Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's Gone

In 2002, a co-worker that I adored was diagnosed with brain cancer. The day I was told about Mike's diagnosis, I was totally devastated. Mike had a heck of a sense of humor & the kindest of hearts. He was someone who would have a problem with being bald from all the chemo treatments & get depressed. I decided at that moment, that since I was blessed with a full head of thick, healthy hair that would always grow back, I would help someone who wasn't able to keep their hair. Someone had told me about Locks of Love, & I decided that this was the perfect way for me to help.
Mike passed away a few weeks after David & I came home from China with Erin. There was no way for me to go to his funeral with a 10 month old baby. I decided that this would be the day for me to donate my hair. I went to a local hair salon & donated 11 inches in Mike's memory. I was crying as my hair was being cut off, the hair stylist asked me if I was sure that I wanted to donate my hair. Yes. I was definitely sure.
Here we are at the end of 2007, & I was able to donate another 12 inches yesterday. David hates it when I cut off my hair. His consolation is that my hair grows quickly. He also knows how important donating my hair is & encourages me to do this.

My computer WHAT????

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Friday night it happened. Did you hear me? No? I was screaming bloody murder all night long. My poor guy. He really has to put up with a lot from me - especially when it comes to computers.
All I can say is thank G-d for laptops! It's been my saving grace connecting me to my Blogging Friends & Family. Not to mention being my avenue to email.
Last night while I was out scrapping with my friends, David took care of my problem. Feeling icky & dealing with the whiny 5 year old, he managed to put together a computer system for me. By next weekend, I should have total access to everything - my pictures & my music & being able to sync my Blackjack. Thanks Honey!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Introducing "Troi"

On Monday Erin went into work with David since he only had a half day. After work they went over to a cat adoption place by his office. We'd all been miserable since losing Kira on Saturday. Both sides of our family aren't known for doing well without pets to complete our families so it was no surprise that we needed to start healing ASAP. They took pictures of a number of cats so I could make a choice since the cat would be mine. (BTW, the husband, the child, the dog, the cat, the fish - they're all mine. They just don't admit to it.) Looking at the pics of all the cats & kittens, I was totally drawn to this one kitten that reminded me of Kira. Her markings are very similar except that Kira was orange where this one is black. Her ears & eyes are huge too. I told David that I wanted to see this kitten so we went over yesterday. After much determination, my instincts drew me to this same kitten that I'd seen pics of. She came right over to me, lay in my arms & started purring. YES! We have a taker!
When we got home with the newly named "Deanna Troi" to be known as "Troi," our dog Star went wonky. She'd been missing her kitty too. Star knew that this was a different cat but didn't care & wanted to play almost immediately. We introduced Troy to Star very carefully not knowing what the reaction would be. About 5 minutes later, Troy took off as if she'd been in our home forever.
Maybe she has. It seems like she's channeling Kira. She slept in bed with us for most of last night although I'm happy to report that she slept by my feet rather than my head. She sits on my lap, lays across the laptop purring & wants my attention 100% of the time. Much like Kira used to. Who knows?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Goodbye Sweet Kira. We Will Miss You.

Kira Narice (July 1998 - December 2007)
Today we had to put our sweet kitty cat to sleep. Kira had been off her game for about 2-3 weeks lately, & we thought it was just old age. This week I noticed that she really hadn't eaten anything. The cat that normally invaded our every waking moment was nowhere to be seen. Kira used to sleep in bed with us - either by my feet or more likely on my head, but lately she was a nighttime no show. She'd come sit on my lap while we were watching tv. In the last few weeks she didn't do anything like that.
David & Erin took her to the vet for a checkup. (I had to go to work today.) After all, you know when your pet (who is really another family member) isn't right. Even the vet said that Kira didn't appear to be herself. David left Kira at the vet so they could run some tests. I got a phone call that Kira wasn't doing well so I called David.
He picked me up from work & we drove down to see Kira & say our final goodbyes as we had a sense that she wasn't going to turn around. David had spoken with Erin about Kira being sick & that she was going to Heaven. He did an awesome job with explaining this to Erin. After all was said & done, we each said our goodbyes with heavy hearts & tears.
I know that my sweet kitty is "up there" playing with my dad's dog Henry & our first dog Sari. It gives me comfort to know that Kira is in no pain & certainly more comfortable than she was in the last day or so.
Erin keeps saying "I miss my kitty. I'm thinking about her."
Mommy & Daddy are too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When are you going to bed?

For some reason Erin asks this question night after night after night. In fact, she has been asking this since she has been old enough to know that things happen after she goes to bed.
My usual answers have been:
  • When I'm tired.
  • Later.
  • In a while.
  • I'm not.
  • In an hour.

Last night I tried a different approach. After being called into her room for what felt like the millionth time, I changed my answer: "When you go to sleep. After all, if you keep calling me, I can't go to bed." 10 minutes later Erin was snoring lightly in her bed.

David put her to bed about an hour ago. She asked me when I was going to bed right before going in. I told her that she needed to be asleep in order for me to go to bed. We haven't heard a peep from her.

Do you think I stand chance?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sick. So Sick.

Ugh. I've had a cold since this past Monday. Friday I came home from work & prayed that we had tissues. I've gone through 2 boxes in 2 days. And had to send David out for more. Of course, he isn't much better. Tomorrow I'm calling the doctor to make sure I don't have bronchitis. Of course, it wouldn't be December if I didn't get it. Ugh. At this point I look like a close relative of Rudolph.

Monday, December 10, 2007

School Pic - Fall 2007

Do you know what I had to do to get Erin to wear a skirt!? BRIBE her! For a week before her school pictures were taken, I told Erin every day that she would have to wear a skirt for the pictures. That morning she thought she'd outsmart me & got out her normal shorts. Ha! Momma still has some tricks up her sleeve though. I told her she could wear the shorts, but then she wouldn't get a special dessert that night - a chocolate sundae. Erin will do anything (except eat veggies) for a chocolate sundae. Mind you she's never finished more than half of her serving, but still the chocolate runs through this child's veins.

Chanukah - Night 7, The Night for Building

Erin is a pro at unwrapping presents by now.

She loves to build things with David.
It seems that the old-fashioned Legos (read, those of my childhood) have been replaced by K'Nex. Erin is not a typical girly girl who plays only with her kitchen stuff, coloring books & dolls. She is also amazingly inquisitve & loves to learn how things work. Ever since she was a baby, she enjoyed building things. These K'Nex allow her to use her imagination in ways I would never have considered at the age of 5. I was too busy playing dolls.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Chanukah - Night 5 by Cousin Deena & Her Family

Baby & Erin Bear have to say the blessings too.

Cool! Another Leapster game, & it's more princesses!

Hello Kitty boombox. You think Erin's going to have fun with this?

She flipped when she saw the guitar.
My niece Deena & her family insist upon spoiling Erin. As a child, Deena only wanted David & me to give her tons of cousins to play with. She takes great pleasure in spoiling her little cousin as much as possible. Thanks Deena, Brad, Noah & Riley!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

On the Fourth Night of Chanukah You . . .

Light the Chanukah menorah & chant the blessings

Smile about the REALLY BIG present

Unwrap said present with gusto

Grin crazily cause you've been begging for this for months

Have Daddy put your new Terrainiac together

And, finally attempt to break everything in the house by remote control

Thursday, December 06, 2007

You Tricked Me!

Erin has been asking for a high chair & crib for her baby dolls for ages now. David & I kept telling her that she had enough stuff for her dolls & didn't need more. When we went shopping for Chanukah gifts, she was told that this stuff was for her cousin Riley. When she opened her gifts tonight, the first thing she said was "Hey! You tricked me! This was for Riley!" Needless to say, her smile made the whole trick worth it for us.

Allergic to December 4th?

It's been an exciting Chanukah holiday so far. Tuesday was the first night & went beautifully. That is until about 2:00 a.m. when Erin woke up. She was screaming for me that she needed to go potty so I went & brought her in. (Still can't figure out why she won't come in on her own.) When she'd finished up, she decided to climb into our bed. That lasted maybe 5 minutes. Then she jumped up & vomited all over the bed. GROSS!!!! David never moved so quickly in his life. He has now mastered changing bed linens & putting up a wash while totally asleep in under 5 minutes.
Needless to say, I kept Erin home yesterday & called her pediatrician. When the nurse called back 10 minutes later, she told me this was going around & would last 48 hours. Thankfully, the whole thing was over by 6:00 last night - no fevers, no vomitting. I kept her home again today because she ate nothing at all yesterday. Today it took her forever just to eat a mini bagel; however, she ate it willingly.
When I talked to my dad & stepmother last night, I mentioned that this was the exact date she got sick last year. My stepmother has decided that Erin is allergic to December 4th. Hmmmm. . . She may be right.
Hopefully, she'll be fine for tonight since she didn't enjoy unwrapping her presents last night. Of course, she's been wearing her Hello Kitty slippers all day & hasn't put her Hello Kitty magnet board away yet. I wonder what she's going to open tonight?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chanukah - The First Night

Erin made the menorah we're using in school this year.

Not quite awake yet. She wasn't really ready for candle lighting & presents. It didn't take long though!

Scissors!? To open a present!? Huh??

She's awake now & loves tonight's present.

Erin's been begging to get aquadots since they came out. She's well aware of the rules she has to follow if she wants to keep using this. It was so worth her smile to give her this present tonight.

I've always wanted to have something like a Christmas village. I finally found Chanukah House! Ebay is my friend. :-)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Blood is Boiling

Tonight was the night of nights. I can't believe how angry I am!
David & I took Erin out for dinner to Red Lobster. It's one of our favorite places. Erin loves their bisuits, & we were really in the mood for seafood. We let Erin sit on the outside of the booth on David's side as a treat. Big mistake.
As an elderly couple was leaving the restaurant they passed us, & the lady said "oh how sweet" which was nice. The old man had the nerve to reach out & touch my child's face as he said "how sweet also." How dare he touch my daughter!! Who the heck does he think he is!? Erin wasn't any happier about it. That said we put her on the inside seat & thought that would be the end of it. HA!!
We were walking to our car when an old man looked at us & asked us "Is she for sale?" WHAT THE F***!?!? I was so angry that I turned around called him an idiot. It was the nicest thing I could say. David was fuming. Erin got so upset that I wanted to turn & go after that man. Erin got very defensive & said "I NOT for sale! You my mommy & dada." Thank G-d that she is so secure in our love for her.
What the heck is wrong with people!? Have they lost their minds!? I am so darn angry that people take such liberties.

Harry Potter Personality Quiz - Who are you?

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

I love Harry Potter. I know it was supposed to be a children's series, but it has captured the hearts & minds of adults also. I almost wish that the series hadn't ended, but all good things must come to an end. Of course that's what "they" say. I don't necessarily agree.

So. Who are you?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We Are The Champions!!!!

Ah yes! Victory is so sweet! Last night, The Gators SMASHED The Seminoles! Final score?
UF 45 vs FSU 12
Monday is going to be wonderful! One of the guys I work with is a Seminole. Each year we have this ongoing thing with who has the better team. Uh, Jim? Last year UF had a double championship year. This year we beat the socks off of you. Why bother coming back?
Of course, some of my fellow FCCers down here are also celebrating while others are hanging their heads in shame.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So Much to be Thankful For

Yes. There truly is so much for me to be thankful for. While I count my blessings every day, this is the day that it really hits me.
  • My beautiful daughter. Each & every night as I kiss her before I go to bed myself, I thank G-d for His wisdom in bringing this child into my life. I tell Erin that she is my light, my soul, my very life.
  • My handsome, understanding, witty, sarcastic, non-social husband. I've loved him since I was 19 years old. There are days that I'd like to send him off so that I can be alone, & he gets it. Then there are the days that I can't breath for lack of not having enough time with him. I love this guy with all I've got.
  • My ScrapSkank Sisters. Where would I be without you gals!? How many nights have we sat up late scrapping, bitching, complaining about life's lows & laughing over life's highs? With you, I found the creative outlet that my husband has always said was in me. With you, I found women who love me & accept me just the way I am.
  • My FCC family. Who understands better than you all the trials, the pain of waiting, the joy of receiving our children, the worries that come along with adoption? Where else can I find people in the same situation - who have children that one day may say "but I don't look like you" or "why couldn't I stay with my birthparents"? Where else can I get such great shopping tips!?
  • My father. It's been a long journey Daddy, but I think you finally get me.
  • My stepmother Nancy. Who loves my father & his crazy children. Who is a wonderful bubbe to my daughter. Who understands my love/hate affair with teaching. Who over the years has become a dear friend.
  • My In-Laws. They are wonderful people. Yes. They're in-laws & that does come with a raw deal all by itself. But I love them fully. To them, I am their daughter not their daughter-in-law. I love watching them with Erin. Such joy should be in everyone's lives.
  • Sandra. Your strength gives me strength. You are the definition of a Waiting Heart. You waited to bring home your beautiful girls & be the best mother you possibly could. I've learned from you that it's okay to have down days right along with the good days. I've also learned that I'm not alone in my Starbucks obsession. :-)
  • BlogLand. Yes. I'm actually thankful for BlogLand. Where else can I journal my thoughts & meet people who don't judge me for not believing the way they do?

Happy Turkey Day to all!!

Enjoy this special time with your family & friends!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Tonight as we head into yet another holiday season I'm feeling sad - not depressed - just sad. I know that I should be so happy & yet I'm not. All day long I've needed to cry, from the moment I got out of bed. I'm a big believer in tears being a necessary evil. As I explain to Erin, there are sad tear, angry tears, & happy tears, & they all serve a purpose. Erin can't bear seeing me cry. It totally freaks her out so I need to hide them from her. David gets upset when I cry so I need to hide them from him. When do I get a chance to let it all out?
The holidays are always a hard time for me. My mom has been gone since 1985, & a day doesn't go by that I don't miss her. My dad has told me that she would be proud of me - as a mother, as a career woman & as a wife & daughter. I hope so. It's not like he'd feed me a line of BS but I do wonder what she'd think of me. Would she realize that I've learned the lessons she taught me? Would she know how much I always loved her? And I wonder too if she knows how I hate that she left me. How I hate that I had to name my daughter for her instead of one of my grandparents. How I hate that she's not around so we could sit down & read our trashy novels & share a few pots of coffee. How I hate that she's not around to see her granddaughter. She would have been an amazing grandmother since she absolutely loved kids. She would have adored Erin.
Yes. I try to remember that my mom had no choice in leaving us. It was her time. G-d had made his decision. But darn! Knowing that doesn't help in the here & now when I'm missing her.
Family & friends who knew my mom say that I'm just like her. I hope so.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Parties, Cake & My Sweaty Girl

Erin's friend Rachel had her 2nd birthday party recently & we went to help celebrate her special day. I love how Erin totally gets into what's happening. After only a few minutes, Erin can work herself into an amazing sweat. However, that doesn't get in the way of bouncing & cake.
Erin loves a good bounce party

Guzzling some water

Ready for cake


I love this one

Sunday, November 11, 2007


And my sleep issues continue. Ugh! I crawled into bed last night around 10:00 pm. That sounds like a decent hour doesn't it? Erin woke up for a few minutes but finally fell back asleep all tucked into me. I love that.
Around 2:30 I woke up & told David to move over. He told me that we weren't alone. HUH!? What happened to "I need my sleep, & Erin moves around too much." from him??? So he finally picked her up & put her in her own bed. By 5:00 I was awake & ready to start my day. Yes. I've been on the computer since 5:00 am. Back in the days before we got our referral, I went to bed around 1:00 am & was up by 4:00 am. This happened from December 2001 on. The thing that people found amazing was that I can actually function on 3 hours of sleep a night.
Why can I do this? 'Cause I always have. Back in college I went for days with no sleep at all. Then all of a sudden I would crash & sleep for 24 hours straight. It drove my parents bonkers. My dad would get POd & my mom would tell me to go to sleep like a normal person just so he'd stop bugging her. Of course my mom was no better than I was. We'd wake up in the middle of the night, go into the kitchen, put up a put of coffee, smoke some cigarettes, read a book or 2 & chat.
Maybe I don't give this up willingly because it's a tie to my mom who I miss every day. Maybe I do this because I have fibromyalgia & always did? Who knows? All I know is that I'm tired of the bags under my eyes. I used to be able to hide them with concealer. Now I can't wear make up so I tend to look like a racoon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bedtime Sucks!

I try not to complain. I know people who have it so much harder than I do, & I'm unbelievably thankful for all that I have.
Nights with Erin have always been hard. We've found a way to make bedtime easier for everyone, but it's still hard. While she has no problem with the routine - & even tells us when we miss a step - it's the actual bed thing that's a problem. for the first 2 months that we were home, David & I spent each night crying ourselves because Erin had such a heart-wrenching cry. It sounded as if someone was torturing her. With the help of some good friends & our amazing travel group family, we found a method that allowed us a measure of peace. Now that Erin is 5, the situation is not like it was but is still bad. We must go in to her room 4 or 5 times before she settles down. Now I know that children don't want to go to bed - mostly because they're afraid of missing out on something. However, Erin's real problem is that she hates to be alone at night. It's the only time that she is ever alone - unless, of course, you count her time in the potty. Each night she wants to know when I'm coming in to bed, can I stay with her, why can't she just lay on the couch out in the family room with me. Erin will even tell you that she just doesn't want to be alone.
Most of the time I can handle this situation. This past week though, I've come to the realization that I hate her bedtime. I hate to see Erin miserable, & this is the absolute worst time of the day in our family. Once she does settle down, I feel guilty that I'm relieved. In our house 7:00 - 9:00 is the pits. Even David has to get strict with her & tell her to calm down. I know how much he hates it, but it's the only way to convince her to go to sleep.
We left the house early this morning so that we could finish our holiday shopping (not quite done there but just about) & enjoy the rest of the day as a family. Erin was all smiles, didn't ask for anything anywhere we went, was polite, etc. It was almost like having a Stepford Child with us. We didn't get to go to the Ft Lauderdale Home Show (something we do at least once a year) because David got called into work twice. Erin was a trooper the whole time.
By the time we got to WalMart she was done. And rightfully so mind you. Once we got home, she ate a yogurt & even ate an entire slice of pizza for dinner. She was so tired from having no nap today that her meltdown almost made me melt down. Normally I can get her to calm down by holding her in my lap, rubbing her back & speaking to her softly. Tonight that only made it worse. So far I've only had to go into the bedroom once & David has gone in once. Maybe she'll finally pass out & sleep the rest of the night. I'm hoping that she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night which is what she tends to do when she's had this kind of meltdown.
I hate bedtime. It sucks!
But I love my girl.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

Getting ready to go Trick or Treating

"The Loot"

One Tired Power Ranger

This year was Erin's first time going out to Trick or Treat. Last year, Erin was sick but didn't want to go out. The previous years, Erin was too scared of all the costumes to even consider it. This year she went out to see what all the fuss has been about. Each time she got to a door, David had to pick her up & hold her, but she did it. When they came home, Erin was so excited about her experience. I asked her how many houses she went to, & she told me "a hundred momma." After going through her goodies & letting her have 2 small treats, she got to answer the door to the children who came knocking. Bedtime came, & she fell fast asleep. Happy Halloween!! Hope everyone had a blast tonight!!

Halloween Party

Arts & Crafts Fun

Decorating Cupcakes

Erin & Jonathan
The Pink & Blue Power Rangers

This past Saturday night, my friends Debbie & Ed braved 40+ kids under the age of 12 to have a Halloween party. Absolutely nuts is how I describe it. I've promised to have them commited if they even consider it again next year. The weather didn't allow the party to be outdoors the whole time. Then again, it is Florida so what did they expect? Imagine having 40+ children & a number of adults parading through your house all dressed up wanting to do activities that all need to be done outside.
Erin had a total blast at the party. She got to be with her buddy Jonathan, decorate cupcakes, do an arts & crafts project & have a chance to break open a pinata for more candy than she will need in a lifetime.
Not only was Erin a happy child, but she was an exhausted child. Bedtime was easy that night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What Do You Say?

What do you say to the people who are waiting? & waiting & waiting.

Can you say that the end result is worth it? Can you say that your child is just not ready to show him/herself to you yet? Can you say that once your child is in your arms the wait time goes away?

Yes. You can say all that & certainly more. However, the person who is waiting doesn't want to hear any of this. At the moment in time when you're hoping & praying for a referral, you don't want to hear the usual platitudes. You just want to know who your child is & when you can travel to them so you can hold him/her in your arms. You want to put a stop to the questions people are asking. The questions that you have no answer to.

How do I know this?

Easy. (Ha!) David & I started our journey October 15, 2000. Being the person that I am, I knew that I needed no help - from anyone (even our agency SW). Duh! Big mistake. I did all of our paperwork perfectly. Just backwards. And because I did it all backwards, I ended up having to do much of it over again because it expired. Our official DTC (Dossier to China) date was February 28, 2002. Do you see a problem with the dates here? Oh yes. My pride got in the way.
I was lucky enough to have that referral date though. Why? Because I managed to make the most amazing friends. The February Waiting Hearts group had the longest DTC to referral date at that time - 13/14 months depending upon whether you got your referral on March 31st or April 1st. My dear friend Sandra got her referral for Jazzie on march 31st. I opened my email to see Jazzie's face & hear "With Arms Wide Open" by Creed. (Now when I hear that song, I cry in remembrance of that special day.) I also met my dear friend Susan who lives in FL also. Without these 2 special women I wouldn't have made it.

My call came on April 1st a/k/a April Fool's Day. I had been so upset crying for days that we weren't getting our referral. I thought for sure that our agency was waiting to tell us that we had been declined although my brain knew that this wasn't possible. When the call finally came at 2:45 pm I was at work. When Emily told me it was my turn, I screamed at her that her joke was not funny & hung up. Yes. I hung up on my agency. Thank G-d she called back seconds later. As I sat in the bank crying, all of my co-workers & clients came over & sat to wait while I received the information about Chun HuaXu soon to be known as Erin Chelsie. And then I proceeded to call David with the news.

What do you say?

You say that the wait is horrible. You say that the tears are worth it. You say that you will be there for the waiting families to cry with them as they continue to wait.

And you say that you will cry tears of absolute joy when their turn comes.

Monday, October 29th, my dear friends Lori & Marc will celebrate as their son Ethan joins their family in China. Here in the United States, I will wait to see their email & then cry. Tears of joy.

And I will cry when I hear of more families being united with their children. Because that is what we do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween Fun With Our FCC Family!

Thinking about all the fun she's having!

Trick or Treat!

Shari & Myke of Extreme Halloween
Erin got her Pink Power Ranger costume at their amazing store.
Thanks for putting a smile on my girl's face guys!

This past Sunday was the FCC-SFL Halloween luncheon. The children had so much fun dressing up & going around trick or treating. We had a Pink Power Ranger, a bride, a few kittens & ladybugs, Snow White, Mulan, Raggedy Ann, Dora, a storm trooper among many other costumes. I don't know who had more fun - the children, their parents or their grandparents.