Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009 No comments

It's Getting Closer to Halloween

Thursday, October 29, 2009 2 comments

Today was playgroup. The kids got in the spirit and dressed as mummy's. They were supposed to be carving pumpkins. The moms did some great pumpkin carving.

Hey, That's My Dog!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 1 comment

Today during lunch, I let the dogs outside to do their business. It was raining. Rain isn't very popular among the canine crowd at our house. It wasn't raining hard but it took some coaxing to get Flash outside, but he went. I shut the back door, put lunch on the table and heard Lizzie "yep" at the back door to be let back in. Only a minute and a half had passed. I opened the back door and only saw Lizzie. I called for Flash, he didn't come. I walked into the back yard. No Flash. I turned back towards the door to see the side gate wide open. Panic struck. I yelled inside the house to Chloe that I had to go find Flash. I ran out through the open gate and there I saw a blue Ford SUV with a lady trying to stuff Flash in the back seat of her car. I ran to the car, told her it was my puppy and thanks for stopping him. She didn't let go of him but said, "I would have called when I got home." I told her thanks again and grabbed his collar and pulled him away and walked him back inside the house. I was so happy that he didn't go far and that she stopped him. But, then it struck me as odd---why was she trying to stuff my dog in the back seat of her SUV when she HAD to have seen him run from our yard? Literally, only a minute and a half had passed when I discovered the gate was open. She was also parked right in front of the open gate. Flash is microchiped and he also wears a colllar with a tag stating his name, address and phone number on it. She was on the street he lived on, in front of the house he lived at. I know it was raining and no one would enjoy trying to find a stray dog's house in the rain, but would you prefer it to shoving a unknown 55 lb. wet dog in your car, taking him home and then calling the owner? As I thought about it more, I became more freaked out. I think she was trying to steal my dog! I am just so happy that Lizzie alerted me and that I went outside when I did. Alls well that ends well and Flashy is safe inside with me. Of course, I am now a nervous wreck and have been waiting with the dogs in the middle of the yard when I let them out.

Chloe was happy to have him back too. So happy she decided to put on her stormtrooper outfit to protect Flash.

Can Anything Be Easy?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 No comments
We're still buried under books and cans of paint here. With each simple project comes an unexpected snag. Nothing is simple, even when you think you are doing a simple project.

At the entrance to our back door is a wood floor. It's pre-finished wood and when we replaced our furnace some time back, the guys destroyed the floor. It can't be repaired. We are having to replace the floor. However, I couldn't find anyone to replace the floor because there are 3 wood stairs at the entrance that were also damaged and need to be repaired. I was told by flooring expert after flooring expert to find a stairmaster to replace the floor. Seriously? For 3 steps? Finding a stairmaster is no easy feat. The generally build stairs and work on new builds and renovations. And, by chance, I think I have found one, after nearly 2 years of searching. Could our wood floor finally get replaced this week? I hope so.

Down in the basement, the sleeper sofa was delivered today. Unfortunately, in order to get the sleeper sofa in the basement I had to know out the sheetrock surrounding one of the pillars. We can now add "sheetrock pillar" to the to-do list.

We have to wait to sheetrock until we sell the old sofa that still resides in the basement.

The new bookshelves are done and need to be painted. The footprint of the new bookshelves is different. You can see where the old bookshelves once were where the white rectangle is located on the right wall. It seemed simple enough, strip the old latex paint off and repaint. Not so easy. The wall is plaster and today I was advised to get a professional plasterer in to repair and repaint. Oh, and did I mention the wood floors around the new bookshelves have to be refinished?
And, we haven't even started on Oliver's room.
Monday, October 26, 2009 No comments
It's Chloe's "In the Spotlight" week at school. Each student in class is assigned a week, they get to make a poster telling all about them and during the week they get to pick special jobs and assignments. Chloe and I worked on her poster off and on for the past couple of weeks. I had her first tell me the story she wanted to share on her life and then we matched photos to the story she wanted to share.

Above is a photo of Chloe with her poster she took to school and shared. She's being silly in the photo wearing her fireman's hat and blowing her whistle.

Her poster and life story she shared go something like this:
Chloe was born in China and came to live with her Mom and Dad in Texas. She moved to New Jersey when she was 22 months old. Her favorite activities are camping with her family & 2 dogs, swimming and snow skiing. Chloe loves to travel. Her favorite vacation is a beach vacation. In Mexico she got to swim with dolphins! Her favorite place she has visited is Big Ben in London, England. Chloe has family all over and loves to visit them. Chloe's Daddy is from England and her Nana lives in England. Chloe's Grandad lives in Sweden. Chloe loves to visit her BeBe and PaPaw in Texas. Chloe's PaPaw has a farm and she gets to fish and ride on the tractor when she visits. Her PaPaw even got her baby chicks!

Halloween Party

Sunday, October 25, 2009 No comments

Saturday was our Newcomer's Halloween Party. This is our 4th and final year in Newcomers and our last Halloween bash. Matt was sick with a cold and did not attend. Chloe got to wear her Native American Halloween outfit for the first time. It was rainy and humid on Saturday so it was the perfect day for an indoor family-friendly Halloween bash.
Chloe and I arrived early to help with the balloons and final decorations. You could tell that Chloe had done this before as she mingled with all her friends. I barely saw her at the party as she and her pals entertained themselves.
During the party, a friend introduced me to her neighbor who also moved from Dallas. Turns out I went to high school and church with her husband (it's a small world). Later that day, I went out to run an errand and began talking to the clerk who had grown up and moved from my hometown in Texas as well.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009 No comments

I've been busy trying to get the projects we want to complete completed before Oliver's arrival. I had it all planned out, but its easier said than done. The weather and tradesmen seem to be blocking my best laid plans.

For the last week and a half our basement has been under construction. We had a built-in entertainment center put in and then I painted the entertainment center (It seems painters are busy people in our area). Today the carpet is being replaced and then hopefully next week our new sleeper sofa will arrive. That leaves organizing, which is a big project in and of itself. Does one kid really need this many toys? Seriously!

This week also starts the construction of our new book cases in the living room. The old ones were torn out on Monday. I now have a dirty, blank wall and a room full of books. Once that project is done a painted we can move on to Oliver's room.

Update: At the request of my mother.... Below is a photo of the entertainment center painted. The cabinet hardware needs to be installed & the paint on the wall touched up (I'm a little messy). The carpet just got finished getting installed. Of course, I won't be keeping the paint & paint rollers on the top shelf and Matt will be sorting out the speakers. Now I just have to get rid of the old sofa and glass entertainment center. It also appears my little point and shoot camera is broken (lens won't open all the way).

Below is a photo of what my living room looks like today.

Big Girl School Bus

Friday, October 16, 2009 No comments
Chloe's kindergarten class went on a field trip to a nearby farm to pick pumpkins and pet the farm animals. It was an overcast, gray and cold day but that didn't put a damper on Chloe's excitement. It was her first elementary school field trip and they got to ride on a REAL school bus. I managed to snap this photo of Chloe leaving the bus. When I picked her up after the trip she told me the bus was so much fun and that she wanted me to arrange to have it pick her up and take her to school everyday. Just an FYI, we can easily walk to her elementary school. No bus or car needed.

The Days After

Monday, October 12, 2009 1 comment
We're still on Cloud 9 after our referral for Oliver on Friday. We have one picture, which we have printed many times. We expect to receive more photos soon as our agency already requested them prior to calling us for our referral. We will also be speaking to our agency this week regarding our next steps in the Ethiopian adoption process.

A fellow blogger friend, also with our agency, received their referral for their son with us on Friday. We will probably travel with them and I am excited because we have both adopted from China, our dossiers arrived in Ethiopia on the same day and we were both referred boys on the same day! They have their call with our agency today, so I can't wait to hear what information they find out.

After processing that we got our referral, we went to eat Ethiopian food at the closest restaurant in NJ. It was good. Chloe enjoyed it, though she was a little worn out from school and all the excitement. The rest of the weekend was spent making a to-do list and plotting our strategy to get ready for Oliver's arrival.

The plans to make our basement into a more usable and likable space is under way. Its finished out and at one time we enjoyed watching television and listening to music down there but for more than a year its been Chloe's playroom, full of toys, half of which she doesn't play with anymore. We are going to reclaim it for everyone in the house. Work on the built-in entertainment center in the basement began last week, we ordered new carpet and scheduled installation and tonight we bought a sleeper sofa. Now all I need to do is purge some toys, declutter and reclaim!

This is why you don't bring kids furniture shopping! By the time we left EVERYONE knew her name, as she introduced herself to everyone. We came back later in the evening to show Matt the choices and make a purchase. When we walked in, all the salespeople came to say "hello" to Chloe their friend.

Our next major overhaul will be Oliver's room. We have his crib, bedding and decor settled. I need to purchase a dresser and clear out the guest bed from the room.

The projects should keep us busy for the next few months while we wait to travel to Ethiopia.


Friday, October 09, 2009 No comments
You can read all about it here.

School Work

Thursday, October 08, 2009 No comments
Chloe and I were completing tonight's homework this morning (we have a busy afternoon---playgroup and puppy training class after school). Every time I watch Chloe do her homework I am reminded that I have a degree in secondary education, not elementary.

Our biggest frustration as of late is differentiating between the number 2, the number 5 and the letter S. Its tricky. Chloe and I were working on this because it seems all of them look alike when she writes them. They all look like the letter S. She didn't see the difference at first but slowly she is starting to see they all are different. She's been writing them all the same way for weeks and getting stars and smiley faces on all her papers. None of them were corrected so she didn't see the problem with any of them. I guess the teacher missed it being that she has 22 kindergartners in the class. I also realized that so much attention is paid to writing letters and very little to numbers. I made a note on my parent-teacher connference form that I want to discuss it and stapled the smiley face and star papers without it being corrected to it---a bit too over the top? Probably, but I want to get my point across. Its my kids education were talking about. And, what's the purpose of homework if she never sends it back with feedback, only stars and smiley faces?

Part of today's homework is to draw a picture of something that starts with the letter T. Chloe insists she has to draw 3 pictures even after I reread the instructions that she only has to draw one picture. I am posting her pictures of things that start with the letter T because it is all so Daddy in that 2 of the 3 pictures have to do with motoring. The first picture she drew is of toes (I like the first two hairy toenails!), the second was of a car (her best ever she declared) and she got very detailed. The final picture was of a truck, complete with spelling all on her own.

You can see the paper in the background of our 2, 5, S practice sheet---I think she may have it down now!

Flash-i-versary #3

Monday, October 05, 2009 No comments
Flash is a big boy now. He gained 22 lbs. in one month. I think I stated in a previous post that I thought he grew and inch a day, I wasn't too far off. He's 50 lbs. at 5 months old. Now we know why he acted like he was hungry all the time---because he was!

We started puppy training classes last week. It was strictly paperwork and a get to know the owner session. Flash goes to his first class in a few days.

Flash and Lizzie wrestle and play now. They are bonded. Lizzie still has the upper hand, though not for long. Last week Lizzie gave Flash a nip on the muzzle at feeding time and he got a boo-boo that bled. He didn't act bothered by it, I was the one who got upset. Its healed now but I have to separate them even further away at meal times now. We tried feeding one dog inside the house and the other outside but whichever dog was inside the house would refuse to eat and scratch at the back door and vice versa.

Flash's latest trick is to be every where you are. He should have been a lap dog. If you stop and pause for one second he will plunk down on your foot. Good luck moving him after that. Your foot is now his pillow.

I have included two videos of Flash and I playing with "orange man"--a squeaky ball with feet. I think they capture Flash's personality--goofy (where he keeps dropping the ball) and sassy (where he talks (a.k.a barks) back). I had hoped to capture him doing his somersaults. Yes, he flips end over end when going for orange man, but after having done it 5 times before, once I went to grab the camera he would do it no more.

Video #1--The Talk Back (when I say "no bite" he's trying to nip the ball out of my hand, NOT really bite me---just wanted to clear that up)

Video #2--Goofy Flash

On the Adoption Front...

Now that fall is in full swing and we are seeing our friends regularly at school and social events, it seems I am bombarded with the same question---"Where's the baby"? Then, Friday, Chloe had a complete meltdown after her friend had to go home from a playdate for dinner and she told me she doesn't like being an only child. She wants a sibling so she will always have someone to play with.

So, where is the baby? What is the news on the adoption fronts? I have been updating frequently to Oliver's adoption journey blog, not so much on Emma Claire's. But, here's what we know on each: THERE IS NO NEWS.

We have been waiting over 5 months for Oliver's referral. Our agency tells us that the current wait for referral is 4-6 months and they don't expect us to wait longer than the expected wait. Another family with our agency that sent their dossier to Ethiopia a week before us received their referrals last week. There really is no way to know where you stand and when you will get your referral. Another family who sent their dossier in the same time as us is already home from Ethiopia with their son. After referral it is generally another 6 weeks until the court date where we will be declared Oliver's legal parents and then about another 6 weeks (or less) to travel. If we receive our referral in the next 3 weeks we are looking at traveling to Ethiopia in January.

As for China, we still wait and we have been waiting for 3 years. We have a log in date of October 16, 2006. China has placed children through LID March 24, 2006. We expect to wait another 3-4 years for a referral. There will be an Emma Claire, someday.

Our main focus right now is on the Ethiopian adoption. Hopefully soon I will post referral news!!

It's Called a Wrinkle

Sunday, October 04, 2009 1 comment
How 'bout them Hogs? They trounced the Aggies!! Chloe didn't make it through all of the game but she wanted to know when she woke up if the Giants won. Uh, not who we were watching dear.

During the course of our girls weekend, Chloe and I went out for Indian food (Chloe's choice). At the restaurant Chloe drew a picture of me. I asked her what the three lines were on the top of my head and she said, "What are those lines called on your forehead because that's what they are."

Those lines are called wrinkles---thanks for pointing them out. As soon as Daddy returns in town I am going for botox!

Chloe's rendering of Mommy. Nice wrinkles. Her teacher would tell me its a sign of intelligence that she draws such detail in her pictures. I don't know if I agree....

Matt had a fabulous time driving his car at all sorts of speeds over his 4-day racing excursion. He had lots of photos and stories to tell. I kind of tuned out when he told me two people smashed up their new Porsche's, he had to get new brake pads and he wore out his race tires and needs new ones. I'm happy he had a great time, its a fun hobby for him. I included a photo of him in his car that a fellow driver took.

Lets Call Those Hogs

Saturday, October 03, 2009 No comments
Matt is away at an autocross this weekend and Chloe and I are having a girls weekend that involves football!!! We will be tuning in to watch the Arkansas Razorbacks (my alma mater) take on the Texas A&M Aggies (boo hiss) tonight. I rarely get to watch any Hog games on TV living in the northeast so I am excited to watch this one. They are playing in the new Cowboys Stadium (the house that Jerry, a Razorback built).

I am off to FB to harass my Aggie friends because something tells me that I won't be bragging tomorrow!!