Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's Time...

... to wrap things up on this blog.  I have definitely done far more journaling about our adoption journey on here than I ever would have done in a traditional paper journal.  I have really enjoyed hearing from so many friends who followed this blog and rejoiced with us as Anna Kathryn joined our family.  

But, it's time to move on.  She is 13 months old today.  We have been home for 9 weeks already. I returned to work on Monday, and she started going to daycare.  We are both having to adjust to our new routines.   I think we are both missing our cozy, relaxed days together.  I know I look at the clock at school about 64 times a day and wonder what she is doing and how she is doing at her school.  We are truly settled into our new normal, and while the journey to Anna Kathryn is over, the journey with her is just beginning.

For those who don't already know,  I have another blog I started several months before we got our referral to adopt Anna Kathryn.  If you'd like the web address to follow that blog, just e-mail me at  If I don't know you in real life, please just add a line or two sharing a little about how you found my blog.  Thanks!

Finally, one month ago we celebrated Anna Kathryn's first birthday! Since I operate my life on the premise of "better late than never," I have finally selected some of my favorite pictures out of the 150 or so my sister and I took the day of her birthday party.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Just a few of the things I am thankful for as we head into a season full of blessings:  

T-  Tables at my in-laws' house loaded with delicious food with family all seated around it, feasting, talking, and laughing.  

H-  My husband, Mark.  He is my best friend, a wonderful husband, and a loving father to all of his kids.  He has a true servant's heart and always looks for ways to lighten my load.  He even makes me coffee every morning, even though he doesn't drink it himself.  I have always loved watching him play with the various nieces, nephews, and special kids in our life, but it is such joy to see him romping and cuddling with Anna Kathryn... and to hear her giggle and chortle as they play.  I am so glad to be married to such a great guy.  

A-  Having Anna Kathryn home with us to celebrate her first Thanksgiving Day (she was a big fan of the olives and sweet potatoes.  Turkey and pretzel jello, not so much.  Which is a shame, because pretzel jello is a little bit of heaven on a plate.)

N-  Friends and family, near or far.  I am blessed to have so many loved ones! 

K-  Kisses-- drooly but oh so sweet from my baby girl.  

F-  New friends from our travel group to China... we got to visit with the McBeath family on our way north and spent a much-too-short couple of hours sharing dinner and catching up on all that our families have experienced in the past 2 months since coming home with our girls. Leila is so cute and growing so big!  They are a wonderful family and we are thankful for the time we had together.   I wish we could see all of our travel buddies again someday!

U-  Um, I'm struggling a bit with the "u."  So this one is kinda out of the pattern.  But despite the fact that I am having a really, really hard time with sending my baby to day care (a wonderful day care, but still...) and going back to work full time, I am very thankful to have a job to return to.  A job I enjoy, and have dreamed of doing for many years.  A job where I work with so many really nice folks.  In this tough economic climate, this is definitely something to be thankful for.  

L-  Love and grace, undeserved yet unconditional, from my Heavenly Father.

I realize that this is a bit on the cheesy side, but I saw the idea on one of my favorite blogs, and liked it so much I decided to "blog-lift" her idea!  Plus, I have never been one to back away from anything cheesy, be it a movie, a song, or a Velveeta-laden side dish.   Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Two Months

Two months (and a day) have passed since Anna Kathryn joined our family.  Two months already!!  I think back sometimes to those super-busy days of August and early September as we prepared to leave, and it seems rather dream-like.  When I think back to the long, long days and weeks and months of never-ending waiting and wondering about our baby (What will she look like?  What part of China will she be from?  Will motherhood ever happen for me?)  it all seems like a long ago, somewhat bad dream.  Not that the Wait didn't teach me some important lessons about God's faithfulness in the storm... but I am thankful that we are on the other side of the Wait, and Anna Kathryn is safe with us.  

She has grown and changed a lot in just 2 short months!   Remember how she could hardly sit up without wobbling and tipping over when she first came to us?  Now she is crawling (on hands and knees with occasional "commando" moments on her tummy), pulling herself up on all the furniture and cruising from coffee table to sofa and all around the place .  She is beginning to walk more steadily when we hold her hands and walk with her.  She has learned how to blow kisses and give a high-five.  She still eats a ton, and definitely prefers to feed herself.  She says "mama," "dada," "kitty," (sounds like e-e) "uh-oh," and "bye-bye."  The other day I told her to say "Hi, Daddy" and she imitated me almost perfectly.  Mark and I both looked at each other in disbelief, because her words were so clear.  She loves to imitate us and chase the cats around the house.  Most of all, she loves to play and laugh with us, and all of the other family and friends who come to lavish affection and kisses on her.  We are so blessed by our funny, sweet, snuggly little snickerdoodle.

Last week on Veteran's Day we spent the day together up in Charlotte.  We took Anna Kathryn for a long walk along our favorite greenway after a morning family photo session and a delicious brunch at the Pancake House.  It was a lovely, crisp fall afternoon and we had a great time walking off the pancakes and talking.  Anna Kathryn even had a little snooze in her stroller along the way!

Bathtime is one of Anna Kathryn's favorite parts of the day.  Daddy had fun giving her a special hat to wear in the bathtub!
Feeding oneself requires deep concentration and a steady hand... especially when one's food tends to slip out of one's clutches far too easily!

Look how big I am!!

Hi everyone!

One more thing... we know a family who has been in the adoption process with a foreign country for several years now.  However, due to the deteriorated situation between the U. S. and this country as far as adoptions go, adoptions have all but shut down over the past few months and it is looking less and less likely that they will be able to complete the adoption of this baby.  Please join me in praying for this family and this situation!  At this point, it is God who will have to move the hearts and mind of the government officials in both countries.  We know He who can move mountains can make the path clear for them to be able to adopt this child and bring her home to her forever family.  Please visit my friend Allison's blog as well, as she started this call to prayer for her dear friends!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Overdue Halloween Post

So, Halloween was 2 weeks ago.  I'm finally getting my 4 favorite pictures from the evening posted for all to see and enjoy.  I have had good intentions of being a more consistent blogger but every time I sat down at the computer to post, my brain froze.  Plus, I was sick for a solid week (starting the morning of Halloween) and now Anna Kathryn is under the weather, too.  I've been attempting to get some household projects done before my maternity leave is over, though I've not yet actually finished any of them.  So, I have procrastinated doing any posting. 

Despite fighting the plague, the weekend of Oct. 31- Nov. 2 was a lot of fun.  My sister, Hillary, and my nieces Emily and Alie drove to our home for a weekend visit.  (Anna Kathryn's birthday party was the next day, but that's another post).  Hillary and I grew up in a home where Halloween was not celebrated due to our religious beliefs.  As an adult, I now understand why my parents felt the way they do about the holiday.  I agree with them, and have never done much more than attend a few costume parties back in the day.  I am not a fan of the "ghost and goblin" aspects of Halloween, but Mark and I found an adorable sunflower costume for Anna Kathryn a few months ago, so we decided we'd just dress her up anyway.  

After a dinner of sloppy joes and homemade macaroni and cheese, we went over to Allison and David's house for the evening's festivities.  All of the girls were dressed up:  Anna Kathryn was the cutest sunflower ever, Emily was Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Alie was a dragonfly ( a very fussy one, too, until her mama took off her adorable satin costume.  I stuck my finger in my only shot of her in costume, so you can't really see her.  Go to Allison's blog for a cute picture).  Maggie was dressed as Cinderella.  They were all so cute!

The big girls (Emily and Maggie) went Trick-or-Treating with the dads, uncles, grandpas, and several other folks.  As it grew dark, their light-up princess shoes glowed as they trotted from house to house-- so cute!  Mark told me that there was a "discussion" between the two girls about his true name.  Emily calls him "Marko Marko" and Maggie calls him "March."  Well, apparently Maggie called his name and Emily replied, "Who's March? That's Uncle Marko Marko, silly!" A small debate ensued.  Fortunately, Mark was able to broker some peace by explaining that he has lots of nicknames.    

Hillary and I opted to hang out in front of Allison's nice warm fire with the babies and chit-chat with her, Barb, and Grandma Grace.  Anna Kathryn immediately found Maggie's toys to be a whole new world of wonder.  

Alie snoozed, so Aunt Hillary played and sang with her.  
I sniffled a lot and tried not to long too much for my nice soft bed.  I also tried not to get too close to anyone in case whatever I had was contagious.  It totally stinks to be sick on a holiday! The Trick-or-Treat crew eventually returned with bags of sugary loot, and we eventually got the girls settled down enough to head home and to bed.     It felt really late, but it was only about 8:30!  I guess that's a late night out once you have kids.  Hee hee.  It was a fun night and a great start to Anna Kathryn's big weekend...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Little Pumpkin

Saturday was my birthday... my first as a mom!  It goes without saying that I already have the best gift I could ever ask for or get, but I got some other cool things, too.  Mark skipped cutting the grass at church, at my request (plus it was raining) and stayed home and cooked a big, yummy breakfast of pancakes and eggs and waffles.  I was presented with a card "signed" by Anna Kathryn to her mommy (a squiggle) with some help from Daddy.  This is what I overheard as they worked on the card: "No... don't eat the pen... or the card... good job, Anna Kathryn!"

Mark went out later on for a haircut while I stayed home with Little Miss Sunshine to do some things around the house, put her down for a nap, and get a shower.  When Mark came home, he had more goodies:  a gift certificate for a spa afternoon (massage, facial, and manicure) and for a new Vera Bradley pocketbook.  Mine is starting to shred, so I was very excited about that gift. Can't wait for the massage, either-- I still can't seem to get rid of the neck ache I developed in China.  A day of pampering is always a perfect gift!  Mark always does a fantastic job on the gift front.  

Lots of cards and well-wishes came in the mail, on the phone, and via Facebook from friends and family.  Allison gave me this book and I am pleased to say that it is maybe a little trashy, but fun.  I feel so loved... thanks, everyone!!

In the late afternoon the sun finally peeked out, everyone got up from their naps, and we headed out to a local farm to visit the pumpkin patch, go on the hayride, and visit the petting zoo with Allison, David, and Maggie.  Lots of fun, and Anna Kathryn helped pick out 2 cute little pumpkins after we visited the animals in the barn.  She didn't mind the smells and sounds at all.  In fact, Mark caught her chewing a little on the metal gate to the cow pen ((shudder)).  

Anna Kathryn has learned how to clap and everything is worthy of applause-- especially an outing to the pumpkin patch!

Mark thought Anna Kathryn needed to get up close and personal with the pigs.  

Anna Kathryn and Daddy meet-- and pet-- the goats.  

Our little pumpkin... waving "bye-bye" (she can almost say it, too!)

 Why are Allison and I the only ones smiling in this picture?

Skipping along with "March"

Our family, October 2008

Anna Kathryn was so tuckered out from all the fresh air and family fun that she conked out on the way to dinner, and continued to snooze in my arms as we waited for a table (I managed to sip my drink without spilling it on her...or me... there's some mom multi-tasking for you!).  We had a long and totally indulgent dinner at Firebirds.  I had a pomegranate martini (so so good), homemade potato chips with blue cheese, a filet with parmesan mashed potatoes, and creme brulee cheesecake.  There are no calories in food on one's birthday!  

Then Allison and I decided we needed to go to Old Navy, so we dragged the kids and guys there. We bought new yoga pants.  In black-- a winter wardrobe workhorse.  My old ones are dead and have paint splattered on them.  We both needed new ones, plus there was no way I was going to try anything else on with such a full belly!  They had some kind of pre-Halloween promotion going, so I got 31% off the pants-- yay!  Always nice to get an unexpected bargain.  The guys were thankful to get out of the store fairly quickly and really cheaply.  After that, home to bed, dreaming of pumpkins and cheesecake.  

 It really was the happiest birthday I have had in a long, long time.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

An American Girl

Yesterday we got Anna Kathryn's Certificate of Citizenship from USCIS in the mail.  We knew that she became a U.S. Citizen the moment our plane touched down on American soil the night of September 27, but somehow this makes it seem more real.  Now we have the piece of paper to prove it.  She also got a lovely form letter from President Bush congratulating her on her new status as an American.  All adopted children travel home on a passport from their country of origin and on an immigration visa from the U.S., because their citizenship papers have to be hand delivered to the immigration officials at the airport.  I think that it is pretty cool that Anna Kathryn departed from China in the capital city, Beijing, and landed in her new home's capital city, Washington, D.C.  

After two accordion files worth of paperwork, many hoops to jump, and the frequent frustrations of a predictable but unpredictable process, it's nice to see the end in sight.  Now I can apply for her Social Security number and, well, do more paperwork.  Our first post-placement report is due to AWAA next week, since the 27th marks one month since we returned.  It's hard to believe that our first month at home together is almost over already... time really does go by so quickly.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are you ready to have children?

I would have found this to be funny 2 months ago, but now I totally get it.