Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So thrilled

Okay, who knew that I could be so thrilled for someone else. Lisa S just received her CA and she's dancing around the house. I'm so thrilled for her that I feel like dancing too. Happiness is so contageous! Congratulations again Lisa and Eammon!! I can't wait for you to go and come back again.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Game Night

Okay, I took out the photobucket because it was too big and not clear enough. You'll need to use your imagination on Doug's dumptruck.

What a great idea to have a game night. We all have these games that take more than two to play so we never can play them. We decided that we'd all get together and have a game night. Even though we played on a Sunday afternoon, we had a great time eating tacos, chicken wings, quesadillas, drinking margaritas and playing Cranium, We were all laughing so hard. Mick described it better than I could have in her blog. Mick's blog Check it out to see what fun we did have. I'll attempt to describe some of the pictures.

The first picture is the table, relatively quiet. Next comes Mick with her acting out skydiving for Anna to guess. Anna realizing what something is. A deviled egg was to be sculptured. How about that fabulous egg!!

Next comes Lisa and Doug who appear to be having tons of fun. Then me, working on a ping pong paddle, I think, and finally Matt, drawing a mermaid and something else with his eyes closed.

We had such a fun time. I can't wait to do it again! Thanks guys for coming and making this day great!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday

Okay so yesterday was the day to go shopping. A day that I refuse to go out and get shoved around with so many people. No bargain, in my opinion is worth all of that. Neither does Matt. He usually waits until Christmas Eve to go shopping or does all his ordering online. But this year was different. He told me he had to go shopping because he would be able to save a ton of money. I guess it was all the ads that he and James went through after dinner on Thursday. Either that or something in the turkey!

Anyway, he was up about 8:30 which is very early for him. He usually gets up around 11:00 or noon. I was a bit surprised to see him all showered and dressed so early. He had already clipped the coupons so with them in hand, off he goes, spending most of the day shopping. He said he actually had a lot of fun and the stores he went to (he refuses to tell me which ones) weren't packed and he didn't wait in line much at all. He stayed away from the mall and he even picked up some things for Anna. Another weird thing because he usually leaves all other gifts to me to purchase.

Meanwhile, Anna and I stay at home, bringing up tons of boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement and digging into them. She asks me if everyone is this crazy with decorating for the holidays of if it was just me??? Wellllll, I've been collecting things for many years and have a lot of things, all with stories behind them which mean a lot to me so I always put them out. Crazy? Could be, probably so, but I don't care. It's Christmas!!

Now today, Matt is staying home to put up outside lights and hopefully the tree. Anna and I are going to hit the stores for some shopping, at least a little bit.

Mick and James - Thank you very much for having us over for dinner. You guys outdid yourself with all the food. It was soooo good. I really enjoyed just sitting on the porch and talking with you Mick and we'll plan on it again next year with the girls! I also want to know what you put in that turkey to make Matt want to go shopping!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

One year ago today if you would have told me that Chani wouldn't be here with me, I would have told you, no way. Well, here I am again, going through the holidays without my little girl. Will she be with me next Thanksgiving? Who knows. I assume that she will be. I hope that she will be but then again, I said those same things last year. I guess I'll just stick with assuming that she'll be here next year.

I am thankful for several things. Matt being at the top of the list. Without him, none of this adoption stuff would be happening. He has been so laid back through all of this and goes with the flow. He's my very best friend and I love him with all my heart. My inner circle of friends comes next and you know who you are. Without them, I'd be a total wreck. My mom and Matt's parents are right up there too. They have given us so much support through all this wait too. And then, I'm thankful for all the usual things like health, life, and of course, Shad and Bindi.

Today we are going to have a feast with our dear friends Mick and James . We're really looking forward to having turkey and all the fixings with them today.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Paper chase deja vu

Okay, so today I start out just before 9am and head to the DFAC office. Earlier last week I had sent this form to my HS agency and they were supposed to send it to DFAC and get the clearance from them. They failed to get it done so I had to go to the website, print off the form and truck it up there for them to sign. After almost walking through the employee door, we made it to where we were supposed to do, begged and pleaded them to do my form as I wait. Luckily they complied and I only had to wait about 20 minutes. Not too bad, and get this, the office is right up the street! Yeah! I thought for sure I'd be headed down the 400 into the city, chasing this piece of paper.

Matt had his physical at 9am this morning so the plan was for me to head down to Alpharetta and meet him for lunch. Well, we arrived around 10:00 and he still had to get his employment letter signed so Anna and I stopped by Wal-mart and did a bit of shopping. We then met him for lunch, all papers signed and ready to go.

Back to Kennesaw to our social worker's house so she would punch in any new or different information. This only took about 30 minutes for all that and printing. We then tried to reach the office back in Cumming. I headed out that way and was preparing to pop the envie with all our important papers and our check for $366 under the doormat. Ay, yay, yay. On the way, I get a phone call that Ashley will be in the office around 2:00. Great! I'm on my way but she informed me that they need to be notarized. WHAT?? Then, come to find out that the office manager, who is sick today, will be back in the office tomorrow and she'll be able to notarize them and get them out tomorrow. Whew, thought I was going to have to stop by the bank after all.

I could have told them that the INS gave me a 30 day extension and we didn't have to rush and get it out before Thanksgiving but what fun would that have been?? They need to earn their money and jump through some hoops for me! HA!

Next comes the big I-600A renewal. Wonder when that is due?? How long do they hold your fingerprint clearance?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Chemistry - 99.9% / Physics - Zero

Last night for dinner, we were having some leftover biscuits from the night before. I had just stored them in a ziploc and opened the bag and popped them in the microwave for a few seconds to heat up. I then just tossed the bag on the table and we could just pull them out as we wanted. Matt and I both took one early on but Anna waited to get hers until towards the end of the meal. We were going along and Anna grabbed the bag, turned it upside down and started to shake the bag. (Remember that it's open) The last biscuit fell out of the bag, onto her lap and onto the floor. She's been pretty famous for saying oops. So out that comes but the look of surprise on her face was priceless. She quickly grabbed the biscuit, looked at it and sortof wiped it off. I tried so hard not to laugh but I couldn't hold it any longer and bust out laughing. It was so funny that I'm still chuckling about it today.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Today's documents

Today I needed to go pick up our local police background clearance at our police department. I don't know how you all feel about police departments but they tend to scare me and it's not a comfortable place to be. I wouldn't do very well in jail. Anyhow, I ended up having to go to the detention center and wait in line to talk to one very slow officer. All the while, I was looking around and there were tons of signs stating that no cell phones, bags or anything like that would be allowed in the building and to put them in your car. I finally reached him and asked him where I was to go to pick up my letters. He asked me if I had a receipt. I told him no and that I still needed to pay for them. I then mumbled something about the other office told me something about a basement. He then reluctantly said that he would let me in. I had to go around and through a metal detector. Of course it's beeping as I proceed to his side because I had my purse and cell phone, keys, etc. and then he wants me to open my jacket and my purse. I did so and he told me to go down the elevator, to the right and up to the set of windows. I ended up being in the place where they post bonds. There was a big burly guy sitting there that I had to walk by. This place is creepy! Anyway, I get to the window and ask for the letters. The woman then asks for my id and a receipt. I explained to her that I didn't have a receipt because I haven't paid for them yet. She then went and found them and just gave them to me. I asked her if they were state records vs county and she said she didn't work in that department and had no way of knowing. She told me to have a nice day so I left without having to pay for them. Yippee!! That's one thing that didn't cost me twice!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Home Study Redo - Check

Okay, so the home study visit was today at 10:00. We met Suzanne who took over for Whitney. She is trying to work with us on rushing this and I really appreciate her doing so. We had to fork over $366 plus she talked us into registering with FedEx so she could rush the paperwork to INS. She said that is usually about $12 so it isn't as bad as I thought. She also said that she would snail mail the copies to WHFC and to me which is fine with me.

Matt's appt is Monday so either he or I will take the medical form and rush it over to Suzanne's house and then rush it back to the office. I just need to make sure that all the timing works out and they are there when I go. Hopefully by then, all of this will be done and I won't need to be caught in any more "new" requirements or price increases. Like this time, the local police clearance has to be at a state level vs county level. Wish they would have told me this before. I put in a call to the police dept to see which they do and hope they can accommodate without taking any more time. Another thing is that we had to pay for mileage which we didn't have to before. Rushing around like this, although it's a pain in the ass, isn't as bad as having to pay for the address update on top of the home study. Not having to deal with it again, once it's complete will be a great relief. I don't want to worry about any paperwork being outdated when it comes time to head to China. All I want to focus on is preparing for our child.

All I need now is Matt's medical, the employment letter and the police clearance letters which will be done tomorrow and we're all set. Hopefully by Wednesday, our paperwork will be on it's way to INS. If not, then on Monday and that gives them a week before the deadline. I hope this is enough.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stress, Stress, Stress

Okay, I'm an easy going person, easy to please, easy to get along so why is all this crap so complicated?

I try to convince my husband to get his butt in gear to get his medical redone in a timely manner. He ended up having to contact the office manager of his doctor's office so she could schedule him a special time in order to get this done by Dec 2nd. He finally did and now he's going in on Monday. I mean, it's not like he has to have a gynecological exam with one doctor and then a general practice doctor for his other things, geez!

Our social worker just had a baby, is coming back to work for one week and then taking off another week for the holiday. She doesn't have time to do our home study so she pawns it off to someone else who will need to go through the entire thing once again. She is trying to get us to do an amendment to our home study to show the change of address which will cost us around $200. She also wants us to contact FedEx and get an account set up so she can send it to the office about 20 minutes from her and then once again they will forward it to INS. I'm guessing around $25 each time she sends documents. (I'm also thinking they are milking us for as much money as they can get.) OR, she could update the entire home study, complete with medicals, etc. That will cost us $350. So, our choices are to just do the address update for $200 and then redo the home study for $350 for a total of $550, or just hurry and do the home study, total $350, with the fear of it not reaching INS before their deadline of Dec 2nd. I'm going to see what I can do about extending the deadline. My dear friend gave me the phone number of someone in the office who I may be able to contact them. At least it's a phone number! Our new home visit will take place early tomorrow morning.

We started out our day pretty early, around 7 in order to get to the INS office around 9. (Going in rush hour is not a joy!) We get about 1/2 way there and Matt then decides to ask me if I brought my ID. Oh god!! No, I had left it at home so we have to turn around and head back. Damn it! We would have made it on time. We did finally make it around 9:30 and were able to wave to Lisa and Doug as they were walking out. Bummer! We had to endure about an hour wait so it wasn't too bad. We then headed out to find our local police department so we could get a background clearance letter. Piece of cake. Now we just need to go pick it up on Thursday.

Okay, so I have a day to get my house cleaned up when Anna presents me with a meeting request for her drama so I need to go to that tonight of all nights. Kids! Gonna try to weasel out of that and have Matt do that while I clean the house.

And, to top it all off, I was feeling ill this morning, complete with a nagging migraine. Luckily that's gone, thanks to Imitrex and Vicodin! Now this time, I'm really off to clean the house! Hopefully tomorrow will go smoothly. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Full week

Last week I had lunch with Lisa S. who took me to a couple consignment shops, and a great Asian bakery. She introduced me to Yakisoba buns (I wish I would have taken a picture before we gobbled them all up.) but when I brought them home to Anna, she had no idea what they were. They were a big hit though. We may have to stop by there again if I can find the place.

Then, the next day, I had lunch with Randi and Jack at our favorite Mexican restaurant. That's always fun but we missed having Lisa F. with us.

Last night we headed south to Susan and Bills where we dined on Tilapia and she was sweet enough to fix a couple pieces of chicken for my picky husband! Thank you Susan! The girls, Anna and Lily were able to talk a bit and catch up. They came over together in the exchange program from Taiwan so it was fun for them too.

Ready to start the new week off with fingerprints tomorrow with Lisa and Doug.

Lately my calendar has been full and it soooo helps in dealing with the wait. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me and for your friendship. It means the world to me.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What that - - - -?? (you fill it in)

I'm going along, no worries in the world. My little girl WILL come eventually. I don't like it but there isn't anything I can do so I wait. Our prints expired but no worries, I sent in the request and finances to get them redone. They arrive but I need to postpone that date due to a conflict. So, I figure a week or two. WRONG!! It took them nearly six weeks to reschedule it for me. Okay, a bit concerned, a lot annoyed but they finally come and our appointment happens to be on the same day as our friends have their renewal, so great! At least the line will go fast. Then, a few days ago, I get a letter from Homeland Security stating that they need my homestudy update in order to complete my request. Not a problem, however, they need it by Dec 2nd. (Insert your own "What the ??" here) Our immigration approval is still good until March 28th so I don't understand why the rush. I have all my paperwork done but am waiting on the husband to do his part. I frantically call our social worker who just had a baby and is out on maternity leave. She was to come back to work this next Monday and they advised me to call her anyway and get it set up so she can come out to do it. I finally talk to her and now I find out that she can't do it because she is only coming in for a week and then taking another week of vacation. Boy, it must be rough. Anyway, who knows when we'll be able to get all this stuff done and if we'll be able to make their deadline. They state on the form that they will deny our approval if we don't get it to them by then. I hope I can accomplish it. I'm really stressing about it now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fun things

Anna and I have been talking about things to paint on the fence on the wall of the nursery. We've been trying to come up with an idea so I pulled all her stuff away from the wall and now, it's a blank canvas. I told Anna just to sketch something on the walls in pencil first and we'll then paint it. She then told me she wasn't ready to do it yet.(After everything was moved.) So I'll wait. I'm getting pretty good at waiting!

The three of us then went to the basement to get started working down there. We arranged the book cases in the middle of the floor, like a library, and then filled them with books. We arranged other book cases along the walls but didn't get anything put on them. We moved around a bunch of flattened boxes and it's starting to take shape now. The basement is still such a mess but it's progress! One day Matt will begin working down there and get the rooms built with walls, etc. I just needed some organization for the time being. He's still working on the closets but I think he's getting close to being done.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A few new things

First of all, just look at this precious little girl. Our friends Lisa and Eammon just received their referral of Maisie. We are thrilled for them and hope they get their TA very soon.

Second, January is out of review!!! Yeah!!! - Although it doesn't impact me in any way, I'm happy that they are one step closer.

Today we received our fingerprint appointment to get reprinted. It took the Atlanta USCIS office just over four weeks to reschedule it for us. It's a good thing we're not in a hurry this time. Our friends, Lisa and Doug, are having theirs redone and our appointments were scheduled at the same time. Yeah!! Hopefully the line won't be too long but with friends along, it will go quickly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Referrals through Aug 25, 2005

The referrals are coming in now and the CCAA has updated their site. Yippee!!!

They got through two more days than my agency unofficially announced which is great news. Right now we are now looking at a referral in April. Hopefully it will come faster than that but I won't hold my breath nor count on it. I'm sure it will change next month!

I've been checking Lisa's blog quite frequently. She should get her referral today and we'll all know Baby M's name!! I'm so excited for her and Eammon and can hardly wait to see her photos!!