Saturday, August 30, 2008

We Have Travel Approval

Yesterday we were notified by our Agency that we have received Travel Approvals. Another HUGE step taken ultimately having us boarding a plane for China and ALYZABETH!

For family and friends:
Our next step involves our Agency securing us an appointment date with the US Consulate in Guangzhou. We hope to have confirmation of an appointment date within 6 business days or sometime next week.

IF (and notice the IF is capitalized for emphasis), all goes well next week and we receive notification of a Consulate appointment, we MAY be able to book our flights with a projected travel date of mid-September.
Again, none of this is written in stone but is merely our Agency's best case scenario for us at this time.

To all the families in our Travel Group:
We look forward to meeting you all soon on our shared trip of a lifetime...

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Bright Pearl

"She is a bright pearl in the orphanage's palm".

We recently received additional information from our agency on Alyzabeth An. Due to the personal nature of the information, we've made the decision not to share it publicly.
It is the story of Alyzabeth's beginning. Her story. A story she may one day choose to share.

Included was a bit more medical data and insight into her daily schedule and activities. I find myself reading it over and over captivated by the chronological glimpses of her ongoing development, all the while searching for minute pieces of her personality.

"She is a bright pearl in the orphanage's palm".
This was the closing comment from Alyzabeth's caregivers as translated by our agency.

I don't think I will ever forget those words.
Our bright pearl.....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Star Fall - Learning That's Fun!!!

Our DD loves the website Starfall. And for good reason. The Starfall website is an entertaining and educational explosion of fun for your little one begging to play on the computer!

When DD and her MIL (Yo Muther's Blog) first brought Starfall to our attention, we knew that this was something we would be sharing with Alyzabeth. The interaction between parent and child coupled to an amazing learning experience produces remarkable results you are bound to see from your child. And no, none of us work for this company :) It's just that good.

Our GD Livi is not quite 30 months old and she counts, knows her ABC's, colors and is learning to read! OK, OK, sounds like I am bragging. Because I am!
It is so much fun watching her point and say her letters and count out numbers while stacking objects or point to a word and tell you what it says. And so much more! Imagine your little one playing on the computer rather than simply worrying about them destroying it! :)

You owe it to yourself and your little one to give it a look. I may have waxed on a bit thick about its charms and delights but it truly is a magnificent program geared to helping our children learn.

And best of all, it's FREE!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Conversations With Alyzabeth


Right here Alyzabeth.

I'm scared.

I get scared sometimes.

You do?

I sure do.

Are you scared now?

Maybe a little but more happy than scared.

I know you and mom are coming.

Is that why you're scared?


That would be scary. It's OK.

I have a new blanket.

The one mom sent you?

It's pink and brown.

Your mom slept with it so you would smell her hair when you went to bed at night.

It smells good.

Just like your mom.

Do you smell good?

Not as good as your mom.

Dad? Can you still hear me?

Always Alyzabeth, I can always hear you.

I'm not as scared now.

That makes me feel happy.

I love you daddy. And my blanket!

We love you baby girl.

Hurry daddy...

We are little one, we are.....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Orphanage Care Package

It is in the mail... (we mailed on Monday, the 18th). Yes, the USPS has a care package to deliver to China on our behalf. Let me start this with the shock factor. It cost $ 40.00 for a 10 day delivery. Not Express mail; regular Priority Mail. Occasionally we have mentioned the cost of some adoption fees. This care package is optional and the weight of it determines the cost.

When I originally began writing this post, we were still in the "WAIT". I was making our lists of things to do and we still had a healthy dose of cautious optimism; that we were going to receive our referral in July 2008. Our wait ended on August 12, 2008, after our formal decision to adopt more than 39 months ago!

Once we received our referral, the care package contents was assembled; items for our daughter and her orphanage. We received the directions and address to her orphanage in the Travel Package from our Agency on August 15, 2008.

We printed labels for each item in Chinese so that as they read and point to each photo in the box it will have the Chinese label that says "Mother" on my pictures, Father (Daddy) on DH's plus our DD and DS. In addition we will send pictures of my Mom with the Chinese word for maternal Grandmother, as she will be at our home when we arrive back from China. I chose not to send a photo of Salty Dog and the cats, M&M and GC. Our red cat, OJ, stays hid so often I don't think I could get a picture of him even if we wanted to include him!

Items that went in the care package (the size of a large shoe box) included a small photo album, candy, perfume and lipstick for the Nannies, outfits for the children, a blanket that we have slept with, clothes for Lizzy, two disposable cameras and a teddy bear. How much can we cram in this box? We weren't very good at taking the final pictures of the box "finished", so here are a few showing the progress!

The blanket we ordered especially for this care box is pink and brown.
We slept with it so that our daughter will "know" us before we even see her. Hopefully Salty Dog's odor won't mask ours!! I found this blog called "High On Craft" and checked out her Etsy shop. A homemade baby quilt/blanket is the perfect size. Thank you for the beautiful quilt!
Here's a recent care package example over at The Big Wait for Jenny.
To see what we are doing, check out this blog with many examples of care packages.

Another "To Do" task has been crossed off our list! Yeah! Can't wait to see if we get the cameras back! Smile Alyzabeth!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Soggy Saturday

Update: Another outer band of Fay is hanging around! Rain and more rain today! Just one picture to show the angry river. The normal water level is well outside the fence line, even at high tide, the water does not come up to the fence (you can see the fence frame standing - we were smart the last time we replaced it and did not have the "chain-link" mesh attached at the bottom, saving some of the frame).

We have lots of activities going on this weekend and the least of them is picking up the yard and getting fence repair estimates and dock repair estimates! Thank goodness TS Fay has moved on! DH has a video posted below... and wanted me to say that the boat made it through the night!

Back to our dear daughter.... Yes, we are still walking in the clouds...
I have so many thank you's to write and send! You have been so very generous with your congratulations and gifts. We received a gift from Texas, from Australia, Tennessee, Maine and many from our friends here in Florida.

Just a short post to fill you with ideas for your children's amusement; I found this on Simple Mom - 11 Free Toys to make for children. If you have more ideas, please leave comments on her blog. Have fun with this!

We will be back very soon, even though I feel like we are paddling up a creek without the paddle at times, with many more posts about our wonderful gifts and maybe one more on the paper-chase! I think we are done with that chapter of Alyzabeth's journey, at least until we arrive in China.
Here's the "cheap" toy ideas:

1. Egg cartons. They make great caterpillars, they’re good storage containers for little treasures found on walks, and they can even become airline seats for little animal toys.

2. Chalk. On sidewalks, on chalkboards… endless fun, and it hoses right off.

3. Water and cups. Our 3-year-old loves to “wash” dishes. Just give her a step stool in front of the sink and a few dishes - she’s lost in her own world.

4. Paper and safety scissors. Old newspapers, expired coupons, scrap paper… give some to your kiddo with a pair of safety scissors, and he’ll be engrossed forever.

5. Dried beans or rice. It’s fun to pour into bowls and cups of different sizes, and it’s a good sensory exercise. Sand works well, too.

5. Toilet paper or paper towel tubes. They’re great telescopes for your budding pirate, you can cover the ends and pour some dried beans inside for a musical shaker, or you can sit them upright as bowling pins.

6. Old clean socks. Roll them up into balls, or get some markers and wear them on your hand for the classic - sock puppets.

7. Washed out empty food containers. My daughter loves to play kitchen, and she’s stocked with some of our empty syrup, ketchup, and dressing bottles. No need to buy a child-size version of the same plastic thing.

8. Balloons. Indoor volleyball is fun for everyone. And armed with a marker, they’re transformed into silly faces.

9. Books. They were my absolute favorite. The child who doesn’t like to read is missing out on adventure, meeting new people, and traveling through time.

10. Paper and crayons. It’s a classic for a reason - give your child a blank canvas, and anticipate their creation. It’s a joy to watch their process.

11. A cardboard box. You knew this one would be on the list, didn’t you? Every child loves a big, unused cardboard box to transform into a clubhouse, a fort, a time machine, a tent, whatever. Hours of fun, indeed!

Friday, August 22, 2008

TS Fay - Checking The Damage During A Lull

It's now dark.
I can hear the wind pick up and then die down from inside the house. An occasional limb rolls across the roof. I can't hear the water lapping in the yard unless I open the door. I haven't a clue if the boat is still there. We've lost power twice but unlike the times before, it has come back on. I've lit candles anyway and cranked the air down in the bedroom.

Logging off now.
Going to be a long night. Once it's daylight, provided I can, I'll shoot a short video and share what I find...

As feared. We are now losing the dock walkway... The boat is still in its lift. Taking a battering but still there. If it makes it through all this, we'll have a boat but we'll have to swim to get to it :) and even then we'll not have any power to lower it down!


Minutes after the post the wind returned and with it the waves. The poor walkway looks like little bombs are exploding under and over it. We're transitioning from low to high tide which is prime damage time. If we can just get through tonight we're home free. I think. I hope..
OK, I pray.....

Taking advantage of a lull in Fay's little tap dance on NE Florida to video before the next band hits. Because when it hits, Flip and I will not be outside :)

Once this lull passes and the wind returns, the river will take on the appearance of an angry ocean complete with wave after wave smashing into the dock and washing up into the yard. And while that is happening the rain will steadily come down. Areas around us are reporting 2-5 inches of rain an hour. Thankfully, while saturated, we haven't had one of the frog chokers others are reporting.

And for the record, I made a mistake while talking into Flip. The World Golf Village is southeast of us not southwest...

Go Away Fay

We have been a little out of commission. Fay has not been nice and is continuing to kick our bu**'s. And please don't think of us as throwing a Pity Party, we're fine, just a little soggy.

As best I can tell, we've lost the end of our dock and stand a good chance of losing our walkway in the next couple of hours or at least a good part of it.
The water is so high with waves rolling in one after another making it nearly impossible to really tell how bad the damage is. Who knows, maybe we'll catch a break. The wind is killing us. If the wind would quiet down we could deal with the high water...

The cyclone fencing on the river side is gone and buried under debris washing in from neighbors who are losing their docks. The rain continues, coming in bands and now we have tornadoes touching down around us. Will the fun never end... :)
We did just get our power back after being without since Wednesday. YEA!!
The bad thing is not what's happening to us but knowing others are having it worse. We'll be fine. I hope others will be as well...

Life is good but we sure wish Fay had stayed (would go) away. Gotta go. We'll catch up with you all later. I better hurry and post this before we lose power again :) or is that :(

Thursday, August 21, 2008

IA Doctor Review

We debated this back and forth.
As to whether or not we would send Alyzabeth's photos and medical records off to a Doctor that specializes in International Adoptions and interpreting the records received with your referral.

In the end, after mulling it over with a fellow adoptee family we made the decision to do it, if for no other reason than our own peace of mind. AND in the event there were issues that needed to be addressed, we would have a head start in making the preparations to meet those needs. This was never a question about whether or not we were accepting the referral. We had already signed the paperwork declaring loud and clear; YES - Alyzabeth is our daughter!

Based on the recommendation from our friends referenced above, we used the Floating Hospital for Children at Tuff's Medical Center in Boston. In particular, we used Dr. Laurie Miller. We Expressed Mailed copies of our referral packet (photos, medical checkup, skill development assessment, etc) along with the donation followed by an email to Dr. Miller informing her of our request for an evaluation. We included the Express Mail tracking number. We also attached one photo of Alyzabeth to the email for identification purposes.

Dr. Miller responded immediately and we conducted the consultation by phone as I followed along from the original paperwork. She was kind, very matter of fact and allowed for questions without a sense of being hurried along. We will be receiving a followup packet from Dr. Miller in the mail.

So, are we recommending that other families do the same? No, not at all. We simply wanted to share what we did because we know many of you have the same questions and concerns that each of us share. We know there is considerable debate within the adoption community as to the value of these evaluations.
For us, we're glad we did it. We received a heads up on a few things to look for and a ringing endorsement from Dr. Miller. Call it peace of mind. Call it what you will.

We just know that we want time to rush by so we can bring Alyzabeth home...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Orlando Visit - August 12th

Recognize any of the folks in the above picture? :)

Can you believe it?!? We not only met Be and Don's little bundle of joy, Joanna Mei, we also met Catherine of Catherine's Chatter!! and Dannye and Ray from LayDfrog but darn if we can find that group photo with Dannye and Ray in it! We'll keep looking :)
We all hooked up in Orlando. We are missing Bridget, Catherine's cousin, in the photo above because she was gracious enough to volunteer to take the picture. We should have all just set our cameras on auto mode and let them flash away but I guess we were too excited to think of that :) Thank you Bridget... Aly and I enjoyed visiting with you.

Joanna Mei is beyond PRECIOUS! The girl has spunk and beauty! Be and Don better be taking vitamins because this young lady is going to be on the go from the time she wakes until the time she falls asleep :) She is such the light of her mom and dad's life...

And her parent's are way TOO NICE! Just look at the pictures below!!
One of the things on our "To Do" list was putting together a medical package for when we are in China picking up Alyzabeth. Well, we can scratch that off the list thanks to Be and Don! Can you even begin to believe this? What a huge relief.

And you would think they would have stopped there with the gifts but oh no, not Be and Don! The Shape Sorting Barn is one of Joanna's favorite toys and now Alyzabeth will have one to play with. As well as a new sippy cup and a Baby Einstein DVD.

And checking out the picture below you will see what looks like a pink dog's butt. It is. It's a hook to hang things on. Thank you Don :) I had so admired the green one he had hung in Joanna's room that he felt we needed our own for Alyzabeth's room :) Too funny...

And just so you get the picture of just how absolutely spoiled we were treated on this trip. As we were saying our goodbyes at Disney, Catherine presented us with a gift that completed our perfect day and melted our hearts.

It is often times hard to describe to family and friends the strong bonds that are created by families in the "Journey". We share so many of the same emotions. The ups and downs, the worries and celebrations. The hopes. The dreams...
Meeting Catherine was such a pleasure and her gift for Alyzabeth once again reminded us of how blessed we and Alyzabeth are to have these people in our lives. Thank You Catherine!! Thank You Be and Don!!!

Oh, and not to forget... Here's our latest on Fay. Please go away Fay and don't take any of our property on your way out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay - Heading Our Way

The latest map tracking "FAY", shows a path that goes east across the State of Florida, then turning back west, right over us!
We will update the map for the next two days, so this post will remain at the top of our other posts, as a header.
Please read further down to share in our news as we continue to get ready for Alyzabeth's arrival!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Secret Pal Revealed!!

For the past year, we have participated in two Secret Buddy (Pal) swaps. The secret swap through the DTC/LID January 2006 group called Precious Pandas (Yahoo group) has ended as each of us have received our referrals, our new daughters' name and photo.

We received a box with a beautiful Asian doll from our Secret Pal. Dana Whittall revealed herself to me with this wonderful final gift.
Here's some of the neat things she has sent for Alyzabeth and for me!! I have been using a purse she sent to me all this summer. So many gifts!! It has been wonderful!

Check out the Whittall blog and hopefully they will have their referral in hand by October!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Paper Chase To Chongqing

As you might Imagine, we have began the process of educating ourselves about Alyzabeth's place of birth, Chongqing, represented in red on the map of China above.

Chongqing is located in the southeastern section of the Sichuan Basin where the Yangtze and Jialing rivers meet. It is a metropolis, rather than a province under the direct jurisdiction of the Central Government with a population of over 30 million.
Chongqing, also known as Yu, was established some 3,000 years ago. It is renowned for its mountains, rivers, and fog, The climate is often cloudy and misty. Chongqing is often times referred to as the Mountain City and/or the City of Fog.

We received Travel Packet II from our agency last night, officially kicking off our Referral Paper Chase. Unless you count sending back our Acceptance letter via FedEx to our agency.
Lots to do in getting ready to travel. More papers to be filled out and notarized. Applications to submit. Copies to be made and made... And of course, there is the small matter of $$. We are catching a major break in that Chongqing is one of the few that allows us to wire the Orphanage Fee directly. YES!! I was dreading carrying around that much cash but no more!

So, we have to run. Aly has our Paper Chase day pretty much planned out and it's time to get started. As much as I hate Paper Chasing, this Chase has a certain happiness attached to it. And a face.

Soon, Alyzabeth An, soon little one...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Alyzabeth's Acceptance Letter In The MAIL!

The smiling guy above is our stork. You know, the FedEx guy :) delivering our Referral papers which included among other things, our Acceptance letter to sign and return to our agency.

In the event our stork was tempted to leave the Referral package and rush back to his truck, Aly taped this sign to the front door. Aly wanted THE stork picture :) ranking only slightly behind the infamous RED COUCH photo still to come!

We forgot to take a picture of our signing the Acceptance letter but we did grab a couple of pictures that resulted in a flashback to the old Paper Chase days. And the jangled nerves it produces. In this case, using another FedEx stork to overnight deliver the SIGNED Acceptance letter back to our agency.
(In talking with the young lady pictured above and below, she shared that she had been adopted and of course, I had to show her pictures of Alyzabeth :)

As soon as each of the 20 families return their letters, the agency can put in the request for appointments with the US Embassy in Guangzhou.
And as we all know, with confirmed appointments, travel arrangements can be made!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Special Gift

When our DD Leaa and husband Jesse realized we would be traveling to Orlando to "see" Alyzabeth An for the first time, they decided to do something special for us and Alyzabeth.

Leaa asked her mother to babysit the night before we were to leave. Together, she and Jesse went to the studio and recorded what will be "our" song on what will eventually be our Forever Day video. After laying down the vocals, Jesse stayed until 4:00 in the morning doing the final mixing and recording of the Beatles song... I Will.

Leaa and Jesse hosted a family celebration on our return from Orlando. Champagne toasts, hugs, smiles and kisses greeted us. And their song celebrating the addition of Alyzabeth to our family...
How do you fully say thank you for something given from the heart of another?
Like our love for Alyzabeth, we are blessed and humbled to love and have the love of all our children. Forever and ever.

Please join us in listening to and enjoying the Beatles tune, I Will, as performed by our DD Leaa & SIL Jesse.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here's the Details! Yea!!

Two New Pictures! The FedEx truck arrived at 4:29 p.m. Talk about a long wait - all day!!

The first photo has her sitting, the second, she is standing. The third picture is cropped from the original, so we can see her close up.

We are just So, So, So in love - how could we possibly be blessed anymore?

We had a wonderful family party last night at DD's home. Everyone was so kind and thoughtful making this be "our" special moment. DD and SIL produced a CD of them singing "I Will" - just beautiful!! DH will add the music to our blog tomorrow!
We have the best family, all so accepting and supportive and genuinely excited about the latest little girl to join our family!! Wahoo!!

My sister, MLC and nephew, sent us an Edible bouquet that is so yummy AND came with a teddy bear AND has a pink elephant bank for Alyzabeth to start saving her money in.

We called immediate family yesterday and now phone calls are coming in with family and friends adding their congratulations... Joan, Pam, Terri, Christopher, Susan, .... plus tons of emails!

If we have any more good news, we will just faint away from exhaustion and excitement!

Here's the additional information we promised!
Alyzabeth An’s given Chinese name at the orphanage is Nan (surname) Min (first name, translates to “people”) Hua (flower, blossom).

Her birthday is September 20, 2006, her birth city is Nanchuan District, Chongqing City. She lives in the orphanage: Nanchuan District Social Welfare Center.

Her last medical review was May 2008 and she was 29.5 inches tall, weighed 19.8 lbs, has 10 teeth. All other medical notes are shown as “normal”.

She is a deep sleeper, walks alone steadily, she turns book pages one by one, is talkative, active, restless, fond of singing and “Knows what NO means”!! Her favorite food is fruit and she plays with her doll and car (maybe our future NASCAR driver!).

Back to our actual referral day (the 12th), from driving to Orlando (and getting a flat tire! Yep, that was exciting!) and video taping every possible moment - it was a joy. We are so happy, pleased, excited.... fill in the most wonderful descriptive adjectives, and that is how we feel!

Thank you for all your sweet comments. You have made our day!! It is worth the WAIT!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Here's the Picture - Alyzabeth

UPDATE: We are waiting on a FedEx delivery today before posting an update, complete with all we know about Alyzabeth An. We expect them to arrive anytime now! Ok, within the next 5 minutes to 3 hours!
Later in the week, once we catch our breath, we'll be posting about our Referral Day experiences!

We are still on the road. Here's the picture. More to come later about Alyzabeth and how our day went.
She's 23 months old! You can Imagine how excited we are.

Orlando or Bust!

We are preparing to drive to Orlando to meet our daughter. On paper :)

CCAI will begin making calls sometime after 10:00 Mountain Time which translates to sometime after noon for us. As soon as we have emailed family with Alyzabeth's photo and vital statistics we will rush to post them here. To our "other" family...
Those of you who have walked this journey with us since its beginnings in 2005. Thank you. Bless you.

It may be late tonight BUT you will see Alyzabeth!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

CCAI Referral Update News!

Our agency has updated their site announcing referrals for their 1-27-06 families have arrived!
We are one of those families!!!

CCAI will be making Calls to each of us tomorrow. So, I guess that means we won't be sleeping much tonight but you know what?
That's cool.
The referrals are here and tomorrow we meet Alyzabeth An :)


Waiting For The Call

We are hoping Referrals reach our agency today. Then we Wait patiently for The Call either Tuesday or Wednesday.
We have come to appreciate that not all Waits or Weekends are the same :)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Finish Line In Sight

We can see the finish line and like many, what was originally thought to be a sprint turned into a race of plodding endurance...
We started out feeling like the hare and we evolved into the turtle. Maintaining faith, strength and patience to finish became our test.

Seeing Alyzabeth's picture for the first time, hopefully this coming Tuesday or Wednesday, will work wonders in reducing the aches and pains endured. All to prepare us for what will be our true finish line.
When Aly holds Alyzabeth An in her arms on Forever Day and for forever more...
peace fm

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympics - From China

We watched the Olympics opening ceremony with friends, Kenny and Pam, while eating Chinese take-out food! We were able to give them the news that we will see our daughter's picture next week. Very cool, even though we didn't really plan for the evening to be a "celebration".

The Olympics began on the 8th, 8 is the luckiest number in China, we heard that our referral left China and is on the way to our agency and spending time with friends eating Chinese food! So much good news all on 8-08-08!

The ceremony was beautiful. I am sure we will find a DVD to buy after the Olympics to add to Alyzabeth's DVD collection! All the Precious Pandas who are waiting to travel or still waiting for their referral, we all wonder where our daughters are during this very lucky day?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Our Stork Is Flying

Our fellow LID blog friends are reporting that it's our turn... Our stork is in the air. We will soon have the face to put with "her" name, Alyzabeth An.
Referrals have been mailed!!!

Our last lap in the Race to Alyzabeth is truly, honestly, most sincerely, announcing an end to our Wait.
Somewhere in the skies above, under heavens watch, our little one is making her way to us...
aly & ford


Witness the amazing facts and hopes for girls growing up in poverty. The creator of this video has an adopted daughter from China.
What will our daughters do to change the world?

We do not believe that today will be the last lap in our race to Alyzabeth An...
This is not a sad time for us. Rather, this is an exciting time! One filled with memories and hopes and dreams of things to come.

We have Imagined Alyzabeth An for some time now. Soon, very soon, what we once could only Imagine will be replaced by a new and beautiful heart for our family to nurture and love.
Many are waiting for you Alyzabeth.
And we give thanks knowing The Wait is nearing its end...
Aly & Ford

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Spanish Rumor Update

UPDATE: Our friends in Spain tell us that alas, this is a rumor that is not bearing fruit. And as much as we may wish it to be true, it is not to be but it sure was fun :) IMAGINING for a while.

Our time is coming. We know our time will come.... Life is good.


Major Rumor - Referral News Update

I was just reading the Spanish RQ site.

If I am reading her correctly and that's a BIG IF: I take her to be saying Referrals are on their way to Spain! They have not arrived in Spain but We may have REFERRALS IN THE AIR!!!
I'll continue to check on this and try to find confirmation!!!

IF, (that darn word again) true! THEN THIS IS IT!!!

(and if not, we go back to Waiting :)

Southewestern Burritos Recipe

Just so a certain someone knows. We changed the name of the recipe. (and I'm late posting :)

When I first found this recipe it was called Southwestern Egg Rolls but since we always bake them and always use flour (though corn would be excellent) tortillas in making them, they are more burrito than egg roll. In fact, should you decide to make these I would tell folks you're making burritos. Reason being, if you follow the recipe and bring these to the table with guests or family expecting Egg Rolls, well, let's just say you're going to get some puzzled looks :) The original recipe also called for these to be fried.

The recipe is a good one provided you like chicken and southwestern flavor. It is also an easy recipe to expand the serving. As with most recipes, try it per directions the first time, take notes and make your changes reflecting your taste. And I'm a big advocate of changing around a recipe to what you like, so have fun messing with it. I know I did!


Southwestern Burritos (Baked)


· 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

· 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half

· 2 tablespoons minced green onion

· 1 4 oz can chopped or diced green chilies

· 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels

· 1/4 cup black beans, drained

· 4 tablespoons frozen creamed chopped spinach, thawed and drained

· 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers

  • 2 tablespoons diced red pepper

· 4 oz Tomatillo salsa

· 1/2 – 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

· 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

· 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

· 1/3 teaspoon salt

· 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper

· 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

· Lime juice (quick squirt into mixture)

· Package flour tortillas


1. Dice chicken.

2. Rub chicken with 1 tablespoon cooking oil, lightly season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

3. Add to a medium size saucepan or skillet, over medium heat cook chicken approximately 5 minutes per side or until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear.

4. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Heat remaining 1-tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir approximately 5 minutes or until tender.

6. Add chicken to pan with green onion, green chilies, corn, black beans, spinach, diced jalapeño peppers, fresh cilantro, cumin, chili powder, tomatillo sauce, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook, careful not to burn for approximately 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

7. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts, mixing thoroughly.

8. Spoon approximately 2 or more tablespoons onto a flour tortilla. Fold and wet ends to

9. Lightly spray the tortilla with cooking spray. Place fold side down on cooking sheet.

10. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes

11. Loosely cover burritos with aluminum foil for first 7 minutes of baking to prevent burning.

12. Serve with your favorite condiments: cilantro cream sauce, fresh salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuces, chopped fresh tomatoes and sliced black olives.

I thought I would add the recipe for the Cilantro Cream Sauce...

Cilantro Cream Sauce


· 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

· 1 tablespoon sour cream

· 1 (7 ounce) can tomatillo salsa

· 1 teaspoon freshly ground

black pepper

· 1 teaspoon celery salt

· 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

· 2 teaspoons garlic powder

· 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

· 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


1. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, pepper, celery salt, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor.

2. Blend until smooth and creamy.

3. Place in a serving bowl.

Is today the day we hear referrals have been mailed? We can only continue to hope and pray... As our race to Alyzabeth An marks #2 on the Count Down! Except, #2 doesn't get a checkered flag in our race :)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

No Stork Sightings

We had what should be our "final" pre-referral visit with our SW yesterday, completing what I think is our third home study update. Feels like our 100th. Everything went fine. Add up all the visits and I think it's time we seriously consider adding Mr. P to our family Christmas list :) Mr. P laughed when he left and said that he knows our address by heart and didn't need to look up directions. He said it with a good heart and we knew what he meant :) We have been blessed to have the same SW throughout our journey. Others have not been so fortunate.

When I began the countdown last month, I estimated we would see our youngest daughter's face (OK, picture) on Friday the 8th. You know, the beginning of the Olympics. The very LUCKY Chinese number. THE #8.

Here we are just a few days away and I'm revising our thinking.
I'm thinking it's starting to look more like Tuesday the 12th.

The "original" Countdown continues. I'm doing my best not to think of it in terms of The Wait.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Grand-Baby #2 - Sweet Livi

We enjoyed Sunday afternoon with Grand-daughter #2. She's adorable. After swimming in the pool, eating lunch, taking a nap, walking back and forth several times on the dock, bath time and play time (jumping on the couches 39 times!!), we managed to only get a few good photos today. She's at that age when she will not look at the camera when asked... she does the opposite (she's 27 months old). So enjoy pictures of her back!!

Since she soaked her clothes, we dressed her in the "Kimberley" dress that was given to us for our daughter Alyzabeth... I was dying to see the most beautiful dress on our cute grand-baby.

Driving back from our swim at the pool:

Her back side looking at the kitty cat on the porch and probably begging to "walk by the water" again! Isn't the Kimberley dress adorable? Hand made by Robin at Red Thread Stitches; catch one of her creations (first come, first served!).

She did sit still a few times when she was trying to get Salty Dog in the chair with her:

Her back side again:

Is this her reaction to spending the day with Poppy and Nana?

No news on the Referral front. All is quiet.
We've decided to leave the house for a while and do errands. After all, you can only refresh your computer so many times and the results are always the same for now. In truth, we're trying to convince ourselves that the most we can hope to hear this week is that referrals have been mailed. Wednesday is shaping up as a key date. No news by Wednesday and we're officially turning out the lights and not answering the front door :)
Aly & Ford

Sunday, August 03, 2008

No Rumors...

If we're not careful this whole Olympics thing could start kicking our bu**'s :)
How would we have ever guessed that 3 plus years ago this would figure into our Referral? It's one of those things that if you don't laugh you could end up driving yourself crazy worrying about it...and we're sufficiently crazy enough.

We made it through this past week with zero rumors about referrals and cutoff dates. Agencies are reporting that Matching is taking place but then that's not a rumor. So we're left asking ourselves. Is this The Week or just another week of Waiting?
We'll find out soon enough we suppose :)

Not sure if you all caught the piece on Chinese Adoptions from NBC on their Saturday morning show... It pretty much rehashes old news but it is always interesting to listen and sift through any and all information regarding China, adoptions and ultimately - those of us in the process. I thought it ended on a note sure to create discussion for some and discomfort for others.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Racing To The Call

It should be quiet on the Referral front over the weekend.

A time to breathe a little more deeply. And to prepare ourselves for the upcoming week. A week filled with the hopes and prayers of many, that their Wait is to finally be replaced by The Call...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Storks Are Intended To Fly

A stork shouldn't be this lonely...
Storks deliver joy...
Storks deliver peace and love...
Storks deliver our little ones...

A stork shouldn't be this lonely. Storks are intended to fly...