Thursday, February 25, 2010


Wow!  Today has been incredible!!  First I got an update with 3 new pictures and then a couple hours later I got PA!!!  (Pre approval)  This is great news!  Now I'm waiting on RA (referral acceptance) which should come within a month I think and then I can post some pictures.

Let the countdown to China begin!!

Update on Molly!!!

Today is my 36th month of paperpregnacy...yes 3 years officially logged in with the CCAA waiting to adopt.  Today's date made it even more special when I opened my email to see an update about Molly.  How wonderful that God saw fit to give me some hopeful confirmation on this day:)  This is what it said...

1.  She is 18 months old, 29" tall and 24 pounds...ah yeah a bit chubby for Chinese standards!  ha!  She most likely will not fit into all of those dresses...this means a bit more shopping for me!
2.  She is in good health and rarely gets sick.
3.  She is an excellend walker and.....wait for it....this is so cute....loves singing when she is walking!!!!!!!!!!  How cute is that?  Welcome to Music City USA, girlfriend!  Also, they said she is a brave girl and never cries if she falls down.
4.  She is a happy girl, always smiling.
5.  She sleeps well and never cries before bedtime.
6.  She can use her hands/fingers to do anything, just like other children.
7.  She is very stable on both feet to stand or walk.

I'm still waiting on PA (preapproval) and then RA (Referral Acceptance) before I can post her pictures.  It will be a while before all of that happens.  I know you are dying to see her cute face!  I promise to post as soon as I can!  They included 3 more pictures with these updates so it was really fun to see how she's grown!  She has chubby cheeks and her hair is getting long.  They haven't shaved it as of now and I hope they don't.  She has many bows waiting for her!!  I'm one joyful mama today!!

Friday, February 19, 2010


towels and bathroom rugs are washed and dry
dehumidifiers and fans are still drying the walls and floor

insurance claim made and meeting with adjuster scheduled for tuesday!
bags are packed for a mini-vacay with mom!  
hope you have a great (flood free) weekend!

leak, water, flood, disaster, OH MY!!!!!

I learned a good lesson yesterday...
1. home ownership is sometimes hard (lesson learned: appreciate the years you lived under your parents roof!)
2. expensive things always seem to happen when you have no money (lesson learned: have a big emergency fund)
3. do not use cheap rubber supply lines in your plumbing (lesson learned: replace them all with metal)
4. make sure you know where your water shut off valve to the house is (I did know this already, but for anyone who doesn't...go find it immediately!)

Yes, the dreaded disaster all homeowners fear happened to me last night after only a mere 7 months of being in my new (old) home. I walked in the door having a great conversation with my cousin last night around 7:00 p.m. and as I entered the hallway my shoes began to "squish"!!!!!! I heard a noise and immediately knew this would not be good! I went into my bathroom to see that I had a leak and water was spewing everywhere! I froze in fear and asked my cousin what I should do??? I went to my water shut off and turned the water off so the leak stopped and then like any mature, responsible girl would do...I called mom! ha!! She wasn't home and I couldn't reach her (btw...why does she have a cell phone and never has it with her? i digress...)I called the plumber and they came out immediately and referred me to a Cleaning and Restoration Company that also came out immediately.

My nice, clean, organized, home quickly turned from this:

To this:
After about 2 hours of calling mom she finally was able to come over with towels and more importantly moral support! We were frantically laying towels down to try and soak up some of the water and then trying to pick up everything off the floor in the closets and bedrooms so things wouldn't get broken when the cleaning crew came in and started their know how men can be?  They don't really appreciate things like m y porcelain tea pots and Madame Alexander Dolls! 

So today I am doing a lot of this:

Washing and drying all of the towels we used in the course of about 2 hours!  Working with these guys to dry out my house:
  All of this destruction because of this:
This is a supply line, girls.  This is a cheap (rubber?) one.  Don't use these!!!  Go and check under your sinks, toilets, and washing machines now to see if you have this little gray rubbery thing.  If you do you need to change them out because they will surely start to crack over time!  The plumber replaced mine with a stronger (metal?) one.  When I recover financially (like in 2027?) I will go back and replace the others in my home too.  But for now, I'm just praying strong that this doesn't happen again!  

Funny how things work out...I had already planned for a sub today because I was looking forward to:
1.  My 35th birthday weekend (yes i always take my birthday off of work, it's my gift to myself.  even if we just had 2 snow days this week i don't care, that's how i roll!)
2.  Angie was coming to Nashville to visit for the weekend and I had some really fun shopping adventures planned for us!  She has just accepted the referral of her daughter, Emma.  We were going to have so much fun and I'm so sad my emergency happened!  I called her and told her not to come; somehow I didn't think she would want to sleep and visit with my house completely torn apart!

Now I'm off to organize my paperwork, call my insurance claims adjuster, and try to get my house back together.  It's going to be a while.  These large Dehumidifiers and Fans have to stay in my house for like 3-4 days.  While they are here I can't sleep and stay in my house because my bedrooms are destroyed at the moment.  I finally made it to mom's house at midnight last night to stay with her.  Looks like I'll be there for a while.  Fun times! ha!

a few more pictures of the event just for fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

this is so funny...

<a href="" target="_blank">Tom Mabe: Eavesdropping</a>

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

China Silver Medalist

I don't know if you've been watching the Olympics any, but China dominated the pairs figure skating last night and the female silver medalist's name is Tong...that is Molly's Chinese name!  I was so excited I have already looked into where I can take Ms. Molly for ice skating lessons in about 3 years!  Oh how I would love to see her in those adorable skating outfits!!!!!!!!!
Congratulations, China!


My friend, Peeptoe Jill is having an adorable giveaway on her blog.  Pop on over there and see the adorable aprons she's giving away and enter for yourself!  I have browsed the site and picked out my favorite apron...can you guess which one I hope to win?  Good Luck!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

valentines weekend with the kids

eddie and maddie spent friday night with me so mom and dad could have a weekend "off".  they are so funny, the cutest things come out of their mouths at these ages (2 and almost 4).  we played and ate good food, bathed, and {tried} to sleep.  our sleeping schedule looked something like this...
9pm...went to bed
they were too "scared" to sleep in the guest room so we all piled into my full size bed.  it was VERY scrunched!  eddie kept saying "it's dark" and "what's that noise" with everything he heard.  madison would not leave eddie alone so i tried to sleep in the middle to filter the contact between them both.  everytime i put him on the end of the bed, he wiggled his way back in between us!  just like a little puppy dog.  it was so cute!  finally they went to sleep...i, however did not!
as 1am i moved to the couch in the living room to try and get some sleep...
at 3am eddie came to find me and fell asleep then shortly after madison joined us...again 3 people on the couch trying to sleep!  they went to sleep so at
4am i went back to my bed to sleep and sure enough...
at 5am here they come to find me!  i was laughing so hard!  it was like "musical beds" at my house.
by 6am we were eating pancakes and bacon!

i had festive plates, cups, and straws which of course they loved!  we had a great valentines!

the adoption front...

it's been a busy week as i've been adjusting to my new official role as "mom" to molly...who now has a face to her name!  i've calmed down quite a bit from my initial weekend of pure shock and emotions.  i'm getting to the excited phase, although i'm still not 100% there for fear that something will go wrong and stop this adoption from happening at all.  i think after nearly 5 years of waiting that is a normal thought.

i've done a bit of research to molly's chinese name this week and also wanted to share some cute information from her referral.  This is her name in Chinese Characters:
曹小童 and was spelled out as:
Cao Xiao Tong
In her referral paperwork, the orphanage refers to her as "little tongtong".  i found out this week that "xiao" means small, little, young and "tong"  means child.  "cao" is her surname which offically means people of common.  in china there surname or last name is first.  the characters together mean "little one".  I'm thinking she was very small (and possibly malnourished) when they found her, although she was found within one week of her assumed birthday they describe that she was very hungry and didn't want to let go of the bottle after her feedings.  She'll love it in our house!  I encourage overeating!!!!!!!!! ha! But it does make you wonder how long she was abandoned for.  I try not to let my mind take me there for long, but still I do wonder if she was on the street for just hours or days?  I'm just so thankful she was found and cared for!  Thank you, Jesus! 

I've requested updated pictures, measurements, and also sent a few questions which I hope the orphanage responds to.  I've been tentatively picking out things to register for which has been fun!  I'm also searching for adoption grants to apply to in order to help pay for some of the final costs which really add up here at the end of the journey.

Now, one very interesting thing from her referral paperwork says that she has "double fold eyelids".  When I spoke to the Doctor who specializes in International Adoptions I asked her what that meant...thinking it may be a medical condition.  She laughed and said it was a sign of beauty in asian cultures!  The fact that it was included in her referral paperwork was to let me know they considered her very beautiful because of her eyes...I love that!  Now, in America we would never really distinguish between a person with double fold eyelids or without.  But in Asian countries it is very important.  In fact, it is the most popular surgery in Asia.  Women go in to cosmetically have their eyelids made "double fold" as quickly as some American women would get their hair colored!  Google it and see for yourself!

The most fun thing I have done this week is SORT CLOTHES!!!!  By far, the thing I look forward to the most is dressing and primping my baby girl.  I know there is the whole mother daughter bond, motherhood in general, teaching her how to be a good person, having someone to call my own, etc....but I just want to dress her up and take pictures all the time!  I have collected clothing now for nearly 5 years.  And most of it will fit her at some point in the future.  A few things are too small, but not many.  the majority of her clothes are hand me downs from Madison, things I've bought from Consignment, or yard sales.  She will be around 20 months old when I get her, but I think she will be very small (my little tongtong!) and will probably fit into 12 - 18 month clothing.
All of these piles of clothing were from Madison.  I spent some time sorting them into size piles in order to see how many clothes I may have to take to China when we travel.  Thank you, Ambre!

Her closet is already filling up!

Her summer dresses!!!!  These are my all time favorite things in the whole world...Smocked dresses for little girls!  OH how cute!  Most of these were Madison's dresses as well.  I am so glad to have them because smocked dresses are very expensive and as you can see she already has...10 dresses!  that should last through the summer.  all she needs are bows, tights, socks, and shoes to accessorize properly!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

In my daughters eyes...

Just a little teaser until i can fully post her pictures!!!!!!!
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Friday, February 5, 2010

the story continues...

i want to continue the rest of my story here of what the past two days have entailed.  i can't even believe i am here at this point.  today my EA (electronic acceptance) was officially sent to china and i'm totally freaked out!  i don't normally read these kinds of things on adoption blogs, but i always pour my heart out here and so that is what i will continue to do.  i want to be honest about each step of the journey so i can look back to see how God has guided me through it and also so others who are walking the same path may be assured they are normal.  i have not felt normal over the last 48 hours!!!  i guess that is to be expected, right?  i mean this is a life changing decision on so many levels.  my brain, body, and emotions are shook to the core.  my diet has changed (this could be a good thing, i could stand to loose a pound or 100!).  my stomach is unsettled.  my mind is racing. 

after all the years of waiting and all the dreams i've had for me and my daughter i never thought my mind would take me here...doubt, fear, and questioning what i'm doing.  how will i even be able to be a single mom and have a full time job?  how will i get anything done?  am i ruining my life?  what if i ruin her life?  will i ever have a moment just for me again?  i know it sounds so selfish even as i type this.  i've never had these fears before.  but all of a sudden, as i look at these big brown eyes in the picture staring back at me i feel totally unequipped to do anything.

somehow i thought once i saw her picture i would feel totally connected to her, attached already to who she is.  but i don't feel connected.  i love her.  i think she is adorable.  but i don't feel like i know who she is. will i attach to her?  will she attach to me?   it's typical have these dreams of "cinderella stories" where things will feel magical and build your hopes on them but then somehow the actual experience is much different. 

my friend told me i'm such a realist i'm overthinking everything...i'm trying to figure everything out before she even gets here.  i guess that is true.  honestly, as a single woman/mom i feel like the weight of it all is on my shoulders.  i'm ready to get to the joy of the moment though.  i want to enjoy the experience (the time before travel), even as hectic as it will be. 

you know, it's funny...remember when i moved into my house?  it was the first major adult decision i had made in a long time.  a time to really step out as a single woman and be independent.  I was a total MESS for two days!  I cried nonstop.  But eventually the tears turned to joy and I can honestly say I have loved being a homeowner ever since.  I've thought of that a lot today, because that is the last time I remember feeling so torn up inside.  If owning a home was that good, how much greater will motherhood be?  I am sure there is no comparison. 

I have to think that my desire to be a mom hasn't been that far off the mark.  Surely I wouldn't have such a strong desire since childhood and the time come and I'm horrible at it. 

So there you have it.  Do you think I'm officially going crazy?  I've talked to many single adoptive moms and they agree that I am normal.  I'm going to take their word for it!  This journey has already proved to be an interesting one!  I'll be back soon to post a picture of Molly...probably in about 2 weeks!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


i guess you could say my 'labor pains' started yesterday!  i can't give too much information about her just yet, but around 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon my secretary called my classroom and said "Melissa from America World is on the phone and she says it is an emergency"...."put her through!", I said.  They had a new file for me to review and she wanted to know if I was interested.  After my emotional reviewing experience from two weeks ago i was a bit hesitant, but from her descriptions this little girl had much more minor needs than the girl I had reviewed before.  i opened her file and saw her pictures and thought she was adorable.  i kept my heart really guarded this time (if you remember from last time i immediately burst into tears)!  however this time i was eerily calm.  probably because i had a classroom of 21 kiddos staring at me, but i digress. 

i immediately showed her pictures to my teammates who all thought she was cute and agreed her special need seemed minor.  So I emailed two doctors and left school a few minutes early to show mom...the ultimate deciding factor because she keeps me grounded and realistic in what I will be able to handle and what may be too much.  (I need to have somebody to keep me grounded in this process...I guess it's similar to what a wife would turn to her husband for in this process.  a little confirmation goes a long way) 

I wanted this little girl to be molly so badly because i honestly cannot stand to look at any more files of orphans and "reject" them.  This is my sixth file to look at since October.  I'm beginning to feel like I have a complex and can't commit to any child.  Mom felt good about her review, but wanted to hear back from doctors to be sure we weren't missing anything.  I went home and heard back from both doctors within a few hours.  In between time I talked to my friend Candace who is the ultimate optimist about my adoption and tells me basically that I can handle anything.  My #1 cheerleader.  The truth is I don't feel like I can handle anything.  A lot of things scare me.  But I feel like I can handle this.  I'm feeling strong, confident, and oddly emotionally stable...all during the biggest decision of my life!  Ambre, my sister comes over with the kids to look at things .  She is a PA (Physicians Assistant) and of course mother to two.  I trust her opinion and advice...even though she was also a lot like Candace in the past and ready for me to accept much more severe special needs than this!   She looks, reads, and studies this little one's file and gives me a 2 thumbs up! 

Around 7:00 p.m., about 6 hours after I first saw her face, I'm beginning to think this could be it....WHY AM I STILL SO CALM???  Mom comes over with dinner, we talk and try to discuss all possible future needs (like surgeries, therapies, etc.) and she is still feeling good about this.  Even though it's impossible to know what the future will entail, it makes me feel better to have at least discussed the possibilities beforehand.  I emailed my agency around 9:00 p.m. and told them I did want to pursue adopting this little girl.  Later today I will do more paperwork and work towards making it official.  It's a big day.

Here are the details I know you are waiting for...
1.  she is beautiful!
2.  DOB 9/19/2008
3.  she has a finger and toe deformity

I can't post any pictures for a while.  I have to have official word from China that they will approve me to adopt her.  Basically she is missing a few fingers and one toe.  The odd thing about this whole process is that I really feel like God was preparing me for a child with a 'limb difference' all along.  Three of the files I've reviewed had children with hand and foot deformities.  The other two before this were very major.  In the process of reviewing those files I learned a lot about this special need.  Like the fact that all you need for your hand to function is a thumb and one finger.  So after the last review two weeks ago, I told mom and many friends...if I could just see a child with a more minor hand/finger difference I would be more confident.  If she just had 5 fingers....and this little one has exactly 5 perfect fingers.  Several others are 'half fingers' and a couple are missing.  But on each hand she has a thumb and pointer finger that are perfect!  That is all she really needs.   With the feet I said (after reviewing and learning from the previous two) that if she just had all of her feet 'bones' and I knew for sure she could walk I would be more confident.  Well, she has two complete feet and is only missing one toe on one foot.  Completely manageable!  Honestly, I felt like God was telling me she is.  Now, will you be faithful?  This is exactly what you asked for. 

Walking through the special needs journey is difficult at times.  Every mother wants her child to be perfect and healthy.  I want that too.  But, I think after you see so many needs of children all over the world your perspective of what is perfect changes.  God slowly changes you.  He prepared me for this.  He "eased" me into it.  The bottom line is  I think she is perfect for me.  And that is all that really matters. 

It's premature to discuss now, but the only surgery I can foresee at this point is one to separate two fingers that appear to be fused together.  There may be something more than needs to be done to her feet, but probably not.  I have so many more details to share with you.  But I've got to get ready for my school day!  Keep checking on me and I'll keep you updated!

Molly is coming home!

Monday, February 1, 2010

snow day #3...

ok, i can so get used to these snow days!  having virtually no agenda on a day to day basis, no stress, no schedule, but still get a paycheck....SUWEEEETT!  friday was day 1, {saturday and sunday don't count}, monday was day 2, and tuesday is now day 3 of being snowed in.  i actually am loving every minute of it!  some people say cabin fever...i was born for this:)  i did get out tonight to celebrate my brother's birthday...but other than that i've been snuggled under warm blankets on my couch with my fire on, laptop on, tv on, and teacher glare off!  ha!  i actually have been productive too, but that is not nearly as exciting to write about. 

i guess you've probably recognized that on my 4th day of being totally cooped up in my house all day i got a little creative and taught myself how to redesign a blog...or at least a blog header.  i know, i know, i just (like last week) had danielle redo my blog.  but i started surfing the internet for 'how to guides' because i really have always wanted to learn how to do it myself since i am (obviously) unable to commit to a particular design for more than one week!  ha!  i just love changing it up with the seasons. 

i found a great tutorial on one of my new favorite blogs...Clover Lane.  I just love her blog, she gives very practical parenting advice, takes great pictures, and has adorable kiddos!  She gives a full tutorial here which i followed to the 't' and made this header. i love how it turned out and this will encourage me to a.  decorate for each holiday which i already do basically, and b.  take better pictures of my decor.

i wish i knew how to put up cute wallpaper behind the blog, use cute fonts, frame pictures, and decorate the sidebar more.  but maybe that will come with future snow storms.  this is an easy way to make a header using just picasa without having any knowledge of html code (which i know nothing of!).  oh to be 10 years younger...i think all things 'tech' related would come so much easier!  i may not do this forever, because i still LOVE danielle's work.  but i'll try it for a while {and give danielle a break from my continuous pestering about a particular design!} 
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