Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It'a A Boy!!


We are happy to announce that we have been matched with a 5 year old boy who lives in Beijing. His name is Jiang Zhong and we have not yet decided on a name (American), but will keep his Chinese name as his middle name. He is very healthy and seems to be very smart. He is learning some English in his preschool class. We hope to travel in the spring or early summer to bring him home and are very excited to be his new family. I am waiting for my photos of him to arrive via Fed Ex - so I posted the only photo I could today. We are excited to have a new son and will now be exiting the really long baby line. I will have more info and photos in the next week or so - but because of the holiday we have not gotten everything yet.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow


It finally snowed. I don't think it snowed at all last winter so the kids were dying to have some snow to play in. I am sure that it snow less than one inch - but for a couple of hours today - We had some very happy kids. The snow is nearly melted now and if we are lucky it won't snow again (Don't tell the kids I said that).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Yellow Belt Test


Wesley tested for his yellow belt on Saturday. I think he passed. We were proud of him since he didn't quit even when he had to stop for a minute to remember what to do - I thought I would try and post a video since I have not done that before - Just having a happy bad weather day here - but at least there is no ice.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

China Referral Update

Child matches came from China today. Here is the quote from the China Center for Adoption Affairs.
The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before December 14, 2005.
So.... where does this put us in the REALLY long line. We are logged in on August 2, 2006. That means our date is 30 weeks away (a very rough estimate, I avoid serious math). If the CCAA continues to match 1 week a month - which is what has happened for the last several months. Our referral will be about 30 months away - On top of the 17 months we have already waited - Our total wait could (and likely will be) 47 months. That is 4 years - that is a long pregnancy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Tour







Our high school band sponsored a Christmas Tour last weekend - Lucky me - I got to have my house on it. I haven't figured out exactly what the band does for this event - since I had to clean and decorate my house (shouldn't they have done this for me?)- anyhoo - just thought I would put some photos of the decor up - so you can see that I am not much of a decorator and I doubt they will ask me again! The kids have since come back home and my house will never be that clean again.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's OK To Be My Friend

Last week we had to travel to our local Immigration office (which is 5 hours away) to be refingerprinted. The original application was done for our adoption paperwork. The fingerprints are sent through the FBI computer to make sure you aren't on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted (or something like that) before they approve you to bring a child to the US from another country. For some reason these fingerprints expire after a year and you have to have them redone. I assume this is in case you have a Face Off experience (or in this case a finger off). That was a really bad movie. Anyway - For our adoption we have had a homestudy, state highway patrol fingerprints and background check, child abuse check, employment check, financial check, we had to have proof of life insurance and medical insurance, letters of reference, and some other stuff. So if you want to be our friend we have been checked, checked, and double-checked (anyone read Mooseltoe?). Have a great day - I am going to go and reorganize all my paperwork now (Not).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beautiful Fall Days




Last weekend we visited grandma and grandpa in the big city - Kendell and Wes were climbing trees and they made me get up in the tree - That was pretty funny - kind of like trying to get a large elephant up there - we go some good pictures of the kids though - Wesley got 2nd place in his pack in popcorn sales (He sold over $800, the kid in first place sold over $2700). I thought he looked sharp in his new uniform. We had a great Thanksgiving and just finished our 3rd get together - now it's time to get ready for the Holiday Homes Tour next weekend - kind of funny if you know about my decorating skills - which are non-existent.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Maxed Out

Kendell and I are taking a class called Financial Peace University. The class is absolutely great. We aren't in bad financial shape - but wanted to learn where our money went, how to manage expenses, and how to invest. We have learned all those things and more. We are (mostly) living on a budget and will be completely debt-free in 6 weeks. The class would be great to take if you are just starting out (so you don't get into trouble) or if you have big financial problems. Check out www.daveramsey.com for info. They have a good program for kids also. Our kids are learning all about money now - whether they like it or not. Last night I watched the movie "Maxed Out". It is a very interesting documentary about credit in the U.S. After learning about how credit companies/large banks prey upon college students and the poor. Check out the movie - it is very enlightening.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

China Update

Referrals have arrived from China - Don't worry we are still a year or 2 or 3 away from our newest addition. China is continuing to refer children at a snail's pace. Hopefully this is because more babies are staying with their families. Here is the latest update on the China Center for adoption affairs website.

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before August 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before December 8, 2005.

Our documents were registered on 8/2/2007. So once again we continue to wait.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy Halloween Late





This year Halloween was the nicest I can remember - We went for a little nature walk prior to trick or treating. The leaves are looking beautiful and the kids were very excited about their costumes. The pictures were taken in our woods out back - The kids were disappointed in their intake of candy. Not as many houses had their lights on since it was Wednesday night. We opted to take the night off of church for the (Bad) holiday. Don't worry you can be sure that the kids all had enough candy - and we had more than our fair share on the carpet, hardwood floors, pillows, beds, showers, and various other spots I found half chewed candy thanks to Claire.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Making Treats and Cleaning Up



I think that instead of making treats - It should be called making a mess. They are just children - but they can make a gigantic mess. We made cupcakes yesterday as a pre-Halloween warm-up to get the kids sugar levels used to being extraordinarily high before today. We put worms on top - then the kids carried them around the kitchen leaving small pieces of cupcakes all around the floor and smearing icing about. I don't know why they do this - don't most people just sit and eat over a plate or something? I LOVE holidays!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Good Job Note


Monday night Wesley had a basketball game. He is doing fairly well - although he is no Michael Jordan (yet). After the game Wesley asked if he could write a good job note. He noticed that Weston (a boy on the other team) had dribbled the ball down the court well and he thought he deserved a good job note - He asked why people always write thank you notes, but not good job notes. I must say - my little boy is SO sweet. He has a huge heart and Kendell and I pray that he will not lose this as he deals with other kids at school who are not so thoughtful . Also on a good note - Max passed his Well-Mannered Dog Obedience class yesterday - Good Job Max!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saving Money





My poor children suffer because I am fairly cheap. I like to save money. You'll notice both girls in the stroller - Why buy a 2 seat stroller when you can just make the kids share? - The other photo is of Claire's fall and winter wardrobe which I just removed from storage - They are all hand-me-down's from Jessie - Jessie decided that she would dress all of her stuffed animals in the clothing. Obviously there is not much to do around our house.
Last weekend we took a trip the the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks. We stayed in the nicest hotel I have seen. The hotel is part of the college. The college has lots of fun things to do with the kids - a museum, a dairy, a mill, a lake (with a swan), a beautiful chapel, and more. The weather was absolutely perfect and we got to save money on the stay since it was a meeting - so paid for by work. If you ever travel to Branson - I would reccomend staying at the Keeter Center and visiting the college. If you are looking for a good college to send your kids to - The college is consistently a top-rated liberal arts school and tuition is free. Student work at a regular job on campus to support the cost of their tuition. I have no more money saving info. for today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hunting Anyone?


Kendell got a new toy a couple of months ago. He now can spot the crazed deer in our field with virutally no effort. The photo is of the giant herd of rabid deer that was feeding in our field a few days ago (We counted 7 deer in the photo). We don't hunt on our land - so I assume with deer season coming up in the next few weeks we may have hundreds of deer moving in to our little safe haven. I am sure anyone in our area gets an itchy trigger finger and feels their stomach start growling when they see this photo. Deer season is so popular around here - that a school district nearby takes the week of deer season off (who needs spring break anyway - when you can hunt). I don't hunt and don't ever plan on it - Happy Hunting to all those who enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Straight Baby


Here is the exciting story of our evening. Wesley, Jessie, and I brought home dinner from McTeacher's Night at McDonald's (a smart marketing gimmick by McD's) We gave Claire her milk - which she then spilled. Followed 30 seconds later by Jessie spilling her milk. We had 10 minutes to eat and go to karate. So we cleaned up milk - dressed in karate outfits and got into the car. Claire got into the back and buckled herself into Jessie's seat. When I told her to get into her seat she said "No". As she tried to escape to the front seat - I grabbed her and we played straight baby. (If you have a 2 year old - you know straight baby is a popular way to avoid being buckled into your carseat by making yourself straight.) We made it to karate and had to leave since Claire was making to much noise - On the way home we played straight baby again. Thirty minutes later we went back to pick the kids up - and before we got there we had to play get into Jessie's seat and a short game of straight baby. We then arrived at karate 15 minutes early - where Claire was hungry - so she ate a Kleenex (she said it was a cracker) - and tried to bite as I removed it from her shark-like mouth. The kids finished, we were 5 minutes late to Wesley's basketball practice - so we got back in the car where we played another game of straight baby. We got to practice and Claire played strangle the nice lady sitting next to us while trying to put her stuffed puppy on the lady's head. She had forgotten she was hungry - but then remembered when she found a dirty gum wrapper on the floor which she ate. We left practice early (Kendell and Wes were still there). We played one last game of straight baby, came home, gave the girls a shower - Claire, of course, refused to give me the soap to get her clean, I finally got her clean, she got out of the shower and onto the floor (wet and naked) because she remembered she was a puppy. I wrestled the puppy into the bed where she now insisted she was a baby and needed a diaper (a pullup torn open and put on like a diaper) but of course she wouldn't let me put it on - she kept rolling away - I left the room - she cried wanting help with her diaper - I helped her put it on and she then would not let me put her pajamas on. We finally got PJ's on and we read a book - (Wesley's library book). I told her she could not touch it because it was a library book - so she tried to tear the page - I left to read it in another room and she came in crying wanting to read the book. I read the book and put her back in bed where she cried because she wanted to go to Mommy's bed. It has been a long evening and I think I have played one too many games of straight baby today!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Random Animals




This week Claire met a friendly turtle - I think it really liked her. She liked it - because unlike the other animal (Max, the golden retriever) the turtle doesn't knock her down and step on her, followed by licking her to death. We said Hi to Mr. Turtle and then let him go into the wilderness. In other wild news, Max is taking a class called "The Well Mannered Dog". I think this is sort of an oxymoron - but I digress. Max is doing very well and he is doing a most excellent down-stay in the photo of him I took. What a good boy he is on occasion. Now if anyone can give me ideas on how to make him stop eating the deck that would be great! This has nothing to do with this post - but I can not stop laughing at the google ad - After I posted the picture of Wesley's missing tooth on the blog - I now have an ad for a dentist - That is hilarious - Those google ad people are really funny.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

China Match Update

Referrals came in today from China. They have now matched families with babies whose paperwork was sent in through November 30, 2005. Our Log In Date is August 2, 2006 - so at the current rate we will receive a referral in 4-5 years. We can only hope they start to speed up eventually. Congratulations to all the babies who just found parents and all the parents who saw their babies faces for the first time today. It is worth the wait.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

China Update

We just got back from a fun time at the lake. The kids loved the indoor water park at the resort. No pictures of that - it was a little wet - just picture wet, happy kids and you'll get the idea. This week the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs had this update on their website.

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before August 31, 2006.

This means our documents have now been reviewed and since we were not contacted with questions we are now just waiting for a referral - probably for the next 1-2 years . Our documents were registered on 8/2/2007. I am now going back to another year of incessant waiting.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Of Trunks and Teeth



Today was a banner day at our house - FINALLY - at the age of 7 1/2 Wesley lost his first tooth. You have never, ever seen such excitement. We thought he would never lose a tooth. Now the exhausting wait for the tooth fairy begins. Wesley told me that he thinks the tooth fairy pays $3.00 a tooth now - he has apparently raised the value of a tooth recently. On Saturday I took the kids to see the Budweiser Clydesdale's at the stable where they have been staying for the week while they do local promotions. They were super-impressed. Of course, as a parent, you have to realize that the inevitable question will come up. In our case - while looking at a very cool horse, Wesley asked, "Why does that horse have an elephant's trunk?". Aren't kids great!! (If you can't figure out what I am talking about ask your friend to explain.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autumn Moon Festival Party




We had a fun party last night to celebrate the Moon Festival. We invited the other girls in town (who were born in China) and their families over and tried to make Chinese food. I like to think of our little group as the South Central (insert state here) Families with Asian Adopted and Caucasian Biological Children, I know you are impressed with my naming skills. I think that is why we have no official group name. The food was pretty good - Not that I'd brag! Everyone had a good time. We knew the night would be good immediately upon getting home from work. Claire wanted to watch Dragontale's. I am all for any activity that will keep a 2 year old out of my way when I am trying to cook. I got to the bedroom and Claire said she had put video in. It wouldn't start - so I tried to eject it and it just made a horrible noise. I then noticed a dime in the opening of the DVD player. The DVD then ejected and all was good - until I couldn't get it to reload - Well, no dragontales obviously - and I was just a LITTLE mad. Kendell got home a shook a nickel out of the TV and all is good again. I got the cooking done even with Claire helping, we had fun trying to make moon cakes. The kids had fun playing. We had a nice evening - even though the full moon isn't until next week and the moon was hiding behind a tree - Oh well!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

2nd Family Day for Claire



Two years ago today Xiu Qing officially became Claire. She has gone from docile and barely responsive to playful, happy, interactive, and sometimes just mean. She is well into the terrible two's and I am hoping she is saving most of the sweetness for age 3. It is hard to believe that 2 years ago this little girl who didn't even know how to cry for attention or play is now totally rowdy. Happy family day to our family of five. The photos are from Claire's adoption day - right after they handed Claire to Kendell and the second is from today. I am adding the link for our trip to China for Claire if anyone would like to venture down memory lane with me.
Claire's Adoption Trip:
http://clairechina2005.spaces.live.com/

Monday, September 17, 2007

Plowed Fields - Is It That Exciting?






I don't think anyone else's husbands get excited about plowed fields. Kendell was thrilled about the plowed fields on our land. They plow these to plant fall season stuff (like turnips and whatever) to attract poor, innocent deer for hunting season. Kendell is not excited about hunting deer. He is hunting arrowheads. Sadly enough he now has all the kids excited about hunting. Wesley found his first arrowhead a couple of weeks ago. At our house your worth as a child is not measured by athletic ability - but by your ability to spot a very small piece of shaped flint. It was a nice day - everyone had a nice ride on the ATV and mule (not an animal). I also included a picture of the really big spider Claire found in our backyard.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rocky Mountain National Park


We have had a busy week. Grandma came for grandparents day at school. Wesley has discovered he has his first loose tooth - Jessie has her first boyfriend - whatever that means. I thought I would post a photo of our vacation last yeat at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO. If you are interested in a great family trip - try the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park - We had a great time hiking, our kids loved the daycamp, and it was very relaxing. I also added a photo of the Great Wall of China to our title line. If you ever have a chance to go - also a great vacation spot.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

China News

After our documents go to China they sit on a shelf until they are reviewed for errors or other problems with the paperwork. This is the point at which they could decide you are not fit to adopt a Chinese baby - based on your homestudy, medical history, or one of the numerous other documents we had to submit. The good news is that they have almost made it to our documents - This doesn't mean we get a referral anytime soon - but once we are through review we are guarenteed a baby when it is our turn. The notice from the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs today says:

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before July 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 25, 2005

Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get notice that our documents are out of review! Our documents were registered August 2, 2006.

The Evil That Lurks Beneath


I don't mind lizards, I like turtles, I even don't mind little garter snakes. I don't, however, like large poisonous copperheads that are living under the paddleboat at our lake. This little guy was hanging out under the boat when Kendell went to turn it over yesterday. Then only problem was that he was under there with a friend who got away. This wouldn't worry me so much but it is not the first time Kendell has seen this snake under the boat - The problem it they seem to be reproducing and getter BIGGER! I am fairly sure that the missing snake is pregnant with 100 little baby poisonous snakes. Sorry about the gory photo - but I couldn't get Kendell to hold the snake up like that alive - He absolutely did not want me to post this picture - but I just can't resist showing you the wonderful wildlife that lives here in our little part of the country.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Love Without Boundaries (LWB)



This is one of my favorite charities which serves the children of China. I was introduced to the organization shortly after we received our referral for Claire in August 2005. The orphanage she was at is very rural and poor. They care for more than one hundred babies - most are under the age of one. The orphanage could not afford formula for all the babies so they were diluting it. A concerned parent - who had just received their baby contacted Love Without Boundaries. A nutrition program was started and through donations all the children at Xiushan Social Welfare Institute in Chongqing, China now receive all the high quality formula they need. LWB also provides medical care for children in need - most, but not all, of these children are orphans and absolutely would not get the surgery or medical treatment they need without this organization - many of these kids are able to find families now since they are healthy enough to be adopted. Please check out their blog at: http://lwbchinablog.blogspot.com/ . Check out their website at: http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/ . Consider supporting a child who needs help NOW by donating at: http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/SponsorMedical.ph . Our family has supported the nutrition, medical, and education programs. I know that when I support these kids - they now have a second chance for a permanent loving family. Thanks for listening to me ramble. I have included Claire's photo from referral so you know that an orphan is just a child who needs the love of a family - She doesn't look like an orphan anymore! Every one of these kids will thrive when given hope.

Monday, September 3, 2007

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Needs Stitches!!




We were having a great weekend. We went to a family reunion - everyone had fun - we had a nice ride home after we separated everyone in the car and I sat between Wesley and Jessie in the back of the van. We had a nice lunch at Chili's except for the fact that Claire cried for a lot of it because she has hand, foot, and mouth disease (therefore - lots of mouth sores - ouch!!!). We then got home a everyone was playing nicely - I was cutting out some quilt squares when I heard the scream. Jessie was trying to look innocent and Claire was crying hysterically. You know when you ask you kids "How many times do I have to tell you not to play on the treadmill?" Well of course it doesn't matter how many times I say it - because no one was listening. So, four stitches, 2 stickers and 3 slushes later we have successfully reattached Claire's little toe - By the way I made Kendell do the stitches - It seems like stitching up the kids should be a Daddy job - just like mowing on steep slopes and running the chainsaw - No need to worry - all is well here in our little abode now.

China Update

Another month has passed and China has finished matching children with their new parents - which is good news - the bad news is we really aren't much closer to being matched.

From the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs today:

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before June 30, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 25, 2005 ---

Our documents were registered on Aug. 2, 2006 - Over the last month they have matched 4 days of documents - over the last 5 months they have not even gotten through one month of documents - So there are still 9 months of families waiting ahead of us -- in a line which is not really moving - So we continue to wait -
Hope everyone had a good Labor Day - I will post pictures of our fun weekend later.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Movie Review - Blood Diamond

WOW - This was one powerful movie. It was excellent. It was disturbing. I highly reccomend this movie. This would be on my list of favorites - I like reality though. This is one movie that everyone should see. I was reading a little about conflict diamonds. The info. I read indicated that conflict diamonds now account for less than 1% of the diamonds on the market. Diamonds that come out of Angola, Sierra Leone, and Botswana are now conflict-free and supposedly the profits from these actually benefit the citizens of these countries. As with all info. on the internet I don't know if it is true - but I learned a lot as a result of watching this movie. (I also reccomend Hotel Rwanda if you are interested in learning more about African conflict)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Karate Kid





Wesley got his Karate uniform today (OK - do you call it a uniform? I have no idea). I thought he looked pretty spiffy in his outfit. And just as I suspected - Jessie - who hated Karate after going to class twice - absolutely must have one of those outfits and is planning on starting Karate on Thursday just so she can have one! Note in the second photo that Wesley kick is so fast you can't even see it - I know - he looks just like The Real Karate Kid (I LOVED that movie when I was a kid!!) Claire wanted to show off the necklaces we made at cub scouts - I thought they were cool and a spiffy little craft project for our family of so little artistic ability.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day of School



You know how emabarrassing it was when your parents walked you to school when you were a kid. Well - it is even sort of embarassing being the parent doing silly things like taking pictures of the kids at the bus stop - I don't think anyone was looking though. Wes and Jess have had a great time at school so far - and say they LOVE school - Now that I think of it I better take a video of them saying this tonight so I can keep it for when they are not so excited about their education.
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