Wednesday, April 27, 2011

my sis ROCKS!

It's been another busy week or more since my last post...full of blessings and one step closer to becoming a family…

First off, a couple days after my sister and her family were down here for a short visit, she sends me a text  out of the blue volunteering her painting skills for our house! I was so surprised that I think my jaw hit the keyboard because I totally wasn't expecting this. (she has mad painting skills, by the way, and is available for hire) She told me she had a FREE ride back down to Greenville the next week and wanted to paint our ceilings and trim – which we had discovered previously to be a hideous taupe/not even close to white color. It was totally drab and made our cozy little house so much darker (and smaller) than needed - plus it totally minimized our woodwork and architectural details. So, she was only here for a few days, but that girl went to work and transformed this place into something out of a magazine. Its crazy what a coat of paint can do to a room! I'm so thankful for my sis, it was very generous of her to do all of that work for us. And quite a workout. Thank you, sis!

BTW, she doesn't usually paint wearing high heels but I thought it made for a good picture. It's so 1950's-house-wife-takes-on-the-painting-project-esque. But seriously, she's so good she doesn't even need to use that green painter's masking tape. She can paint in high heels with one arm tied behind her back… Kara, I hope you get a lot of painting projects out of this shining promotional plug. You deserve it and MORE.

On the adoption front…after finally crawling into bed sometime after 1am Monday morning, I had just started to drift off into dreamland when Brad's super loud and annoying text alert jolted me out of sleep. Brad wakes up at the drop of a pin, so he was on that text message pronto. In my half-alert state of awareness I hear him read "…Your USCIS application/petition has been received and routed to the National Benefit Center for processing. Within 7 - 10 days by standard mail you will receive your official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with your Receipt Number …etc…" Well, this woke me up (which is NOT easy to do) but he had to read it to me again so I could grasp the meaning. I wasn't expecting this to come so fast since I had sent our I-800A only a week earlier. Anyway, it was a nice reason to get startled awake…then I was too excited to go back to sleep, but I managed. The next step in our China adoption will be fingerprinting. I just love all of these little items we get to check off our to-do list!

Monday, April 18, 2011

(sense the sarcasm)
This morning, I shipped off our I800-A forms for our China adoption!
(but only after checking its contents for probably the 12th time - no exaggeration) 
Yeah, it's kind of a big deal…

I contemplated asking the check out lady at the post if I could document this milestone with a photo shoot but she was not so friendly...and I wanted to make sure my package made it to Texas.

So, what's the I800-A? Just the next major step in our China adoption – receiving official government approval to bring a child back to the states from a Hague country. After that, basically all we have left is fingerprinting, the rest of our dossier assembly and everything that accompanies that…and a long time on the waiting list. Surely I'm forgetting something. We are really hoping to have a log-in date with China on my birthday - the big 3-0, baby!

Hopefully my next post will have some good news about our Korea adoption…stay tuned.

Friday, April 08, 2011

death, taxes & some good news…

So, this week's kind of been a big deal. We've been preparing for an unpleasant (to put it lightly) tax season since last year by working extra hard, putting in many long hours, late nights, sacrificing desires and really curbing our spending.

It has been a painfully long year of looming uncertainties and dark waters, to be honest. I tried to stay positive but ended up worrying excessively, dwelling on regrets and sprouting way too many gray hairs (nothing is worth that, I've decided). After what seemed like years of waiting and hoping, our CPA finally had our taxes ready yesterday. I prayed as I (sped) to his office that I would be able to accept the news and move on without…bitterness? We had been preparing ourselves mentally for the worst and I was totally amazed (once again) to find out it wasn't as painful as it could have been. It wasn't pretty but it wasn't a total train wreck either. God is good…

We had actually debated waiting to start our adoption process until taxes were finalized this year BUT I'm so THRILLED that we DID take that leap of faith on Christmas morning because TODAY we were notified by Holt that our home study for CHINA was APPROVED! We just saved ourselves about 4 months in this adoption process by moving forward with it last December. So, what does this all mean? Time to write some more checks (painful) and fill out more paperwork…actually, I'm going to start on that could I possibly sleep? This song pretty much sums up how I feel now…

What a relief to leave last year in the dust and move on with our lives…it literally feels like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I woke up this morning.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

family blessings…


So much has happened since my last post, I'll try to recap it all…

Work is still crazy busy (thankful for that) and takes priority over my blogging these days. I'm working to bring our babies home!

So, first off, I had a nice visit from my mom last week who came in town to babysit my nieces. She folded all the laundry that had swallowed up our queen sized bed, we ate out a few times and watched multiple Shirley Temple movies with my sweet little nieces. (have you seen that Target commercial with her background vocal? - It's my fave!) I felt like a kid again for a moment, which was awesome. It was a nice break from the normal grind.

In the meantime, A LOT was going on behind the scenes with our China home study. Since we are working with Holt who is based in Oregon, we are required to also have a local agency to handle our home study. Once Debi, our amazing social worker, finished her tedious job, our local agency had to approve the study and then send it out to Holt for "pre-approval" (in case any changes needed to be made before the actual approval)…

…of course we had to stop at Spill the Beans
PJ always has to be the center of attention…

The VERY SAME DAY my mom flew back to Florida, my sister and her family (sans niece Ashley in college at PCC) came into town for the weekend. This was another awesome escape from reality and we had a blast as usual even though I had to work. We managed to carve out some free time for an afternoon downtown, some walks around the neighborhood and a Saturday afternoon of sprucing up our front yard which brings me to praise #1 – Brad and I had been putting off doing any landscaping around the house since we had moved in…almost two years ago. All of that waiting and patience paid off because one of Brad's co-worker's and his amazing gardener-of-a-wife generously offered us a plethora of plants from their beautiful land. I was amazed and so grateful. It gets even better, after Kara and I had retrieved the plants and were back home Brad told us that the check out guy at Lowes GAVE him a really nice hose sprayer because the price wasn't marked on it. hello, how often does THAT happen!? Does he not know how to use the intercom system…"price check on isle 3"? Brad also got 3 bags of top soil for FREE because the bags were ripped… again…speechless! I was content to put up with our dull and lifeless front yard. I think God must have been tired of looking at it too and He knew we weren't going to spend money on landscaping any time soon. Thank you Lord! My wonderful sister, the master-gardener was here to help us plan and plant the rest of the afternoon. Love ya, sis, you're the best - it  would not have happened without you!

Matt gets his "tan on"…
I just can't say enough about my family…my bro-in-law, Matt, is a very talented craftsman and also hilarious dude, as you can see in this photo, I glanced out at our patio and he was "getting a tan"... anyway, looks like he needs one. He also helped us out with a house project while he was here Friday. Thank you so much! Now I'm getting weepy…Sunday brunch at our house, my sis presented us with a really sweet encouraging card with some moolah that Matt had raised for our adoptions by "fixing beeper collars"…they told me what that means but all I know is it is something related to hunting and dogs. I feel so blessed that they are so excited and supportive of our adoptions that Matt put the time and energy into doing this for us and our future babies! *Kleenex break* We love you guys!