Friday, March 27, 2015

What next?

What next, indeed...our house has a little while before we add another level of craziness to it.  :) 

How long before that happens?

Although we've done this once before, that doesn't seem to be speeding up the timeline much.  We will still need to get our homestudy updated, get all the paperwork, etc., etc., so we are looking at traveling to get our son some time in 2016.  I'm scheduled to teach in the fall (I think), so I hope we're not traveling earlier than Christmas!

What all do you have to do?

We follow the same set of steps as last time.  For those who missed the first time (or have forgotten), here's a brief run down:

Phase 1:  Paper paper paper
--Get all the paperwork together for our homestudy and dossier (the documents sent to China)
--Get initial permission from US immigration to adopt
--Submit all the paperwork to China and get "logged in."

That all takes about 6 months--maybe a little less because we are just updating our homestudy instead of starting from scratch, but not much. 

Phase 2:  Wait wait wait
--Match with our son!  Our agency is expecting to receive twice the number of files from China this year, so we don't expect to wait long at all.  It's even possible we could have a file on hold before we get logged into China's system. 
--More immigration approval
--More approval stuff from China
--Travel!

And that takes about 6-8 months as well. 

Why now?

The short answer is that David and I are both ready.  The long answer is going to take another post...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our Prayer Map

We try to pray with the kids every night before bed.  To help with the 'blessings' part, I bought a world map and put up pictures of all the missionaries that we support, along with our church planting pastor.  A few weeks ago, we added a new 'picture' to our map:


 Here we go again!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Happy Family Day!



It's hard to believe that a whole year has has passed.  Happy Family Day to our sweet little (well, bigger now!) honey bun.  We love you, Liz!


One year ago...






And now...



Monday, February 23, 2015

恭禧發財 (Gong Xi Fa Cai!)

Our plans for Lunar New Year (Feb 19) were somewhat derailed by illness this year, but we still managed to get out for the dragon dancing! 






Everyone fed the dragons some money, and Katie got to dance with one of the characters.  A little coaching from Mom ("just do what he does, Katie!"), and she definitely got into it.  :) 

We ended up ringing in the new year with a high fever (Luke) and a quick trip to the doctor to glue up a gashed forehead (Liz), but we still enjoyed some Chinese food on Thursday.  Mostly, we are happy to celebrate almost one whole calendar year with Liz, and we look forward to many more Lunar New Year celebrations!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Love of God

I sing a hymn to the kids most nights, partly because I love to sing, and mostly because I want them to grow up knowing the hymns of their heritage.  We still put Liz to bed with the lights out, so it's a little harder to sing a different hymn every night.  Recently I've been singing The Love of God; it's a beautiful hymn, and I especially love this verse (which I have memorized!).

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.


Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.


Here is a link to the song, in case you don't know the tune:  The Love of God

It seems like an appropriate song to share this Valentine's weekend.  I'll try to post some pictures of our annual family dinner (no fighting the crowds for us!) soon.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Helpful Speech Concepts

Although I try not to talk too much about my kids (foibles or successes), I know people like to hear how Liz is doing.  Plus, this is a good place to keep track of things, since, like most #3 children, she does not get documented as much.

Just this week, instead of blithely accepting whatever I pull out of her drawer to wear, she said, "no" and pointed to a different shirt hiding at the bottom.  First time she's ever shown a preference for clothing!  It was kind of fun.  :)

So, two things that have helped a lot around the house.  First, Liz started using possessives about two months ago.  I remember we were doing laundry, and she pulled out a sock and said "Luke sock!" and another, "Mama sock!"  It's so nice that she can recognize possession, because it makes the whole sharing thing (marginally) easier.  Actually, I take it back.  We still really struggle with sharing. 

It's made a much bigger difference at the table.  For example, she used to finish her food and then fuss/whine/reach for whatever she saw on other plates.  Now, when she finishes her blueberries and wants mine, I can say, "These are Mama's blueberries, where are Lizzie's?"  She'll repeat what I say or say, "Tummy" (which is where her blueberries are!), and we can generally distract or move on from there without descending into a tantrum. 

We have also been working a lot on two-step processes--first cut the food, then eat it; first drive home, then you can have baby doll; fill the bottle, then have it.  Liz is beginning to understand the whole idea of two steps, but I think she is also trusting that we will fulfill what we say. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gear Up

I start teaching on Wednesday.  I'm in my 5th year of teaching, and I've taught this class at least four times now.  I pretty much have my notes worked out (thankfully, basic chemistry hasn't changed much), and I know what I want to cover in the exams, etc.

I still get a little hit of anxiety before the semester start, though, and I'm battling through it right now.  This semester, it may be induced by the new interface I have to use (Blackboard) and the new homework program that I'm using.  Eventually, they should make things easier (i.e. less grading!), but I still have to figure them all out.

I'd like to think if I worked through my to-do list and marked everything off, the anxiety would go away.  Or maybe after I've been teaching for 10, or 15, or 20 years, it'll be so easy I won't even bat an eyelash.  But I think part of it is just a by-product of my introverted nature (yes, I consider myself a high-functioning introvert), and most likely, it won't go away until I get that first class out of the way.  Then I can move on to my teacher's high--I do love teaching chemistry!

It's frustrating to have that pit in my stomach (and it makes it hard to go to sleep!), but over the years, I've worked out ways to function through it.  Lists are important--I think part of the anxiety is that I'll forget something important.  I try not to make any really important decisions, knowing that anxiety can really color how I view a situation.  I lean on David a lot.  He's such a rock during times like these, and he really helps me see what is normal and what is anxiety-induced.  Music, deep-breathing, knitting, exercising...I try not to plan anything super-complicated right before my class starts.  Except maybe making 600 chinese dumplings...because then I could eat them.  Mmmm.