Monday, December 29, 2008


An online friend from out of town, Hayley, has been here in Denver for the past week with her family, and I just couldn't resist the opportunity to get together a group of friends from my online community. It's such a fabulous group of women, and I was positive we'd get along as well in person as we do online. We did. I wish all of them could have come, all 30ish of them and their families. But they're scattered all over the U.S. and Canada. So Hayley and her family came, along with Maia and QiuQiu (Mike had to work), and Christie & her family. Christie doesn't live too far away, but we hadn't managed to get together before this. Hopefully now that she knows our house is right on her way home, she'll stop by more often! It was wonderful to meet all of these women in person, and to spend an evening with a fun bunch of people. Even the kids got along.
3 Asshats: Christie, me, Hayley (Maia had to leave before this picture was taken)

The 3 of us with our kids. From the left: me, B, Hayley's Piper, Lina, Christie, Hayley & Paisley. I don't know where Z ran off to when we took this.

Christie & Lina

Maia & QiuQiu


Hayley's Mike & Paisley

Lovely Lina modeling her Christmas outfit

B & Piper engrossed in the new Star Wars game he got for Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy birthday, sweet B!

It seems like just yesterday that we had this:

And now we have a big five year-old boy.

B has been convinced for at least the past two months that his grandma was going to give him a light saber for his birthday. So convinced, in fact, that after he opened the kid-friendly digital camera from us & the Star Wars soundtrack CD from Z this morning, he asked, "So do I get the light saber later?" Smarty pants.

Besides the light saber, some of the favorite gifts include a bionic eye, a Batmobile, a very realistic model dinosaur (I told him it would protect him from the aliens he's afraid of at night), and some new paints and a Star Wars book to paint in.

Of course, the cake had a Star Wars theme:

Here's B holding one of his party guests, the bella Stella G:

Look out Mom & Dad, you guys are going to be looking back at these pictures in what feels like a week or two and wondering how she got to be five so fast!

Earlier in the day, Ben's new BFF Piper and her mom, Hayley, in town for the holidays from Minnesota, came by for a playdate. Here are the two of them scattering reindeer food:

Seriously though, I can't believe I'm the mom of a five year-old. We do kindergarten choice enrollment in two weeks. Kindergarten! B is a kind-hearted, funny, smart (sometimes bordering on evil genius) and absolutely adorable little boy. We love you, little guy. Errr, I mean big guy. Happy birthday!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

10 months

December 20, 2008

February 17, 2008

El diablo

P.S. - That hideous painting on the wall in the background does NOT really go there. I was the "lucky" winner of that in a white elephant gift exchange at work last week, and will be re-gifting it tomorrow night at a family white elephant gift exchange. This is over M's strong protests, by the way. He's been trying for weeks to get me to call him Matador. He thinks he needs a nickname; I have no idea why...but I like to call him Maverick instead just for fun. So he thinks it was some sort of divine intervention that I got that painting and thinks we need to keep the "art" hanging over his side of the bed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

J's annual family Christmas party, v.1

B and my aunt Carolyn (aka "Aunt Fluffy") play Christmas carols together. She couldn't find sheet music for "Rudolph," so she played it by ear and did it perfectly, even with a cast on one arm. Impressive!

My grandpa, Poppy

My mom & dad and my dad's brother Chuck (he's the one on the left)

B & his cousin Sophie

Now it's Z's turn to "help" play Christmas carols on the piano

B & his cousin Tea in a pillow fight

Me & my monkeys before we left for the party

Osama bin Lulu, the terrorist cat

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Playing with the new camera

We don't have a clue how to use it yet, other than pointing and shooting. Don't know how to use the new software either. But we're having fun messing with it, and I'll buy the "Canon Rebel for Dummies" next time I'm at a bookstore. I even had to call Canon tech support to get the software loaded -- that's how bad it is. Oh yeah, and since our computer is from the stone ages (you have to pedal to keep it running), it takes forEVER to upload photos to Blogger. I'm hoping we'll find the $$ to buy a new computer sometime soon.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lots of wind and not much else

I have never seen a place deader on a Sunday afternoon than Oklahoma City. I went out for a walk and ran into the colleague I'd traveled with. We stood out in the middle of one of the main streets in downtown OKC having a conversation for several minutes, and nary a car came by. I'd gone for a walk to the "trendy" part of town, hoping to find a coffeeshop. Turns out there are no coffeeshops in the trendy part of town, and there was NOBODY around. It was positively eerie. I can see how that part of town might come alive on a Friday night and be kind of fun, but Sunday afternoon was not the time to be there. I think what I needed was a friend in town to show me where the fun was. The hotel was very nice though, and the work part of the trip went well. One trip down, one to go. Next stop, Atlanta.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Week from hell

I've got one coming up. I leave tomorrow morning for Oklahoma City, back Monday night. Then off to Atlanta Wednesday morning, back very very late Thursday night. I doubt there will be time for blogging. The new camera came on Wednesday though, and we've been taking quite a few pictures, so there should be plenty of blog fodder (blodder? flogger?) by next Friday when I can finally sit down in front of the computer again.

In the meantime, M is going to play Mr. Mom for most of this week. Besides me being gone, B is sick (nothing serious, just a fever and a serious case of the cranky-pants), and it's vendor week at work for M -- not a good week to have to stay home with sick kids because your wife is traveling for work.

See y'all Friday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One year ago

A year ago today, the phone rang at 3:55pm. I saw "Chinese Children" in caller ID, and I knew right away that this was THE call.

I knew before I picked up, even though they'd just told us three days before that we'd have to wait for the next batch for our referral, probably until February or so. You see, the Friday before had been my 40th birthday, and CCAI had told us back in September that our baby would almost certainly be in the next batch. Well, the next batch came in October, and by November 29, the referral announcements were starting to peter out. I'd somehow gotten it into my head that we'd get our referral by my birthday, and when they hadn't called by early afternoon that Friday, I asked M to call the agency and ask them what was up. That was when they broke the news -- there was no baby for us in this batch, and we'd have to wait until next time.

I was disappointed, but also a little bit relieved. No more keeping my cellphone glued to my body whenever I left the house, no more jumping each time the phone rang, no more lying awake all night wondering if tomorrow would be the day. I could relax and start getting anxious again in February. I had a big birthday party on Saturday, and I must have said, "No, it probably won't be until February at the soonest" a thousand times that night as all our family and friends asked about our baby girl from China.

Then there was the phone call on Monday afternoon, December 3 (by the way, the call came at exactly the same time of day that B was born, to the minute! a coincidence that still gives me chills). I was surprisingly calm, at least until I hung up. I immediately called B up from the play room to tell him "You have a baby sister!" We called M at work and got his voicemail, then got voicemail on his cellphone too. I blew off patience entirely and called the receptionist, telling her "It's a family emergency!" He was on the phone in seconds, and the email from CCAI with pictures arrived while we were on the phone. We opened it together, and all three of us saw this face for the first time:

It was just a phone call, but it literally changed our lives. Everything has been different since. Having been through both pregnancy & childbirth and adoption, I have to say, that referral call & seeing the photos for the first time are more exciting than finding out you're pregnant. At least it was for me. Pregnancy is just the beginning of a long process, and your baby is still an unknown. Even when B was born, I was so out of it from general anesthesia that I couldn't fully appreciate the moment. But getting that call, seeing Z's face for the first time, was a moment that's unmatched in my life so far.