November 24, 2006

We came...we shopped...we conquered.....

Another year down! Once again I braved the crowds, woke up before dawn, and swept up in the bargain department. Black Friday shopping was a HUGE success!!

For the last 10 years I have gone out with the masses to do my shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Over the years I have had different shopping companions but my strategy has always been the same. This year the lucky participant was my cousin Terria, her husband came along just because he wanted to witness the madness. Terria and Joe have never been shopping on this day before and I felt it was my family duty to break them in, just for your entertainment let me review our day for you:

3:20am - my alarm sounds
3:40am - phone call to Terria to tell her I am on my way to pick her up
4:05am - arrive at Kohl's and am happy to see that no one is lined up at the door. Proceed to sit in the parking lot with several others until someone makes a move.
4:15am - a stranger gets out of her car and proceeds to the door, okay, that's it we must get out too. Line up. We are numbers 8 and 9 in line.
4:30am - pleasantly surprised that the local Panera Bread Company is delivery a free breakfast pastry to everyone waiting in line.

Terria happily shows off her free breakfast.

5:00am - The store opens. HERE WE GO! HERE WE GO! HERE WE GO! Terria and I take off in opposite directions with explicit instructions on what we are after.
5:20am - SUCCESS!! We have managed to snag every item we came in for and only had to spend 10 minutes waiting in line to check-out.
5:40am - arrive at Target to find the line wrapped around the building. We decide to wait it out in the car until the store opens at 6am.

This means I have a little more time to go through the ad and prioritize.

6:10am - We're in!! Once again we split up and meet after each of us has rounded up a few items. While we are shopping here I am talking with one of co-workers (Trena) by cell who was shopping at Best Buy. Trena and I exchange lists with each other and plan to meet up later to exchange goods.
7:15am - Get in line to check out. The lines are a little longer now but our spirits are still high. Once again we have obtained everything on our lists!!
7:30am - Arrive at Home Depot with one particular item to buy. Once in the store we ask the nearest worker and are told they just made an announcement that they had one remaining. Began a frantic rush to locate the last one. Luck is on our side today, we got it!! Also managed to pick up a few unexpected but great deals.
8:00am - Go to Sonic to grab a little snack and meet up with Trena to exchange the goods. It's great to have friends on days like this!!
8:45am - Arrive at Belk. No particular items in mind but we figured it can't hurt to check things out. I was able to score 2 sets of pj's for Avery for only $3.73 a set and a new pair of denim capris for me for the bargain price of $5.26. Picked up another couple of items. Cross 2 more people off the list!!
9:30am - Wal-Mart here we come!! Managed to fill up an entire buggy, with no room to waste. Also able to pick up some things that had caught our interest in the ad but were not must-haves.
10:45am - Pit stop at Joe's mom's to drop off some things we had picked up for her. Good thing because we were about to run out of room in the car.
11:15am - Stop at Lowe's. This was the only store we entered today and left without purchasing anything. That's okay, we only stopped 'cause Joe wanted to and we figured since we had been dragging him around for 7 hrs now we might as well "throw him a bone".
11:45am - Kohl's: Round 2. Yes, we came back. We were in such a hurry this morning to grab only the limited quantity items we wanted to return and casually shop some more. We shopped for about an hour and then waited in line 20 minutes to check out. The wait would have been much longer but Joe went and stood in line empty-handed until we were done shopping. We then joined him in line and began to compare "war stories" with everyone around us.
1:05pm - Decide we better call it a day. We have the car filled up, we are dragging because we're exhausted and we're probably running out of money. We have managed to obtain every item we spotted in the various ads. Decide to make one more stop for lunch.
Terria and I standing by the loaded down car. This is not the best picture but I can assure the car was full!! I am happy to say that Terria and Joe did very well on their inaugural black Friday expedition.

I finally arrived home about 3pm and with the exception of two items I am done shopping!!

I had intended to spend the afternoon wrapping presents but decided to have a nap instead. Oh well, there's always tomorrow!!

Anyone want to sign up now to go with me next year????

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

We have very much to be thankful for this year. We have been blessed with good health. We have met some fabulous new friends. Our family has remained a constant blessing in our life. We have had some amazing trips. And we have continued the preparations for our daughter. For all these things and many more we are very thankful.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

November 22, 2006

Merry Christmas to me....

Yes, it is a little early. Today I recieved my Christmas present. I have been thinking about getting a good, semi-professional grade camera for some time now. Paul and I were discussing it again this past weekend and he told to go ahead and order whatever I wanted. I solicited opinions from my friends, did some reasearch and wound up with the Canon SLR Digital Rebel XT. Isn't it pretty? It has more buttons than I know what to do with and an instruction manual 160 pages long. My goal is to be proficient with this camera before we go to China. I better get started practicing. Thanksgiving will be my first attempt to get some good family pictures. Wish me luck!!

November 20, 2006

11 months down............

Today marks the 11 month anniversary that our dossier has been registered in China. It has been an amazing 11 months. We have me great new friends, we have shopped til we dropped, we have prepared a room, and we have dreamt of the day we will have our baby girl in our arms!!!

This also marks my 100th post. Wow!! I never thought I would have enough to write to maintain a blog much less a 100 posts. But I will continue to crank them out.

In celebration of these events I have updated the Avery's World blog with the "Little People Madness". Check it out if you need proof that I love these toys. I better start opening them soom because it may take me the next 6 months to get them all out of the packages.

I also want to wish a Happy Birthday to Paul's Dad, Cliff.
Happy Birthday Poppy!!

Hope everyone has an awesome Thanksgiving!!

November 17, 2006

Today my heart aches.....

About once a month I have a "bad day". A day when I just don't think I can stand the wait much longer. A day when I think I am only kidding myself that we will actually ever become parents. A day when everything I think, see, and hear reminds me of the ache in my heart for my baby. Today is that day.

I think I know what triggered it. I went to do my grocery shopping and stopped to look at the Christmas cards thinking I needed to get on the ball and start working on them. Looking at the cards all I could think of was this time last year. Last year I sent my first ever Christmas letter, it was a letter informing all our friends and family about our impending adoption and requesting quilt squares. I remember that I bought the perfect paper, spent several hours working on the letter so that it sounded just right, test printed in several different ink colors to see what matched best and then signed each one. I was on cloud nine. Anticipating what a huge celebration we would have this year: Avery's first Christmas home. Of course now we know she won't be home this year.

There I was today standing in the aisle of Wal-Mart when all these memories came flooding back. I am not a crier by any means but I could feel my eyes well up with tears. I went about my shopping trying to keep my mind focused on the task at hand but I kept coming back to those freakin' cards. So today I bought this years cards, and a pack of paper so that I could compose a new letter; a letter giving an update to process.

Some days it feels that this is all a big joke, a pipe dream, a pot of gold that we will never reach. My brain tells me that this feeling is normal that I have concrete facts that this will work out, that I can see the progress the CCAA has made and know that we are moving ahead. But my heart tells me something different.

Ironically enough as I went to the computer to post this entry I decided to check my friends blogs first. Kelley had posted a slideshow of some digital scrapbook pages she had just completed of her girls. For the first time today I had hope and peace that everything would work out. Looking at Emily and Mia and those pictures showed me that there is that pot of gold at the end and someday we will reach it. We will hold Avery in our arms. Thank you Kelley....I know when you posted that you had no idea how it would help me today!!

So please friends, don't worry about me. As they say "this too shall pass". It's just that today my heart aches.............

November 12, 2006

A fun-filled day with the girls.....

Yesterday was a non-stop day with my friends. I started out the morning attending a digital scrapbooking class with Erin, Kelley, and Shelli. I had never attempted to dive into the world of digital scrapbooking but let me tell you, it is great. I had so much fun. I have to admit sometimes I got a little frustrated (patience is not my strong suit) but once I kind of figured out what I was doing I loved it. I will continue to do the old-fashioned paper kind but I will definitely be doing some digital too. I happen to know that Santa Claus is bringing me a new photo program for Christmas and ironically enough it is a slightly newer version of the one we used for class yesterday. I can't wait to get my hands on that program and start scrapping away.

After class we all had lunch together then we then split up for a few hours. I went to the mall, the other girls went home and then we met up again later at Valerie's with Jamie, Christie, and Valerie for another girls night out.

What started out as movie night and then turned into game night wound up being sitting around talking, spilling your guts night. Of course we had a wide selection of food and beverage but the best thing was the great company. We started the evening at 6pm and the last of us left Valerie's about 1:30am!!!! By the time I pulled into my driveway at 2:20am I was exhausted. I have so much fun when I am with these gals. It sure doesn't seem that we have known each other for less than a year because we all just "gel" like we have know each other forever. I am so lucky to be riding this adoption roller-coaster with these girls and I can't wait until all our daughters are home!!!

Here are some pics from our evening:

Erin, chillin' out with her glass of wine.

Okay Jamie, somehow the gangsta face and hand gesture does not match up with the rolled-up wind pants and fuzzy houseshoes!!
Christie (our better late than never arrival) and Valerie getting ready to fill their plates!
The gang: Christie, Erin, Valerie, Jamie, Shelli, me, and Kelley. Yes, the dress code was definitely casual!!
Why is it that the first couple of hours are always spent congregating around the food?

Today was definitely a day to sleep in (yes, I missed church after being out partying with my girls so late) and catch up on some stuff around here.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Thanks for checking in!!

November 10, 2006

Stop the Madness

Those that know me know that I have a "slight" obsession with the FP Little People. I want Avery to have them ALL. I have already amassed quite a collection and it just seems to keep growing. Imagine my delight when a certain store had these two sets on sale for $19.99 each this week. That is a $10 saving per set I could not resist. I went to the store with very good intentions: Look at both, decide which one is cuter, and then buy only 1. Well, as they say, the road to somewhere is paved with good intentions.

My purchase today:

They are just too freakin' cute!!!!!!!

I am also happy to show you that Rowdy was the lucky recipient of a new winter coat:

He is one spoiled dog!!!

I guess the underlying thought to this post is: please hurry up CCAA so that a certain crazy woman can actually have someone to play with all these toys and can quit buying clothing for a dog!!

November 8, 2006

A little late.....

I uploaded a couple of posts worth of photos last Sunday but I just got around to adding the text tonight. Be sure to check out the 2 "cast of characters" posts below.

November 5, 2006

Cast of Characters....Part 2

Here we go with round 2.

This is Cliff, Paul's dad. He and Paul have always had a good relationship (even when Paul was a rebellious teenager). Cliff absolutely cannot wait to meet his first grandchild!!! He's got some major spoiling to do!

Meet Sandra!! This is Paul's mom. She has always been extremely close to both her sons and somehow survived living in a house full of male hormones!! When we told Cliff and Sandra of our plans to adopt Sandra immediately started crying, tears of joy of course. She is already planning tea parties and playing dress-up with Avery.

This is Paul, his mom, and his big brother Tony. Tony is 3 years older than Paul and during their childhood was always looking out for his little bro. Tony has been married to Melinda for 17 years. They were high school sweethearts and still affectionately call each other Pooh. Unfortunately I could not find a digital picture of Melinda so I will have to update that later.

And last but certainly not least: Grammy and Daddy Sonny. This is Sandra's mom and step-dad. They have been happily married for 37 years and are like two peas in a pod. They can't wait to meet Avery and introduce her to our camping trips.

We lost Cliff's dad to Alzheimers almost 2 years ago and Cliff's mom to cancer in 1992. We also lost Sandra's dad from complications of heart surgery 7 years ago. They remain with us in spirit and don't worry we have plenty of pictures to show Avery her legacy.

As you can see by both these post we have a great group of people ready to welcome Avery home. We also have a multitude of aunts, uncles, cousins, not to mention a great network of friends. Come Home Soon Baby, there are a ton of people waiting for you!!!!

Cast of Characters....Part 1

It was pointed out to me recently (thank you Jamie)that I don't always mention all the member's of my family. So I thought I would introduce you to them so in future posts you would know who's who.

I will do my family(Part 1) and then Paul's family (Part 2). These are immediate family members only and don't include the slew of aunts, uncles, and cousins that exist on each side.

Here goes:

My parents: Wayne and Martha. I have always had an awesome relationship with my parents and we are very close. As a matter of fact we live next door to each other!! They are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first granddaughter and have already started the shopping sprees for her!!

My only sibling, my brother Chris and his youngest son Kolin. Chris is 2 years older than me and we have always had the typical brother and sister relationship. We picked on each other yet are the first to come to each others defense. Kolin is currently the baby of the family and will celebrate his 12th birthday in April. He is our "miracle" child. He was born 12 weeks premature and had multiple health probelms but he has overcome every one and is a joy to our family.

This is Kelby, he was the first grandchild and was spoiled appropriately so. He is our athlete and has always had an amazing personality. He will celebrate his 13th (OMG, he's going to be a teenager) birthday in January and he can't wait to welcome his cousin Avery into the family. He has already asked when he could babysit.

Meet Danette!! This is Chris's wife and the mother of my two wonderful nephews. Danette and I went to high school together and were good friends. She and Chris never really showed any interest in each other back then. Fast forward a few years and all the sudden they are inseperable. They celebrated their 14th anniversary in August.

Who could forget my 93 year old dancing grandma??? Grandma is my dad's mom and was married for 62 years before grandpa passed way 12 years ago. She is still a very vibrant personality in our family. She will probably outlive us all!!!

This is my only living grandpa, my mom's dad. He is 84 years old but acts like he is 40. He still drives and functions totally independently. He was a peanut and watermelon farmer for most of his life until he had to retire to take care of my grandma. She passed away from Alzheimers 3 years ago.

I am so excited that Avery will have great-grandparents to welcome her home.

So that's the scoop!!! All of us are eagerly awaiting Avery's arrival and can't wait to welcome her into this crazy family.

November 4, 2006

Another week down.....

Another week has passed, referrals were delivered on Thursday for those families logged up to August 25. Just to recap we are December 20. Still a long way to go but at least it's progress.

Thursday night was Kelby's last football game of the season. Wow, time has flown. Even though they did not exactly have a winning season, Kelby did awesome and you could really tell the coaches were impressed with his athletic ability (he must take after his Aunt Robyn).

For Thursday nights season finale my grandpa and my aunt came to see Kelby play. My aunt Kathy is my mom's youngest sister she is 10 years younger than my mom and 10 years older than me. If I haven't already mentioned my mom will be traveling with us to China and Kathy is going to accompany us too!!! God Bless Paul, traveling with the 3 of us!!

Kathy, me, and my mom. Paul and I were thrilled when mom decided to go to China with us, her words were "I have been there for the birth of everyone of my grandchildren and I will be there to welcome Avery to our family." We were even doublely thrilled when Kathy decided to go too, that way mom will have someone to pal around with and we will have a couple of sets of extra hands to help us.

It will be the first time any of us have traveled out of the country (unless you count Mexico) and considering mom, Kathy, and I all attended the same high school with approx 35 people in each graduating class it should be a grand adventure. China may never be the same after we are done. Let me say it one more time, God bless Paul for traveling with the 3 of us. He will need all the prayers he can get.

Now if we could just get a referral we could be on our way!!

After Kelby's game Paul and I did our good deed for the week. Our friend Christie was coming home from California Thursday night and somehow "forgot" to arrange travel home from the airport. Her husband was tied up with a school function, so Paul and I came to her rescue!!

We even made her a sign with her name on it like all good car services do. I cropped the name out for this blog for privacy reasons, but you get the point. Don't you love that the sign was bright pink?

Friday I attended the drama production that Christie's husband Anton directed for his junior high students. The play (is it called a play?) was outstanding and the amount of dialogue these youngsters had to memorize amazed me. All the actors did a wonderful job and I can't wait for their next production. I have been intiated into the world of junior high and boy I do not envy Anton one bit.

After the play the students presented Christie with these roses to thank her for her patience in not having Anton home much these days since they were rehearsing tons. I thought it was a very thoughtful gift. Thanks Anton for inviting me and for giving me a front row seat!!

Today was spent doing all the normal catch up stuff.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!