Saturday, December 31, 2005

NASCAR Family.....

NASCAR. I am a recent fan as far as most “modern day racing” fans are concerned. I joined the NASCAR fever in 1993 when my Dad told me about Ricky Craven. From MAINE. Yes, my home State. I love MAINE (my husband sometimes accuses me of putting Maine ahead of him). I plead the fifth!!! is one place I lurk a lot. I love watching NASCAR races (Cup, Busch, Craftsman Truck). I recently had a message from a Ricky Craven fan, TK, who noticed I had a tag line about adopting. He was very supportive and offered to share information about adopting. Great to know so many nice people on the web. I may never meet them, but have common thoughts, bonding, shared experiences with many of you. Whether adopting, watching sports (yes, I love football too), buying on eBay, shopping and more web shopping… we all can still be close by our experiences whether in person or on the web. Thank you for the shared moments.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Salty Dog

Is He A Southpaw?
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Salty Is A Southpaw - I Think?

You may have noticed we haven’t posted in a few days. Alyson even commented on the lack of our posting last night as she was walking away from the laptop and preparing for bed. She thinks it may have something to do with my having the “creeping crud” complete with a sore throat, total congestion and a head that will not fit inside a vehicle preventing me from driving. She may be right. I have spent about 40 of the last 48 hours in bed alternating between “hallucinating” that I’m starting to come out of it only to make shuffling noises as I slink back to the bedroom after returning from letting Salty Dog do the hike the leg thing.

BTW, I have a question about Salty Dog.

I have noticed that Salty Dog always lifts the same leg when watering the plants and hosing down our tires. He always lifts his left leg. I have never seen him lift his right leg it is always the left. So, does that make him a southpaw or his he a right legger? He always supports himself with the right leg but the left is the one always saluting. I’ve decided he’s a southpaw. Alyson is a lefty as is her dad. I’ve detected similar personality traits between the three of them. My FIL, Alyson & Salty Dog is each fiercely loyal to family and each is fiercely independent. I’ll leave it at that. Comparing my FIL and my wife to our dog has already crossed some invisible line that is sure to come back and “bite” me. Excuse me for that – remember, I’m sick…

We are still in the downtime mode of waiting for confirmation from our agency (CCAI) that all is well with our dossier and that we are DTC. Surprising, Aly and I haven’t said much about any of that. I think it’s because we don’t want to jinx ourselves in any way. By not talking about the dossier review we’re not forgetting about what is transpiring in Denver but then again we do not allow it to consume us either. Who am I kidding? We think about it all the time but stay quiet just to give each of us a break from babbling about like idiots…

I’m convinced that once Alyson reads this tonight she will have me take it off. It’s the fever. There’s a good reason why we haven’t posted. The above is proof enough.

PS: I’ll try to grab a shot of Salty Dog doing the “left leg” thing and post it for you soon. Oh, that’s going to make Aly happy. I think I need to lie down again. Later…

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Saint Augustine Beach Christmas Dinner

We enjoyed a Christmas dinner with the
cousins in St. Augustine today.
Joan, John, Gloria, Rhonda
& Chris (backrow)

Justin - Christmas Eve 2005

Posted by Picasa Our outdoorsman is building quite
an extensive knife collection.

Parents-To-Be Leaa & Jesse

Posted by Picasa Checking out the new music box.
Now they can play all the old "records"
inherited from the parents!

Kelly & Kilee Shae - Christmas 2005

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Mom Kelly & daughter Kilee share a
Christmas Eve moment with
a new baby doll.

Nana Joy & Big Pop

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Nana Joy & Big Pop once again contributed to the
Christmas festivities. Nana's helping hands
never stopped and Big Pop helped to put
together trikes and wagons!

With Love From Aunt Leaa & Uncle Jesse

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Kilee Shae loves her Uncle Jesse & Aunt Leaa
and her new tent she recieved for
Christmas 2005!

Christmas Eve 2005 - Alyson & Salty Dog

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I love you Aly... (Ok, you too Salty Dog)
Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!!!

A very lucky Florida great-grandaughter now has this neat Flyer (gift from her Maine Great-Grandparents - the very same who gave the thoughtful manhole cover to F. ).

We just finished our Christmas gift exchanging with our family (daughter & son-in-law, son & daughter-in-law plus grandbaby K.) and had a wonderful time. Everyone is so loving and generous. Wish we could all be together more often. How is it that families are so busy within their immediate family and less time for the larger gatherings? Well, I have some opinions.....

Wonder what we will be buying for our new daughter's first Christmas next year? Let us know what were the first gifts you gave to your new daughters.
Have a great family Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Gift - 375 lbs !!!

Our Own Electric Man Hole Cover

Our Own Electric Man Hole Cover

Check this out. Our own personal Electric Man Hole Cover from Portland, Maine.

This is a Christmas gift from my FIL. I love it. This is too cool. Thank You Mr. C…

I’ll give the background as to how this gift came about on a later post. I was totally surprised by this.
Now I need help from my brother W-H in Advance, MO to help me complete the set. The pressure is on… Thank you again Ted. You’re good!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Growth Chart

I have to buy ink today for both printers. One printer gave up the colored ink ghost after printing our Christmas newsletter (yes, we send a newsletter in our Christmas cards and yes I’m sure it brings groans from some and smiles from others but it keeps the peace in my immediate family if you know what I mean). The other printer gave up the black ink ghost after spitting out the double set of dossier copies. I might as well replace the color cartridge while I’m at it, there can’t be much left.

You know the website featuring all the adoption blogs over at China Adoption Stories? It’s a great site and we are listed at the bottom as one of the paperchase families. I’ve wondered over these past few months how great it would feel to be able to move up to the DTC group! And you can always tell the ones who have received their referral because the little one’s China province is listed. How great that must feel. Then you look up at all those families who have gone before you knowing that each one of them has their own story to tell. Aly and I like looking through the older stories to hopefully catch glimpses of the little one’s in a recent photo showing how they have grown.

I like the website. It’s like a growth chart for families who have weaved their way through the adoption maze. Application, Paperchase, DTC, LID, TA, Gotcha Day, Home.

I like the sound of Home. One step at a time, one step at a time… we’ll move up the growth chart.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dossier Review

This is how my brain read the email from our agency.

“critical review”
“If there are no errors”
“If problem-free”

So, how did all you experienced veterans handle the dossier review by your agency as they checked for mistakes?

We are in a preliminary yo-yo state with the emotions. Elated that the dossier is completed (we hope) and worried as we wait for the review approval.

Christmas, Christmas Time Is Here, Time For... Alright now, everybody sing it with me….

Dossier Delivered To Agency

Search Results:

Label/Receipt Number: EQ41 xxxxxxxU S
Status: Delivered
Your item was delivered at 11:12 am on December 20, 2005 in ENGLEWOOD, CO 80112. The item was signed for by D K.

We also received this email from our agency:

In a message dated 12/20/2005 5:24:21 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:

Dear Ford & Alyson,

Congratulations! Your dossier has arrived at our office! We will complete the check-in and critical review as soon as possible. We will contact you after the critical review is complete and let you know how everything looks. If there are no errors, we will then complete the summary translation and mail your dossier to the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA)! If problem-free, your dossier will be at CCAI for no more than a total of 10-15 business days! We will be in touch soon . . .

Have a wonderful day,

Saturday, December 17, 2005

STAPLES And We're Not Talking The Store

These are tense times we are living in…

I’m making copies of all our paperwork that will accompany our dossier to our agency tomorrow. This sounds like a piece of cake. It’s not. In fact, it is very nerve racking; and those who have gone before know quite well my reason for such queasiness.

One word: STAPLES

Oh sneer if you must but I tell you true, these are the times that try men’s souls. Ok, so I borrowed that last line from history but nonetheless – this is gut wrenching. You remember just the other day when Johnny ran into his little “staple” incident? I’m telling you, staples are a deal breaker. Let just one of these little buggers fall out or cause the paper to tear away and you can start adding weeks if not months to the paperchase. This is serious business I am undertaking. I am feeling the pressure.

Excuse me for just a minute…

I’m back. It’s just me, the copier and a refilled glass of Toasted Head 2002 pulling this off right now.

We had dinner with friends last night and the subject of making these particular copies came up in our conversation. My friend K made a suitable suggestion of hiring it out. No can do. Not that I wouldn’t trust someone else to do it (that’s a lie) but should a staple come out just WHO do you think would be blamed? Maybe ME for not doing it to begin with? I think so… And therein lies my lose-lose dilemma; if I screw it up I’m dead meat and if I hired it out and they screwed it up I’m dead meat.

Excuse me for just a minute…

You can never have enough printer ink or Toasted Head 2002 (Cabernet). Now where were we?

Ah yes, STAPLES.

I am somewhat accustomed to pressure. There have been times when I rose to the challenge and times when I gave a new meaning to underachiever. Once, many years ago, I can still recall a basketball game at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament in which every boyhood dream was suddenly thrust upon me. I would be shooting the free throws that would either win the game or lose the game. We were playing Bell City and they called a timeout to “freeze” me before I was to shoot the free throws. I clearly remember thinking that the point of all that was to make me nervous so I would miss the shot. I made it and the next one. We won. And I remember not being nervous. Relieved but not nervous.

In the progression of what I do for a living I also worked under pressure while in the position of a Control Room Operator. I stood (Ok, I sat) for 12 hours at a time monitoring the screens, alarms, whistles and bells that contributed to your lights staying on and thus preventing you from ever having to depend on your computer’s battery backup power supply. The secret was too make seconds appear to stretch into minutes while you made decisions that depending on your actions could result in review and possible disciplinary action. I developed the habit of singing “If I Only Had A Brain” from the Wizard of Oz as a way of helping me to relax and stay calm when things around me were anything but. Hey, it worked for me. As exciting as that job was, I recall being happy to move on to the next position that required me to watch others act calm while they churned inside.

Excuse me for just a minute…

Which brings me back to STAPLES.

How do I properly express that tonight I am nervous about making copies of STAPLED documents without coming off as a complete wimped out, puny spined, chicken livered girly-man? Maybe by just owning up to the fact that this means so very much to us and I want to do it right. And I don’t want to see the disappointment in my wife’s eyes should I do anything to set us back. This is more important than a basketball game and I’m sure your battery backup power supply will work.

One word: STAPLES

Tonight they help determine a timeline as to just when one little girl comes to her forever home. Wish me luck. I need all the STAPLE mojo you can whip on me. Your prayers would be nice.

Excuse me for just one minute...

Us? Anxious? No Way, We're Cool...

Happy Dance. We got the Happy Dance going…

Ok, so the post office closes at noon and even though our mail is delivered later than that we were virtual slaves to staying home so we could sign for our Express Mail package. Provided we even had an Express Mail package being delivered today. So we did the only thing you could do.

We called our post office.

Oh yeah, we were loaded to the gills with patience today. Add to the fact we don’t have a front door bell only helped to made it look like a turkey shoot around here. First Aly and then my head could be seen bobbing up and down looking out the window to see if the mail carrier had pulled up to the house. So I called.

First the lady says, “It hadn’t arrived at their facility and must still be enroute”. Ok, but my search shows it had arrived in JAX and had left that facility – so, “was it enroute to their facility”? She put me on hold. Back again; hang on again, “We’re going to call your carrier because she did leave here with an Express package this morning”. Things were looking up. I went back to being on hold. Back again. “The carrier will be at your house in 5 minutes”. “How about the Express - Is it ours”? “You’ll know in about 5 minutes. Is there anything else we can do for you”? “Nope. Thanks”….

I do a quick change out of my morning pj’s and Aly shouts out – She’s here!

Out the front door I bolted and I can see our package before she gets out of her van. “Looking for this?” she asks. “ We sure are” I responded. She then proceeds to tell me she would have been here sooner but she was too busy being chewed out on the phone for not having delivered an “Express” package. That would be ours… “Yeah, I said, we did just call. Excited and all you know”… "Not a problem” she says and then tells me this is her last month being our carrier. That was a downer because she has been too good at dropping mail off at our front door and not cramming everything into our mailbox. I’m also wondering if what she is really saying is "I’m tired of people like you bugging my bosses and getting my butt called on the carpet". I think it was at this point that I really tried to be mature and maintain eye contact and not look real sheepish.

Anyway, in an effort to create that community family feeling I opened the package in front of her and showed her our last document in the paperchase and how it was written in Chinese and everything. She wished us well and said she was getting out of the postal business and going back to college. Something about no benefits, no retirement, no…

I wished her well and we said our goodbyes and I casually turned and made a mad dash to our front door to show Aly.

We’re cool. That’s us. Laid back and in control. Smooth…. Is it too early to open a bottle of wine? Forget the wine let’s celebrate. It’s mimosa time! Forget the orange juice - Pop the cork!

Hello Denver, we’re soon to be heading your WAY!!!

It's A Waiting Thing

Search Results:

Label/Receipt Number: EQ46 xxxxxxxU S
Status: Enroute
Your item was processed and left our JACKSONVILLE, FL 32229 facility on December 17, 2005. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.

It’s a waiting thing. It’s not like we’re looking out the window all the time. I mean, come on, it will get here when it gets here. No big deal. Really, chill…

So where is our AUTHENTICATED I-171H DOCUMENT!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

It Had To Be Your Singing Along

Search Results:
Label/Receipt Number: EQ46 xxxxxxxU S
Status: Enroute
Your item was processed and left our HOUSTON, TX 77205 facility on December 16, 2005. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.

I had to post the above update.

We’re dragging on this end and heading to bed but first I just had to check out Johnny’s blog and what the heck, I decided to do a results search on our Houston document.

Remember singing Tomorrow, Tomorrow this morning? Well it worked but only because you all came through and provided some great background vocals while others hummed a mean tune. Guess I’ll be looking out the window for the special delivery come:


The Name Game

Search Results:

Label/Receipt Number: EQ46 xxxxxxxU S
There is no record of this item.

Ok, its not like I expected to find the really great news telling us our Houston document was on its way back but there is a certain bummed out, blah, grind your teeth, feeling down, cut us a break, maybe tomorrow, I got the blues kind of feeling.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow. You’re only a day a way…
You will have to provide your own music. I did the hard part and sang it for you.

On a domestic note: Leaa called and left a voice message saying she had read the blog and thought it was cute. I take that to mean she doesn’t have a problem with letting the cat out of the bag. They are having a GIRL! This will be granddaughter #2 in the family. Her brother Justin claims first granddaughter honors with Kilee Shae.

Speaking of names.

L & J are starting to get serious about names now. As of last night a strong candidate in the “name that baby” game of life is Alivia Kate. No, that is not a misspelling. It’s Alivia not Olivia. Alyson and I like it. Then again remember, how many people have you ran into with the name Leaa? What the heck, for that matter, how many people have you met with the name Ford. All this to say, when it comes to names, this line of the family seems to have a penchant for names with their own bit of a twist.

Seriously, all of you family members – You know who you are, don’t try to hide. Do this for me right now. Take a peek at the names of your kids and our cousins. Anything stand out? Check the spelling? Heck, check the names. Go ahead, take a look-see. Folks, for a staid, small town, middle of the road, southern/midwestern upbringing, we have some names. I like that about us as a family. We can accept that bit of difference in each other. Names that is.

Got to go. I need to freshen up for an early dental appointment. Gosh how I look forward to mornings like this. There is just something about the sights, sounds and smells of a dental office to kick off your day. I mean, I can barely wipe the smile off my face just knowing I’m getting ready to open wide and gag/gargle/spit while Curt the dentist has a one-way conversation with me. Sorry. Let me run, I don’t want to miss a minute of this…

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Baby Secret

Leaa & Jesse know what they are having… I don’t know if it is still a secret so I’ll keep quiet for now.

I’m good at keeping secrets. No way am I going to tell you what SHE and Jesse are having.

You couldn’t drag it out of me if you flogged me with a wet HEN.

No sir, my mouth is as shut as a LADIES bedroom curtain.

Yep, the last thing I want is to have my own baby GIRL mad at me for spilling the beans.

I’ll let you all know what sex the baby is just as soon as our DAUGHTER & Jesse give us the Ok.

Not a moment sooner…

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Florida Got Its Act Together - Finally!

Logged in to our First Coast Families with Chinese Children yahoo group this morning and found this great message from one of the members.

Good Morning!

Good News!!!!!!!! As of this morning, the Houston Consulate is once again processing Florida documents. They hope to have all documents that have been waiting at the Consulate to be authenticated processed by the end of the week.

Pam E.
ABC International Dossier Services, Inc.

This is great news. Our best hope would be to have our document back no later than the end of next week. If we had sprung the bucks for a service like Pam’s above we could have had it back tomorrow. Live and learn or should that read live & spend.

We’ll be putting our dossier together this weekend to get it ready to ship out to our agency just as soon as we get the Houston document back. I’m afraid it’s asking too much to think we can make a December DTC but miracles do happen…

Waiting On Houston


Label/Receipt Number: EQ46 xxxxxxxxU S
Status: Delivered
Your item was delivered at 10:59 am on December 12, 2005 in HOUSTON, TX 77006. The item was signed for by Y WEI.

Now we sit and wait for the state of Florida to make things right with the Chinese Embassy in Houston by sending them the credentials of our "new" Sec. of State. Until that is done the Houston embassy is and will not act on documents from Florida families (only).

Time keeps ticking, ticking into the future....

Saturday, December 10, 2005

It's On To Houston - BUT...

I stoled from a couple’s blogsite that live in our area. (If they are reading this I can only hope they don’t mind).

It would appear that we each are very close together on our paperchase timelines and each have documents that need to be authenticated in Houston. This couple had received what was not the greatest news to hear but certainly very timely and valuable information to have and shared it on their blogsite. We will be adding their blog to our blog roll very soon.

Even with this bit of yucky news, I zipped down to the post office this morning and did our latest go around of Express Mailers. Our I-171H document will hit Houston Monday and we can only hope that the little snafu referenced below will have been corrected.

Ah, the highs, the lows, the pains and the gains of the ever encompassing Paperchase…

Hi All!

Have some news today, well, we got it the other day...We received an email message from one of our FCC yahoo groups regarding the Secretary of State. This is what the email said:

"On November 21, Glenda Hood resigned as the Florida Sec of State. Governor Bush appointed Deputy Sec David Mann as her temporary replacement. As a result of this appointment, all documents receiving state certifications after November 21 now bear the signature of David Mann. The Houston Chinese Consulate has not recd the credentials package for the newly appointed Sec of State and as aresult, is refusing to process/authenticate any documents bearing his signature.This is causing a huge back log of documents at the Consulate for Florida families.

I contacted the Florida Sec of State today and spoke with a Supervisor in the Certifications Unit to inquire about the situation and they were of no help whatsoever and have no idea whether David Mann will continue to remain in office or if a new appointment will be made by Governor Bush. I have also contacted the Governor's office requesting immediate action to this situation and bringing to their attention that hundreds of families are being affected by this lapse in communication between the Florida Sec of State and the Houston Chinese Consulate.

I have not recd a response from the Governor's office as of this posting. You need to be aware that if you are currently in possession of documents bearing the signature of David Mann, the Houston Consulate will not process your documents until this situation is resolved."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Last Document To Houston

The I-171H certified document is back from Tallahassee. Tomorrow morning I’ll head off to the post office and send it on its way to Houston to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy.

We are getting close. This may (should) be our last document to Houston. Next stop will be Denver with every document we have accumulated from our Paperchase. We will be sending the originals (with copies) and keep a copy of everything for ourselves as well.

Hopefully we go DTC and LID in January. Then we wait for our referral and wait and wait and …

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tallahassee Magic Deed Complete

Search Results

Label/Receipt Number: EQ25 xxxxxxxU S
Status: Enroute

Your item was processed and left our TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301 facility on December 07, 2005. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.

It looks as though Tallahassee has performed their magic of certifying. Now it’s on to Houston for the authentication by the Chinese Embassy. Once back from Houston we will bundle up all our documents (along with a copy) and off they will go to our agency in Denver for the hoped for DTC.

We’ve decided to grab some “new” photos for our dossier so our daughter Leaa is coming up Saturday to perform her own bit of photographic magic on the two of us. Leaa D loves to do B&W shoots and does her own developing. We’ll do both Color and B&W and see what happens…

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ever Changing Blog Roll

We’ve updated the blog roll of sites we frequent. As you have figured out by now we do this on a fairly regular basis. You may want to bookmark some of your favorites, as we can’t guarantee they will be there the next time you log back onto our site.

I did drop one blog recently for a purely personal reason. I guess I am more thin skinned than I thought because it bothered me more than it probably should have. A recent post on this particular blog took a pretty ugly shot at some people and towns in an area of the country I call home.

It seems the author of the post will be accompanying her husband to a company Christmas party made up primarily of non-salaried “plant” people in what she considers a remote, backward part of the country. To say the least, she wasn’t too keen on having to fly out and rub shoulders with them.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Tallahassee One Last Time


Label/Receipt Number: EQ25 XXXXXXX US
Status: Delivered
Your item was delivered at 6:55 am on December 02, 2005 in TALLAHASSEE, FL 32314 to SEC STATE BOX 6327. The item was signed for by J SHIVER.

Yes! We get this document back and then ship it on to Houston for authentication and the paperchase COULD be completed. We are so ready for that…

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Forget The First Try Everytime

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Label/Receipt Number: EQ25 xxxxxxxU S
Status: Notice Left
We attempted to deliver your item at 8:25 am on December 01, 2005 in TALLAHASSEE, FL 32314 and a notice was left. A second delivery attempt will be made. If unsuccessful, we will hold it for five business days and then it will be returned to the sender. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.

We have never had a document sent to Tallahassee signed for on the first day of attempted delivery. Never.

Now for the good news of the day.

Alyson received a reply from our agency with regards to a procedural concern we had with a couple of photocopied paperchase documents. Alas – the good news!!!

Hi Alyson,
Don’t worry! ( It sounds like you did both parts correctly! For the other 171H’s, you’ll just take one of them with you when you go to China. The others you can just put in a spot for safekeeping. Hope this helps! Let me know if you need anything else.

Have a great rest of the day!