Friday, March 30, 2007

Rumor Update for Friday morning...

Today's rumor is this:

"So we have it from several sources that packages are expected and may even be in the US mail system as early as some point today. Of course they have many stops along the way--plane, truck, van--all the way to your agency. It is going to be tough to tell exactly when the packages will arrive but rest assured the stork is working hard for all of us and it is just a matter of time now. Saturday arrivals at agency doors is not known at this point but I would say it would be a very lucky agency who got them on Saturday. Monday noonish is looking a whole lot better."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Maybe Monday?

Online adoption sites are buzzing with rumors that the referral packages are on their way from China. At 1 PM today, it was reported that the matches were in the air! Then, a later post clarified that they were still on the ground in China but soon departing. IF these rumors are true, it is possible that The Call could come as early as Monday!!! Stay tuned...we'll try to post some news as soon as we have basic info from the call. Full details and photos will come later in the day.

Disclaimer: These are only RUMORS. No guarantee until the phone rings. If it doesn't happen Monday, just keep your fingers crossed for Tuesday. And please, there's no need for all of us to lose sleep over this...I'll be losing enough for all of us! (I slept in 5-minute increments between 3:30 and 6 this morning.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Construction Completed!

I have finally finished the construction of E's desk! It has certainly been a learning project. Hopefully the next one will be easier to build and a better job. And as challenging as it has been I'd rather build the next project than paint this one! I will have to disassemble a lot of it to make the paint job look better and then get it all back together in E's bedroom. She'd like it to be a light pink color of course, but mom and dad think something more neutral will be the way to go.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The 100 Wishes Quilt top!

Hooray...the quilt top is DONE! Here it is...see if you can find your square!

And here's EJ relaxing on it...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Healthy Chinese Food?

This story made the news this week, discussing how Chinese food really isn't very healthy for you, thanks to all the fried food and sodium. Darn...I thought I could lose those last few pounds while in China. Of course, when I traveled to Moscow in the early 90s, I lost 10 pounds in 10 days - and I ate at least one meal a day at either McDonald's or Pizza Hut!

Quilt Update

OK, I got a LOT of sewing done in the last week, and the quilt top is nearly complete! I just finished cutting the last few squares. I had miscounted somewhere along the way and was missing three background squares, but they are all ready to go now, so there's no excuse. I think I'll lock myself in the attic for an hour or two tomorrow and finish it. I built the top by building large blocks of about 20-30 squares each, so I just need to finish up those few squares and then sew the 12 big blocks together. Check back tomorrow night - hopefully, there will be a pic to greet you!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Community Day at school

All the 2nd graders at EJ's school celebrated Community Day today. Over the last two months, they have learned a lot about the history of our town. Today, the summed it all up by having a parade around the school (complete with a firetruck and police car), showing off their dancing and singing talent, and then taking us back to their classrooms to show off their projects. We got to see brochures they designed and lots of artwork, including sculpture, drawings of their neighborhoods, and even computer graphics of some of the landmarks in town. It was a really nice presentation.

For chorus they did a rendition of "This Land is Your Land" with the words "This town is our community":

Next up was a circle dance:

Doing her Vanna White impression to show off her sculptures (the one on the left is our house, and the one on the right is her):

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Our seasonal resident is back

Here's a photo I took on Sunday of a red-winged hawk in our yard. Each year, in early- to mid-March, at least one of these guys shows up and nests in the tall trees in the front of our property. This one isn't nearly as big as the one we saw last year. We learned from the Audobon Society that they return to the same area each year, and that they have several nests - one for their young, one for eating, etc.

Let's just say that the local chipmunk population has severely declined in the last few years...

And here's a picture I snapped two years ago of one hawk swooping in on the other:

EJ's Leprechaun Trap

It all started in Kindergarten, when Miss Shannon, EJ's art teacher did a project where the kids created fairy houses outdoors. When the kids took their naps that day, the fairy came and left shiny stones in each of their houses. Every few weeks, EJ decides to build another fairy house and then it has to remain standing for days or even weeks until the fairies come and leave her a token. Sometimes, it's a pretty bead. Sometimes it's a coin. Anyway, Dad wonders when she'll outgrow this fairy thing, but hey, there are worse things than having an active imagination.

This week, however, brought on the idea of a leprechaun house, and then...a trap to catch the leprechaun!!! As you can see from these photos, the Welcome sign is to lure the little guy in. He's supposed to jump up on the butter containers, see the gold coin hanging from the straw and several more coins in the box, and when he jumps to get the coin, he falls in and won't be able to get out.

Unfortunately, the leprechaun hasn't fallen for it yet. He did leave a quarter when he visited the other night. Last night, as K and I were watching TV, the hanging coin did fall from the straw, but alas, he was too quick and got away before we saw him or could shut him in the trap. We reset the bait and went to bed, but no leprechauns again today.

I hope the leprechaun trap isn't a permanent fixture in my family room until the Easter Bunny visits!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blarney, it snowed!

We had a whopping 12 inches of snow between yesterday afternoon and this morning. It might have been more had we measured before the sleet started early this morning. No dance class last night, no gymnastics class this morning, but we are going to venture out for some Italian food tonight (no corned beef for us)!

Anyway, here are a few shots I just took of EJ in the snow. She went down her slide to push all the snow on it into a pile at the bottom, then decided to take another plunge into the snow. These were taken with our new digital camera from our porch deck to the swingset - about 50 feet.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

March Madness

March Madness is one way to qualify life in our house for the next few weeks. There are so many things to do before this baby arrives. And after nearly two years, selecting a name is still one of them.

Here is a grid you can use to select the name of your choice (note I said "your choice", not our choice)! These are all names that we've discussed in the last few months. I wouldn't say we're down to the Final Four yet...maybe the Elite Eight? Definitely the Sweet Sixteen. And I know the basketball tournament starts with 64 teams, but really, 32 names should be enough to select from, right?

Click here to get a copy of the grid. Print it out (just click the print button on your browser), and select your preferred choice from the pairs, until you have the final two, then narrow it down to one. Have fun. Please send us your final name in the comments.

Quilt layout

I played around with the layout of quilt squares last night. Can you find one of yours?

Aunt C suggested I place the darker-colored squares on the edge of the heart so that the design stands out. I still need to do some shuffling to get similar colors together. Now, just plop it all on a beige/pink background and put some pink stripes around the edge. Should be done by next week, right? (Just kidding...)

Oh yeah, see the bright pink post-it note in the upper left-hand corner. Just ignore that - it's a placeholder for Mom and Dad H's embroidered panda...I haven't trimmed it to size yet.

If you're counting, I think there are more than 100 squares included. As I mentioned, I received about 135 different fabrics. I want to make sure that I include as many as possible in the quilt. I think I'm going to remove the four in the middle from Aunt B and Uncle H to the four corners of the quilt, since they tell an interesting story. That will let me squeeze in a few more! And remember, extra squares won't go to waste - they will become lap quilts for the baby in the car and pillows!

I won't eat it!

Yeah, I know it's 6 A.M., and I didn't even go to bed until midnight, but I have been awake since 5, so I figured I might as well get up and do something productive. My mind was racing with everything I want to do this weekend...guess it's going to be a long 3-4 weeks, huh?

Last night for dinner, we made broccoli-cauliflower quiche. EJ doesn't care for it, despite the fact that she loves both veggies and scrambled eggs, but there's something about them all together and baked in a pie crust with cheese that she finds completely repulsive, even when we give it a fun name like Eggie Pie! I mean, this is the girl who tells everyone that asparagus and brussel sprouts are her favorite foods.

Being the super parents that we are, we insisted that she eat a few bites. I mean, how is she going to learn to like new foods if she doesn't at least TRY them? Actually, trying quiche isn't a new thing. We make her do it about every 6-8 weeks. She doesn't like it any better today than she did three years ago, but on the other hand, it hasn't killed her yet either.

This is her defiant "I'm not going to eat it" look:

Swallowing the first bite is always the worst:

But she recovered nicely...

And just so you know, she didn't go to bed hungry or anything. She also finished off some leftover Chinese food from the night before.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Official update from our agency

Someone at work asked me today about official confirmation of the cutoff date from Monday's matches and I realized that I never posted it! The cutoff on the website for the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) does say 10/24/05. Our agency's message only confirmed through 10/14, as they had no one with applications dated between 10/15 and 10/24. However, we know that they have at least sixteen applications dated 10/25 and 10/26, so we should be part of a pretty large travel group!

Our agency had matches for six families this month, all girls from the Sichuan and Hunan provinces. The ages of the girls were between 11 and 15 months. There are eight families from our agency in China now. They received their children on Sunday evening and report that everyone seems to be adjusting well. The families who were matched in early February got their travel authorizations, and they may leave as early as next week. They are traveling a little sooner than expected, as there is a LARGE trade fair in Guangzhou in April that apparently causes havoc with travel schedules (think no flights, no hotels, etc.)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Quilt Update

I'm sure you're all wondering why you haven't seen a picture of the completed quilt! The truth is that I haven't sewn a single stitch on it yet. Just keeping up with all of the fabric collection has been grueling. As you know, I scanned each piece of fabric and posted it here. Then, I had to wash and dry it all so that it would pre-shrink. And since some of it did shrink so much, I ended up trimming the 6 inch squares to 5.5 inches. And some folks sent larger pieces of fabric so that I could cut the square myself.

And then, there was the selection of the background fabric (two beige fabrics with pink accents that will be laid out in checkerboard fashion), and two shades of coordinating pink fabrics for the edge strips. Hmmm...let's hope we really are getting a girl! These fabrics had to be washed, dried, ironed, and cut into long 5.5 inch strips. Many thanks to Aunt C for showing me a few shortcuts on my cutting!

I've lost count, but I think I received something like 130-135 unique fabrics for the quilt! Wow! I never expected that many. Many people sent multiple patterns, so I'm trying to make sure that at least of each person's squares are included in the quilt. The extra squares will be made into small lap quilts for in the car and pillows.

The 100 squares that I use in the quilt will be laid out in a heart shape. I hope to lay them all out on the floor and have the design ready to go by Saturday. Perhaps I can capture a photo of that to update you all this weekend. I need an excuse to play with the new digital camera K bought today for our trip. He also picked up a new videocam at the same time. The videocam (digital tape) is smaller than our old digital camera. And the new digital camera is the size of a deck of cards. Gotta love technology. Anyway, we're taking them both for a test drive, as either can be returned within 10 days if we're not satisfied, so I need to focus on that over the weekend too, I guess.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The last of the fabric?

I received two more fabric swatches this week from my cousin M and his wife R in PA. I'm not sure, but if I had to guess, I think they picked this fabric with grapes because they were married (on my birthday in 2005!) at a vineyard.

This next fabric must be reflective of M's exotic travels. He has visited some amazing places, and rumor has it that he and R are on their way to Africa soon. Is it true?!?!

Monday, March 5, 2007

ARGH...We missed the cutoff date!

Well, it's officially another month of waiting. The adoption matches came in from China today, and as I predicted, we missed it...BY ONLY TWO DAYS!! The cutoff date was 10/24, and we're 10/26.

The good news is...WE ARE NOW CERTAIN THAT WE'RE IN THE NEXT ROUND!!! The next matches should be in in 4 to 6 weeks, so stay tuned. That means we would depart for China somewhere between mid-May and early-June.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Pics from winter vacation

How we spent our winter vacation:

First, we went tubing at King Pine. Sorry, no photos this year, but I can share this one from last year!

Later that night, we went to Moat Mountain Smoke House and Brewing Company. We highly recommend the curried crab and corn chowder, the chili, and the longhorn nachos (barbecued beef brisket and cheese). Yum.

We stayed at the new Hampton Inn in North Conway, NH. It has an indoor waterpark! We even saw our former next-door neighbors there, so EJ had a friend to play with.

Here's EJ coming down the slide:

And here she is under the raining mushroom:
On Friday, we had a whopping 12 inches of snow. It snowed ALL DAY LONG. So, we went over to LLBean and the other outlets. It was great - no crowds at all! Friday night, we went to another great restaurant, Bellini's, for some delicious pasta. My dish literally had a half pound of homemade fettucine and two meatballs the size of baseballs.
This morning, after breakfast, we ran into C-More the penguin from the Cranmore ski resort.

After lunch at one of our favorite spots, Horsefeathers, we drove down to our favorite campground on Lake Ossipee and did some snowshoeing around their property. We saw lots of snowmobilers zipping around on the trails. We ventured out onto the lake, which looked to have at least 12 inches of ice on it, topped by yesterday's 12 inches of snow!

EJ was a little exhausted and decided to collapse on the snowbank to rest.

And then, a nice woman came along and offered to take a family photo for us. It was a great weekend!