Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Waiting for Kai

I have a dear friend here in my small town. This friend and I have only seen each other a handful of times. We've never been to each other's house... we've never gone shopping together... we've never done a "girl's weekend." This friend and I have a bond, though... despite our busy schedules, different social circles and activities. You see we are kindred spirits because we're both adoptive mommies who have shared the same cup of wanting, waiting and desperate hope. We know the feeling of living on the computer desperate for news of our little ones across the ocean. We know how the other has sat in an empty nursery that waits for the baby to needs it so desperately. We know the agonizing fear that our daughters may not have what they need and the powerlessness of being able to help them. We know the hours the other has spent on their knees praying unceasingly for God to open the doors behind which our little girls waited. We know. We just know. While close friends surrounded both of us as we waited & waited... offered encouragement... pleaded to help... only those who have walked in the same shoes truly know the specific feelings and desire and fear associated with international adoption. My adoption journey was rocky. And my friend's has been the same. Soon after I returned home with My Dreamgirl in June I met this friend for lunch. That day she was hopeful to travel to Vietnam "any time now" for her daughter Kai. That "time" was much longer and more agonizing than she ever imagined. The end of the story is that finally, Kai is coming home. My friend and her husband overnight have received final approval from the USCIS and now boarding that plane will be sweeter and more joyous than it ever could have been this past summer. Congratulations to my sweet friend. My Dreamgirl & I cannot wait to meet your long-awaited daughter and celebrate with you today!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Recently, through Facebook, I was able to reconnect with an old high school friend I probably haven't seen or talked to since our high school graduation on a muggy June night in 1991. I knew this friend had left the South to pursue a new life out West, while I created my adult life here in the Peach State where we grew up. Upon becoming my friend's "friend" again on Facebook, I was able to view his children... beautiful girls... and cute, seemingly well-behaved dogs (unlike mine) and then I got a glimpse of this...

This breathtaking photograph is a picture of his backyard. As in... what he sees when he looks out his backdoor. I was in awe. The scene was so beautiful and idyllic that I immediately was jealous of the beauty & peace that surrounds his family everyday in their home. Gorgeous. With a capital "G." And as the days passed... as I walked around my house looking out upon my backyard... I wondered where did I go wrong? Let's look out my backdoor and see if it compares to the Colorado beauty of my friend's.

Greeting you when you walk out my back door is the brown shag rug that belongs in my big girls' room. My cat pooped on it one night... right in front of me. I freaked!!! and threw the cat & the rug out the backdoor. I haven't called the carpet cleaner out yet to sanitize it so on the back porch rail it waits.

Next is a trash can that is overflowing with empty cat food bags. Does Big Daddy T need an invitation to empty it's contents into the dumpster?

Here is my cat responsible for the aforementioned pooping and eating of the cat food once contained in the peach bags.

Here's another picture of my friend's backyard. Look at his dogs playing happily. The mountain stream flowing through the property. The picnic tables set up on the manicured lawn.

Here's my backyard. My naked pool, which is growing colder by the day and spending autumn collecting leaves that fall from the trees that surround it. Another summer passed without us finding time to landscape around it. The pool equipment stands unhidden for the world to see... like a zit on the face of my pool area. Nice, huh?

Here's a hole that My Baby Boy put in my deck last week. Oops. Glad that the outdoor fireplace screen will now spend the winter covering the hole rather than shielding us from the sparks of the fire. Looks like that fireplace screen has spent one too many days in the rain.

Sitting side by side on the holey deck I saw one of my good cereal bowsl... wonder which baby left that out there... sitting next to one of my snorkle fins. There is no telling where the fin's partner is. It appears the kids confiscated this one, used it in the chlorinated pool & left it to weather in the hot, beating Southern summertime.

This bowl has been out in the backyard long enough to become a yellow jacket graveyard. I wonder what it's like to drown in Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk?

Do you see any cereal bowls, dead insects or forgotten area rugs in this picture?

And finally, the creme-de-la-creme of the backyard: the trampoline. We have a broken down Pottery Barn patio chair. I guess they still use it as a ladder to climb up on the trampoline. We have a bike that will soon suffer the same fate as the fireplace screen & snorkle fin... (note to self: remember to remind kids that Santa sees how his gift is being treated... could produce a month of good behavior.) And the protective green spring padding that has been tossed aside onto the ground. Guess my kids are now "too cool" to have their little fingers & toes protected from the pinchy springs.

So until I find the time to create a dreamier backyard... perhaps I'll blow this photograph up & place it in my window as my inspiration and share in the beauty of my friend's yard... all the way back here at home.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

11 Days Until Election Day

No offense to my delightful Democrat friends!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

How Big is Too Big?
I cannot stop staring at this portrait of My Mother & My Dreamgirl. What would be a totally obnoxious size to order & frame this print? 16 x 20? 20 x 24? Poster size? This is what happens when a photographer is able to capture a dream with her camera.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Get Some Doozies!
Being a white woman walking around with a Chinese baby somehow attracts all sorts of "interesting" (a.k.a stupid) comments from strangers. I guess 'cause they compliment her as "cute" they think they can ask questions or make comments that you'd never pose to someone else. Like would you walk up to a complete stranger in a wheelchair and say "why can't you walk?" NO! NEVER! Would you walk up to a mother with a mentally handicapped child and ask her "does your son know he's retarded?" NO! That would be AWFUL! But, strangers come up to me all the time & disguise their comments in a compliment and ask me all sorts of crazy (a.k.a. stupid) questions or make dumb statements. Here are my TOP 5... these are real, people... I am NOT making these up... pinky promise!
  1. "Do you think she'll have an accent?" Uh... yeah... a southern one! We call it a "drawl." My baby is learning to speak English... just like every other 1 yr-old. Why because she was born in China mean she'll have a Chinese accent?
  2. "Is that a Chinese baby?" I just got this one this afternoon. This woman pulled her cart along side of mine and asked me that. Like you may say "Oh, is that a Dooney & Burke handbag?" or "Are those Gap jeans?" No... she's an American baby who was born in China... her race is Asian. And asking about my baby is a little different than asking about my watch or my kid's tennis shoes!
  3. "Where'd you get her?" This is another one like #2 that you may ask about something other than a child! Like, "Where did you get this chicken salad recipe?" or "Great pedicure... where'd you get it?" I mean... what if My Dreamgirl was six-years-old and could understand these comments? I'd have to hire a babysitter every time I went out in public just to protect her self-esteem!
  4. "I hear those babies cost a lot!" Attention strangers... I did not order my baby from the L.L. Bean catalog or bid on her from ebay. Would you ever go up to someone you knew had in-vitro and say "I hear it cost you a butt load to get pregnant!" NO! You would never dream! I didn't buy my baby! I adopted her and paid the fees associated with that process. Just like I paid the OB-GYN & hospital for delivering my 3 big kiddos! Hello???
  5. "Will you tell her she's adopted?" Rounding out the TOP 5 Stupid Comments/Questions is the dumbest of them all. Will I tell her she's adopted? Well, unless she has oatmeal for brains... which she doesn't... I think she'll figure it out. Something about the way we look different may be a clue or the fact that STUPID people like YOU won't leave us alone as we shop for Pop Tarts & roasted turkey! How would that answer be?

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Monday, October 13, 2008

My Baby Boy had a Birthday!

Yesterday, my Beautiful Baby Boy turned 7 years old. The day he was born was one of the happiest of my entire life. It was a great day. Easy labor... amazing OB... my Mama was there... and a son. I loved him instantly. I almost lost him about a year later (long story... will tell another time) and so each birthday is precious to me. A celebration of not only his birth, but his life.

He picked everything we ate for dinner... hamburgers, hot dogs, Doritos, Funyuns, hashbrown casserole, baked beans, Sprite & Coke! It was good!

He also chose a Cheesecake birthday "cake" instead of the traditional cake & ice cream. When you're the birthday boy, it's all about YOU!

Make a wish!

His favorite part of the party!

Looks like Baby Sister found herself a party favor. She snuck her baby cousin's pacifier and locked down on it tight!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm Looking for...
A mom named Christine left me a comment a couple days ago. She has a Jiangxi Dreamgirl from the same city & SWI as I do. If you're Christine, I'd love to email you but don't know how to find you. Will you find me again? Hope so!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Look What Came In!
Since many of you won't be coming to my house anytime soon to see these displayed, I thought I would brag just a little bit more about my Beautiful Baby Girl and share with you her 1 year-old portraits. These were made August 23rd... 3 days after she turned 1 and just arrived. She wasn't too smiley that day, but I think they're beautiful. The dress she is wearing was custom made for her during our stay in Nanchang in Jiangxi Province... were we first met our Dreamgirl and in the Province of her birth.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pick a "P"... Pitiful, Pathetic or Par-for-the-Course
As I set about setting the table for supper the other night I suddenly became aware of how grotesque my everyday glassware has become. I no longer even have 5 glasses of the same size, shape & pattern to set my dinner table with. Is that pitiful (as my Daddy would say,) pathetic or just par-for-the-course, after 4 kids and 13 years of marriage. I was able to capture for you the dysfunction of my table setting... and just how random my collection has dwindled down to.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Real Dinners for Real (Busy) Moms
I am busy. Real busy. And I don't work... "outside" the home. You girls that do... how DO you do it? One of the weights that plagues me every. single. dog-gone day is WHAT TO HAVE FOR DINNER? I need something easy. I do not have time to julienne vegetables or grow fresh herbs or make my own chicken stock or whip up my own pumpkin butter. I need something good that everybody will eat. I need something that will feed 5. I need something that I can cook with ingredients I can easily pick up at The Pub or Wally World... I don't have time to trek all over the southeast looking for fancy-smancy stuff. I like to cook. I like to bake. But I just ain't got the time to do it everyday. Are you girls with me? Are you? Hello?

So, I thought I'd pass along some dishes that I have found that fit the bill described above for a busy mom like me. These are not my original recipes... I'm not intentionally plagiarizing here... and if I know where I got it... I'll pass it along. If I don't and you know who came up with it... tell them I said THANK YOU! Some of them I've tweeked here or there... usually to make it more simple or less time consuming. Let's go...

Ham~Potato Casserole

I found this casserole in Southern Living's "Easy Weeknight Favorites" cookbook and have tweaked it just a tiny bit. O.K... this is yummy... all my kids love it AND you can easily make it as low-fat or calorie packed as you like... depends on what kind of ingredients you choose. So, here goes...
*1 package of frozen hash browns (chunks... not the grated kind)
*1 cup of cheddar cheese (here's where you could use 2% and make it "light" or you could throw in more to make it cheesier!)
*8 oz. sour cream (again, use "light" or "fat free" for a slimmer version)
*1 can Cream of Potato soup
*1/2 to 1 stick of melted butter (use as much as you feel comfortable... and you could omit all together if your diet conscience gets the best of you)
*ham (I have used everything from ham steaks, to canadian bacon, to smoked pork chops. You can do as much or as little as you want according to your taste... I usually do 1-2 steakes diced into chunks.)
Now... just mixed it all up together and throw it in a greased 9 x 13 Pyrex... cook at 350 for about an hour OR until the hashbrowns are soft. I ALWAYS have to give it a taste to make sure the hashbrowns aren't still hard & frozeny like.

Last night I added a side of green beans and rolls and it was a hit. Hope this helps another busy mom out there... good luck girls!

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Big Daddy's Big Day

He ain't 40 but he feels 60. Make a good wish Big Daddy T... hope it comes true!

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Other Side of the Coin
For as beautiful as My Dreamgirl can be... she has lately begun to show her "other" side. The "I'm not a happy-go-lucky baby anymore" side... the "I'm becoming a toddler who wants what I want" side... the "I want something specific but can't vocalize it yet so I'm going to get really mad because you can't figure it out" side.... the "I want to be held & entertained 24/7 please" side... the "do NOT leave the room to empty the dishwasher or start a load of laundry" side... and the most popular "I would rather roam around a dangerous, moving mini-van than be strapped in this stinkin' car seat" side. Oh, we've had some fun, fun days 'round here lately. Especially in the car. Instead of hearing about the big kids' school day or NewsTalk radio or our favorite CD... we usually get to hear... "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" all around town. It's big fun I tell you... big, loud fun. Can't believe my beautiful, angelic Dreamgirl is capable of such behavior? Here's proof:

Here we find Dreamgirl in her LEAST favorite spot... her Britax carseat.
*I was a passenger and not the driver when these photographs were taken.

A momentary reprieve...

As you were.

These were taken yesterday morning. What could cause such a fit you ask?

Notice the spoon in her hand. I would not let her play on the couch in my cereal bowl of left over milk and not getting her way caused a MELTDOWN!

Such a sad face on for a pretty girl. Cheer up Dreamgirl... life's not that bad!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Snapshots of a Beautiful Baby
You may call me conceited. You may think I'm boasting. You may go tell your friends "That Georgia Girl is nothing but a vain bragger!" You may pray that I would be convicted of my outrageous pride. But I'm sorry. Please accept my sincerest apologies. I admit, I am partial. I cannot get over the fact that My Dreamgirl is one of the most beautiful children I have EVER laid my eyes upon. Photographs do not do her beauty justice. The camera cannot possible catch the sparkle in her big brown eyes or the silkiness of her dark hair or the creamy softness of her perfect skin. I am mesmerized by her. When people compliment her "cuteness" all I can say is "Thank you... I know, she IS cute isn't she?" After all, it's not my genes that created her so that does make my awe more tolerable right? Like if we're out to dinner and someone tastes my grilled salmon and says "Wow... that is so good!" and I say "I know... it really is." I didn't cook it... I didn't choose the recipe.... I didn't create it's presentation. So when I go on & on about how good the salmon is... it's o.k. Right? She was "perfectly & wonderfully made" by her Creator. And graciously given to me. When I was waiting for My Dreamgirl I prayed for her safety. I prayed for her to be healthy. I prayed for her to attach to me. I prayed that I would bring her home before her 1st birthday. And I prayed for her to be beautiful. I admit it. I did. It may be shallow, but I did. And the Lord granted me all that I requested. Would I have loved her if she weren't oh, so very beautiful? Oh yes. Would I be totally devoted to her if she were ill? More than you know. Would I give my life for her if she was older than I dreamed? You betcha! The answers to all my prayers is not about me... or her... but Him. Thank you seems so inadequate.
"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me
what I asked of Him."
1 Samuel 1:27

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