Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures from Christmas. I had been battling an upper respiratory thing the week before Christmas which I thought was on it's way out when I suddenly took a turn for the worse on Christmas Eve. I got through Christmas and then spent most of the following day in bed. It's been hard catching up. Of course at the same time I also received all this information from the travel department at Great Wall. So, blogging has been way down on the list as I try to get a handle on everything. Here's a glimpse at Christmas---

Christmas day-Ella in her Christmas dress, and J, as always, in his newest football jersey from my mom.
This was Brody all tired out after the Christmas festivities!
During dessert on Christmas Eve Mom always breaks out the "poppers" and we all wear the paper crowns found inside. Don't we look cool????
You'll see from this picture and the next that Mom and Gram had the very same reaction when opening their gifts. Mom got the audio books from the Twilight series. Gram got mason jars---explanation---when I was a kid Gram used to make her own pickles. They were the only pickles I ever liked. I've been asking her for years to make pickles and she always come up with an excuse why she can't. Her latest excuse was that she didn't have jars----so now she does---NO MORE EXCUSES GRAM!!!!!!

Yes, very bad lighting, but it would have been a nice picture
Yes, another explanation---apparently there is a song about "Chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side"---I have no idea, but it's always been this inside joke between Jason and Ella. So when Ella asked Jason what he wanted her to get him for Christmas he said "chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side"----so that's what she gave him!

Ella loved her Cinderella perfume from Brianna!
From Jason to Ella-Hulk hands-again another little inside joke of theirs. She's now been beating him up for days!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

LSC has made it to Great Wall

Just a quick note---Our LSC did arrive a Great Wall yesterday afternoon! It will be going to China tomorrow :)

Now it's back to baking!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Taking a Deep Breath---Many Deep Breaths

With a big smile on my face, and lots of love in my heart, I took our signed LSC to the post office and sent it overnight to Great Wall on Wednesday. Now, at 5:30 on Friday, they still haven't received it!!!!!!! Nobody at the post office can seem to tell me where it is, only that it left our local processing plant on Wednesday at 6:08pm. According, to their computers it still has not scanned in Texas!!!! DEEP BREATH, DEEP BREATH, DEEP BREATH......this means our LSC will not go to China until Wednesday......assuming it ever gets to Great Wall! Hopefully there are just a lot of packages being sent during this busy time of year and it's just taking longer than promised. The good news--they will gladly refund me my $16.50 since they failed to fulfill their commitment. As if I really care about the $16.50!!!! Yes, yet another delay. I know there is "a reason" why my LSC didn't leave for China today, but I do wish that my faith in God's perfect timing wasn't tested quite so much!

......keeping my fingers crossed for a Monday delivery!

Monday, December 15, 2008


After 104 days the wait is over. At 11:05 this morning I got the call that our LOA/LSC has finally arrived!!! I am so excited right now I can't even type, but I wanted to let everyone know. How I can't wait to see that smiling face in person! Our agency anticipates us traveling the first week of February, exactly one year since we signed the acceptance letter for his referral. I'll post more later. Right now I can't even think!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

100 Days!

Well, we're officially in the Cenentarian Club. Today marks 100 days waiting for LOA/LSC. Getting to 100 days was not something I really ever imagined would happen. Oh well, maybe day 101 will be my lucky day????

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Worrying Woes

First--no, no China news! 92 days and counting...but hey--the days not over yet!

This post is simply to vent a little. For those who don't know, my little Ella is one of approximately 12 million people who suffer from food allergies. While I am fully aware that she could be afflicted with far worse things, the truth of the matter is, food allergies are responsible for about 30,000 Emergency Room visits and claim the lives of about 200 people each year. In relation to other conditions, that number may be small---unless one of those 200 was someone you loved. For no explainable reason, food allergies have doubled in the past 10 years. Ella is one of about 1.8 million people with allergies to Peanuts and Treenuts. Unfortunately, her allergy is life threatening. Her very first reaction was an anaphylactic reaction in which her throat was closing. At 2 years old she had put a cashew in her mouth, spit it out, and within minutes had no voice--her larynx was swelling. Luckily, while we all had no idea what was occurring, someone was watching over her and her condition did not progress to the point that she couldn't breath. The thought of what could have happened that day is unbearable. Although the hives and fiery red rash she was covered in for several days following that incident were a reminded of what could have happened, we were blessed with just "a warning". Now, armed with an Epipen, my search for any and all information food allergy related began. Sadly, I would find little comfort in what I read. Somehow food was now a potential enemy, but not only food. There would be many other hidden hazards---in soaps, in lotions, in hair products, in makeup and in cleaning products. The thought that my little girl could accidentally ingest something and her throat could close in 1-2 minutes became my most haunting thought. I struggled, and still struggle, to find a balance between stressing the importance of being careful with what she eats, and scaring the hell out of her.

So here we are today. I have learned everything I possibly can in order to understand her allergies and protect her. This knowledge however is not enough to comfort my constant worries. There is a part of me that worries everyday about her. Aside from the obvious, I worry most about her feeling different. I hate that she has to have "her own" food and "her own" cupcake at parties. I hate that she is restricted in the restaurants she can go to and the foods she can eat there. I hate that her allergies have the potential to disclude her from certain activities at school where food is involved--which was an issue just today and what initiated this post. All the while I hide from her how my heart breaks for her every time she can't be just like her three year old friends and I make a constant effort to make her feel like its "no big deal". I try to find the right way to teach her how to protect herself without making her allergy a handicap. We got through Halloween, which is by far the most challenging day of the year, but now there are new worries as we approach the Holiday season. Can she eat the food at the parties we go to? What safe dessert will I pack for her? Will there be nuts out at the party? Will someone enjoy their delicious nut filled cake or brownie and then leave residue in a place where she'll come in contact with it? Will a kind well intentioned person offer her food she can't have while I'm not looking? While other people just don't understand the severity of the situation, I wonder if I'm looked at as the "neurotic mother". That however is not something I worry about. I have to be the neurotic mother. I have to be vigilant. I have to protect her.

So today my thoughts are with all the other moms who struggle everyday to keep their children safe from something others look at as just a basic necessity--food. To those who know all too well that most people "just don't understand". Those who are fellow "master label readers" of everything, not just food. Those of you who, once again, told their child that they couldn't eat something they wanted because it could make them sick. Those of you who spend the school day praying your child will be safe in someone else's care. Those whose daily accessories are a bottle of an antihistamine and an Epipen. Those of you who pray that you'll know when to use that Epipen and you'll administer it before it's too late. Those of you who have, or will have to look into your child's eyes when they first come to the realization that the food they're allergic to will not only make them sick---it can kill them. Those of you who pray daily that the reason for this rise in food allergies will be discovered and one day there will be a way to prevent or cure them. Those who know that no one ever intentionally eats a food that can trigger a fatal reaction----it's ALWAYS an accident, and therefore everyday try to prevent that accident from occurring--try to predict if there is any way possible that the food your child is about to eat may have be cross-contaminated.

While I wish that a life threatening food allergy was not a part of Ella's life, I am also so very grateful. Grateful that her allergy is just to peanuts and treenuts, unlike those with multiple food allergies which make the normal task of eating a nearly impossible task. I am grateful that she is otherwise healthy and that although she has something that is a bit of a disability, she is not handicapped by it and does not have a condition that causes her constant suffering. I know that there are worse things, and I thank God that it is not one of those things we are dealing with.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who read this blog. Some of you are family, some are old friends, some are new friends, and some of you I don't know. I just wanted to wish each of you a Blessed Thanksgiving. I am grateful to each of you for the love and interest you show by following along in our journey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

85 Days......and Counting

Today marks 85 days waiting for LOA. Great Wall has said that they usually get LOA's between 85-90 days. So does this mean we're truly in the home stretch?????? Can I say with confidence "any day now"??????? This has all taken so much longer then anticipated and yet there's still a little part of me thinking "wait, I'm not ready yet!!!!" Not that I'm not dying to finally see that sweet little face in person, because I sure am. Not that I'm not longing to met the son I already feel is mine. There's just that little voice pestering me with all the things that still need to get done. For example, A NAME!!!!! I know it is driving some of you crazy that we haven't decided on what we will be calling our little guy. Please be assured that it's driving me crazy too!! I'm waiting, and waiting, and waiting to say a name and have it feel just right. Maybe with LOA will come some sort of divine inspiration. I can only hope! In the meantime, in case there is a name that I haven't come across in the two baby name books I have, I up for suggestions!

85 days......and counting! Any day now!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Magical Memories

Over the summer our vacation planned were suddenly derailed when the timing would have prevented me from having our dossier documents Certified and Authenticated as soon as I possibly could! Out of guilt for turning our vacation into a day trip into the city while I went to the State Department and the Consulate, we told the kids that we would take them to FL in November. So off we went on Saturday as promised. Of course, out of everyone, Ella enjoyed this trip the most. She loved EVERY minute of. She loved the landing on the plane, she loved the shuttle ride to the baggage claim, she loved the hotel room, she LOVED EVERYTHING. It was so much fun watching her take in everything, living in the moment, and getting pleasure out of things others wouldn't even notice. We crammed A LOT into four days, and did as much as we possibly could in that time. Needless to say we were all exhusted by the time we arrived home at 11:45pm Tuesday night. Here's our trip in photos!

A couple of "weird things" happened while we were away! The first was while we were on our flight to Orlando. Sitting next to Brianna was a woman and sitting behind Brian was her husband. They were VERY friendly and told us all about their college aged children and their current vacation plans. During our conversation the wife mentions that they live in the town where I used to work and she asks us where we live. We told her we live about 40 minutes away from them in @*#&$%. She then says "I think I was just in @*#&$% on Tuesday". She tells us that she was on her way to another town with a client and made a wrong turn and remembered seeing a sign saying @*#&$%. She then goes on to describe the development she turned into and guess what---it was OUR development!!! As she's describing the neighborhood Brian is sitting there smiling and she says "you live there, don't you???" Yes we do!!, Brian tells her!! With that I take Ella to the bathroom. I get back and Brian turns to me and says "Melis, she's a speech pathologist". I look at her and say "Oh, I'm an Audiologist and I used to work in your neighborhood" (for those of you who don't know as an undergraduate your degree is in Speech Pathology and Audiology and you then chose one of those for your Master's degree). She then says to me "I took a little bit of a different route and mostly teach sign language now". Shocked, I say "Oh, we're adopting a little boy from China who may be deaf, I might need you!" She then replies "Oh wow, I do private work too. I go to people's houses and teach the child as well as the family sign language. We do things like go to the park, or out to a restaurant and learn all the relevant signs---and now I know where you live!" Needless to say I was temporarily speechless. All along I have always strongly felt that Wen was probably hearing impaired, but not deaf. I compose myself, turn to Brian and say "Well, I guess maybe he is deaf". What are the chances????? Did God just plop this person into my life because I really am going to need her??? And she drove past my house just the other day????

Second "weird" thing--later the same day we're on line to see the famous mouse. I look behind us and see a women with a little Chinese girl. I point her out to Brian and as I do I realize the mother looks really familiar. I'm trying to place her and then realize it was a women, who I don't know, but who's blog I followed the entire time she was in China!!! I remembered her whole story, and both of her children's names. Of course I went over to her to let her know that although she's not a celebrity, she's been "spotted" and tell her that her daughter is just as beautiful in person as she was on her blog! Brian just stood there shaking his head. Again---what are the chances????

Being my first attempt at a slide show, please forgive any spelling/grammatical errors in this post. It's taken me too long to finish it and I just can't proof read and "fix" another thing!!! Off to make dinner for a hungry family!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

This year Ella had a very difficult time deciding what she would be for Halloween. She changed her mind several times! She finally decided that she'd be a giraffe. She LOVES giraffes. We had a beautiful day to trick-or-treat and as always we did it with Ella's best friend and boyfriend Mikey. Jason went around with a group of his friends and came back with a sack full of candy. Brianna who is too old to get dressed up, but apparently not to old to want candy, did go out with her friends dressed basically like themselves!
Ella stood still two days in a row, first for her school Halloween party and then for Halloween, while her face was painted
The cutest giraffe ever!!!

They're all ready to go get some candy!
The boys. J is the one with the B@rt mask on. He kept it on for about one block!
El sharing a ride with her best friend
Poor Meg trailing behind!
Ella asked Mikey to hold her hand as they walked back toward the street. He always takes such good care of her!
Mom and Dad with their little "Giraffie"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Super, Soggy, Soaking Wet Monday

What do you do when it looks like this outside your window??????
You have a movie party with your friends!
Can you stand these two little buddies holding hands??? Ten years from now we won't be letting them even sit next to each other!!

What better way to spend a rainy afternoon.......
Than watching a movie full of fairies and flowers!

Two Bedrooms Done!

Brianna and Ella's rooms are done! Two down, two to go! I just love the way they came out. Luckily, so do they! Next, Wen's room. Just have to figure out what the heck I'm doing in there-- any suggestions are welcomed :) Then, since everyone else was getting a new room, I told Jason that we'd repaint his room. I hope I'm not sick of painting by then! Here are the girl's new rooms:
El's New Room

B's New Room
Pretty purple bathroom

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rebecca's Giveaway

Rebecca, the wonderful woman who designed my beautiful blog is having a giveaway with some AWESOME prizes!! She and I have become "online friends" as we both wait for LOA to bring home two very special boys. With travel to China right around the corner she is hoping to raise some money to help cover the rest of her adoption expenses. She has had some VERY nice, and very valuable prizes donated by some generous people. Click on the link on the side "To China for Owen" to read all about Owen and help bring this special little boy home or go to her site at www.tochinaforowen.blogspot.com .

Monday, October 20, 2008


Over the weekend we got a long awaited update on Wen! Oh how I wish I was able to post his picture so I could share his beautiful smile with everyone! In his original referral pictures he looked so grumpy. It was wonderful to see him smiling! According to the information I received our little guy is extroverted, lovely, smart, and loving. He is a quick learner. They call him "Xiao Shuai". Xiao means little, and Shuai means handsome. He's potty trained and tells his nanny when he needs to use the bathroom. He drinks from a cup. They reported that he talks and says MaMa. I don't know who he'd be calling MaMa, and maybe they're just saying this because they think that's what I'd like to hear. But, if he truely is talking he must have some hearing. I guess we'll have to wait and see! I can't wait to be able to post his picture. Hopefully just a few more weeks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Picking

We spent most of the long weekend working on Ella's new room. As excited as she was about her new room, she still was asking all day, everyday "when are we going pumpkin pickng?" So on Monday we made some time to finally take her. She was sooooooo excited! Now she keeps asking, everyday, all day, "when are we going to carve the pumpkins?" Hopefully we'll get to that this weekend!
Ella was just a little happy to be at the farm!
J carries a heavy one
El tries to carry a heavy one too!
Brianna....with us......and smiling, strikes a pose!

Handsome x2
This is Ella's "I'm so excited I can't keep my tongue in my mouth" face!
Now for the best part...the roasted corn!
Ella LOVES corn!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Brianna!!!!!

Happy Birthday Brianna!!! WOW! That's about all I can think, WOW, 15 years old!! When you and Jason were little people would often come up to us and say "they are so cute, enjoy them now, they grow up so fast". Of course I smiled and thought "I know, I know, I've heard that a hundred times". Now, 15 years later, all I can say is "WOW, 15 years old"!!!! How all of those people were right. Were has the time gone? How is it that 15 years can pass so quickly. Wasn't it only yesterday you were playing Barbies while watching the Power Puff girls????? Look at you now. We are so proud of the beautiful young lady you've become. Happy Birthday!!

Our beautiful 15 year old!
Big sister, little sister
Ella was so excited about getting everything ready for Brianna's birthday!
Brianna seemed very pleased with her tickets to see "Legally Blonde" on Broadway
A bunch of friends who came over to celebrate.......12 fifteen year old girls.....very loud!! It sure sounded like they had a great time!
Brian worked sooooo hard to get the fire going in the fireplace......as soon as it was going strong......they all got out of the pool!!!! Of course they did!! Well, it looked really pretty from the house anyway!

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Love.....with my new laundry room!!!!!

I am very well aware of just how ridiculous I sound, but I can't help it. I LOVE my new laundry room!!!!!!! And I am so pleased with my beautiful Wild Cherry Red washer and dryer!! They are fabulous and so much fun, and oh...did I mention beautiful????? I am quite sure that the novelty will wear off eventually, but for now I'm going to enjoy it. Laundry is so much more fun, and the best part is the way the washer and dryer "sing" to you when the cycle is finished!! My poor friends who have just happened to be on the phone with me when the washer or dryer were done!! Most importantly, I have not been left with a single mud stain on any of Jason's disgustingly dirty football cloths. The room is so pretty with all the red accessories. I had so much fun decorating. Considering the rest of my house is, well, very neutral, this little pop of color was refreshing (no comments from you Dana!!!).

In addition to the new laundry room, moving the washer and dryer allowed us to now take the space where they formerly lived and convert it to pantry space. What a pleasure!!! No more food shoved onto and falling off of the shelves! So first the pantry................................

These are the shelves that had already been in the room on the wall opposite the washer and dryer. This was were the food used to be stored. And now.....
LOTS of room for food!! That's the space the washer and dryer used to be in.
And now for the laundry room.............


.........And After
I just LOVE those red beauties!!!!!!

On the bottom--double doors-coat closet, single door-utility closet.
Above the closets more storage!
I just love all the accessories I found to decorate the room, especially the little stool where the kids can sit and take off the muddy cleats!