Monday, April 29, 2013

Enjoying The Weather

We've had some really nice weather this past weekend so my kiddos decided to enjoy it!

They put on their swimming suits and Brianna got out water balloons, buckets, and squirt bottles.

I love the expression on Lily's face as she's getting sprayed by Brianna:

Brianna looking all pretty in the sun...hard to believe she'll be 12 this summer! She looks so innocent here...until she chases the littles all over the drive-way threatening to douse them with water!

It truly cracks me up when people who've adopted babies from China get so upset at some of the people thinking all boys know kung-fu, etc. Well, if you've ever adopted a boy THIS age from China...guess what? Yep, they know some moves! I mean, seriously...look at the fierceness in that face! Johnny means business! Not one day has gone by where he's not throwing punches and kicks in the air! When I break out my camera, it's the first thing he does!

Ok, so anyway...yeah, no words really. This is Brianna squirting water in Lily's belly-button. Sigh.

Lily looks pretty fierce with those balloons, huh?

This is why her nickname is Jelly-belly :)

That face...

Brianna got serious about the water at some point. Look at the determination in those eyes...yep, Johnny and Lily were done for:

Poor Lily!

I love how Lily just hides her face knowing what's about to happen!!

She got Johnny too...

And then finished off the day by dousing herself...what a good sport!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Finally, some sun!!

I have been WAITING for this in complete desperation!!



It has been so cold here...March and most of April were 
just. plain. cold.

It's as if spring never happened, until...

We went outside two days in a row...right now, that's 
a miracle, y'all!!

I feel like I've been in a cave for 6 months!

More pics to come and more adoption updates...right now, I need to get my kids going here and get to church!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013




I800a approval!!!

This means OFFICIALLY that my fingerprints, my home study, everything...has been approved by the USCIS and once I receive that notice, I will send it, along with my other adoption documents, to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago for their stamp of approval...and then everything gets sent to China! Woo Hoo!!

To be honest, I think my USCIS officer decided to approve me because he was so sick of me calling. I know, I can be irritating, but if it works, right?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Well, Crud

I think my USCIS officer is busy...or locked in a closet and can't get out...or maybe he's...

playing Legos:

Or maybe he's taking a break, eating cheese balls from a container as big as his body:

Maybe he's baking, and forgot about my I800a application:

Or maybe he's doing what I'm doing...looking off into space, wondering why it's taking so stinkin' long?????

Or perhaps (although I hope not), he has a different job a little less noble...

Yeah, that ain't right. Sorry, couldn't resist! 

Why does Lily get all dressed up and forget one little thing...umm...clothes. Accessories, check; clothing, no can do.

Whatever my officer is doing, he's not doing it fast enough.

Come on, man!! Have mercy on me already!!!
Put a stamp of approval on that bad boy and send it out the door!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Step Forward

Today was nuts. 

I've been calling USCIS to find out if I have an officer for two weeks...nothing. I called today, and while I was rolling my eyes because I figured I'd hear once again from the lady who was born without a personality, "No, you don't have an officer...we have 90 days to process your application...blah, blah..." Instead I heard from a man who was full of personality and sounded like he had just walked off a Broadway musical..."Why yes, my dear, you DO have an officer!" Fantastic...then my sump pump alarm went off like a siren in our house. No lie. I was literally in the middle of my conversation with Mr. Enthusiastic when this blaring, horrid sound went off. He exclaimed with his very interesting lisp, "What's that?" Funny...anywho....We had someone working on it because the pump went out, and it set off the the middle of a VERY important call. So while I'm de-activating the alarm my officer gets on the phone. He had to change something on my app, which was nice of him to do, so I was thankful for that, but I was completely frazzled by the end of it. Hopefully we should be approved this week and then I can get my dossier certified and authenticated!!

Would you like to see how I felt during my conversation?
Just like this:

Or this:

Ha have NO idea how often she makes this face. 

How does she go from that to this?:

She is definitely my entertainment....this will all be worth it...paperwork, alarms going off during important phone conversations, broken sump pumps. 

It's all worth it.

Johnny and Lily were worth it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wrapping Up My Photography Class

I have learned so much in twelve short weeks. I finally know how to take pictures in the manual setting...something that seemed impossible, and was completely overwhelming to think about three months ago.

I have wanted to take this class for two years now...ever since I stumbled on the blog of a woman who had just returned from China with her little girl. I was amazed at her pictures and had noticed a definite progress in the level of pics she took. 

She was just like you and me: a mom, she already had a job, but she wanted to take better pictures of her children so she took a class. And that's it, she began to improve, and now passes on what she has learned. 

Her blog is called The Long Road To China. It's on the sidebar of my blog. 

I figured, if she can do it, then I can at least try to do it!!

The one thing that stands out to me right now with my pics, is that when I get them on the computer, full-blown, I critique them and say to myself, "Hmmm...not enough light...shouldn't have centered that dead on, etc." This is all very good for me! It helps me see where I can improve for the next pic! And it has given me something creative to do while I'm compiling my dossier.

I've learned how to do sun flares/starbursts:

I've had to take self-portraits:

I've learned how to do silhouettes:

And I've learned how to take better pics of my children, including ones who just went to Kindergarten Round-Up...Agh!!!!

She did great...marched off into her room with her teacher and didn't want to leave when it was over! She has come a loooooong way in one year! One year ago I could not even go into the bathroom without her having a melt-down. 

So, I've learned a lot in these photography classes...and now I get to show the real budding photographer all that I've learned...she's a natural and just has an eye for it. I will begin teaching her the twelve week course I just went through...

Yes, it's my 11 year old, Brianna.

It's one of the reasons I even took this pass on what I learn, to her.
She took these pics last year, when she was 10, used a cheapy camera, and already figured out the starburst, time the camera to take self-portraits (I still don't know how to do that), and just naturally takes creative shots.

Because I'm in love with my Canon and despise my Nikon, I will be passing on my Nikon to her. (She seems to like it for some reason). 

This week I am believing for my I800a approval...I gotta get that dossier to China!!! I'm sick of looking at it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What I've Been Up To

Where do I begin? Umm...Josiah turned 14, got his braces off, got his driver's permit (agh!!!), everyone got some type of bronchitis (except me and hubby), Brianna then had a reaction to cough medicine and has had hives for a week. Johnny had his first adult two bottom teeth come in...without losing any, so he looks creepy, I've been reviewing files of children to adopt and my heart has attached to almost all of them, and oh yeah, by the way...I had Lasik eye surgery... 






I thought I was being tortured. I hyperventilated. I told them I could feel everything. They kept talking in their methodical, calm voices, which creeped me out. Why weren't they listening to me? Could they hear me? The doctor kept saying, "Yeah, sometimes the pressure is too intense." I finally said, "No, it's not pressure, it's pain!" I was clawing at the bottom of my shirt in agony. The only thing my husband and I can figure is that the nurse forgot to put the numbing drops in. I cannot describe the pain. To say I was traumatized from the event is a joke. To make matters worse, they told me it was all in my head. 

That was about two weeks ago...there is more to the story, but honestly, I can't write anymore about it...

so...adoption...we were fingerprinted and are waiting our approval from USCIS. We haven't been assigned an officer yet, so this part will take longer than I anticipated. In the meantime, I'm completing my photography class. This is the last week, and I've learned sooooo much! I will post pics soon!