August 31, 2006

From there to here.....................

Do you ever wonder what twist and turns that life takes you have led you to THIS place in your life?

I have been thinking of that a lot lately. If you had asked me ten years ago (heck, even 2) if I thought we would ever be pursuing a Chinese adoption, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Yet here we are.....13 months ago we started this process and now have new plans, dreams, and a great new group of friends. This post is a look back at how we traveled from there to here.....

As you know Paul and I married very young. We were full of hopes, dreams, and plans to have the standard 2 kids (a boy and a girl), a dog, and our own home complete with picket fence. We began trying to get pregnant shortly after we were married and just had the old mantra "When it happens, it happens". We had been traveling this path for a couple of years before there was even a thought there might be a problem. Lo and behold, I went to the doctor and it was me! We attempted minor things to correct the problem, after all I was still in my early 20's and had plenty of time. We traveled that path for a couple of years and then decided to get Paul checked out as well. Hello!!! Problem there too!! We could have saved a lot of time and frustration (not to mention money) had we done this at the beginning but as they say hindsight is 20/20. We corrected Paul's problem and started over from the beginning. Now we are mid 20's but still with plenty of time left. We were both established with our jobs, secure in our marriage, financially stable so the setting was perfect. Now all we needed was a pregnancy. Fast forward a few more years, multiple procedures, mounting medical costs, and months of heartbreak. At what point do we throw in the towel? Can we admit that maybe we are not meant to be parents? Where do we turn now.........

Adoption was not something we had really ever considered. We had heard too many stories of changed minds, bad outcomes, and extremely long waits that never came to fruition. International adoption was so far out of the spectrum for this small town couple that we never even explored that...

A couple of years ago, shortly after I turned 30, Paul and I made a deal: no talk of children, no talk of medical procedures, nothing for 6 months. We were each to search our own hearts and feelings and at the end of that 6 month period we would have a "revealing". A time when we could both express our true thoughts, goals, and plans for the future. We stuck to the deal and for 6 glorious months the stress and strain of infertility was gone. We were spontaneous (you know what I mean), care-free, and just enjoying each other. At the 6 month deadline we were on a cruise and I will never forget that evening. We took a walk along the deck after the sun went down and staring at nothing but the stars and the open ocean we had our big reveal. The words Paul said to me will be forever in my heart and memory. With tears in his eyes he told me how much he loved me, how he could not imagine life without me, and how if it was just the two of us for the rest of our lives he couldn't imagine a happier life. Sure passing down a legacy was important, and we had always dreamed of children but you know what? Dreams change and the love we have for each other and the life we have built made him an extremely lucky man. Little did he know that I was about to convey the exact same thoughts, after much soul-searching I had come to realize that I too was very lucky, and the love and security I had found with him made my life complete.

For the next two years children were a passing thought in our minds, if by some miracle we became pregnant we would rejoice, and although we would still love to be parents that was not our focus or our priority. Life was going along so smoothly until one day.......

That one particular day last summer my dad mentioned that a co-worker of his was adopting from China and it was like a great big lightning bolt zapped both of us. At that moment Paul and I looked at each other and said "That's it!!" "That's what we are supposed to do!" We did not know where to begin, what all it would entail, or anything else remotely related to Chinese adoption. We just knew that this was the path we were supposed to travel. We started gathering information from various agencies by just doing internet searches. As fate would have it, we requested a packed from Great Wall and they were having an adoption seminar two days after the packet arrived. By this time we had done a lot of praying about this and were secure in our decision to pursue our child. We attended the seminar and like sponges we sat there and absorbed everything. After the seminar Kelley (who was the GW regional director at that time) asked if we had any questions. Of all the information we had received, the steps that needed to be taken, the forms that needed to be filled out, the only question we had of her was "We are both meat and potatoes people, will there stuff for us to eat in China?" We still laugh about this with Kelley to this day. Of all the superficial, meaningless questions you could ask and we were worried about food..........I guess that goes to show that we were finally on the path truly intended for us!! We filled out the application that afternoon and the following Monday started the process.

We have never looked back, we have never questioned our decision, and we are just anxiously awaiting that wonderful call that we are parents. Our family support has been phenomenal, finances have come together in a way I would have never dreamed possible, we don't even think of pregnancy anymore, because OUR child is waiting for us in China, born to another woman but born in our hearts on that fateful day last summer when my dad mentioned in passing his co-worker's adoption.

So that folks is what led us from there to here..............................

August 26, 2006

A weekend of firsts.......

Well, this wasn't an action-packed weekend but we did have some memorable events in the family. Since Paul and I do not have kids (yet) we live vicariously through those children we are close to...

The first "first" was Kelby's dance at school. He entered the 7th grade this year and as a kick-off for the school year they had a dance with a hawaiian theme. Although this wasn't his first school dance it was the first one that he actually asked a girl to and then picked up (well, my sister-in-law did) and took back home. My brother nor his wife were allowed to go to the dance (per Kelby's instructions) but they did get some good shots of the couple before the dance started.

Kelby and his date. To go along with the hawaiian theme Kelby presented his date with a fresh flower lei to wear.

The second "first" occurred today. Kolin played in his first football game. Kelby has played football since he was old enough to join but Kolin has always been content to sit on the sidelines or be the waterboy. Well, lo and behold, this year Kolin decided he wanted to PLAY. He made his big debut today and even though his team lost, 6-0, we had a great time watching him.

Kolin after the game....I know the boys were hot, we were just sitting in the stands in the sweltering over 100 degree heat, I can't imagine how it felt to be under all that gear. Good Game Kolin!

Nothing else much going on, it does feel kind of nice to just relax on my days off!!

Thanks for checking in and hope everyone has a great weekend!

August 21, 2006

54 years ago today, the chaos began. My dad was born. He is the craziest (evidenced by some of the pictures on this blog), funniest, yet most loyal and loving man you will ever meet. Thanks dad for being there for me all of these years. I treasure the memories we have and those we have yet to make. I can't wait for Avery to meet her crazy papaw!!!

Happy Birthday DAD!!!!

August 20, 2006

A fun-filled weekend.....

Of course you know we had "Mommies Who Lunch" on Friday then on Saturday we had an end of summer pool party with other GWCA families. Paul was very excited because this was something the husbands were invited to attend. You know how gabby and talkative women are? Well, let me tell you this group of guys was just as bad!

Part of our group enjoying the water. We swam, talked, laughed, and ate...a great combination.

We were having so much fun that when the party was over that several of us went to Christie and Anton's to gab some more. We finally had to break up so Paul could get to work. Hopefully there will be many more opportunities to be with this great group of people.

Happy 8 months LID to us!!

Today marks the 8 month anniversary that our dossier has been logged into China. Some days it seems like forever and some days it seems like yesterday that we were knee-deep in the paperchase. Regardless of how long "the wait" winds up being we have 8 months under our belts!!

August 18, 2006

The lunch bunch!!

As you probably read in my previous post today was our monthly "Mommies Who Lunch". This group of ladies is so special. When we are all sitting around talking it is like we have known each other forever. No topic is off limits and laughter is always present. If you ever watch Oprah, she always says "There is no such thing as coincidence" so the fact that our journeys to our daughters have brought us together
must be fate.

To my fellow MWL you gals are awesome and I feel honored to be on this journey with you!!!

Now on to some highlights from the lunch:

Me, Valerie, and Mia. Valerie and I were sitting on the loveseat and Little Miss Mia just jumped right up in between us!! She is adorable!!

Mia was sitting beside me while I was deep in conversation with the other ladies and she kept trying to get my attention. When I finally realized it she was repeatedly saying "Cheese". Kelley, you obviously have taught her well, if there is a camera around she is ready to smile.

Best friends, Emily and Mollianne, did not want to give up play time to take stinkin' pictures. They were good sports and smiled for us anyway!!!

The crew: Erin and Mollianne, Kelley with Mia and Emily, Valerie, Christie, and Jamie. You girls are awesome!!

And last but certainly not least: Christie enjoying the lemon cake. This is only Christie's second time to join us but she fits in perfectly!!!!

Could you open your mouth just a little wider Christie?

MIA today were: Shelli (we missed you girl), and Vicki (hope we didn't scare you off already). I can't wait until next months lunch!!!

Jamie, you ARE the woman!!!!!

Today I attended our monthly "Mommies Who Lunch". Jamie was the hostess this month and after everyone left I stayed and planted myself in her house until she agreed to help me change the look of my blog!!!! This is something I have struggled with for a while and for some reason my mind just would not "click" to how this was done. Jamie took pity on me (and probably wanted me out of her house) so she taught me how to change it. It is definitely still a work-in-progress and I still want to change some things and fine-tune it but at least the beginning are there. I even made Jamie pose for this picture after she changed it and promised to give her tons of "props" to express my gratitude. So here you go:

Jamie, you rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for being the ultra-intelligent blog master that you are and helping me get a more stylish blog!!!!!!!

The next couple of days I will be tweaking the site and experimenting with some color changes. Don't worry Jamie, I will make you proud!!

August 13, 2006

Just call me "Martha Freakin' Stewart"

Okay, let me explain the title. I have spent the last couple of days being a domestic diva. Cooking and decorating have been high on the agenda. Those that know me (espcially my MWL group) know I do not like to cook. I can and I am pretty good, it is just not one of my favorite things. We eat out alot and are pros at heating microwave meals and having pizza delivered. For some reason I have had a cooking bug and have cooked dinner the last two nights. I know this may not seem like much but since I usually cook only once a month or so, two days in a row is highly unusual. As a matter of fact when I told Paul dinner was ready tonight his response was "Who are you and what have you done with my wife?"

In addition to cooking, Paul and I spent yesterday re-doing our bedroom. We bought a new bedding set a couple of months ago but have not put it on the bed because I wanted to paint and change things up a bit. You will be happy to know we know have "an adult bedroom".

The old: Several years ago on a trip to Disney World I fell in love with a duvet cover that was in the home decor shop. It is a deep purple (my signature color) with sunflowers on it and little pictures of the pooh characters. I know, not very adult, but most people that came in our room did not even notice the characters unless I pointed them out. I was just too cute to pass up. The main decor of the room wound up being a sunflower theme using the deep purple and hunter green accents.

I took a picture of the pillow case before I packed the bedding away last night so you could see it!

The new: When we were in Branson in June I found a quilt and sham set that I decided I wanted to use in our room. We also wanted to paint one of the walls. When we built our house 4 years ago all of the walls (except the bathrooms) were the same beige color with white trim. Since that time I have redone every room except the living room and our bedroom. I love color on the walls!! So yesterday Paul and I spent the day painting a wall in our room, deep cleaning, and rearranging stuff. Here is the finished product:

Look!! Our bedroom actually looks grown-up!! We are still a work-in-progress on the hanging pictures on the other walls but you get the idea.

Cooking and decorating have pretty much filled our weekend. Today, I continued to work on scrapbooking projects. I am still working on my goal of having everything caught up before Avery comes home and I am making pretty good progress.

Tomorrow it is back to work and same old, same old.

I wanted to share a couple of pictures with you:

This picture was taken last weekend when we came home from Galveston. Sandra (Paul's mom)had come to our house to bring Rowdy home and while she was here a storm started moving in. Paul has always been fascinated with storms and loves to watch all the action. I had stepped out of the room for a moment and when I came back in the living room this is what I saw:

Like mother....Like son......Like dog?? Sandra, Paul, and Rowdy all staring out the window watching the storm. Sandra will probably want to kill me for putting this picture up but I thought it was too cute to pass. Love ya Sandra!!

This next picture is for Christie (The Adoption of Keira Joy) she wanted us all to make a photo that we could show our daughters in the future that we waited and dreamed of them long before they came home. I know mine is dated the 11th and I actually took it that day, but could not get it to load until today.

I know Avery, your mama looks pretty scary but she is really a fun girl!!

And last but certainly not least this is the shirt I was wearing in the previous picture. I just love this shirt and think it fits my personality perfectly....

Hope everyone had a great weekend and has an even better week!!

August 6, 2006

A fun long-weekend and beautiful wedding....

We are home. We came home earlier today from our trip to Galveston. Last night we attended my cousin's wedding and had a fabulous time. Everything was very beautiful, although I took literally tons of pictures I thought I would give you a little sampling of the festivities:

You would think that with me staying in room with 4 boys I would not have a problem getting "bathroom time" to get ready for the wedding. Imagine my surprise when this is what I walked into:

Paul, Tanner, Kelby, and Kolin all getting ready for the big shindig.

Paul and I at the church before the wedding

We clean up pretty good, huh?

The bride and groom:

Congratulations Brian and Lauren!!

The reception was held at a beautiful venue and a great time was had by all:

My mom and me

There was a lot of dancing going on:

My cousin Terria and I dancing with our 93 year old grandmother. She was a movin' and a groovin' just as much as anyone else.

Now we are back home and unfortunately don't have any other get-aways planned for the near future. Oh well, we will have to see what we can do about that!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

August 5, 2006

Monkey See.....Monkey Do

We're still here in Galveston. We spent most of the day yesterday at the water park then came back to the hotel to rest, eat, and then back to the ocean.

I know I had previously written that my youngest nephew Kolin did not want to come on this trip because he was afraid of sharks. Well, lo and behold after I emailed him pictures Thursday night of the boys in their speedos he decided we were having way too much fun without him. When my dad came down yesterday afternoon with my grandmother, aunt and uncle Kolin decided he had to hitch a ride with them. Of course he also made my dad stop along the way so he could have a speedo too. He surprised us by knocking on our hotel room door wearing nothing but his speedo and swim cap!!

The boys had a blast in the water again last night and we did not even come back to the room until sunset.

Needless to say it was a wild night in our room last night. Me, Paul, and 3 boys!!! I am so thankful we are adopting a girl!!!

Here are some more pictures to give you another laugh.

Another pose with a 3rd addition!!

Off to the water.....yes we did get some funny looks!!

Tonight we will be attending the wedding and then tomorrow it is back home.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!!

August 3, 2006

Galveston, the beach, and......SPEEDOS?

We're here on Galveston Island. We left at an un-godly hour this morning and after several stops along the way arrived shortly after noon. This afternoon we went to the beach and the boys(Kelby, Tanner, and Paul)all bought boogie boards and had a blast in the water. Tomorrow we are off to Schlitterbahn Water Park and more sun.

SPEEDOS: After we had been on the road a couple of hours today the boys (Kelby and Tanner) decided they wanted to buy speedos to wear to the beach. They were bound and determined that we HAD to find them so after 3 stops, we were finally able to locate speedos for kids. They also had to top off the outfit with swim caps. Picture two 12 year old boys walking down the beach wearing speedos and swim caps. It was a sight to behold.

Well, I guess you don't have to picture it in your mind after are Kelby and Tanner posing in the hotel room before heading to the beach.

I thought everyone would enjoy the laugh!!!!

August 2, 2006

The traveling fools are hitting the road again.....

Rowdy loaded up and ready to go spend the weekend in Oklahoma.

Mimi and Poppy(aka Paul's parents)came today to pick up their granddog. Our bags are packed and our alarm is set for way too early in the morning.

Paul and I along with my mom, my nephew and one of his friends are leaving in the morning for a long weekend trip to Galveston. One of my cousins is getting married in Galveston on Saturday night so we thought it was the perfect excuse to plan another mini-vacation. We are taking the boys to the new Schlitterbahn Water Park that opened on Galveston Island last spring. We also plan to play in the Gulf and just have a good time. Kelby (my oldest nephew)is packed and ready, his younger brother Kolin did not want to go because he has been watching too much Shark Week on tv and is deathly afraid that a shark will get him if he goes in the water. Of course when Kolin said he wanted to stay home this weekend Kelby's first question was "then can I bring a friend?" So off we go......

My dad will be joining us Friday afternoon and he is bringing my 93 year old grandmother and 60ish aunt and uncle. Pity him for being in the car with those 3 for 5 hours!! More cousins, aunts, and uncles are joining us Saturday morning and then we will all be representing the family at the wedding Saturday night. I will be sure and take some pictures of Paul and I all dressed up.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Where have I been?

Erin led me to this very cool link that I just had to put on my blog:

States I have visited:

I have visited 22 states (43%). I am almost half-way through them all. Notice I have direct lines both east and west of Texas to the 2 Disney theme parks. Paul and I are both Disney freaks in case you did not already know. Florida is my favorite state because it is home to Walt Disney World. We definitely need to do some more traveling up North.

There was also a map for the world listing the countries you have been to but since I have not been anywhere outside the US besides Mexico I did not think there was a good reason to put a virtually blank map up. Don't worry though, by this time next year I can mark a few more!!

Thanks for the fun link Erin!!