Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jacksonville Makes The News Again

Jacksonville just keeps racking up the lifestyle points sure to attract new families into moving here and tourist to visit. Most recently it involved this little jewel; the feeding of a live bunny to a python at one of our private schools. You know, sort of a "life lesson" thing...

Now maybe if they had locked the teacher in the room with the hungry python we might have had a real learning experience take place...

The story complete with video. (the news coverage video does not include the actual eating of the bunny)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Precious Panda - Bathing Suit Swap in the Mail!

I finished shopping for the bathing suit swap and the box is now ready to go to the post office.

I hope the Crisman's like all the cute "pinkness"!

One thing I found at a local store (well, they are a chain store, mainly in the south, we think of them as a small local business), Steinmart, was a fish hand puppet. So squishy and pink!

The bathing suit has "built in diaper bottoms" - yep - a cloth diaper is part of the bottoms and promises no leaks! The cover-up terry cloth jacket, the matching hat and the pink sunglasses all make the summertime outfit.
Emma will be ready for swim time anytime!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Meet Walker - DH's Nephew

While visiting our Missouri family, we were able to grab these great photos of Walker, DH's nephew. Walker is the son of Ford's sister Tiffany and her husband Michael.

Isn't he just one heck of a handsome young man?!

Comment posted by Mom of 5
at 5/29/2007 8:46:00 PM
Way too cute !!
Love his name. Thanks for visiting Hayden's site. We checked you out on his map.
It made his day !!

Comment posted by Elisa, Jarrod & Thomas
at 5/29/2007 9:25:00 PM
He is a cutie looks like his is the same age as my little one.

Comment posted by OziMum
at 5/30/2007 6:40:00 AM
Real Charmer!

Comment posted by redmaryjanes
at 5/30/2007 5:29:00 PM
What a beautiful little boy. I can see why you took so many pictures of him!

Comment posted by Don and Be
at 6/5/2007 1:16:00 PM
Fine looking dude! ..... Walker that is, Ford.

Meet Walker - DH's Nephew

While visiting our Missouri family, we were able to grab these great photos of Walker, DH's nephew. Walker is the son of Ford's sister Tiffany and her husband Michael.

Isn't he just one heck of a handsome young man?!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Precious Panda Bathing Suit Swap

On occasion, I join some of the adoption groups' swaps. I joined a bib swap last year and have swapped many fabrics for the OHGWQ (see quilt blog link).

I joined this swap with the Precious Panda Yahoo! group that are all LID the same month as us. These people have been waiting the same 16 months. So to pass the time and have fun, we are sending a bathing suit and any other summer items to the name assigned to us from those participating.

I received my box and here's all the goodies sent to me from Diane Allen of Michigan.

Ladybugs all over - the bathing suit, bathing cap and beach "cover-up". Plus essentials for Alyzabeth as sunglasses and suntan lotion. How thoughtful!! Adorable!

Once I have my box ready to go to Kathy Crisman, I'll post a picture of the cute things I send to her - for her future daughter, Emma.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sweet 16

Sixteen is the minimum age for being allowed an official driver's license in many U.S. states and in Canada.

In Australia it is the age one can begin to get a learner's licence. (I think this is how our Aussie friends spell licence as opposed to the American spelling - license)

Sixteen is the minimum age for getting an adult job in most states and provinces (as well as for dropping out of school).

In America, female sixteen year olds earn the right to privacy laws surrounding OBGYN practices.

In the Netherlands it is the legal minimum age for a person to purchase any tobacco product.

Sixteen is the age of consent for many jurisdictions around the world.

Sixteen is the minimum age to get married with parental consent in many countries.

Sixteen is the legal drinking age in France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain.

In The Netherlands sixteen is the age when all adult rights are granted but the age of majority is 18.

Sixteen Candles is a popular 1984 coming-of-age film starring Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling and Anthony Michael Hall. The film was written and directed by John Hughes and is often credited with the beginning of the Brat Pack film movement.

Sixteen is the number of months Alyson & Ford have been LID.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Congratulations Cara!

Graduation time is here. On June 1st, Cara (SIL to daughter Leaa) will be graduating from High School.
She's smart, considerate, well-mannered, talented (excellent competition swimmer), so "together", has warm coolness about her (Ford said that one!) and did we say beautiful and smart?

She's headed to FSU for her higher education.

Amazing - "Finding a Baby"

This post is from "Double Happiness!" a blog about two new daughters, Maddy and Gwen, adopted from China. Donna writes so well, recently about life books and has the FamilyFoto Fun Friday too.
Just a reminder to visit her blog. We really enjoy reading about these wonderful families - our turn will be soon.
See the pictures she received of Maddy's "finding place".

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Article on Adopted teens - Advise to Parents

Thanks to Dee McCollum for posting this article from the Maine/Portland Press Herald - in our local FCC Yahoo! group.

Adopted Teens Share and Advise

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Wait Is What It Is...

Kissin' Your Cares Goodbye


Kissin' Your Cares Good Bye

Have you had those days, weeks or even months when you must admit that you cannot do it alone?

I love this song. DH was a peach and posted it for me. Million Pieces

Here's Lois E. Lane's opinion on it.

I love the words, so please pardon my self-indulgence and read along....

Why you holdin' grudges in old jars? Why you wanna show off all your scars?

What's it gonna take to lay a few burdens down?

It's a beautiful sound

When they all fall

Like a million raindrops

Falling from a blue sky

Kissing your cares goodbye

They all fall Like a million pieces

A ticker tape parade high

And now you're free to fly

When that muffled sigh

Says you're barely getting by Cut your burdens loose and just simplify Simplify

'Cause when you lay your burdens down, When you lay your burdens down

When you drop them burdens

What a free-fall What a thrill

Bury them allIn a landfill

Parenting Classes

Has anyone used this parenting course web site?

With the long wait, we may (should) take some more classes on adoption. Can you recommend any classes (on line would be best for us)?

You never can learn too much!

Adoption Learning Partners

Monday, May 21, 2007

Nathaniel Bedford Forrest

Perhaps that's a name you're familiar with but for those of you who are not I will provide some background.

Nathaniel Bedford Forrest was a Confederate Army general during the American Civil War. He is regarded by many military historians as that conflict's most innovative and successful general. His tactics of mobile warfare are still studied by modern soldiers. Prior to the war he was a successful businessman. A millionaire slave trader and eventual plantation owner. And we don't want to leave out one of his finer points, that according to a recent speaker on his behalf, Nathan Bedford Forrest never whipped his slave's on a Sunday. That just wouldn't be right. The guy was an absolute sweetheart. One other bit of interest you might want to note; after the war he gained infamy as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

So why the history lesson (though I did teach history and American constitution for 5 years but I digress)? Because we have a lingering controversy here in dear ole River City. No, the controversy is not whether the "Gators" will beat the "Noles" in football this year, no it's a controversy that has plagued this city for a number of decades. You see, Nathaniel Bedford Forrest is the name of one of Jacksonville's many public high schools and there are many who since the Civil Rights era have fought to change the name. And that fight continues to be played out today.

Forrest High School was originally to be named Valhalla High but was changed to Forrest at the request and recommendation of the Jacksonville chapter of Daughter's of the Confederacy. That was five years after the 1954 Brown decision declared segregation unconstitutional. This year the School Advisory Council made the recommendation to make the name change. The local chapter of the Son's of the Confederacy have now filed an inquiry challenging the recommendation of the Advisory Council. And true to form, the Duval County School Board has put off voting on the name change until a later date. They need more time to study the issue. That's it. We need more time to study the issue.

Change the bleeping name. It's offensive. Period. This isn't that hard to figure out. It's not hard to figure out how it got the name and it's not hard to figure out why folks have been fighting for decades to change the name and it's not hard to figure out why we have an organization fighting to keep the name.

It helps that I bring some credibility to this fight. Sometimes folks will discount what you have to say if they decide you're not one of them. Whatever it is that "them" represents. I'm not certain I want to know. I'm a Missourian. Our state and Kentucky were the only states represented on both the American flag and the Confederate flag during the Civil War. While there were only 11 states that joined the Confederacy you will find 13 stars (states) represented on the flag. Missouri truly was a battleground of brother against brother. Surprising to many is the fact that Missouri is the State with the third largest number of engagements (1,162 battles and skirmishes) fought during the Civil War. (only Virginia and Tennessee had more.) I apologize, I'm slipping back into my history teacher mode. My great great many times great grandfather was taken from his home and executed by Union troops as being a southern sympathizer. All of which is noted on his tombstone. Two of my uncles were "pardoned" in Memphis following the conclusion of the war to return home. I guess the word pardon kind of gives it away as to what side they fought on. I'm also a 32 degree Mason but that's another subject for another time.

In other words for those who may not consider me to be one of their own; don't even go there. I'm an American first and foremost and I'm very much aware of my southern roots. I also can figure out what's right and what's just plain racism. This isn't that hard. Not that hard at all and I'll be proud of Jacksonville once we put this behind us. And we will. We just need a little more time to study the issue.

After all. It's not been that long since 1865...


Friday, May 18, 2007

Some Questions & Comments proffered along the way…

“Family isn't about whose blood you have. It's about who you care about.”
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park

“So, you’re going to be Mr. Mom.”

No, I’m going to be dad to our latest and greatest family addition. Alyzabeth’s mom is not able to retire just yet; I’m older and I’m eligible to retire so I get to stay home with her. So as you can see, Alyzabeth has a mom, as in Alyson. I’m dad. As in Ford.

“Our church teaches the man is the head of the home and leads by working.”

I’m sure by that statement you’re not implying that caring for a child is “woman’s work” and carries “less value” to the family. I’m sure you didn’t mean that. Or that it’s not work. No, no I’m certain that’s not what you’re implying…

I don’t agree with everything my church teaches which is just one reason I’m glad the common lay person learned to read the Bible for themselves. Truth is, I don’t agree with everything my political party throws out either. As a matter of fact, Aly and I don’t agree on everything. Imagine that. My Lord teaches that to Lead we must Serve others. I have served my family financially outside the home and I will continue to do so in retirement. Equally important is my willingness and ability to serve my family by caring for and nurturing Alyzabeth An. And I will continue to place my personal relationship with God before church doctrine. Or is that indoctrination?

“I don’t understand why you don’t adopt domestically, we’ve got lots of kids that need good homes?”

So I take it you are adopting? Oh you’re not. Still, I bet you’ve kept up with all the qualifications, regulations and jumping through the hoops when it comes to domestic and international adoptions? Oh you haven’t but you know someone who has adopted.

That’s nice. And it’s been nice talking to you…

“This adoption of yours sure seems to be taking a long time. You sure that bunch that has your money is legit?”

Nah. We just jumped right into this without a second thought. We’d been up all night drinking and one thing led to another and before you know it we were dialing up 1-800-FOR-AKID. Mailed in our check for $100,000 payable to the Chinese government. Another $50,000 to the US government and we still haven’t finished paying our Agency or the US government as for as that goes…

Or it could be that we’ve been caught up in a slow down through no fault of our own but hey, that’s not as good of a story. So knock yourself out and go with whatever turns you on.

“That little girl sure is lucky to have you all adopting her.”

We don’t subscribe to luck. We are blessed by having Alyzabeth purposefully placed to our care. To our love. To our forever family. Alyzabeth is a gift that is both treasured and humbling. To those whom much is given, much is required…

“Man, are you guys in for a rude awakening. You sure you know what you’re getting yourselves into?”

Yes and No.

We are not the first to journey this path nor do we represent the last. We will have our “awakening” and when we do we will look at one another and remember to give thanks for a prayer answered and the opportunity to love as we have been loved…


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quilt News

I posted news about our OHGWQ progress over at our "Lizzy Quilt" blog.
I will eventually post more pictures. Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wisdom Wednesday

Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10

Whatever you are, be a GOOD ONE. Abraham Lincoln


“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, May 14, 2007

Catching Up on Family News

We've enjoyed our share of family gatherings the past few weeks.

We made the trek north to visit and frolic with DH's family in Missouri. His DB Bill & wife Joan graciously provided lodging and a fabulous arrival dinner. My MIL Joy next served as our gracious host and accompanied my mother, my Aunt Jean and myself for a whirlwind trip to Branson. DH stayed behind in Cape Girardeau to participate in his high school's athletic boosters golf tournament. He teamed up with his brother's Ben & Bill. Before leaving we also visited with his sister Tiffany and her husband Mike and son Walker.

On the way back to Florida we visited our good friends, the Read's, in Knoxville, TN and viewed their new 20 acre lakefront homesite. Beautiful. Then we drove down to the beginning of the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia to scope it out and take pictures. We are secretly envisioning a plan to begin hiking the Trail. Continuing on with our journey back home we escaped the Interstate 75 exit dining experiences and made our way into Macon, Georgia to search out a BBQ place we had read about. It's called Satterfield's and we're glad we took the time to find it. We'll be stopping again!

What else has happened in the past couple of weeks? Well, we celebrated our granddaughter Alivia's first birthday just before departing for Missouri. And while in Missouri we bid an (always) sad adieu to my mom and Aunt Jean as they left from there to make their way back home to Maine.

We somehow continued with our usual church activities: A Crown Sunday Bible study group and the monthly Finance Committee meeting. In between we worked in a gathering celebrating a co-worker's retirement.

What we have missed over the past couple of weeks was meeting with several friends for dinner. We have belated invites to meet up with new friends and old friends. We missed the monthly FCC Waiting Families meeting and as for my the house and an organized life - forget it! I can only imagine what things are going to be like when we have Alyzabeth? I want more time to do crafts, scrapbooking, writing letters, visiting friends and playing with our kids. How do we make every moment count when we are beginning to have those nights where we are tired, have those aches and pains, and are just plain pooped? Ooops, I think I am whining...

For Mother's Day we all gathered at the kids Aunt Angie's home for great food, good conversation and lots of smiles and kisses with the grands.
With all that said, here's a few pictures taken of the family! May we continue to be blessed with a great group of loving family and friends!


Our son Justin and our daughter Leaa

Ford and our SIL Jesse (married to Leaa)

Our beautiful granddaughter Kilee (Justin's daughter) enjoying her Aunt Angie's pool

Our beautiful granddaughter Alivia (Leaa's daughter) enjoys the magnets on Aunt Angie's refrigerator

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day - Mom!

Here's a picture of my Mom in a lighter moment - this picture is from the year before Dad died. He and DH were the ones taking this picture.

To all Mother's today: We love you and want you to get an extra hug today!

My Mom's hug will have to go through our imagination - She's in Maine and I am at the southern end of the USA! Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Maine - Red Sox - Darlington

I will never stop smiling about NASCAR's closest race finish. It was Maine's favorite driver winning against the Darlington race track and Kurt Busch. I included an article that Ricky Craven wrote back on April 21, 2007.

Here's another great story about Darlington Race Track written by Ricky; this one took me back through some of my favorite driver's career (he is not racing this season) and put a great big NASCAR smile on my face.

Ricky Craven Fans Web Site
Ricky Craven Official Web Site

Friday, May 11, 2007

Congratulations Aly

Just wanted to share this with you all because I’m not certain Alyson would say anything.

Alyson was contacted this week and asked to accept a Board of Trustees position with the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home located in Enterprise, Florida. I’m proud to say that she gladly accepted and looks forward to expanding her work for our kids and young people. She’s not one to solicit praise so I'm blowing the horn for her. We’re both pretty excited about the opportunity her appointment bolsters in an effort to assist the kids and staff at the Children’s Home.

So allow me to publicly congratulate my wife. I'm very proud of her and I can truthfully say that the Board of Trustees have made an excellent choice. Love you Aly...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

May Flowers - Memories for Memorial Day

In addition to what Ford (DH) posted yesterday, I just loved reading this post on Literary Momma. Check it out - May Flowers.

I'm not avoiding Mother's Day (this Sunday) just posting about a moving story..... worthwhile reading.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

If You Are Or Will Be An IA Parent?

I read the blog Reading Writing Living every day. I'll not go into the details as to why but suffice it to say that the perspective is one as a soon to be IA parent I find very insightful. I am certain you will as well. Link it. Today I was directed to Harlowe's Monkey. You owe it to yourself and your little one to read this. Don't waste time making judgements if I may offer that up. Instead. Reflect on what was written. What was shared. Ask yourself, what is the lesson in this for me? For my family? For my IA son or daughter?


Wisdom Wednesday - Fortune Cookies!

What fortune cookie sayings would you like to give to your forever daughter?

Here are a few I found:

The days you work are the best days.
If you continually give, you will continually have.
The first step to better times is to imagine them.
Ideas are like children; there are none so wonderful as your own.
It is much wiser to take advice than to give it.
Many a false step is made by standing still.
Every excess becomes a vice.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
Decide what you want and go for it.
Skill comes from diligence.
Don't forget to do good deeds as you accumulate wealth.
None of the secrets of success will work unless you do.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Made Me Smile

I read this on Waiting for Chloe - I absolutely LOVE it! Thank you.

Mary Engelbreit's "Bloom where you are planted."


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Referrals - Predictions on "Gottcha Day" for Alyzabeth

We are back from our week long vacation visiting with family in Missouri and my Mom and Aunt from Maine (they are now on their driving journey home).

With the latest information from our Agency and China, the post from Donna & Joe's blog is just about what we are now thinking.
It changes each month so here's the best guess today! Another great resource (use link on right side bar) for predictions is Wren's Estimator.

From Donna & Joe:
Referrals are in...
The CCAA hasn't updated their web-site yet, but it seems they got through dossiers logged in before November 1, 2005. They left off at October 26th last month, so that's six days.

This is better than the two days they did last month, but not the two-weeks we were hoping for. If they could manage to get back to referring two weeks every month, we may see a referral this December or January '08.
Here's how it would look:
May referrals through 11/11/05
June referrals through 11/25/05
July referrals through 12/9/05
August referrals through 12/23/05
Sept referrals through 1/6/06
Oct referrals through 1/20/06
Nov referrals through 2/3/06 (us as in Alyson & Ford)
Dec referrals through 2/17/06 (us as in Donna & Joe)
Jan referrals through 3/3/06

According to the polls on RQ, November is a BIG month and it may take the CCAA three months to get through all the dossiers. If this is the case, we can add on another month or two. This would put us at a 22-24 month wait from our LID of 2/17/06.
Doesn't the CCAA realize that we're NOT getting any younger??
I would have NEVER imagined in my wildest dreams that it would take this long to get our referral...this is so frustrating!

Back to us - Alyson & Ford:
We would love to have a referral in November of 2007; otherwise any further slowdown will probably mean closer to January/February 2008 with travel approval for March or April!
As Donna wrote, we are getting OLDER!!!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Wisdom for Wednesday - Very late!!

How monotonous the sounds of the forest would be if the music came only from the Top Ten birds.
Dan Bennett

Hate must be learned.
Love needs no instruction.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.
Maya Angelou

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Happy May Day!

We have been on vacation, so no news until we return......

Hope everyone will leave us comments, links and rumors about the latest China adoption news.
Do you know how "out of touch" one feels while on vacation? We will be back to visiting all our favorite blogs on Sunday.
Keep us in the loop!