More for Kylie!

My friend at work Paul brought me this for Kylie a few weeks ago....
That, my friends, is a trash bag full of clothing.  Much of it is 3t, but I went through it all and matched it up.  Then I went and bought two empty plastic tubs and filled them up with the bigger sized clothes that Kylie will be able to wear later.  Check out this cute outfit I found in the bag...
She is going to be the best dressed little girl EVER!  I can't wait to put some of her in some of this stuff!  I could not do this without friends like this.  Love it!


Sips N Strokes

Last Tuesday, I went with a couple friends, Jill and Elizabeth to a place called Sips n Strokes.  It's a place where you can create a painting step by step with an instructor.  This class was super full, but I truly had a blast.  So, here's the beginning...
Any ideas about what this is or is gonna be?  Yeah, you might can tell with the pencil drawing, but I promise, it doesn't look anything like it does in the end.
Ah yes.  It looks a little more like a tree now.  At some point, you have to stop going over and over it and just let it be.  Perfectionists need not apply.
There we go...a little color to the tree....and here is Jill working hard on her masterpiece...

And here's my final painting.  I will tell you, it looks way better in this picture than it does in real life.
And then, here we all are...with our tree pictures.  I really had a great time and it was nice to be out with girlfriends.  I have really grown to know and love these girls and their families over the last few months.  You are going to be seeing more of them in future posts.  :)


A Surprise from Japan!

On Saturday, I went out to see my long-time friend Stacey who was visiting from Texas.  It was a good time and my friend Carrie and I got to have lunch after.  I was gone quite a while and when I got home, I had a package from Japan! 

I have a friend, Amy, who I met online through the Adoption website I frequent.  Amy is in the military and currently stationed in Japan.  We have really hit it off and talk via email about every day.  Amy has a sweet little girl, Abigail, waiting for her in China.  She is hoping to travel in December to bring her home. 

She sent me these super cute outfits for Kylie!

OMG, look at the bracelet!  It's a jade colored bracelet and I love it so much that I would wear it myself if I could get it on my wrist!  I can't wait to dress Kylie in these.  Especially the red one!  I just think it looks SO Chinese!

I was so excited and thought it was so nice of her to send them.  I can't wait for her to travel because I plan to live vicariously through her!

Thank you Amy!!


Black Friday

I have always wanted to go out on Black Friday to see what it was like.  But then I never do because I know myself and know better than to do something crazy like that.  So Friday morning I woke up about 7:30am and came downstairs and shopped online instead!  I finished Steve's shopping.  And I finished Jenna's shopping.  I found my nephew something and even bought Kylie a book!

I even uploaded a bunch of pictures I needed developed and got a calendar as a gift for a family member.  I ended up with 333 photos to be developed, which I got 15% off of.  I had a code for free shipping which saved me $20.  Then I had a code which allowed me to get the calendar free!  I spent about $38 for $100 worth of stuff.  Good times.

Friday night, we left the house to get some dinner since we'd had enough of our Thanksgiving leftovers!  We headed into downtown Franklin for some Mellow Mushroom.  Then we went to Kohls to pick up some remaining gifts.  I got $30 in Kohls cash which Steve can use for my Christmas presents!  I also got $20 in coupons for signing up two different emails.  And then I got 15% off the entire order.  Look what I got Kylie...her first two NEW outfits!

Sorry for the bad quality, but I took these with my iPhone.  Finally, I bought a Groupon from Old Navy $20 for $10.  I'll take that out later to pick up some last minute gifts...

So all in all, the day was productive.  And I barely left my couch!


Thanksgiving 2011

Every Thanksgiving, I go back and forth on whether I want to cook for just the 3 of us knowing we'll be eating at Deanne's at some point.  This year, I decided not to cook since I knew I would regardless next year since it will be Kylie's first Thanksgiving with us.  But a week ago, I changed my mind.  But I decided not to do a full on lunch since we'd be eating just a few hours later.

Wednesday night, Jenna spent the night with some friends and I went ahead and made the pecan pies.
This is my mom's recipe.  That's her handwriting.  I love having all her recipes.  Many of them I don't use, but just seeing her handwriting makes me feel like she is teaching me.
Yum!  I love pecan pie.  It was delish!  I also made my mom's fruit salad recipe which is very easy and both Jenna and Steve like it.  It was the Taylor special request, which makes me feel good!
And then here is the full mini-spread...
This consisted of ham, cornbread, cornbread dressing, fruit salad, sweet potato casserole and macaroni and cheese.  And of course pecan pie for dessert and I tried a new dessert called Penuche.  My boss suggested it.  It's more like a butterscotch fudge.  Oh, so rich, but yummy.  I think Jenna was pleased with the selection.
Even Fred got a little Thanksgiving lunch of his own (the ham bone).  :)
We had dinner with the Taylors and while I took my camera, somehow I didn't get any pictures!  I love spending time with them.  I don't remember life without them now.  It makes me really look forward to Christmas with them!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I didn't participate in the daily "what I'm thankful for" on Facebook or blog. So, given what today is, I thought I'd list what I'm thankful for throught this year (this is obviously not an exclusive or all inclusive list):

1.  A God who PURSUES me. 
2.  A husband who loves me unconditionally despite my many flaws.
3.  The financial blessings God has given us.  From 99 weeks of unemployment, to cars that haven't needed to be replaced while we are on one income, to anonymous gift cards for groceries and gas that show up just when you need them.
4.  A job, coworkers and bosses who I really do love, respect and enjoy spending all day with.
5.  Family who love me and want to be part of my life.  And the life of my husband and child.
6.  New friends I've met through this wonderful journey of adoption (shout out to my RQ friends!)
7.  Friends who have been there to hold me up when I needed it.  Many of them have gone above and beyond listening to me complain, worry and vent.
8.  Lifeline Children's Services.
9.  My little 10 year old miracle child.  She is the light of my life.
10.  My sweet baby girl who is a world away waiting on me. 

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving and take time to remember all the good gifts and blessings God has given you this year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Blessings from Thirty-One

As many of you know, I have made many new friends via online venues who are going through, or have already gone through, adoption.

Recently I met a friend named Anne Little.  When Anne was fundraising in order to bring home her sweet daughter from China, a friend of hers had a Thirty-One party as a fundraiser and it was one of the most successful things she did.
When Anne came home, she wanted to find some way to help adoptive families fundraise.  Quickly enough, she decided selling Thirty One was the way to go.  After meeting Anne online, she offered to throw me a Thirty-One fundraiser party in which she would donate 100% of her profits to me.  She does this for any adoptive family who is interested!  I am stoked that what once was a complete stranger would offer to give up her profits to help us bring Kylie home!

This is absolutely no pressure.  But just a reminder, Christmas is coming VERY soon and there are some SUPER CUTE things that would make great gifts for family members (especially those hard-to-buy-for mother in laws!).

My show starts TODAY.  And it ends on December 9th.  What this means is if you order now, you'll have it in time for Christmas.  Just take a look at this:

I would LOVE to have these to put Jenna's and Kylie's toys in!  Are these not the cutest?  And look at what else I have my eye on...
Oh yes!  I could totally see this in a cutesy pattern in Kylie's room!  They have a bag which can be used as a diaper bag as well.

So, if you are in love with this stuff like I am, then take a look at the PDF of the catalog which you can find here.  For the locals, I have catalogs that I can bring you if you like to flip through catalogs like I do.  When you are ready to order, click here and click on "My Events" where you'll see my party.  When you click on "shop now", you can go and add whatever you want to  your cart.  You can pay online with your credit card.  If you are local and want to save $4 shipping, you can select the option to have your order shipped to me - the hostess - and I'll deliver it to you.  If you prefer not to use your credit card online, you can send me your order (via email or phone) and a check (made payable to me) and I'll place the order for you.

Oh, and before you order, check out these specials:

Yes, that's right...if ou buy $31 in products (shipping and tax excluded), then you can get one of these items for JUST $5:  All In One Organizer, Soft Wallet, Cinch Sac, Zip Up Pencil Pouch or the Flat Iron Case.


If you buy $62 worth of products, guess what you get?  TWO of the above for $5 each!  So, buy something as a gift, then get yourself a little something!

This is the perfect way for you to avoid the rush on Black Friday, get a super cute gift for someone (maybe yourself) and you help bring Kylie home.

If you have questions, please ask!  Now, go shop!!!


Exciting News!

I wish our exciting news was that we'd received LOA, but it's not.  But it is great news in terms of our adoption.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from my friend Susie about a new program at our local Lipscomb University.  They have recently launched a wonderful new program to try and help adoptive families.  Susie sent me the link as soon as she received it and then I applied that night.

Late last night we received notification that we have been selected as one of the first families to take part in this awesome program!

How it works is that we are assigned a Lipscomb basketball game.  In the days leading up to the game, we work hard to invite as many friends and family as we can to show up and support Lipscomb.  And then we get ALL TICKET PROCEEDS for our adoption!  I know!  How cool is that???  ALL TICKET PROCEEDS!  (it's worth saying again).

And so for all you locals, I'm about to be the most annoying fundraising friend you have (and may not have after this is all said and done), but rest assured, as soon as we get Kylie home, I will spend the rest of my life buying wrapping paper, popcorn, girl scout cookies, cookie dough, magazines etc. trying to pay it forward.  In the next few days, you'll be invited to a Facebook Event, receive an Evite or get an email from me.  I know money is tight, it is for us too, but what better way to support an adoptive friend and have fun family night out? 

And let me be honest, it's crunch time for us.  We are coming down to the last few months and we still have a long way to go.  I need more iPad sales just to be able to purchase the iPad.  I have over 100 t-shirts left to sell.  We have this exciting night and one more exciting thing coming up (more on that later this week!).  I try not to think too much about it, but we really have a long way to go and not a long time to get there, so let's DO this!  Here are the deets...please read all the way through and email me if you have questions (email, FB event and Evite to follow):

Date:  Tuesday, December 6*
Game Time:  6:30pm
Opponent:  UT Martin
Location:  Allen Arena on the Lipscomb University Campus
Tickets:  $7 for adults (general admission), $5 for kids (general admission).  $12 and $5 respectively for reserved seats...the better seats you buy, the more money we raise to bring Kylie home.  I am confirming you can buy tickets online or at the box office that evening.

They'll be some publications from Lipscomb as well promoting this and I'll link those as soon as they are available.  But if there is any way you can attend this game and support us, we would appreciate it.  I'm especially counting on my Nashville friends for this one.

*Especially for my Station Hill friends:  I am aware there is a baby shower planned on this exact date for another adoptive family in our church.  Steve and I would NEVER wish to take away from this precious family.  I have spoken with this family to let them know of the conflict.  If you are attending the shower, that means your husband and children are going to be sitting at home with nothing to do.  So, send them on to Nashville and you can support two adoptive families, both bringing home children from China!


Thanksgiving Lunch

Yesterday we had Thanksgiving lunch with Jenna at her school.  I have to admit, for cafeteria food, the lunch was good and got me prepared for the upcoming week.

I wish I'd gotten a picture of the dessert because what is Thanksgiving without pumpkin or pecan pie!?

Jenna also loves the fact that we come and eat with her.  Except after a few minutes, the novelty wears off and she runs around with her friends.  However, there will be a day soon where she won't want us there, so we are taking advantage when we can!

Finally, before we left, we walked her to her classroom.  The neatest art was hanging outside the door.  I thought hers was the best there.  I could see us framing this and hanging it in her room it's got such bright colors!


Girls Who Nurture

At my church, there is a women's group called the Nurture Team.  These women truly are the hands and feet of the church.  They make baskets for new moms as well as those who have lost a loved one.  They also make meals for those in need.  They write cards and notes like CAH-RAZY.  Seriously.  I have been the recipient of many-a-basket a couple years ago when we experienced so many deaths in our family.  They are what I aspire to be one day when I grow up.

Well, a few months ago, they, at the suggestion of a young lady in the church, decided to start a Girl's Nurture Team.  The idea is they will mentor the younger girls in learning how to serve others.  If learned at a young age, our girls will then grow up with the natural inclination to serve others.  They meet once a month and they have done all manner of things such as making cards, baskets etc.

This past Saturday, the girls met up at the church and decorated cookies...
After decoration, the girls put several of their creations into little goodie bags.

And once everything was put together, we all rode down the street to the local assisted living facility.  Some of the girls (including Jenna) had been there before to dance ballet.  They practiced the song Children of God and then lined up for all the residents and sang. 

Then then handed out their cookies (they even had diabetic cookies for those that needed them).  Some of the residents immediately gobbled them up.  It was so touching to hear these girls singing and the residents just loved them.
It was a good experience for Jenna, but especially for me.  The next night, our Lifegroup went there to sing the old hymns and Christmas carols and just spend time with the residents.    I'll be honest and say I didn't want to go.  Hanging out with the elderly just isn't my thing.  I've never felt comfortable doing it although I'm not sure why.

But I saw my Daddy in many of those faces.  And though there weren't many residents out there when we began, once we started singing the old hymns, they started emerging from their rooms.  One gentleman rolled up in his wheelchair beside us.  After we finished singing, he thanked me for coming and we struck up a conversation.  He and his wife both live at the center.  They moved here from Florida and this was just a temporary stop until they were able to find a permanent home.  We talked for a while and he told me how they'd lived in a house in Florida and then came here and how he loved the staff because they were so nice.  It was a great chat and I told him we'd be back next month with the girls to do their ballet.  When we left, a friend of mine whose dad also resides there shared with me that he has Alzheimers.  His wife has Parkinsons.  And this is NOT just a temporary stop, but his permanent home. 

Another gentleman who was very friendly and outspoken walks with a walker and has a disease which renders him almost unable to walk some days.  He is only 67.  Many of these residents have family.  Many of them do not.  And my heart breaks for them.  I've thought of them all, often, since we went on Saturday.

If you have a minute, whisper a prayer from these wonderful men and women. 


I Fell In Love...

It was a rainy, commute this evening coming home from work.  Rainy commutes = LONG commutes.  I was kinda crank already because of this whole LOA situation.  I'm tired of waiting and unfortunately that is what this entire process consists of.

I have been fairly successful, since August 3, in keeping this whole adoption at arms' length.  What I mean is that I look at Kylie's picture and think, one day that will be my daughter.  It's been such an abstract idea that I have managed to not really become emotionally attached.  When you are so many months away from everything you've waited for coming to fruition, it's really not that hard.  I know that might sound cold but I believe it's a necessary evil of survival in this crazy adoption world.

Today, while I was sitting in mile long traffic in the rain, I was contemplating my bad mood.  I could acknowledge it was because I simply didn't want to wait anymore.  And it was then that I realized...I had not really kept this sweet little girl at arms' length like I thought.  Somewhere along the way, she BECAME my daughter.  Not "will become" or "would become", but she HAS BECOME my little girl.

Somewhere along the way, I fell in love and didn't even realize it. 

And that's what makes this wait so hard.


No update today

I didn't want to leave everyone hanging, but there is no update today.  Apparently our agency's email system was down in the night, so we aren't even sure whether the China contact received the agency's emails for clarification. 

Of course it was down.  Because that's how things are going for us.

I am working on our visa applications to pass the time.  The paperwork is not easy but it keeps me feeling like I'm doing something. 

I know God's timing is perfect.  But right now, I want Him to go with MY timing.  I want my child.

And so I'm angry all over again.  But I'm working on that.  Prayers are appreciated.  I'll update when (if) I know more.  Looks like we are in it for the long haul.


LOA Update

Sorry it took me until now to update everyone on what's going on with our LOA.  My day was full of meetings today, so it was afternoon before I got a chance to talk to my agency and then it wasn't really the news we wanted to hear

The good news is that China didn't say, "What dossier???"  :)  Basically, the way I understand it is that when we transferred agencies, China was just starting to figure out how to handle transfers between agencies.  The email our agency got today said something like they held my dossier for "a while" but they "let it go with no problem".  What does that mean?  Question of the year for sure!  My agency is asking for clarification.  However, we are guessing it means, they received our dossier logged in under Lifeline in August and was still still trying to decide how the transfer process was going to work.

So, they held onto it until they decided and then they put it into process.  So instead of it starting in the process 3 months ago, it probably only started a month ago.  The process the dossier goes through is "in translation", then "in review", then to the "matching room" and then the LOA is issued.

Our agency is hoping to have some clarifiction around how long they held it, how long it's been in translation and how long they expect it to be until they can issue LOA.  Our agency is asking that they push it along, but China only expdites when there is a medical issue or when the child is aging out, which neither apply here.

So, how much longer?  We really have no idea. When will we travel?  Well, originally we were hoping February.  But at this point, it would take a miracle for that to happen.  Although, I've been witness to enough miracles to know if God wants it, He'll do it and all the glory will point right back to Him.  For sure. 

Pull up a chair and stay a while.  We'll watch and see how God decides to show off this time.

Oh, and I'm better now.  Well...kinda.  I'm still pretty angry this happened.  But I'm getting over it.


LOA Update

I wish I had better news to report.  First, let me explain briefly about the process of getting LOA as best as I understand it.  First, your dossier goes to a department in China where it is translated into Chinese.  It stays there for a while, then it goes to "processing" and then it's processed. 

Today, my agency checked on the status and it appears my dossier is still IN TRANSLATION.  Because of my agency transfer, I had an original log in date of 3/31/2011 therefore my dossier should already have been translated when it reached LOA stage.  So why it shows as still in translation I don't know.

My agency contact was VERY sorry, understanding and concerned and they are doing everything they can to find out whether it's just a status error and it's really in processing or if it really is "lost in translation".  They will request it to be expedited if possible, but honestly, they can only do so much and I recognize that.  Not to mention that it's already the weekend in China, so there will be no quick answers for me until next week.

So.  95 days and counting with absolutely no end in sight.  I appreciate your prayers and concern and all that and you all will be the first to know when I find something out.  Until then, I don't really want to discuss it.  I know it's all in God's timing.  I just really need to NOT talk about it.

I covet your prayers though.  I couldn't do this without you.


A to Z

I'm still feeling a little down from yesterday and had nothing much to say today, so there was going to be no blog.  But my friend Katelyn (that's her over there in my adoption t-shirt...which SHE designed!) did this on her blog today and I thought I'd join in.

A.  Age – 37.  Ugh.  I'm on the downhill slide to 40.  Or maybe I'm on the upswing?  Perspective.
B.  Bed size – King. We had a queen up until Katie came.  Then it was either an upgrade or me sleeping in the guest room.  Good thing we chose the upgrade since the guestroom is now a nursery!!
C.  Chore that you hate – Cleaning the litterbox.  Yes, the cats are mine, but Steve does it for me (God love him)...the dust from the litter makes me sneeze and wheeze.
D.  Dogs – Katie.  Enough said.
E.  Essential start to your day – Breakfast.  Doesn't have to be major, but something and DIET COKE.  That's my coffee.
F.  Favorite color – Red
G.  Gold or silver – Depends on what.  If jewelry, I like both.
H. Height – 5’2
I.  Instruments you play – Piano.  I took lessons for 10 years.  But do not ask me to play at your party or get together because I won't.
J.  Job title – Benefits Compliance Coordinator.
K. Kids – One who is the light of my life and another on the way.
L.  Live – A little town south of Nashville.
M. Mother’s name – Virginia or Ginger and Bertie (stepmom)
N.  Nicknames – Sandy, but only for people who don't know I don't go by that.
O.  Overnight hospital stays – Having a baby!!!!  
P.  Pet peeves – How much room do I have here?  Seriously?  Women who make up and drive.  And who have their rearview mirrors pointed towards them.  Are you kidding?  Get up at 5am like I do and put your stinkin' makeup on!
Q.  Quote from a movie – Too many to write here.  There are some movies I could basically quote the whole thing...
R. Right or left handed – right.
S. Siblings – biologically...2 half brothers and 3 half sisters. 
T. Time it takes you to get ready – I shower at night.  So, I guess about 25 minutes from final alarm to downstairs for breakfast.
U. Underwear – Yes, please.
V. Vegetable you hate – Tomatoes.  I know, but I just don't like them.
W. What makes you run late – TRAFFIC.
X-rays you’ve had – On my knee.  
Y. Yummy food you make – Hmmm...I make some good oreo balls and cake balls.  Steve makes really delish sausage balls.  Balls.  I am starting to see a pattern.
Z. Zoo animal – Zebras, elephants and giraffes.  Saw them all on a safari in South Africa.  Seeing them in their natural habitat and not behind cages, bars or fences...amazing.
That was fun.  I got some of my snarky attitude out.  So go ahead and jump in.  Copy and paste and then insert your own answers.



I am exhausted.

I'm tired of waiting for our LOA to arrive with no sign that it's coming anytime soon.  Adoption is an entire game of waiting.  First you wait on your agency to accept you into the program.  Then you wait on a number of other people during your paperchase.  Doctors, police departments, social workers, nurses, CPAs...you are waiting on THEM.  Then you are waiting on the US Immigration Department.  Then China.  Then...then...then...and so I'm tired of waiting.

I'm tired of being financially strapped.  I've not made it public on here mostly because I didn't want to answer any questions about it.  Steve's no longer employed.  It's a very long story but the company lost the contract he was working under and in the end, it just didn't work out.  The whole process of going from him staying home all the time to him working full time, going through the training, knowing the contract was ending, etc. It was exhausting not only to my emotions but to our marriage.

I'm tired of fundraising.  Yes, I said it.  I'm tired of asking the people I love and respect the most to give me money.  I hate that I have to do it.  I hate that I can't just do it all on my own.  I don't know why I can't be one of those people who get an anonymous donation that covers all our expenses. After we get this done, I will never fundraise again!  It's exhausting.

I'm tired of filling out adoption grants.  They aren't easy.  You are constantly reminded of your financial situation.  And then come the rejection letters.  I'm tired of hearing "Sorry, we just can't help everyone." *  I'm tired.

I'm tired of hearing "It's all in God's timing".  I know thats not comfortable for you to read.  It's not comfortable for me to write.  Some of my best friends have said this to me.  Some acquaintances have said this.  And yes.  I KNOW it's all in God's timing.  And yes.  I KNOW it will happen when HE ordains.  But in this moment, right now...I'm tired. 

I don't want to hear it.  But I also know the things we need to hear most are quite honestly the ones we'd probably rather not hear at all.  Even though I don't WANT to hear it, I NEED to hear it.  It reminds me that everything is filtered through God's hands.

So I'm tired.  Exhausted.  I want to have enough money to pay my bills, to pay off our adoption, our LOA, Steve a job.

But until then, I have to rest physically and emotionaly when I can.  And thank God for friends that encourage me even when I'd rather wallow in my self pity.  And be glad they tell me things even when it's hard to hear.

*Please know I'm exceedingly grateful for the two grants we did get!



A few weeks ago, I, along with 1/2 of my little town, sat in horrible traffic for more than an hour trying to get home.

I had Jenna with me because I had to pick her up because Steve was not able to get to her.  When we pulled into the subdivision, we could see thick black smoke billowing from the vicinity of the area behind our house.

I figured if our house was actually on fire someone would have told me.  But when we pulled in front of the house, I could see the fire in the wooded common area behind our house.  Since we have a privacy fence in the back yard, I honestly never have had the opportunity (or desire) to go back into that area.  At first, I thought it was just a bonfire or someone burning leaves, but then it looked a little too high for that.

I parked the car in the garage and then Jenna and I walked around towards the smoke.  Once at the edge of our backyard, our neighbor, Tim, came out and ushered us to the area.  The fire was probably about my height at that time, but the firefighters had just arrived.

That's the fire nearly put out.  Tim had been the one to call the fire fighters because when he first got there, the fire was probably 3x higher than it was when I got there.  A couple kids ran out and tried to put it out with an extinguisher, but it barely touched it.  Tim rightly thought he'd better get the professionals involved.

They think kids started it because there was piles of wood and sticks.  It's the fall....leaves are on the ground and that's a dangerous combination.  Luckily, outside the trees and wood, nothing else was damaged.  I hope some kids learned their lesson.


19 years.

Today marks the day I have lived longer WITHOUT my mom than with her.

19 years ago, I sat outside my home in the crisp fall November air wondering how my life would change.

There are a few friends who may remember those days as clearly as I do.

It's a day I will never forget.

I think of her often.

Many times when I wish I could ask her opinion on parenting.

I miss her.

So, for those of you who still have your moms here on this earth...tell them you love them.  You never know how much longer you have with them.

I'd give just about anything for one more day....

I miss you Mama.  Every.  Day.


Pictures! Orphan Sunday! Update!

I am THRILLED to report, we received 2 updated pictures of Kylie.  But first, I have some stuff I was to say...

Remember, if you want a chance to win an iPad, just click on the donate link over there -------> or click here for more information.  Your help will get us closer to bringing our girl home.  Plus, would you not be the BOMB if you won the iPad and was able to give it to someone for Christmas (even yourself?)  So, enter.  And tell your friends for more FREE entries!  The more people you tell, the more entries YOU get.  So, let's do this!

Today is  Orphan Sunday!  I'm wearing my adoption t-shirt to church.  What?  You don't have an adoption t-shirt?  Well I can certainly remedy that.  See over there -------> ?  Right underneath that iPad giveaway, you can see our shirts.  Click here to learn how to get one.  Never be caught without an adoptin shirt for Adoption Sunday!

Today represents day 90 of the wait for LOA.  When our wait for LOA first started, we were told the average was 70-90 days. 


Here we are.

And it's no fun.  It's hard.  But I'm on a FB page for families with children in the same orphanage as Kylie.  One of these families is now in China picking up their daughter and offered to take pictures of her when they toured the orphanage.  I didn't think we'd be able to get the pics until after they returned home, but the older daughter contacted me on FB today and was able to forward these pictures!

God bless her....she looks like she's burning up.  But they really like to keep the kids bundled up well.  Obviously, we confirmed her lip surgery hasn't taken place.  But I really think she looks happy in this picture.  Don't you?  And wow, she sure does look CHUBS.  But again...the clothing is layered and thick...so you never can tell.
I think here she looks so little.  Sometimes when I think of her, I think of her as a 2 year old.  I keep babies in the nursery and many of them are about Kylie's age now.  They are still LITTLE.  These pics make my heart ache to get my arms around her.  And what about that HAIR!  Oh my WORD!  It made me laugh out loud when I saw it.  Sticking STRAIGHT UP.  But what that tells me is that they are letting her hair grow just like we asked them too.  I'm now stocking up on bows and hair barretts for her hair.  It appears that will be the only way to tell she's a girl.  :)  Well, that and the cute pink clothes I'm going to dress her in!
This is the room she's in.  The lady on the left in the white/light blue helped get her out of the crib and is in the picture above (I think).  They got pictures of a little boy about the same age for a friend of mine (yes, we met online too) whose son is in the same orphanage.  Apparently, they sleep next to each other.  Look at all those beds.  Each of those beds represent a baby boy or girl without a family.  Could one of those children be YOURS???
And this is the playroom in the orphanage.  This is most likely where Kylie spends a good portion of her day.

And that's it.  I wish there were more, but we are thrilled to bits to get these, even the ones of her rooms. This is where she's spent her ENTIRE life.  So it's important to us and will be for her as well when she's old enough to learn her story.

Happy Orphan Sunday.  Enter to win an iPad.  Email me to by a t-shirt.  And then pray for our baby girl who is on the other side of the world waiting for us to come get her.



I know it's overdue, but just had time to post some pics of our Halloween festivities.

The Sunday before Halloween, we had a church LifeGroup party.  There were tons of people there.  This is the coolest family ever!  And we have grown to love them like our own. 
Is that not the best Mad Hatter costume you've ever seen?!  The only thing original was the hat.  The rest of the costume (and the makeup) were bought consignment or put together from home.  Wow.

I unfortunately didn't get a picture of the other adults in their costume but I hijacked this one off my friend Leigh Ann's Facebook

That's just a piece of our group, but  just look at this group of kids.
It was a great time.  You just can't beat hanging out with 30-40 good peeps and all their kids (including ours) running crazy.  Love them.

Monday Jenna came home from her school Harvest party with this loot...
And here's our bowl of candy to give out...BEFORE the trick or treating started..
Yes, we have the GOOD candy.  :)  And what you've all been waiting for...well, OK probably not, but this is what this whole post is about...my Jenna.  I think her costume is quite fitting for what our family is going through right now...

Oh, she's so pretty!  You can't see it in these pictures, but she has fake eyelashes with silver glitter.  She looked like such the little beauty.

And everyone else must have thought so too because check out the loot she brought home...

Has anyone else noticed how preoccupied with candy I am in this post.  OK, yeah, me neither.

And the last thing is our new pumpkin.  We carved the original two a week before Halloween and they had nearly rotted by Halloween.  So we bought another and Steve carved it.
Can you tell what it is?  Oh, and see the mini pumpkin next to it?  Take a closer look...

That is a little mini pumpkin Jenna got from church and today while I was busy, she actually carved the dang thing herself.  Not only that, but when she realized she couldn't put a candle in it, she rigged up a mini keychain flashlight in the back.  I'm telling you, she's nothing if not creative.

Hope you all enjoyed your Halloween as much as we did!


Flashback Friday!

Welcome to the second installment of Flashback Friday!
This is the yearbook from my senior year.  Yes, in my beautiful new bookshelves reside my EHCS yearbooks (we called them "annuals") from Kindergarten through my senior year.  And yes, from time to time, I pull one or more out, look at the pictures and read the signatures.

You see, I LOVED high school.  I know most people think I'm crazy.  Most HATED high school and would never go back there again.  However, for me, it was the last time my life resembled anything normal.  My family was happy.  My mom was ALIVE.  Cancer meant nothing to me.  I was going to the college I'd wanted to.  I was the senior editor of the yearbook staff.  My worries were along the lines of where to eat lunch and what to do Friday night.

Now that I'm an adult, my worries are, how do I pay the bills, when will we have Kylie in our arms and how am I going to raise the remaining funds to get to her.

Yeah, I miss high school sometimes.


First 9 Weeks

I can't believe the first 9 weeks of school is already over!  4th grade is proving to be harder than any other grade before.

But as usual, my girl shines.  She made all As and 2 Bs.  Ironically enough, her best subject is Math and also one of the ones she got a B in.  She's following her Mama's footsteps and has a nearly perfect score in Spelling and Bible.

I think her other B was in Social Studies.  She almost got a B in Science but managed to pull it out in the end.  Where she gets her math skills I have no idea.  Let's hope she keeps it up!


Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

This past weekend, Jenna and I, along with about 60 of our close friends and THOUSANDS of others walked in support of those who are fighting or have fought breast cancer.
This isn't all of us.  Just the ones that were there early.  There was an "official" group picture and I can't wait to see it.
We walked as part of Team Darlene in honor of my friend Darlene who is battling breast cancer herself.  You can follow Dar's journey at her CaringBridge site.  She has 2 more chemo treatments left before her surgery.  She is doing very well although there are days I'm sure she feels like she isn't.
Jenna and I at the start!
It was in the 30s at 7am when we got there.  Jenna and I really bundled up, but by the time the race actually started, I was quite warm and took off all my outer layers.

Jenna and I ran about 1/4 of the race.  It was so crowded...we would run a few minutes and then we'd get stuck behind some people walking and so we'd have to stop.  We finished in about 50-55 minutes which is less time than I finished my last 5k in last December.

Darlene was able to be there and even completed the 1 mile run.  I was so proud of her.  I love this girl and all the friends who walked to support finding a cure for this awful disease.