Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is Heartless!

If you have not already heard, Walmart has decided to take $470,000 from Debbie Shank, a 52 year old mother of three (One of her sons recently died in Iraq), who was involved in a terrible car accident crippling her short term memory, leaving her in a wheelchair, and in a nursing home. Because of the fine print of Walmart's health insurance plan, since Debbie was involved in a car accident and was awarded the money to take care of the tragic aftermath, they are entitled to take all the money that was supposed to go to taking care of Debbie.

THEY ACTUALLY WANT $470,000 from this handicapped woman in a wheelchair, who needs it to be taken care of in the future. This coming from a company that made $90 billion last quarter...Here is the link to the full story:

As far as I am concerned this is despicable and I am passing on this story and link to everyone I possibly can and this is just one way to accomplish that. Please make your voice heard with this heartless corporation and boycott them until they do the right thing by this woman.

OK, tomorrow I will get back to the business of blogging about my Lil ol' life; thank you for listening :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Probably too much information but I cannot resist...

The Dynamic Duo are in two very different stages when it comes to potty training. Ethan is about 98% there during the day and even has some dry nights. On the other hand, Katie Starr is absolutely, positively not on board with the idea of the potty at all and will tell us "I do not do that because I am too small!" Bwahaha!! She is almost 3 months older than he is!! She cheers him on every time he goes to the potty but that is where her enthusiasm ends...that is until today! Today she had a breakthrough.

Marc called me on my cell today so that Katie could leave me the following message. Katie was very animated and was speaking quite loudly (yelling :) so you may have to listen more than once to really understand her. Click on the musical note to hear the message.

How sweet and funny was that?!? Of course, I had to play it for anyone and everyone that would listen to it.

Once I came home I found Katie in big girl underwear. Obviously, Marc was just a tad bit excited by the days events and overly optimistic about her abilities as it was soon thereafter that she was standing in the middle of the floor in a puddle. Didn't seem to faze her a bit (grin) Hey, it's a start!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Two Years Ago Today.....

We saw Katie Starr's face for the first time. I will never forget it. We were supposed to receive our referral on February 27, 2006 but unfortunately DHL lost 64 of the 90 referrals expected that day between Beijing and Austin, Texas where GWCA is located. When we received word that they had been lost I felt such a sense of sorrow. It had been such a build up to that moment and I wondered how I could even wait another day to see her little face. Little did I know that those referrals would never be found and still have not been found to this day. The CCAA had to go back to the SWI's and obtain new photos for us. They were able to give us some minimal info on each child but all of the referral info would have to wait.

When Brian Stuy from Research China heard our plight he called many of the families to offer his services in locating our children's finding ad based on the info that we had received. We received a phone call from him at 2:00 am from China to see if we would like him to send a copy of Katie Starr's finding ad via e-mail immediately. He said the photo would be poor quality but we jumped at the chance. In the meantime DHL found 32 more referrals at a depot in NYC and we would know the next day if we were one of those families. Marc and I made an agreement that if we were not among the group of found referrals that we would then open the photo. Well, again we waited for the e-mail that would say whether we were in this group of found referrals but alas we were not to see our sweet girl that day either. Through tears we decided to open up the finding ad picture that Brian sent us. We could barely see the outline of her face but at least it helped a bit with the wait we still had to endure.

Finally, three weeks later our time had really come and it was so amazingly sweet. Unfortunately, Marc and I were not able to be together to see her for the first time. I sat next to my Mom and when the e-mail came through we took a second to take a deep breath and then I clicked and it was the stuff that dreams are made of. I collapsed into my moms arms crying tears of joy. All I could see was the beautiful and smiling eyes of my daughter looking back at me. I fell in love with those eyes and that sweet soul immediately and the rest as they say is history. Katie Starr is a dream come true. We adore this child and cannot imagine our life without her. I know in my heart that she is the perfect fit for us and for her brother, Ethan.

To all the waiting families; please take heart. Your patience will pay off because in the end your precious child will be revealed to you and you will feel the special joy that is like no other.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Wonderful Evening Benefitting Love Without Boundaries

Last night our FCC-South Florida Chapter, of which I am the president, held our inaugural fundraising event. We held the event in our home and the way that we raised money was through video horse racing for prizes. The event was sponsored by some very generous companies and some others donated door prizes. The event will benefit Love Without Boundaries who works on behalf of the children of China who still are wait for a home and a family to call their own. We are still calculating the final amount as the donations are still coming in but it was truly a fun and successful evening that we will not soon forget. It was also an adult only event which was pleasurable in itself (wink)

Enjoy the pictures by clicking on the link below . You can click on them to make them larger.

FCC-South Florida Charity Event - a photoset on Flickr

Monday, March 10, 2008

Maybe she should not be a speech therapist

I was talking to Marc about Ethan's speech therapy today. Ethan had a very good session and he was mimicking many two and three word phrases quite well. Marc was telling me that the therapist wants us to prompt him to say a two word phrase when he wants something. He used the example that if Ethan wants the "blue ball" we should make him say "blue ball" before we hand it to him or at least for him to attempt to say it.

Katie must have been listening intently in the back seat to our conversation. Here is what came next ~

Katie ~ "Ethan say blue ball."

Ethan ~ Trying to get our attention "dada"

Katie ~ Her voice rising "Ethan....I said say blue ball!"

Ethan ~ "dada"

Katie ~ Now screaming "ETHAN...YOU NOT SAY DADA!! YOU SAY BLUE BALL!!"

Ethan ~ "dada, dada, dada"

Katie ~ AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! That is Katie screaming and fake crying

Maybe teaching is not in her future; she might be better suited to being a dictator of her own country (smirk)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cute Stuff

Just a couple of cute photos and video clips from the last couple of days.

The pics are of Ethan and his "harem" Katie Starr and their special friend Mia (Mimi). As you can see, Mr. E's harem is faithfully serving his highness by putting his shoes on. Seriously though, when this threesome and Mimi's big brother Ryan get together it is way too much fun to watch. We were able to see the beginnings of the special friendship that the two girls are building when they slipped off and began playing quietly together in Mimi's room last evening. They were pretending to read to each other ~vs~ the parallel play that they have been doing up until now...too cute.

......and now our "big kid" with our "little kids"

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Friday, March 07, 2008

Ethan, put that in my ear!

No, there will be no pictures for this post as I was too exasperated to run and get my camera and certainly did not want to send the message that I was condoning the newest antics of the gruesome twosome.

We put the kiddos down for a nap after Katie came home from preschool and they went down with no problem (never a good sign). I waited a couple of minutes and asked Marc if he could hear them on the monitor as it was waaaay too quiet on the western front. He said that he did not and we both started our respective work. For some reason I decided that it was no fluke that they were that quiet and walked over to the hallway outside of their room. I heard talking so I crept closer and that is when I heard the phrase that I titled this post with. What!!??!! I threw the door open to find Katie out of her bed and standing next to Ethan's pack and play (this is where he is presently sleeping until his toddler bed arrives and that is a whole other story having to do with the ineptitude of Babies R Us). She was holding some cream and in his P&P he was sitting amongst assorted creams, hair clips, q-tips, and holding a fingernail clipper. I am not sure what she wanted him to put in her ear...amazing! All of this stuff was inside the drawer of their changing table and had a childproof lock on it that seems to be missing...huh?!?

I admonished them sternly, took out all of the dangerous items and told them to go to sleep now!! Five minutes later, I hear Ethan squealing and I run back in to find that they had now gotten all of the hair clippies out and were playing again.

We moved Ethan out of the room and put him in the playroom in his P&P for his nap. What the H*E* double toothpicks are we gonna do with these two...double groan!! If any of you have any wisdom that you would like to share please feel free. I am just gonna sit back for the next hour and medicate myself with chocolate.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Another First for Mr. E

Today was Ethan's first day of preschool. Early intervention thought it was a good idea and it already seems to be.

The first day went off without a hitch. Marc brought him to school and stayed there a few minutes. When he went to leave and he told Ethan goodbye Mr. E decided that meant that they were both leaving and ran to the door and said "bye bye" to the class. Marc told him that he needed to stay and that daddy was going bye bye but would be back very soon. E looked a bit deflated but was easily soothed by the teacher intervening with a Elmo Mr. Potato Head (love that Elma :) Marc slipped out and came home to tell me the good news. The teacher called about an hour later to ask us a question and told us that Ethan was doing very well.

Marc went back to get him and when he got to the classroom to pick him up at noon the children were having a musical parade. He looked to see where Mr. E was and he was happily bringing up the rear while munching away on a bag of chips that he had found on the teachers desk...too funny!! I guess he was the percussion with his munching. When Katie walked into the classroom which is her classroom on Mon, Wed and Friday the kids looked quite surprised to see her. They were probably wondering why she wasn't there and why was her brother there?!? I was also a bit concerned that maybe she would be unhappy that Ethan gets to go on the days that she does not go. That was not the case at all. As a matter of fact, the only issue that arose when they went to pick Ethan up was that Katie wanted one of Ethan's chips. As Marc said, she had no problem sharing her classmates as long as Ethan shared his chips with her. That is our foodie daughter...ha!!

Ethan came home with two art projects that he completed and the teacher stated that he really spoke to them quite a bit.

It was quite a successful first day!

Here are pics of our beautiful son on his first day of preschool...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Life is all about change and how we adapt (or not) to it. The adoption experience teaches you about how to stay in the moment and not project too far into the future as the changes that occur do so in rapid succession and when you think you have a handle on your situation there is change in it again.

Life with the children keeps us growing and changing and that is a great thing. It has put life in perspective for me especially as my business life has crumbled around me. As everyone knows, the real estate industry has never been in worse shape. Since the day that Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida in October of 2005 our business has met with a steady decline that has taken our very successful long term business right into the toilet. We are presently fighting for our life there and I do not know the outcome but as they say "it don't look good" The business has always given us a great income but for me, not a great deal of personal satisfaction. I yearn to find something that can fulfill some of my life's passion.

One of my life's passions is parenting and adoption. My children, bio and adopted, have given me the greatest joy in life and if I can help people build their families this way it would give me great joy.

Out of the clear blue, I received a call from a representative from the agency that we used for Katie, Great Wall China Adoption, and that call was to offer me a position with the agency as Director of the South Florida region for them. This position would entail both educating couples about adopting through the China program but also assisting them through the process and counseling them on their alternatives to the China program if they do not qualify. I was very gratified to say the least that they would approach me for this position and I have decided to take it on. I will still be doing everything in my power to save the business that has always paid the bills (up until recently that is) and I will be taking this position on in addition to my other responsibilities. As I always say..a busy person has time for everything.

On another note of change...

Late last week Ethan and I attended a transition meeting. That is the meeting that will lay the foundation of his transition from the early steps program (which is from birth to age 3) up to the county school board. They did a little preliminary testing and also discussed what we can expect next in the process. They were as pleased as we were to see how well he is adapting and how nicely he is progressing in many areas.

One of the areas of concern that still exists is Ethan's overall social and emotional development. He is still lagging in this area. The early intervention staff made the recommendation to us that we place Ethan in preschool a couple of days a week as that would be the best way to get him to the level he needs to in a more expedient manner. Marc and I talked about placing him in the preschool that Katie goes to on the mornings that she is not there. He would go on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for 3 hours each day.

Marc took him down there today to see how he did while he was there and he really seemed to enjoy himself. He was awesome with the free play time but when it came to more structured activities such as story time he drifted around and did not want to stay with the group. We asked the teacher (who is also Katie's teacher) what she thought about E being in her class at his development level and she thought it was just fine. She only has 3 other children in her class on Tuesday and Thursday so it gives her plenty of time to get him with the program. She told us that many children have the same issues and not to worry.

On a funny note; Marc relayed to me that when it was time for snack and Juice that Ethan finished first, got up, threw away his napkin and yelled to the class "all done!!" He then came back and asked for more please!.....feeding issues? What feeding issues!!! ROFL!!!

We will go back one more time with him to acclimate him and then he will be in preschool!!

Here is a video taken at dinner last night. We were eating a chicken and rice dish that we brought in. They give you a pita with it and I usually make a pita sandwich out of part of my dinner. Well, Ethan obviously was watching me and our little "eater" did quite a job as well...enjoy!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Keeping the dynamic duo happy

The kiddos are always much happier when they get the same things and I mean EXACTLY the same things. I thought we did that during Chanukah when we got them both tricycles and then realized very quickly that because Ethan's is red and blue and Katie's is pink and purple that they are not exactly the same and one always wants to use the other one's. That is until they want their own back because the other one is using theirs. Now I make sure that I do the "exactly the same" thing for our sake.

Today, I had to go to Target to pick up a couple of things and I stopped at the dollar spot where I found the most adorable mini Elmo backpacks. My initial thought was to get Ethan the Elmo backpack and to get Katie the Zoe backpack. I am so glad that I got both of them Elmo. They love them and there is no fighting...yeah!!

Mealtime has been difficult but it does get a bit better every day. As I had mentioned previously, we have had to devote so much attention to Ethan to encourage him to eat that there have been times that Katie decides that she wants to be a baby again and be fed. We have taken steps to ease all of this up and it seems to be working.

Katie decided this morning that she wanted to help feed Ethan like he was "a baby". We really do not have to do that anymore but Katie loves playing mama with him and so here is the lil mama feeding her baby :)

In this video you will see Ethan using the sign for "more" a couple of times and also Katie uses a phrase to try to get him to eat which is "chew, chew (choo choo) like train! We do not know how she started saying this but it is so adorable and helpful that we just love to hear it.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

It is amazing how well Ethan took the food from Katie. It was mandarin oranges which is still a fairly new food for him. Mr. E is making strides every day and so Is Katie in her ability to navigate her roll as a sister.