Thursday, July 31, 2008

Still waiting...

Who would have thought that my waiting would be for my social worker to get back (from a well-deserved vacation) and FBI prints (even though we already had FBI clearance back in March) and our marriage license (which, again, was already in our possession but about to expire!) so that we could send our dossier in? Not me...but then again...that's been the path with which we've become familiar. So...I have to go back to school (ugh!) August 14. (I decided that I do NOT need to go to that workshop next week, why kill summer any more?) That means that I need to have EVERYTHING received, certified, authenticated, copied and on the way to AA by August 13. I am kind of frustrated because I thought that this would all be done by July 17 and the month delay sort of tosses me in the air, but as long as I can get it all done and on the way before school, I will breathe easier. I just spoke with Sharon at FBI customer service and she was SO kind...she said she would do her best to have our clearance cards back to us by Monday. I hope that we get our new marriage licenses by Monday or Tuesday and then I need to have them authenticated. depending on when I get them, I might take the trip to Richmond then--I couldn't go yesterday because I got stuck in the dentist office all morning and I figured I'd spend near $70 in my time and gas, might as well let someone else do it.

On the baby front...Nanci gave me some of the sweetest little baby things! I've divided all the things I have into sizes, figuring once we get a referral and size info, I can decide what will work and what becomes donations for the orphanage. We've also decided that we will buy baby furniture for Christmas. Again from Nanci's suggestion, I am decided on a convertible crib and am pretty overwhelmed with all the choices. I am going to have to just give John some parameters and let him pick. Lucky dog he is! Nanci and her husband closed on their MD house this am (sniff, sniff) and I watched their sweet little girl while they were at closing. We had such a good time! We played with the dogs, sang and danced, baked cookies...yep. I'm ready for that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Expiration Encroaches...

Dorky title, I know, but you know how I love alliteration!!

So...while finally joining the world of Facebook this morning (like I need any more reasons to sit at my computer) I was greeted with several "hellos" from friends! Monica thankfully reminded me that not only would my medical expire soon, my marriage certificate and authentications (done back in FEBRUARY!) would as well. Then, sweet as she is, she offered to go pick them up for me, as she is close to the vital records office in VA. Unfortunately, immediate family only. We decided that checking herself as "sister" was not worth the felony charge! (Umm...judge, it was all for the babies, really....) I am going to sit down and figure out if it is worth the gas to go and pick them up myself (not too far from me either, in reality) or pay the bazillion dollars like I did last time for the convenience. I'm leaning toward heading to Richmond tomorrow. I only have a little bit of time left before school starts back again anyway...not to mention that I am totally using my days to catch up on sofa lounging, Days Of Our Lives and marathons of Jon and Kate Plus 8 (LOVE THEM!) instead of being productive. I might as well force myself to get some things done! Now, as I sit here and type, I am on the phone trying to find out whether or not our FBI cards have gotten there or not and when they will come...For the record, the option that my agency sent in the directions is NOT the correct option anymore...I love how every automated message requires you to listen to "listen to all options before making your selection, as our menu has changed." Apparently, every automated menu on the planet changes constantly. That's just to stop people like me who constantly hit *0* over and over until they get customer service. The FBI lady just answered and said I would probably be better off waiting until Friday to find out when my print cards will be sent out. I hope that means that they will be out by next week..that will coincide perfectly with our social worker coming back and the home study package changes. I see my allergist on Thursday, who will hopefully refer me to another doctor so I can have medical cert. renewal lined up...I know that's coming. Guess I ought to get list is piling up as I type :)

*UPDATE* I just checked online with FEDEX and my package was received on Friday morning-the woman I spoke with earlier thought it was received on Monday and therefore would not be in the system yet. She said to give it 2-3 business days which would be today or tomorrow...that said, I will call again tomorrow, probably as I am on my way to Richmond to pick up marriage certificates. And, I can check clean out cabinets off my list--I may have spent the day in shorts and a t-shirt, but I got *ugh* stuff done!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Okay, I am sure there are other outfits that rank among the cutest in the world, but I just picked up a LOAD of great stuff from Shannon, of Shannon's Bibs, and this DARLING little dress was in the stash! I think it will be my favorite outfit on Emma...or Grace....or Caroline...or Sophia...or Olivia....or Amelia...whew...KGB is just easier for now!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

No news news...

Well, nearly a week of my 'real' life and not much to report. The FBI clearance cards are on their way and as of now, just waiting until our SW gets back and gets the new home study packet. Well, not the 'new' packet, but the 'clarified' packet. Ha ha...that's a little reference to our agency sending an email telling us AGAIN that we no longer need a couple of the letters that we needed originally (and were pains in the bottom to begin with)...the email was quick to make it known that it was not a new change, just a clarification of the new changes. Whatever...I will just be glad to get all this done. I was just SURE that I would have all this done by the time I went back to school, but at this rate? Hmmm...I have a workshop that I signed up for (what was I thinking?) that is a week long and the week before we go back to school, so my clock is running short.

So, in the meantime, I have decided on a Britax car seat (if you know of them on-sale, let me know!! The Target ones Maria mentioned are nowhere to be found right now) and probably a Peg Perego high chair (not locked in, though--any suggestions?) but have no thoughts on stroller systems, or, forgive me, Pram systems :) I am also unsure of diaper systems. I am waffling between BumGenius and BabyG (though John is NOT fond of either---worried about having to "scrape poop into the toilet,") I have decided that I want bright pink and green and turquoise colors (I know, I know...a calm nursery is probably better for sleep, but I'm hoping to create a diva) so maybe over the Christmas break I'll start the REAL decorating. Daddy already has the plans for the rocking horse, and other than not having even a "paper baby (love that, Jen!)" I'm set! Ha ha.

For real, though, here are a couple of cute websites if you are interested in any cute little baby shower gifts. The first one is from the mother of one of my sweet little girls--Shannon makes the CUTEST little bibs/burp cloths/ bags, etc...I have been lucky enough to receive some (as well as great hand-me-downs) and she has the sweetest fabric! Check her out: The second one is from my dear friend in Pensacola, aka Titanium Woman, and she is just so crafty I can't believe it! I love Jenny's creativity, but better yet, I love the girlie girl stuff! The last one (for now) is the site of a very talented woman and friend--and new mom! She just brought her daughter Maria home from Ethiopia, and she makes FABULOUS memory quilts. I am amazed. If you get the chance, check out her stuff!

Okay...enough for now. I am ALL about giving props to your peeps, though (too many daytime tv commercials) and these gals are talented. If anyone else has something they do that might be great for babies/family, let me know. I'm shameless about plugging for friends!

Oh, and TOTALLY kidding about creating a diva. One in the house is enough. And for the record, I am talking about DIXIE!

Friday, July 18, 2008

We found it!

Okay--like anyone but me cares, but John just found his watch! It was in a suitcase that had been looked over and over, but apparently we missed it...who cares? It's found! Yahoo!

Speed is in the eye of the beholder...

Hip hip hooray! We don't need to get fingerprints done for the FBI clearance because we have cards that we did months ago and never sent since Maryland did FBI clearance as part of their home study process (again, long live Maryland...I give credit when credit is due!) and we just have to send them to the Clarksburg, WV office rather than the Pikesville, MD office. No biggie!

I also just spoke with our WONDERFUL social worker and though they need to redo the home study package because the cover sheet will be different and the notary dates will be different, she will do that as soon as she gets back from vacation at the beginning of August--which, hopefully, will be the exact same time we get our FBI clearance and then all I have to do is certify, authenticate and MAIL! Now that the Kyrgz embassy is accepting our dossiers again, I'm so excited!! Things (for now, we know that changes!) seem to be moving right along and my hope is that our 'wait' will begin at the beginning of August!! Things seem to be so slow, but then I look at all that has happened since just the end of February and I feel like we have been pretty blessed in how things are going...minus, of course, the few hiccups (checklist changing, gas pumps breaking, home study wording freak-outs, month-long vacations--although I can NOT claim a great vacation as a hiccup!) that have come along the way. So....just chugging along.

In sad news, Nanci, of Nanci's Nikes moved today! I did my best not to cry, but then came right in the house and cried to John on the phone! That's the tough part of the Marine Corps--for spouses, at least. The guys have their worlds in tact, for the most part, when they move to new duty stations. Their colleagues tend to be the same, their friends are their colleagues, their networks are all the same, jobs are waiting for them, etc...for us spouses, it is not that way! We have to make new friends, adjust to new groups of spouses (though as we get further along in the Marine Corps, lots of faces thankfully turn up again in different squadrons!), find new jobs, find places to shop, and make yet another place a new 'home.' Not to mention, we grieve over what was loved and left behind. It stinks. The older I get the more I realize that finding people who you really feel you connect with, vice are acquaintances with, is harder and harder. Throw in the fact that when you finally get those connections and then you have to leave them or let them go, and it really stinks. So. I just am not going to say good-bye anymore. I have wonderful friends who are really more like family that I have had for YEARS through different duty stations, and though we can't hop in the car for coffee any more, we have email and blogs and visits that keep them close. So, Nanci, you will be missed, but like I said--it's not good-bye! Safe travels and I'll keep 'that' house ready for you :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Okay, Okay...not a lot of time to gab--just got in very late last night; forgive me, rather early this morning and have a TON to catch up with, clean up, etc...

One of those things to catch up on was mail....We had a boat load. The post office had to send me out with a cart (okay, several boxes were shopping boxes...) and one of those big US Post Office white plastic boxes. I have been hoping and praying that our Immigration approval would come while we were gone, and as I carefully went through each piece of mail (nope, I didn't dig through--I savored the anticipation) I kept looking. I came across some letter that said our approval had been forwarded to the appropriate embassy, and they would notify us when the adoption interview would take place -- in Almaty--for her Visa!! Of course, I freaked out, knowing the approval had to have been granted and was in the box! I kept going one by one...bill, magazine, credit card app, magazine, catalog, credit card app, etc....I started worrying because I was nearly at the bottom. Finally, I just had to look for it....lo and behold, from the Department of Homeland Security--ta da! "It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan or orphan, etc..." I have our I-797C! Now, to be truthful (and sound ignorant) I thought the paper we were looking for was some I-171H or something, but this is going to work for me, and I'm not questioning! And SOO QUICK! Our homestudy was sent on June 13, it was approved in Baltimore on June 19, and postmarked the 21st!!! Just a couple of days after I left for Europe!! I just feel so grateful because I know others are still waiting for theirs and have waited a lot longer than us! So...glad to be home, glad to have had a great trip and GLAD to live in the great state of Maryland, where the paperwork has flown!!!

Woo Hoo!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Well, expenses have just doubled...

Okay, I realize that no one has died, but we had a tragedy yesterday, at least in our opinion.

We got back from Salzburg, and John began packing for his trip back home. He couldn't find his watch. At first, this did not bother me. When the search continued, to no avail, I worried. Before I sound petty, let me say that in light of the fact that we are saving pennies (I know this trip doesn't make it seem like that, but we have family to stay with, frequent flier miles we were lucky enough to use and a generous mom who funded the bulk of the trip) for our adoption, to lose this watch is a big blow to us.

It is a watch that I saved a LOT of money for to surprise John with last year--our 10th anniversary and his graduation of Test Pilot School gift. It was a discontinued, very cool model of a Breitling watch, and I'll just suffice things to say that it could cover our airfare for trip one to Kyrgzystan.

We have turned this house UPSIDE DOWN. We have unpacked and repacked bags, looked in every nook and cranny we can find in our niece's room (the room we've been staying in) and pulled our hair out to find that watch. It is not only confounding, it is just heartbreaking for me to watch John...for me, it's just a thing (okay, I am trying to be noble here, it is more than just a thing, but....) but I can just feel the sickness in the pit of John's stomach not being able to find it. To quote him, "Well, our expenses for this trip have just doubled.", no one died (as mom reminded John when she told him to stop moping about it) but John had a rough day yesterday and we just pray that when we unpack at home or Amy cleans up after us here, it will pop up.

In addition to the rough day, he got up at 4 am to drive to Ramstein and catch the MAC flight back to BWI. Well, the information he got was wrong--all that was available was a flight to McGuire Air Force Base--in NJ. He would have to take that, then rent a car to drive home. Well, turns out THAT flight was commandeered for troops to Iraq and he can't leave until tomorrow am. Crossing our fingers for that one!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Consistent, yet not so used..

Well, consistent internet access does not necessarily guarantee that I will get around to blogging. In fact, there's so much that goes on, I really find that blogging it all would just take so much time--I carry with me always when I travel a travel journal, and I try to write in it pretty much every day. Then to blog again seems not only redundant, but a little pompous in considering that my adventures are worth me rereading again, much less anyone else who stumbles along here and reads my rambles. So...

The first couple days back were chores, laundry, rest. Then, on Wednesday, John, mom, my nephew Zach and I went to Salzburg, Austria. I had been there before, for New Year's 2002, and it was a magical winter fairy tale. I didn't want to mar that image. Mom, however, had not ever been, so we took a trip and I was again not disappointed by Salzburg. THIS time, I talked John into a Sound of Music Tour (thanks to mom who also wanted to) and even he agreed it wasn't that bad. I LOVE the Sound of Music, by the way, my all time favorite, so it was a glorious day. Beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery...I now have a winter fairy tale memory and a glorious summer memory that just have made my trip! On our way back yesterday, we got stuck in the dreaded staus...but thankfully, driving on the Autobahn enabled John to make up time for getting stuck :) He was quite happy with the speed ability, but ever the test pilot, cautious when he felt it would be easy to lose control.

He leaves tomorrow, VERY early, and then mom and I leave on Tuesday. Where has a month gone? I'm looking forward to getting back, though, to get the adoption road back open.

Today is my brother's 28th birthday and would have been my mother's 60th birthday. Bittersweet for both accounts. My beloved grandmother was 60 when I was born. Actually, she turned 60 5 days after I was born and always said I was a great gift for her. If my mom was alive today, she too would be 60 when her granddaughter was born. (Hopefully!) It breaks my heart that my little girl will not get hugs and kisses from my mom. Maybe she's getting them right now before she makes her entrance into our world somewhere, and hopefully, somewhere soon.

Happy birthday, Jimmy, wherever you are. Happy birthday mom. I miss you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

We're back!

Okie dokie...back at consistent internet access. Who knew how much I would miss a computer? In all honesty, though, I must say I didn't miss it that much; it's sort of a nice feeling knowing that you just don't have access to a computer, so why stress over checking email, responding, checking blogs, commenting, checking bank accounts, get the picture. Throw in the fact that there were SO many things that have happened, and so many things I have seen in the last two weeks, I can't even begin to log them all, so I am not even going to bother trying. I can say that the cruise was very nice, way too much food, nice service, but still salesman-like in trying to get you to purchase the cruise excursions. Bad part was that when you did, if you got wait listed (as we did in Corfu) you were up a creek, and while John, Lance and Zach, my nephew were diving in what they thought was probably one of the most beautiful places they'd seen, we saw --well, not so much. I did get lots of trinkets, too many to count, but overall, we were pretty good about spending. Nothing like a hefty adoption fee coming up to convince me to reign it in!

Split, Croatia was pretty neat, also. We got some nice art, saw all sorts of markets and trinkets and really were amazed at how up and coming that country was, in light of where it was 10 years or so ago. Amazing when you see resilience of all these people--stairs and hills like I've never seen all over Europe and all you see are these little old ladies and men hoofing it--what other choice is there?

Athens was neat, but the city itself? Eh. Venice? I loved Venice. It was our last day and I had never seen Venice. Let me just tell you, it was a shiny/sparkly stuff lover's DREAM! Lots of shiny and sparkly glass EVERYWHERE! I got little baubles and ornaments, saw gondolas and neat alleys, enjoyed some great pizza and music, a wonderful cappuccino and an all-around great time. It was a little hectic for the rest of the family, to be nice about it, but I loved it and enjoyed nearly every second (didn't love the part where my sister-in-law's glass light globe broke, felt bad for her because I had been there and done that in Cinque Terra with a great casserole dish that fell, broke, and got re bought--John calls it my "1 for the price of 2" bargain) of the whole day.

We got back last night, and have been doing laundry, cleaning, etc. John and I were going to be travelling on our own a bit, but in truth, I think he's tired, and frankly, I'm okay with just hanging out.

We got our happy Friday email from our caseworker and this last one caused me a bit of concern--it reminded us that our agency did not give referrals, gave information on children the govt. thought matched our dossier, and our main goal was to Aid and Rescue a Kid. My issue with this, and before you read into it or think less of me, bear with me. I am a teacher. I love and adore children. I am a bleeding heart. I give to the gypsies and to the homeless every chance I get. I foster stray animals, think of and treat my nieces and nephews as if they were my very own children, have mothered, nurtured and cherished approximately 300 children in the last 10 years, and totally am ok with Aiding and Rescuing Children. But let me be clear, my intent--my primary goal--is to be a mother to my own child. To watch my baby grow and learn and love and find wonder in the world. I want to share desserts and shopping and watch her daddy spoil her rotten because she is his little girl. I want to be a mother and I want a child to call me mommy. IF in achieving that goal, I am able to Aid and Rescue a Kid, I am happy to do so. In truth, knowing how many people want to adopt these precious children, and knowing the hell they go through to do so, I doubt that if I did not adopt a child, there would not be someone who would leap at the chance to do so. So...when my agency puts out the feelers telling its clients that our main goal is to rescue children, I have to question why? This message was also accompanied with some sort of dialogue about realizing that there could be problems with the children and that our goal is not the perfect baby, but to rescue children. I understand that there is NO perfect baby, but I sure do think there is a perfect baby for me, and I was under the assumption that my small fortune being paid to my agency was for the facilitation of that arrangement. So....

Okay...rambling...glad to be back and see how others are doing....Home next Tuesday! Where has 3 weeks gone?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A tiny update...

Okay...let me just say that cruise ship reliability for the internet is not so great and very expensive. So...haven't been able to blog much and won't be able to for very long a nutshell--

Lake Como was BEAUTIFUL! Lunch on the way was in Lichstenstein (sp?) and WAY expensive ($150 for sandwiches and soda for 5) and I loved it ALL! I didn't see George, but that's okay...loved it anyway!

Cinque Terre, Italy was GORGEOUS!! I loved it. I loved our little B&B (though you would NOT BELIEVE the hills to climb. I am SOOO in shape right now!!) and it was absolutely wonderful.

All I can say about Nove in Vicenza, Italy is QUE BELLA! I bought some REALLY great pottery at some ROCK BOTTOM prices. That place was INCREDIBLE, and dinner at Paolo's Nogarrazo Trattoria was an exceptional treat. Unbelievable food and service.

The ship is HUGE, we've had a lot of fun, enjoyed some great food and two ports so far. Yesterday, Athens...what can you say? To stand on the rock where St. Paul preached? To see the Acropolis and Parthenon? Majestical.

Today, where I am right this second, is Mykonos. The most beautiful water I have ever seen, and you know I love pretty water! Nude beaches, kind of freaky for me...must admit, and some younger crowds on the beach, but an amazing city with some amazing architecture.

And there's sooooooooooooooo much more...I just don't have time. I have bought several little cutesie things for the baby, whatever her name will be, and can't wait for her to have them.

'Til next time....

Okay, forgive spellings. Spellcheck not working!