Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Came Early




Santa came a little early this year. What I wanted almost more than anything was for our adoption agency to get their Hague Accreditation so that could once again move toward our referral. Our Christmas wish was granted and it came today. The number one item on my list is the actual referral. If any of you have Santa's ear, we would appreciate a mention! Happy Holidays to you all.

The North Pole Limited Express

Have you ever been to the North Pole? I have. 3 times, in fact. Each year Nathan, Noah and I drive to Chatanooga and catch a train to the North Pole. This year may have been the most fun year of all. Noah is truly caught up in the magic of Santa and it is so infectious. How could anyone not believe? Our photos captured some wonderful moments, such as my two guys shaking the bells given us by Santa from his sleigh and Noah's request to Santa to view his Playmobil catalog so that he knew exactly what to deliver on Christmas Eve. What a special night that is. I will leave you with the photos of our trip to the North Pole and a little something extra under it. The something extra is a letter written in 1987 by a little girl named Virginia to The New York Sun. Read it and believe.





Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Halloween

Well, I'm just now getting around to the Halloween photos. As usual, we had a fantastic night. Nathan's parents joined us for a night of warm fall soup prior to the rounds of Trick-Or-Treating. Also, as usual, we went with the entire street. Our dear neighbors of the last 7 years moved the day before but came back to the court for the festivities. Along with the Brahnams was the family next door. We visited our other neighbors along the way and of course, two of the neighbors had treat bags ready for our little gang. Noah was in his Harry Potter best, Nathan was Gandalf (as usual), and I was a witch (nothing new there!) A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks + Adoption Petition

Thanks to each of you who signed our petition to the USCIS and Congress to ensure that those of us who began our adoption journey prior to the implementation of the Hague Treaty on International Adoption can be grandfathered in to the old system of USCIS approval.

The petition worked and we have now been grandfathered in.

Thank you again. I know many of you - my friends and families - put your electronic John Hancock participated.

We Give Thanks

Today as Noah's class was busy working on their turkey drawings, Noah shared the verse that we say each week in our church class. If you are looking for a simple blessing and way to say thanks...here it is:

We give thanks.
We give thanks for being.
We give thanks for being here.
We give thanks for being here together.

Simple and to the point.

This is why he is the Sun.

I am thankful for all I have and all that I AM. May your day be filled with the gifts of Spirit so that you may find thanks too.

Dana

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi Folks,

I have been a little too eager to get to the Christmas music and totally forgot about my all time favorite Thanksgiving ballad - story - Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie. So, scroll down and turn it up as you stuff your turkey's and bake your pies. Happy Thanksgiving. May you find much to be thankful for. I know I have.

Monday, November 17, 2008

There Is No Me Without You


After a conversation about adoption with fellow parents from Noah's class, I sent an email to one of the parents recommending Melissa Fay Greene's book There Is No Me Without You. I also visited Greene's website this morning and read through some of the pages that I may have missed before or simply may not have been up before.

If you are an adoptive parent - regardless of what type of adoption you are doing (International or Domestic), please read through her site carefully. Read especially this page: Though this page is Ethiopian focused, it is such great practical information for ALL adoptive families.

Greene states that many adoption professionals lament the fact that many adoptive families are not educated in regards to adoption and the possibilities. For me, that is simply irresponsible. Adoption, though beautiful, is often not pretty in the beginning and it is a serious act of ignorance to not be prepared for all of the possibilities.

So, families, please educate yourselves on adoption. Also, educate yourselves on the culture and race of your child.

Peace Out.

Dana

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Does Pro Life = Pro Adoption?

I have recently began following the blog of an adoptive family (China). Not too unusual. However, this particular family is VERY Christian. Generally, I do not follow those blogs. Okay, a little explanation here. Do I feel I have a calling to adopt? A mandate perhaps? Maybe...okay, yes. But, there are some blogs out there that are so over the top and make such a HUGE distinction between Christians adopting and everyone else that I can rarely stomach it.

However, this particular family had such trauma during travel and almost lost their daughter (to death) that I was compelled to follow their journey and pray alongside other adoptive families that this little girl survive and be released to her new family so that she could come to the states to receive treatment. So...on with the story.

I visited this family blog tonight and found a very good posting where the mom called out Christians who cry "pro-life" but who do not support orphans. A few years ago I was told story about a friend of a friend who was chastised in Kroger parking lot because she had a "pro-choice" sticker on her car. Her response to the man? "How many children have you adopted?" "What?"

So, what's the point? The point is, give a home to a child in need. Give it food, clothing, shelter and most of all, give it love. Pro-Choice or Pro-Life, it does not matter.

A final thought, war is not pro-life. Adoption...now that's pro-life. Hmmm...I guess I'm pro-life after all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Still Waiting

Hi All. Many of you are asking what's going on with the adoption. Well, we are still waiting.

Here's the lowdown. China is continuing to slow down its adoptions. The US has implemented the Hague Treaty regarding IA and our agency was one of a handful that was denied the accreditation. I won't go into the why's and wherefore's of that one here.

How does that affect us? They no longer have access to Special Needs files, which is where we were hoping to find Arwen.

Now they have reapplied and are waiting to find out if the steps they took to correct the problems were enough to get the accreditation. We pray they were. Hopefully, once approved, they will begin receiving the Special Needs files again. Our agency has a high rate of placing SN kids and is one of the older ones out there working with that program.

Please keep all adoptive families in your thoughts as the landscape of international adoption is changing as rapidly as the global economic situation. Please keep all of the children in your thoughts that are living in horrific conditions and waiting for families. Most of all, keep all of the children who will never be adopted in your prayers because they are the ones who suffer the most.

Number of orphans worldwide: 143 Million
Numberof orphans due to HIV/AIDS: Nearly 18 Million
Number of orphans adopted internationally each year: 40,000

Does something look wrong with this to you?

Christmas Music

We interrupt this blog to give you all the best in holiday music. Please pay close attention to Bruce Springsteen's rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" as it is Noah's favorite and he can definitely give old Bruce a run for his money!

Dana

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Thumbtown Toad

I had to blog about this book today. We were given this book, if I remember correctly from our dear Australian friends as it was too scary for their son. I remember scanning through it and sort of thinking...maybe in a few years, but it has stayed on the Sun's bookshelf for the last - oh - 3 years. I think somehow we all shied away from this book for some reason. Last night, though, was the night.

We all lay down in Noah's bed and Nathan begins reading this book. My first reaction is absolute horror. It is really a horrific book in some strange way. The Thumbtown Toad (by George Mendoza) is a woman, a horribly wicked woman, that catches people and eats them. The book is illustrated for children and done in short rhyme so it does not seem that bad. But, seriously, it is horrible. But! Strangely, Nathan and I really began laughing at the absurdity of the book and that it was written for children in the early 70's that by the time we got to the end, we were all three laughing hysterically! The end of the book has the Thumbtown Toad going to sleep and having a nightmare and she was so scared she burst into flames. Seriously!

The really funny part - her crow who would spit on her would not even spit on her to put out the flames. All I could think of was "he wouldn't even spit on her if she were on fire!"

Seriously twisted book. But, we all got a good kick out of it. Apparently it is out of print as I have searched the web to attempt to add a photo of it here but I cannot find it anywhere in an image.

Oh well. If you come across it, you'll know what I mean.

Dana

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Adoption Help/Petition

First, thanks to all of you who went and signed this petition. Yesterday the USCIS announced its decision on the state of adoptive parents who were to be grandfathered in to the new immigration rules surrounding foreign adoption. They have decided to move forward with the grandfather clause. Now, those of us who filed our petition to adopt with the CIS prior to April of 2008, can continue down the same path and stick with our I-600/I-171 instead of falling under the new guidelines. This will be in effect until the year 2014. After that we are on our own. But, that gives us all some breathing room. I pray we are not waiting that long for our girl! Thanks again and thanks to the Universe for helping us out.

Peace out.

Dana

Soccer Star

Monday, October 13, 2008

Please Help - Adoption Petition

Dear Friends,

As you know, Nathan and I are waiting for a referral of a little girl from China. Though we began this journey over two years ago, we have officially been waiting for 20 months. Now, our adoption is in jepoardy, thanks in large part to the USCIS misinterpretation on the legislation passed in regards to the International Adoption portion of the Hague Treaty. Below is an excerpt from a petition I am asking you to sign which gives further explanation. In addition, I have included links to the petition site and the website for the Joint Council on International Adoptive Services - the thinktank/policy setter for International Adoption. This is a personal plea to help us continue on our adoptin journey to bring home a sister for Noah - whose patience for a little sister is beginning to wear thin!

I assure you this is quite serious. Every International Adoption agency in this country is encouraging their clients to get on board and sign this petition and call thier legislators. The past year has seen many changes in International Adoption. Ultimately these things are happening to protect the children, however, it is endangering families like ours who are very qualified to adopt, have jumped through the many hurtles required and have been patiently waiting for a referral. As it stands right now, if we received a referral tomorrow, we have all of our documents in order, could accept the referral and leave in 8 weeks to get our child. With the new rules, if we receive our referral tomorrow, we would have to wait months and months for our new paperwork to be processed. At best, our child would continue to languish in an orphanage while our paperwork is processed by the USCIS. At worst, we would lose our referral entirely. Please help us move this forward so that we can continue to be "paper ready" when our referral comes.

Adoption For All Petition

JCICS

"Recently, the rules and regulations in the United States of America regarding international adoption have changed. Congress passed The Hague into law. When this was done, Congress explicitly stated that families who are in the process of adopting a child internationally and who have been in process prior to April 1, 2008, are considered "transition cases." As such, these families are, by law, grandfathered into the adoption rules and regulations that existed PRIOR TO April 1, 2008 until their adoptions are completed, and these families DO NOT have to re-file under the new Hague guidelines. However, the Department of State and the US Department of Homeland Security's CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services, aka USCIS) bureau are blatantly ignoring this law and forcing all transitional families to abide by the new regulations. This not only contravenes the law as written, but also creates undue hardship for the thousands of US families affected, and will likely cause the disruption of the adoption.

Thousands of US families have been waiting in excess of 2 to 3 years for their adoptions from China and other countries to be completed. Now these families are being forced by the National Benefits Council (NBC) and USCIS to re-file under Hague, when clearly Congress wanted them to be grandfathered under the I600A rules they were subject to when they began their adoption process. Under the new rules these families will have to pay additional dollars, in some cases running into the thousands in fees to US adoption and homestudy agencies. Having already spent in excess of $10,000, many cannot afford these additional fees. In the next 2 to 3 years >10,000 US families will need to go through the I600A renewal process, which is a quick process, with approval time running from about 6 weeks to 2 months....


The US Congress passed the new rules for USA adopters into law; however, in their wisdom, they had the foresight to see that the adoption process (particularly in China) has been moving extremely slowly, and so the US Congress particularly provided in the law that "transition cases" (those in the adoption process prior to April 1, 2008) can continue their adoption under the rules that were in effect at the time they began the process and UNTIL THEIR ADOPTION IS CONCLUDED."

Please help us with this pending crisi by signing the petition and forwarding this to anyone who might help.

With many thanks,

Nathan and Dana

Pink Eye

Never before and hopefully never again. Last night Noah came in from a nearly all day play session with the cutie from next door saying his eye was hurting. We told him to wash his eye with a washcloth. It seemed to help. Apparently not enough. He awoke this morning with a red crusty eye. EEWWW! Pink Eye. I cleaned it out again and gave it a couple of hours before heading over to the FNP at Walgreens. Yep. It crusted up again. So...I left it and we headed over. Yes, it is pink eye. So, we are home now with an antibiotic for his eye. We are washing our hands a lot today and Noah is getting drops in his eye every two hours. Though it has been a mostly good day, giving him these drops is not high on my list of fun things to do. Have a great day.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just One More

Father and Son

More of Meijer Gardens

Rolling Stone

Owl Family at Meijer Gardens


Meijer Gardens

Before actually leaving for Grand Rapids, I did some web surfing and found Meijer Gardens. MG is a botanical and sculptural garden in GR. We had such a wonderful time there. Nathan and Noah both loves sculptures. I'm more of an art girl and love folk art especially, but Nathan loves dimensional form. Noah, thank the Goddess, is an art lover of all kinds. He also loves sunrises and sunsets, stars, the moon, flowers and just beauty of all kinds. Here are a few of our photos from our visit. These are just a couple of the sculptures we saw.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Here Comes the Bride


I won't put many pictures of the special day up. But, we went to Michigan last week to attend Nathan's cousin's wedding. His cousin is Anna and she is a beautiful girl. She married a truly fabulous guy - John in a wonderful outdoor ceremony. You probably cannot see it but it was on a covered bridge in Grand Rapids. They had a fun and yummy reception after in a neighborhood restaurant/bar. A good time was had by all.

Croy Family Reunion





Okay...not really and there were not many of us there. But, here are a few family shots from the wedding (the real reason we went to Michigan!)

The lady with the lovely white hair is Nathan's aunt Cathy (on his father's side). The stunningly beautiful woman in the purple is Nathan's cousin Rachael. And, the handsome with the exotic look is Saji, Rachael's love.

These photos were taken during the reception.

BFF - Best Family Forever


I don't have time right now to get all of our Meijer Garden photos up, but here is our family photo that a kind lady took while we were in the Botanical part of the gardens.

BFF - Best Family Forever

I don't have time right now to get all of our Meijer Garden photos up, but here is our family photo that a kind lady took while we were in the Botanical part of the gardens.

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble @ the Chldren's Museum

Untitled Album


I'm having problems with my slideshow on this one. Click on the photo and when it takes you into my Picasa album, click on "slideshow."

Children's Museum Slideshow

Children's Museum


On our first night in Michigan we headed downtown. We were all starving as we had not stopped for lunch on the way up. So, we found a great Chinese/Thai place and quickly had dinner. Lucky for us it was family night at the Children's Museum in downtwon GR and the museum was scheduled to be open until 8PM. So, we headed there next with our reciprocal ACM membership...very valuable and practical when traveling I might add.

We had so much fun. And, we got to talk with some locals about the area and other fun things to do. Here are some of the photos. I am not sure who had the most fun - Nathan or Noah. Nathan would like to put a couple of the exhibits in our home just for fun.

Lake Michigan-the Slides

Lake Michigan




While on our trip we journeyed to Lake Michigan and spent part of the day there. Wow. It is so much like going down to the gulf. The water is very calm and you can see right through it. When we arrived there were only a few brave souls there. The water is very cold. It never really warms according to those in the know....our Wisconsin neighbors. But, being from the South and not knowing any better, we jumped in. Well, Noah and Nathan got in. It took me a while but I finally ventured in up to my knees. By the time we left, the day had really warmed up and the beach was quickly filling up. It was a Friday afternoon and the weather was predicted to change on Sunday, so the locals appeared to want to get in on the final days of hot sun. It apparently was unseasonably warm while we were there. Imagine that. Nathan and I going somewhere and the weather being at an extreme.

We rounded out the day with a drive up the coast to a cute little town called Grand Haven. If you ever get to the West Michigan Coast, make this a stop. It reminded me of some of the towns we visited in New England. A typical coastal town which has really remained true to its roots and has a fabulous downtown.

So, I've included a few of my favorite photos from the day as well as a cute slideshow of our beach fun.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Trapeze Artist and the Sun

That's My Boy



Every night since time untold I have fallen asleep reading. I don't know how many nights Nathan has come in the bedroom to find me asleep with my book of choice lying across my chest. So, it should come as no surprise that I've given birth to a reader who most often falls asleep in the same manner.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Great Article on Trans Racial Adoption

I have written on transracial adoption before on this blog. I guess my ideas on it are not always the most popular (if you ask a trans racial adoptee or even some social workers) proven by the mere fact that we are adopting transracially. I have read through every blog, book and article imaginable featuring stances on the positive side and negative side of adoption. This is perhaps one of the most balanced views of a TRA I have ever seen. And, guess what? It was written by an 8th grader and then posted on her sibling's transracial adoption blog. Check it out:

http://kadnexus.wordpress.com/2007/06/04/my-sisters-adoption-essay/

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bookshelf


This is what I should have on our family bookshelves.

Adoption Update

Hi All. Well, the CCAA just processed this month's referrals in a record 22 days. They have not processed this quickly in a while. Now, it is only for 4 days of referrals but could it mean a speed up is on the way? We hope so.

Please keep us in your thoughts as we hope for a speedy referral.

And, pray for us because if we do not receive a SN older referral we will be getting an infant! It is enough to make me laugh that Nathan and I will be getting an infant when I am 37 and he is 35.

Dana

Backyard Fun



Well, our time as homeschoolers has come to a close. It is difficult at times to not say, we homeschool. The ideology that embodies homeschoolers is one that we embrace. To be free wheeling with our family and not bowing down to the government influence of education in America, to be able to live our lives without the constraints of other people's idea of how our time should be spent, to be able to pick up and go wherever and whenever, all of these things are part of that.

There are 3 HS families that we really hung with the past few months. One move away in May and the other left a couple of weeks ago. The third, still here and still in contact with us just adopted two boys and are fully occupied with them. I think it actually helped that two of the families moved away in our transition into school.

Above is a photo of four of the kids including two of the ones that moved.

Bye guys, we'll miss you and maybe we'll see you in CA someday!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vietnamese Orphans

I think I would feel better about the length of time that governments take to facilitate adoptions if it were not for the fact that thousands and thousands of children were not waiting for families:

http://tinquehuong.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/vietnams-abandoned-children/

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quote
You are worried about seeing him
spend his early years in doing nothing.
What! Is it nothing to be happy?
Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long?
Never in his life will he be so busy again.
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Abyss and Harvest

It's hard you know. Change. It's hard for me. Hard for Nathan. Hard for Noah. I have felt for a few weeks the way I felt about 11 years ago. A friend told me it was as if I were on the edge of a cliff ready to jump. I think he thought I was jumping into a scary place. The truth is, I jumped into an incredible phase of growth and prosperity. I changed jobs, moved, met Nathan, and began the incredible spiritual journey bringing my closer to the Divine.

The truth is, I was jumping into the abyss. What I knew at that time was that my life was not as it should be and I needed to jump...to be the fool in terms of the tarot....to find peace and contentment and my soul's longing.

Now, here I am again, at the edge of the abyss and about to jump. I'm working up the nerve. I am counting on Spirit to provide the cloud of hope and joy to lift me from the abyss into the light.

Noah has begun school and I find myself splitting my days between seriously cleaning, organizing and painting our home and job hunting. Right now, as things stand, I am waiting to hear if my Father has repurchased our old family business or whether I will be working somewhere else, such as the Mall. (I am guessing whatever job I have will begin in September). I am embarking on a new teaching journey that will begin in September. I am waiting to meet the Ethiopian representative for our adoption agency as we have begun revisiting that program (also the first week of September). And, in September I will begin offering a spiritual cinema movie and discussion group once a month at FUUN.

Amazingly, the last time I was on the edge of the abyss was in late August and the changes came fast and furious in September. It is part of the cycle of life. We are in the harvest time of the year. Llamas was the first harvest. We are quickly approaching the second harvest with the Autumnal Equinox. I know that I am in harvest mode for all of the things I have set into motion the past few months. I am looking forward to a bountiful harvest in my life and wish you one as well.

I'll keep you posted as these changes unfold in mine and my family's life.

China by Tori Amos

"China"

All the way to New York
I can feel the distance getting close
You're right next to me
But I need an airplane
I can feel the distance as you breathe
Sometimes I think you want me to touch you
How can I when you build the great wall around you
In your eyes I saw the future
Together you just look away in the distance

China decorates our table
Funny how the cracks don't seem to show
Pour the wine dear
You say we'll take a holiday
But we never can agree on where to go

Sometimes I think you want me to touch you
How can I when you build the great wall around you
In your eyes I saw the future
Together you just look away in the distance

China all the way to New York
Maybe you got lost in Mexico
You're right next to me
I think that you can hear me
Funny how the distance
Learns to grow

Sometimes I think you want me to touch you
How can I when you build the great wall around you
In your eyes I saw the future
Together you just look away in the distance

I can feel the distance
I can feel the distance
I can feel the distance getting close

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Big Day!

I know you are anxiously awaiting my report on the first day of school. The night before was a flurry of activity as we got all of our things together to get Noah to school on Wednesday. We all tried to get into bed early, though it was somewhat difficult. I think I finally fell into an exhausted sleep around 10PM.

I woke up around 5:30 and got up and began to get ready for our day. I woke Noah up at 6:30 and he immediately began crying "I do not want to go to school." He was crying so hard and I began crying and we cried together as I told him how much I love him and how special the time we've had is and how blessed we have been that he has gotten to stay home with me and I truly mean it. Nathan came in and we all hugged and then it was all okay. We finished getting ready and headed off to school.

Luckily, only the grades were coming on the first day not early childhood as it cut down a little on the craziness of the first day. We went in and greeted the teacher, Miss Wang and got Noah situated and then we left before I really lost it. I don't know how many people over the course of the morning asked me if I was okay. I guess the tears on my cheeks showed most of the day.

Nathan and I made our way down to the sanctuary (Noah's school rents out space in a church for the school) and we awaited all of the children to come in for the first day of school assembly. Each of the 1st graders had to walk across the stage and be presented a rose by the 8th graders as a symbol of welcome to the grades program.

After, Nathan and I left and went to visit his grandmother Allene in her senior living community in Brentwood. Unfortunately Grandma is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's and added to the emotions of the morning, I had to excuse myself to the lobby where I sat gathering myself until time to return to pick up Noah from school.

We returned and waiting for the children to be let out of class and Noah came out all smiles. He had a great morning and each morning since has been happy to go to school. He is getting used to the schedule and loves the teacher and has made friends quickly, as I knew he would.

His teacher has told me repeatedly what a "good boy" and a "delight" he is to have in class. She is so sincere when she says it. As he has come home and reported that some of the children have been naughty in class, I know his behavior has been wonderful. It distresses him to see other children be mean to each other but especially to teachers. I guess we've done something right.

Other things we've done right: he loves books and is a great reader, well above his age; he says he loves math and grasps advanced math concepts; I could go on but that would be bragging!

Have a great day today with your child.

Monday, August 18, 2008

2 Days and Counting

I guess you are wondering what happened to the last 5 days!

Thursday: We vegged out at home, then Aunt ZiZi came over
Friday: Play date at Michelle's, then dinner and the Olympics with Dad and ZiZi
Saturday: Slept in! Afternoon at the Manchester pool, see slideshow below
Sunday: House hunting then a small party for Noah's class at school

Today Noah has a close friend playing over. They had a fun spend the night last night and are just playing today. Tonight we will begin our new nighttime routine getting us ready for school. Wish us luck!

Water Fun


Thursday, August 14, 2008

7 Days and Counting

Well, we had a blast today. We met some other parents and kids from Noah's class at Nashville Shores, a local water park. I can report that my Sunshine immediately wanted to hit the big slides. Gulp! No, let's get settled and go potty and do all of those fun things and then evaluate where to go first. In other words, let Mommy put off the big scary slide as long as possible.

He was not to be deterred.

So, after going to the lily pad obstacle course and showing his strength at that, we headed for, gulp, said big scary slide. Of course, I am not going down. But, I did walk him up. Thank goodness, the only dad with our group was up at the top with two of the other kids. Can Noah go down with you? Sure! Whew. So, I hurry back down the four flights of stairs and await my little guy at the bottom in the scary whirlpool at the bottom. After many waves and blown kisses between my very big very brave boy who is at the top and scared Mommy at the bottom, it was his turn. Down, down, down he came and splash. I'm okay. He's okay. He bounced up from the bottom and swam hard to get to the ladder on the side.

Look at you! You did it!

Do you want to go again?

No.

Why?

It hurt my back.

He has done slides before and I know he was not scared. One of the moms had told me the slide hurts your back, so he was telling the truth (as if he would not).

So, we spent the rest of the day swimming, doing the lily pads and then playing mini golf. We are going back this weekend with Nathan so they can do the tube slides. I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8 Days and Counting

Well, the day isn't over but we've had a great time. This morning we went to the dentist and got to watch the Today show in Beijing. It was cool because they featured the tale and artifacts of the Dragon King which we read about in one of our Magic Treehouse books. Noah was very excited. Next we spend around 4 hours at our good friend Tasha's house. Tasha has a daughter and two brand new sons that she homeschools. We met to spend time with them before Noah starts school and to see our friends Brittney and her boys who are moving across country next week. Noah and I are home now vegging out and will probably lie down soon and read together. I am hoping to give him lots of fun and extra squeezes each day over the next week. So, counting down the days - 8 and counting.

Christian the Lion


Okay, everyone in the world has probably seen this, but this is the most touching thing I've seen in a long time. Please watch this remarkable video!

Christian the Lion

Monday, August 11, 2008

Counting the Days - 9 and Counting

Well, nine days to go to the big day. 1st Grade! Last week we had a home visit from Sunshine's 1st Grade teacher, Miss Wang. The visit was wonderful and she is an absolute delight. As much as I want him to go to school, as bored as he is at home and as ready as he is to go....it is so bittesweet.

I cry when I think of him leaving home for (gulp) 7 hours per day. His day is really 6 hours but he will have to stay at school until hour 7 as we are working folk. Well,,,I'll be working soon and Nathan works, so we're working folk.

I know he will thrive in the Waldorf environment and his teacher will give him so much love and so many wonderful experiences, but he is 6 and he is my baby and I cry daily when thinking of his transition.

I want the next week and a half to be the best. He spent the weekend with his grandparents hiking and fishing and playing badmitton. Today we lounged around here reading and playing and he ran in the sprinklers. He is playing with the neighbors now. Check back as we will be counting down the days and relaying our adventures for the day.

I'll leave you with this....we were considering giving Noah a gift to commemorate his 1st day of 1st grade. One of the parents, German, told us of a German tradition of giving a cone filled with gifts on the that special first day. So, that's what we will do. Here is a link to a photo of a kid with a cone. Keep in mind this is a little bigger than we will use! Commercialism at its best. Keeps getting bigger!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mamma Mia


Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, ABBA and a Greek Island. What more can a girl want? Well, to see this movie with her best girlfriends. However, said girlfriends said they would rather "stick hot pokers in their eyes" than see this movie. So, I went with my best guy friend, whose name I shall not mention here.

Well, the opening of the movie was a bit slow and I was a little worried. You would have been, too. But, it soon picked up and what we have is a fabulous musical with some great actors/actresses. Meryl Streep still has the ability to wow me and Pierce Brosnan...well, he was a Bond....enough said.

None of the cast sings very well, but I don't think they are supposed to. The movie was cute and campy and is just a feel good story that all women should see with their best friends, mothers, sisters, etc.

I cried during several parts of the movie and was so moved over watching the main character - Donna - sing about the times she had with her daughter growing up. It may have been a little too close to home for me as I prepare to send Noah off to school in 9 short days. Where has the time gone?

So...see Mamma Mia. My MIL loved it even more than the Broadway version which she loved on Broadway!

See it today.

Dana

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Children

Yesterday I was saddened to learn of the senseless shooting that occured during the worship services of the Tennessee Valley Uniatarion Unviersalist Church in Knoxville, TN. I am saddened by any such tragedy - any such violence - as are most. I cried over Columbine, the shooting of the children in an Amish school, and of course 911. This struck me in a different way, however. This was an attack on a Unitarian Universalist church. So, it really hit home.

Tonight, after returning home from a mournful gathering at my own UU church, I have these thoughts to share.

I prayed today for the congregants of the church. I prayed today for those shot and injured, but who survived the shooting. I prayed today for the friends and family members who lost two beloved souls - one at least who stepped in front of the gunman. I prayed today, yes, for the gunman, whose tortured life drove him to this desperate act. I prayed for each of us, Unitarian Universalist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and more, who know that these things can occur in place of worship, though we pray they do not.

But, mostly, my thoughts and prayers are on the children. You see, the children were putting on a long awaited production of a musical for the congregation. The children were present. They saw the gunman and the shootings. My heart breaks for them - the children who were in what should be the safest place on Earth outside of their own homes have had that safety forever shattered.

Please pray with me for these people today.

Thank you.

www.uua.org for more info.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Flowers

Well, I won't go into too many details as I do not want the children identified on my blog but this is a great story with a happy ending.

We have these two friends, the Flowers, who also have a little girl who is Noah's age. Tasha, the mom, and I met at homeschool PE at the Y and became friends. Noah and their little girl hit it off and became friends as well. Tasha and I realized that we were both in the adoption process which further cemented our friendship. We later found out that her husband works with Nathan. Amazing!

Nearly two years ago this great couple applied to adopt two little boys from foster care. Though there were many roadblocks (mainly due to the ineptitude of the US Foster Care System), it took that long for them to be approved and receive the boys into their home. One boy has been in foster care since age 2 and the other since birth. They are two of many siblings who are all also in foster care due to the birth Mother's inability to care for them. In fact, she voluntarily relinquished custody of at least two of the children. (That's really beside the point but I like to put that in there for those folks out there who may have stumbled across this and think that adoption is never a good choice).

Anyhoo....our friends were able to bring their boys home this week at last and have now added these two little lights into their homes. We are so thrilled for them and their happy ending and pray for a quick and smooth transition for the entire family.

In Review

Good morning all. Well, I can report that I have been up since 4AM. One of our hundreds of cats (just kidding, one of our four cats) woke us up at 4AM crying. This went on for 15 or 20 minutes until I put her in the garage. Upon returning to bed I heard Noah fussing in the next room. I went to check on him and found a child with a very high fever, headache and upset stomach. Oh no. Other than the obvious, which is I feel so sad when he is sick, I have a noon hair appointment, we have an afternoon playdate with our friends who just returned with their new sons (see next post) and we have dinner plans with the Matuseks at Fulin's. So, I was looking for a bright point for my day and was reminded that we are in The Review Room!

What is The Review Room? The review room is the office within the CCAA where our dossier is gone over with a fine tooth comb to be determined if we are qualified to proceed to the next stage of the the adoption process. If we are okayed our file will be moved on to another office where someday it will be matched with an orphan child waiting for a forever family. Or, hopefully, in our case, it will be moved on to be matched soon with a special need or waiting child. This is good news. If we are matched by our agency with a WC, then it is good that we are out of review so we can have our file quickly moved through the rest of the process.

I am very excited about this! This is a good thing. Now, let's cross our fingers and make a wish that our dossier is moved through without any problems. Happy Friday to you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Mudcakes

I have been remiss in my duties as a friend by not posting a link from my blog to my dear friend's website. They are The Mudcakes, also known as Rick and Sherry. Two incredibly talented people who happen to have married and have produced what I am sure are two talented children. I wouldn't know, though, they up and moved from our area to the land of plenty of sun and fun - Australia. To be fair, Sherry is from there, so she has merely returned home.

A few years ago they made one of the best kids CD's I've ever heard and we still do no tire of listening to songs, such as "Poo Party" and "That's A No No." Check out the link above or click on the Mudcakes image on the left to go to the website to hear some of the songs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

2-Wheeler

My story begins a couple of weeks ago. Noah requested that his training wheels be removed from his bike. Okay. I'm a little nervous. Not a very brave child normally, this is sort of going out on a limb. I take them off. That day I was on the upswing from a nasty sinus infection so I only had about 5 minutes in me to push him up and down the driveway trying to get a feel for a 2-wheeler. A couple of times over the next week or so, Nathan works with him a little until one or both of them became frustrated.

Next came Thursday night of last week. It was a lovely night, a little cool. Noah had been playing all day outside with the neighbors and was exhausted but wanted to try the bike again. This time, we do it in the backyard. This is a little tougher but with a softer landing should anything happen. Within four or five tries, Nathan was able to let go of the back of his bike. In an hour, Noah was outside in the cul-de-sac riding confidently in circles. He hasn't looked back.

He was so proud of himself. He really realized that had accomplished a major feat and this really put him in league with the kids out on the street! We are so proud of him. The only downside is his legs will soon be too long for him to ride his bike easily. We bought the cheapest bike we could find as the first bike - the trainer bike. I guess the next one will be serious!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bonnaroo Fun

HI All. Well, we didn't take photos of Noah this year, but we attended the Bonnaroo Music Festival again this year. This year we went for two days which was really challenging with Noah. We were in a booth again, something I don't know that I'll repeat. Noah has gotten to an age where the novelty has worn off and he became bored and really was sort of in the way as he really didn't want to help much this year.

I told Nathan that I want to go back next year but we will stay in a hotel by the farm or perhaps camp for one night. They now provide a family camping area, so that may be an option for us.

Noah loved the ferris wheel again, liked the kid's tent, loved the fountain (though I didn't) and had two days of face painting and really like B.B. King. "I like that B.B. King," he told us after the show. We did too.

I hope we can attend Bonnaroo as long as they offer it. He is definitely the coolest kid around, getting to go. And, in case you are wondering, there are lots of families. For more on Bonnaroo, check out my other blog www.fengshuimama.blogspot.com. Peace and love to you.

Dana

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Hard Decision

I want to start this post by saying that yes, this is sort of about me, about us and about her. We are all a party here. Also, in case you are wondering why I am putting this here, it is a sort of therapy. I have journaled for years and my blog has sort of become that space for me. Also, when we were walking the road toward IA but had not signed on the dotted line, I spent HOURS, I mean HOURS looking at blogs and website of folks who had adopted. I wanted to know if it is just a journey on the Love Train or is the Heartbreak Hotel on our itinerary. I guess you can figure out the answer to that.

So....here's more on the "little star" that has crossed our paths:

Thursday was a rush of internet research, discussions with Nathan, discussions with CHI, and discussions with one of the pediatric doctors and Vanderbilt's International Adoption Clinic. All I can say is to those who say this is a gimmick or VUMC's opportunity at a sure fire money maker - you're probably right - but thank God for those folks. Seriously.

By the end of the day on Thursday, well, around 3:00, Nathan and I had decided that due to a couple of questions that were lingering around this little one's diagnosis and our certainty that we were not equipped to deal with one of the medical possibilities that she may be facing long term, we decided to turn down this referral. I actually think this is the first time that Nathan was as upset as me in regards to this adoption. This is a good thing. So, I called CHI and spoke with Tina and she gave me the chance to ask more questions. I did not think this was possible due to the time restrictions we now have on reviewing these Waiting Children files.

She said, "we can try." And, she did. And, she and the Beijing office came through. They are really dedicated to placing these Special Needs or Waiting Children. It is really amazing. So, on Friday morning, we called the IA clinic and after lunch spoke with the doctor. The prognosis is good. We can't be certain. Here is why it sounds good, here is why we can't be sure. Here are the possibilities. While on the phone with her, I checked my email looking for responses from families who had adopted children with this SN. After our conference call I called one of the families and had a great conversation with her regarding her children and the joys and challenges that are in their lives.

But, when it was all said and done, there was one aspect of medical care that we just did not think we could overcome. I think on Friday morning I was sort of ashamed of this. Here Great Spirit is handing us a beautiful, bright child on a platter and there is this one thing that we can't get past. No, it isn't cosmetic, that we can deal with. This is medical and could pose serious issues in the future depending on the severity. Are we the family that can deal with possible medical intervention in the home? We had to be painfully realistic and search our hearts. No. This little star would be better in a home with another family. And, trust me, another family will adopt her in a heart beat.

When we began this journey, we thought it would be so simple. Well....I don't know if that's true. I know nothing in my life has ever been simple or sure so I probably didn't think that about adoption. I am thankful that we have allowed our path to widen to include a Waiting Child. I know we are forever changed through this process.

Today, I have all of these children in my hearts and on my mind. Our agency is sitting on around 75 kids that are part of a shared list of children. These kids range from infant to 14 or so and are just waiting for a family. Many are older and pray that a family will come for them. They long for a home and a Mother and Father. There are those who are against adoption and really against international adoption. Those folks haven't seen the children. I feel certain that the children with special needs and the older children are there only for political or socio-economic reasons. They were not stolen or sold. There are just too many.

So, we wait. There will be more files and more children. To be honest, I knew. I knew when I first looked at her - before reading anything medical or knowing really the possibilities -- just from her picture that she wasn't ours. Wasn't mine. There are families who say that adoption isn't always love at first site. But there are more that knew from the first moment of seeing their children's faces. And, these are often families who have chosen a child from the WC program. There have been other kids that we have seen photos of and said - she could be part of us. I know that another family will look at this little one and say -yep, she's ours.

So....we are keeping on keeping on. Hope you do too.

Namaste.

We Got the Call

On Thursday "we got the call." In International Adoption, this phrase is a big deal. Well....it's a big deal to us. I had just rolled out of bed and was coughing horribly as I am getting over a sinus infection. The landline was ringing and I couldn't make it there. Whoever it was hung up, so I thought it was my sister as this is her MO. Then, my cell began ringing. Okay, okay.

"Hi Dana it's Tina Qualls with CHI." Holy Cow. It's not even 8:00AM. I hand Nathan the phone due to a coughing fit. "Talk," I manage to get out.

They have a child that they have matched with our SN list and would like for us to review her file. Nathan and I are speechless and standing in the kitchen with huge smiles on our faces. I will not and cannot go into details but she is recovering from surgery to repair a fairly serious birth defect. She is beautiful and bright and the orphanage was literally gushing over her. So, yes, we will review her file.....

All I can say after all of that, is "Thank you God for giving us this opportunity."

Peace

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Special Needs Process

Well, as you know over the last 16 months Nathan and I have applied to review the files of several special needs children from our agency's waiting children list. We have yet been chosen to review those files. By chosen I mean chosen by the Universe or our agency. When we originally submitted our dossier to China we said there was absolutely no way we could accept a SN referral. We just aren't equipped for that, right? Almost immediately, however, we began looking at the lists and thought, "okay, we can do this." So, we have poured over the lists and found children that we simply fell in love with through the screen of our computers. The process has changed several times, quite drastically, in fact. It went from first to request first to review to having all of the requests thrown into a hat and one drawn out randomly to the newest format.

This new method is basically a lengthy request of the types of SN we would accept and we have been put in order by our Log In Date and as the children's files become available, we will be matched with a child. We will have the opportunity to turn down a referral but that puts us at the bottom of that list. For example, we requested as one of our SN a child who was near or far sighted. If they match us with that special need and we turn it down, then we get put at the bottom of the near sighted list. We lose our place.

To be honest, this is probably the most fair way to approach these lists though it is more difficult imagining being referred a SN child. I think that is what made it safe for us before. Being able to identify a child and choosing the child. Now, it is more like waiting for a child to be born and just praying for the best. So, that is what we are doing.

Actually, I have been quietly excited over this entire thing. There are only 30 families who have asked to be part of this new process. That is so interesting to me as there were close to 200 who were applying for these kids before. In theory, we probably have only 15 or 20 families ahead of us. We might actually be referred a child this year. The downside of all of this is this is from a Multiple Agency list. So.....in theory there are 3 or 4 agencies attempting to place these children with their families. Though there may only be 15 or 30 families ahead of us in our agency, there are that many at the others as well wanting to adopt these kids.

With all of that said, I am ready to start working on our little ones room. We've put that off now for 2 years (can you believe we started this 2 years ago?) but now I'm ready. I'll post when I pick the bedding for the room and a theme if I have one. Noah's room is a pirate room and is so cute and not over the top. I hope Arwen's room turns out as well.

Keep us in your thoughts as we continue to wait for the greatest gift of the Universe.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Go Figure

This has been a tough week. Nathan was sick over the weekend with what we think was a sinus infections. By Tuesday night I had it and by Wednesday night Noah had it. Wednesday I was blessed by a neighbor who offered to take Noah for the afternoon of swimming. I rested all afternoon and evening. Thursday, Noah was feeling fairly sick and spent the day lying around with me. We read and snuggled and watched a little TV. All was good. Today, we are both feeling better but neither are quite at 100%. I worked around the yard until I finally had to rest. I decided to lie down in my room and told Noah he has to rest in his room but he does not have to nap. I tell him that because I know that he never naps. I mean really, I could nap every day but he naps perhaps once or twice a year at this point. So....I do not go to sleep. I read while I'm resting and an hour later I hear Noah's alarm going off letting him know that the hour is up. I go in to let him know that it is okay if he gets up to play and lo and behold...he is asleep. Can you believe it? I pray daily that he will nap! I am still sick and really wanted to sleep but did not even try today. Oh well...I am able to sit and listen to my new discovery - Hay House Radio. Right now as I work I am listening to Esther and Jerry Hicks - the Law of Attraction folks and am really relaxed. So, I guess it all worked out as it should. I am still relaxed and Noah is getting the rest that he obviously needs to fully recover from this illness.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Charlotte's Web

For quite some time, CW has been a favorite of mine and Noah's. We listen to it regularly in the car and even took him to see the big screen version. A few days ago, I decided that it was not neccessary for Noah to have a large bin of toys and books in the car. He does not have to be entertained 24 hours a day and in fact I think it negatively impacts his listening skills. So, it all went. But, I neglected to take out our new copy of CW that was in a pocket on my seat back.

Being somewhat bored, Noah spotted it and pulled it out and stated, "I'm going to read all of CW to you." Okay. That's what he's been doing. Every day in the car, he reads as much as he can. It is slow going but with a couple of exceptions, he has read it with no help from me. He has gotten stuck on a couple of words, such as "replied" and "sight" but he is doing so well. I am so glad I took everything out of the car.

He loves being read to but has said he hates reading. Now, he says, "Mom, I love to read!" A good day, folks, and a good feeling.

Peace Out.

Dana

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Movies

Last night we went to see "Horton Hears A Who." It was really very good. We all loved it and had a great time. Next on our list is "Kung Fu Panda." It looks very funny. I'm not a huge Jack Black fan, but think I can tolerate him as he is in disguise as lovable panda. All of the drive ins around here will be playing it so we are taking Noah to the drive in.

You remember the drive in, don't you? I am sure it is far more sophisticated than it was when we were kids, but still fun, regardless. I'll keep you posted after we go about the movie and the experience. You can hop over to my other blog Feng Shui Mama to find out what movies (and books) that Dana - not Mommy - will be seeing and reading this summer!

Namaste.

Dana

Brisinger

I am so thrilled. I just saw at our local Books A Million that Christopher Paolini will be releasing the 3rd in the Eldest series on September 20. I am just thrilled. Did I say that already? This is a compelling book series by a young author. Paolini is now 25 but wrote the first book when only 15. I'll admit, the first one is obviously a first book and is heavily influenced by Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and possibly by the Terry Goodwin books (hopefully not). But, an amazing book nonetheless. The second book was obvious written by a more mature author getting into his own groove. So, I know this one will be great.

These are not book for 6 year olds, unfortunately. I can't wait until Noah is old enough to share these fantasy fiction books with me. I would recommend these for perhaps an 11 year old and up. Maybe a 10 year old if they are mature and have great reading comprehension.

Here is a link to the website so you can check it out for yourself: Alagaesia.

Well, happy reading to you and "may your sword stay sharp."

Dana

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

School....Here We Come!

Well, we did it. After months of agonizing over what is the best choice to give Noah the best environment in which to learn and grow through education, we have enrolled Noah in our local Waldorf school. You may recall that he attended preschool there two days per week prior to keeping him home for two years. He really loved it there but for many reasons we decided to keep him home, namely we felt we owed it to ourselves and to him to give homeschooling a try as we really do believe it to be an incredibly valid option for our children.

We have basically completed his kindergarten year and we had many ups and downs. All I can say is when it was good it was great and when it was bad....boy was it. Noah is incredibly gifted and empathic and also very strong willed. As his Mother, of course, I can handle it. But, we promised ourselves that if Noah was not thriving and loving it and if I was not loving it, we would enroll him in school.

Truthfully, I love educating Noah. And, that will not end (there are always Summers!) As his parents, it is our duty and our promise to always further his education in any way we can. But, Noah is so much happier when surrounded by peers and at this age he is desperately trying to establish his independence from Mom, just as it should be. I think that is the part that breaks my heart. But, never fear, I have put my stamp upon him!

I have realized this week that I want to educate him spiritually and emotionally and help him grow in those ways to be the best person he can be. It is difficult to do that when my focus is on teaching him to read. I am hopeful that by allowing someone else to educate him from 9 to 3 that he and I can focus on his spiritual training, which is something that he loves discussing. The mention of God brings tears to his eyes and he can spot a Buddha a mile away.

I am thrilled about his teacher. She is a fabulous Chinese woman who decorates her room with Chinese characters. I am told she teaches her students Chinese, though Spanish is what the school teaches officially. I really think this will be a great fit.

So, there will be new types of adventures for me to post on my blog once school starts. For now, I am anxiously awaiting summer camp to begin...................

Friday, May 16, 2008

What's Going On?

In an effort to simplify my life online I have combined my two obsessions. Noah and our adoption. So, here it is in a nice little package with this fabulous template I found! I love it! So, check it out. I've moved all of my old posts here, too! So, have fun and happy blogging.

Dana

Checking In

Friday, May 16, 2008

Checking In (May 6, 2008)

Hi All,

Well, I have not posted in a while. I'm just checking in really for those of you reading my blog. I was asked today in an online adoption forum how I'm doing with the wait. To be honest, it's becoming very tiring. I think I was fine until we reached the 1 year anniversary of our Log In Date to the CCAA which was 2-12-08 (the anniversary).

After requesting countless Waiting Children files and not getting the chance to review them, I've been getting a little sadder each month about the wait.

The upside to the wait....fewer children are being abandoned in China, Chinese domestic adoption has increased substantially in the last year or so, and more Special Needs/WC are being adopted by American families.

The downside....the wait. We know there are still thousands of children awaiting families in China (and elsewhere) but due to government rules being tightened by all parties, the wait to adopt orphans has grown all around the world. If only the overall need would decrease. Then, that would truly be a reason to celebrate the wait.

For us, we are trying to patiently await the gift of a little girl. At this point, we are hoping from an infant up to around age 4. I think Noah thinks it will never happen. I am hoping to start on decorating the nursery over the summer. I'm planning right now for a big girl. We'll set up for an child that no longer needs a crib. That can be added later. Of course, we'll sleep with her so it won't matter!

So...that's where we are right now. Just waiting. Thanks for asking. Hope your day and your life is going well.

Dana

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

Well, it started as a normal day....

I was up at the crack of dawn (not really, I slept in until about 6:30 today!). Eventually Noah and Nathan joined me and we all had a light breakfast as we were going to be having brunch at my parent's house around 10:30.

But, as things go, our plans changed. 10 days ago Noah picked up a tick. We did not discover it until about 4 days later. Fast forward to today....the tick bite has turned red and ugly. After scouring the internet for information on ticks (we do live in the hot South after all), we loaded up and headed for the ER.

They could neither confirm nor deny that Noah had indeed been bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease or some other foul tick manifestation, but we walked away with a week and half's prescription for a pretty strong antibiotic, two actually, one to be taken orally and one to be used topically.

Not all was lost, though. The visit to the ER really only lasted a couple of hours. We were then off to Fazoli's for lunch where moms eat free on Mother's Day and then on to the Frist where Noah tried to find each of his favorite painter's work (Picasso). He LOVES Picasso.

Really. He really enjoys art and has a wonderful time at art galleries. It must be in the genes. Happy Mother's Day to each of you. To those of you who have children, those who are Mother's in their hearts to future children and to all women who embody the Mother aspect of the great Goddess, Mother to us all.

Blessed Be

Mom

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

Hi All,

Well, here's what you've been waiting for! Our trip to Walt Disney World in sunny Orlando, Florida:

Schedule:
4-17: Nathan leaves for Disney World
4-18: Nathan's SANS conference begins
4-21: Mom and Noah leave for Disney World - stop in Macon to spend night
4-22: Nathan still in class; Mom and Noah arrive at hotel - The Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort; the entire family strolled the boardwalk during the evening and then had dinner with Goofy and Pluto
4-23: Nathan still in class; Dana and Noah play mini-golf and hang out by the pool; we journey by bus to Mickey's Pirate and Princess Party in the Magic Kingdom - and what magic it was!
4-24: Nathan still in class - last day, hooray; Mom and Noah journey to Downtown Disney where we visited the Lego store; Nathan and Noah spend the evening playing golf while mom heads for the fabulous Mandara Spa for some massage, a pedicure and a bonus of Reiki! What a treat finding a masseuse who knows Reiki.
4-25: Seaworld!
4-26: Animal Kingdom!
4-27: Magic Kingdom and Epcot!
4-28: Home again.

Well, that was our schedule. We had a great time. The first couple of days were sort of relaxing. Noah and I took it easy. Good thing, too. Nathan injured his back and he and I were up several nights in a row dealing with his pain. We finally had to call the doctor and he was given pain medicine which finally relaxed him and allowed him to ease up his muscles. That's what happens, I guess when you lug around 2 laptops for several days.

Overall we had a great time. Everything is horribly expensive but the look on Noah's face during much of the time was so worth every penny spent. We loved all of it. But, we were so exhausted when we arrived home. In fact, today is Friday and I am still tired. I even took a 2 hour nap today!

We will hopefully go back when Noah is around 11 or 12 and have a younger child along for the fun. By then Noah will be able to ride some of the bigger things with Nathan, but Nathan had fun riding the kids stuff too. We loved the Safari ride in the Animal Kingdom. I'm very glad we did it.

Our only real regret is we did not have a day of downtime at the pool as a family. We'll definitely plan that next time. This time we were sort of on someone else's schedule and really could not do an extra day. As it was, Nathan was out of the office for 2 full weeks.

So, here are some photos. I hope you enjoy them!

Dana

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

Here are a few random photos from our DW trip.

Noah took this great photo of Nathan and I outside of our hotel our first night there together.


This is Noah and I watching a funny magician on the Boardwalk near our hotel.



Here is Goofy, Noah and I at the Garden Grove: AKA horrible restaurant. Thank goodness Goofy and Pluto were there.


Noah is showing me that his golf lessons are paying off here at Fantasia's Garden near our hotel.


Finally, here is a picture of our hotel. The fabulous WDW Dolphin resort. A great place to be.

Mickey's Pirate and Princess Party

Mickey's Pirate and Princess Party

These pics are from Mickey's Pirate and Princess Party. This was so much fun. It was a nighttime extra in the Magic Kingdom focused on all things piratey and princess. Here is our pirate below:


I'm a little embarrassed to say the castle brought tears to my eyes.



Here are Noah and I on Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride.


The guys in the Tea Cups! Nathan loves these!

Here are my guys watching the Pirate and Princess parade. Notice Noah changed his pirate hat for Mickey's sorcerer hat.

Sea World

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sea World

I'm not posting many pics, but we had a great time at Sea World. When we get back to Orlando - say in 5 or 6 years - we will definitely do this park again. Here are some of my faves:





The Wildest Animal in the Kingdom

The Wildest Animal in the Kingdom

We couldn't believe it. Noah wanted to get his face painted. This was so unlike him. He is usually a little too nervous to do this type of thing. Here is our "Little Tiger." Roar!