Monday, December 24

Monday, December 17

December Happenings & Video

Warning... long post. If you don't feel like reading just scroll down for the video.

I have been neglecting my blog! So much has been going on but I have had no time to write! Monday we had NO SCHOOL (dance dance dance cheer cheer cheer) so I had a BONUS DAY to do more catching up on things around here. Soooo, the boys are momentarily entertaining themselves so I will tell a little bit about the past few weeks.

* Christmas is here! It really is the most wonderful time of the year. It's just sooo much fun. I love everything about it! I love the pace of it all, the whirlwind of everything happening leading up to the big day. Plus, it gives me a great excuse to do one of my favorite activities... SHOPPING!

* We kicked off the season with a trip to Bronners in Frankenmuth. We do this every year. Our hotel had a pool and the boys had a blast swimming and hanging out in the arcade area. The next day we went to Bronners and spent a few hours shopping for Christmas items. The boys always pick out an ornament to take home. This year, Luca chose a red truck, Adrian chose a hockey player ornament, and we chose a Chinese flag for Eden. We also bought another piece to our Christmas village. This year we added "Mrs. Claus' Northwood's Nursery" and some small excessories. The crowds were not bad at all which was a nice surprise!

* A few days later we started decorating our house. It took about three days to complete. This year instead of hauling up all of my boxes up from the basement, I only brought out a couple at a time. This really de-stressed the whole house decorating day. Luca and Adrian helped trim the tree in our den. We put all of the collectable and child made treasures on this tree. I just love it.... my favorites are the ones they have made at school. Ron was busy hanging lights outside and getting the village set up. We have another tree in our living room. This is our more formal tree with silver and red. I have a collection of Beyer's carolers that I set up on one of my fireplaces and also on my table in the foyer. I love these and have been collecting them for quite a while now.

* We have attended a number of Christmas gatherings. There was the Clarkson Roundabout. We met at my aunts for appetizers, went to my other aunt's for dinner, then to a third aunts for dessert. Everything was so yummy and it was nice to see everyone's Christmas decorations. I went to a cookie exchange with my friends from work. I took the easy route and did the Break and Bake Smore's cookies. I had to make EIGHT DOZEN so homemade was just not an option for me. A couple of nights ago we attended Adrian's hockey Christmas party. The boys were so cute and sooo excited. I had to cancel our yearly Christmas Caroling night at my house due to a major snowfall (hence the snow day today) and many guests being too sick to come. Bummer. I know it sounds dorky but it really is a lot of fun. I love seeing some of the expressions of people when they come to the door. To help ease the disappointment of canceling the party we had a mini Christmas party at home just us. I made some Christmas cookies and the boys got to open one present.

* Referrals arrived over a week ago but I didn't have the time to even post it. China Center of Adoption Affairs sent referrals for people logged in through December 14, 2005.... only 6 days worth. Good thing there are lots of distractions and happiness around me to get too down about it. Did I mention how HARD IT IS TO WAIT???

* The Christmas excitement continued when we went to visit Santa. The night before we decided to make cards for Santa. I brought out paper, markers, stickers, etc. Adrian got busy right away and made a nice card. Luca starting working on his then decided, "I better buy Santa some chocolate." He somehow knew that a card just wasn't going to cut it this year. After all of his antics this year, he better butter Santa up a little. :) Our trip to visit Santa was not uneventful. I rushed home from work, bathed both boys and got them in their Christmas outfits, left the house and stopped to have Luca pick out a chocolate bar for Santa, and rushed to meet my parents and sister's family at the mall. The boys looked beautiful. My two nephews are so amazingly adorable. Our goal was to have the boys each visit with Santa then have all four boys sit on Santa's lap for a picture. When we got there Santa was on break so we waited in line. All the sudden we all spotted him coming down the escalator. It was so cute! All the kids were cheering and Santa was waving. Santa got off the escalator and headed straight for Luca. Luca, without skipping a beat, yelled, "Santa I want the real Buzz Lightyear, a Woody doll, and a Spiderman on a motorcycle!" He had been rehearsing it for days and the first eye contact made with Santa he belted it out. He wasn't taking any chances. Santa shook his hand and then headed for the big chair. If there is a test for children to see who is naughty or nice it should be the line for Santa. Mix dress clothes, a small confined space, waiting for your turn (a skill some adults have trouble with), and a level of excitement that is off the charts and you get a potential disaster. All things considered the boys did really well. Luca kept us laughing because each time he caught a glimpse of Santa he would yell (loud enough so that my sister who was on the opposite side of the line could hear), "SANTA, LOOK WHAT I BROUGHT FOR YOU!" He would then wave the candy bar in the air. Once it was time for their turn the enormity of it all took over and they became shy. I couldn't even get them to smile... as you will see in the video. We then managed to get all four boys on Santa's lap for about 10 seconds... not long enough for the girl to even snap a picture. Good thing we got one on our camera. After visiting with Santa we all got some dinner, took a carrousel ride, then did a little shopping. Luca got thirsty so I got some lemonade for him which he ended THROWING UP ALL OVER HIMSELF about 2 seconds after he drank it. He was covered head to toe.. and did I mention he was wearing his Christmas outfit? About midnight and needed a breathing treatment and then again I woke up at 4:00am with my poor baby standing in my bedroom with vomit all over him. Have you ever cleaned a trail of vomit from a bedroom, down each step of your stairway, and into your bedroom at 4:00 in the morning? It's not fun. I was on alert for our annual Christmas time barf fest (more on that another time... let's just say it wouldn't be the first.. or second time we have all gotten a stomach bug at Christmas) but no one else got sick. It must be a Christmas miracle. Luca was fine by the next day thankfully too.

There are only a few more days until Christmas. We have our school Christmas parties, a couple of last minute gifts to buy and then it will all be over... all too soon.

Here is my rough draft Christmas video. Still lots more to add though!

Sunday, December 16

8 Months Since Log In Date

Oh Magic Eight Ball, I think of my baby girl all the time. I just want her here with me. I love her so much. Part of me is missing. When will I have my sweet baby in my arms?

Sunday, December 9

Santa Baby!

I have so many funny stories and so much to post about but NO TIME! I at least wanted to share some Santa pictures. I will try to write more soon!

Saturday, December 1

A Peaceful Moment

The other day I was cleaning upstairs and noticed that it had gotten a bit quiet downstairs where the boys were playing. This is what I found. My two guys curled up on a chair watching cartoons. Adrian had his arm around Luca and Luca was resting his leg on Adrian. I took it in for a moment then ran for my camera.

Saturday, November 24

So Much To Be Thankful For

We celebrate thanksgiving twice. Once the Sunday before with our extended family and once with just my parents, grandfather, and siblings families. We begin by meeting at the cemetery to pay our respects to my Nonna, Nonno, and aunt who have passed away. We make a circle around the graves and say what we are thankful for. It is usually very emotional. This year Luca, my nephew, and my cousin's little girls decided to play in the grave blankets while we did our circle. They were pulling out the red berry sticks and "making a garden" by sticking them in the ground. Luca actually tried riding one of the grave blankets like a horse.... always the comedian. They were adorable. We know my grandparents would have loved it. Next, we all went to my parent's house for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. On Thanksgiving day we woke up, put one of our Christmas trees up and went to my parents house for dinner. We break from tradition this day and have a family favorite for dinner... flank steak. I have never eaten flank streak prepared the way we do in any restaurant. It is a very unusual recipe and one of my favorites! This year my brother brought his Guitar Hero game. It was a blast. Totally addicting!!!! Luca treated us to some fancy footwork as we played. I hope Santa brings one to our house this year! We ended the night with a round of charades... yes, charades. We always play boys vs girls and usually there is some kind of fight that erupts at some point because the BOYS CHEAT. Flank steak and charades... we have our own way of doing Thanksgiving and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am the luckiest girl in the world and so thankful to have so many blessings in my life.

Thursday, November 22


One of the greatest days of the year is only hours away... BLACK FRIDAY. Yes, I am one of those insane people who gets up at an insane hour to scour the mall for insane deals. I will let you know how it goes!

I do not venture into Best Buy, Target, or any of the large chain stores because I fear for my personal safety. Those shoppers take Black Friday to a whole nutha level.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Sunday, November 18

New Season of Project Runway

One of my favorite shows is back on after a VERY long break!!!!! It was so much fun to see Tim, Heidi, Michael, and the new gang of fab designers. I love the talent and creativity the contestants have as well as the DRAMA that always seems to unfold. I found this great spoof online....

Friday, November 16

7 Months

It has been seven months since our paperwork was logged in at China Center of Adoption Affairs. Time is a very strange thing. In some respects the past seven months have flown by.... well, in every respect except one. I think about time so differently now. I keep track of it constantly. How many months will we be logged in when I have my next haircut, dentist appointment, holiday, birthday, report card marking etc... those thoughts go through my head all the time.

Saturday, November 10

Keeping Focused

It is really hard to keep positive, excited, and hopeful sometimes. Thankfully there are videos like these that remind me of what is on the other side of this horrible wait.

Tuesday, November 6

Referrals Are In

China referred 8 days this month. That is the most amount of days they have referred since we logged in in April... and not by much. So very very sad. There are now 494 days in front of us in line waiting for a referral. At this rate it will be another 5 years before we see our daughter's face. Ron and I realized that there is a chance we will have one child starting college and one starting Kindergarten the same year. My heart is breaking.

Monday, October 29

Cider Mill

Our family loves this time of year and that is why we couldn't just visit the cider mill one time... or even two times. We went three times this year... a record for us! As you can see from the pictures the weather was very different on each trip.

Thursday, October 25

My Two Beautiful Cathedrals

I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way
one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be
taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"
Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping
the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see
me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you
tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock
to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is
the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes
that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now
they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's
going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip,
and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting
there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was har d
not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style
dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair
was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut
butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a
beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book
on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it
to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the
greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover
what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could
pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no
record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they
would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no
credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the
eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird
on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you
spending so much time carving that bird into a be am that will be covered by
the roof? No one will ever see it." An d the workman replied, "Because God

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost
as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the
sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of
kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is
too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great
cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease
that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep
the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the
people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on
something that their name will nev er be on. The writer of the book went so
far as to say that no cat hedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because
there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's
bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three
hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built
a shrine or a monument to myself . I just want him to want to come home. And
then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna
love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the
world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Author Unknown

Thanks mom for sending me this.

Tuesday, October 16

6 Months

We have reached the 6 month mark since our dossier was logged in at China Center of Adoption Affairs. I am not sure if I chose this picture as a symbol of drowning my tears with some brewskis because of this HIDEOUS wait or in celebration of having made it half a year. Maybe a bit of both.

Sunday, October 14

"You will get what you want." Rod the psychic

Saturday I had a girls day with my mom, sister, and future sister in law. It is always so much fun to hang out with them. We visited a psychic. My sister has seen this psychic before. I am very skeptical about this kind of stuff, but decided it would be fun so we all went. It is strange but he was really right on with a lot. Names and events that have happened were freakishly correct. He actually named six people and an animal belonging to a family that was going to be having a party soon. Oh, and he also told me about the party which is next weekend. That was really cool and all, but what I really wanted to know was WHEN AM I GETTING MY BABY???? Unfortunately, he didn’t pick up on the fact that we are adopting but did say that I would have three children (I have two right now). He went on to talk about lots of other stuff and described my boys very well.. "The older one is affectionate, sensitive, creative and the younger one is different". He talked about him being a chrystal child... not real sure what that means yet. Throughout the whole reading though I kept thinking... what about my baby??? Then, in the middle of the reading he stopped and with a very serious face said, "You WILL get what you want." At the end of the reading I told him that I had no plans on having another biological child and that we were adopting. He said that he was feeling it would be two years and that I would know more by Christmas. Knowing what I know about our adoption... two years would be amazing. That would be a dream come true. The wait right now is almost two years and gets longer every month. He did say something cool though... that the number 4 was going to be popping up a lot and when I see it, to know that my angels are with me. My log in date is 4-16.
My mom’s reading was amazing. He knew my Nonna’s name and how she died, my aunt’s name who has passed, and the name of another aunt who just passed away a week ago. He also described a little "little lady that reminds him of the blonde woman on Golden Girls". This totally is freaky, because we would tease my grandma that she reminded us of Rose on Golden Girls. She didn't like it because she thought Rose was ditsy but knew the teasing was done with love. It made me miss all of them so much but it is nice knowing that they are still with me.

Monday, October 8

The Lost Daughters of China

If you have not read this book, are adopting from China, or know someone who is, I highly recommend reading the book The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans. When we first began our adoption a year ago I read this book and it totally changed the way I viewed the abandonment in China. As a mother of two I just couldn't wrap my mind around how someone could take a baby that grew inside their body for nine months and leave her on a doorstep or in a market. It is such an unnatural thing to do and yet it happens. How could this be? I have also had conversations with people who view Chinese people as cold or indifferent to baby girls. I have heard comments like, "they just throw their babies away" or "they don't want girls they only care about boys". I just knew that it couldn't be that simple... not that black and white... these mothers and babies are human beings. How could this happen on such a large scale? I couldn't imagine my daughter asking me about how she came to be my daughter and answering her with, "Well sweetie, in China they just don't want girls." I realized it was important to have a deep understanding on WHY my daughter was abandoned. That is when I found this book. I found the answer to my question and found a new appreciation and empathy for all Chinese women.

I am going to give some tidbits from the book that help put into perspective the how's and whys so many baby girls are abandoned. I am going to quote most of it right from the book and from notes I took while reading...

Confucian Times

Troubles for females date back to at least Confucius 200 years before Christ. The Han dynasty laid down a family system build on male lineage. Control of land and all family fortune were passed from father to son. A daughters place began at the bottom of the hierarchy. "Women and people of low birth are very hard to deal with. If you are friendly with them, they get out of hand"- Confucius

Mencius- Philosopher Mencius who followed Confucius reinforced the system of patriarchy. "Of all the infallible behaviors, the greatest was to produce no male heirs"- Mencius

Despite changes in government and modernization this philosophy has persisted right into the present, especially in the countryside. Although discriminatory and skewed, this philosophy had a practical basis. A modern social security system. Sons take care of parents in old age. A daughter was viewed as another mouth to feed until she married into her husbands household. Once married a woman's name no longer appeared in her own family records. Then the only hope for respect would be to produce a son. If she failed, she could be cast aside and replaced. Husbands "had a right" to take a concubine or divorce if his wife couldn't produce a son. Today a wife is commonly expected to produce a son. If not the husband can turn cold or encourage the death or abandonment of an infant girl. "I want you to remember this, in China a woman is nothing. When she is born she must obey her father. When married she must obey her husband. When widowed, she must obey her son."

Interesting tidbit.... Some rural areas the placenta of a girl baby was buried outside the walls of the home while boys were buried within the house- symbolic of the girl's standing in the family.

Boys were given first pick of food, toys, and resources including medical care.

Found this very interesting... Boys were given a girls name for the first month of life to fool the Gods into thinking the child was not worth taking back. At one month the son received a formal name and was celebrated with a full month feast. No celebration was given to a daughter.

In times of flood, famine, and war girls have suffered even more. If they survived infancy they could be sold and raise as servants or given to the family of her future husband to be groomed in the submissive role from a very young age. "Unwanted daughters were peddled as virtual slaves to unknown families. Once sold their fate was in the hands of the buyer. She had no paper and no rights. Many subject to abuse, prostitution and death." - Adelin Yen

Girls commonly did not live past the birthing room. There is evidence throughout Chinese history of the killing of newborn girls via drowning, strangulation, and neglect. Midwives prepared a box of ashes by the birthing bed. In the event f a female birth her face was pressed into the ashes.

Before Confucianism spread the ancient character for "wife" also meant "equal".

The 1900s
Patriarchy survives today due to deep-rooted ingrained belief and poverty. Infanticide increased due to severe hardship and governments strict population policies.

1949 Communist Era Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong attempted to improve the lives of women. Women were encouraged to "join the ranks of human beings."
"Women hold half the sky."- Mao Zedong Prostitution, child marriage, concubines and selling of brides were outlawed. Wives were given rights they had never had before. Peasant girls began going to school. However, China's "Great Leap Forward" failed. Mao's reforms were short lived. When hard times hit women again paid the price. Famine "the worst in China's history) and government attempts to curb population growth took it's toll. Mao tried reforming China's agricultural system c=forcing peasants out of individual farms and into communal production. This resulted in massive crop failures and starvation from 1958 to 1961. THIRTY MILLION people died in a three year period. This famine escaped Western attention until well after the fact. It was known as "Mao's Secret Famine" This famine ws the least recognized and most severe in recorded human history. Half the casualties were children under ten years of age. Mao tried to hide the disaster from the world until it was too late for help.

During this time the one child policy came to be.

At the end of Mao's era with famine still lingering, population control became a priority for China. In 1972 China's population grew to one billion. Economic development and fear of another famine were reasons to keep population down. In 1980 China's government announced a plan for population reform... the one child policy. China put into place the most drastic birth control policy in the world and enforced then with brutal zeal.

At first, suggestions were made to have later marriages, fewer children, and longer spaces between children. Most families were encouraged to have e just one child but families with pressing need could have two. However, this didn't last long. Soon women needed to have a "birth permission paper" before she became pregnant and take the paperwork to the hospital when she delivered. When couples got married they were required to comply with birth quotas. Those who complied received a Birth Planning Honor Card and preferential treatment to food, housing, health care, and education. Those who held out were hounded and those who didn't were fined, lost jobs, even jailed. Women who became pregnant without permission were confronted and officials decided if necessary to be brought ot abortion clinics. If the child was born the women were required to have an IUD inserted and checked periodically. After the second birth, either the husband or wife was to be sterilized. Forced sterilization, mandatory IUDs, abortions (even at full term) were all commonplace for women. Local government officials were rewarded or punished on how well they met quotas set for their areas. Employers began to supervise female employees watching for signs of pregnancy, sometimes posting menstrual cycles. Many pressured women into having abortions if the timing didn't suit a work schedule.

Because birth control was done at the local level many women would try to outrun the policies by moving away. They were known as "birth gorillas". Women gave birth in primitive conditions with little or no help. The babies in turn were ineligible for a residence registration card- no state benefits... health care, education, etc. Relatives who were left behind were harassed and the women if caught could be forcibly taken in for an abortion- no matter what the length of the pregnancy.

One of every eight women married in the 1070's has suffered the trauma of a second or third trimester abortion.

1983 - 1991 more than 30 million women were forcibly sterilized.

Here is what it all boils down to....
Government's edict to have 1 child and the pressures of her husbands family to produce the much coveted son forced women into desperate acts. Untold mothers who gave birth to girls were faced with an excruciating decision: Keep the daughter and lose the chance to have a son, or sacrifice her and try again.

Adoption was not an option because it counted toward the 1 child quota. If a daughter was born and hidden, listed as deceased, she was then unable to attend school or get medical care. So, desperate parents eventually left girls where they hope she would be found. The Chinese government tried to avoid political embarrassment by ignoring the subject of a huge increase in abandoned babies and directed orphanages to keep numbers under wraps.

In 1988 faced with a resurgence of infanticide and child abandonment the government loosened it's one child policy. Families with one girl "deserved another chance" because sons were so important. The more lenient rules meant more first born daughters got to stay in their families but brought abut a whole new crop of casualties... second born daughters. Thus, many abandoned girls in orphanages have siblings.

Patterns hold true for populations in given areas. Natural ratios for boys and girls are known... 105 boys to 100 girls. But in China, the natural order of things has been badly skewed. Millions of girls who would be expected to be in the population today are MISSING. In 1996 36 there were 36 million more males and climbing. It's not just this generation who are missing. THIRTY MILLION females a full 5% of the population are missing. China is not alone. India's statistics also reflect a gender imbalance. Worldwide 100 million females who should be alive and well are missing.

Where are the lost women of China? Some were killed at birth in the 1930's and 40's and are so not present as elderly women today. Some girls died because they were not given adequate food, clothing or medical care. Some died in the 1958 - 1961 famine due to boys being fed first. Some were victims of abortions after ultrasound or killed at birth. Some eluded official recognition.... "gorilla mothers".

Many observers praise China for it's slowed birthrate and praise the policy but have ignored the human suffering involved. Even many Chinese people support the policies. "The treatment of infant girls is really regrettable but we need this policy for national development and to enhance the wealth and power of the nation." Although infanticide and abandonment are well known in China's cities, urban people tend to blame the problems on the rural people and not government policy.

In 1992 many laws were passed to protect women. Infanticide, abandonment, maltreatment or discrimination of women who gave birth to females was prohibited. Domestic abuse was outlawed and women could get a divorce and equal rights to inherit family property. Even with these new laws the mistreatment of women continues. Working conditions alone can make things difficult for women. If a women is lucky enough to have a job after having a baby they still face 12 hour work days 7 days per week, low pay and little concern for safety conditions.

Working conditions, a women's role in the family, poverty, abduction and sale of girls due to the shortage of women, and the fact that the government has control over women's reproductive lives leaves much to be desired. Would you want to be a woman in China? These problems leave women with very little choice when faced with an unplanned pregnancy or birth of a female baby. Given the circumstances, taking a baby, wrapping her up and leaving her on the steps of a hospital or in a market is as close to an adoption plan as a Chinese woman can get.

Wow! That was long.

Friday, October 5

Maroon 5

Last weekend we went to the Maroon 5 concert. It was THE best time I have had in a long long time. The concert was great. They sounded amazing! It was so much fun to sing and dance and just let go for a while.

Sunday, September 30

One Year Ago

One year ago we officially started our adoption and applied online with our agency. Getting our paperwork completed took a really long time. Those were some of the most stressful months of my life! We have officially been waiting since April 16, 2007. That is when China logged our paperwork in. I created a video for our family to document the "paperchase" phase of our Journey To Eden.

Friday, September 28

The Balloon Story

Early in our adoption I had sent away for information from a variety of adoption agencies. Ron and I were in the early stages of talking about adopting and at the time I just wasn't sure if it were actually going to happen. I felt so drawn to adopting, like I was being pulled in a direction which I had no control. I can't really explain it. I just knew it was somthing I was supposed to do.. and desperatly wanted. Like many families we had concerns about finances and adopting in general. I have heard from countless adoptive famlies that there were "signs" along the way that let them know that they were on the right path. I have had many signs but the first one came the day I finally recieved my first agency informatin pack in the mail. I went out to the mailbox and my heart leapt when I saw the large envelope waiting for me. As I was walking back to my front door I noticed somthing blowing around near my garage. Thinking it was garbage I stopped to pick it up. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that the "garbage" was a deflated helium balloon with the words "It's A Girl" printed on it. I think that is about as close to God actually speaking to someone as you can get. Amazing, just amazing.

Monday, September 24

My Sweet Boys

Had to share...

Luca now refers to Eden as "Mister Eden". Its a shortened version of "my sister Eden". Every time he says it I just want to eat him up! Luca is very interested in what this whole China, sister, adoption thing is all about. It's a lot for his three year old mind to wrap around. He knows he has a sister in China and that we are going there. Out of the blue he will ask, "Are we going to China today?" or "Where is China?". He loves to watch our recorded episode of Arthur where Binky Barns travels to China to adopt his sister. He watched it four times this weekend. A few weeks ago I had bought Eden a pink shirt at the store and left the bag on the floor. Without me telling him he pulled the shirt out of the bag and said, "Ooooh it's so cute. It is for Eden. It's so adorable." It is just so sweet to hear him talk about her.

I had to share this picture of Luca eating some ice cream last night.

Ron surprised Adrian with tickets to a Red Wing pre-game. The game was being played with his favorite player (Sidney Crawsby) from Pittsburgh. Ron hid the tickets in a pair of hockey skates and gave Adrian the new skates at dinner. Adrian found the tickets inside the skate, saw who the Wings were playing, and read that the game was for that very night. He actually made me cry he was so excited. He jumped up and screamed and hugged Ron so tight saying, "Thank You!". Adrian is such an amazing wonderful son. I just love doing things like that for him. Ron believes he just made Dad of the Year.

One more thing and I know I am bragging a bit but it's my blog and my kids so I'm allowed :)
Adrian was voted class student council representative for the second year in a row. He had to write a speech and read it to the class. The class then voted and he won! He was very excited and told me that he can't wait for next year when he is in fourth grade because then he can run for school president. President DiBrango... has a nice ring to it! :)

Tuesday, September 18

2007 Crush

Last weekend we attended the yearly grape "Crush" at a friend's vineyard. As always, we had a great time!

First, we picked the grapes.

Then we did the "crushin'"!

Not sure what this machine is called but we had fun turning the big handle and seeing the juice come out.

Next, Uncle D took us on a tractor ride. Luca entertained everyone with his singing of Old McDonald.

We had a scavenger hunt too! The day ended with a huge bonfire.
Both my boys literally cried when we had to leave and were sound asleep before we made it home.

Sunday, September 16

Smile, It's Monday

Ever have one of those days where things are just not going to plan? Take a listen to my beautiful nephew Carson and your day will surely turn around.

By The Book
Lyrics: Bob Boyle / Music: b. Mossman

It's good to do things the proper way
But if it goes wrong that's okay
If it's not right, don't be uptight
It doesn't have to be by the book

By the book...By the book
It doesn't have to be by the book

If you're out to have some fun but you find there is no sun
It's okay, enjoy the day
Even if it's not by the book

If you want to play a game but the pieces aren't the same
There's a way for you to play
Even if it's not be by the book

By the book...By the book
It doesn't have to be by the book

If the recipe calls for Doodleberry Jam...Doodleberry Jam!
But all you have is Polka-Dot Ham...Polka-Dot Ham!
It's not a waste
Enjoy the taste
Cuz it doesn't have to be by the book

When you're building something cool but you don't have the right tool
It is fine to re-design
It doesn't have to be by the book

If you have a fancy hat but you find it's rather flat
Don't be blue, try something new
It doesn't have to be by the book

5 Months

Today marks five months sinced our dossier was logged in at China Center of Adoption Affairs. That's 216,000 minutes of waiting. Sound like a lot? By the time we have her in our arms we will have waited well over a million.

Tuesday, September 11

Somethin' To Celebrate

Last week we celebrated the arrival of a new batch of referrals with our traditional Chinese food dinner. Check out the cool chop sticks we found at the Toledo Zoo gift shop! We were also celebrating another bit of good news.... Ron is working DAYS! THIS. IS. BIG. Ron and I have worked the same shift for only two of the nine years we have been married. He has been trying for a day shift job for years and FINALLY it has happened. I am just so excited that our family will have a "normal" schedule! Thanks Ron for working your terrible schedule for so long in the interest of our family. I know it has not been easy.

Sunday, September 9

Smile, It's Monday

Still coming to terms with the fact that summer is over and I am back to work. It is nice though to see all of my friends from work again and hear about their summer adventures. Here is how our friends at Dunder Mifflin spent their summer.

So Much To Post, So Little Time

We have had so many family events lately that I have wanted to post about but with going back to work, I have not had time! Here are the highlights of the past few weeks....

We had a wonderful time at my beautiful nephew Griffin's baptism. He is such a little angel.

We finally had our yearly "Adult Day Out". It is something we all look forward to all summer. Just a time to RELAX and visit with some of my favorite people.

We had our yearly family picnic. This year we had games and prizes. Egg toss, water balloons, face painting, pie eating contest, and my personal favorite... The Brittany Spears Relay. We had such a great time!

School started last week. My boys love their teachers and have lots of friends in their classes. We are off to a great start!