Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

THIS IS OUR YEAR!!!! Undeniably, it will be the best year of our life! Tonight I am happy, grateful, and feeling so fortunate to have the life we have. Everything in our lives has led us to this point. Every up and every down has made us who we are and given us a chance to learn and grow. Every moment of the wait has made us love and appreciate and anticipate this beautiful daughter of ours that much more. Reflecting on the past year, I see that everything had it's perfect place in our life and we are better for it. We are more ready than ever and will be better parents thanks to all the time we had to plan and get prepared.

The picture above is a Chinese New Year shot, but I couldn't help but post it for our New Year. It made me think of Ruby, Frank, Lily, Baby G, Mia, Marlie, Hayden, Joel, Penny and all the other wonderful children coming home to their parents this year. They are on their way! This is their year! We wish all of you a very happy new year and look forward to sharing in all your homecoming stories. 2009 is gonna ROCK!

I am not going out to a fancy restaurant tonight or even to a party. I'm not even with my dear husband. I am out of town working an auto show and he is at home. We both opted to stay in and have a quiet, relaxing evening and we'll call each other at midnight. But my heart is overflowing tonight as I think about how lucky I am. Oh, I made my normal New Year's resolution list that may or may not be followed through like every other year (lose a few lbs, exercise more often, do this more, do that more, get better at this or that). But the only thing I really care about accomplishing is being a great parent to my daughter. To bringing her home and showing her more love than she could ever know. To being a happy family of 3 and enjoying every single joyful, crying, laughing, silly, tiring, messy, blissful, crazy, wonderful moment of it! 

Ruby Kate this is your year, baby. Your coming HOME!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Blessing In Disguise

At least I hope so! We just found out we have to re-do our home study due to Jeff changing his job this coming year. We knew we would probably have to do an addendum. However, we just found out the USCIS is no longer accepting them. It seems they are getting more and more strict with their paperwork. I'm not quite sure what all is involved, but we will probably have to get updated financials, proof of his new employment/ownership of company, etc. That's not a big deal. Not sure if we have to do ALL of the home study paperwork over again. I mean, it can be done, but could take time. Hopefully we won't have to. I guess we will see. 

So how is this a blessing? Well, at least we are finding out NOW. There are families that have had a lot of problems and one that has been in Thailand for over a month. I am feeling rather grateful that we got this information and can start working on it immediately verses scrambling for it and praying for a fax from home to get to the office in Bangkok. Even if we get our referral in Jan, we probably won't travel till Feb or March so we should have plenty of time to get everything done and sent to the the USCIS office - both here and in Bangkok. So yes, I am thinking this is a good thing that at the very least we know it now and can handle it now and on our own turf.

The other good news to this is that our agency said it wouldn't hold up anything on the Thai side. Dossier is in and we are all set there. Which means it won't hold us up on getting that referral or travel date. It could only hold us up on the back end (meaning at the USCIS office) when we get there. So busy, busy, busy we will be the next few weeks making sure we have everything we need to get a new home study! Of course, if the worst thing happened and we were STILL held up in Bangkok awhile it wouldn't be the end of the world. Inconvenient, yes. But the end of the world, no. We'll have our girl and that is all that matters. Jeff would stay as long as he could, but if he had to go back I would stay with her and wait for things to get processed. Going to try to keep that in my mind and prepare myself for anything. And of course, get our documents done as quickly and efficiently as we can.

Wish us luck!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Nice Evening, A New Friend

One of the cool things in life is our supposed coincidences.  I say "supposed" because I don't really believe in them. I feel like everything happens for a reason. When I booked the auto show in Indianapolis I wasn't thrilled. Glad for the work, yes. (I won't be working when Ruby gets here so it's good for both my mind and my wallet to stay busy). And God knows how I love to shop! Still, I was kind-of kicking myself for taking a job requiring me to get up at 4:30 am to catch a 7:20 flight the day after Christmas. With a full house. But I thought, well, I should take it. 

Shortly thereafter, I found out a fellow mom and blogger, Ellie, lives there and we would have the chance to meet! Our daughters are from the same orphanage and we hope someday the girls will get a chance to meet and become friends as we have. She and her husband drove down to meet me and we had a wonderful evening. A great dinner, great conversation, and we could have talked for hours more had we had the time. Isn't it funny how life works sometimes? I really think it's no accident who we get to meet. I have stumbled onto all of your blogs or you found mind for a reason. We each have something to share. To give. Even if it's just knowing that there is someone out there that really knows exactly how you feel. I am so very glad for that and the miraculous ways we are there for each other!

One last thing I'd like to mention is Ellie's thoughtfulness. She gave me the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts! I was very touched.  3 great books that are all about characters named Ruby and a personalized necklace. A silver disc that has Ruby Kate engraved on it! I haven't taken it off since. A really special thing and a great new friend. How lucky am I? (Thanks, Ellie!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas

Me and the Moms all dressed in our holiday brights!
Me & Mom in the kitchen. You can't see it in the pic but my apron says "Domestic Diva". A b-day gift from my mother in law. 

My brother Dave (im)patiently waiting for dinner. Don't let the cute smile fool ya! Note the serious candles I had going at the table...won't be having those next year!

Melissa and my adorable nephew, Ryan.
I got to steal him for a minute!

My brother Jason passing the presents to Ryan to hand out to everyone. 

Wow, what a really nice Christmas we had. Last month I feared I'd be all emotional and it would be the worst ever, but you know what? It was actually one of the best! Having all of the family down this week has been great. I love a full house. I love having our coffee and breakfast together, hearing the kitchen buzzing before I even get up. I loved seeing my Mom and Jeff's Mom working together in the kitchen Christmas day. I loved seeing my  3 year old nephew and my brother Dave's  face light up as they opened their presents. I love a full dinner table with all of my loved ones gathered around it. A house filled with music and talking and laughter. It's just wonderful. My Mom and David, Jeff's Mom & Dad, my Brother Jason, his wife Melissa, her Mom, Marie, and our nephews Anthony and Ryan all were over for Christmas eve. It's been awhile since I made dinner for that many and I was relieved that it turned out good! At least every one seemed to like it! :-) On Christmas day, Jeff's Mom, LaRae, made us a big traditional dinner - even pumpkin pie! Our neighbors, Al & Sylvette, who are like family to us came over and joined us. It was fantastic and everyone had such a good time.

LaRae & Mom whipping up something good!

Woody, LaRae, Jeff (back row) showing Sylvete & Al the Elfyourself video I made for them.

I am so grateful for our family. One of the most special things about this holiday was that everyone remembered Ruby this year. She may not be with us yet, but BOY, was she there in spirit. Everyone is very excited to welcome her into the family and it really means so much to us. My Mom got her the most adorable fuzzy coat, two gorgeous outfits, a book, and a stuffed puppy dog. My brother got her a sweet Asian baby doll. The antique rocker that Jeff's parents gave us is BEAUTIFUL and looks great in the living room. Of course, it will look a whole lot nicer once our sweet pea is in it! Can you believe that something Jeff's grandfather played in as a kid is still in great shape and ready for our little one to bounce and glide around in? They sure don't make them like that anymore! 

I got 2 beautiful pictures of our Ruby blown up and put in frames for the grandparents. They really loved them. I got the pictures from a mom that picked up her son from the same orphanage a few months back. We are so lucky to have these beautiful pictures of our little girl that this mom gave to us and so great to share with our parents.

Our Christmas Cards to each other and the pretty flower arrangement Jeff got me.

Jeff & I always get stockings for each other. We've been doing this ever since our first year together when he surprised me with a stocking with my name on it. So cute. Another thing is we always have a card for one another. (I keep every single one in a big box we will look through one day when we are old.) We opened our cards Christmas morning to find they were almost identical! Same color, same snowflake on the front, almost the same wording. Obviously made by the same company. The only difference was that mine said "For My Wife" and his said "For My Husband". Even what we wrote was similar! We both hand wrote something like "2009 is our year...this year's going to be great...the year we get our baby!" How cute is that? How I love that man. We are still in synch after all these years. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself. We often will get dressed to go out somewhere and be in the same color. We just look at each other and go, okay, who's changing? 

Me & The Hubby being silly. 

Anyway, before I make you all sick I will stop with my mushy couple stories! I am in Indianapolis now for an auto show. The holidays left me a bit tired and I'm looking forward to getting some rest here. AND going back to the gym and eating normal food. Meaning meals not including Christmas cookies, chocolate, pies, and bread! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and will have a happy, happy new year! A new year filled with a little ones laughter and lots of hugs and smiles!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Weekly Inspiration

This came from a Christmas card I got in the mail and I just loved it.

This Christmas
Mend a quarrel
Seek out a forgotten friend
Write a love letter
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forgive an enemy.
Apologize if you were wrong.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind and gentle.
Laugh a little.
Laugh a little more!
Express your gratitude.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love.
Speak it again.
Speak it still once more.

Isn't that nice? One of the nicer cards I have ever received. Inside it said Joy to you this Christmas and throughout the coming year. Never have truer words been said. For this is a year of much joy and we are going to cherish every minute of it! Wishing you and your families joy, peace, and much happiness this season.  Whatever your holiday or celebration, do it with love and joy. And have yourselves a fabulous New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Celebration Begins!

We already started Christmas around here and are having a ball. No more time for tears. Now is the time for hope and happiness and sharing! Drove to our hometown this weekend to see family and had SUCH a wonderful time. Have a million things to do today to get ready for everyone coming here tomorrow, but here are a few highlights of the weekend.
Dinner with my Dad Saturday evening.

Dad and his wonderful fiance' Lyn at dinner. Lyn picked out the most adorable pink and black Puma sweat suit for Ruby and a sweet Calvin Klein white puffy coat with pink lining and a faux fir trimmed hood. So thoughtful! Ruby is going to look so cute in them!
Me with the moose Dad & Lyn got for Ruby Kate. My Dad has been doing Bullwinkle impressions for as long as I can remember so it was so fitting! I think he is excited to have a new audience. LOL. We are excited for him to have a new audience, too! :-)

Dinner with LaRae & Woody, Jeff's parents. We had such a great visit with them and I had wonderful talks with his mom. She surprised us with some beautiful wooden pieces from the family for our Ruby. A wooden cradle that was Grandma Wolfgang's with antique dolls - one that was Jeff's moms as a girl! And then a rocker/glider that has been in the Kitzmiller family for generations. Such an incredible thing for them to give to our daughter and how much it means that it was theirs when they were children. We were really touched by their kindness and how excited they are to meet their granddaughter!
Had a really nice time visiting Grandma "Kitzy" as we call her. Such a sweet lady and our last Grandparent between the 2 of us. We sure do love her and enjoyed our time with her.

Love this picture of my guys! This is my brother David with Jeff at Mom's house. Had a nice time seeing all the Kimmels, too, but it was such a rushed visit I forgot to get out the camera! I can't believe it cause I am the mad picture taker!! So Lu, Llara, Greg, Ann, Drew, Reed, Regina, and was great to see you all, too! Also got to stop by and see my Uncle Mike and Sophie who live 2 doors down from my mom. They are just the sweetest, most wonderful people, and they, too, thought of our little Ruby. Aunt Soph had a sweet little summer outfit for our angel. Blue shorts with a sweet little tank with blue flowers on it.

Last, but not least, my dear, sweet Mommy. Had a too-short-but-sweet visit at her house on Monday with her family, but looking forward to her coming down this tomorrow to spend Christmas with us. Can't wait!

Wishing all of you out there are wonderful holiday. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hannakuh or Kwanza or any other celebration of love and peace...I hope it is your best ever! We are so happy for the families that have their children home this holiday and we sit in excitement and anticipation of our girl, along with all the other families still waiting. 2009 is our year and it's coming up fast! 

Peace & Love,
Jennifer & Jeff

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friendship in Pictures

The journey to parenthood has been a trying one, but not entirely dull. During the wait, we made it a point to go out more and get together with friends and "kick up our heels" a bit while we are still just a couple. So here is a highlight of some good times we have had the last year or two with the incredible people in our lives that we call friends.

A Day In The Big Apple

Oh, how I love NY! Especially at Christmas time. The hustle, the bustle, the smell of roasted chestnuts, the lights everywhere.... love it all! I had such a wonderful day today. Went up to see some of my best girlfriends - Tammy, Kimi, and Sherry. First Tam & Kimi & I had a great lunch together in the West Village. Then we hit the famous Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake and cookie (what? there are no calories over the holidays!) Then Tam & I headed uptown to site-see and window shop all day. Can you believe I didn't buy anything? It's funny how many times I have been in the city and never took time to be a tourist. It was great fun! 

Took the subway to Times Square (42nd) and then walked all the way up to Rockefeller Center, past all the fancy shops all lit up in holiday cheer, and finally to the king of all toy stores: FAO Schwartz. I wish I would have taken pics but I was too excited. Words can't quite describe it. 3 stories of fabulous cuteness. They actually had a "nursery" in the Middleton doll section (with very cute Asian dolls BTW) where little girls stood in line to hold a "newborn". They had "nurses" on staff to show the girls how you hold the baby and a rocking chair that they sat on with their baby to feed it and a little blankie on their lap. So. Darn. Cute. I got a little teary at that site, but other than that I was just giddy. I am feeling myself again and just happier than ever knowing what is in store for us. And you can bet Ruby & I will be standing in that line one day... as well as the design your own Barbie line! I'm such a kid at heart, I think I will have as much fun as she will!

After FAO Schwartz, we met up with our good friend Sherry and got to visit with her before heading back to the train station. A wonderful day with some dear friends! I love you guys!!

Tammy & I by the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and Skating Rink. 

Here is the Rockefeller skating rink. I have been dreaming of skating here since I was a little kid and my Gram brought us up to see it and the Radio City Christmas show every year. Tam can't do it cause of her back. Kimi & Sherry might if we could get our schedules together. Jeff always says a definitely no. Mom says not a chance.  So, Miss looks like it's you and me kid! Can't wait to do this with you someday!

Okay this was so over the top I had to shoot it. How crazy/fabulous/but ridiculous is this? Louis Vuitton decorated their building like one of their bags for the holidays. Lights were even shaped like the colored logo. You have to admit, it's kinda cool looking.

Hustle & bustle on 5th Avenue. Wish you could have seen that robo-santa in the red suit (left side of picture). Pretty funny! This was right in front of the toy store.

Another highlight was using the Charmin bathroom at Times Square. Evidently, Charmin rents a whole building each year during the holidays to promote their product and give a nice clean bathroom to dire tourists. It was hilarious. There was actually a guy standing out front in a toilet costume saying "it's free to pee" and "try the Charmin". Inside was like Charmin heaven with music and dancing Charmin people everywhere. They even had a playground inside and stage for kids to dance and I guess entertain themselves while Mom & Dad took care of bathroom duty. LOL. Only in NY. Check out their website for their super clean potty locations.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Don't Mess With The Moms!

Okay, I had to smile at the great response I got to my last post. Mom's speak out! I posted the link that I found offensive in the last post. I will go back and highlight it so the link takes you right there. Take a look if you want and decide for yourself if you think it's appropriate. Really, the comments I got were not mean or hateful. Odd at times and on a few occasions I get links like this one to sites pushing US adoptions only or talking negatively about international adoptions. Now mind you, I find that very rude and offensive since CLEARLY we are PRO-international adoption, but heck, it ain't the end of the world.

And, like most things, it happened for a darn good reason. For one, I have found support and kinship in all of you that commented and emailed. I also decided to make the blog private soon which is better for our family in the long run. It's a good idea for me to get used to unwanted comments anyway. We will surely get them from time to time. So it's good for me to thicken the skin now...AND come up with some really great come-backs! And lastly, I got some really nice emails from readers that have written me to tell me they follow the blog and want an invite. So hey, I might have picked up a few new friends! It will probably take me a week or so yet to make the blog private so if you want an invite and are not crazy or rude, please email me. (Email at the top of blog in welcome paragraph). I'd also love to see your blogs, so if you have one, send a link! Once our girl is home and we can legally put her pic up I may go public again. We'll see.

Thanks again for the support I have gotten from so many of you lately! It's nice to know we are in this together! And speaking of which....a very special thank you to fellow blogger and friend, Jess for the gift package for Ruby! So incredibly thoughtful! The first song on the the CD is beautiful! Didn't get to rest yet cause I was too busy snuffling. For the rest of you it's called My Daughter's Eyes. Look it up and heed this warning: get a couple tissues first!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Going Private Soon

Just wanted to let you all know I will be making the blog private soon. If you'd like to be on the list, please email me. Many of you that I email and talk to often will be included anyway, as well as all close friends and family.

As much as I have enjoyed sharing with everyone out there in blog land and getting to know so many of you that are also adopting, I feel we will soon be getting our referral and want to keep some details more private. I am also getting the odd comment now and again and just don't feel like dealing with it. Some just want to sell something and others want to point out the problems with international adoption. I woke up to a disturbing comment yesterday morning. Actually, the comment was not disturbing itself. The anonymous comment said no hello or words, but just directed me to a website and article that said inter-country adoption is pointless and makes people who are strangers in our country, etc. I was horrified. As if this process isn't hard enough. Now I have to deal with uninformed people's opinions too? Just to clarify a few things (not that I should have to) but here it is...

1. Thailand's program is long standing and has never had corruption. I appreciate those advocating for children worldwide. I understand there have been problems in other countries, but Thailand's program as been heralded for being on the up and up. Furthermore, their government takes great effort to keep the children in country and with their birthparents or other family members before releasing them for international adoption.  Most children are not released until 1 year old for this reason. Those condemning all international adoption should do their homework on the subject.
2. I  (as well as other adoptive parents) are well aware of the loss and difficulties of international adoption. We know that it may be difficult at times for our child to be different, not look like their parents, and some times they may feel like they don't "fit in". That's what loving parents are for. To help them, guide them, reassure them over and over, get them therapy if they need, hold their hand, and love them deeply.  Parents should be well informed, open and honest with their children, making it easy for their children to communicate with them. The road may not always be easy, but it is a road worth traveling and far better than living their life at an orphanage. How anyone could say international adoption is pointless is beyond me. It was obviously not someone who as gotten to know all the wonderful, happy families out there as I have. Of course, there will be challenges, but we will get through them.
3. I use the words grateful and thankful a lot. However, I use them as they apply to ME. I would NEVER expect my child to be "grateful" for a life she didn't choose. Grateful for the sun that shines and the food on our table and life itself, but never for adoption. I don't believe we are "saving" a child. I believe we are the lucky ones. We both do. But I do know that this particular child with her particular needs and circumstances does need us and we are happy that both our needs (and hearts) will be fufilled by the gift of adoption. I ask that others try not to judge things they know nothing about.

Okay, done venting. If anyone wants to read said article, go to: We now go back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Stocking For Ruby Kate

I took this picture of her room today. On her mantel are a few special things. The bear from her Uncle Jason & Aunt Melissa, the bear from her God-parents (my cousin) Lauren & Chris. A few special trinkets and gifts from friends - a little necklace that says her name, a bear with a toy box, a solid rose quartz heart, and my Grandmother's pink rosary beads. We got my Gram the rosary at the Vatican when we visited Rome a few years back. I love having it in the baby's room and feel like she is watching over her. My Gram's name was Katherine (Kate) hence Ruby's middle name. Such a very special lady and greatly missed. Will post a picture here for our daughter to see one day. (Going to make this blog into a book). Ruby's picture is in the frame on the mantel that says "Dreams Come True" but I had to blur it out for now.  I promise to post pictures as soon as we are allowed. Here are some pics of my sweet Gram...

This was us, Summer 2004. My Gram & I were very close. I love this picture because it's such a funny reminder of how alike we were.  Both SO girlie, loved shopping and all things fashion, and both our favorite colors were (and mine are) red and pink. I showed up at her house dressed like this, and well, you can see how in synch we were! It was so funny, I had to have someone take a picture.

This was taken a year or so later at my cousin Chrissy's wedding. I love the smiles and warmth of this shot. They were dancing and boy, did she love my Jeff.  She used to say, "Better watch it! I'm going to steal that cute husband of yours!"

I hung a pretty pink stocking in Ruby Kate's room today. It has a large sparkly crown on it. There were supposed to be 4 pink balls next to it (but, oops!) I broke one and it shattered all over the place.  So, 2 it is! I vacuumed the whole room lest one shred be left on the floor. Anyway, I will be packing them up after Christmas (for say, 10 years) and will go out searching for kid-friendly plastic or wooden ornaments. For now, Ruby's room looks pretty. I want her to see the picture of her room someday and know that even though she wasn't here yet, she was every bit a part of our holiday. She is in every thought and every daily task. She is with us all day long and in our dreams at night.  Wishing you love today, dear daughter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Little Things That Bring On Christmas Cheer During The Wait

Our Christmas Tree 2008

1. Picking out a Christmas tree with your significant other.
2. Bringing it home and smelling the pine smell throughout the house.
3. Decorating the Christmas tree and house (and enjoying those fancy glass ornaments for the last time!)
4. Hanging a stocking for your child. Even if they aren't home yet. 
5. Baking homemade (and healthy) oatmeal cookies from scratch.
6. Making "comfort" foods like homemade soups, pasta, and, yes, cookies.
7. Buying gifts for all the special people in your life...especially all the kids. 
8. Doing good for others in need. (This always makes you feel better).
9. Day dreaming of all the fun you'll have when your child is home.
10. Keeping yourself OUT of the doll or girlie toy aisle of Toys R US or Target. (Okay this one is just for me!) 
11. Reach out to friends you haven't talked to in awhile and see how they are doing.
12. Sitting by the fire together and doing romantic holiday "date" nights.
13. Making plans and talking about all the traditions you'll share with your child next year. 
14. Listening to Christmas carols and singing along.
15. Doing something "Christmas-y", like seeing a show or just taking a ride to admire all the lights.
16. Hanging a few decorations in baby's room in her honor. 
17. Having faith that your child will be home soon.
18. Believing it with all your might and planning for it. (Stocking the house with things you'll need for a toddler, practicing kid-friendly recipes, etc).
19. Remembering all the things you have to grateful for.
20. Believing in the miracle of love, adoption, and of course, Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Little Hope

We got an email from Wacap tonight. Boy, did I need some news today! Went Christmas shopping and it was so depressing to see one cute kid/toy/dress/doll/santa/stocking/teddy bear after another and know my daughter wouldn't know any of that merriment this year. I wondered what my baby was doing at that moment? What would she be doing over the holiday? Everything reminds me of her. Everything makes we want to hold her in my arms and tell her it's okay. Even though my head knows there is an end to this wait, some days my heart just does not get the memo! It feels like maybe I am dreaming all this up and somehow the referral will never come.

I just could not shake the blues today so Jeff insisted that we get out and go shopping. Imagine ME having to be drug out of the house to go shopping! That should tell you something. Well, we shopped a bit then took a break. Went to dinner, and then went back to finish our Christmas shopping. (Nearly done!) By the time we had dinner and I started to perk up a bit. We got some really cute stuff for all the kids in the family. Jeff and I had a really great talk at dinner. It's amazing to me after all this time how we can have such great, deep conversation like we did about life, family, our daughter, etc. He's so great. Just as dinner was over he checked his Blackberry and saw we got an email from Wacap.

She said that the DSDW is working hard on Wacap's cases (yay!) and they should have the next batch of referrals in 4-6 weeks. OMG, 4-6 weeks! That is mid to end of January! Yes, I know you can all add, but I had to say it out loud. It's funny because last week I was bummed to hear Jan instead of December, but tonight I am elated just to know it is coming! I was beginning to wonder if Jan would turn into Feb and the wait would go on and on. Now I know I shouldn't get too excited (well, okay, too late for that) but I am! She doesn't know for sure if we will actually be in that next batch. She won't know until she actually has them in hand. But I have to believe we will since she said we were next in line last month. Gosh, do I dare to hope? Can't it really be possible? It HAS to be. (Denial works for me, LOL, so I'm going with it)...

Okay now say it with me: I am not dreaming. Our referral is coming soon! 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good News From Thailand

No, not ours. But we found out another couple adopting from Thailand just got their daughter. I have been staying off blog land for a few days, but Jeff read it and ran down to the kitchen this morning to say "Read their blog! They got their daughter!" It was really sweet. And it's amazing how much it means to know a couple we have never met finally got their girl. Love conquers all. A child finally gets her forever family. It gives us hope and shows us the light at the end of the tunnel. We WILL all get our happy ending. It just takes time, love, dedication, faith, and that dreaded word: PATIENCE. But it WILL happen.  In the meantime, staying busy!

Still cooking and  cleaning. The new blinds are up (thanks to Jeff) and the curtains washed and hung. Safety proofing the house this week. Ordered cord keepers and misc gadgets and going to look at safety gates today. Thinking of washing some of Ruby's clothes and diapers. Yes, I know it is early yet, but what the heck? Washing and folding her little PJ's will bring me some comfort. It is at least something I can do for her as I sit here feeling helpless. 

Cooking like mad, too. Yesterday I made a spring minestrone soup from a cookbook my friend, Muk, got me for my birthday. It's a wonderful book called Super Natural Cooking. by Heidi Swanson. It turned out really good and I'm even thinking it may be something the baby will like.  It's made with vegetable stock, brown rice, sweet peas, sugar peas, and asparagus. May leave out the last 2 and add in tiny bits of carrots when I make it for our daughter.

Anyway, I made a pan of lasagna (my first ever) and it didn't turn out half bad. I had a taste of it but saved it for dinner tonight (ha - and the rest of the week. There is a lot of it!) For dinner I made poached salmon with a cucumber yogurt dill sauce and steamed carrots. Jeff is loving my new-found stress reliever and has enjoyed all the dishes, so far. Of course, he is easy to please. When we first met my cooking skills were non-existent. I remember how happy he was the first time I made him a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup (a comfort food staple where I grew up). He just smiled and said "you make a MEAN grilled cheese, honey!" How cute is he? If I didn't already know it, I sure knew I would marry him then! :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Domestic Bliss

As the holidays (and endless wait) have left me a bit blue these days, I decided to kick myself in the pants and get moving. I'm cleaning like crazy and dusted off all my cook books. I haven't been cooking so much lately and am feeling creative. It could either be a really great or really not-so-great week for Jeff as I experiment! LOL!

So has anyone out there ever taken down their blinds to give a good cleaning? Just dusting them wasn't cutting it so I decided to tackle this project today. What a pain in the neck! Two of them were all tangled up and rusted (and old as dirt) so my plan B is I am pitching them in the garbage and buying new ones. Only about $4-5 each at Lowes. Wish I thought of that earlier!

Anyway, laundry to do, dry cleaning to drop off, groceries to buy, and yummy things to make! If you don't see a new post in a couple days, I am still in the kitchen. Send help. :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snowy Morning

Woke up to a dusting of white and thinking about another dream. This time it wasn't Jeff or myself, but a good friend that dreamt we got the news of our baby. So hoping it's a sign! 

We had a great time last night. Had dinner with some good friends for a (belated) birthday celebration for my big 4-0. Went to a nice Indian restaurant nearby. My curry was amazing! I just love spicy food. So good to see these friends and it was especially nice of them to come out on such a cold, cold, snowy night! This morning there is still a bit left on the ground. It's SOOOO COLD today and I am not much of a fan of that, but it does look very pretty so I took a few shots from inside the front door...

Look at my little "model" posing on the porch!
Chloe...such a good little doggie.

What a nice weekend we have had so far. Yesterday morning before it got REALLY cold, we bundled up and took the dog for a walk in the park. Then we came home and plopped on the couch for a few blissfully lazy hours and watched TV. Jeff had taped one of our favorite shows - Extreme Make-Over Home Edition. They were the best 2 episodes ever! Both tear jerkers, but so beautiful! Both about subjects near and dear to our hearts. One was a family with 2 special needs kids and a local guy with Cerebral Palsey that not only handled his condition, but also married, had kids, and started his own coffee shop that employs all people with SN's. It was so amazing. The second one was about a family that adopted 8 kids from Haiti & US. Their love and dedication to their children was beautiful and inspiring.  So great to see a show on TV that gives back to the community and at the same time makes people aware of what great things people can do when they open their hearts. We are absolutely addicted this show!

We have our friends' kids birthday party today so another good day in store. Will post more pics tomorrow. Hope you all are having a great weekend & staying warm!

Friday, December 5, 2008

1 Year Ago Today, On The King's Birthday

...we started this journey. It's hard to believe it's been a year already! In some ways it went so fast. In other ways it seemed we'd never get this far. Okay, at times it has felt eternal!!! But I must say how much we have grown these last 12 months. We've learned so much about adoption, parenting, children, Thai language/culture/religion/holidays....and more about ourselves. We have grown spiritually, grown deeper in our relationships with family, made new friends within the adoption community, and are more ready than ever to be the best parents we can to our little girl. We signed with Wacap on Dec. 5th, 2007 on the King of Thailand's birthday. This was coincidence, of course, but kind-of cool, I think!

We had a long phone call with our agency last night. She confirmed some things we knew and shed some light on some things we didn't. Seems the conflict over there has not caused too much in the way of delays so that is all good. However, she is feeling - because of other cases the SW's have to work on - it may be more like January now until we get that referral. I was very bummed to hear that, and yet at least I know. I would have been sitting around waiting for it all month and disappointed every day it didn't come. So at least we know not to expect it. Going to just busy myself with the holidays and be glad we are in the home stretch. I know I have said this about 100 times now, but here it goes again...

Now back to the King of Thailand...

Sending out peace and love to the patriarch of our beautiful daughter's country! He hasn't been feeling well lately so we wish him good health, too. I saw a really cute link today that someone posted on the yahoo group. In case some of you haven't seen it, click here. Seems pink is an auspicious (lucky) color for the king to wear right now for his health. He was seen wearing a pink jacket when he was released from the hospital today (above) and it's starting a fashion craze over there with everyone rushing out to get a pink shirt. How cute is that? And hey, who am I to pass on a great fashion trend? Going to march upstairs and don a pink sweater in honor of the king! I am betting they will dress that beautiful daughter of ours in pink, too. How cute she must look!
People in line to buy a pink shirt.

Retailers are ready with pink shirts with Royal Crest on it.

It's nice to see the Thai have peace and something to celebrate today! Think pink people!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vegas Pictures

Pictures can say more than a thousand words so I will say very little. (How unlike me, huh?) The Venetian was beautiful and romantic and we even did the gondola ride around the place. What can I say? I'm a sucker for all things romantic!

This was the first night in and around our hotel. The bottom left was the view from our room. You can click on the collages to make them bigger.
This was the 2nd night. Dinner at Tao. Such a cool place. The blue thing is pool/stage at the new Wynn Hotel when we went to see Le Reve. The cool chandeliers are from the Wynn also.
View of Paris Hotel and the water fountain show at the Bellagio. Fun night. We did a progressive dinner. Glass of wine overlooking the Bellagio water show. Appetizer at Caesars. Dinner at Bradley Ogden at the other end of Caesars. Planned on doing a different course at a different casino, but it was too chilly and we were hungry!

All in all, a very nice trip! Guess I still said a few words now didn't I? Imagine what I'd have to say if I didn't have the pictures!

Kids Birthday Party

Today was HARD. I thought I could handle it. I really did. I walked into our friends house with a smile plastered to my fast, trying to convince even myself that I am fine. But I am not fine. A room full of beautiful children, cute little party outfits, toys, presents, decorations and laughter greated me. It's okay, I thought. Be strong. I can handle this. Then one kind, well meaning friend after another asked me about the adoption. How is she? When will you get her? When are you going? How old will she be? Do they do anything for Christmas? Gosh, isn't it so hard? Why does it take so long?? I couldn't answer any of their questions. The only one I knew for sure was that YES it was very, very hard to not have your child home. Especially this time of year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Weekly Inspiration

"BELIEVE in your whole heart something wonderful is about to happen" - Flavia

Jeff had a great dream last night. He saw Ruby playing in the grass - like maybe in a play ground or at the orphanage -and having fun with the other kids. We were traveling to get her. He woke up and said "I have a very good feeling about this. I think we are getting our referral soon". He has very good instincts and had a good feeling the week we got the news in June that she was going to be our daughter. So I am going with that and am praying with all my might that we will hear something soon. 

We are thrilled to hear the news that the military coup is ending in Thailand! The PM has stepped down (or was voted out). The airports will be re-opening and families that have long waited for their child are now going to be able to travel. What a wonderful Christmas present! We wish Chandra & Jay and others out there in the blog world the best and safest of journeys!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Well, after a busy month of travel I am finally home. It feels so good, I don't even mind the cold! Tomorrow we are going to do some Christmas shopping and maybe get a tree. I am determined to not focus on what we don't have this holiday (our baby) and focus on what we do (each other). As hard as that can be at times, I just have to be strong. Our little girl is strong enough to survive everything she has already endured in her young life. I can toughen up and be more patient.We will have so many wonderful holidays with her and have so much to look forward to! For this year, we will have a somewhat quiet, relaxed, maybe even romantic Christmas and a small party with our immediate family at the house on Christmas eve. Looking forward to it.

In the meantime, there is shopping, decorating, helping others in need, taking my Mom to NYC to see Rockefeller Center an the big tree there, and getting together with friends and family. Bet this month will go by as quickly as last month. One more month closer to Ruby!

Pics from my travels coming next.