Friday, December 28, 2007

Still Waiting to Be Signed...

This is what Laura told me when I just called PGN. I was expecting either that answer or that we had received a previo so this was the best I expected today. Sure there was a little piece of me that was thinking, maybe I'll hear that we are out, how great would that be?! After all, this is the last day PGN is open before the end of the year and the new laws go into effect. It would certainly have been nice to be out before things could potentially get messy. But I have been following different forums and watching the PGN time lines, and it appears that there are many end of October submits still waiting to get out. PGN seems to go in order, cases being approved right around the 8 week or 2 month mark (despite the random lucky few that get through faster for some unknown reason) but with the holidays, time lines seem to be a little behind the "norm". So, I'm hoping for good news maybe the end of next week or the week after. I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Recap

Christmas always seems like such a whirlwind! We had a great holiday here, I was even able to relax and enjoy Christmas Eve whereas I am normally still running about like a headless chicken. We were able to spend a very enjoyable day making cookies for Santa, playing games and just hanging out before we ventured out for our usual visiting. We are fortunate to have both my and Greg's parents within 5 minutes of us so to spend time with both families on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day is not difficult. And that's exactly what we did! Christmas Eve started at Mimi and Bumpa's house (Greg's parents), and then continued over at Nannie and Papa's house (my parents) where my mum always prepares her traditional feast of calzones, quiche and other yummy goodies. We were able to see (Michelle and Mike) my sister and brother-in-law (their first married Christmas!), and caught (Steve and Amy) my brother and sister-in-law on our way out. We couldn't stay long because Ian is truly a child who needs his sleep to be even remotely pleasant. I didn't want to spend Christmas day with an over tired Ian, it's not a good thing! We had experience with over tired Ian on Saturday night and it was not enjoyable. We had planned what I thought would be a very fun activity. We live nearby a farm/small zoo called Charmingfare Farms, and they do all sorts of activities around the holidays (they do lots of sleigh and hay rides). During the summer months they do normal daily hay rides through the back of their property. There are little houses, and sheds that, at Christmas time they decorate with lights as well as having animated characters and other neat things. Well during the holidays, they offer a horse drawn carriage ride to see all the decorations. There is a bonfire where you can keep warm while waiting for your ride, and you can get hot cocoa and stuff to make s'mores as well. You can visit with the animals, and it all culminates with the ride bringing you to Santa's reindeer barn where you can meet Santa and his reindeer. I thought this would be a special activity to do as a family. Well, Ian spent the previous night at Auntie Shel's house and was up pretty late, so needless to say that by 6pm he was tired and was just a mess most of the night. In his defense, it was pretty darn cold, and it was very busy so it made getting near the bonfire difficult. Add that to the over an hour and a half long wait for our ride and we had a recipe for disaster! I do think we'll try it again next year, but we know better now how the process works and can maybe gauge timing better (plus sorry Auntie Shel, we'll have to make sure a sleep over is not planned for the night before!). We were able to get a few good pictures, even though we had a grumpy boy! The one with a funny face is because he was feeding a goat and didn't like when they licked him!

Anyways, I've digressed from Christmas, haven't I?

Ian, remarkably, didn't wake up until about 6:45 Christmas morning and we spent a nice morning opening gifts, and enjoying apple cinnamon muffins and egg nog. Santa brought Ian a Magnetix maga case which was very exciting to him. He also brought Ana a walker (Ian was happy to open Ana's gifts up for her). Greg surprised me with a glider chair for Ana's room. We had one for Ian when he was a baby, but it has ceased to glide over time. It was so thoughtful and sweet, thanks honey! We headed over to my parents house around 11:00, and had a great time opening gifts there and visiting with my family. Ian came away with a giant stuffed dog (which he is currently laying on while watching Underdog for the fifth or so time) from Nannie and Papa (among many other wonderful things like spy gear, movies and Ben 10 figures), a cool radio control car, and spin art from Auntie Shel and Uncle Mike, and a radio control airplane and NERF gun from Uncle Steve and Auntie Amy. Everyone came bearing gifts for Ana (a baby doll, toys, clothes and girlie colored blankets!) as well which was very thoughtful. I just love the way our families have embraced her right from the start, it's just so touching! We wrapped up the day with dinner (spiral cut ham, potatoes, rolls and Bumpa's delicious carrots, yum!) and presents at Greg's parent's house. Ian got some Ben 10 figures he's been wanting and a star theater that he can play in his room at night and project the stars on his ceiling and walls. Ana received an adorable baby doll (the only non-caucasian one that the store she went to had!). Thanks also to Mimi and Bumpa, we will be having China Jade (one of our favorite Chinese food restaurants) for dinner soon and we are also the owners of a new cordless phone, for those of you who know our luck with phones, it is very exciting to be cord free again. Oh, and a special thank you as well to Nannie and Papa (among other awesome gifts) for the gift certificate to the grocery store, it is much needed after all the holiday spending!
Anyways, thanks to everyone for all the wonderful things we received. We love each and every one of you so much! I'm so happy we are able to spend the holidays together! Well, I'm off to try and make sense of the mess that remains. There are toys from one end of the house to the other! Just one last story though. We were on our way out visiting on Christmas Eve and Ian pipes up in the back seat:

"Mumma, Christmas isn't all about presents, you know what it's all about?"
"What's it all about Ian?"
"It's about spending time with all our family!"

I started to cry. I think partly it was my little breakdown about not having our family all together, we certainly were missing a piece this year. To miss Ana's first Christmas was very difficult. I couldn't help but think on several occasions what she was doing, and if she was getting any special attention on Christmas, I can only hope so (these are the moments I really wish she was in foster care). Mostly though, I think the tears were because it was just so sweet, and exactly what I hope my children will believe. I was so proud at that moment! Of course then he followed it up with:

"You know where I heard that mumma"
"Where buddy?"
"From Ben 10 Christmas special!"

Well, at least he's getting it somewhere!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I want to extend my apologies to all those who generally receive Christmas cards from our family (and those who we are blessed to receive cards from). This year I dropped the ball. I spent the time designing the perfect card, and had them printed yet still they sit on the kitchen table in a sad pile. I'd still like to share the card with you all, so here it is. My wishes for a wonderful Christmas are still there, even if you didn't receive them in paper form. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 21, 2007

PGN Update, as promised...

Okay, Greg just got off the phone with the PGN and he was told the same thing I was on Tuesday, that we are waiting for sign off. He asked if she could tell if we are awaiting approval or if we had a previo, and she said she couldn't tell. She did however say that if she had to guess, that because of the timing she would guess we are awaiting approval (boy do I hope her instincts are accurate!). At any rate, if we are nearing approval, I would think that news would come the very end of December, to the first week of January. It seems that even after reaching that "waiting for signature" status is reached, you still get out around the two month mark (January 5th). From observing people currently announcing out's, they are approving cases that entered around the week of October 21st. We're hoping for some wonderful news to begin the New Year!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My little ham...

I really enjoy taking Ian's pictures. I've been doing them myself since he was 2 months old. Not only do I save myself a ton of money, but we can take them whenever he's in a good mood, no rescheduling of appointments, and I end up with not only pictures that I can give to friends and family but a collection that really shows what his personality is. I finally got around to doing his 6 year pictures yesterday (Christmas cards may be more like New Years cards this year, hold on friends and family, they're comin'!) and thought you would like to see what a photo shoot with Ian looks like, he's a real ham that's for sure! I hope Ana likes the camera half as much!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is it Good News or Bad News?

Well folks, after going on and on yesterday about how I didn't want to call PGN until after Christmas, a friend gave me some good advice. She said that in this unpredictable process, calling PGN is the one thing that allows us a little control. Often when you call PGN you are finding out information before your agency, sometimes before your attorney, and you can use that information to possibly get a jump on getting things moving. She said worst case, we've received a previo, and if so we can notify the agency to hopefully get to work on fixing it instead of waiting for the attorney to hear about it, pick up the case, then report to the agency before anything is done. So I decided that she is completely right (thank you so much, I know you will be reading this) and that I should call and get an update. What I was told has left me not knowing what emotion to feel. We were told we are waiting to be signed off. At first, I was so excited! But as I understand it, even when you receive a previo, it needs to be signed before being released from PGN to be fixed, so we could have received a previo. I ended up calling PGN back this afternoon because I just didn't know if they could give me any clarification about what the story is. I was told that she couldn't determine if we were waiting for final sign off or if we were waiting for a previo to be signed. She suggested we call back next Friday. Greg is home from work on Friday, so I know he's going to want to call then, which is fine with me. You never know what can be determined over the next three days right? So we are either looking at an amazing early Christmas present, or a bit of a holiday downer, I'm not sure which yet. I'll keep you posted of course.

Oh and we received a couple new pictures today (a total surprise, they came so quick!) that I wanted to share with you all. Her outfit is another one we sent down, a comfy Christmas one. I love the Christmas tree behind her and the Santa hat, very cute. I can't wait to kiss those cheeks again! Anyways, check back on Friday, we are praying for good news!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Okay, so I temporarily forgot that I could take these pictures into Photoshop and lighten them. So that's what I did and they are a lot better. There are three out of nine that are usable, but you know what? It's better than what I had yesterday. It took me a little while to step back and remember that!

6 weeks in

Well, today marks 6 weeks in PGN for us. I would love to call and inquire about where our case lies but I cannot bring myself to do it. I know when Greg is home on Friday he's going to want to call in the worst way, but I'm hoping I can convince him not to. Why you ask? Why wouldn't we want to know what's going on? Well, last week alone, I saw 3 or 4 previos issued just in the handful (okay, maybe it's a big handful) of adoption blogs I follow, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm freaking out. Not that I didn't know it was a possibility, even a probability, it just became more real when you see it start happening to people in the same stage as you. I think the ridiculous statistic is that over 50% of cases will receive a previo at least once during their process. One of the cases was kicked out for no other reason than the reviewer didn't see a document that was indeed there in the file, how incredibly unfair for this family to have to wait another 8-10 weeks because of a mistake made by PGN! At any rate, we are a week away from Christmas and I would prefer to live blissfully unaware until after the holidays if I can!

I started this post this morning, then went to Ian's classroom to volunteer (so much fun, thanks Mrs. Schreiber!). When I came back there was an e-mail from our coordinator. I wrote to her on Friday because we were expecting new pictures of Ana and I was hoping we could have them for the weekend. I have to say, I'm so bummed!! The pictures are pretty blurry, the coordinator told us up front and was apologetic, apparently the camera must have mis functioned and they didn't download the photos until they arrived home from Guatemala. She has asked the hogar director to get more pictures for us and hopes to have them to us before the holidays. I understand mistakes, especially with cameras, believe me, but it just doesn't take away from how bummed I am! Sorry, I was just so looking forward to these pictures, it's been over two months since we've seen updated photos. Okay, I'm done whining. Nothing I can do about this, so I need to move on. Let's hope that we have some better ones by weeks end. I'm going to post a few of the "clearer" ones, just as a sneak peak, they are better than nothing. It appears she is wearing one of the outfits I sent down and the glow worm is with her in her crib, so that's nice to see!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gingerbread Men

We finally got around to making gingerbread men last night which was one of the countdown activities that we skipped this week due to all the chaos. Ian and I made the dough, cut out and baked the gingerbread men in the morning before going to Mimi's house for an early dinner and to exchange gifts with uncle Eddie. After the party uncle Eddie came back with us to decorate the gingerbread men and everyone got to show their creativity. Of course Greg's sense of humor is a little convoluted and when a few of the gingerbread men melded together in the baking process, he saw that opportunity to design an injured cookie. All I could think about was that scene from Shrek where Lord Farquaad is torturing the gingerbread man. I couldn't help but exclaim on several occasions, "Not my gum drop buttons!!"

Ian's guy was a kitty, those are whiskers on his face. After this picture was taken he layered white squiggly "fur" icing all over the cookie. As you can see by his face, he had as much fun sampling the icing and M&M's as he did decorating the cookies.

His philosophy? "One on the cookie, five in my mouth"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How in the World Will Ian Scratch his Tongue now?

We saw the pediatric dentist this morning. Can I just say I love Dr. Deb? She went out of her way to explain to us that these things do happen to children of good parents and to try and not feel guilty about it. She told us about the orthodontist next door whose 5 year old had to have a tooth extracted last year, and about her own daughter whose adult molar already has a large cavity in it. Not that I revel in other people's misfortune, but it really made me feel better. Just to know they aren't thinking we're neglectful parents, putting together a file for DSS in the back room. Anyways, they took x-rays and did determine that his tooth had indeed died, and needed to be removed. She wanted us to see an oral surgeon for this as with an infected tooth, it can be tricky to properly numb it. The oral surgeon who deals with this sort of thing every day would know exactly what to do. She felt they would probably want a consult with us, and then come back for the removal so they called over to see if we could get the consult today so we didn't have to make multiple trips over the next week. Thankfully they were able to squeeze us in, and once we were there, they offered to take care of it right then and there. The only thing we had to deal with was the fact that at this point Ian was under the impression that the dentist was just going to look at his tooth, and talk to us about it. They were so wonderful with him, I just can't say enough about how appreciative I am for them taking care of us so quickly and kindly! We also found out in conversation that the oral surgeon had two adopted children after Ian mentioned that we were adopting his baby sister. While we were waiting, the nurse gave him a "sticky hand" toy which he took great delight in sticking to various things in the office (including my foot and face and a few occasions) and a notepad and pen to draw with. He drew a little stick figure of himself, with tears on his face and told us he was sad that he had to have his tooth pulled. Talk about a punch in the gut! We told him we were sad too, but that it needed to be fixed or it could cause harm to his other teeth. He then drew a picture of our family, complete with Ana in my arms, so cute. The dentist came in and explained what they were going to do in kid terms; Ian seemed really nervous, but he was such a champ through the whole procedure. I held his hands during the extraction and was able to see what they were doing (something I'll never unsee, but glad I was able to hold him while it was being done). It was so fast and he said he didn't feel a thing, success! We left the office with a little envelope of gauze rolls, a gift for the tooth fairy and a prescription for ice cream (literally, a written prescription for an ice cream, how super cute is that?). On the way home Ian was pretty grouchy, he was really thirsty for water, and didn't have any appreciation for the gauze stuffed in his mouth. As soon as we got him water while filling his prescription for ice cream at McD's, and he was able to remove the gauze from his mouth, all was well with the world. After the gauze did come out, this is what he had to say:

"I'm not happy I had to have my tooth out today, do you know why?"
"Why honey"
"Cause that's the tooth I use to scratch my tongue."
then after a long pause and Greg and I trying to suppress our giggles, "no, wait I am happy"
"Why is that?"
"Because now when I blow air out through my teeth, it makes a farting noise like this" blowing air through the gap sure enough makes his cheeks expand, and makes a lovely raspberry noise. I knew then that he was going to be just fine!

Ian's all important prescription

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Please excuse my funk...

It's been an up and down week here.

The downs:

1. Ian saw the dentist on Monday morning because he had what I thought was a canker sore on his gum that didn't seem to want to go away (by the way Michelle O, thanks so much for your consult on Sunday evening, I appreciate you taking time out of your evening for us more than you know). Turns out it's an abscessed tooth. My six year old has a bad tooth. I was shocked, mortified, but mostly laden with guilt. I don't even know why I'm telling you all this, I'm feeling so badly about it. Maybe that's why, I just need to get it off my chest. When I was little, I had extensive dental problems, and apparently the poor child inherited my genes in this department. Of all the things he took from his dad, he couldn't take the good teeth gene (and not the excessively loud gene, the hates all vegetables gene, or the finds it hard to be serious gene)? Geesh!! Anyways, he's had several fillings in the past year. One of those fillings was pretty deep and has apparently become abscessed. Man, we brush twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste, we fluoride rinse, and get dental cleanings every six months. The flossing, we could be more consistent with, which I think is why I'm feeling so guilty, there IS that one something that we could have done better. I just feel like such failure of a mother today. Anyways, we're off to the pediatric dentist in the morning to figure out what needs to be done.

2. The Guatemalan Congress passed the Ortega Adoption Law yesterday. Now granted, this could be listed as an up as it is looking as though cases started prior to December 31st will be allowed to be finished under current laws. However, I am so boggled by the many unanswered questions involving this issue that I am just left frustrated and confused. They say we'll be able to finish our adoptions, but at the same time, all cases in process (oh and there is still question as to what will be considered "in process") prior to December 31st will need to be registered with the Central Authority by January 30th, 2008 (what this will entail has also not yet been explained). Mind you, this Central Authority doesn't yet exist. The organizations that make up this authority apparently have two weeks to appoint their members and 60 days to get it up and running. Correct me if I'm wrong, but 60 days pushes us into February. How are we supposed to register by January 30th with an organization that may not exist until February? And does that mean that we will then not qualify to finish under current law? My brain hurts...

3. The adoption waiting game is really getting to me. I belong to a couple yahoo groups and forums and have been watching people get out of PGN. Most seem like they are right around the 8-10 week mark. There are the random few that get out in 2 or 3 weeks though and those are tough to see. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled for the people that get them, but it just shows how very unpredictable this process is. We've been in PGN for 5 weeks now, providing we don't get a previo, we have quite possibly passed the half way mark, but it seems like an eternity is still ahead of us. I feel like our whole course of infertility was a lesson in patience and the understanding that things don't always go as you plan them. That there is a plan set out for us that we don't have control over. There are times when I think, "Okay, I get it already! Enough is enough!" But then, I understand obviously that there is still more to learn. I need to just have faith that things will work the way they are supposed to. Some days are so much harder than others though...

Let's talk about the ups, shall we?

1. Greg's older brother Eddie flew in on Monday night from Alaska for the first time in over a year. And he arrived just in time to attend Ian's first ever Christmas concert (I'll be posting video of that soon). Ian was so excited to see him and has been so happy to spend time with his uncle. We are so lucky he was able to be home around the holidays. It means so much to have him here!

2. Speaking of PGN again, I called on Monday and was told that we were still on the second reviewers desk. This news actually makes me very happy as it means that we have not received a previo and are still in PGN. Of course I'd rather be out, but I wasn't expecting that news anyways. Like I said before, we are currently 5 weeks in, hopefully only a few weeks more to go!

It's bugging me that there are more downs than ups, but it is what it is. I really am a glass half full kind of girl, but I'm just having a hard time this week. I really thought that waiting through the holiday season would be good because we all know that the holiday's fly by. In actuality though, all I can constantly think of during the family gatherings and parties is that Ana should be here. As wonderful as my family is, I somehow feel incomplete this year, why do I feel guilty about that? I'm excited for Christmas, but there's a piece of me that aches.

Oh, and if you are wondering about our countdown, Uncle Eddie's arrival has taken precedence over the activities this week. Ian has been spending a lot of time with his uncle and Mimi and that's just fine with me (except for all the wonderful things uncles can teach a six year old, we'll have to do deprogramming after he leaves! All of a sudden your poems aren't so bad anymore Sharon!) . Never the less, I'm so glad he has such strong relationships with his family, that's what life's all about!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Catching up again...

Once again I'm getting behind, it's been a muddled couple of days. We got Greg's car back on Tuesday ($850.00 later, ouch!). Wednesday my car failed inspection, needing 2 new tires. It's been a very expensive week and not in a good way! At any rate, the countdown continued regardless, here's how the end of the week went...

Thursday, 19 days until Christmas:
make treats for our kitty friends

We ended up spending a good portion of the afternoon at the mechanic getting our new tires so this activity was actually pushed to Friday. Ian's friend Ollie was over so the boys pulled two chairs over to the counter to help put the treats together. If I had really thought out the entire preparation of these treats, I don't know if we would have done them. The first step was to take cooked chicken, an egg and some chicken broth and put it in a blender to puree. This resulted in a rather disgusting looking (and smelling) pink tinged concoction. I poured it out into a bowl while I gathered the other ingredients. I think Ian made a comment about the stuff looking like vomit and giggling. When I came back to the counter, Ollie looked at me and said I don't think I want to do this, it's giving me a tummy ache (Ollie and his brother are well known as chain vomiters, they have very sensitive gag reflexes and once one goes the other does so I gladly excused him from the activity!). So down jumped Ian too, giggling and making puking sounds. So I was left standing with the bowl of "vomit". I must admit, I didn't want to finish either! I added the flour and corn meal the recipe called for and put the dough in the refrigerator where it needed to stay for two hours. It still happens to be sitting in the same spot. I never covered it so it's all dried out and I'm now facing having to start over. I don't think I can stomach the puree again, I think the kitties may be getting cans of Pounce this year!

Friday, 18 days until Christmas
Christmas movie night

We settled in together to watch a Christmas movie and have pizza, popcorn and chocolate chip cookies (we made them after the kitty treat fiasco) on Friday night. Greg put in Rudolph's Shiny New Year, to which I protested that it wasn't a Christmas movie! His response was "well, it has Rudolph in it!", ugh. Have you watched this one? Not my favorite by far. Anyways, the DVD started to skip and I ended up getting my way to watch what happens to be my favorite, A Year Without A Santa Claus. It was a nice relaxing night and Ian thoroughly enjoyed getting to stay up late!

Saturday, 17 days until Christmas
Christmas with the Rowells

Ever since I was very young, our family and our neighbors family would get together for a Christmas party. It holds many fond memories for me and is a nice way to catch up on each other's lives since we don't see them very often. Each year holds a new ornament hand made by Charlene and this year Ana received her first one. It means so much to me that she has been so accepted by everyone even before she is legally ours. To me, it shows that everyone is confident that she will be coming home to us. So hopefully the next Rowell Christmas party will include two more children as Nate has announced that they are expecting baby number two in June. Maybe my brother and sister-in-law will make it three?! What do you think guys? Thank you everyone for such a wonderful day, it was so nice to see you and catch up!

Sunday, 16 days until Christmas
Go to a Christmas Concert

Tonight we'll be attending my brother and sister-in-law's church where they will be singing in the choir for a Christmas Concert. I'm excited to not only hear them sing, but to meet all the people I have heard so much about. My brother has mentioned in church that we are adopting and they are asked every week about how it is going. They have prayed for us and have sent well wishes, I just can't wait to meet these people and express how much it means to have so many good thoughts sent our way.

Oh, before I go I wanted to share an accomplishment. I finally completed a blanket I started crocheting for Ian a few months ago. I am the type of person to start a lot of projects and get bored and never finish them. I am so proud that I actually completed this one in a decent amount of time! Ian picked the color, and says he doesn't like it, he loves it! Next I get to make a girlie one!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Countdown Catch Up

My intention was to post our daily activity every night but it some how got away from me. I think it was Monday's activity that wasn't done until well after dinner and Tuesday's activity that ended up taking two days that threw me off (oh and not to mention the fact that we've been driving Greg to and from work all week because his car has been in the shop wracking up a rather hefty bill!). So here's a little catch up...

Monday, 22 days until Christmas:
a Christmas light tour

We had to wait until after 7pm because we knew Ian was going to be receiving a phone call from Santa between 6 and 7. If you would like to hear a recording of that call, click here. After the Santa call excitement, we got in the car and headed out. First stop was hot chocolate, can't have a Christmas light tour without it! We first visited a house in Raymond that is one of those houses with lights set to music that is transmitted to your car onto your radio. All the lights move according to the music, very cool. We took a little video of it to share, but I haven't uploaded it yet, but believe it or not, I found that someone else had uploaded this very house to youtube. It's not the best quality, but you get the idea. If you would like to see it, click here! Of course after that house, nothing compared, and made the remainder of the tour a bit of a let down. It was nice though to just drive around and see what other people do, plus we had our first "real" snow storm of the year and it was still fresh and pretty. I think Ian enjoyed himself very much.

Tuesday, 21 days until Christmas:
make presents for family

We made little presents for Ian to give his Nannie and Papa, Mimi and Bumpa, and aunts and uncles, many of whom read this blog so it wouldn't be fair to share any more information. I'd love to share pictures, but that would spoil it too, don't you think? Maybe after Christmas I can show you pictures of Ian working diligently on his gifts.

Wednesday, 20 days until Christmas:
make tr
eats for our doggy friends

Since the dogs we love don't read my blog (as I'm aware anyways), I can post a few pictures of Ian working on these. We made dog cookies for all of our dog friends, and Ian chose to make them in Christmas tree shapes. He was admittedly more interested in playing Zuma (his new favorite video game) than helping make the dough but he did participate in the cutting out of the cookies. We can't wait to see if the dogs like our gifts!

And that brings us to today. Since I'd like to get this posted, I'll post today's activity either later today or tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to start posting these on the day we do them, but I'm not promising anything! I have to say this has been a rewarding experience for me. Ian loves doing projects, and I love spending time with him especially when he's enjoying something. It has given us something to do every day, which has really taken my mind off of the fact that it has been 8 weeks (It really saddened me to realize that we won't have any pictures of our daughter at the age of 4 months) since we last received a new picture of Ana. Okay, that's a lie, it hasn't exactly taken my mind off it, but the time has certainly passed quicker than it would have had I just been checking e-mail all afternoon instead of enjoying quality time with my son. With regards to Ana pictures, our agency has two people in Guatemala right now who are there visiting homes and taking pictures, so we should see something next week or the week after, so stay tuned for that!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...

We're doing a different kind of advent calendar in our house this year (we have one of those chocolate ones too, don't worry), each day will bring a new activity to do. I made little tags for each day and hung them on our mini Christmas tree in the kitchen. The first was to have a special snack while writing our Dear Santa Letter. Well, we had our special snack (mummy's home made french fries and hot cocoa) and started to write the took half an hour to write "Dear Santa Claus". I so feel for you Mrs. Schreiber (Ian's teacher), do you have to go through this with him to get every writing activity done? This child does not like to write! So just to get it done (and because we're still waiting to hear what he actually is asking for) I let him sit at the computer and type it, he lost interest there as well. It turned into a weekend project and just this morning, with me typing and him narrating were we able to come up with one. Most of what we have bought him so far is not on the list by the way. It was very cute though, he said "hey, I'm going to ask for something to give Ana!" Then he wanted to ask Santa to bring presents to Ana in Guatemala, I suggested that we ask Santa to deliver her gifts here so we don't have to worry about packing them up on our trip home with her. He thought that was a fine idea.

Yesterday's activity was to make "crystal snowflakes". This one kept his attention. We crafted snowflake shapes out of pipe cleaners and string and then suspended them in a super saturated solution of borax and water. As the water cooled overnight, the borax came out of solution and attached itself to our snowflakes. They turned out quite pretty and were a bit of a science experiment as well.

Ian's snowflake

Check back for our 22 days 'til Christmas activity, a Christmas Light Tour!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Complete Randomness...

I've taken some pictures in the past week that don't really warrant their own posts, but I wanted to share anyways. So enjoy my collection of complete randomness...

Ian and I made tissue paper turkeys for the table centerpieces on Thanksgiving. It was more involved than it looked and I don't think we'll be making them ever again! They turned out cute though and I just loved the way that they look like they are having a conversation (we didn't purposefully pose the heads that way, it's just how they ended up).

Later on that day we made some "Gooey Gunk", a concoction of glue, borax and water. It's one of Ian's favorite activities so we made a batch. Greg serendipitously discovered that air blown into the stuff results in a bubble so that is the new sole purpose of gooey gunk play, how big a bubble can be made! Greg and I decided to try and use two straws at once thinking we would both contribute to one large bubble. As soon as the two bumps started to emerge, we both started to snicker. I was thinking gooey gunk boobies, Greg was thinking gooey gunk booty, at any rate Ian luckily didn't see anything but two bubbles and was looking at us like we had lost our minds. Shame on us! Oh, gooey gunk also takes the shape of anything you place it on. Greg was trying to make a face print in that last picture. All I could think of was that squid guy from Pirates of the Caribbean. Gooey gunk is good fun!

On Friday we cut our Christmas tree down, once again from our side yard. When we moved in here, there were these small evergreens scattered over the side lawn. We were going to cut them down until we thought, we could have free Christmas trees for the next few years. This is the third year we've been able to do this, and we have one more year left. They are perfect little trees, but they are so sharp!! It was truly painful decorating this thing! That look on Greg's face in the picture where he's carrying the tree is pain, pure pain....

As we unpacked the Christmas ornaments, Ian remembered that he had made several in school last year and decided that he had to make a new one this year. He went away and came back with an ornament he made out of pipe cleaners and feathers he found in his craft bucket. It was really cute that he wanted to make something new and I've been really good about leaving those feathers hanging on our Christmas tree right in the front. All I can say is watch out Hallmark, your Keepsake ornaments are goin' down!

Lastly, this happened before Thanksgiving. I was making out the grocery list and I left the room to go check something, I can't remember now. But I came back and Ian had added an item to the grocery list. I busted a gut when I came back and found what he had done. It was so cute and yes, I did humor him and bought him some ice cream.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So Far So Good....

I wrote our program coordinator today to see if our package got there in time to go to Guatemala with the two ladies from our agency who left yesterday (I'm assuming this will mean new pictures as well, stay tuned!) and to ask how our case is progressing through the PGN. She informed us that our package is on it's way to Ana and that so far we have not received any previos (kick outs). This is good news! So I gave in to temptation and allowed Greg to call PGN today to see where we are. He was told we have been on the second reviewers desk since November 17th, and she said on average you are with the second reviewer for 5-6 weeks. You are then passed on for final review and sign off with Sr. Barrios. So, so far so good, we're inching along as expected. Of course, this doesn't mean a heck of a lot, as honestly, we could get a previo at any time, and I would venture a guess that the second reviewer would be most likely place for this to happen. I'm trying not to go there, but we have to keep it real! If we were issued a previo, we would be re-submitted back at the first reviewer so the wait starts all over again. So please pray for us, we want our girl home!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Retail Therapy, Day After Thanksgiving Style

My two neighbors and I joined the day after Thanksgiving sale mayhem again this year. We left our toasty warm homes at 4:15 in the morning to stand outside at Toys R Us for what seemed like the longest 20 minutes of our lives! The line was snaked out into and around the parking lot before the doors were opened at 5am, it was crazy! For pure curiosity, we asked the very first person in line what time they got there. She responded 11:30pm!! She sat in her car until about 1:00 when another person arrived where she then exited her car to wait outside in line. That's 4 hours waiting outside in the freezing cold! I hope it was worth it! I am so glad we didn't need any of the hot items (I don't even know what they were), I fear I would not do well in that situation. You would likely find me crying underneath the nearest display. At any rate, we did really well. I personally saved about $80.00 at Toys R Us which I am thrilled about, and my neighbors saved a bunch as well. After Toys R Us we hit Wal Mart (which was our first stop last year), what a difference just an hour and a half will make in the craziness! Wal Mart was so peaceful! No real spectacular buys there, but we did get quite a bit accomplished. We then hit Walgreens and Ace Hardware, wish I could tell you my finds at these stores, but some of the recipients read my blog...sorry guys! All in all it was a very productive day and was a lot of fun, I'm so glad we had removed the back seat of the van or we would have been in trouble! Here's a picture of our accomplishments!

What can I say, we are good at what we do!