Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Friday again...

3 pics from this week that are my favorites. The first is of Grace with some sort of vice grip hold on her (our) kitty named Jack. Grace loves Jack so much and views him as a playmate. They are more like partners in crime. Poor Jack gets pushed around in a doll carriage at times, I have found him wearing plastic bead necklaces (fortunately not on too tightly), and a few times sporting a doll cape or other assorted doll clothes. Jack is a very patient little guy I'll say. The second pic is of Jack peering around a vase filled with pussy willows. I don't trust Jack for anything as he's known to jump off of very high pieces of furniture. He thinks he can fly. He's just facinated with those pussy willows and I figure I'll come home one day and he will have knocked them on the floor and carried some of them off somewhere. The last pic is a closeup of the pussywillows. They remind me of Spring...though it sure feels far away right now. Hey, March is here soon. :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

15 months

It's been 15 months since our dossier was logged in with CCAA. When we adopted Grace we had just received her referral at the 15 month marker, and that was with SARS stopping the program for a while. I remember it seemed like such an eternity to wait. Right now I'm really at an "okay place" with the wait. I know that can change from day to day, or week to week. I am truly enjoying the here and now of my life with my big kid and little kid, my husband, friends and family. We have 2 vacations planned, 1 in the late Spring and 1 in the Summer. Life is good and I'm so very thankful for that. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The "Martha" in me...

2 different cards

Picture frame-covered with paper, felt pieces and rub-ons.

The "Martha" in me is emerging I think. For as long as I can remember as a little girl, I have always loved paper. Yes I'm probably some kind of weirdo. I love paper. The feel of it, how it looks, smells (that's probably the strange part), different textures, patterns, colors. I also love pens...but I'm digressing, I'll get back to the paper. I used to stamp and make cards a lot when Nick was younger and I've gotten out of it...until now. In the past year I've really gotten into this, uhh... I'll tell the truth. I'm addicted. I'd probably do Martha, I don't have a perfectly arranged craft room. My craft room consists of a messy dining room table. Anyway in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin Winter, I've been making cards (and recently a picture frame) to my hearts content. It relaxes me and it's something I can do when Grace is asleep. I'm no cooking "Martha, but I can attempt to be a crafty "Martha." :)

I'll admit that the flower card was "adapted" (I changed it a bit) from a stamp catalog. I won't claim it's an original creation.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Her room

Inspired by my friend Ashley, I wanted to talk about her room. Not Grace's room, the little girl that we wait for and call Lily. About 10 months ago I started to work on Lily's room. We have a single bed in there for now. I'm not sure why I feel like that's the right size bed for her, but I do. I have no idea how old Lily will be, she could be 2 yrs. or 18 mos. or 12 mos. old. Maybe she'll be 3. We asked for an 18 mo. old or younger but for some reason I feel like Lily won't need a crib. If it turns out that she's a baby than we'll get Grace's crib out of storage. I found bedding that I loved (on sale), had a print framed, and put Grace's wicker rocking chair in the room for her sister. Later on I put books and toys that Grace had outgrown on shelves. I still want to paint. There is also an antique dresser in the room that was my husband's Great Grandparents. Eventually I'll paint it too. For a while (late last Summer and Fall), her room made me terribly sad because of the tremendously long wait that was forecast. I couldn't go in it for a long time and kept the door shut. It was used as a storage area for Christmas gifts and stuff I didn't have a place for and everytime I'd go in there, I'd get more depressed about the wait. But something has changed, I don't feel that way anymore...not since Christmas. So the door is open always. I will paint her dresser in the next 2 or 3 months. I get great peace from that little room, sitting in the rocker and thinking about Lily. Though I don't know who she is yet, I know God does and when it's the right time...we will know her too. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Friday!!!

Well another Friday has arrived. We don't have any special plans for the weekend other than staying warm indoors, watch some movies and maybe get some Chinese food. Here are 2 pics of our recent trip to Mexico. I can't believe we were there less than 2 months ago, here in the frozen tundra Mexico seems awfully far away. If I look at the pics I can pretend like I'm still there....ahhh!!! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cabin Fever

A scary looking icicle hanging off the corner of our house.

Miss Grace sitting on top of a snow pile at the end of our driveway. This snow pile is about 6 ft. tall, and it's not the biggest one I've seen by any means.

Well, with us being sick this week (fortunately we're all well now), and this crazy mess of a Winter we've had this year, we have had some cabin fever. We pretty much venture outside only when it's absolutely necessary. This area of Wisconsin has had about 9o inches of snow this Winter. The last storm (on Monday), was a lovely combination of freezing rain and snow. The temps have been so cold that the ice can't be cleared off the roads. Even salt won't melt it unless the temp is at least 13 degrees F. And the highs during the daytime have been around 5-7 degrees! Our dog Molly sometimes refuses to go outside to go potty. She will stick her snout out the front door, kind of checking the temp and if she determines that it's too cold for her, she won't go out. It's not fun trying to get an almost 90 lb. dog out there! This weekend I believe we are in for a heat wave of 30-32 degrees. Oh, and more snow is forecast for Monday. I think Spring is in 5 weeks or so. Wish it would come early! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


On last Thursday Feb. 14th, I ran an errand by myself while our son Nick was home and watched Grace. In the car I heard on the radio the events at Northern Illinois University unfolding. When I came home I told Nick about the shootings and what had apparently happened on NIU's campus. I was already very emotional about it and Nick, who is 22 became teary and quite upset. 2 years ago we lived just 20 minutes away from DeKalb, Illinois where NIU is located. DeKalb is a sleepy college town of about 40,000 people. Nick's high school has many students that attend NIU after graduation, and he has 6-7 close friends that still are students there. Fortunately, later on we found out that his good friends were safe.

As a former resident of the northern Illinois area, I am saddened by these events. As a parent, I am horrified and heartbroken. Our son is a student at a large university. Where are our children safe? I don't know the answer anymore to that question. Since Columbine and multiple similar incidents like it have occured at schools, something very tragic has happened in our country. It has changed so much and it breaks my heart.

Please pray for the families and friends of the victims of this tragedy and also for the NIU community. May God grant them all strength through this tragic time.

2 Things (on a Tuesday)

I saw this on another along if you like!

2 names you go by...Gail and Mommy or Mom

2 things you are wearing now...jeans and a sweater

2 things you would want (or have) in a and humor

2 things you want very badly at the to China and get my daughter

2 pets you have or have had...Molly (black lab) and Max (dachshund)
2 things you did last night...played a game with Grace and took Grace's temp

2 people you think will fill this out...I have no idea

2 things you ate today...a banana and Life cereal

2 people you last talked to...Dan and my friend Carla

2 things you are doing tomorrow...taking Grace to swimming lessons and cleaning my house

2 longest car rides...our move from CA to Illinois and Indiana to Florida trip

2 people no long alive who you'd like to talk friend DeeAnne from high school and my Grandparents

I won't tag 2 other people but if you decide to play along be sure and let me know. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Renewing some of our paperwork

Our I-171H expires in early April, so I'm sending in the paperwork to USCIS to renew it this week. We get one free renewal. Our homestudy will be updated too this month. I really don't mind and it will be nice to meet with our SW again. It makes me feel like we are doing something proactive and moving forward. We all do whatever we have to get our children home with us. The homestudy renewal process in WI isn't a big deal, we just update if there have been any changes, with employment or income or a significant change in health status.

Now to update on the sickies here in this house: Dan is greatly improved, so is Miss Grace and now I'm getting something. I don't think I have whatever Dan had fortunately. I've had a wicked bad headache today and felt kind of "flu-y." Motrin and a nap helped tremendously this afternoon. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Guess what? - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Yesterday afternoon I found out from our small to medium sized agency that we are out of the Review Room!!! What that means is that China has gone through our dossier with a fine tooth comb, checked to be sure everything was okay... and has approved us to adopt a child! We've been waiting to hear this for a while, and it is a milestone. Now comes more waiting. Not sure how much celebrating will be going on this weekend with Dan recovering from the flu still and now Miss Grace seems to have it too. She slept for 3 hours this afternoon and has a fever. We can celebrate later. For now nurse Gail is on duty this weekend, taking care of her 2 patients. :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Finally Friday!

Miss Grace on Valentine's Day before preschool--she's holding Jack.

Grace playing a game on Mom's computer.

Lots of snow here, and since this pic it's snowed even more.

It's been a long week here, with more snowstorms (that's all it's done here this Winter), and additional snow on the way this weekend. I think we're supposed to get 9-10" more. We don't even go outside much to play because it's been so bitter cold. Grace had a busy week at school and lots of fun with a Valentine's Day party. I taught a class to a Mother's of Preschoolers group that I belong to, and Dan returned from a business trip to Salt Lake City. Dan is sick as a dog, and I mean sick. He's got an upper respiratory flu with a high fever, dry cough and aches and pains. All he does is sleep. I've kept him "isolated" from the rest of us because I so do not want Grace or myself to get this thing. The hard part is keeping Grace away from him. It is Friday though and that's always great in my world. Please stay warm and safe! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


These three remain:

faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Aging with Grace

Take this test!

You're blue — the most soothing shade of the spectrum. The color of a clear summer sky or a deep, reflective ocean, blue has traditionally symbolized trust, solitude, and loyalty. Most likely a thoughtful person who values spending some time on your own, you'd rather connect deeply with a few people than have a bunch of slight acquaintances. Luckily, making close friends isn't that hard, since people are naturally attracted to you — they're soothed by your calming presence. Cool and collected, you rarely overreact. Instead, you think things through before coming to a decision. That level-headed, thoughtful approach to life is patently blue — and patently you!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Friends: meeting some new ones and catching up with the old

This weekend was a busy one because we celebrated CNY with some brand new friends on Sat. night, and some old friends from Grace's travel group Sunday evening. We live in a small town (population ~10,000) just north of Madison, WI. I happened to meet a fellow adoptive mom 2 months ago at a meeting, (we sat across the table from each other) started talking and came to find out we both have daughters from China, and they are 4 months apart in age. We live 2 blocks from this family. We've attempted to get Grace and Kaili together a few times, but with the Christmas holidays and kids being sick, our girls hadn't met in person. Sat. we met Kaili, her 3 brothers and 5 other families with children from China that live in our little town. We met at a local Chinese restaurant and the girls hit it off from the start! So did the parents. We met some wonderful people, and even found out that one family used the same agency that we did for Grace. They traveled 5 months before we did in 2003. We'll be getting the girls together to play from now on!
Sunday we drove down to the Chicago area and went to a CNY party that my dear friend Michelle and her husband Mark hosted. Grace is one of 11 children in her travel group(9 girls and 2 boys!) These families have become part of our family now. It's so great to catch up with everyone. When we adopted Grace 4.5 yrs. ago I first thought that adoption was about bringing a child into our hearts and home. Adoption is so much more than that, because when you adopt you become part of the most amazing, large, giving and caring "family." It doesn't matter if you meet in a travel group, through a friend, on a yahoo group, waiting parent group, or as fellow bloggers, we all share something in common as far as adoption...maybe we are waiting parents, or perhaps we are home now with our child or children. We not only share this common experience, this extended family supports each other in every possible way on the roller coaster of waiting for a child, offers help and advice after we are together as families, and gives back to the children not yet adopted too. I'm so proud to be part of this community, it's one like I've never remotely experienced before! :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy Friday and a favorite pic

Happy Friday everyone! I'm so glad the weekend is almost upon us. We had a terrible snow storm here on Wed. with over 15 inches of snow in one 24 hr. period. School was cancelled and we have been pretty much staying indoors a lot this week. We are looking forward to the weekend with several CNY celebrations. The favorite pic for Friday is the above one of Grace that was taken exactly 1 year ago right around CNY. I always wanted to have Grace's photo taken in one of her traditional Chinese dresses, so we did and she brought along one of her favorite panda bears so we included him too. When you travel to China I highly recommend buying different sizes of Chinese dresses or clothing for your kids....for them to wear as they grow. They are pretty inexpensive too which is great. Again Happy Friday to all! :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Chinese New Year~2006, Grace was not too sure about the lion dance mask she was checking out!

Chinese New Year (sometimes called the Spring Festival) is the most important of the Chinese holidays. It's a time of feasting with the family, celebration, fireworks and gift giving. It's a 15 day holiday beginning on the first day of the new moon and ending with the full moon on the day of the Lantern festival. This year we will be spending part of Chinese New Year in Chicago at a large CNY celebration put on by Grace's agency. After that we will go to a party with her travel group of families and their children. Happy New Year in the year of the rat! :)

Starfish supply raiser~

Kimberley over at the Seventh Diamond is doing a supply raiser for the Starfish Foster Home in China. All supplies will be sent to Amanda, who is a woman in China who started her own foster home to help China's most fragile special needs babies who may not survive in a traditional orphanage. Her orphanage is what we would consider a mid-sized apartment and she has up to 15 children living there at a time.She raises money on her own through LWB to pay for their lifesaving surgeries and goes with them to provide the love and support that they need to survive the procedures. She loves and cares for them as she prepares them to be available for adoption.If you join in, please put the Starfish graphic onto your blog sidebar to show your support. Also, please feel free to do a post to help the cause.

Here are some of the items they need:
Long sleeved onesies or body suits from 0-3to 2T.
Winter sleepers, the ones with covered feet from about 6-9 months to 3T.
Any summer clothes, Preemie to 2T.
Summer shoes from 0 to 6 children's.
Vick's Baby rub.
Infant Motrin and Tylenol
Gripe Water from
Pelican plastic bibs
Baby sunscreen
Plastic backed changing table covers
Plastic backed bibs
Playtex Bottles (the ones with the bags in them)
Playtex nipples (the have four different kinds some of each will do)
Shoes and sandals from 0 to 6 (This can be summer or winter)
Instant Oatmeal
Sleepers (Girls and boys all sizes up to 3 T) the kind with the footies and the zippers
Boys winter clothes (9 months)
18M boys and girls winter clothing for the day and night.
2T Boys and Girls winter for day and night.
If you would like to help the Starfish Foster Home by supplying any of these items or any other items for small children, please e-mail Kimberley at She will be collecting the items throughout the month of February and then mailing them to Starfish at the end of the month.If you are not familiar with Amanda or the Starfish Foster Home in China, please visit their blog at 'Chinese Starfish'.

New look again

I've got a new look today. I get bored easily and do like change so was in the mood for a blog re-do, or maybe you could call it a "blog lift." Becky did this for me and I couldn't be more pleased. She is starting this little blog design venture to raise funds for her adoption. I will say she is very easy to work with, I emailed her the pics I wanted to use in the new header and suggested some colors I'd like to use for the blog and she (we) came up with this. Pink is Grace's favorite color and green is one of mine, as are polka dots of any kind. I think it's Spring-y looking and we all need a bit of Spring right now in early Feb. Thank you so much Becky...I love it! Please check out her blog ~ You can email her if you're interested. :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Thank you Secret Pal!

Dear Secret Pal,
Thank you for your festive and very fun gifts, we are enjoying them all. We received 2 books about Chinese New Year (we don't have either BTW), I'm hoping Grace will be able to read the Lanterns and Firecrackers story independently next year . Also 2 darling little Chinese rubber ducks, a panda notepad and panda sticker set for Grace (which are quite the hit with her), a stuffed rat (he/she doesn't photograph very well, as he's much cuter in person and he's made of super soft fabric), I think Grace will be adopting him for a while, and finally more fortune cookies than I can count! We love everything and we plan on having a great Chinese New Year celebrating with friends from Grace's travel group. We wish you Gung Hay Fat Choy in this year of the rat. Again, many thanks!
Gail, Dan and Grace

Referrals! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Referrals are arriving for this month. I'm delighted to say that CCAA has referred 8 days worth of dossiers that were logged in, up to Dec. 27th 2005. That's a great way to begin the week. I won't speculate on the future and what it may hold, cause no one can predict what CCAA will do next month with referrals. I will say Congrats to all the families who will see their beautiful children's faces for the first time! :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's Friday!

I've been saving this pic of Snoopy doing the happy dance for a while, and I thought why not use him today. It's been a long week and it's Friday! Whoo Hoo! Besides celebrating the fact that it's Friday, there is some good news in the air to celebrate coming soon with referrals from China. And that's always a good thing. :)
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