Monday, April 30, 2007

Ethan, we are thinking of you baby......

Today I stayed home from work as I am still ill. The Dr. diagnosed a bad throat infection and I am on antibiotics and trying desperately to get back up to speed.

While I was home today we received Ethan's finding ad that I ordered from Research China. For those that do not know what a finding ad is; it is an ad placed in the newspaper of the province where the baby lives describing the baby and giving their date of birth as well as abandonment date. It is usually the first photo of the child that the parent will have and is usually taken close to their birth. Ethan was a bit older when he was left at the orphanage and he was quite ill so I do have a picture that predates this newest one that was given to me by the woman who sponsored Ethan's surgery. The pic from this ad seems to be when he was about 9 months old and after his surgery. He is so beautiful is described in the ad as having a rectangular face, black hair and light skin. His eyes are enormous and very dark. He is so slight in the picture; just a little peanut. His latest growth report shows he has come along way since that picture was taken. From all reports the orphanage that he is in is taking very good care of him. My heart broke when I saw that he was among approximately 175-200 children posted in the paper that week as I also ordered a copy of the entire newspaper. It is so mind boggling when you look at all of the precious faces of these babies that do not have a family to love and nurture them as they deserve.

Ethan, we are working so hard to finish all of the paperwork up and get you home where you belong. We love you and think about you all the time.
**The picture above was taken the other day when I was out with my two children. I cannot wait for the day when we can complete this picture with Ethan.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ramblings of a 46 year old Mommy with a fever

I am sure that you are a bit curious about the title of this post as it is a bit strange.

Tuesday, I turned 46 years old and became sick to my stomach and not because I turned 46 years old ~smirk~ I actually had some bug working on me that had me holding my tummy. Unfortunately, I also had to emcee a luncheon/meeting for about 80 people that day and it was a moment by moment exercise in mind over matter. The wonderful perk to butching up and not asking someone else to cover it were the beautiful flowers that my husband sent to the luncheon to be delivered to my table and the cake that my father brought in and then lead the room in a boisterous rendition of the birthday song while tears welled up in my eyes.

I left the meeting and crawled into bed; subsequently calling off a birthday dinner that we were to have that evening. Now anyone that knows me at all knows that I had to be mighty sick to do that since 1.) I am the ultimate birthday girl who loves everything birthday; most especially my own and 2.) I never miss a meal. I had obviously seen better days.

The crazy thing about the virus is that it has swept through our happy home as well as my place of business like the plague and that it has moved through my body in fits and starts. It started 2 weeks ago with a dizzy spell and a general feeling of malaise, then I thought I was doing better until the congestion set in, then I dried up and my ears started hurting, then came the stomach issues and now I sit here in a Saturday evening with a fever, sore throat and chills. OK, enough already, I am going to will this bad boy bug from my body and banish it into exile.

On another note; Last evening after the rescheduled birthday dinner we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things that turned into a SUV full of things when I had the most melancholy moment concerning a sullen teenager and our Starr. While we were checking out the grumpy young woman began loading our cart. Katie turned to her and said "hi" and gave her best 2 year old huge smile and wave. The girl grunted at her; barely acknowledging her. Katie of course did not know the difference and continued to stare at the girl in wonder and amazement as she packed and loaded groceries as if she was the best thing since sliced bread. I looked at my daughter's beautiful and innocent face and felt such love and gratitude for the stage that she is currently in with all of it's purity and wide eyed wonder. Then I felt sadness that she will lose that to a certain extent as we all do. Of course, I realize that she will never be that sullen teenage (I will not allow it..LOL) but she will not be the uncensored and innocent being that she is now in a couple of years. Another happier wave of emotion washed over as it occurred to me that having children allows us to enter that unspoiled territory again and see the joy and wonder of life through their eyes during the baby and toddler years. Now that I am writing this it seems a bit odd that this all happened while we were walking to the car with our groceries; but it did.

This morning I woke up and took Katie to a scheduled FCC Play group as I had already made the commitment to do so even though I felt like death warmed over and then drug my body home where I curled up in the fetal position and let Katie vegetate through hours of mindless kiddie television next to me on the bed (which I never do) because I felt so crummy and the menfolk were both at work. Justin then came home and provided reinforcement to his dear ol' mum (man I love that kid O' mine) and hopefully tomorrow this bad boy bug will bid me a final adieu and be banished into exile to never rear it's ugly head again.

Oh, and before I go; a special thank you goes out to my good friend
Dawn who nominated my blog for the "Thinking Bloggers Award". I personally feel that Dawn has surpassed me greatly in the blogging category and you can judge for yourself by checking out Dawn blogs almost daily about her life as mother to the beautiful Lily and wife to Jacob as they bear the wait (very gracefully, I might add) for their yet unnamed daughter, affectionately known to us as Chopsticks. You will enjoy her very witty and quite British writing style. I feel honored to have her as my friend. Huge hugs my friend - and just be glad that they are cyber since I am probably contagious.

Goodnight all as I slip into fevered delirium ;-)

Monday, April 23, 2007

There is no place like home :)

Thanks to our friends Shannon and Alan who gave us this cozy cottage for Miss Starr. Of course being the goofballs that we are we had to get in there with Katie. Even our Chihuahua, Gabby tried to get into the act.

This is actually how our real home is beginning to feel and with Ethan coming we may be feeling a little too "cozy" for our own good. I hate the thought of moving and having to do a home study addendum...ugh! I guess we will wait until our son comes home before we decide if the Katie's cozy cottage is roomier than our present digs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doing the "Golden Ticket" Happy Dance Tonight!!

I called my friend Shannon to wish her a Happy Birthday and as we spoke she told me that today was a lucky number day for her as she and Mia were both born on the 18th. She felt strongly that our I-171h would be here today!! As I drove down my street I saw Marc at the mailbox pulling out the mail and he busted out with the thumbs up!! Whoooohooooo, on day 75 we received our GOLDEN TICKET to Ethan.
It may take us a little longer than most to go DTC as our agency in Hawaii is very small. They handle the certifying in Hawaii and authenticating out of LA. They will not expedite a thing and estimate approx a month to 6 weeks before DTC. Oh well, at least this battle was won today. I will relish this victory today and then go back to driving myself crazy about what is out of our control tomorrow..LOL.

Waiting while holding a picture of your son for approx 10 months will definitely be the hardest thing I have ever done.

On another note; here are Katie Starr's two year old portraits. They make me melt every time I look at them. It is a good thing too because she has been a whiny mess while she has been ill. We do not know where 2 year old whiny begins and sick whiny ends...sheesh!
Please click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Katie Starr's 2nd Birthday Pictures

Katie Starr had a wonderful birthday celebration that lasted two days. That is the norm in our house. I am all about birthdays :)

What a difference a year makes; at this time last year we were celebrating her birthday while she was still in China. We were a month away from going to China and were so sad to be away from her on such a big day. We really tried to make her birthday special and may have gone a "bit overboard" this year but it was all good. One of our goals was to raise money for a child that needs surgery in China and donate the money through Love Without Boundaries. If you remember from a previous post our Ethan was given his life saving operation in exactly this same way. A wonderful woman by the name of Kelly Doctor and her family had a two year old birthday party for their daughter and then donated the money for his surgery as well as one of his orphanage mates. We decided to do the same thing, so our party goers were kind enough to honor our wishes and we raised over 600.00 towards the 2000.00 needed for a very special little girls surgery. If you would like to know more about Wu Hong Cai and would consider donating for her surgery please
click here She was in the same orphanage as Katie was at about the same time. One of our travel mates is even considering adopting this sweet child. We were more than thrilled to be able to connect this red thread and help in any way possible.

Katie seemed a little out of sorts at the party. I chalked it up to waaaay to many people and being over stimulated but I think the problem was that she was getting sick. When we got home she started with a low grade fever and by today she was full blown ill with a temp that spiked up to 104 degrees in the late afternoon. I hope that she is feeling a bit better in the morning.

Here are some pics from the two days. On her birthday we had a quiet day and cut a cake for her and then Saturday was the big shindig...enjoy!!

I love my Elmo Medical Kit

Justin and I are checking out Daddy's throat...say aaaaaah daddy!!

No, this is not the peace sign or "V" for victory...Katie is 2 today!!!

My parents birthday gift to Katie - She liked it but can't peddle it yet. Don't ya love the Elmo helmet??!!

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!

I made her birthday cake and the Cookie Monster cupcakes for her party on the following day.

Cookie Monster took one for the team

Getting ready to pull the strings on the toddler Pinata
The big dive for Candy (katie is in the Elmo Shirt) She was satisfied with one lollipop :)

Katie was less than thrilled about Elmo

My dad, Elmo, Katie Starr and me

Katie's friends Hansen and Amiee liked Elmo

Katie was less than thrilled

Yeah dad, I know you like him but I will just stay here in Mama's arms!!

and the cakes kept coming.....

Just after Katie Starr's birthday comes my fathers and then mine so the cakes kep coming. We surprised my dad with one and then Marc surprised me with one. Following that we sang several renditions of Happy Birthday as there were other April Birthdays in the house.

A very happy and tired birthday girl on the ride home

Friday, April 13, 2007

Our Sweet Girl Turned Two Years Old Today!!

Katie Starr is two years old today and we can hardly believe it. She is every bit the two year old now and officially ushered this lovely stage into our lives last evening with a huge tantrum. We enjoyed every minute of it! It just proves to us yet again that she is happily ensconced into our lives and is secure as our daughter. She lets us know that whenever it is appropriate. Anyway, our hearts are full of joy today that we are the parents to this wonderful child who has surpassed every expectation that we ever held about her. We have waited a long time to share a birthday with her. We spent the day as a family, had some cake and then welcomed home her China sister Rachel this evening at the airport. I could not think of a better way to spend the this day.

Tomorrow will be her birthday party in the park. I will post pictures and commentary from her birthday after the party.

Happy Birthday Katie Starr!! We love and adore you and always will.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Our daughter the Doctor?

After receiving word yesterday about Justin's acceptance into Law School (see previous post) I received this e-mail from hubby with picture attached. One of the many reasons I love Marc is that he totally cracks me up :)
Here is the e-mail:
I can tell the competition will be tough in our house. With Justin's announcement of going into Law School; Katie decided she wasn't going to be out done, so she cracked open the books to get a head start. See attached picture.....

Monday, April 09, 2007

My Son the Lawyer :)

Justin received his first acceptance letter for Law School earlier today. He is waiting for two others before he makes a final decision but as of the fall he will be in Law School and in 2010 he will be an attorney :) whooooohooooo!!

This is a goal that Justin has wanted to achieve as far back as I can remember. I am very proud that Justin is following his dreams.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

We have been thrown a bone

Today we received a very short update from the CCAA about Ethan. This is a periodic update that was sent to the agency with no pictures attached but we are grateful to receive any scraps of information thrown our way; hence we have been thrown a bone :)

Here is the updated info:
Height: 31.5 inches
Weight: 23 lbs
Head circumference: 48cm
Chest circumference: 48cm
Foot size:12cm
Teeth: 15

Physical Condition
He can walk with the help of a go-cart. He can stand by holding something. He can walk when someone holds one of his hands. He can sit well by himself.

Mental Development Condition
He is clever. He is well developed and active. He is close to his care-taker.

Meal Schedule and Preference
Eating time: 7:30am, 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:30pm and 7:30pm. His staple food is milk powder (jinxing brand) plus lotus seed rice flour. His non-staple food is rice, noodles, meat soup, cookies and cakes and so on.

Daily Life, Personality, Hobbies etc.
He gets up at 7:00am, take a nap at 1:30pm and hit the bed at 8:00pm. I will leave out his bowel and bladder routine - Definitely TMI!!

He is active and smiles when he sees familiar people.

Favorite Toys and Activities
He likes dolls best (hmmmmm?) and likes to play outside with other children.

Foster Institute: Social Welfare Institute Of Xiajiang city, Jiangxi province
March 23, 2007

Even though the top of the document had all of Ethan's identifying information we asked for the agency to re verify the info as the narrative was written from the perspective of "she" instead of "he" and of course there was that doll comment....LOL

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

There is only one thing left to be said.....

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A day at the Palm Beach Zoo

A little nervous before the ride started but begged to go again and again!

Look...we are both sticking out our tounge!

Greenacres is the place to be...

Double fisted coloring before lunch

Grandma and Katie in comparison to the bears

We came across this water feature at the zoo and off came the clothes :)

Cool Photo of Katie in the tunnel in the playground

A Day at Parrot Jungle Island

Isn't she lovely?

Daddy and Katie

Mommy and Katie

I am not so sure about that Blue thing!!!

Leading the Way....

I Love the Slide

Mom and Dad...these Pink Flamingos are Cool!!