I have learned to hold all things loosely, so God will not have to pry them out of my hands. --Corrie ten Boom

How Much Longer?

I Knew I Loved You...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thank You...

Just a brief note to thank you all so much for your thoughts & prayers over the last couple of days in regards to my Granny. My Mom just phoned briefly to say that my Granny is doing very, very well. She is up in the chair & visiting with the family. She doesn't seem to have any deficits from the events of the last few days. She has moments where it takes her a minute to recognize certain individuals that she hasn't seen in a while, but other than that she appears to be doing very well. She is still currently in the ICU & is continuing to be monitored very closely, particularly in relation to her respiratory status. Only a day ago the doctor said that she likely would not make it through the night, so we are all very happy to see this improvement. She is still very weak & tired & will no doubt be in for a long recovery in regards to her hip. She has also developed pneumonia; they think from choking on something that she drank. They call this "aspiration pneumonia". She will have a swallow study/evaluation by a speech therapist tomorrow. They will make their recommendation in regards to her drinking & eating by mouth after that is completed. Up to this point she has been able to take nothing by mouth. She desperately wants coffee! My Mom reports that today when she asked her if there was anything that any of us could do for her, she responded; "Pray, just pray." It seems that you all have already been doing that & that it is working, so keep it up! Thank you all again!


Friday, December 28, 2007

Top 10 Baby Names of 2007.....

Top 10 Girl Names:


Top 10 Boy Names:


Well, there they are. The top ten baby names of 2007. Thomas & I were so glad to see that "Mia" stayed off of that list, at least for this year! "American Girl" rolled out their newest doll recently & her name is "Mia". (No, she is not Asian.) We know how popular "American Girl" is, so we figure that the name "Mia" will soon become much more common here in the U.S. We are hoping not, but we know that there is nothing that we can do to stop it & we are not changing our mind about the name that we have chosen. We were also pleased to see that our boy name did not make the list either; "Maxwell Gavin". We will call him Max. (This is ofcourse if we are blessed sometime in the future to add a little guy to our family.) "Mia & Max" will be our names for our kiddos; God willing. I would love to hear from any of you the names that you are considering or choosing if you would like to share them here in my comments. I think this will be kind of a fun poll to find out our most popular names around our adoption community! (or, if your are pregnant & want to share, that would be great too!)


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not a great Christmas Day for the family...

My Mom's side of the family had our annual Christmas Dinner yesterday at my Uncle's home. I had to work, so we didn't make it. (it was a couple of hours away) My Mom phoned me last night with some bad news. My Uncle has recently done some remodeling on their home. They have this big new bonus room where the kids were playing. It is not yet completed so right now it is a concrete floor with a ping-pong table & such in the room. My Great-Grandmother who is 89 years old had just arrived to the family gathering, (she didn't even have her coat off yet!) when she heard the kids out in the room playing & wanted to say hello. There is apparently a step down to enter into the room. She made it fine & was talking with the children. She turned to go back into the room & when she went to step up she must have misjudged her footing somehow & "Granny" fell. ("Granny" is what we call her.) At first she thought maybe that she could get up, but quickly realized that wasn't going to happen. My cousin is a Paramedic. He was at the dinner. He came out & assessed her & stated that he was afraid that she had broken her hip. At that point it was decided to call an ambulance. My Uncle & his family live WAY out in the country. They knew just getting the ambulance there would be an ordeal, but they had no choice. Many first repsonders & Paramedics showed up & after over an hour the ambulance came. Granny was freezing on that cold concrete floor, so my Mom had gotten her pillows & blankets & was on the floor with her holding her hand; comforting her & trying to keep her warm. My Grandma; Granny's daughter was allowed to ride in the front of the ambulance & went with Granny to the hospital & begged everyone else just to stay at the dinner, eat & "try" to have some sort of Christmas as usual & that she would call as soon as they had an initial report. The dinner continued. However, my Mom said that everyone was totally miserable, nervous & "out of sorts". My Grandma; "MeMa" phoned & said that Granny's hip was in fact broken. They weren't sure if she could make it through a surgery, as her lungs are not in great shape & having to intubate her could make extubation a very long, if ever process. Anyway, this morning it was decided that they would move forward with the surgery. The only other option was for her to be bedfast at a nursing home & for her that was not an option that she was willing to consider. My Mom just called & the surgery is over. Thus far, she has hung in there. They are preparing to move her from recovery to the Intensive Care Unit. The doctor's have said that she will be in the hospital for at least three weeks & then it will be necessary for her to receive continued care in a rehab unit for at least an additional three months. Currently, prior to this fall, she lived in her own home by herself. This will be a big adjustment for her. We will just have to wait & see how things go over the next few weeks now. She is very thin & has no reserves. This will be a big concern during her recovery period.


Big Surprise!

On Christmas Eve I was doing some things around the house when my Mom called to ask me about what kind of beef that is that you put on the outside of a cheese ball......you guys know, that dried beef. She said that she was at the store & couldn't find it or remember exactly what kind it was. Well, you may remember in a previous post that I had mentioned that due to work schedules & Ol' Man Winter we weren't going to get to see our family over this holiday season. I was a little sad about that. Anyhow, I had just gotten out of the shower & the door bell rang. I ignored it momentarily, as I mentioned I was not dressed & just getting out of the shower. They rang the bell again. I thought that it was either a neighbor dropping off some Christmas goodies or someone selling or adverstising something; but I found that hard to imagine on Christmas Eve. Well, they didn't go away. Matter of fact, they continued to ring the bell & beat on our front door. I threw on a shirt & ran to our side window to see who it could possibly be. My parents car was in our driveway.!! I threw on some jeans & ran to our front door. My ten year old niece & Mom jumped out & yelled "Merry Christmas!" I was so surprised & so thrilled. It was the best gift ever! My Mom, Dad & Niece stayed with me the afternoon. We went to the store where Thomas was working & briefly visited with him. Then, we all went out to a nice dinner. Thomas got off from work shortly after & then he joined us as well. It was such a surprise that they were able to make it up to spend the time with us! We were so happy! Thank you Mom, Dad & Maddie for making the trip & for making our Christmas Eve so much more special! It was so good to see you & spend the time together! (oh & if you are asking yourself, "What was with calling about the beef on the cheeseball?!?!" Well, that was my Mom's way of making sure I was still at home! Sneaky, isn't she!)


Monday, December 24, 2007

Note from our agency....

We received a note from our agency. They told us that currently the wait is 24 months. People who have LID's of 02/06 still have like 75 LID's to get to before them & they are already at a wait of 22 months?!?!?!? So, with that in mind how can "24 months" even be close to accurate!?!?! I mean, c'mon.....we all know that the CCAA isn't going to get through 75 LID's in two months, right? In the same note we were also told that with a LID of 07/20/07 that we should expect a wait of 20 months. YAY, only 15 months to go.......NOT! I just can't imagine that. She broke it all down & talked about "heavy months & light months & attrition" etc. I don't know.....maybe they know something that we all do not, but realistically I just can't wrap my head around these predictions. I would LOVE to believe it, but how can I? I feel like I would just be sitting myself up for a big ol' dissapointment later down the road. If her "20 months" statement were true, & we don't think it is accurate, but if it were, then that would mean we could expect a referral in March 2009. At this point March 2010 would be a surprise, much less 2009! (However, I would love March as that is Thomas's b-day month, plus the weather would be pretty decent too.......who am I kidding!?!?! I don't care. Whenever; 10 degrees or 110 in the shade we just want to bring our daughter home~)

Well, I just thought I would share this with you all. Please "comment" & let us know what you are thinking about all of this. I am sure I can guess anyway, but share away!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Baby Einstein......

Well, there has apparently in recent month's been some controversy as to whether or not Baby Einstein is edcationally appropriate or stimulating for young, developing & growing minds. Back when I purchased these according to our research they were supposedly the best thing around! I got a fabulous deal on these sets. A mother of twins was having a sale. She had all of these, some not even opened yet. Generally if you price these DVD's new they run @ $28.00-$30.00 per DVD. I have not priced the box sets. I am sure you get a break for purchasing the whole set. Anyway, I purchased all of these; thriteen DVD's in all, for $35.00! I was so excited when I purchased them, but now find myself wondering if I made a good purchase or not. I know the price was right, but what about the item itself? Is this something that is good for Mia? We are not planning to let her watch much television, but we did think educational programs/DVD's in small amounts would be okay, especially Baby Einstein! In hearing the latest, they are just mainly now saying nothing before the age of two television wise if we heard correctly. Guess we will just have to do some more research. None the less, I am still pretty proud of this bargain! Jen

Thanks Jim, Maureen & Melissa!

These are finally the pictures of the chopsticks set that the nicest people that we met at the Dumpling Festival some months back gave to us. They bid on & won an item at the silent auction; a cooking lesson by a Chinese Specialty Chef in their home. With this came this set of chopsticks. Jim, Maureen & Melissa said that they already had several sets & that they would like us to have this one. We were just overwhelmed with gratitude & thankful for their generousity & kindness! We will never forget it. Thanks again Jim, Maureen & Melissa! By the way, how was that cooking lesson?


"Retail Therapy"

Well, if this isn't evidence of my "retail therapy" I don't know what is! HA! These top three photos are of just SOME of our Rubbermaid containers of Miss Mia's clothes, toys, books, shoes etc. that are stacked in our garage. The two here are of her bumper for her crib. We will do her room around these colors red/white gingham, black accents, white & a light green & LadyBugs ofcourse.

This picture is Home Interiors. I actually purchased it on Ebay months & months ago when we were paperchasing. Saw it, loved it & bought it all in a day. Not sure where we will put it, but I thought Mia would like it as much as we do.
I will take some of the cutsie things out at some point & get some close up shots for you to "oooh & ahhh" over when I get a chance, but I thought this for now would give you some idea of what I am up to when I say "retail therapy"!

5 Month LID Anniversary....

December 20th was five months that we have been logged in at the CCAA in China. In reflecting on what that means for us & our family on the days leading up to that day & since then I couldn't help but think about when we first chose International Adoption & then chose China. I vividly remember the moment when we were told that the average wait time was six-nine months. What I remember most about that very moment (& I remember it so well!) was the overwhelming feeling that six-nine months was so long to wait & that we just couldn't believe that it was going to be that long before we would see our daughters face for the first time! What we would give now for someone to give us that kind of a time line! I suppose it is just all relative, isn't it? Now we just spend our days praying & hoping that our wait won't go over two years & with every day that passes & every day that the CCAA's website doesn't change we become more weary & convinced that more than two years of waiting will no doubt be in our future. With the 2008 Olympics being in Bejing & fast approaching (August) all of us waiting families can't help but fear what this will do to our worlds; to the world that we all live in; this world of International Adoption. Like anything that consumes one's life it becomes this whole "thing", doesn't it? A whole community, another language & an amazing common bond between those of us living in this world of International Adoption. Irregardless of all of the uncertainty, in the middle of all of the ups & downs & the ever lengthening wait we continue to just wait, hope & pray. This time of year ofcourse we can't help but to wonder how many more Christmas's will pass before Mia will be here with us. We would like to think this would be our last, but know that will likely not be the case. Instead, we must face the reality that it will be very likely that we will have at least one more, if not two Holiday Seasons before we will have her big brown eyes on the front of our annual holiday cards. Like with most milestones in one's life I suppose most every occasion in our futures will be marked in some way with us no doubt wondering if the next time we do this very thing, "will she be here with us?"


World Vision.......


Above is the Christmas campaign website for an organization called World Vision. I would ask that you all take the time to check this site & organization out. They do great things all around the world. There are many options within this organization from buying seeds for a family for harvest for $17.00, to ten fruit trees for a family for $60.00 or a goat for $75.00 to actually choosing a child to sponsor. Child sponsorship is so awesome. For as little as a dollar a day you can offer a child a life! You can actually choose the child from the site. They show thousands of photos & tell a little about each child. After doing this you will then get information on your chosen child & then you can even begin to correspond with the child & even send them packages & share photos, stories & updates. You actually get to see what your money is doing & how it is directly changing the child's life. The lessons that your own children & ourselves as well can learn from this can not be learned any other way! The accounts from people who have done this are so emotional & life changing you just can't imagine! These children in these places all know of World Vision & their mission. The children that are old enough & do not have a sponsor spend their days praying that someone will choose them. Especially the ones who have lost both of their parents & have no one. Some are literally living on the streets with no one & are only all of five years old! One of the little girls on the site said that her mother had to sell her for $500.00 to feed the rest of the children/family. She was at a young tender age, not even a teenager yet required to "service" twelve "clients" a day.

In paying less than $5.00 for a school uniform you are not just buying the child the clothing, you are buying them an education as in most of these places without the uniform they are not allowed in school.

I just want us all to take a moment & think about the abundance that we have here in our lives in each of our worlds. We are all one race; the human race. We drew the lucky card. We were born in a land far from where most of these children & families live. It is really all just logistics.

As we are scurrying around to buy gifts & prepare meals it would be very easy to forget about all of the lost, lonely & hungry in other far away places.

Our family has been trending more & more towards less & less gift giving among the adults. I think this is such an important thing. I think tradition & "Santa" for the children is so wonderful & is certainly a tradition that we want for Mia, however, it will be a tradition & not a lavish showering of a mounds of gifts, so many that she doesn't even know where to look first or what to play with. I have to wonder that if we lined up fifty kids ages three-twelve & asked them what Christmas meant to them if we would hear "Family, traditions, God & Jesus, Church, Dinner together, Decorating the tree, Charity; doing for others, sledding, caroling........" or would we hear "Shopping, presents, stress, crowded stores, playing with my toys, time off from school........." As a society I believe that we are very confused & I am not so sure that all of this gift giving hasn't caused a big part of the confusion & stress. I think we all need to reshift our thinking back to what Christmas means to each of us & our families; what is important. For us, we realized that the very time that we could be spending with our family & friends we were instead running around stressed preparing & shopping. That was not okay with us & will even be less okay with us when Mia is here.

If you stop to think about it just recently in your daily lives when people ask you, "Are you ready for Christmas?".....what they really mean is, "Do you have your shopping done?" After Christmas what is the most common question; especially to children? How about "What did you get for Christmas?" I don't know that I have ever heard anyone ask a child, "What were the traditions/activities that you & your family did over this past Christmas that meant the most to you?" Think about it. Does any of this make sense?

Anyway, I just ask that you check out World Vision & also take a moment to examine your own holiday & at the very least make sure your children & families know that Christmas isn't about what you get under the tree!


Ol' Man Winter....

Ol' Man Winter came knocking loudly with the first ice storm of the season a couple of weeks ago. My goodness was it ever a good one! I didn't get out to take any pictures of it myself as I couldn't even stand up without slipping & sliding. We were without power for hours at a time several different times. Some of my friends in other areas went without power for days! It was awful. However, the ice was beautiful when the sun finally did come out & shine on the icy trees! I wish I would have taken some photos. I thought maybe I would get another chance as last evening Ol' Man Winter came knocking again. This was no surprise as it was the first day of winter. It was freezing rain for a couple of hours & then it began snowing. We only received a thin sheet of ice & probably a couple of inches of snow. Not nearly as bad as they had first predicted. I am off today & tomorrow, but Thomas had to go in to work this morning. He made it fine. I wonder what the rest of the winter season has in store for us?


The "weight" of it all.......

Since I have been away from blogging I have emarked yet once again down my low carb journey. As a lot of you know year before last I did this & successfully lost 75 pounds. After losing the 75 pounds at that point I still had about 50 more that I wanted to lose to be where I thought would be my "dream goal". Well, unfortunately the fiasco in January with our failed domestic adoption was all the excuse I needed to allow myself to turn to my drug of choice for comfort......food. After leaving the hospital without our daughter I "allowed" myself a week at my Mom's eating all things comforting & didn't stop for months afterward. Thankfully, I didn't regain it all back.......25-30 pounds of the 75 that I had lost however did find me. UGH! Funny how that happens, huh? So, a little over a month ago.....well, let's see it was actually November 12th, I recomitted myself to once again regaining control & getting back on my plan. A little over a month later I am happy to report that I have lost 25 pounds! So, I am almost back to where I was when I fell off of my plan. I am happy about that! Everyone thinks I am a nut for even considering beginning my journey once again just two weeks before the Thanksgiving Holiday, with Thomas & I living part time away from home while he was in Cameron & eating out a lot, my b-day, Christmas & New Years, but in my mind there was no better time. I knew that coming into this holiday season that if I didn't start then that by the end of the holiday season the 25-30 pounds that I had gained would no doubt be at least 40! I knew that as always in the beginning the weight loss would be fairly rapid & that would give me great motivation to keep going right past all of the temptations at this time of year! I am proud to say that not once since I started have I had even one bite of a single item that I wasn't suppose to! Currently, I have about 40 pounds to get to where I will be really pleased & 60 pounds to hit "that goal". I will get there. I am lucky that thus far my extra weight hasn't seemed to cause me any health issues. However, I do have PCOS, so which came first the chicken or the egg?!?!? Who knows? Did the PCOS cause the weight gain & the difficulty in getting/keeping it off or did the weight cause the PCOS?!?!?! Like I said, which came first? The chicken or the egg? If anyone out there is resolving now or after the holidays to low carb or change their dietary lifestyle for weight loss or just overall health improvement & would like to keep in touch, share pointers & support one another let me know! I would love to be your buddy! I will keep you all posted. I just really want to be happy & healthy in my own skin so that Mia can have a healthy body image too! I don't want her to see an unhealthy Mommy or to learn unhealthy eating & exercise habits from her Mommy either. I want to have it all in control & a good grasp on my daily regimen so that when she comes home it will just be second nature to make the right choices diet & exercise wise & she will learn by my good example.


A cut & color........

A few weeks ago I got my hair cut & colored. It is getting pretty long. I intend on continuing to let it grow for a while. I figure that I am nearing an age where having really long hair won't be such a good idea in the coming years. So, I thought while I still have a few more years with age on my side I would give it a go. I actually have a really curly perm, but in these photos you won't be able to tell as I have used a curling iron on it. When I don't use the iron it is really curly. I wear it curly when time is not on my side & drying my thick, full head of hair is not an option.

Well, there I am all cut & colored cheesin' for the camera like a goof! .........I like it fine curled like this or really curly without using the iron. Don't have any pictures of it that way I don't think. It looks a lot darker that way too as it is all moussed up & more of a style that is kind of scrucnched & sprayed. Everytime I go back & forth from one day to the next wearing it between the two different ways I am always getting asked, "Did you color your hair?".

Saturday, December 22, 2007


"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God’s very own hands." ~Anonymous

Almost two months........

Well, it has been almost two months since my last post. WOW, huh? I don't know what got into me. Just for whatever reason I was not into blogging for a bit. Needed a break I suppose. Well, let's see, I suppose there is much to catch up on. Half of which I will no doubt not remember, but I will give it a shot anyhow. (No doubt it will be a marathon post & I may split it up into a few post over the next few days as I have a few days off & it is icing & snowing out again as I type so no traveling for us, but instead seems like a good time for me to catch up here!)

Thanksgiving was okay. It was a little hectic & tough too for us though as it was also my b-day (11/25) & for the first time in many years Thomas & I did not get to spend either occasion with any of our family. As most of you know, he was working in the Cameron store about two & a half hours from our home. We were living in two places between here & there as work schedules wouuld allow; sometimes together, sometimes apart. He had to work over the Thanksgiving Holiday there at the store. I did not want him to spend Thanksgiving alone, so I went there & stayed most of that week. We had our Thanksgiving meal at a truckstop! Cameron doesn't have a lot of choices in the way of restaraunts & what they did have wasn't open Thanksgiving Day. It didn't matter though as we knew even eating our Thanksgiving meal at a truckstop that we have so much to be thankful for. My b-day as I said was the following Sunday. Thomas was off that day. He took me to Kansas City for the day. We had a great time. We went to Crown Center & to the Plaza. We walked around & did some sight seeing & a little shopping. Everything was all decked out for Christmas which made it extra special. We went to this restaraunt on the Plaza for my b-day dinner & I had the best steak & all around meal that I think maybe I have ever had. Immediately after that we walked down the way a bit where Thomas surprised me with a horse & carriage ride all around downtown K.C.'s Plaza area. It was chilly, but we were all bundled up in blankets & snuggled up together & the Christmas lights & music were so beautiful that neither of us seemed to mind the cold. After the carriage ride was finished we walked a bit up to a Starbucks & each got a coffee. YUM! Then, we walked to the HUGE Barnes & Noble there on the Plaza. It is like three stories & even has escalators. We were impressed. Thomas bought me a couple of last b-day presents there (cookbooks that I had been wanting). From there we decided to head back to our hotel in Cameron as by this time it was almost 9:00. We arrived back to our hotel around 10:00 & went to the pool & enjoyed the sauna & hot tub for about forty five minutes. It was the perfect ending to my perfect b-day day as we were the only ones using it so it was cozy just he & I! Thank you Thomas for making my day so special!

Thomas spent a total of five weeks managing the Cameron store. He is home again now. I am so glad to have him back home full time & he is very glad to be back home. Hotel living, fast food & a very small town began to make him weary at about the month mark. Overall, it went very well. He did an excellent job & everyone was very proud of him. Way to go Thomas! On his last day at the store the associates surprised him with a very nice card in which most of them had written in & signed & also a carry in meal! He was so surprised. One of the ladies took photos of this & for that I am grateful as she got some great shots & you could certainly see the surprise on Thomas's face. He is now back working in the Kirksville store again. For how long we are unsure. He is now beginning to apply for stores in areas that we are interested in. This could be a short or possibly a long process. Only time will tell. Generally when a store becomes available many applicants express an interest. Sometimes as many as seventy or more. Usually only the top three will get an interview. We would like to stay in Missouri or in one of the surrounding states, Kansas would be a good option for us as well. It appears that Branson is in the process of building a new store that will need a manager in February 2008 so maybe something will come of that.
Our Christmas Holiday is not looking much better as far as work schedules & not getting to be with our family! Thomas has to work Christmas Eve & I have to work Christmas Day. If we are slow at the hospital I can probably just take call, but then have to be within a thirty minute drive of the hospital, so we still couldn't travel to be with our family. Hopefully though I will get to just take call as that way at least I can be home on Christmas Day with Thomas. We have some time off coming up in January & plan to catch up with family during that time. We are just grateful that everyone is happy & healthy. We can celebrate & have our traditions anytime.

We weren't sure if we would be home this Christmas as early on we did not know how long Thomas would be in Cameron. We hadn't planned on doing much decorating here at home. However, when I found out at the last minute that Thomas was coming home, I wanted to at least do a little. I couldn't manage getting out our big tree by myself, so I did a small fiber optic tree & just some various decorations. I wanted it to be cozy & "homey" when Thomas came home that day. I also couldn't manage our usual outside lights either so I just did some wreaths & such outdoors. It is just enough for us. Here are a few shots of a little of what I did. I did some other decorating around with wreaths, arrangements & candles & such, but here are a few shots.

Here are a few of our big tree last year. It is really pretty & we always enjoy it, but I couldn't even get it out of the box by myself!

Okay, that is probably more than enough in one post. I will be back again soon.