Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Adoption Fundraiser ??

This might be a long post - so please keep reading!! :-)
I haven't mentioned much on the blog about our next adoption....I think because I kept telling myself it wasn't ever going to happen. I was pleasantly surprised yesterday though when we received an email from our agency telling us that China had *finally* sent out referrals for the remainder of February '06 dossiers. That's right folks.....2006!
We were logged in March 7, 2006 -- at the time, we never expected that the wait would expand to nearly 3 years for a referral (at the time we submitted our paperwork, the wait was only 6 months). Now we're at the point where we can actually start believing we will receive a referral. We have only 7 LID's (log-in dates) to go -- this could still take a couple of months, but hopefully we'll have a picture of our new son/daughter by March of 2009.

OK...now to the good stuff. :-) We're thinking of doing a fundraiser or two to help with our final adoption costs. China has just increased the orphanage "donation" fees, and the cost of airfare is really high, so we're a little short on finances. I completely understand that we're in a recession right now, so I know money is tight for everyone out there, but every little bit we can raise will help tremendously. Here's what we're thinking of doing via our blog....please feel free to email me and let me know if you'd be interested in any of this...or let me know of any other creative fundraising ideas! :-)

** raffle of a lovely quilt (100 good wishes or another pattern - machine sewn and quilted)
** raffle of a Wii game system, or a Wii Fit
** raffle of a gift card to WM, Target, etc.
** raffle of an autographed basketball from the '94 UA championship team
** sale of baby quilts (I have some lovely patterns)...only problem is that these are really time-consuming for me

We're also thinking about these things here locally...a big garage sale fundraiser, selling our boat, and selling a big Barbie collection. I've also seen many other families use a "chip-in" system on their blogs, but am not sure how we'd fare with that.

OK folks...let me know what you think! We need all the help we can get, and are open to suggestions!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas this year. I think the girls got almost everything on their wish lists, plus a few nice surprises. We did our annual name exchange between the five of us again, and "made" something for our gift recipient. I made Claire a book on shutterfly; Claire made a tied fleece blanket for me (great for covering up while watching tv in the evenings). Emily made a wall calendar for dad; dad made one of the fleece blankets for Allyson; and Allyson made a really cute pocket calendar for Emily. These are just a few of the pics from our holiday. More pics of our "homemade" gifts to follow.


Annual tradition of decorating a (store bought) gingerbread house. Allyson and Claire did the "decorating" and Emily piped the icing where they wanted it.

Miracle on Main Street

The girls performed in the children's choir musical, "Miracle on Main Street" earlier this month. They all had solos, and did very well. The musical had a great message as well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

School Choir

Emily and Allyson's school choir performance was on Thursday evening. The theme of the event was "Going Green", and it was a cute performance. They also sang several Christmas favorites...I think Allyson's favorite was "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer". ;-)

On Friday, the choir took a field trip to the mall and performed at the food court. Afterwards, I treated the girls to lunch and a little bit of shopping before they had to return to school.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Questions for Santa

Santa made his annual visit to Randy's office this week. 'Tis the season when Claire really thinks about all of the details that surround Santa and his reindeer. In preparation for her time with the jolly old elf, Claire made out a list of questions she wanted to ask him. (She had a long list of questions last year as well - as Santa so kindly reminded her.) "-)

This year, Claire wanted to know:

1. If Santa knows when she is sleeping and awake, WHEN does he sleep?
2. Just exactly HOW does he fit down the chimney...especially tiny chimneys?
3. Is she on the "bad" list?

and sister Allyson threw in her own question for good measure....

1. Since Santa eats so many cookies, isn't he worried that he'll get diabetes? (Can you tell our girls know about a little about this disease?)

As usual, Santa was wonderful at answering the questions. He did such a great job that *I* believed him!! LOL Claire was also amazed that Santa mentioned her teacher's name and how she was doing in school, as well as her extracurricular activities. He also knew what she had written on her wish list (without her telling him). That Santa is one smart fella! :-)

This photo is all I could get from my vantage point. The office always takes photos of the kids, so that photo will be better.

Hello Snow....man

You all know how much I love kid's artwork, so it's no surprise I'm posting more! (Sadly, as the kids get older, the less artwork they do in school, so remember to enjoy it with them!)

Miss Claire brought this drawing home from school this week. Hopefully, she'll get to make a real snowman soon!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Coco Bonbons = Super Cute!!

Just found an ADORABLE kid's clothing line called Coco Bonbons! I found the site via this blog. She's having a contest and I figured it couldn't hurt to enter. :-) Coco Bonbons has *the* cutest clothing...for girls and boys!! They're having a great sale now too! All of their lines are great, but I've got my eye on the jacket and hat in the paisley line.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Adoption Day #11

We have had the pleasure of being parents to this lovely young lady for 11 wonderful years.
We recently enjoyed a weekend with the three other families who traveled to China with us 11 years ago - on a trip that changed our lives forever. We were all strangers and first time parents-to-be, traveling to a country on the other side of the world. Before meeting these families, we would never have guessed how close we would become. During that trip to China, we all pledged that we would make an effort to maintain in contact so that our BengBu girls would know one another (we live several hours apart). Since that time, we have grown together as a sort of extended family. Not only are our four girls the best of friends, but the parents are great friends as well. We have been fortunate to have gathered with these friends every year to celebrate our adoption day - aka gotcha day (a phrase one of the parents coined). My how our families have grown since that day! :-)

This year's "gotcha day" reunion was held in Oklahoma where AG's family were our hosts for the weekend. We were treated to a tour of the National Weather Center (where AG's dad works as a scientist - he's one smart fella!). Everyone thought it was fun to balance the earth on their finger (of course, I had to take pics! Unfortunately, the graphics on the "earth" changed and we didn't have time to wait for more earth-like pics to come back on the ball). Later in the afternoon, we went to OKC and toured "Bricktown" via a canal boat.

------- --------
We also toured the OKC Bombing Memorial. Visiting the memorial brought back many memories for the adults as we all remembered where we were when the bombing happened back in 1995. (I was at work in a mental health facility. Once the news announced the bombing, our therapists scrambled to get a team deployed to help the victims in OKC.)

Each of these chairs represents the life of a person killed in the bombing. Names are etched on the glass bases, and are lit at night.

This is the "survivor tree" - named because it survived the bombing (although it doesn't look very healthy now). The tree is definitely scarred on one side and leans due to the blast it received.
This is part of the original fence that was put in place immediately after the bombing. It's a place where people leave memorials to the victims and their families. There have been more than 60,000 items placed on the fence (they are removed periodically and placed in an archive in the museum).

After touring the sites, we went out for a traditional Chinese group dinner. Then, it was back home for cake and presents! The four girls had a sleepover at AG's house (while we stayed in a nearby hotel). We had our traditional group breakfast at Cracker Barrel before heading home.
Happy "gotcha day" sweet girls! We love you all! We are SO blessed to be Emily's parents, and are so happy to call the others friends!

School Activities

Wow...I've missed posting a lot these days. Just too busy to blog I guess...sad that I can't remember many of our activities though. :-( Maybe it's just that I'm becoming a "once a month blogger". Sorry to disappoint our blog readers...all 2 or 3 of you! lol

A quick catch-up on a couple of school activities, and then I'll *try* to stay more current. The second grade musical this year was called "Once Upon A Lily Pad"....a very cute musical about a little frog who was trying to find her place in the great big pond. Our little miss Claire had the starring role as Freddie the Frog. She did an amazing job of memorizing not only her many lines, but also the lines of everyone else in the play as well! She also did a great job of singing a solo.

Emily's first band performance was also held on the same evening as Claire's musical. Luckily the events were 30 minutes apart, so I was able to watch the band and then hurry across town to see the musical. Emily has been working hard in band, and got first chair again for the concert. She was SO excited! There are only 6 flute players in the band - compared to about 70 clarinets and 50 trumpets - so the flutes were drowned out...but it was still a great performance anyway (considering the kids have only been playing for about 2 months!).

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