Thursday, July 31, 2008

8 Laps Remaining!

We're down to 8 laps remaining in what has been a true test of endurance, with more than a few cars spinning out!

Race sponsor, CCAA, has certainly provided the challenge for team owners and drivers alike. Including Alyson's own race team, CCAI, as each race towards that coveted checkered flag. The pressure is building in the Race to Alyzabeth An!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Did You Get My Voice Mail?

Ok, so am I the last person to know about this? This little FREE service. At least free for the time being. It's called Slydial.

Have you ever needed to call someone but you're pressed for time or maybe it's an awkward conversation that you would just as soon avoid but you need to leave a message? Then you might want to check out Slydial. This service allows you to call directly to the person's voice mail. Directly. Think about that for a moment :) And no, I don't own stock in the company nor am I endorsing the product. I just found their service, shall we say, intriguing...

Only 9 laps remaining in the Race to Alyzabeth.
It wouldn't be surprising to start seeing some real bumping and shoving going on out on the track. Let's just hope it doesn't bring out the caution flag!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Missing Our Friends

One of the first friends we met through our local FCC group was Kim and Joel. Many of you know them through their blog, Ruby Is Coming. They had bigger and better horizons to explore and conquer, leaving us for Denver, Colorado. We still boo-hoo over their leaving. Kim recently sent us these wonderful gifts as we near our referral time. You all are much too kind!

Kim told us she found these precious goodies in a local Denver shop called Petite Patoot! How cute! From bib to soothing lotions for "mom", everything and more to help Ford and I on our travels to Alyzabeth. Don't you just love the little towel :) So much - Too much!
Thank you Kim. We miss you guys!

The race to Alyzabeth slides high up the track barely brushing the wall as it barrels into day 10!

Monday, July 28, 2008

No More Pit Stops!

Each car should have enough gas to go the distance at this point in the Race to Alyzabeth!

With only 11 days left until Referral, Alyson is up on the wheel and driving her heart out! Just listen to the crowd as she roars past the grandstands!!!
peace :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Secret Buddy Gifts - Two at Once!

From my Secret Buddy and Secret Pal Swaps, one through Seventh Diamond and the other from the January 2006 DTC-Precious Panda yahoo group. I received some absolutely gorgeous gifts.

Below is a picture of the gifts from the Precious Panda Secret Swap. A Disney play cell phone for Lizzy, a pink book marker, socks and the monogrammed purse and frame! What great gifts and so many! I have the most generous Secret Swappers!!

Look at the close up of the beautiful monogrammed purse and picture frame. A lovely card was enclosed explaining that she will reveal her name next month. That will be a beautiful gift!

These following pictures are gifts from my Seventh Diamond Secret Swap. Amazing gifts! She follows us closely as all the gifts are very specific to our journey. Love the pink and brown. Seeing "Lizzy's" name on the bib and hair bow makes Lizzy all the more real; we are so close to getting our referral!! Don't you love the matching tag blanket?

This is so cute, an "A" embellished in pink and brown with buttons (a family favorite as my Grandmother collected buttons). Can you see the hair bow holder? It hangs on the wall with a very long ribbon streamer and the hair bows are clipped on to it - keeps them organized!

Both these swaps are completing. I received an email last month advising that the Precious Panda swap was to end with the July gift so I revealed myself with this month's gift. You can check out the family who we secretly gifted for the past year. Please visit her blog, Yearning For a Child.
However, I received the July package from this same group and my Secret Buddy did not reveal herself! Another month of waiting!

Thank you to the best Secret Swappers, it has been fun and the wonderful gifts are so APPRECIATED! Thank you! Thank you!!!

Pit Stopping for gas, four fresh tires, slight wedge bar adjustment and off we go - 12 days!!!
(and for those that track such things , like us :) today marks our 30th LID anniversary)...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Race To Alyzabeth

I have never been one to fall prey to superstitions. I'll walk under ladders, step on a crack and the number 13 is just another number to me. I don't go out of my way to dispel superstitions as I just don't give them power. So today marks what Aly believes to be 13 days until we receive our Referral Call.

Our agency will lag others in making The Call generally by a day. Long story short, they have their representative in China verify and confirm the match, including an actual visit to the orphanage. It's just how they do things. And we're not complaining. Actually, it provides us with a sense of security and relief.

So here's to Lucky 13 :) as we continue our count down to Alyzabeth...

Friday, July 25, 2008

NSN TA's Arriving

Folks are receiving their NSN TA's...and with that bit of good news, the rumors will slowly begin building for the next set of Referrals. YES!

Today's mail included paperwork from USCIS informing us as once more being suitable adoptive parents. Our fingerprints were set to expire in September. We're now good until October 2009.
We meet with our SW a week from this coming Monday. Final piece to the home study update. And that will be that. If you don't count the paperwork following Referral, I have to believe we are finally at a point where we'll never be worrying about any of this ever again...
(famous last words)


14 and counting - possibly more - possibly LESS!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bullet Rambles

  • A new family arrived HOME last night from China! Mouse-Town never to be the same :)
  • We have another visit to be scheduled with our SW... The paperwork never ends.
  • It is tons harder playing a guitar standing than sitting when you're just learning.
  • The shrimp will soon be "running" in the river. Boats will be everywhere with people casting nets to fill their 5 gallon bucket. DS included.
  • We're getting closer to our referral day. What have we forgotten???
  • The blue crab are molting.
  • We bought a Summer Day/Night video monitor off of Craig's List. The couple I bought it from says it works great. They don't need it. Their little one sleeps with them!
  • I really don't want to think about having to replace the Honda soon.
  • If Forever Day for Alyzabeth is in September, it will mean I've held all three kids for the first time in the month of September.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals need a starting pitcher for the pennant chase.
  • I am not handy around the house. It took Aly years to come to terms with this. Yesterday I hung a curtain rod. You would have thought I brought peace to the Middle East.
  • I notice more and more people NOT filling their gas tanks. Me included.
  • If we ever replace our laptop, I'm thinking about making the switch to a Mac.
  • Come to think of it, I've stopped topping off the gas tank on the boat.
  • We need to post a picture of the finished Lemoncello. It tastes fantastic in a Champagne Sparkler!
  • This is the worst year we've ever had for fleas. Everyone is complaining.
  • I miss the drive to work and back with Aly. More accurately, I miss the time with Aly.
  • I don't miss work. None of it. Zero. Nada. Closing my eyes and humming loudly.
  • I need to post the Southwestern Egg Roll recipe. It should be called Southwestern Burrito recipe. It is one of DD favorites. And Aly's. Next week. I promise Donna.
  • I've increased my term life insurance. I plan to bump it up even more. I also plan to be very, very nice to my wife...
  • We're expecting a referral in the toddler age range. Somewhere between 2-4 years old.
  • When Aly retires. We plan to spend our summers in Maine, coupled with 2-3 weeks in Europe. We will not be spending the summers in Florida.
  • I hate going to the grocery store. That's a lie. I hate going through the check out lane and seeing how much I have to pay for so LITTLE!
  • We're making the switch more and more to organic. Something about hormones and Alyzabeth. Speaking of expensive... The organics!
  • Flip flipped out the other day and quit working. Totally dead. Sent an email to FLIP's parents. Flip is working again. Who knew it had a reset button where the tripod screws in!
  • We're figuring airline ticket prices to China should be falling when its our time to buy. Yeah, right. And my weight is the same as when I graduated from High School.
  • Contributions to our church are down. The economy is hurting a lot of folks.
  • The Jaguars will defeat the Colts this year. And lose.
  • I burned a candle for my mom a couple of days ago. No reason. Just miss her. I lit one for Aly's dad as well.
  • It's not too early to start thinking about Christmas.
  • Aly and I are facilitating back to back Set Your House In Order classes. She has promised we are taking a break after these.
  • My tomato plants have stopped setting fruit. Too hot.
  • Salty Dog gets a haircut Friday. M&M is mat free.
  • Democrats and Republicans need to chill. Every idea the other has is NOT always bad. Stop fighting for your party and start working for our country.
  • I've rambled enough.
  • According to Aly. 15 days until Referrals. I wonder if we've been matched?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Birth Mother's Day

I read this on a Yahoo group and wanted to share the link. "Inviting the Birth Mother".
The link is to Jean McLeod's essay on how she and her daughter came to terms about her daughter's birth mother.
Also, Cindi (in China NOW!) wrote her thoughts about the birth mother.

There are so many unique ways to celebrate and be respectful to the memory of the birth mother. One way we plan to honor her (until Alyzabeth tells us differently) is to light a candle on the day before Mother's Day. We will add poems to read and discuss anything that Lizzy needs to talk about.
We will have these small celebrations throughout the year (example: on "Forever Family Day") so that her adoption will be an open and honest discussion with us (age appropriate of course!). We will see how she responds to others outside our cozy family circle when they ask private questions. All I know is we will take our cue from Lizzy.

Are you or have you made plans to honor the birth mother?

Sweet 16 to Alyzabeth!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I would like to share with you a post from a favorite blogger. The Wait is soon to come to a close for us (August could very likely be our month).

I cried when I read this post from one of our favorite bloggers (never met). We have followed so many adoption journey's that at times we feel like we are a part of their lives! 27 months is a VERY long pregnancy (we will probably be at 33 months when we go to China).

Read about her pain; it is different for everyone BUT, some of the same emotions are felt during this journey. No depression or therapy in this house (I can cry at the drop of a hat) but we do share common emotions.
She now has her new daughter and all is well! I don't think anyone who has waited over 12 months will ever forget the pain of The Wait...

The count down continues! 17 days until referral of DD Alyzabeth!! (my best guess anyway).

Monday, July 21, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

But if you try real hard, you just might find, you get what you need...
My thanks to the Rolling Stones.

When I first started taking guitar lessons I used Aly's acoustic Guild guitar. Sweet guitar. I love its fine lines. Its shape. Its exceptional good looks. Like Aly. Then one day my musical mentor asked if I didn't have an electric guitar?
"Yes, I replied".
"Start bringing it", he responded. It's time we made some noise!"

So at my next lesson I brought my Fender Stratocaster originally purchased in 1999. It was a "value purchase" guitar. Value, a codeword for cheap but it did have the name Fender on it so that imparted a modest amount of respectability. Seeing as to how it had never been played, it was in pristine condition. It still had the protective plastic coating on the pick guard. Wow, I thought, plugging my Baltic Blue Squire Strat into the amp for that first time. I'm playing an electric guitar. I was once again 15 years old and loving it. Ok, in my mind I was 15 years old except now I was playing the guitar not WISHING I could play the guitar. My timing was a bit off but the rush was still there!

Each Thursday while waiting in the show room at the Palatka Music Center, prior to my lesson, I wander about looking at all the different guitars. One day they had a guitar that I had never seen before. It was instant love. Not like, I love you Aly. No, it was a material love. Like when you see a new car and you want to take it home and park it in your driveway. I wanted that guitar. For the following 3 weeks each time I came to the Music Center I would search out that guitar. I was afraid to even touch it. It wasn't a "value" guitar. I didn't want to take the chance of smudging it much less dropping it! Then one Thursday. It was gone. Someone had had the nerve to buy MY guitar.

I had fallen head over heels for a Gibson, Les Paul styled guitar... I wanted one. Someone (I know your name and I'm trying hard not to not like you) had stolen (yeah, yeah they paid for it - doesn't matter) my guitar. It also didn't matter that I couldn't afford it. Well it did matter but for the sake of this story I am going to stay with the bit about it didn't matter that I couldn't afford it.

But I couldn't get that guitar out of my head... And then it happened.

I got turned on to a guitar for sale. A Gibson. I might want to check it out they said. It wasn't the exact guitar I saw at the Music Center but it was a Les Paul. I made the call and set up a time to come take a look. I took a guitar pick with me. Which was a joke but not for telling here. So off I went. Now this is where I'm going to skip the part about showing up at the guy's house and everything outside and inside the house was For Sale. I repeat. EVERYTHING was for sale. The house, the car, the property, the dogs (I'm not making this up - the dogs were for sale). Everything it seems was for sale. He invited me inside.

Sitting at the kitchen table were two young ones having breakfast. Neither old enough to be in school. Their mom smiled and said hello as I followed DH back to the room where the guitar was. When we stepped in the room I saw a guitar leaning against the wall but I knew it wasn't my guitar. It wasn't a Gibson. Then he walked over to a case sitting on the floor and opened it up. There it was. A genuine Gibson Les Paul Special, from the now discontinued faded series line in worn cherry. I later checked the carved serial number to find that it was made in Nashville, Tennessee on January 6th, 2003. It hadn't been played for a couple of years once he had started playing the guitar leaning against the wall. He was in a band and was selling off equipment. Including what I already considered to be MY guitar. It was beautiful. Beauty being in the eye of the beholder as it were. I asked the price knowing what I had been quoted. I just wanted to hear it for myself. And I was wondering if I couldn't maybe get him to come down. He quoted what he wanted for the Gibson. It was the price I had been told. It was worth it. It was worth more.

And then I remembered seeing all those signs in their yard. Signs on everything announcing they were for sale. I remembered the little ones having breakfast. I remembered his wife smiling and going back to feeding those little ones. I remembered the dogs.
Sold, I said. And I paid him. He counted the money and offered some back. Nope. I thanked him and walked out the door to my car with my new used Gibson.
I had gotten what I wanted...
I hope he got what he needed.....
(the countdown, with picture, continues tomorrow)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alyzabeth's Family Connections

Much has been. Much will be. Written. About our sons and daughters as they begin exploring their family connection. Their Chinese connection...

Like many of you, we've read books. We will read more books :) describing what best to do and say. And not do. And not say. We'll talk with our IA friends and exchange the all important BTDT experiences. Ultimately. We will do our best to explain to our children that little, if anything is known of their Chinese family. And most likely never will be. But. They do have family connections. Chinese family connections...

When PIPO sent us the beautiful quilt for Alyzabeth it got me to thinking. Again, like many of you Aly swapped and received "squishes". You know, squishes, the fabric squares and good wishes that make up your OHGWQ and our 100 Good Wishes Quilt that Nana Joy lovingly stitched for Alyzabeth. I couldn't help but think how important it will be for Aly and I to share the hidden beauty behind each of those square. The beauty behind each hand that cut the fabric, crafted the card and penned the wish. In time it will be important for Alyzabeth to know how PIPO's quilt and her 100 Good Wishes Quilt represent more than warmth on a cool night. More than an object of mosaic beauty. More than a story mom and dad have repeatedly told for as long as she can remember.

We will find our way to sharing just how special this is for her. How powerful this will be in her life. We hold the brushes that will paint her canvas of family connections, allowing her to see her family of patch worked hearts . These are not names without faces but real families that will open doors for her. Doors to their homes. Doors to their hearts. Doors to her future. And why? Because she is family. Each representing her universal Chinese connection. A unique community forever linked to each other's sons and daughters. Moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins galore. It's family. A red thread connection so unique. So special. So embracing...

Fact: Alyzabeth may never know her biological Chinese connection. She may or may not wish to know. We stand ready to support her in whatever her decision may ultimately be. What we do know and what we will share, is her family connection displayed in colorful cloth. Chosen, cut, mailed and ultimately sewn just for her. With wishes only for her. Connections bonding to her not by blood but by hearts of gold. And as she moves through her life journey she is sure to pleasantly find doors opened with a single knock. Dinners prepared and beds turned down by hands that long ago printed her name and sealed it with a wish, welcoming her into their family. And they into hers. This is all yours Lizzy... Yours. Ours. And Theirs. Forever...

You have family connections Alyzabeth. And we can't wait to share with you its beauty...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mantra For Today

We loved the movie Finding Nemo and thought this could be our mantra for today. Read their post and know that they were January 2005 DTC and we were just a year later January 2006 DTC.

The difference in having our new daughters?
They went to China in December of 2005 just 11 months after DTC.
We expect to travel in September/October 2008 - yes, that is a HUGE wait of 32 months!

Why did we wait so long to adopt? Don't know, but we do know our new daughter will be perfect for us!

Continuing with the count down to referral day!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

22 More Days (?)

It's Thursday, it's quiet, there are no new rumors...... We are quiet. Doing what we do best. Waiting... Waiting....

Continuing the count down to Alyzabeth An; I (Aly) am guessing 22 days to seeing her photos!!

Thank you to our family, friends and our January/February LID'ers. You have kept us going with your comments and support! We're going back into our lock down mode now. It just feels safe. If that's possible. Tick... Tick... Tick.......... :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

China Bracelet & Daily Count Down

My DH found a rubber bracelet on line that was imprinted with "I am the best thing Made in China". He sent away in secret and surprised me with one back in August 2005.

I immediately put it on my wrist and wore it as a reminder that we had a new daughter "on the way".
A few weeks after wearing it and looking at it every day, I decided to wear it until we had our daughter (we were expecting a referral in less that 10 months back then!). Here's my lovely wrist with bracelet # 4.

I am not a fashion conscience person; I do wish I had better taste than I have.... When I shop for myself, I usually end up returning 90% of what I buy.
I rely on DH's great eye for fashion (he will select clothes for me once or twice a year) and I upgraded my sense of fashion by watching my now favorite show "What Not to Wear" on TLC. Great fashion sense! So does it bother me that I wear this somewhat tacky bracelet? Well, now that you mention it.....

When the first one began tearing (notice the safety pin to hold it together until it was replaced), I went on line and ordered another one (#2). My sister had mentioned that she would wear one too, in expectation of her new niece. So I ordered one for her too.
Of course, over the very long WAIT, another broke (#3) so I placed ANOTHER order..... this time I used my brains and ordered six - yes, six!!

Here's to taking off this florescent white/green rubber bracelet on family/forever day!! I can't wait!

Continuing the count down - only 23 days left until referral day!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

100 Good Wishes Quilt

I completed my "One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt" for Alyzabeth last year (I didn't sew it; I collected the fabric and wishes; my MIL did the beautiful handiwork). I was very eager to collect the "squishes" and many of you sent them back in 2006 and 2007.

Recently, I signed up at Seventh Diamond's blog to send a squish to Kelly (for her baby Elizabeth, her second) and discovered I did not have any ready to mail. So I finally printed up some more and am back in business.
If any of you would like to swap squishes with me (a wish and fabric square), please let me know. We received more squares than we could use in Alyzabeth's quilt. The additional squares (and any new ones) are going to be sewn into fantastic shams and a wall "sampler".
Any time you have a desire to help an adopting family or an orphaned child, check out what Kim is doing at Seventh Diamond. She always has a shower, raffle, auction or collection going on. Please support the children.

And now back to the daily count down - we (as in me - Alyson) are guessing 24 days to go before referrals! I began the daily count down here.
No more years & months of waiting!

If you watch NASCAR, you will recognize this car as Jeff Gordon's. He's my 3rd favorite driver (yes, I have several I cheer for). Proud to have him in our count down!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Memory Lane & the Count Down Strikes 25

I am going to rehash some history and memories during The Wait to see Alyzabeth.

One of my favorite stories is about THE SWAN.
In the early days of our journey to Alyzabeth, we kept a diary on a word document. Most of our early posts on this blog do not have pictures and we have gaps in this blog due to changing blogs twice (we blogged originally at and

The first sighting of the SWAN on our property was in July 2005.
We wrote up most of the story on these two posts. (I think DH mentioned something about the Swan on RQ a while back in some forum disussion. That must be how we got the comments. I am fairly certain we didn't have any from when originally posted :)
Then the SWAN came to our home in April of 2006 while we were on a vacation in England. My Mom and Dad were house sitting and the SWAN arrived; again, a single white swan that only swam at our dock, never strayed to others property. That week our grand-daughter was born.
We hope to see the SWAN sometime in the next few weeks or while we are in China; if so my Mom will have the pleasure of taking a photo again.

In the meantime, while I am strolling down memory lane, here's a post about our favorite "baby"... many of you know who Salty Dog is!

More memory lane.....
The #25 in NASCAR has been a Hendrick's number for many years. My favorite driver (now a Yahoo! Sports writer) drove this car in 1997 and is from my home state of Maine. Yes, Ricky Craven had the Budweiser sponsored car for three years.

So with 25 days left until August 8th.... the RACE TO REFERRAL DAY continues!
Here's to Number 25!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lunch At Florida's Oldest Diner

We have family living in Palatka, Florida. Palatka has lots to offer by way of riverfront activities, its world renown bass fishing, boating and the annual Azalea Festival and Blue Crab Festival. Palatka also serves as the host starting point for The Mug Race, the world's longest sailboat river race generally held each May.

Dining on the other hand is not something that immediately comes to mind. However, it is home to Angel's, the oldest diner in Florida serving the BEST (according to Aly) onion rings (crispy and light) and tasty burgers sure to please most everyone. For some reason I kept thinking the burgers would be all greasy but they weren't. And if you're not a burger kind of person, no problem, they offer a fairly wide menu selection to choose from. Angel's can get a little crowded around lunch time and granted it may not be to everyone's gourmet delight but it does have its own appeal. I have to say however, customer service is not their strong suit. You may have to be a little aggressive to catch your server's attention and if you're truly hungry, the wait after placing an order may be a bit more than looong. Ok, they're SLOW!

So, if you happen to be in Palatka - check out Angel's for a quick (oops, did I just fib and say quick) lunch rather than pulling into a cookie cutter drive thru. After all, it's an experience at Florida's Oldest Diner and who doesn't like to mix with the locals to keep things authentic!


The RACE to Referral Day stands at #27...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Count Down & Another Home Study Update

#28 - The RACE to Referral Day - the Count Down of days continues...

As best one can... we've been at peace with The Wait. It's the darn paperwork that continues to put me to the test :)
And I say me because Aly handles this part of the journey MUCH better than I ever did (do).

To help keep things interesting we have a simple 21 page Home Study we're updating and of course we just got re-re-re-fingerprinted again, again, again and we're now waiting on our latest updated, latest updated, latest updated I-171H form from the government. Oh yeah, and once every i is dotted and t crossed, we need to squeeze in another visit, visit, visit, visit, visit from our SW. Darn, I seem to be repeating myself. I can't imagine why, why, why... Could it be because we all keep having to do the same things over and over and over and.....?
Oh, and don't let me forget. You know the letter from your physician that has to be worded EXACTLY right and has to be on their letterhead? Well, we have never returned less than 3 times, each time, to get that accomplished and I've been required each time to have a full physical, complete with blood work, to satisfy my not so personal, personal physician. I love Home Study updates :)
GRrrrrrrrrrr. Not.

You might think that after more than 3 years we would have the paperwork behind us. Nah... it can't be that simple. Instead of kicking back and sliding through the last days of The Wait, we're once more dancing the Paperwork Shuffle all the while humming along to Feet Don't Fail Us Now :)
Let's see. Copy of last years taxes, check. Background checks at Sheriffs Office, check. Employment verification, check. Well, you all know the routine...

Ah, life is good. Better than we deserve. It's all just part of the journey and if being honest, we'll own up to the nerves being just a tad bit twitchy right now. And with all that said, you could beat us with a stick and you still couldn't wipe the smiles off our face :)

Now where did I put that Release of Information Consent to Law Enforcement form?
Aly --- Where's the checkbook???

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Referral Day Final Count Down! (?) 29 Days!

Light at the end of the tunnel

Could this really be our proverbial LIGHT at the end of the tunnel?!?!? Quick somebody pinch us because we only have two REFERRAL DAYS remaining and I'm projecting 29 days until it happens!

DH has been posting monthly the "Count Down Calendar" after each referral batch lands in the good 'ole USA. The referral is the official package that our agency, CCAI, will receive from CCAA on our behalf with information about Alyzabeth An. It will contain her Chinese name, her age, where she is living, her medical condition, pictures and any other information the orphanage or foster family provides.

The referrals from China this month (July 2008) contained adoption papers for those with log in dates (LID) of January 21st through January 25, 2006.
We are just two days away from seeing the papers on our new daughter!
So I am beginning the DAILY countdown. I deserve it, right?

With two grown children and two grands, we have been anxiously awaiting the big "Forever Family" day for three years! I can't wait to complete my family - for many years (when I was a lot younger and before DH) I always said I wanted three kids; you know, the answer you always gave when someone asked you how many kids you would like in your family when you got married........ Well, I began my family with 2 and here's to Number #3! Coming in August!

The countdown number of days was determined using Dave's (Wren's Story) Referral Estimator (the original) and Rumor Queen's referral data predictions. I used the two worst number of days between referrals (32 and 38 days, averaged together is 35 days) and the date of July 7, 2008 as the official date referrals were received in USA for the "July" batch. The best guess from the data available shows we should expect our referral on August 11th. That's a Monday.

Now, there is one fly in the soup... (or is that fly in the ointment?).... The Olympics. How can the beginning of the Olympics affect the matching, processing and sending of the papers? With the Olympics opening ceremony on August 8th (a Friday), I would expect that government workers will be sent to a special Olympic assignment a few days before the 8th. So I could say this is a special month and the referrals will be sent out sooner than expected (back to the 32 day interval). Would there still be workers available during the Olympics to assist the agencies with questions and appointments? I don't have a clue.... So I will adjust my expectation in a positive way by guessing that the referrals will actually arrive in USA on the 8th (32 days from June's referral arrivals). Since I am an eternal optimist (hahaha :), I am beginning our countdown with the expectation of seeing our daughter's picture on the 8th.

Olympics impact to the process? We will never know I am sure. So this is my best guess.

After three years, delays are just part of the emotional roller coaster ride and at this point, punch our ticket, we're riding to the end! We have been told that once you have the referral, have the travel authorization, book the airline flight tickets and travel to CHINA!!!, the waiting aggravation is all gone.... no lingering doubts, no lingering queasy stomachs from the roller coaster ride. Boy, are we ready for the motion sickness to stop (or is that morning sickness :)

29 days left until August 8th.... the RACE TO REFERRAL DAY!! I guess we can finally say: The Referral Day Final Countdown officially starts NOW!
(& an itty bitty bit from fm) :)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Meet Flip

Hi! My name's Flip and I'll be going to China with Aly and Ford! Oh yeah, life is good and I'm small enough to hitch a ride in their pocket or in one of those darn backpacks they're insisting on taking. Either way, it's China baby!!! (no pun intended)

We own a decent mini dv camcorder and planned (might still) on taking it with us on the journey to Alyzabeth. Then we met Flip, thanks to Marsha, who keeps up with all the latest gadget goodies and quicker than you can say jack rabbit I was googling my friend Flip here... I went from interest, to wanting, to convincing myself we needed it. Anything for Alyzabeth... (I'm still in the justification stage as you can tell)

There are built in features on this little jewel that makes capturing, editing and uploading videos a snap and I have the option of leaving a bunch of video baggage at home. And that's a good thing. I was looking for ways to reduce travel weight and lugging excess video "stuff" was not something I looked forward to. We'll still be toting the camera. After all, pictures and videos are a BIG deal on this trip. An honest to goodness once in a lifetime experience. (if you don't count the cultural trip years from now).

Check out the size of this bad boy in the picture above. SWEET! Can you say, pocket size. Marsha, I want to thank you for the heads up and at the same time - ARGGGG! We're spending too much as it is but then being able to send videos quickly and easily to our family, while in China, makes it well worth it!

Monday, July 07, 2008

A "Brown" Box Wrapped In Love

Show & Tell for the week (check it out here).

Have you ever received a package totally unexpected? This arrived last Thursday... a "brown" box. You all know the significance we attach to anything "brown" in the mail when adopting :)
It was addressed to Alyzabeth An, c/o "Mom & Dad". So cute. Don't think for a moment that didn't take our breath away...

Pictured above is what we found inside our mystery brown box. Can you believe it?! We didn't. Couldn't! ISN'T IT BEAUTIFUL!!! And who would have a heart so big to share their time, talents and love all for Alyzabeth?? None other than PIPO. The dead give-a-way was the yellow duck found guarding the quilt from inside the box :)

The pictures below can not come close to doing justice in showing off this beautiful quilt but I had to share the detail work..... I spread it out on our pool table and stood on a stool to get the pictures. Honestly mom, I did it safely :)

Recognize the ducky? What a treat from such a special person who will now officially be known to Alyzabeth An as "Aunt PIPO" :) We hope C will approve. We know Alyzabeth will!!

So Thoughtful! So Beautuful!! So LOVING!!! Thank You - Thank You. How did we ever deserved such a gift? We cannot wait to see our Alyzabeth An snuggling under her quilt...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

3 Word Sunday

Yep, we may have missed the cut for this month's referrals but you know... it COULD BE WORSE :)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Count Down Calendar - July Update

Hey! We've moved closer! Only TWO DAYS away from our LID date!!! The July 2008 referrals moved the January 2006 LID'ers from January 20 to January 25! (Dave will shoot me but he has his own take on what it means to miss the cut. Sorry Dave. You can shoot me when we meet up in Guangzhou :)

Aly and I think we have this figured out now. We're guessing that the August referral will be for 1 day, moving us to within 1 day. For September, we think there will not be any referrals, keeping us 1 day away. However, come October, we think we have a shot at finally getting our referral as CCAA finishes out ALL of 2006!

Listen, if we can't smile about our journey what's left to do but drive everyone CRAZY! :) And seriously, it is hard to get all down and mopey when you remember how many families will be celebrating seeing the faces of their little ones for the VERY FIRST TIME come next week!!! We would rather join in the joy and wish them a speedy TA and safe travel to China and back. Life is good...

(We should have waited until the date was "Official" to post our Count Down Calendar but you know what? Forget official... We know the 27th missed the cut and we know that some good friends of ours sitting on the 26th also missed the cut. And we all know some good folks who made the cut with an LID on the 25th... That's official enough for us and chances are we all need to get outside and do some deep breathing exercises anyway and enjoy the fireworks! And we also wanted to say thanks to all of you who took the time to check in on us. It helps having folks around that understand all that is happening and care enough to offer their words of comfort and support. Thanks all- we truly do appreciate it so very much.
Happy 4th everyone! )

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

July Referral Updates

I've removed the Diner post for a later time

First rumor has the 25th as the cutoff. Unconfirmed!!!

25th Getting Firmer...

Firmer - Start Preparing

By now, all should be prepared for the cutoff to be the 25th.

Congratulations to all those receiving their referrals! We are beyond happy for each and every one of you and as much as we had hoped to be a part of this batch of referrals, we can fully appreciate your time of immense joy! Again, Congratulations!

The 27th has missed the cutoff.
No definite word on the 26th but any faint hopes are dimming rapidly.

Multiple agencies are reporting the 25th as the cutoff

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rabelais - Portland's Cookbook Destination!

(Nothing happening on the referral front - we will interrupt the following post should breaking news occur!)
(We are soooo wanting storks to fly)

Food and Wine magazine has paid a HUGE compliment to my hometown of Portland, Maine. What a thrill to read about a cookbook store that is on their list of three new quirky shops. The other two are in Paris (France, not Maine!) and Brussels (Ford wants to visit here badly). According to writer Jen Murphy, these bookstores offer serious home cooks more than recipes.

Rabelais in Portland, ME: Rabelais is owned by Samantha Hoyt Lindgren and Don Lindgren, a husband and wife team. Samantha once worked in magazine publishing in New York City. She left that life to study the Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education, followed by work as a pastry chef. Don has long been an antiquarian book dealer. They’ve combined their passion into a great food bookstore located at 86 Middle St.

Can anyone name the foodie pictured at the left, standing in the middle? If you guessed Andrew Zimmern, you guessed right. Zimmern is an internationally recognized chef, food writer and star of the TV show, Bizarre Foods. He too has discovered Rabelais.

Also included, since I can't seem to stop bragging about my home, is a review of their store from Maine Home & Design. With all this hoopla, I guess this means I have a new place to stop in and explore the next time I get home to Maine! Of course, any reason requiring a trip home to Maine is a good thing!

How about you all? Any favorite places in your area that you love to go and look for cookbooks and such? If so, please share, you just never know when Ford and I might find ourselves in your corner of the world!