True Love: The feeling when you first look in your child's eyes, the tiny little hand gripping your finger, and you can't imagine your life without him or her.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


*Immunization Day*

We spent 2 1/2 hours getting our immunizations today. L-O-N-G process! Of course, the actual shots took hardly any time at all - it was all the stupid paperwork. Matt & Tommy ended up getting two shots each. Xandra & I, thankfully, only needed one each. All told, I suppose it went alright... except the cost! The place we went charged us... well, let's just say there are a LOT of things I wish I could have spent that money on!! And I mean a lot: new electronics, a new wardrobe, new flooring... You get the idea. I'm hoping to be able to get some of that money back after we submit a claim to insurance. 

We also had to stop to get more passport photos taken. We already have all of our passports, but no one told us to get extra photos for the visas! (Thanks Agency!) So that's done & now we need to apply to get  the visas. We're getting so close!!

~I realize that I've been slacking a bit on pictures again. Sorry!! But I figure, at least I'm posting updates, even if they only include stock pics. So I chose the lesser of "2 evils." I'm hoping to get some new pics this weekend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Day :)

Has it really been almost a week since I've posted? Goodness! I've been so very busy studying for yet another Anatomy exam, time once again got away from me. There are only a few more exams left in that class (THANK YOU!!). I got started studying just a few days ago, and decided last night that I was not ready to take the exam at my regularly scheduled class time of 9:30. I switched my exam time to 1:00 this afternoon (thankfully, my teacher is flexible on this sort of thing), and spent the extra time cramming. Thank goodness I did!!! I got the best grade I've ever received on an Anatomy test! It wasn't as good as I'd like, but it was pretty awesome! :D

Some other good news: we had a call with our agency yesterday to go over some preliminary travel information. Initially, I was once again disappointed in our agency. A few weeks back, Matt scheduled an event at the beginning of May because we just didn't know when we'd get our TA, or how long it would take to get everything ready to travel once we did get it. So, our agency wants us to leave out on a Friday, to arrive in Shanghai Saturday. Then our "Gotcha Day" will be the following Monday. We spend a week in Shanghai, then head off to Guangzhou for the 2nd week. No where in this tentative itinerary was anything about seeing some of the "tourist-y" sites. No Great Wall. No Forbidden City. No Tiananmen Square. No Olympics Stadium. I was really disappointed! I can learn a lot about Milo's country from the internet, but there is absolutely nothing that compares to seeing it in real life, in person. We were told the only way we could see these things was to leave nearly a week early, which is unfortunately not possible for us.

Now, I know that we will get to see & explore the most important city in Milo's life- Shanghai. For that, I will be forever grateful. But I so wanted to see some of the rest of his country. We thought briefly about staying afterward, and try to tour with Milo in tow. We were strongly advised against that plan. I understand the reasons (a lot of stress on a little boy who barely knows us + the extra time away from home for the rest of us). So, we've backed off of the touring idea. I told Matt that just means I'll be pushing him to go back for another adoption - hey! Xandra needs a sister!! ;-)

Friday, March 25, 2011


Xandra announced the other day that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. I was blown away. I think that would be so awesome. I think she'd be very good at it... at least by her doll-teaching standards. :) 
(She's got some cookie remnants on her mouth...)
She is very focused when she is "teaching" her dolls. She has all the patience in the world. And she is very caring. It makes me so proud of her. As I spy on listen to her, I hear all the phrases that she's learned from her incredible teachers at pre-K. I snuck in tonight & caught a few pics of her before she noticed. 

What makes me even happier about this, is knowing what an incredible big sister she will be. I have no delusions that there will be plenty of sibling rivalry. Our quiet little home will soon become very chaotic. :) As the oldest of five kids myself (I'm older by a range of 7-12 years to the rest of my brothers & sister), I know what it will be like for her to be a big sister. I hope I'll be able to help her, but I don't think I'll be needed a whole lot! She's got a good head on her shoulders. She's made this parenting thing way too easy! Most of the time, she takes care of me! ;) I love that girl of mine!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When You Ask A Dumb Question...

...like "Does Life Ever Slow Down?" (see previous post)- you get an answer! 

TA, originally uploaded by aleigh220.

I had just finished studying/cramming for my AP Practical (exam over respiration & digestion: cadavers, models, charts, & cellular structures). I was waiting in the hallway outside of the lab when my phone rang. I looked down to see our case worker's name & answered. She told me we got our TA today, and I started crying... there, in front of all my other classmates. This is the first time that I totally didn't care about being embarrassed. I took my test & rushed home to tell Matt.

We still need to get our "gotcha" day appointment & consulate appointment before we can book our tickets. But it's looking good for early May travel! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Does Life Ever Slow Down?

Once again, those nasty little details in daily life have taken over! Does that ever stop? Or does it just get worse? Today was my first down-time in a long time. And that includes my so-called spring break. 

Technically, I probably shouldn't have considered today a free day - I've got yet another Anatomy Practical Exam coming up in 2 days that I really need to focus on... But I had such a huge Monday, I had to relax a bit. So, now that I've piqued your interest in my Monday... I'll tell you about it! :)

Mondays are my busy, long day. I have all five classes on Mondays. I had 2 quizzes (Patient Care & Wellness), a Physics exam, and a group presentation in Speech class. L-O-N-G day! Amazingly, I think I did well on all of it. But I was incredibly exhausted after all that! That explains my "day off."

Matt & I got to have a lunch date today. :) Matt is still feeling like crud (he ended up going back to the doc for the 2nd time in 2 weeks), but I still love being able to spend so much time with him! He decided last night that he's going to run for our city council! I'm so excited! I try really hard not to get into politics on my blog, but I LOVE politics!! I love watching the yelling pundit shows, I love political podcasts, and I love screaming at the t.v. during the news & speeches. Hey- it's a hobby! :) All of the above listed things totally tick Matt off. He hates most of those things- especially the yelling at the t.v. thing. Anyway, we've got yet another thing to add to our ever-growing To-Do List. Now we have to  kick-start Matt's campaign. 

Well, these pictures really don't have anything to do with my topic, but it's all I've got! 
Here' s another showcase of Xandra's emerging attitude. Cute, huh? The red mark on her cheek isn't a scratch - it's marker. 

Here she is a few minutes later- back to giggles. It can be like Jekyll & Hyde over here sometimes!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fun in the Sun!!

I probably should have said "Fun in the Sun & WIND!!" It was the nicest day we've had this year, but sooo windy! Still, Xandra couldn't resist playing for a bit on the deck (we wouldn't let her in the grass just yet because it's so soggy still). 
 A couple days ago, Xandra was playing around in her pj's & I couldn't resist this pic! She just makes it too easy!! 

Full disclosure: I'm starting to get jealous that I'm never in the pictures! So I did a self-portrait with my girl the other day. I'm usually my own worst critic (who isn't??), but I kind of like this one! :) 

What Would You Do?

I'm going to preface this link: I don't usually watch these shows. I don't like them. While I know they attempt to portray some real situations, I usually end up feeling as though they go a bit overboard & tend to exaggerate the situation they want people to react to. Maybe I'm just naive thinking this way. At any rate, I don't really care for this show. 

We had to watch this clip in our Speech/Communications class earlier this week. It was heartbreaking. Thankfully, the lights were turned off in the classroom because I actually started tearing up (again, these are the times I hate being a girl!). All I could think of was Milo. Granted, he (thankfully!) doesn't have Down Syndrome. But this does illustrate just how much prejudice there is in our society. It also showed me how many people silently condone this behavior. Because if we don't stand up for others- if we remain silent while others act this way- it's the same as agreeing with them. I don't mean to go on another rant, but this video just made me sick. :(

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daddy's Little Helper

A future mechanic? Maybe not that far... but hopefully a girl who can fix her own car! Xandra has discovered a new love for hanging out with Daddy in the garage. I think Daddy might like it even more than Xandra does. He's been looking for something they could do together, although Xandra usually just ends up playing games on the Ipod while she sits out there. It's still some nice time spent together. 
Xandra & Daddy really needed this quality time together tonight- Xandra's minor illness yesterday somehow resulted in her being really cranky today. Couple that with our on-going project of working with Xandra to stay dry during her nap time (yes, she still takes one almost religiously). It's been an icky day. 

Daddy decided a major bribe was in order. Xandra had found a snow cone machine in a catalog & showed it to Daddy a few days ago. So he promised her he would get it for her if she could stay dry. Here's where the communication broke down between them. This is a major bribe - we're coming from M&M's & H*rshey Kisses. Matt told Xandra that she would need to stay dry consistently (like she knew what that word meant!) for 6 naps. Another big communication breakdown: we're only talking about weekend nap times. At school, she's perfect- always dry. It's only at home that we have the issue. 

This was all way too complicated for Xandra to understand. It's even hard for me to describe! Xandra totally believed with her entire being that Daddy had said if she stayed dry today, she would get that snow cone machine. She stayed dry today & was devastated that that machine was not waiting for her! She's been very mad at both of us (even though I was not a party to this deal!) for most of the day. It's been a frustrating day. 

She finally perked up when she got to join Daddy in the garage. She was even cooperative getting ready for bed! YEA, garage time! :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thoughts & Prayers...

These are the images we woke up to this morning...

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit very near Tokyo, Japan. It resulted in a massive tsunami that not only wiped out many of Japan's cities, but also hit many other countries including the US. The destruction is unimaginable. Unthinkable. Horrific. Thousands are missing. My heart goes out to them. My thoughts... My prayers... It's shocking. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not Another Illness!

Our normally pretty healthy little girl has had one heck of a rough winter! It's been one illness after another after another. I can't even count how many times she's had strep throat! It's been very frustrating. 

So Xandra came home from school & started playing with her baby dolls, per normal. Then she decided she wanted to sit on my lap & I realized she was cold as an ice cube! I flipped the fire on (love that gas fireplace!) & grabbed a blanket to snuggle up with her. After a while she warmed up. But now she feels too warm. Like maybe fever warm. And of all times for this to happen, my thermometer battery is dead! So, I can only guess that she has a fever. She's not *burning* up, but she does feel warm. And another tell-tale sign that she's not feeling great: she didn't want to eat dinner - she just wants to lay on her beanbag with a blanket. Hmmmmm. Very frustrating. 

I Can SEE!

I had Lasik surgery this morning! I've been looking forward to this surgery for over a year! I could see instantly, though my eyes burned a bit. I came home & took my mandatory 2 hour nap (ahhhh!). When I woke up, my eyes felt lots better. Other than wearing these spider-man looking goggles (a total fashion statement!), I'm feeling pretty good & I can see! This is wonderful! I'm so excited to get these goggles off tomorrow so I can walk around & look at everything! More than anything, I want to see my son with my now perfect eyes!!

I really hope that Matt is able to get this for himself. He's a bit nervous about it, but I know he'd love it! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where Has My Baby Gone?

Pretend she's not slightly grinning. Imagine her with a disgusted look - that's what we've seen way more often that I'd like. 

The last few days have brought a realization I was so hoping to put off for at least 5 more years (if not more)... My baby girl has been replaced with the makings of a pre-teen. The ATTITUDE she has been showing is absolutely ridiculous! All of a sudden, we're hearing loud sighs, huffs & puffs, smacking her leg in protest, and back-talk. I've heard a lot of "Whatever Mom!" I knew it was coming, but I really didn't expect it for a while. And not to this extent. I'm just not prepared. I've got to nip this while it's still new, so she doesn't think she can get away with this! 

She may look cute... but we know better! 

OH! & the negotiator she's become!! I think she may be a future lawyer! 
"Xandra, it's time to get your pj's on." 
"I just want 2 more minutes!" 
"Xandra, it's been 2 minutes, now it really is time to get ready for bed." 
"Mommy! I just need to brush baby's hair!" 
Grrrr!! What happened to my baby girl who hung on my every word and followed the rules? I know I've been spoiled by having such an incredibly easy child to raise. Seriously. She really is a natural rule-follower. At least she was before this 'thing' took over her body. I miss my sweet little girl!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Today marks 14 days waiting for our TA (travel approval). That's really not a long time in adoption-speak. But it feels like an eternity. The earlier we can get our TA, the better deal we can work out with our airline tickets. While most families will travel as quickly as possible once they receive their TA (sometimes within 2 weeks or less!), we will need to wait until early May because of my school semester. 

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