Monday, March 31, 2008

We are home!

Gracie and her cousin Matthew.

Having fun at Chuck E Cheese.

See...Spring really is coming. Now it just needs to move further north.

Playground fun outside in early Spring.

Ahhh...we are home. Back after a busy 5 days away visiting family in the state of Indiana. First we saw my sister Betsy and her family in Carmel. Grace had a great time with her 12 year old cousin Matthew, who is one of the sweetest boys I've ever come to know. Even with their 6 and a half year age difference they played and got along amazingly well. What did we do with the kids? Made a trip to Chuck E Cheese where the 2 of them had a blast. Also saw the movie, "Horton Hears a Who," which I highly recommend. I brought Grace's bicycle with us in the car, so Grace and Matthew rode their bikes a lot too. We were on Spring Break and Matthew wasn't, so one day Betsy, Grace and I had a major shopping adventure while Matthew was in school. Grace was quite patient with her Aunt Betsy and momma and it seems she is turning into quite the little shopper too. Let's just say that Grace really doesn't need anymore Spring or Summer clothes now...tee-hee. She needed clothes, as she's had a big growth spurt over the Winter in height. I love spending time with my sister. When Betsy and I get together we finish each other's sentences, laugh until we cry and could stay up all night talking. I am blessed to have a sister and 2 brothers, but there is something very special about a sister. Friday night Dan arrived and the 3 of us traveled an hour and a half away to see his mother, Grace's Grandma. Another very nice visit too. Spring is arriving in central Indiana and I loved it that Grace could play outside at a playground and burn up some energy. It was only in the mid to upper 50's outside, but it felt great to us after our "endless Winter" in the upper Midwest. We are home now, it sure is nice to be able to sleep in our own beds. Now back to the real world. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

3 word Sunday - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

16 mos. and taking a little break

It's been 16 months since our dossier was received in China. If I remember was just about 2 years ago that we definitely decided that we wanted to adopt again from China. We started some very preliminary paperwork as far as collecting some originals of birth certificates, etc. and then researched agencies again to adopt. We filled out an application in May of 2006. I remember being so excited because I knew the process and kind of what to expect...or so I thought. I mean I do know the process, but who would ever think what has transpired with China's program would have happened? How much longer will we wait for a referral? Right now my "gut feeling" is another 2 years. People don't ask me much anymore how long. That's okay with me, I don't get my feelings hurt about that part of it. Truly the only ones who understand the agony, the uncertainties, and the just plain old wanting to meet and hold your baby for the first time are us folks in this line. But we are getting there...slowly, but getting there. The wait IS worth it, I hope you all can see that by seeing Grace and how much joy she brings us. When we were in China, so many of the Chinese people would come up to us and say, "she is a lucky, lucky girl!" No....we are the lucky ones.

I'm taking a little break from the blog, we are going on a road trip. Miss Grace and I are traveling to Indy for a little while to visit my sister and her family. It will be good for us to have a change of scenery from the cold and grey of March in southern Wisconsin. We'll be back next week with some pics of our trip. Take care and see y'all soon....:)

Monday, March 24, 2008

2 new little girls in the house

Miss Grace with her "Samantha" doll.

"Grace" doll on the left and "Samantha" on the right. They're lying on the quilts that come with them.

2 new dolls have come to live with us, both beautifully handmade and purchased from Stephanie at Jiinkin Kids.
I believe I first found out about Stephanie's website in Nov. of 2007, fell in love with her art work and bought a print for Grace's room called the "ABC's of China's Provinces." I also bought some of her Christmas ornaments for gifts. Stephanie is a very talented artist and is also a waiting parent for a child from China. Anyway I recently found out that Stephanie now has handmade dolls. They are soft, fabric dolls with embroidered features. Everyone is different as far as fabrics and style of their dress, they also have some applique and embroidery on the clothing. I know from experience it is kind of difficult to find nice handmade dolls that look like our children from China. You can find some plastic dolls, some of them are quite nice but so far I haven't found any like these. I was taught to sew and embroider as a child, so I really appreciate the work that has gone into them. The dolls come with a matching embroidered quilt, adoption papers, and each one has a special blessing. I'll also say they arrive in this gorgeous mesh bag. Miss Grace is in love with hers, the one she picked out is named "Samantha" and we have another one named "Grace" that waits for Miss Grace's little sister Lily. Thank you Stephanie for having these dolls now, I know they will be well loved and have gone to a good home. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Some pics from Easter Sunday

Grace in her Easter dress.

Pretty tulips.

Gracie and Mommy.

Sitting with her Easter basket.

First bite of the chocolate rabbit, of course it was the ear.

First of all, let me tell you what time Miss Grace decided to get up this morning...5:00 am! I can tell you truthfully that she has never, ever attempted to get up that early even on a Christmas morning. I groggily asked her to get back to her room and please go back to sleep. Second time waking up and coming into our bedroom...5:45am, again back to her room. She wanted to see what the Easter bunny had brought her. Finally she was up for good at 7:00, which was fine. We had a busy morning and day. The Easter bunny had hidden eggs and left a few little gifts for her. Of course Miss Grace was quite delighted with her "treasure." We attended the early church service and then came home for dinner later on with Grace's Grandparents, Uncle and big brother Nick. We had a great day and hope your's was too. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008


May you have a blessed Easter and be renewed by the sacrifice that Jesus has paid for us.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday--coloring eggs

All ready to start...she was so excited here.

Pretty colors.

Grace being very careful.

Some of the finished product. :)

Wednesday night Grace and I decorated eggs. She has been begging me for a week to do this. I set up everything for her and really she colored them all by herself, I just demonstrated the process to her once. Grace absolutely loves to cook, bake and help out with anything we are doing in the kitchen. I'll say she's a great little helper too. As you can see in the pics she even has her own little apron that she wears that was a gift from a friend.

Let's see...on Easter morning the Easter bunny will have arrived and Grace will get up (bright and early I'm sure) to find her Easter basket and eggs that have been hidden that the bunny has left. There will be no eggs hidden outside as it's snowing and very cold (again!) today. After the Easter basket and breakfast we will be going to church. My parents and brother will be coming over later for dinner with the 4 of us and we will spend the afternoon together. May you and yours have a very blessed and Happy Easter. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

23 years ago today...

Nick and Grace 2 yrs. ago.

Age 15 on the high school football team.

Here he's 9.

Age 3yrs.

Little Nicholas-14mos.

23 years ago today (gosh that seems a long time ago), I became a mother for the first time. I was in my mid 20's when I had my first child, Nicholas Andrew at 2:15 AM at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nicholas was a big guy weighing in at 8 lbs. 13 oz. or roughly 4kg. And he was almost 2 weeks early! I would have had a c-section for sure if he'd been full term. My labor and delivery was fast, only a total of about 5 hours. Nicholas came out screaming... a healthy cry. I was overjoyed. We called our parents right away with the news, Nick was the first Grandchild born on both sides of our families. Nick looked so much like my father that it was uncanny...I remember telling my dad on the phone, "Dad he looks just like you!" Typing these words bring tears to my eyes remembering how happy I was becoming a mother. Nick is my joy, my soul mate in many ways, and my heart. I would describe him as being sensitive, compassionate, responsible, dedicated to family and friends, and having an extremely funny sense of humor. He has grown into the kind of young man I had hoped, dreamed and prayed he would. He and I have gone through a lot on this journey of life, my divorce, moves, and a second marriage. We both survived the teens without too much damage. Dan and I have been so fortunate to know his friends well and they have been a part of our lives also which I appreciate. I have sure learned a lot about baseball, football and hockey from watching him play those sports. I was a hockey mom for a lot of years as Nick played hockey from the time he was a little boy through high school. I have learned from my own parents that being a parent doesn't end when your child leaves home, they need us there to support and guide, and always, always be there for them. Enjoy this journey as a mother, because it goes by in the blink of an eye. It seems like yesterday that I was holding my newborn baby boy in my arms. I never knew how much you could love someone until I became a mother to both Nicholas and Grace...and for that I thank God every single day for my children. Happy Birthday Nick, I love you so very much. XOXO Mom

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy St. Patricks Day!

St Patrick's Day @

Monday the 3 of us (Dan, Gracie and myself) are making the drive east to Milwaukee to get re-fingerprinted at the USCIS office for the homestudy update. Have a wonderful St. Paddy's Day! I am 1/8th Irish, so I guess that qualifies. I think we're all a little bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day aren't we? :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

I took this pic of Miss Grace earlier in the week. I happened to be on the main floor of our house and "Princess Grace" called down to me to come to the bottom of the stairs and look at her. The princess proceeded to walk down the stairs in a very "regal" manner and held her arms straight out from her sides being careful with her dress and showing me how she looked. She also stays "in character" the entire time the dress is on. Grace has several different princess dresses that were used as past Halloween costumes and now are worn quite often. I sometimes wonder how long this dress up and princess phase will last, she's been into it since age 3. I'm in no hurry for it to end.

Happy Friday, it looks like Spring is starting to arrive (finally) in Wisconsin. The snow is melting and I even saw a robin yesterday. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thank you Lea

A little while ago Lea, of Oh My #6! posted a pic of a really cute mug that she found. The mug (see above) has a print of an asian girl with the traditional pigtails like you see little girls have in China. I believe that I commented on it and thought it was cute and asked her where she got it. I walked out to the mailbox yesterday afternoon and look what I found...Miss Lea had sent me one of those adorable mugs! I emailed Lea and thanked her, but want to thank her again. Lea you are so thoughtful and kind to think of me. I will think of the little one in China that I wait for when I drink tea out of it. Miss Grace also informed me that she would like to drink her hot cocoa out of it too. We'll have to see about that...maybe we will share. There is a website that you can order the mugs from if you like, I already checked it out.It's

When I started my blog last August I never dreamed where it would take far as support and "meeting" such kind and plain nice people. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This little girl...

I often think Grace's name should have been Joy. The word joyous would be a very accurate description of Grace. On Friday she and I were getting ready to leave for Grandma and Grandpa's house for the day. I had taken a shower, gotten dressed and was in the bathroom starting to put on a little bit of makeup. Grace is just fascinated with this whole makeup thing, and was sitting on the side of the bathtub watching me. She said, "Mom, why do you wear makeup?" I told her that I had "some things on my face that I needed to cover up." (Those "things" BTW are the lovely dark circles under my eyes, and I was putting on some concealer.) Grace then said, "Mom, you don't ever need to wear are sooo beautiful and you don't need it." She was so genuine the way she said this to me, and the comment even brought tears to my eyes. I sat down on the side of the tub, sat her on my lap and told her thank you and that was such a nice thing to say to Mommy and how much I loved her. I'm not saying that parenting is the easiest job in the world, in fact it's the hardest and most challenging one I've ever had, but it's the most rewarding one and the one I've been called to. The days that I feel down about the wait, I'll remember this bit of joy from Grace. I think I'll write down this sweet little statement Grace said and put it away someday to re-read when I need it. when she's 14 or 15 and not real thrilled with me. I know that someday we'll go through those adolescent struggles, but for now I'm enjoying this joyous little girl. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Some pics from this week...

Miss Grace picking up a giant ice chunk from the frozen tundra. She'll stay outside forever and play, she doesn't seem to care how cold it is outside.

Making an Easter card.

Miss Grace wearing her purple sunglasses in a new way...upside down. Grace is a sunglasses girl.

Let's see...not too much new and exciting going on here this week. I feel like we've been hermits staying indoors so much because of this never ending Winter. Grace was outside to play one sunny day (see above pic). Other than her normal preschool schedule, swimming lessons and gymnastics, we got crafty and made some Easter cards, and played with some friends.

Wednesday was my Mom's bday. Today Grace and I are driving down to see Grandma and Papa to take them out to lunch and to celebrate Grandma's special day. Grace's Grandparents are just about her favorite people in the world (other than her mommy and daddy I think) and she loves to spend time with them. And so do I. Happy Friday and whoohoo the weekend is almost here.... :)

Thank you!

I'm in a hair bow exchange for my November 06 yahoo group, the "November Nightingales." Today we received 3 darling bows (2 green and 1 pink and white), from Cyndi and Dean. It was so nice to have something to open that says "Spring." Thank you Cyndi and Dean, we love the bows and can't wait to see our Lily with them in her hair. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My alter ego

Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
created with
You scored as Goofy

Your alter ego is Goofy! You are fun and great to be around, and you are always willing to help others. You arn't worried about embarrassing yourself, so you are one who is more willing to try new things.

The Beast




Peter Pan




Sleeping Beauty




Cruella De Ville


Snow White




Donald Duck


Monday, March 3, 2008

The stork has landed...

Looks like referrals are here for March and CCAA has referred another 8 days worth of dossiers. Up to Jan. 4, 2006. I'm pleased with 8 days, we are moving along and that's always good. The best part of it ( at least from our perspective) is that they are finally to our LID year of 2006!!!! Congrats to all the new mommys and daddys!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

So how did we get here?

I get asked the question frequently... how did you come to adoption, or what led you to adopt? I think in one of my first posts I talked about ...that I had been an infertility patient for about 7 years and after all kinds of tests, procedures, and even surgeries, I was unable to have anymore children. I had what the docs call secondary infertility. I came to accept that I would most likely not become pregnant and have another baby and felt very fortunate and blessed to have my son Nick.

About a year went by and I met a co-worker at the school I worked at and found out she had 3 children adopted from Korea. Shortly after that, I met a woman who had 2 little girls from China. I asked both of these women many questions and started to research adoption, both IA and domestic. I attended several adoption seminars. I learned about China and all the circumstances that led to so many orphans there and felt very strongly led to China and it's children. I realized that it was something that Dan and I could do...adopt and be parents again, but all through this period of time I was so aware of my age(then 41) and I had lots of comments from family members and friends about why would I want to have another child? Why at this time of your life? Honestly, people thought we were crazy for even thinking of it because of our age, and all kinds of other made up reasons. Nick was 15 years old at that time and it would be like having 2 different families--a much older child and a young child. The entire time I prayed for an answer...what should we do? Are we supposed to be parents again? Dan and I loved Nick so much and we loved being parents, we also were very aware of the fact that there were (are) so many children in the world that needed families. I was pretty resigned to the fact that it wasn't going to happen and it was just a silly dream of mine, to adopt a baby from China. I kept praying though. It was like I needed to be given permission to adopt. Time went by and I was reading the newspaper one day. There was an adoption seminar at a church not to far away from us. At the last minute I decided to go. On the drive to the church I prayed to God again, for an answer, to please show me what to do. To make a long story short, I went to the seminar and the theme of it was Adoptive Families with Older Children and much Younger Children!!!! 6 different families were there with their teenagers or even college age, or grown children and their much younger adopted children. They each spoke about adoption and what a gift it was for them, every single member of the family. Mostly I learned that there are no right or wrong families, there are all different kinds and it's all good for everyone involved.

I had my answer, and couldn't have had a louder or more dramatic sign. I cried in the car all the way home. I felt like I was told very directly and specifically, "You need to do this." The next week we signed up with our agency in the Chicago area. BTW, we didn't have all the money to adopt Grace when we started, but we had some. And the money later came on it's own. We are very blessed, I'm just happy I got the "message." :)
Edited to say: In hindsight, I don't care for one minute that people may think we are crazy. Yes we are crazy, crazy in love with our kids. :)
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