Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday To ME!!!

I just got the very best birthday present ever. In the history of birthdays. Last week we had requested an "orphanage phone call," from an agency that helps waiting families connect with their waiting babies. In that call, the liaison speaks with the contact at the orphanage and asks 10 questions we submitted with the order. These things help us keep track of Aidan's growth and development and to help us "get to know" her while we wait.

I've been sweating it yesterday and today, knowing that we were heading out after lunch today. To a remote cabin on the end of a bluff. With no cell reception and no wireless internet connection. Not a problem, ordinarily. Unless you are STARVING for updates on your precious little girl. Which we are. Which I was! At the 11th hour, LITERALLY, we got the report back from that phone call. And the best-est part of it all is that they included PICTURES of our baby girl. Without our even asking for them!

I present to you Miss Aidan, in all her 11-month-old glory.

From the report, we are gathering that she is quite a spunky little gal. Here's a quote from the report: "She is full of personality. She'll scream loudly if it doesn't go as she wanted (strong will) . . ." Hmmm, she should fit right in. Strong willed I know.

She appears to be a great eater, and not picky at all. She takes a long nap in the middle of the day and rises early. We might have to work on that :)

Please pray for our little Aidan. She is currently residing in a foster home connected with the orphanage. We must press in and pray for the best possible care and for healthy and loving attachment to us when she leaves that home. We also feel very impressed to pray for spiritual covering and protection, as we know nothing about the foster home in which she resides. Please join us in praying for the Holy Spirit to prepare her hearts for us, to guard her against any plans of the enemy to thwart this adoption, and for a supernatural protection over her heart and her mind against anything that is not of Him. Additionally, please pray that our Letter of Approval and our Travel Approval would arrive QUICKLY. Seeing her beautiful smile only makes us long for her even more than we thought possible!

I have two other fabulous pictures to post, but they are very large files and I can't get them added in right now. These should tide you all over till I can figure out how to do that. In the meantime, go back and enjoy you some Aidan cuteness. Gobble up those adorable cheeks and that toothy grin. And rejoice with us that our daughter is healthy and waiting for us!

Happy Birthday to me!

Favorites Friday

*NOTE: This is a re-post of a post I did last year about our vacation. We are heading out today for a long weekend with my folks and The Norwegians :) We will have 5 days of extremely limited internet and cell service. Right smack in the middle of our wait for an update from the orphanage where our little Aidan is waiting for us. Right smack in the middle of waiting for that all-important paper document called LOA. Ugh. I don't know if I can handle the separation. But I will be strong, and try to bear the five days of lazy sun-bathing and hot-tubbing in the bravest manner possible. I'll try to suffer nobly.

What I will not suffer nobly is the advent of my big 4 - oh. Yes, bloggers, I am turning 40 tomorrow. I will likely spend the next days fending off waves of agony at leaving my 30's - they were so good to me, and fending off waves of despair at having to get used to saying the "f" word in relation to my age. It won't be pretty. But that yummy steak dinner my mom mentioned might just ease the pain. Maybe. . . .

Without further ado or sob stories that will bore you to tears, here is my re-run (with updates for this year in red) of Favorites about family vacation!

We're leaving (today) for our annual vacation with my folks at our family home on Keuka Lake (click here and navigate to the photo gallery page - it's quite a kaleidoscope of scenes of lake life at Keuka!) I've been going there with my family since I was 11 or so, and the whole area has lots of really great memories for me that I enjoy sharing with my kids while we drive. I admit, when I was a teen, I didn't enjoy going there for two whole weeks every summer: being away from my friends for that long felt like the cruelest torture imaginable. But now that my folks own their place and I'm all grown up, with grown-up responsibilities and pressures and deadlines, being there with its easy pace and quiet scenery is like a balm. Today's Favorites are just some of my favorite things about getting away to the lake with my family.

My Favorite Things About Vacation At Keuka Lake:
  • The hot tub - doesn't that just say it all?!
  • The beautiful sound of water lapping against the sides of boats docked along the waterfront and the little gem reflections of the sun on the water that my eyes catch between the leaves when I'm crashed on a lounge up on the dock
  • The absence of most technology - I say most because my dad recently splurged on a tv and satellite dish to combat the long, rainy days of fall and spring when he's there alone (Ha! Last year, I loved the absence of cell service and internet. This year, not so much!)
  • No make-up, no hair stuff, no real clothes - bathing suits, flip flops, sweats and grubby shorts & T-shirts are the order of the day
  • My birthday with my family - we try to be there over my birthday as many years as we can. Somehow, it eases the agony of the approaching 40's and makes me feel young and carefree again. At least, until Shaggy stands up next to me and speaks in his deepening man-voice! (I'll get back to ya on this one. Not really looking forward to the free flinging of the "f" word that I'll no doubt experience by everyone but The Boss. He knows better, having just suffered the same agony himself last month!)
So, bloggy friends, I'll be off enjoying some time with my family for a few days; we'll be home late on Sunday, just in time for me to run laundry and start my new week with mounds of emails and blogs to read! Enjoy your weekend and try to find your own down-time to feel young and rested if you can . . . I sure will be!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Working The List

I'm so in love! The last two evenings have stirred my passion and my love for The Boss like you would not believe. Hang in there with me, this is still a G-rated blog. I AM going somewhere with this one.

Previously, I've mentioned the flurry of home projects and the intense pace we've been keeping with our "To Do" list. Most of the work tackled by The Boss has been painting and trimming out rooms, moving furniture, repairing dressers. You know, the manly arts that require grunting and sweat. I've kept silent, doing my tasks and watching the list whittle down. Knowing that the "BIG ONE" was studiously being avoided. Knowing that he was turning a blind eye to the four large and overflowing file drawers lining the wall in the front living room. Not because he expected me to do it, not because he's too good for that kind of work. Rather, I've watched him circle round it all trying to wrap his brain around the mettle and fortitude the task would require. The task in question: purging our filing system.
Side note here: We had to move the file cabinet out of the former guest room and agreed that, while we were moving it, it would be wise to tackle the mess within its drawers. Mutual agreement, I promise.
In the four years we've lived here, the cabinet has been out of sight from The Boss's daily traffic patterns. I knew when we placed it there that it was risky, but we really saw no other place for it. And it's huge: a four drawer, 1960's era file cabinet that we got for free and painted a nice bright white for the office in our previous home. The huge, open and deep drawers lent themselves to one of two scenarios: a well-organized, room-to-grow filing system OR a well-intentioned beginning system with lots of room to just dump papers in to hide when company was coming. Guess which scenario I found every time I opened the cabinet to find something? Yeah, you got it.

The second or third time I found the toxic dumping ground, I washed my hands of the whole mess and told The Boss that until he was ready to change the current "system" (and believe me, a looser definition of that word cannot possibly exist!), I was not going to keep trying to organize it on my own. I felt that it was a fair declaration, in light of the fact that he uses the "system" way more often than I do, as taxes and mortgage and bill paying usually fall under his domain around here. He agreed - something needed to be done. But while he knew it needed to be done, the fact that it was out of his traffic pattern just allowed him to keep avoiding it.

Until. We. Emptied. The. Room.

One by one the drawers came out. Shaggy and I stared in disbelief. If I recall correctly, we actually just burst out laughing. There was no other recourse. We just laughed. At that point, The Boss and I had already made our big list and he sheepishly admitted that adding a vicious purge of these four drawers to the "To Do" list was in order. That was in early June.

Saturday night, The Boss and I went on a search for lampshades for the girls' rooms and squeezed in a little date while we were at it. Over dinner, I gently reminded him that the filing project was looming. He agreed that he should start it soon. Maybe as soon as we got home from some time at the lake with my folks.

Imagine my great surprise and joy and excitement when he sat down, Sunday night and diligently purged the entire four drawers. In one night. He filled garbage bags with mortgage and tax papers from our very first home - circa 1994. He trashed medical files from college. He ruthlessly destroyed homeschooling records from 1999. He eliminated duplicates and emptied files left and right. It was a glorious sight. I was in ecstasy.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, he sat down AGAIN last night. He organized files. He sorted and attacked the FOUR YEARS OF FILING that I didn't even know he'd been squirreling away. The angels were singing. The birds were warbling their glee. I was beside myself.

My love and my joy have bubbled over. We leave for the lake tomorrow and the bulk of this looming monster of paperwork that he has declared his domain has been tamed. It is now a quiet little mini-monster leashed and caged and waiting for our return. I am in love with my husband all over again. My knight in shining armor has conquered his personal dragon of household paperwork.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Little Tease To Pique Your Interest

Here are a couple peeks at what is going on in our guest room-turned-nursery. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun getting ready for a baby to join the family. Oh, wait. That would be when I was pregnant with Baby BlueEyes. . . And LadyBug. . . And Dr. Doolittle. . . And Shaggy. . . Yeah. Those are the last times I had this much fun doing this much work :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Adjusting and Accepting

We've been working at a ridiculous pace since the kids got out of school. Painting rooms, re-organizing rooms, purging extra stuff from rooms, re-purposing furniture, and other nesting related activities. We've been sleeping a lot less, moving a lot faster, and being super-intentional with our "down time" during this summer break. All of these tasks have been generated by a "Master To Do" list that we brain-stormed together in early June. We had The Boss's folks here for a week and thanks to them, that jump start literally catapulted us further ahead of schedule than we dared to dream for. Even now, we feel pretty on top of things, and have enjoyed the summer's hustle bustle.

Along the way, we've had to adjust our wants & needs, to pare down our budget. We are committed to getting these rooms ready without incurring any debt or spending any money we should be saving for other things. Like tickets to China, for example. So imagine my elation when I found a dresser, in fairly good condition, along the side of the road in mid-June. For free! The gentleman getting rid of it even helped me load it into my van and thanked ME for taking it off his hands. When I discovered at home that it would not be strippable or re-stainable, I grumbled. I was tempted to pitch it and "hold out" for a nicer dresser for Baby Blue Eyes. (He's losing his current dresser to Aidan's room, for her changing table. When we thought we were getting a toddler, we didn't need a changing table!) Frankly, I was frustrated at the number of painted pieces of furniture in the house and being cranky about it. I let the project sit for a couple weeks. But the Lord nudged me to get a little creative and be more open-minded. I repented of my selfishness and pride (cuz really, that's what it was!) and started accepting the challenge to get creative.

The older boys sanded the dresser down, primed it and The Boss painted it this week. All with supplies and paint we already had on-hand (read: FREE!). All we needed to buy were the wooden knobs, that are dirt cheap when purchased in big quantities. We used lots of these knobs this summer, for LadyBug's dresser and nightstand, and now for this dresser. This morning, The Boss and I switched out the dressers and spent some time on a mini-redo for BBE. I am so pleased with the end product, and he's tickled RED!

Thank you, Lord for nudging me to adjust my expectations and helping me to accept Your challenge to be frugal and creative again!

We also started the fun parts of turning the guest room into a nursery for Aidan. But you'll have to wait for the reveal of that one - we still have bedding to wash, a crib to set up (yippee!), and curtains to finish off, among other things. . . .

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fun With Words

My sister sent me this a few months ago, knowing how much I love words. Most of the one-liners are groaners for sure, but they make me giggle all the same. Enjoy a laugh, or a groan, on me!

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We’ll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

A calendar’s days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted: ‘Taint yours, and ‘taint mine.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Step In The Right Direction

We got a phone call from our adoption agency this morning. They received an on-line notification that our LOA (Letter of Approval) is in process right now! This means that we're officially being approved by the powers-that-be in the CCAA to proceed with plans to adopt our little Aidan Hope. We didn't have any reason to doubt that we'll be approved, as we know our dossier has already been reviewed and approved this past spring. And because they have been quite aware of our situation for some time now. But it sure is awesome to have the official notification come! (See my archives if I've lost you at this point!)

Because of the process by which we came to this point (the failed referral, the promise of a hand-picked baby, the requests to be expedited in light of it all, etc. - all documented in my archives), this is a huge praise report for a couple reasons. Bear with me if they are obvious to you. Some others of you may not know much about this process with China and I've tried to explain it as I go along in the process with my family.

First, we are rejoicing because it's one more step closer to making her our very own little Gang member forever. That translates here at the Gang house to weeks and days counted down till we hold her and welcome her HOME. Oh, what a sweet word.

Second, it means that they are honoring the requests to expedite the process and moving us along. From what I hear, you can make all kinds of requests of the CCAA and its process, you just never know what the answer to those requests might be until the answer shows up in your agency's Inbox or mail delivery. Or in some cases, never shows up at all.

So, rejoice with us. Say it out loud: "LOA Is On The Way!" Like a chant, get up and dance around your house and sing it with your kids. Join the fun.

Woooo hooooo! LOA IS ON THE WAY!

Next up, we pray for the actual LOA document to arrive soon, then for the Travel Approval (TA) to arrive shortly after that. Then the Consulate Appointments (CA) can be set. Then flight information is determined and we are on a plane to China. Please join us in praying for a speedy TA - we want this little girl home, as soon as we can get to her.

Resume your dance.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wonderful Visit

Today I was blessed by a day-long visit from one of the greatest friends a woman has ever been blessed to have. "JB" and I met our freshman year of college, in a class taught by one of the wackiest, most eccentric men ever to grace our college campus. We've been stuck on each other ever since. Back then, it might have been a coping mechanism to deal with the aforementioned Professor Bizarro and all the other changes and transitions we were experiencing at once. We felt safe and immediately at ease with one another.

Now (too many years later to actually name in print!), she's still incredibly safe for me; but the friendship has grown, been tested, and matured far beyond anything I could have anticipated in our early connections. With everything we have shared together over the years, and the hours we've logged talking, emailing and phoning each other, you'd think we'd run out of things to say. Our hubbies always kinda hope so. Ha! Not on your life!! We were both completely shocked to look at the clock this afternoon and realize that real life, husbands, and dinner hours were looming close. Don't you just love friendships like that? Where you can slip right into your groove again, and completely lose track of time just being together?

We had so much fun that I completely forgot to take pictures of our time together. However, I did take this picture after she left, of the beautiful gift basket she presented for little Aidan. How cute is this, chock full of goodies and decked in denim (oh, she knows me so well!) and topped by a pink rosebud and bow? Yet another reason why this friendship is so valuable to me: she's so incredibly supportive and excited about this dream finally coming true! She's been there for most of the journey. And I bet she had some fun shopping for little girly stuff, too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Big Reveal - After's

Here it is! LadyBug's grown-up girl room in all its glory. It's actually been mostly done for two weeks, but as with any project this big, we had some details to attend to before we could mark it "done" on our big list. We took some major time last night to finalize wall hangings and sort the closet and dresser while we were at it. The pressure of knowing I wanted to post the final project was helpful, to say the least.

Big props to LadyBug: she chose the aqua color (it's so spa-like and relaxing) and had an idea of how and where she wanted things to be. The curtains gave us some trouble, but the final look came out way cuter than I'd imagined. I love it when it happens like that! They'll require regular adjustments till LadyBug and Baby BlueEyes figure out how easily they slip out of the ribbon. I saw the ribbon looping thing in a P*ttery B*rn-type catalog, and decided to modify it to fit our needs. I think it's a good attempt.

So there you have it. And if any of you come for a visit at Resort Gang, these will be your accommodations!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Big Reveal - Before's

I love that The Boss has finally gotten to the point that he tries to remember the all-important "Before" pictures of rooms when he dives into a new project. Now I've just gotta get him to give me some warning that he's actually starting, so that I can snap a true "before" shot with the room in it's "natural state!" Here are the views of LadyBug's room while he was prepping it for her big re-do.

Note the bright pink and white sponging effect. A friend used to tell me that it looked like Bubbalicious blew up in there! It really was a cute room: Strawberry Shortcake striped sheets made into curtains, a floral comforter and SS throw pillows and little SS accents and posters around the room. Bright, airy, and very cheerful - just right for LadyBug when she was 5. But now, as she matures into a graceful and grown-up 9 year old (who will have to get used to sharing her room when we host overnight company), she was definitely ready for a softer, more sophisticated look. Stay tuned for the reveal of LadyBug's new room, coming very soon!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Twist on The Favorites

First, let me say that your generous outpouring of prayer, encouragement and support to all of The Gang in these past weeks has been humbling and amazing. That strangers and friends alike have diligently sought the face of God on our behalf makes me weep with joy. This blogging community, (and where it intersects with my adoption community, with my church family, and with my friends, and other family connections) has been a pure joy to participate in and I feel blessed by you all. However I've come to know you, the volume of comments, private emails, phone calls (Classic Mama, you are amazing!!), and relationship during this season has been priceless. Thank you.

Over the past three days, several of you have asked me privately how you can continue praying for The Gang. The journey is far from over and, in many respects, we are embarking on a brand-new journey upon our return from China. So today's Favorites (there are more than 5 today!) are the things we are still praying for regarding the end of the legal and documentation part of our journey and the beginnings of the living and loving part of the path.
  • Financial provision - We knew when we started that we did not have all the finances in place to make this whole thing happen in our own resources. But God told us this was the path He was marking for us. So we've walked by faith, literally every month, and He's provided every step thus far. Please pray with us that the remainder of the money needed will be provided. This includes things like the balance of the actual adoption fees, traveling expenses, and resources to complete the things here at home that must be done to welcome Aidan to her new home.
  • Clarity of purpose - As you can imagine, the coming weeks are full of "to do's" and we are asking God to show us what HAS to be done so that we might be about those things first. Strength to put things we WANT to do in proper priority is a must, as my list of "want to do's" and The Boss's list are often different. We need God's mind on these things!
  • School plans - We request that you pray with us regarding our plans for the fall for our kids. We aren't totally settled about one particular question and we really need to hear from HIM and feel HIS peace over what He's laying before us.
  • Travel plans - The next steps are that we must obtain the LOA (Letter of Approval). This is followed by the TA (Travel Approval) and the CA (Consulate Appointment) from the CCAA. Many times, when a family has cleared the Review Room (which we have) those next steps come fairly quickly (we're talking in terms of weeks). We are also requesting that our file be expedited after what we've been through. Please pray that all those steps come in His time and that the plans fall into place according to what is best for our family. I don't relish the idea of leaving my kids for the whole trip, nor do I want to miss their first day of school or BBE's 7th (oh my!) birthday. But God knows my heart . . .
  • Transition and Attachment - Please pray with us that even NOW Aidan's little heart be made ready to be loved and cherished by her new family. Pray that the Lord put an anticipation in her heart for being His and only His, forever. Pray that she attach to BOTH Todd and I quickly and deeply, and that her transition to our crazy Gang be smooth and peaceful. It's a lot for a little baby to take in and I want God to go before us in this area more than any of the others listed here!
  • Healing - My sweet sister-in-law, Teagan's mommy, actually was the first to say this to me and since then, I've had quite a few ask about it. In the hustle of the week, it didn't occur to me to start pressing in for this and seeking God's glory on Aidan in this way. But if you are feeling pressed to pray for our sweet girl, please contact me by private email and we can talk about it. We haven't yet spoken here of her medical needs, really only because of the pace we've kept since Monday, but we will be soon. In the meantime, we ask that you pray.
  • Finally, for Aidan's life - Our family anthem over this adoption has been Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "You Are Being Loved." It's ministered very deeply to me personally in the weeks since we bought the cd for The Boss. And each time I hear it, I beg God for this to be the anthem over Aidan's whole life. Not just till we can get there and hold her and sing it over her, but for her whole life. I want THIS to be the mark that all the world sees when they look at her.
In the coming days, we will be sharing more about what we've learned about our baby girl. Some of the anecdotal notes that come with her files that help us start to connect with her and "know" her. It's amazing to me, I cannot believe how in love with this little girl I have fallen. And fallen hard. Almost every time I look at the clock, I wonder what she is doing across the world. I wonder if she knows how loved she is.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Finally, The Post You've Been Waiting For!

This is Part 4 of a series of posts meant to catch you up on the last two days of our adoption journey. If you have time, you might want start reading at "Begin at the Beginning" first. The whole story of our family's journey can be found by searching "adoption" in the upper left search bar. Enjoy the ride!

So late last night, after calling the grandparents and sending out pictures of little B.N., we sent our Letter of Intent with our acceptance of the referral to our agency. We said Yes!!!

Are you ready for the "it gets better yet" part? This morning I shared the journey of Monday and Tuesday with another great friend and she said, "Are you ready to be a little more freaked out?" See, she had an email sitting in her Draft file that she hesitated to send Tuesday morning. The gist of her email is that in the adoption process, sometimes we know too much. Sometimes knowing all we know about these prospective children of ours works against us in some ways. For example, something like this:

If this were a biological baby that I was carrying in my womb, would I love her any less when an ultrasound showed this medical condition? Would I ever, ever consider not carrying her to term and loving her and seeking the best treatment available for her care?
Now you've got the goosebumps, too, don't ya?! How cool is that? Are you freaking out with it all like I am, even now while I'm telling it all to you? I'm telling you, God has been mighty at work here and we are blessed. We are a blessed family. And I won't even go into all of what the Lord did and said to me on Sunday in church, during a fantabulous, eye-popping, clearing-the-debris and re-arranging the furniture in the rooms of my heart and mind sermon on "Suffering." Suffice it to say, God was just warming me up for the events to come. I was loving what He did and that would have been enough for me to chew on and digest all day Sunday and likely into the next few days. But God doesn't do anything by halves, and we are living testament to that.

So, I know you've all been waiting for this. You deserve it. You've hung in there for
a very long day of very long posts. I've not been quite this long-winded (worded?) in a long, long time. But you gotta admit, the story is a cool one. And even if you are bored to tears and cannot stand another minute of my long-worded-ness, the pictures below should make up for it.

Here she is, our daughter. Aidan Hope (Chinese name to be added later?).

Joy In The Journey

This is Part 3 of a series of posts meant to catch you up on the last two days of our adoption journey. If you have time, you might want start reading at "Begin at the Beginning" first. The whole story of our family's journey can be found by searching "adoption" in the upper left search bar. Enjoy the ride!

Okay, sorry for the interruption! I've been looking forward to this visit with my friend AS and her boys for some time now and I was so disappointed with myself that I couldn't pump out the story fast enough to finish up before she arrived. But I knew I still had to shower, clean the house up a bit and get dressed before entertaining company. And believe you me, that shower was a necessity! I got so excited talking about our story with my fellow Curves girls that I lost track of the time and worked out harder and longer than I really had time for! (I know, you are all shocked that I would get carried away talking . . . of all things!) (And truthfully, some of you are probably shocked that I work! It's okay, I am too most days.)

So where were we? Oh yes, driving to the park. So the park was fun - except for the kid who puked on the top step of the huge landing to the ginormous tube slides. That was gross. But it was fun to share brief details with the gals who showed up and I could feel myself getting excited about the possibilities and enjoying the idea of this little girl. We headed home and I headed for the couch. The less than four hours of sleep while worrying and fretting was catching up to me. I got up from my nap to find a return email from my wonderful, straight-talking friend who also has a special needs daughter. The whole email was JUST what I needed to hear. Everything she said, point for point, had me laughing and crying and seeing the foolishness of all I had dumped on her earlier that morning. The huge take-away though, was that she lovingly reprimanded me for not letting myself look at this little doll's pictures. Here's an excerpt from what she said to me:
I think that you should look at her picture...soak it in. If you got a sonogram and the docs said that something wasn't just right, you wouldn't stop looking at that picture. You wouldn't close your eyes and forget she was your daughter until she was born and the reality of it smacked you in the face. You'd stare at that picture, talking to the Lord, asking him why your child has medical issues and is He sure you can handle them. You'd find peace in what you and your daughter have been handed through prayer and conversation with Him. You would soak her every nook and cranny in.... loving her for the child that she is....Yours, God's gift to you and your family.
See what I mean? JUST WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR. And it gets better. Seriously, it just kept getting better. For the sake of time, I'll skip to the family dinner meeting. The in-between stuff is good, but these posts are entirely too long, even for a word-girl like me!

At dinner, we were discussing the file, sharing with the kids what we'd learned from the docs and such. At one point, I started feeling like the "luxury" of plenty of time to make up our minds was actually working against us. It was kind of enabling us to keep looking at her medical condition as if it was the sum total of what this decision would entail for our family. Something rose up in me and I stopped the conversation rather abruptly. I put The Boss on the spot and said, "If we were told right now that we had to decide by 9 a.m. tomorrow whether or not "B.N." was meant to be Aidan Hope Whitney, what would YOU say?" I wouldn't let him out of it and I wouldn't let the rest of the kids answer till he did. He pushed back a little bit, kind of half-heartedly, and then just welled up with tears. He said, "I'd say yes." I went around the whole table, and put each family member on the hot spot the same way. Without hesitation or additional commentary from Shaggy (which is HUGE, I must say!), each of us said "Yes." The joy was indescribable. We were rejoicing and laughing and a lightness entered our home that was palpable. The burden of fear and uncertainty had fled!

Later Tuesday night, I was able to steal away for a couple minutes to calm down and I called the director of the prayer ministry of our church. She let me share all we'd been going through and asked me a couple questions along the way. When I got to the part about the sonogram, she was totally silent. As I finished, she shared with me that the Lord had given her a similar word to share with me in response to my frantic and stressed morning email, using the same illustration. The very same one. I totally got goosebumps. It gets better yet. . .

Sorry to suspend the story

But company just arrived and I'm way more behind than I should have been by now. I'll be back. Soon, I promise. Really, it's worth hanging in there for. I promise!!!!

Mired In The Middle

This is Part 2 of a series of posts meant to catch you up on the last two days of our adoption journey. If you have time, you might want read "Begin at the Beginning" first. The whole story of our family's journey can be found by searching "adoption" in the upper left search bar. Enjoy the ride!

Monday afternoon and evening, we got to spend babysitting our adorable Teagan. (You know her from this post. Go there now - we all need a little dose of Teagan today! I'll wait till you return, I promise. Go now!)

As I spent time snuggling her and praying over her and over the little girl that we were reviewing, I felt myself struggling to connect with the idea that another child was being presented to our family. I kept seeing over and over in my mind the medical research I'd been poring over and wondering if we were up to the task of raising this child with this need. I focused my prayers on releasing the fears and the worries and preparing myself for the consultation with the International Adoption docs that we're working with from CHOP. Our appointment was set for 8 p.m. Monday evening.

Much like last time we did a medical review, the whole conversation left me completely overwhelmed, sobered, and not a little freaked out. I know I'm no medical expert, but neither am I a dummy. The sheer volume of information was enough to make me want to crawl into a hole and pretend that birth defects don't exist. I know, I know. It's her job to tell me all that this birth defect encompasses, and what things we need to think about and research and get ourselves informed about. I'm just saying to have all of the information dropped on my brain at 8:00 at night is not the best way to help me find a good night's sleep! Unfortunately, with my brain whirring at speeds it's completely unaccustomed to achieving during summer break, I lost a bit of the ability to think clearly and make good judgement calls. I hopped on-line. Oh, yes, I did. I know, what was I thinking?!

I belong to quite a few on-line support groups and forums for the adoptive family. One is specific to our Living Hope community, some are only for parents heading to China, and some are for
special needs-track parents, like me. I started clicking and typing and reading all kinds of information, coupled with what I had NOT fully processed or prayed over from our review with the doctor from CHOP. You know, the professional. Who had way more than opinions and experience at her fingertips. The one who had factual information and medical experience to share with us. Yup, you guessed it. Inside of one hour, I found myself mired in fear and doubt. I was so focused on the "what-ifs", and the "how-do-we's" and the "can I get more's" in the information-gathering process that I started looking at this process as a file to be reviewed. As a medical condition to be discussed, dissected, and decided upon. I stopped looking at the referral as a child.

In the midst of all this, we went to bed and I slept less than four hours the whole night. I was up by 6, poring over research again, sucking down coffee and trying to find someone's story that would reassure me or scare me off completely. I'm ashamed to admit that I plowed through a pile of paperwork and mail and ignored THE ONLY STORY I needed. I took a couple minutes to shoot an email to our pastors and our prayer ministry coordinator, and to dump a huge, long, tearful and vulnerable email to another SN mom I know and love. By the time I was ready to do a V-8 style slap to my own head, I was running 15 minutes late for a MOMS' Group event (that I was hosting!) and I had yelled at the kids at least three times in my frustration and unsettled spirit.

I loaded them all in the car, stopped at the bank and repented to my kids for my frenzy and frustration. We purposed in our little Honda Odyssey to use the next 1/2 hour of driving time to pray and talk together about this child. About her medical condition and about God's plan for our family and for her life. I prayed over the kids, and spent some time praying out loud over the path that we needed to walk in this decision-making.

You'd think by now, at just weeks shy of the big 4-oh!, (Please, I cannot even say it out loud. Typing that was painful enough!) that I'd have caught the signs sooner. That I'd have recognized much earlier that I was reverting back to old behaviors. Old patterns that kept me for years from a deeper and more fulfilling intimacy with my Jesus than I had imagined was available to me. Nope. At least not yesterday morning or Monday night. But the peace and rest that came over me in the van while we drove was so refreshing and calming. It prepared me for the events of the rest of the day. Events I needed to approach with a fresh perspective and an open heart and mind. Nothing like a little repentance to your kids and your Father to re-start your day the right way. It even beats a good cup of coffee!

Begin at the Beginning

Settle in, these next couple posts might be long, as I'm catching you all up and it's been a wild, crazy two days to capture. Please, keep in mind when you read, that I'm primarily journaling this adventure for my family. It's a way for me to capture the moments of our life, to look back on and remember what God has done in our family. Maybe that will help you hang in there for the longer-than-long posts that sometimes come in this journey called adoption!

On Monday, at 8:17 a.m. we got another call from Living Hope. I was kind of expecting it. We had talked with them on Friday morning about the need to follow up with the SN offices at the CCAA about the promise of a "hand-picked child" that we were still waiting to hear about. Friday morning's phone call was to report that no "hand-picked" child had been referred yet. In the meantime they had four baby girls, 10 mos. or so, that had severe cleft palates and cleft lips. Were we interested? As much as I hated to say no, we agreed that we wanted to know what was happening with the process that the CCAA had agreed to go through with us to make things right after the failure of our first referral. I thought that this Monday morning call was to report what had been discovered or discussed in the early hours of the business day at the CCAA. (Remember, they are 12 hours ahead.)

That's not what this phone call was about. Miss Ashley's perky little voice came over the line, informing me that Living Hope had received 10 referrals that were being designated as LH- only families and that there was a baby girl that she believed to be ours on that list. Was I ready to hear the medical report of this child? Was I ready?! Heck no, I hadn't had a drop of coffee, and truth be told, I had literally just stumbled down the stairs 10 minutes earlier trying to wake up enough to drag my butt to Curves!

I quickly got ready. The medical diagnosis was one that we were not immediately familiar with, but by Ashley's way of thinking (and in her great experience as our Special Needs coordinator for Living Hope!), it seemed to be fairly straightforward, certainly very manageable, and not one that required immediate urgent care. Then we got into the fun stuff: her height, weight, appearance (I didn't want to look at email pictures just yet), and general health report. By the documentation presented, she appeared to be very healthy at her 6 month appointment. She is currently 11 months old, with an estimated birth date of August 10, 2007. Ashley agreed to fax the documentation to The Boss and email the pictures to both of us to open as we felt we were ready to do.

While she was unable to say for absolute certainty that THIS was the child that was supposed to be "hand picked" for us (because they didn't specifically make a notation to "hold this one for The Gang" on her file - apparently that's not how they work), Ashley was strongly sure that that was the intention when this particular file was included in the batch of other files. None of the other files designated to LH-only that morning fit our "conditions list" so accurately. Further, because this was a LH-only referral, we were assured that we had plenty of time to make a decision and that there would be no "locking of files" involved (whew!) - the ball was all in our court to move on this child or not. No one else was going to be waiting in the wings to move on this girl till we were certain of our decision.

By the time we were done talking, all of the Gang was up but Baby BlueEyes. I sent LadyBug to wake him "gently and carefully," and literally seconds later he was flying down the stairs sobbing. He fell onto my lap and through his tears said, "LadyBug says that we finally found my little sister!" It was so precious, I laughed and through my tears, told him, "yes, we think they might have." So we got The Boss on the phone and I read all the information back to him and we opened her email pictures together.

Oh. MY. Goodness. That face. Those eyes. And look at those cheeks. Those are some seriously chubby cheeks. The kids were in love instantly. I tried to hold back a bit, knowing that the diagnosis needed some thought and prayer. Knowing that I had some research to do and some processing of my own to work through. But my gosh, those cheeks. Those eyes! That hair! How cute is she?!

The rest of the day was a flurry of emailing files, googling medical terminology, praying, laughing, and trying not to fall in love too soon, too hard. Trying not to let my heart run ahead of my mind, or ahead of God's voice whispering to me amid the noise of a busy household. Yeah, well, I said, "trying." Notice I didn't say I was terribly successful! Hard to do with regular, every day life decisions. Harder still over something this big and this life-changing. Near to impossible with the fear and caution and defenses I was putting up around my heart after all we'd been through. But I tried.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blessed Be The Name Of The LORD!

There's a series of posts that you really must read. Steven Curtis Chapman, his sons, and band played their first concert last night. Their first concert since the Lord brought little Maria home to Heaven, that is. His manager, Jim Houser, is a godly servant-hearted prayer warrior who writes a blog about the ministry of the Chapman family. He has posted several snapshots and comments throughout the concert. (I do not know him personally, but I've been reading his blog a while and this description is what comes through loud and clear.)

Start with Soundcheck in WI and read through them all. They are quick reads, but the impact will knock you on your butt. Spiritually speaking. All I could think, over and over last night and this morning as I was reading these posts, was that the enemy will gain no ground over this family's great tragedy. That they have been surrounded and supported and carried by spiritual forces far greater than most of us ever have to rely upon. And they have come through it singing the praises of their Great and Mighty God.

Head over there now and be blessed. He IS there. He IS worthy of all our praise. He WILL be lifted high among the nations!

Psalm 40: 1-5
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Favorites Friday is back!

It's been a while since my last Favorites Friday. It seems that Fridays just fly by around here and before I know it, I'm waking up on our lazy (ha, ha, I wish!) Saturday mornings to the smell of coffee and the realization that I missed another day of Favorites. I don't know how much you all get out of this feature on my blog, but I enjoy it. I think it makes me take note of what I appreciate around me. Kind of, "stop and smell the roses" moments that make me look for things for which I can be grateful. Even if they are funny or eccentric. Today's list will likely fall on the eccentric side for most of you. That's okay. It's my blog and I get to post my quirks and crushes and oddities at my choosing. You all know it just makes you love me a little bit more, that I can share my silliness with you!

Anyway. . . .

I don't know if any of you heard, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman had their baby on Monday. A precious little girl whom they named Sunday Rose. Many have commented that the name sounds like the trend of modern weird names floating around these days, but I actually find it quaint and old-fashioned. And I'm such a huge Keith Urban fan that you'd be hard pressed to convince me that it's not a great name for their baby girl, I admit sheepishly :)

So today's list is in honor of my favorite country artist.
These are my current Keith Urban Favorites, in no particular order!
  • Days Go By - great cruising tune, with the windows down reveling in the joy of the moment
  • Making Memories of Us - a sweet declaration of love and building a life together
  • Where the Blacktop Ends - a kickin' TGIF kind of song, makes me dance every time I hear it
  • It's a Love Thing - just a cute, happy song about lovin' a girl
  • You're My Better Half - my ringtone, reminds me that The Boss and I are blessed to have each other
It was hard to narrow this list down - really he has so many great, older tunes, too. I know, I know, some of his songs are not necessarily G-rated. When the kids are around I move on to the next one, if I catch it fast enough. But his voice. Oh, his voice! His songs were my first forays into my country music craze and I have to say, they just keep getting better and better the longer I'm listening.

Congratulations Keith and Nicole
on the birth of your baby girl!
May the Lord grow her strong
and healthy and with a passion to find Him.

And thanks for all the great music.
I can't wait to see what this little one
inspires you to write and record next!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Excitement and Joy Running High

This morning, my LadyBug and I are joining a friend and her two daughters for a much-anticipated event. We are going to see Kit Kittredge in the theater! LadyBug won a free movie ticket some months ago, for being "Patient of the Month" at our family dentist. I completely forgot about that ticket until the release of this movie and when I dug through my wallet, I was immensely relieved to find it again. So calls were made, plans were laid, outfits were picked (hers and her doll's, not mine!). Anticipation soared to a new level.

We're not leaving until 11 a.m., but my little LadyBug was up before 7 a.m. unable to sleep with all the joy coursing through her veins. She could barely fall asleep last night, the excitement was making her so giddy. The Boss reported that she was dressing her Kit doll before bed,"because we're leaving at 11, Daddy and I want to make sure I have enough time to get myself ready, too!"

Kit's presence in our home is purely providential. And I don't mean that lightly. She is a gift straight from the hand of a very loving, intimate God to my daughter and to me.

You see, one day my Li'l Sis was shopping at a local consignment store. She called me and said, "Do you have any problems with the American Girl line of dolls?"

I replied, with a bit of a laugh,"Only the price tag!"

She went on to explain that they found a cute American Girl doll with a blond-ish little bob that looked very similar to LadyBug. Did I care if they bought it for her? For a mere $1.50, I might add. "NO, I would love for you to give that to her!"

So my sis purchased the doll (The obviously un-aware consignment shop had no clue that this was a real AG doll!). My niece used some of her own birthday money to outfit the doll before presenting her to LadyBug. They have been inseparable ever since.

Almost every time I see that doll now, I am again reminded that the Lord knows the desires of our hearts and loves to give us good things. This mommy would have loved to splurge and spend almost $100 on a doll that my daughter will love and cherish forever. LadyBug has longed for an American Girl doll since she was 5 or 6. But that summer day, the Lord used my sister and my niece to fulfill our girly hearts' desires in a spectacular way, that only He could have imagined.

Today we get to spend the day with friends, enjoying the movie and remembering how much He loves us both!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

It's been a whirlwind of activity here and today has been mostly targeted towards getting ourselves refreshed and re-grouped to enjoy a "normal" summer week. The weather has been ultimately very cooperative in keeping us inside and focused today: cloudy, humid and spotty thunder rumbles. I've tackled an over-due church project, caught up on my blog reader, tracked down directions to an event for next week, and created a "Master To Do" list. All of this is to help The Boss and I focus on what needs to be done before a trip to China can occur. I also ate a relatively healthy breakfast and a quick lunch. That's huge for me, as I often get too caught up in my "to do's" to stop and eat and then end up frantic and shakey by 2 p.m. And when I'm done here, I think I'm heading to my local Curves to get fully into the swing of a normal week!

Here's what the Gang did over the holiday weekend:
  • The Boss and I finished the curtain project in LadyBug's room ("before" and "afters" to come soon!) - including multiple trips to the Hallmark store for sheer ribbon and a fight in the laundry room over who knows laundry techniques better. I'm so ashamed!
  • We shared TWO family movie nights, with popcorn and real butter flowing freely. We saw Second Hand Lions and The Ultimate Gift. Huge 5-star hits here for all!
  • The Boss finished off some trim paint projects in our Master Bath and started the trim paint for the baby's room. I cannot wait to unveil the final look of this adorable room!
  • I finally found curtains I love for the baby's room at (They are called Megan pink and green drapes. I hope this link works for those of you who care!) I'll have to wait till they arrive to see if they are as perfect a "pink match" as they appeared on the screen.
  • I grocery shopped, wrote and copied church bulletin early (for me), and then realized at 10 p.m. on Saturday night that we hadn't folded or stuffed the bulletin yet. Thank goodness I didn't forget to copy it in all the activity. Late night runs to the church offices are no fun.
  • We entertained our great friends, the Johnsons, on their way home to Virginia Beach from vacationing with family in upstate NY. Time with them is always full, fun, loud and crazy - and over again WAAAAAAAY too quickly!
That's funny. Seeing it now in black and white, it doesn't look nearly as busy or tornado-like in its intensity. But man, going through it, it sure felt that way! Especially the curtain and trim painting parts of it all. Hmmm, maybe I shoulda made up some stuff. 'Cuz the fact that we spent most of Sunday napping on and off again all day kind of makes me feel like a wimp now. Hmmmmm. . .

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Things That Make Me Happy

This face.
I dare you to keep looking at it
and not be happy too!
Ha! Can't do it, can ya?!

The Adventures of Teagan Siobhan
is the private musings of my adorable 10-month old niece.
I stop by a lot. To get my happy fix for the day.
Could she BE any cuter, for goodness sake?!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Encouragement in the Produce Aisle

I was shopping on Wednesday at my local grocery store. As I was contemplating the corn, a mother and her beautiful daughter chatted about competitor's corn prices. I tuned in and made my own observations. Having noted that her daughter was obviously Chinese, I took a risk and made a comment about adoption fitting into our already-tight budget. Her precious daughter piped up with enthusiasm, "Hey, I'm from China!" (At this point, I was totally choking back the tears. In the produce aisle.) As most adoptive moms are likely to do, she took the bait and we embarked on a lively discussion about adoption and how ours is going. While we chatted, we discovered that we are both born-again believers. All while counting our corn and bagging it in the produce aisle.

Now, I had just left home not twenty minutes earlier, in a full-blown rant about having to wait another two weeks and having our life on hold. My poor sons just sat there, dealing with their own feelings about the updates of our process and then I dumped my frustration on them too. I was feeling impatient, dangled, and totally out of sorts. My Lord knew that. And He met me there in the produce aisle, in the persons of this lovely mom and her beautiful daughter.

Turns out, this mom had two gorgeous Chinese daughters. She and her hubby adopted them several years ago when the process was clipping along at "waits" predicted to be about a year, sometimes less. In the middle of their first adoption, China shut the program down. They were left completely hanging. With no answers about when, or even if, they would actually see the daughter for whom their hearts had been longing. After all she'd been through, this sweet woman of God reassured me over and over that although the journey is long and hard, the Lord is in control and knows the perfect daughter for our family. He is sovereign and no mistake by a government worker is going to foil His plans for our family. She couldn't know it then (because I was doing an Academy-award winning performance of holding it together and acting normal in the produce aisle) but my spirit was so calmed and encouraged by her story and by her determined resolve was that this will work out. God will get the glory. He has it and us in His hands. We will stand in awe at how it comes together.

As we were parting ways, after exchanging email addresses, another mom tapped me on the shoulder and apologized for eavesdropping. There in the produce aisle, yet another mom encouraged me that God knows which children are mine and the tangled mess will work itself out. That the right child will find our homes, "because it is meant to be." She and her hubby had been through two domestic adoptions after years of infertility and a failed adoption attempt. Her sons are now grown, healthy men and "there were no other boys for (them). Period." They were THE ONES.

"Thank you, Lord, for meeting me in the produce aisle.
For showing Yourself in the persons of these two adoptive moms and this adorable little girl. Thank you for the visible, 'shake my hand and hug a stranger' encounters that remind me that You love me and have the best for me and my family. Thank you for calming my spirit and lifting my head. Thank you for loving me in spite of my rants and ravings. Thank you for encouraging me in the produce aisle.
Oh, and thank you for corn on the cob. It was so juicy and sweet and crisp. And now, it will always remind me of our sweet, heavenly encounter in the produce aisle."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Where We Are Now

First of all, thank you all who left encouraging words and Scriptures both here and via private emails. Your prayers and support have been priceless to us - I've shared them off and on through the week with The Boss & the kids and we feel so uplifted and covered.

Here's where we are now: apparently, there was some mistakes made in the SN offices at the CCAA that resulted in the failure of this referral being definitively matched to our family. When pressed by our beloved director at Living Hope to make things right (we thank God for him!), they agreed to hand-pick a child for us based on our Special Needs application that Miss Ashley has on file. That app has been sent to the SN office of the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs). We were initially hoping that this meant the process might be expedited to help us through this painful transition.

However, it seems that the next steps may be a few weeks coming. From our conversations with LH, we gather that the child will be picked for us from the upcoming Waiting Child list. That list won't be finalized for another week or two. I got the impression that the SN office will be picking a referral for us before the list gets published to the participating agencies. Our initial concern with that was "what if there are no younger baby girls with our checklist of needs on the new list." But The Boss was assured that the recent lists have been far more inclusive of younger ages and more minor needs that the first couple lists were. (The first few lists were mainly older children and some heart-breaking-ly severe needs.) It would seem that we have a good shot at seeing a referral come from this process soon.

Please pray for us, still. We need wisdom and discernment - we don't want to jump at the first referral offered just because we're afraid that it will be "all we get." We want to be very sure this time that it is indeed our Aidan.

I took down Xiao Yun's photos finally Tuesday and it was bittersweet. I am happy for her, that she apparently will be placed with her forever family (as far as we know) soon. But those eyes still capture my heart and I find myself praying for her and her new life quite often. The Boss and the gang have said the same.

Sorry this is so long. But thank you again. We so appreciate the love and support. I'll continue to post updates as we get them. Until then, we proceed with our summer plans. Which today, include long, lazy hours by the pool after I write the church bulletin.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Moving On, Moving Through

We're making some great progress on LadyBug's "big girl" room re-do. Did you know that Big Lots has some great deals on window treatments? Nothing overly fancy, just some good basic pieces. Just what we were looking for to create a more stream-lined, grown-up look. For a mere $40, I was able to purchase 4 panels and two scarves for her windows last Thursday. The Boss has worked late these last couple nights, so the curtains will have to be hung over the long holiday weekend.

Today's big day of errands was precipitated by a pretty Chinese lantern that I'd seen on sale at my local Lowe's yesterday. I was originally going to make a hanging light fixture for LadyBug's room, but there it was already assembled and only $10! I was there helping my sister make some design choices for her kitchen re-model. It was a great distraction for me and a much-needed afternoon with one of my favorite people. My Lowe's didn't have more of the lanterns in stock but they called to a store about 25 minutes north of home and that store agreed to hold one for me. So while I was "up there" today I made plans to also hit K-Mart (we don't have one locally) and Wal-Mart. Our two local Wal-Marts had versions of the particular curtain rods I wanted but neither had the right size or two at once. You know the drill. We got a late start for us, but we decided to try and hit all three stores in one fell swoop. Lowe's was a piece of cake: in for the lantern, swing by for some light bulbs and on our way we went!

K-Mart turned out to be a big disappointment for curtain rods and curtains alike. Even their lamp selection was lacking. It used to be that I could always score great quality table-top lamps & shades there. I was disappointed at the variety this time, and really frustrated with the prices. But while we were there, LadyBug found some adorable summer clothes for school and church and had a ball spending b'day money from Grandma & Grandpa. (A point of maternal pride here: this girl has excellent taste in style and color. And she's very frugal with her pennies! That's my girl!!)

At Wal-mart, I finally found both of the decorative rods I have wanted, and they were on sale! I'd been praying about it all morning because I wanted trip to be efficient, both time- and fuel-wise. In addition to the window hardware, we found a pretty sham that matches the bedskirt that our neighbor gave us. LadyBug picked out a decorative pillow with her birthday money and I sprang for one to coordinate. Seriously, that girl has such an eye for color - she went right to the aqua-striped pillow and said, "Mommy, this is the perfect blue-green for my room. I think I like this one best." And she was right: when I brought it home and put it on bed, it is the perfect aqua. From memory! That's my girl!

Once home, I was excited to see that Dr. D had been busy sanding down a five-drawer dresser that I found on the roadside last week. (Not the greatest quality piece, but certainly a find for "FREE!") Shaggy had emptied, organized and swept out the whole garage. And both boys had washed their sleeping bags and dried them and put them away after the camp-out over the weekend. (I was giddy with joy at not having to handle those gross things!)

I got right to work ironing the bedskirt and sham and re-assembling the bed. What a gorgeous room this girl has. I love it when a project comes together even better that I've pictured. All that's left to complete this big-girl dream room is to paint the knobs on her dresser and night-stand, hang the Chinese lantern, paint the lamps for the dresser and hang curtains. We have some wall-hangings to work on but that can happen as we find what we like. I should be able to post pictures soon - without the curtains, the pics will just come out glare-y and harsh.

It was a satisfying and productive day and it sure helped the time pass quickly while we wait to hear from our agency about the big "where do we go from here" question. While the whole mess was never far from my mind or my heart, it was refreshing to spend the day hanging out with my little ones, and giggling and planning pretties with my pretty. (Baby BlueEyes was such a trooper through all the girly stuff!)

We're moving on. Not completely past it, but we are moving through.