Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ducky Dots and Fingerprints

Well, I can't believe it, but John and I actually agreed on a nursery set. There are TOO many to choose from. Period. And I am the type of gal that will continue to look (and torture myself) for a better/cuter deal even though I have already bought something and can't do anything about it. So, I had decided that I was going to just find something and decide. And look no more. Last night, while perusing the TOO many sets out there, I came to a site that had lots of little thumbnails. Unbeknownst to me, John was paying attention to what I clicked on and sort of gave me opinions--a grunt here, a raised eyebrow there. When I finally just asked him what he liked, I got the expected response--"How about fish? Or aquarium stuff?" After reminding him we were having a GIRL (I knew he was uninvolved in lots of the paperwork, but still... :) he told me he didn't really like the paisley, the flowers, the taffeta...you know, all the stuff I LOVE! So...knowing I was going to pick what I wanted ANYWAY, I clicked on a couple more. When one came up, all of a sudden he says, "I like that one." WHAT???? DONE! Because what preceded, "I like that," was me saying (mostly to myself) "Oh, isn't that sweet?" and the two of us coming close to liking the same things? Well, call the president! (Or not, as he has a few other issues to attend to these days) So...here's what Emma's room will look like:

John will put chair rail under the border, and crown moulding and wainscoting as well. We (again, the royal 'we') decided to get a convertible crib in white anyway, so it works out perfectly! SOOOOOO loving Ducky Dots!

As far as fingerprints....I heard this song on the way to work this morning and thought of all the babies out there waiting for their mommies. I also thought of all the mommies waiting for their babies...and was reminded that God has been with Emma (and so many others) from her start...and when I finally get to see her, I will be honored and blessed to see the fingerprints of God...
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God's hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He's been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art and...

Just look at you
You're a wonder in the making
Oh, and God's not through, no
In fact, He's just getting started...

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Latest and Greatest...

From our caseworker on Friday:

Your dossier was received this week by Adoption ARK.


8/22 a copy of your dossier was sent to the translator. This process will take between 2-3 weeks.

Once your dossier has been translated I will process the translations and have them legalized.

Then I will organize them with the original documents and copies for submission to the Embassy.

This process can take 1-2 weeks.

Then I will send the dossier to Carol Fredericks in Washington DC . She will take your dossier to the US State Department for authentication.

I assume this is someone with a courier service...

Depending on how many documents she has that day – it can take between 3-5 business days to complete that process.

When she gets your documents back she will make the necessary copies of the authentications and attach them to the copies of your dossier.

God love her because making the copies was a big, fat PAIN!

Then Carol will take your dossier to the Kyrgyz Embassy and submit it.

The Embassy has not indicated how long they will take to process dossiers. In the past it has been between 1 week and a 1 month. If your dossier is not released after 1 month we will personally call the Embassy and inquire as to its status.

Here's hoping the Kyrgyz community candle vigil last night makes a difference! I was in!

I cannot tell you (okay, probably anyone interested in reading this totally knows!) how wonderful it feels to have that dossier OUT OF MY HANDS! I have an appointment with my new doctor tomorrow to introduce myself and my needs, as well as have a physical. Hopefully, this will help with the new medical certification I know I will need, as mine expires November 12. So, it just seems that I will now just be on updating document watch, which is a lot easier than the whole shabang! Unless you are John, and then it's all a breeze. (Ha ha, just kidding! Sorta.)

I had to go camping this weekend because I felt I owed him since I get to go to Pensacola on Friday for a long weekend with dear friends. It would be wonderful if we could go together, but my ticket is already an arm and a leg (or a nursery bedding set) so we feel pretty guilty about spending. The girls try to get together at least once a year, and this year, it was Pensacola! Maybe next year we'll have to think about a weekend that's NOT a holiday, though prices didn't seem to change much for other weekends either, so... Anyway--I am not a camper. I don't like it. I'm allergic to every flipping thing out there. I HATE porta-potties. I get such little sleep as it is, I hate a planned bad night of sleep (and really, how can sleeping in the woods in a tent be anything but?) I'm all about doing a wilderness-y thing during the day, but I don't see why a nice little trip to the local hotel (and shower, bed, food, tv, air conditioning, etc.) at the end of the day can't be part of the plan. In any event, John and I have been married for over 11 years, and this was the first time we camped, so...I guess I'm not doing too bad since I married Paul Bunyan, and he lives for that! When Emma comes, we'll camp. We'll just camp a little bit more girly. Like in an RV. Or in the living room. Coffee table tents, anyone?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Wow...as tired as I am, knowing that my dossier is on the way to CA and will be there by 10:30 tomorrow (Monica, I know you are laughing at the probable lack of necessity for that to be the case :) has put me in a great mood. It has even given me extra energy, because I must say, working like I have for the recent back-to-school and subsequent first-day-of-school (today)extravaganzas, I am tired. The dossier took so much time last night...matching certifications, collating, verifying, falling off desks (the bruises are AWFUL!) writing big checks and watching John stand clueless in it all...I didn't get to bed until very late and got up very early, but I was fine today! I seem to have (so far) a lovely class and as my motto for this school year is, "I like everyone, and everyone likes me, so this is going to be a SUPER fabulous year!" I have no worries about the next 179 days of school. Yes, we start counting to the last day on the first day...teacher sanity saver!

Yesterday, as I was driving to school, I was listening to a song on XM's The Message. I am a lover of pretty much ALL music, and my program buttons are very varied and full! The song was called LifeSong, and I loved the message--to let my life be something pleasing to God and an example to others. Church usually gives me messages that speak directly to me and very much so lately in the last few weeks. Hearing that song yesterday was a nice way to reinforce my desire to show not only how I have been blessed, but how thankful I am for all the blessings. Keep reminding me of this desire, as my propensity for ranting is quite strong and I need to continually keep myself in check!

I *met* another blogger friend who is putting together a cookbook as a fundraiser for their adoption. I love this idea and am submitting recipes. She is looking for more, as well as a little story/blurb to go with it and if you are interested, she'd love for you to click here! I know that there are things like this that have been done, and contributed to, but I can't see how there are ever enough fabulous recipes and people to go with them! In any event, Emma will be a little part of her book and I'd love to see others I've *met* be so as well. Jengish told me that a dish there is sheep's eye balls, and was described as the second grossest thing in the world, according to the Travel Channel. I TOTALLY want him to submit that recipe!!

Speaking of Jengish, he said I could post his story about a man he saw. It really touched my heart, and I really found his analogous observation as so insightful for a young man. I'll end with it, but talk about someone's lifesong being a glory to God...Jengish is walking the walk in his efforts to help and love all of God's children. From Jengish:
One time I was riding in a bus, and this gnarly looking man walked in.
He didn't look clean. His hat was made by someone that seemed like didn't really know how to make hats, and he was wearing a dirty tank top that bared his gross hairy shoulders. And oh by the way, he was huge. He was one of those guys you never want to mess with. He looked like a criminal that could ring somebody's neck and go drink a cup of tea afterwards.

But then I saw he had a cutest little girl sitting in his huge arm.
She was resting her head on his shoulders, and she didn't really care that his shoulders were gross and hairy. For her it was her daddy's shoulders. And she knew that even if the whole world was falling apart her daddy would protect her. And when you looked at her dad you could tell that he will easily give his life for her.

All of a sudden from looking like a criminal, he changed and now he looked like a... Father.

Our Father is the same way, He died for us and He loves us so much that it's hard to imagine.

I didn't have my camera with me and I still regret that I didn't take it with me. But I still do remember that guy and his daughter. A pure love. Amazing.

Amazing indeed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I know you are out there, Emma!


Yes, I know what I said about caps...these are caps of happiness!!

The marriage certificates were here when I got home and let me tell you, what a PAIN IN THE BUTT (caps of aggravation) to put all the copies together, after stapling all the little certifications on top of the notarizations and then putting the authentications on top of that! For my added fun and amusement, two different people certified the notarized copies, so I got to play "guess the certifier" when matching up the documents and the copy of the certification for our FOUR copies. That's Maryland for ya, though--gotta see what we can milk -- oh, wait, how about a step after the notary to say the notary is valid and before the authentication which will tell us the certification is valid? That'll be $36 bucks, please...and $110. And about $115 in copies. And don't forget the fun of falling off the desk!! (Okay, not Maryland's fault--purely mine--no, JOHN'S--because he has not finished the other bookshelf in our office and the printer is on top of the desk and not on a shelf. This poses big problems for me as the desk is a good foot taller than I am, so I have to climb in the rolling chair (YES, I KNOW that's not smart...) to climb on the desk to climb on the shelf that has the printer...that's easy. Getting down, not so much. I digress. And, no, nothing is broken, but thanks for caring...(that means you, John!)

Anyway, I am now exhausted but so happy to be sending that darned thing off! Even better, and more significant to me, when I woke up this morning (at 4:50 am, thank you very much) I was trying to rouse myself out of bed...and as I looked out the window, I got a feeling that I have not yet had--I felt like she was cooking somewhere! Up until this morning, I truthfully didn't think she was much more than a sparkle in someone's eye, but this morning, goosebumps and all, I just felt it. She is in somebody's tummy, growing and forming and I can't wait. So, Emma (still not decided on Emma Jane or Emma Grace something, but for sure Emma) know that mommy has finished the first big hurdle...it wasn't fun, I won't lie, but I don't mind. It is what I has to do to get you here, so...done!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Notes to self:





5) Stop pretending you are not an angry, outrageous raver

Seriously...I am not angry, more emphatic. Every time I seem to set a time frame, it DOES NOT HAPPEN. Sooooo...if I make no more time frames, I will not be disappointed! I checked today--Virginia got my certificates on Monday. The Fed EX return package still must sit in Virginia, as it is not on the track site yet. In essence, when I called them two Thursdays ago and they told me that they were authenticating things that were received 2-3 days prior, I figured that since I had to have a few things done this last week here in Maryland, nothing would be ready until Wednesday/Thursday anyway, and by then, I should have the marriage certs. The sweet little girl in the authentication office said that sounded about right, and if she were me, she'd just send them overnight. Thanks for the tip. If authentication in Virginia is anything like it is in Maryland, it would have taken me four hours and 30 seconds to do--with four hours of that being drive time! I find it hard to believe that my beloved home state could be slower than Maryland, but then again...though Maryland is not necessarily a pro-adoptive state, it sure does get paperwork and fingerprints processed FAST! (Remember, I give credit where credit is due)

I am now not predicting, just hoping and praying that they will head out on Monday and I will get them on Tuesday and by Wednesday (which also happens to be the first day students come back) my dossier will be on its way to sunny CA...ah, the disappointments of a control freak! Don't think I don't realize that it is MY fault I feel disappointment--if I just waited for things to happen as they happen, I wouldn't be disappointed when they didn't happen when I want them to happen.

I will wait. Patiently. In the mean time, I have found www.blurb.com and can't wait to turn the blog into a book for the end of the year (thanks, Maria!) I have also decided to start something--whether it is another blog or not, I am not sure, but in any event and in whatever media, I will be writing letters to Emma every day. Starting tomorrow, as John is upstairs throwing shoes at the floor (his subtle way of telling me it is time to go to sleep!) I think of all the things I wish I knew about my mom--things you just don't even realize you want to know until she's gone and you can't ask--and want to make sure Emma knows them all. I would also like to let her know how very dearly she is loved, thought of and missed--all before she is probably even conceived. For the most part, though, I figured if I did daily letters to her, it would help ease the wait time--because it might be like I'm not waiting for her since I am actually talking to her--in a manner of speaking. Or typing. Whatever...

6) Be thankful I have brilliant ideas to keep me busy, ha ha

7) Be thankful God created me to be so darned humble

8) Be thankful God likes a sense of humor (for real--how else can I justify the rational behind the gas pump drive off? He obviously needed a good laugh that day!)

9) Be thankful that at the end of all this...your sweet little baby girl will be home, with her mommy, daddy and puppies

10) Be okay with ending your notes to self at number nine, and don't force number 10 just so you have a nice, well-rounded number with which to end. It is just superfluous.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Come on, Virginia!

Okay--let me just say that I am so excited to be about to send this dossier in right now, I could burst! Yesterday was a GREAT day! I had all my dossier documents certified and copied and headed toward Bethany to see our social worker and pick up the home study with the proper cover page and attachments. She is SO great, it was wonderful to see her and I was psyched! (I just passed right on by the WaWa gas station where my little mishap the last time I picked up the home study happened--no eye contact this morning!) After I picked it all up, I copied the home study docs, had them certified and headed a few doors down to the secretary of state. Let me just say now that yesterday was a GORGEOUS day and Annapolis is a VERY cute little city. Life was good! I went in, got all my lovelies authenticated and walked out a very happy woman! Lo and behold, what should be there but a sweet little baby shop. It was a sign. Emma needed something to mark this day. This shop had the cutest little everythings and I was just in love. The woman was very kind, very interested in hearing about the process and helped me pick out the perfect "authentication day" present: a sweet, soft little "lovie" to take to Emma and leave with her while we wait for her. I named her Dixie the Dalmatian, because even though our Dixie is obviously a Golden Retriever, little Emma will have her own little Dixie there in Kyrgyz and one here waiting for her!

After a lovely day in Annapolis, I stopped to buy some things for my classroom (today is my last day of freedom!) and then headed home. I got home very much later than I anticipated, as we were having some dear friends of ours over for dinner. We used to live next door to them in New River, and they are now up here and I am over the moon about it! I showed Rachel the house and then the baby things and realized that I have some of the cutest little things for her and I can't wait for her to use them. I know not knowing her size, season (heck even if she has been conceived yet!) makes the clothes issue sketchy, but I just had to post a couple of my favorites--and the best part? These are hand-me-downs! YEP! I have been very blessed by the great friends (with SUPER taste) who have given me their little girls' hand me downs/ unuseds and I am very thankful! I love the smocking in this one:

I ABSOLUTELY love this little Gymboree outfit--It's the onesie, the cute little pants, the sweater and the hat and they all look as if they have never been worn!

This little girl is going to need some heavy duty Paparazzi to catch all her stylin!

Speaking of photos...Jengish

is a fabulous photographer and I really am touched and told a story by the pictures he takes. He mentioned that he was saving up for a camera lens, but that they were very expensive. I emailed him and asked him what kind of camera he had and then realized that he may have a camera that I actually have a fairly decent lens for! I told him to research it, and see if it worked, and if it did, it was his! He said it would! The thing about this lens is that we have had a great camera and pretty nice lens for about 10 years now...but for about 7 or 8, we have had that camera and lens sitting in our closet because we joined the age of digital and it didn't fit. How awesome did I feel being able to say that not only do I have a lens that may work, but I have felt pretty guilty about having it and never using it (the depths to which my life is blessed never ceases to amaze me)and could give it to a most deserving young man with stories to tell? So...the point is, please check out his website and his pictures. Look at the faces of these people. See what he says about them. He told me a story about someone he saw on a bus, and it was such a beautiful story and analogy of God's love, I just cried when I read it. I asked for permission to post it and if he okays it, I will. I know my heart is indelibly attached to Kyrgyzstan, so I am very honored to be able to help his ministry and give some Christian encouragement. If you would like to as well, he could certainly use it.

Okay..enough of my soap box. I have to go get some blood work for my physical next week (with the NEW doctor, as it is pretty obvious that I will be redoing my medical certificates in September, thought I'd get the jump start!) and then on to school. Tomorrow is our first official day back. I have made up my mind. This is going to be a great year. Period.

Oh...and the title of the post? All I'm waiting on to fed ex the dossier is our marriage certificates from Virginia. Seeing as it is my good old home state, I have no doubt they will expedite for little old me. Ha ha!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Staples, I love you, but....

Okay, I am getting pretty tired of Staples. Cool as they are and all...Friday I couldn't get to the clerk of court to certify anything but figured I'd copy everything. Glad I did, although, I realized AFTER I had copied 6 copies of everything that a couple of John's med things were wrong. In fact, I think I wrote about that. So, anyway, he got the last two things we needed fixed this morning and I picked them up, went to the doctor (my allergist, who God love him, said he'd fill out any medical certificate I needed as I was paying his mortgage and it was the least he could do...he's a riot!), got retested for my allergies--which I was NOT expecting, but well overdue, and then had to get blood work done for my allergist because he's looking into my immunodeficiency issues. THAT took forever, but I finally headed to our county seat to get everything certified. On the way, my nurse, or at least the poor gal stuck with me because my official doctor is some random chick just assigned to me because my other doctor left, called me and told me she could get me in to see the new doc for my well-woman and to talk to her about the adoption in two weeks. Which is WAY better than a month. So, small progress there, I guess, but as I said, my allergist is pretty much my main man and hero, so the new doctor may just have the pleasure of referrals and annuals, lucky girl! I digress...

So, I get ALL the documents certified, which totally throws off my 'packages' as my agency puts it, because they have to put their certification over every notarized stamp and some of the packages have those notary stamps in weird places. PLUS, they don't staple any of it. If I want a package stapled, I staple it, but they still put the certification ONLY over the notary stamp. Which is hilarious because that is NOT how they did it in Anne Arundel county--THEY had to staple anything I needed together as a package. Ah, Maryland. Anyway, I wait for a while, dish my moolah out, and zoom to my new boyfriend--copier number 3 at Staples. I copy all the certifications and then realize that two things were NOT certified and one was stapled to the wrong thing. UGH. So I drive BACK--racing against time now as the clerk of court is about to close. Thankfully, I got there in the nick of time, and all is well (I hope) and I am off tomorrow to pick up the home study and then to authenticate EVERYTHING...as soon as the marriage certs come (should be Thursday/Friday at the latest) then look out, Adoption Ark, because HERE IT COMES! I'm so ready to be done with this...My favorite part of the afternoon? Realizing I had to drive ALL THE WAY back to Leonardtown and HOPE I could get there in time, calling John to tell him, and having him tell me (after he didn't even hear a word I had said) "Lori, I'll call you back. I'm dealing with my own issues right now."

OH! Because bringing his child to this country is N O T one of his issues?

Because doing the work that seems like it has been another full-time job just so HE can build her a freaking rocking horse and look like flipping Santa Claus to her while I probably handle the giardia that I just know she is (poor baby) bound to have doesn't warrant the ISSUE scale for him?

Oh, that boy of mine. Sure is a good thing he is cute.

For the record, he did call back and apologize for that comment. Whether it was out of true remorse, or the fear and realization that he was going to TOTALLY hear it when he got home, I know not. In any event, as a result, I told him her name was Emma and that's that. Last night, or the night before, can't remember, we came up with names he likes: Hannah, Sofia, Caroline, Abigail. Nice names. But like I said, I've just been thinking she's Emma. He has been pretty adamant about not preferring Emma Jane. Well, guess what that little comment cemented in the baby book? Yep! Emma Jane she is.

Or will be.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why do I jinx myself? (Be warned...this is long, but important!)

Ha ha...I looked at the last post--Progress! I'm telling you (and you, and you and and you also) that it seems like I take a step forward and then move back three. I was *supposed* to go to our county clerk today and certify all the documents I now have so that on Monday I could pick up the homestudy and authenticate everything...sending the dossier off that afternoon. Well...as I am putting together all the papers, I realize that I am missing a cover sheet to go with our Immigration approval....and John's notary is out of the office. Sooo...can't do that until Monday--which puts me out of pickup on Monday am. That's ok..when I went to Staples to copy everything (AGAIN, mind you!) turns out that the date for John's medical is the 7th of Aug, but some things were notarized for the 6th--which is obviously inaccurate. Have to do those over on Monday as well. Pickup for the home study and authentication will now be Tuesday. Marriage cert authenticated should be here by Friday at the latest, and my *cross fingers* new target to get this flipping dossier OUT OF MY HOUSE is Friday. Of course, our Happy Friday message says we now don't need a couple of things, which saves money, but UGGHHHH...I just copied all that cr*p and it's getting authenticated (hopefully as we speak in good old Virginia!) and I seem to flush money down the drain like it is going out of style. (John, if you read this, NO COMMENTING, do you hear me?)

On the money note, I want to bring up something that may be of interest--if for no other reason but to be humanitarian. John Wright wrote about this young man on one of his blogposts. His name is Jengish, and he is Kyrgyz. He was called to do God's work, and has travelled as a missionary, though he is now home in Bishkek and serving as a minister to the homeless in Kyrgyzstan. I don't know about any of you (okay, I do!) but I know that every time I read John's blog, or saw the wondrous pictures of the things his family did in Kyrgyzstan, I certainly teared up and was touched by the love and generosity shown to people by complete strangers. John was looking for people to support Jengish as he is in Bishkek, working with the homeless, while also helping his family and I knew that God called me to help this young man. The whole adoption path has been very interesting, to say the least, in how we even ended up in Kyrgyzstan (a country I previously was not aware of, and, like many others of us in our blessed American lives, could probably only connect with Kazakhstan, one of the "stan brothers" or "one of those former Soviet countries") looking for our baby girl, but as I have always been a believer in the existence of a plan far bigger than me, I know Kyrgyzstan didn't just come to us by chance. While I have every hope and prayer that we were led to this country because this is where our daughter will be born, I also know that sometimes the things we believe the most don't ever end up being that way, and there was another reason we just don't see because we are so fixated on "our" plan. Don't get me wrong or misread--I do NOT think we were led to Kyrgyzstan NOT for our daughter but to help this country's homeless, but I do think in the process of forging our family, opportunities to help do God's work even when we are worlds away present themselves, and I am honored to be able to be called to participate. I was touched so much by the work the Wright family did, and could easily justify donating to help their cause as not only Biblical, but supporting the country our daughter was to be born in. Helping Jengish on a regular basis now falls in both of those categories, as well as continuing to honor the country that is helping me become a mommy. So...getting to the point...if any one reading this is interested in helping this young man, I know he would surely appreciate it and use the money wisely. Realizing that we are going to be eating mac and cheese for a while as we pay for this adoption, I know that the money I spend at Starbucks, Chic-Fil-A and yes, even my beloved CD Cafe will be used not only for the glory of God, but for the country my baby girl will be born in. It's the least I can do...these are words that Jengish sent to me earlier today and they were stirring. If you can and want to support his ministry, I will certainly let you know how...okay, enough rambling...here are his words:

Yes, of course there are cases when you do everything nothing happens but still it's worth a try. It's a human life, and by pulling the person off the streets you are actually saving someone's life.

There are people I have taken to the rehab center and man, they have changed so much. There is no better reward than to hear an ex alcoholic, and an ex addict and ex homeless person to pray and thank God... Thank God for giving them a second chance and giving them a new life. That's just something absolutely beautiful. I can keep doing this even if it's hard sometimes, just to be able to see the transformation in people's lives.

A person that has no home, no hope changes into a person that has this huge joy and is filled with God's presence and love. You can see it in their eyes first of all. Even before they gain some wait, even before their health gets back to normal, you can see it. The change that happens inside. You can see it in their eyes. It's amazing what God can do in a very short time.

So yea, on my part I commit to love the homeless and do everything I can to help them to get out of this miserable life. And I commit to preach the Gospel and tell them how much God wants them and loves them.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Banner day on the paperwork front! Today my FedEx friends delivered our FBI clearance and my UPS friends delivered our marriage licenses! The wait now remains with an updated homestudy package, John's medical clearance, certification and authentication and COPIES--I'd normally say very doable in my goal time frame of this time next week but as that typically seems to jinx me, I'll refrain. I did see a blurb on the yahoo group that said their agency told them a year wait once the paperwork was in. Here's hoping that is agency specific...and this time next year little girl will be here. Again, I'll refrain from time framing, though, as it just gets me in trouble. In the meantime, I'll just continue to trudge along and watch others bring their babies home. There are a couple of families that just got back, I think and the pictures they have posted are PRECIOUS! I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait until I am in pictures like that with our sweetheart.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Kudos to the FBI

Well, thank goodness SOME government workers (I know, I know...there are lots...remember, I am a Marine wife) take their jobs seriously and are angels in disguise! You may remember Sharon from the FBI (yesterday)? Well, she just called me and told me that there were several processes that our FBI cards were in, but that she had great people working for her and they handwalked the letters of procedure to her and it would all be in the FEDEX envelope I sent them today! Of course, as one obstacle moves, another presents itself...John's medical is current, but his doctor's license expired 3 days ago. Ha ha. If it isn't one thing, it is another. I guess this is just God telling me that I obviously need to continue gathering things for her. Speaking of her, Emma Grace and Emma Jane keep rising to the top of the name list. I know lots of people like Emma Grace (including John) but Emma Jane DID win our poll (ha ha) AND Jane was my mom's name AND it means God's gracious gift and at this point, I'm looking at her in exactly that way, so...again, it's obvious that I have time to mull the names over, but more and more as I think of her, I think of her as Emma...