Sunday, January 27, 2013

Snow in NYC!!

Only about an inch of snow to start off our Saturday morning!  I do love the view of the bay from my porch this time of the year...  If only the parkway could go away...

My happy little snow girl!!!  This is probably the last year we will live in a place where it snows for a while, so even if it's an inch, she's ready to play!!

Fun with her friends!  Snow pants on a slide make you go FAST!! ;)

Loving the early morning light in this picture of her and her pal!

So much fun!!

Thanks for stopping by,

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Answered prayers!

The little one I have been praying for ever since we looked at her file has finally been chosen by a family!!! I'm soooo happy!! Thank you God for answering this prayer!!!

That sweet little girl is going to have a family!! Thank you lord for finding her parents!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My daughter

My daughter is in China... Somewhere. I don't know for sure how old she is, what her little face looks like, or the sound of her voice. I don't know what circumstance caused her to have to grow up an orphan. I don't know anything about her really. Not yet...

What I do know is that she is loved. She is dreamed of. She is my first thought in the morning and my last thought as I fall asleep at night. I think about her throughout the day, just as I do my Katelynn. I wonder what she is doing each day. Does she get to play outside? Does she have a favorite toy? Does she have enough food & warmth? Do her caregivers love her? Does she love them? Will she love dancing around the house in the tutu and ballet slippers her big sister has saved just for her? What will her smile look like? How does she sound when she giggles? So many thoughts and questions fill my mind about this little girl on the other side of the world that will soon become my daughter.

The waiting is hard. It is incredibly difficult to work so hard on all this paperwork knowing that each day that goes by she gets a day older. No matter how fast we get it done, it just never feels fast enough! After all, with each passing day, my girl gets another day older and spends another day without a forever family. With each day, though, we are also closer to coming to get her. Today I got a copy of our homestudy for review. I got more paperwork completed and really think I'll have all our dossier docs ready within the next month! I can't wait to be DTC and then LID and even better LOA!!

Praying this process moves right on along exactly as it should!! My daughter waits! ;) I even did some shopping for both of my daughters today...

Thanks for keeping me company as the wait continues!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Please- No Delays!

I've been dealing with dossier paperwork all day.  I thought we had everything in for the homestudy.  I thought we were only days away from seeing an approved, signed copy of our homestudy!  I was figuring out the number of weeks it will be before USCIS approves our homestudy and we can be DTC!

But then, the emails began...  Through a clerical error, we are actually missing a reference letter.  Oh yeah, and we were supposed to be fingerprinted and didn't know that...

I know that its probably only a few weeks, but when you have a move planned this summer and you are racing against the clock to get everything done hoping that you'll be on the faster end of the adoption timeline...  Well, I'm frustrated!  I just keep thinking about the little one waiting on Mama & Baba to come...

Praying I'm wrong and somehow we are still only days away from approval!  My kiddo is on the other side of the world waiting for us!!  This mama does not take that lightly!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Playing in Chinatown

Sunday was a beautiful day with a high of 56 degrees here in NYC.  We don't get many days that warm in January, so Kate & I decided to hit Chinatown with another Coast Guard family.  She's been watching a lot of Ni Hao Kai-lan lately, taking in all the Chinese words Kai-lan can teach her!! :)

We started off in Battery City and took the subway toward Chinatown...
After going a stop too far we wondered into Union Square for a photo op before back-tracking to Chinatown!  This is a statue of George Washington.
NYC has so many amazing buildings.  I noticed a clock hiding behind a set of towers that was just beautiful!  I have honestly spent days just walking around Manhattan admiring architecture...
This is the only truly Chinese building left in Chinatown, and yes, there is a Starbucks on the street level of it.
The kids thought the paper animals this man was making were very cool.  They all ended up with one!  I love how the man is busy telling our friend's son "don't touch"!! Haha
My baby girl was SO excited to use her saved up allowance money to buy a jade bracelet.  She says it reminds her of her sister.  The lady told her the red is for "good luck". She answered "Yes, its good luck for getting my sister."
We had lunch in Chinatown.  She went with dumpling noodle soup, while I decided to bravely try roast duck for the first time... in noodle soup form.  Jury's still out on that one... ;)

Kate and I really enjoyed listening to these two men play.  It was beautiful!  However, there were two far less interested children begging to move along toward the bakery...

With the bakery photos comes the best story of the day that I SOOOO wish I had captured on my camera...
As we were leaving the bakery Katelynn was the first to walk out and an older Chinese lady held the door open for her.  She told the woman thank you in Chinese and the woman's face just lit up!  (I'll be honest, the people in Chinatown barely grin.  They TOLERATE us.  So to see a woman have a broad smile like that was amazing to me!)  She was so proud that this little girl had spoken Chinese to her!  Instead of going into the bakery, she walked over to Katelynn outside to hug her and tell her what a good job she's doing.  It was such a special moment for Kate, who'd been practicing her Chinese throughout Chinatown all day.  When the lady got ready to go in the bakery, she told Katelynn "goodbye" in English and Katie told her "Zi Chan!"
Of course after the fuss was over, Katelynn tried her first mooncake.  A small pineapple one and she was NOT a fan!!  Hopefully the larger mooncake you find during the autumn moon festival tastes better!
Well, that sums up our trip to Chinatown.  We know that it is nothing like China, but somehow it made Kate & I both feel a little bit closer to her sister by spending the day there.  With Chinese New Year coming up, there will be more Chinatown fun in the near future!
Thanks for stopping by,
P.S.  I just got my first photoshop editing software!! That's why you see so many different edits in these pics!  I'm excited to learn what all I can do with it. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Few Pics from Snowboarding School

Now that Katelynn is seven she has officially aged out of all the kiddie play classes, so this year she has to learn how to ski or snowboard!  She's taken lessons before, but she was always more concerned with playing in the snow during lessons than riding on top of it! 

We gave her the choice, learn how to do this by paying attention in your classes OR stay home with a babysitter!  Well, I am proud to say that not only did she agree to learn, she clearly WANTS to learn this year!!  Oh what a proud Mommy I am!  Can't wait til she is out on the slopes with me & her daddy!!

 Lesson One:  Started out slow!!!  She even preferred to let her teacher drag her back up then ride the magic carpet back up...

 She started standing up on it at the top of the hill, while her instructor was with other kids.  Getting braver!!
 Finally she started fearlessly sliding down the hill, over and over again, all on her own.  Sometimes she didn't even wait to be told to go, she just WENT!!
 Lesson Two:  Okay, I admit it.  I went out on my snowboard and when I got back to watch the last 10 minutes of class they were sliding down on their boards like a sled instead of snowboarding.  Not sure how the rest of the class was!! Haha
 She still looks like she's having fun to me!!  No tears, no sitting on the ground playing in the snow... I'm counting it as a win!  Hope she learns it soon enough to snowboard with me this year!  I'm not very good, so it shouldn't be too hard to get to mommy's level. ;)

As we go through our winter family activities, I keep realizing that this could be the last winter I have one easy 7 year old.  Next year will be different.  Next year will be much more challenging.  I will have an 8 year old who wants to be on the mountain and a new kiddo somewhere between the age of 2 and 5 who needs her time with Mommy.  I will probably be in for a few years of snowtubing or hanging out in the nice warm lodge with my new girlie!  I'm trying to just soak it all in.  Enjoy our times as a family of 3 and pray that our little girl fits right in with this crazy family!  We have fun together!  Can't wait for her to get here and join in the fun!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gathering Dossier Documents

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Well, the start of 2013 means that we are paper chasing once again for the dossier!  We were told that we are waiting on 2 child abuse checks to come back before we are all clear on the homestudy side of things, so I figure its time to really get going on the new mound of paperwork we will need.  I have to send our documents to 3 different Chinese Consulate offices!  One in Houston, one in San Francisco, and thankfully I can hand carry my documents into the one here in NYC.  Living a military life sure does make paperwork more difficult!!!

We are also patiently, ummmm, make that somewhat patiently waiting for orders!  We really don't expect to see them until the 2nd week of February, but a girl can dream right???  I am so anxious to know where we are going so that I can start planning it all out.  The adoption creates so many unknowns, I'm just really anxious for this part of our 2013 to be known. ;)

On a completely different note, I've been waiting for God to show me that the little girl I referred to in an earlier post was not mine.  Basically, I was praying for an update to her file so that I would know for sure one way or the other.  It was hard to make such an important decision based on the file of when she was 3, when she is now 4 1/2.  A lot changes in that time period, and she's at the age now where it will be more clear if her surgeries have caused long term issues or not.  I was VERY excited when the waiting child coordinator told me there was an update from the day after her 4th birthday, and she was having it translated for me.  Unfortunately, the file told me everything I didn't want to hear.  Her condition is just too difficult for our family and would definitely keep us from being able to adopt again.  She'd be all we could handle.  So, I finally received my answer.  This is not my daughter, this is a child God wants me to pray for until she finds her mother.  I'm sad, but I'm also very grateful to know with certainty that she isn't mine.  It helps me to move on and keep looking.


Lastly, for those of you who don't know, there's a little girl named Ivy Joy who is in desperate need of our prayers right now.  She had multiple heart surgeries in Boston a few months ago.  After spending a few months at home where she was making a remarkable recovery, she was rushed to the hospital a few days ago.  She has a clot that has caused her new valve to stop working and she is being airlifted today from AZ to Boston Children's.  Please pray for her.  Mary, her wonderful mom, has a blog that you can post encouragement on and keep track of how Ivy is doing.  I'm posting the link below.  PLEASE pray for Ivy Joy!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thankful for all of 2012's Blessings & Ready for 2013

As we start the New Year, I want to take a look back at 2012 and be grateful for the many blessings that have occurred over the last year...  I fulfilled a few life-long dreams in 2012 and truly had a wonderful and blessed year.

Our family traveled to Europe for the first time in February, and I finally walked the streets of Paris, stared up at the Eiffel Tower, went over 100mph on the Autobahn in Germany, and went sight-seeing in the Alps!  It was a WONDERFUL experience!  I loved every second of it.  It was something I've longed for since I was a little girl, sitting in my trailer in my small town and dreaming of life beyond my situation.  Thank you God for allowing me to live this life.

Katie and I, not too far from Notre Dame. 

It was every bit as amazing as I'd always dreamed it would be... 

She was more enthused that she lets on in this pic, but that is Hohenschwengau Castle in the distance as we took a horse and carriage up the hill to Neuschwanstein Castle.  Very cool trip!

In May, my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  What an accomplishment!  We decided to experience something else for the first time... a cruise!  Not just any cruise, a DISNEY cruise, so Katelynn could go along with us and celebrate the anniversary of our family too.  We had a great cruise to the Bahamas & Castaway Cay, bookended with Disneyworld fun.

Kate and I in the cruise ship terminal, ready for our cruise!
My family in the Bahamas!
Beach day at Castaway Cay!  Oh the sunburns that resulted, but it was amazing!

The new Dumbo was open for our trip to Magic Kingdom in May.  One of my favorite memories is watching the fireworks while riding Dumbo with Katelynn.
The fun didn't stop there, though, because we were lucky enough to have my cousins make a trip to Disneyworld in August, so we met them there and celebrated Katelynn's 7th birthday in Disney style.  Considering her best friends had all moved away by this summer (ah, the life of a Coast Guard kid) it was a blessing to spend fun family time on her birthday without her focusing on how much she missed her friends.  It was so great to have CJ, Alicia, Zoe, & Sam with us in Florida to enjoy the beach, the shark reef at Typhoon Lagoon, and the magic of Disneyworld.

 Family time at Animal Kingdom.  The girls loved being the tour guides with their maps!

The animals during the safari were the closest we've ever seen them! 

I love this one of Kate & her cousin Zoe!  You can see the pure joy on their faces as they point at another animal that is super close to the truck.

Best of all, after years of waiting, my wonderful husband finally agreed to start our adoption in November.  We've completed all of our homestudy paperwork and our homestudy visits.  Just waiting for a few more things and our homestudy will be complete!  We are already hard at work on our dossier documents.  It won't be long until we know who will be joining our family and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Yep, 2012 has been amazing!  God has really worked on my heart a lot this year.  I've focused on what he wants for my life and listened more for his guidance then I have in quite a few years.  All you bloggers out there have really helped me to think about my own faith and the role that God has in my life.  Thank you all for that.  I am forever grateful for the Godly examples you all have shown day in and day out.

Now 2013 is upon us.  In 2013 we will receive orders to a new duty station, make a 2nd trip to Europe, execute a summertime move to wherever it is God has in store for us (Come on AL, NC, or FL!!! ;), buy our first house, and bring our beautiful girl home from China!  It is shaping up to be an amazing year! 

My goal for 2013 is simple.  To live my life guided by God.  To be the best me that I can be.  Simple right?  Some changes are in store to move myself in that direction.

Praying that we all accomplish our goals and have a wonderful 2013!!

God Bless,