of the bathtub with our feet in hot water post-dinner and then curling up under a blanket for the results of American Idol with my heated rice bag.

I have learned my lesson. I do not have permission to stop dressing for winter until we have at least one week where we are repeatedly above freezing. The snow has stopped melting. People are running feverishly to get from building to building. It's time to stop acting crazy and stay warm.

Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day. No matter how cold you were.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines Day

When I was a teacher, I used to ask my students to keep journals. Every year on Valentine's Day, I would ask them to write about Valentine's Day. I would crack up reading some of the responses from these 16-17 year old boys. Here are some of my favorites which I kept for just a time as this.

Also, I wanted to also step onto my soap box for a minute. Just as Mother's and Father's Day and other family holidays can be painful for people who are dealing with infertility or the loss of a parent or a child, Valentine's Day is also causing the same pain. My heart has been so pricked for people who have lost a loved one or those who wish they were celebrating with a loved one. Please don't forget your single friends and the widow/ers amongst us. I really think holidays like this, while good in design, can cause pain for some people, and we need to remember that.

Okay, so the statements below shouldn't cause anyone pain -- except for maybe the girlfriends of the authors. Remember, these were my junior and senior male students. I can still picture many of their names and faces and how hard I laughed the first time I read these.

* * * * * * * * *

Valentine's Day is very expensive. I think it has all gotten out of hand with all the presents. It has turned into more of a commercial holiday and people have forgotten the romantic side. I spent about $100 on my girlfriend and we decided not to even get each other stuff. So I think Valentine's Day has turned into a big crock of crap.
* * * * * * * * *
In my opinion Valentine's Day is just like any other day of the year except you get flowers, candy, cards, animals (stuffed), and balloons. I only like Valentine's Day when I'm getting something out of it. If I'm not getting anything then I don't like it. Valentine's is mainly a girls' holiday because they get roses and stuffed animals and all us guys get is an empty wallet from spending a fortune on roses and balloons. We sometimes don't get anything in return but a hug or kiss.
* * * * * * * * *
Valentine's day has to be the worst holiday. People waste so much money on flowers because their girlfriends or wives want roses. They are going to die, so why buy them? Oh well. I guess if that's what they want. It's not really that bad, but it's still the worst holiday. My girlfriend always loves to spend money. So she usually decides what to buy and then we are both broke. Oh well I guess she is worth it. I like her pretty good. I still miss the Valentine's Day parties at school though because we always got to eat. We would get candy and watch movies. It was great!
* * * * * * * * *
Valentine's Day is just another day for me. i don't look forward to getting my girlfriend anything or receiving anything for that matter. I know girls get mad when they don't get roses or candy or bears. That's why I think it's best not to even have a girlfriend at this time. You don't have to worry about getting anyone anything. I think this is the best way to do it. Now if someone decides to get me something for Valentine's Day, I will repay them with a gift in return because that would be the right thing to do.
* * * * * * * * *
Valentine's Day is very uncool for the male gender. I know that if you love someone than it shouldn't matter what you buy for them or they buy for you. But of course it is always true that the male gender has to buy a large gift or he will be a loved one for a long time. So, in essence, the gift that keeps on giving should be the love two people have for each other. (Bull crap!) if I did not get my girlfriend a Valentine's gift, she would be the angriest girl in the school. Girls are princesses and should be treated like it but there are some boundaries. No man should have to pay more money for a gift than the price of gas for one week. This is Valentine's Day.
* * * * * * * * *
Valentine's Day is goofy. Girls fall in love on this day. It is so easy for us guys to do something sweet for a girl. Buy them some roses and some candy and give it to them in a sweet way. My girlfriend is going to be mad at me because I didn't get her nothing. But she says she don't want anything. She got me a card that was nice, but that's it. She said she got me some chocolate, but I guess since I didn't get her nothing, she didn't give them to me. Oh well. I hate to say it, but I think I am going to break up with her tomorrow. But I don't want to be mean.
* * * * * * * * *
Today is Valentine's Day. I really don't like Valentine's Day all that much. I think that it is a waste of time and money. I had to buy my girlfriend $50.00 worth of roses and candy to show her how much I care about her. If you were to think about it, it shouldn't just be one day. She should know everyday that I care about her, and she should never ever think different. I don't like Valentine's Day because I don't think that you can pick a certain day for love. I think that if you really do love someone, then you shouldn't just love them on Valentine's Day or buy them flowers and candy on Valentine's Day.
* * * * * * * * *
Valentine's Day is just another day but all the girls think that it is so romantic but most guys think that it's kind of boring and sappy. Either way you look at it, most flower places and places that sell cards will be working overtime and be sold out of a lot of their stuff. Hearts, hearts, and more hearts is all that it is on Valentine's Day. I bought my girlfriend flowers and paid 78 bucks for them, and they looked like crap. So that will never happen again.
* * * * * * * * *
Hope reading these made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

When You’re Ready

Shortly after our third failed IVF late last year, my cousin Josh (aka "Heisman") told me that he had written a song for me. I mean, it's going to be on his CD so I don't think he technically wrote it for me. Maybe he actually just used me. Okay, I am kidding and this is a serious post. Josh is a fantastic song writer and a great singer. JB and I are, seriously, his biggest fans! Anyways, Josh wrote this song about our struggles to have children.

I have been blessed with some wonderful emails, cards, and gifts during this four year struggle. Our friend Bara gave us a beautiful light with a little child sitting on the moon. My Grama gave me a little porcelain baby in a flower that she said makes her think of our future child. This song is amongst the best gifts and memories of this journey. I was so touched. Josh sent me the words shortly after our third negative IVF, and I have had the words for quite some time. I've thought often of posting them on the blog but really wanted to wait for the music to be finalized.

So, now, the music is ready. Please take the time to visit "Heisman's" website. Then just click on "When You're Ready" to listen to the song. I will also let you know when the CD is ready. I'd love if you'd support Josh by buying a CD and also sharing this song with other people struggling with infertility.

No tears left to cry
No heart left to break
It’s in these times all I have is You

Lord it’s in Your hands
Cause I don’t have the strength
For one more day, One more hour
Help me understand

Am I alone in this feeling of searching for meaning
When will this pain depart from me
Open my eyes to a world I’d love to see

Lord I don’t know why
I feel so alone right now
And I don’t know how
But we got to this place
We got to this place somehow
And it’s all because of you

There are times of doubt
When only questions seem to mount
And the answers are few and far between

But with each passing day
I feel you guiding, Feel You leading the way
Lord I pray, for peace

Lord I don’t know why
I feel so alone right now
And I don’t know how
But we got to this place
We got to this place somehow
And it’s all because of you

Everybody wants to have the perfect family
Children wrapped up neatly with a bow
Why does everybody have it oh so easy
I just think, why not me
When Lord will it be
My time

Lord I don’t know why
And I don’t know how
Lord I don’t know why
I feel so alone right now
And I don’t know how
We got to this place
But we got to this place somehow
And it’s all because of you

Lord from now on, I’ll trust in You

One day I’ll look back
When all the pain has passed
And cherish this time, When I cried
Lord when you’re ready…I am

Trivia for warmer weather

Well, if you missed out on the fun conversation in yesterday's blog, you really missed out. I am not sure I have ever laughed so hard as when Bara wrote: "I'm Banana! it says that my natural enemy is Lemon!! any lemons around??? face me!" JB laughed equally as hard when he read it later. If you missed it, stop at the post below. What fruit are you? What superhero are you? JB was, just like, a Strawberry, and apparently he felt that was pretty woosie because he tried to retake the test numerous times and couldn't get a different fruit. But his villains are very masculine so he feels good about that.

The weather has warmed up considerably. Yesterday I told JB it felt warm enough to run outside. He said it was only 21. (We usually have 36 as our cutoff for running.) However, it felt so much warmer because it has been so stinkin' cold. The streets are also very muddy meaning the snow is actually melting. Hurrah!!!

I also realized that it has been quite some time since I did any trivia. So here is another trivia question:

According to the experts, you shouldn't use one of these more than three times...five at the very most!
And here is a list of our past winners.

Cindy V.
Doormark x2
Gabbi x 4
Joanna x2
Kristen x3
Suebaby x2

Monday, February 12, 2007

What fruit are you?

Did you know I was a Strawberry. Learn something new everyday. What fruit are you?

Take the What Fruit Are You? test.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ice scultpures

Today I:
  • Read some funny blonde jokes shared by friends! Very good folks. Post some more please! (See blog below if you don't know what I am talking about.)
  • Worked out with JB.
  • Went to breakfast at Pannnnnnakooooken with Lesley. (I had a panakooken. Lesley said it was strange that I put syrup on my eggs and then promptly dumped hash browns in her split pea soup. Hmmmm ... what's wrong with this picture)?
  • Did some laundry.
  • Played a few games of online spades.
  • Got my hair cut.
  • Ate dinner with Lesley and JB.
  • Beat Lesley and JB in Hotels.
Also, while on our way to breakfast, Lesley and I walked through the underground and past Victoria's restaurant. They have two ice sculptures sitting outside just chilling there. What's sad is that there is no danger of either of these sculptures melting. (I think they are of someone pouring some wine or something). In fact folks, there's no danger of anything melting anytime soon. This snow that is piled up isn't melting at all. The streets are bone dry. Stop the insanity.

JB and I must admit -- we don't know if it is that we know we are leaving so we have given up fighting the cold or if it is because we are just so sick of winter -- but we are just Done (note the capital "D") with this whole freeze your butt off thing. Speaking of freezing your butt off, I know now where that expression comes from. Cold weather makes you think that is literally happening.

I'm sorry! I give up! I cannot stop myself from complaining about this weather. And I've now officially given up trying.

What's your best blonde joke?

A blind man wanders into an all girls biker bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders some coffee. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the waiter, "Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?"

The bar immediately falls absolutely silent. In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, "Before you tell that joke, sir, I think it is only fair -- given that you are blind -- that you should know five things:

1. The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat.
2. The bouncer is a blonde girl.
3. I'm a 6 foot tall, 175 lb. blonde woman with a black belt in karate.
4. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weightlifter.
5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler.

Now, think about it seriously, Mister. "Do you still wanna tell that joke?"

The blind man thinks for a second, shakes his head, and mutters, "No. not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Feeling more comfortable with IVF and adoption

Two weeks ago, I was having some difficulty digesting everything with IVF and adoption. I had spoken with an America World representative and had been left with a lot of answers as well as a lot concerns primarily as it related to moving forward with transfers and adoption at the same time. However, earlier this week, JB spoke with her again, and we managed to get some concrete answers as to how this all works.

So here's the plan:

We plan to do our transfer on May 31st. At that point, we will wait two weeks to see if we are pregnant or not. If we are pregnant, we will put the adoption process on hold. If we are not pregnant, we can start moving forward with adoption while making decisions about when to go back for our remaining sticky babies.

The one cost that is not reimbursable is the cost of a "Home Study". This is basically a social worker who visits your home and creates a report to say whether or not you would make a good family for a child. This home study is only good for one year. We would have to do another study each and every time we adopt. Unfortunately, home studies are about $2,000, and this money is never reimbursable. Once a year runs out, you have to do it again.

However, all money that we pay to America World, while not reimbursable, can be rolled over to a subsequent adoption (minus 20%). We basically make three payments to America World. At any point, if we were to get pregnant and have to "back out", we would roll that into an "account" at America World that we could use the next time we try to adopt. This was very good news to me!

The other bit of good news is that while there are some small costs involved throughout the process that we would lose if we had to "pause", the bulk of the money due to China and for our travel to China, would be due very late in the process (approximately three months before we bring home our daughter). During that time, there would be no "turning back". For one thing, it is only when a pregnancy is considered "viable" (past the risk of miscarrying point) that you have to postpone an adoption so we would good to go by then.

Anyways, I know not everything should center around money, however, when you are talking about such large amounts of money, it is difficult to not get yourself in a tizzy about it. I write this post to basically say that while we definitely could lose money if we start the adoption process and THEN get pregnant, I don't think we would care much -- not only because we won't lose all our money but because we'd be pregnant for crying out loud.

So we feel very good about all of this. We have also created a rough outline for our moving to Florida/transferring etc. Here it is:

March 25-May 5 Nigeria/South Africa
May 5 Return from Nigeria
May 19 JB graduates
May 25 weekend JB and Ronnie (hopefully) drive all our stuff to Eglin and then fly back up here
May 31 Transfer
June 2 Wendi and JB fly to Eglin for good
Mid-June Pregnancy test
Mid-June Decide whether to proceed with adoption or transfers or what

Hope you all enjoyed that. Hey, if you are going to read a "planner's" blog, you have to expect to get some plans given to you.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Camera Phones, Volleyball, and Ambien

So today, I took a picture with my phone and successfully emailed it to myself! I took a picture of the iced door I keep telling you all about. Here it is. Geesh, with these camera phones, it's like we can all be right together even when we are not. Pretty cool I say!

Last night I played some co-ed volleyball. A guy that works in the lab next to ours asked me if I would sub for his team as one of his girls was sick. Normally I am not a huge fan of co-ed being as the net is so much higher than I am used to. And being as I am a hitter and blocker, the high net really screws up my timing. However, last night I played with a good team and seemed to do fine with the timing. I played well and had a great time. I only missed one serve -- another thing that is often affected by the high net as I spent my whole life serving on a net quite a bit shorter.

Rochester is a huge volleyball town. They have tons of leagues. And most are played at the National Volleyball Center which has something like ten courts. I really wish I would have gotten more involved in these earlier in my time here but with all of my health stuff, there really was no way to commit. Either way, I am playing now and hoping to play a bunch more in Florida. Tonight I am subbing for another friend's girl's team. The game is at 9 -- a little late, but I really want to play.

Another thing I think about when I play volleyball is, maybe I made a mistake choosing to play college basketball over college volleyball. As most of you know, I attended Western Kentucky University on a basketball scholarship. Unfortunately, I never put on the weight that they wanted me to and continued to be a center stuck in a forward's body all the way through.

However, I was offered full volleyball scholarships and a few schools were interested in me playing both sports (Georgia Tech was where I was leaning for that). I know you can't look back and have regrets. I know that WKU is where the Lord placed me, and ultimately, placed JB. But I definitely love this game and often wonder if I made the right choice. When I play now, I am a amazed at all the "nuances" of the game that are still so real to me from all those years of club volleyball and then coaching it for two seasons in Kentucky. Oh well. No crying over spilled milk. (That's an expression Bara which means being sorry about something that already happened and you can't take back.)

Also, some of you have been asking me about my sleep. JB and I have both been having fitful nights of sleep. Finally last night we decided I'd sleep in "Kelsey's room" and he'd sleep in the bedroom. This way we could sleep who was the sleep-robbing-culprit. Well it was me. JB said he fell asleep right away and only woke up when the alarm went off. I, on other hand was up as of 3:15 and never really went back to sleep. It is so frustrating! Taking some of the advice in my comments section, I have an "anonymous" friend who is going to give me some Ambien today. I think I am going to try it. I'm desperate! I only have about 3 days left on the progesterone, but it often takes a few days after that to get out of my system. Until then, we plan to sleep in separate rooms so at least JB can sleep, even if I can't. I am usually giving myself about 9 hours of sleep "time" but only getting between 2-5 depending on the night. I either wake up and stay awake for hours or wake up periodically -- one night it was approximately NINE times! Grrrr...

Okay, need to do some RLSF work. Peace out folks!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Remembering Kelly

Some of you may know me well enough to know my friend Kelly Ray. Kelly went to our tiny church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and was such an amazing woman of God. Kelly is "tied" to us being as her husband Scott is Ronnie's cousin (and through Ronnie, his sister Deanna's cousin as well). In 2004, Kelly died of an infection after a routine surgery. She and her husband Scott had six amazing children. The youngest, Ben, was just a year old when Kelly passed away.

It has been nearly three years since she died, and Scott has put together a tribute page for her. You can visit it by clicking here:
Kelly E. Ray.

Kelly was such an amazing woman. She cared for her children and family with all her heart. When she died, we were in Chicago and unable to get to Kentucky for the funeral, however, I have been told that it was standing room only for this little Kentucky housewife.

Please take the chance to visit this memorial page, view the pictures of Kelly, and even if you didn't know her, leave a message. I think it is a good reminder to treasure every minute we have on this earth as a precious gift and to also be so thankful for the legacy of children as well as for our own families.

We are so proud of Scott! Keep on keeping on Scott!

Guys, this is the worst weather in 4 years

I keep thinking it but am afraid to say it. I keeping thinking this is the worst cold since we moved here. But I keep thinking, "Surely it's just in my imagination." I know the experts just came out with all this new stuff on global warming so I keep thinking, surely, it has been worse in one of my four previous years.

Today I decided that it has not. One thing has sealed the deal for me.

When I walk to Mayo each morning I exit and enter through the Baldwin Parking Ramp (3rd floor if you care). If you ever enter through Baldwin, you know where I am talking about. Folks, the door, on the INSIDE is COVERED with frost. And the frost seems to be growing everyday. Not just a bit of frost. But the entire door is next-to-white.

So I started thinking. I've been working at Mayo and entering through that same door for three years. And for three years, I have never seen frost on the inside of the door.

So I deducted that this is the worst weather we have ever had.

Another bit of "proof" that things are bad came in email form my good buddy Sheila. Here is what Sheila wrote:

We didn't do our usual lunch today (me eating while reading your blog and offering you chocolate each time I have my piece of chocolate for lunch) since I woke up to a flat tire this morning. I was so good and stayed home most of the weekend so that I wouldn't have to brave the cold and actually made cookies to bring in while I was home (didn't burn a one either!). So at lunch I went out to buy two new tires. It seems that the tire got cold and pulled away from the metal rim and went flat. Then it froze to the ground and cracked, so it had to be replaced.

Have you ever heard of this? It was so cold, her tired froze to the ground!

Gold warming experts -- come visit Minnesota. Even the locals are whining (a lot!)