Monday, July 30, 2007

Bad Hair Day

Let's talk about a bad hair day for the next 3 months. I cannot believe the experience that I had at the salon on Friday. I was actually looking forward to getting my hair cut. I had been perusing all the celebrity hairstyles in search of that glamorous, trendy cut. I had decided that I wanted to go blonder and shorter. A nice short shag with a great summer blonde.

Well, I go in, we discuss the plan and off we go with all over color. --And that is when my dreams turned into a nightmare. After trying to go blonde -- I got ORANGE. It was hideous. Now, I must add here that the reason I go to a salon is because I prefer to believe that they are professionals and the hundreds of dollars I spend to get that fabulous look could not be afforded through at 20 dollar bottle of Clairol. So, my stylist proceeds to add toner and then semi-permanent color to my hair trying to "tone down" my now glowing head. When all that does not work, she decided to add in highlights which turn to a nice shade of copper. Now I have orange and copper hair -- am I a calico cat! As I sat in the chair experiencing all this, I said out loud -- wow this is been quite a science experiment today.

Ok. so that's the color and off we go to the cut. I think to myself -- a good cut can overcome some flaws in the color. I want my hair to be "flippy" in the back and cut with the sides flipping as well -- a sort of Meg Ryan look, if you will. So, she starts cutting away. I thought she was finished in the back, and she started cutting again when I objected! It was like she couldn't get the cut right so she just kept cutting. At this point, I couldn't even talk, I was speechless -- just get me out of this place. So I pay the bill -- the color, highlights, toner AND cut -- and we wouldn't have had toner and highlights if she knew what she was doing. So, now I am sitting in my car crying because I have been at the salon for over three hours and my hair is orange and butchered! I cried all night and called my sister-in-law for some comfort, reassurance, anything to feel better. What was I going to do -- I couldn't go out in public like this?

On Saturday morning, I had to call the salon and try to get something worked out. I actually think they were expecting my call. I asked them to color back to my natural color and put in the highlights. Well, that's exactly what they did and surprisingly, they didn't charge. My hair still doesn't look as good as it did when I walked into the salon, but at least, it is not a nightmare anymore. I guess in 3 months it will look better!

We actually did a little travel shopping this weekend after my crisis was finally over. I have been searching for a nice piece of carry-on luggage. I wanted something easy to carry and that was versatile, but also large enough to carry a few days worth of clothes if need be. So, we went to the Mall in Columbia to the LL Bean store, and compared their luggage with Eddie Bauer and a luggage shop. We ending up getting LL Bean's travel pack. The nice thing about this bag is that it also has backpack straps. That was something I really wanted in case I needed to carry the bag and a child through the airport -- It is always a little easier when you have two hands free.

All else is quite on the adoption front for now. However, I cannot even relate to the "no news is good news" phrase right now!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Becca, Becca, Becca

Slade's home! Yeah. We missed him being gone and the budget meeting went well.
Tori's driving everyone crazy -- especially her teachers at school with Becca, Becca, Becca. Tori just loves her cousin Becca and she's been letting everyone know it. It is basically all she can talk about these days. When are we going to Becca's house. How many days is it. When I get to Becca's house were going to. . . Her teachers at school are now saying -- when is she going to Becca's house so this will stop! Well, Becca just know that Tori adores you and can't wait to play dress up and wear make-up!
We just got some pictures of Tori and Becca at the beach. They are great. --Monkey see, Monkey do!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

You've Got Mail

Guess what we got in the mail Saturday? First Thousand Words in Russian Isn't that just cool. Slade and I started looking though the book and boy does it look like we have our work cut out for us. I think I will make some note cards with the Russian alphabet on them, and we can go from there. For instance, P in Russian actually makes the "r" sound. Maybe we'll at least be able to sound the words out and then we can begin learning our vocabulary. Wow -- it's like were back in grade school!. I think it is important to learn a little of the language before we travel. People always like to see you trying even if you sound like a fool in the process. We talked about trying to find a recording of lullabies in Russian. It might be soothing to hear some familiar songs. Of course, we will probably sound like Tori trying to sing along with the radio -- who know's what she's saying but she's sure making a joyful noise. I suppose that's all that matters anyway.

Well, along with our book, we received -- you guessed it -- MORE PAPERWORK! Don't you just love it? Actually, it's not bad at all just a few agency forms, our visa form, and the travel guide to Russia. The travel guide says that it takes about a week for the dossier to get to Russia (that's good considering it takes about a week for me to send a letter home to Texas! :) and then about a month for the dossier to be translated in Russian. Once this happens, our dossier will be registered with the Regional Ministry of Education in Russia. Then, we will just be waiting on the referral -- about 6-9 months. If I'm counting correctly that means we could get the call as early as February or possibly sometime around May. Wow -- that's a long time. Slade says -- just long enough to write a dissertation -- yeah, yeah, I guess I better get right on that :)
On other news, Samantha is feeling much better. She eating and her energy is up. We should be going back to the doctor soon to make sure the blood work is better.
Surprisingly, the contacts the doctor gave me are actually working out. After about 8 hours I need to take them out, but I wasn't even able to wear the old contacts that long. So, I guess we'll be trying these new contacts out for a while. At least until summer is over, so I can wear sunglasses.

As for my exercise regime -- I didn't exercise on Friday but I did on Saturday and Sunday. I don't usually find the time to exercise on the weekend, but Slade worked on Saturday so I worked out while he was at work. Last night Tori and I took a walk up to the library. It was time to return books. We've been experiencing some very nice weather so the walk was quite nice.

One last note -- I am a baby blogger, so please humor my growing pains! I just learned how to get the picture in the text! I had to download Windows live writer to get it to work. It only took me a few days -- Boy am I a quick learner

Friday, July 20, 2007

Conversations with Tori

On our drive to daycare this morning, Tori asked me where baby brother was going to sit. She has gotten into the routine of buckling bunny and a doll she calls “baby brother” into the seat belts before she gets buckled into her car seat. This morning, I was in a hurry, so I told her that she would have to hold her babies. This must be what initiated the “Where’s baby brother going to sit.” I explained that we would add another car seat in the back and he would get to sit by her. She really didn’t like that explanation. She said she wanted to be the big sister, and she didn’t need a car seat anymore – brother could have hers!

We have been reading some stories to her to help her understand what it means to be adopted. We picked up some books from the library:
Rebecca’s Journey Home (China adoption)
Tell me Again About the Night I Was Born (domestic adoption)
Waiting for May (China adoption)

She likes Rebecca’s Journey Home the best. The book is about a Jewish family that adopts from China. What she liked most about this book was all the things that Rebecca could be she grew up. Her reaction to Tell me Again about the Night I was Born is “it’s boring.” It was actually funny when she said it was boring because I don’t think there is a book she doesn’t like – well, now we have one on that list. Waiting for May was a bit long but it helped us begin the conversation that Mom and Dad are going on a trip and that Tori will stay here until we return – she’s excited about that, right now.

On the way home from school she told me that she wanted a car that was just glass. I had to make sure that is what she actually said to me – you want a car that is just glass? She said yes; we just passed one; you missed it. I was a bit puzzled, but hey if she says she saw it, then she did. We got a little further down the road and she said – see mom, there’s one. Ah, a car that is just glass is a Convertible! (It doesn’t have a roof – just a glass windshield). Now, I’ve got her language.

Glasses or Contacts

Glass or contacts – yes, that is my big dilemma today. I like wearing contacts. The only problem is that my eyes don’t like the contacts so much. Last July I lost my sight for a few days and almost had to see an eye specialist. It appears that your cornea gets a little cranky if you leave you contacts in while you sleep. Honestly, it was probably the second or third time in my life that I have left my contacts in while I slept. This time I suppose my eyes just couldn’t take it – either that or I’m getting old. I’m too young to be old so I’ll just say the former. I tried wearing contacts about a month after the episode, but no luck. So, I’ve been wearing my glasses for a year now. It’s not that I hate glasses. I really don’t mind them all too much until it is a nice sunny day and I don’t have any prescription sunglasses. So, I either need prescription sunglasses or contacts that work. A trip to the eye doctor today was not too promising. He gave me different contacts to try out but wasn’t overly optimistic – maybe I should pick out a new pair of glasses just in case, he says. But, I still have my fingers crossed. . . Of, course the end all to this whole dilemma would be LASIK surgery, but considering that we are adopting – there’s really no extra money lying around for “cosmetic surgery” – unless insurance ever decides to cover it.

On the adoption front, everyone is waiting for accreditation. There has been some chatter today that several US agencies have announced that they have accreditation: EAC, Adopt-A-Child, AWAA, Wyoming Children's. You’ll see there is no CHI, our agency, on this list, and I have not received any messages from them saying they have their accreditation certificate. The good news is that agencies are receiving their certificates, so prayers are working.

In world news today, MSN reports that Russian expels 4 U.N. diplomats in spy dispute . They report that “Britain had announced Monday the expulsion of four Russian diplomats and restrictions on visas issued to Russian government officials after Moscow refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, accused of killing Litvinenko in London last November.” It appears that Russian officials have now followed suit with the British government by expelling four of their diplomats and initiating their own visa restrictions. You can read the full story at:
One more item -- 50 minutes on the ellipitical today. That's 600 calories -- woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's on my mind . . .In case you wanted to know!

I had to take Samantha to see the specialist in Annapolis again yesterday. Samantha is our 10-year old-beagle. She was not feeling well and was not eating. The doctor had taken her off medicine completely in April, but it appears that her IBD is acting up. This is not good news. The doctor was not impressed with the results that the predisone had the first round, so we had to switch to Imuran. That drug, while it worked, had a negative side effect which led to him taking her off the drugs completely. Now she has also got a urinary tract infection. Poor dog.
We decided to switch her to budesonide. This one is suppose to be better because it has less side effects than the prednisone. I also had to go to a special pharmacy to get the budesonide because they had to compound it especially for dogs. Now, I’m really not one of those crazy dog people who will do anything for their dog. I actually hate taking Sam to the vet because every time I go I know that I’m going to get bad news besides the fact that just to walk in the door, we pay over $100.00. Ok. So maybe I am a little crazy – I just don’t when to stop. I know she’s an old dog and we love her to death. I just pray that this medication will work wonders!
I got back on the elliptical today. It has been about a week since I exercised. I thought if I kept a record of it here that I might have a little more will power. About three weeks ago I calculated my BMI. I couldn’t believe that I was actually in the “overweight” category at 25.8. It appears that my BMI should be between 18.5-24.9, so I made a 4th of July resolution to lose weight – this is akin to a New Year’s resolution but only in July. Why not – I probably have better staying power in July than in January. I hate to exercise in January. It is so cold I just want to stay in bed where it’s warm. I’m not sure that I ever really “like” exercising, but in January it’s worse. It’s like all my muscles freeze up because they’re cold. But I digress. So, I want to lose about 25 pounds by January then there would be no reason for a New Year’s resolution! Now my family who is reading this is saying – 25 pounds – there’s no way that you need to lose 25 pounds. But according to the CDC—that’s exactly what I need to do! So, for three weeks, I exercised for five days a week. I was quite proud of myself. Then last week when I traveled everything got messed up, and it has taken me a week to get back into routine. I only exercised three times last week and will probably only get three times in this week – but I am determined to stick with it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Additions

This was the first week back for Brian and Julie with their new daughter from China. They traveled for several weeks to bring her home. Brian said they had been preparing for baby Madison for 4 years now! Many prayers have been answered with their safe trip home and Madison joining her forever family.

When Slade and I began questioning whether we should adopt, Brian and Julie shared their experiences with us. They were the perfect couple to talk with about the process because they had already completed a domestic adoption and were in the process of an international adoption. They helped us see the pros and cons of each experience. It is now so great to see the completion of their second adoption and Madison is so beautiful.

Just seeing Madison has brought back the yearning that Slade and I have for a new baby. It seems like we have been lost in the paperwork haze for so long focusing on a to-do list of things to get accomplished. Seeing Madison has made it all real again and filled me with the anticipation of bringing our new child home. We also hope to learn more from them about what to expect when we return.

More good news -- when I took Tori into her school this morning we also learned the Ms Emily had her baby! Yeah! A little boy. We can’t wait to meet him!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


We had a block party this weekend in honor of our neighbors, Justin & Erin and Bo, their boxer. Block parties are a lot of fun in our community. I suppose it is a bit of an oddity to have such close neighbors but it is an oddity that we enjoy. We typically have these get togethers at least twice a year and just love the opportunity to have another party. We live in a cul-de-sac, so we circle up the tables at the end of the block and bring the goodies. The guys grill and the gals chat. We have such a great time catching up on everyone's lives, family, travels, work, etc. At these parties there are always workers and then there are relaxers. I must admit that I am in the last group. While we are not a fussy bunch, it never fails that there will be those who work very hard to set up the perfect event. One of our neighbors is very gracious and usually serves as the host. I hope she enjoys the event as much as the rest of us because she is always taking care of the details!

My favorite part of the block party -- the food. Who can resist all the goodies. I usually bring some sort of dip. This time it was the black bean and corn salsa -- very good. I think that Beth took the prize this time with her Buffalo Chicken dip. It was so good -- it was gone in no time. I have really got to find this recipe. This time they didn't forget the deviled eggs! We always have the grill going and the crowd pleasers are the brauts, asparagus and portabella mushrooms. Wow, and I getting hungry just thinking about all this food! It is a good thing that the dh is in the kitchen now, whipping up some supper!

We are going to miss Justin & Erin. They have been in the neighborhood since we moved in 3 years ago. They have been renting and looking for a place of their own. Real estate in the DC area is crazy, but they have finally found their own home. They are going to have a great place and a wonderful yard for Bo. No more early morning walks with the dog! Tori adores Bo and we are going to miss seeing Erin in the afternoon when they take their walk. Bo always wants to say hello to all the kids (and adults) outside playing.

Justin & Erin we are going to miss you guys -- but you are not going to be too far away. We do expect you to come back for the next block party!

Friday, July 13, 2007

In the Beginning

Today, I have raised the flag on our mailbox to mail a stack of letters to family and friends to share our great news. I have actually been meaning to send these letters since sometime in March, but I would get the letter completed and then want to add pictures. Well, then as you know life kinda takes over and so the letter must be edited from the last time I touched it. So today, those letters will finally get picked up and out to you all.

Now, I have this new medium to play with -- my first blog! Sure it is exciting now! I hope it does not end up like my exercise program. -- You know, good for the first couple of days, weeks if I'm lucky, and then after a while the space between gets longer and longer. I actually feel a bit guilty. Yesterday, I started searching other blogs, and I am so impressed. I wish that I would have begun this months ago, so I would actually have a good chronology of the entire journey. I suppose that starting now is better than not starting at all.

I have actually been thinking about joining the scrapbooking world to record all of our thoughts and events through the journey. I must say that I am a bit intimidated by the whole thing. Yes, I almost have a doctorate and I am intimated by scrapbooking. I am overwhelmed by everything that can be done. I'm afraid that I would want all the bells and whistles and as a beginner; it would turn out more like a hodgepodge of everything than a cohesive book. Well, I think this blog will help satisfy some of my creative needs. Maybe in the future, I'll start that scrapbook.

Oh yes, at this point you are wondering what is this great news that you have been talking about blogging and scrappbooking?

We are adopting a child from Russia!

Slade and I are so excited to begin the process of bringing another child in our home. It has became clear to us over the past few months that we should consider adopting a child. I think it was sometime in January that I e-mailed -- yes, e-mailed, Slade and asked him what he thought about adopting. He had actually heard a radio program that morning that put the idea in his head as well. It must have been divine intervention! After much consideration, research and prayer, we have taken the step to begin the adoption process. We have been approved through Children’s Hope International (CHI) who will facilitate our adoption of a little boy in Russia. He will be between 8 months – 30 months old when we are able to bring him home.

International adoption is filled with trials. Please pray for us during this process. The laws in Russia are changing and our agency is awaiting news of reaccreditation. In fact, some agency received news of their reaccrediation on July 4th. We hope that our agency will follow soon, too. We have submitted our dossier (documents to present to the Russian government) to our adoption agency and have now begun the long process of waiting for a referral. Depending upon many constantly changing variables, this time will be 10 months or more. Please, pray for the Russian officials as they are reviewing the documents and that the process of re-accrediting agencies will progress smoothly.

I have inlcluded a timeline on the page. Actually, when I created it yesterday, I couldn't believe that we had already been in the process as long as we have. I try not to be a day counter because the process goes a little quicker when I just let life take its toll. It lets us know how far we've come -- and just how long we have to go until our child is home.

The adoption will be emotionally and financially draining for us. We will make two trips to Russia and will have to leave our new child for several months before returning for the second trip. There are also considerable costs to the adoption agency and for the trips to Russia. We, however, are confident that this is God’s will in our life. Please, pray for us that we will not grow weary and that our needs will be taken care of throughout this process. While the adoption can be stressful, please, pray that it will bring our family closer together and allow us to grow. In the end, we know that we will be blessed with a new son and brother for Tori!

For those of you who will receive you letter in snail mail in a few days -- you will see most of this information. To the rest of this world -- welcome to our journey!

Day 1

We'll this is my very first blog entry. I think I have flashed into the 21st century. There are so many things that I want to record here and so much to add. So back to my design work for now, but more entries later. . .