T minus 7 days.

In just 7 short days we will be boarding a flight to Bangkok.  Can you believe it??

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of paperwork and mini panic attacks – the night we bought our tickets I almost threw up.

So far we have 4 partially full suitcases on the floor in the living room, 3 kids in school waiting for the day to come where they’ll have lots of time off, 100 rolls of film ready for take off, and 5 very anxious travelers!  However – there is one very important thing we do not yet have – travel approval.  We do not yet have our Article 5 from the US Embassy and this means that we do not yet have a date with the child adoption board.  We’re not TOO worried about it yet because all of our paperwork is at the embassy so it should just be a matter of days before our Article 5 is issued, but there’s always the chance that it could not be issued until after we’ve already landed in country.  Worst case we will just have to wait for the next meeting with the child adoption board (2 weeks after our projected date of October 1st.)  Matt and I thought about it hard and our little man turns 9 on the 20th of this month and we just couldn’t stand to miss another birthday.  We’re taking a leap that our paperwork will be done on time so that we can spend King’s birthday with him.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us!!

It’s been a while – but it’s worth it!

For the first time in this blog’s history, I come bearing good news!  Can you believe it??

On May 3rd we received word that King’s paperwork was not only completed but that copies were in the mail.  Would you be shocked to learn that it was true??  I was!  To say that we mailed back the acceptance papers with a quickness would be an understatement!

Once the papers were completed we had to wait to be presented to the board so that they could officially grant us a match.  Since the board only meets twice a month, we had to wait over and over for our case to be presented by the social worker that works with our agency.  I’m happy to report that after months of waiting, we were presented and APPROVED last week.  Our papers are once again “in the mail” and we should have the opportunity to file our final paperwork with the US government as soon as next week!

Cautiously I hope that we’ll be in Thailand in September.  Keep your fingers crossed!!

886 days down

and our boy is getting SO big!  No new news but we stay hopeful.

A Year In Review – 2011

I can’t believe this is my 6th year doing a “Year In Review” post. I love looking back on the year and seeing the progress.  Living life day-by-day you don’t realize the changes that are made over time.  In a recap, 2006 was the year Sissy came home from VN, 2007 was the year Lolee was born, 2008 I started graduate school, in 2009 we first laid eyes on King, and in 2010, Bogart was born and Matt went back to school!  2011 was really a relaxed year in the grand scheme of things.  Let’s recap, shall we??

Dee

This year has been a growth year for Dee.  He’s gone from being a boy to practically being a young adult.  He’s doing things like having sleepovers, being more interested in documentaries than cartoons, and having girls come to the door asking for him.
The 2nd grade ended well.  Dee was considered advanced in both Math and Reading and developed a healthy interest in the solar system.  We spent the another summer taking a break from lessons and what nots.  Dee spent all summer playing with the neighbor kids, running from house to house.
This fall Dee started the 3rd grade and is still doing well in school.  He loves reading and is still loving science of all kinds.  Last year when I asked him what he wanted to be, he answered “FBI agent or chef”, but this year when I asked her she said “video game creator”.  That’s pretty much right on.  Last Christmas (2010) we got all the kids DSi’s but it wasn’t until this summer that they really started to get into it.  Now Dee always has his nose in it.

Dee in late 2010 (he had been pretty elusive that year):

Dee in Mid-2011  (He’s grown up so much!):

 

 

 

 

Sissy

Sissy has become quite the little lady.  We have photos up in the house of her in Vietnam and I can hardly believe that it’s the same little girl.  She grows more and more beautiful every month.  I am sure we’re going to be in trouble when she becomes a teenager!  This year we’ve heard the usually from her teachers, “I love this kid” and “she’s my biggest helper” and just like last year, she’s an attitude and a half at home.  She is a big helper when it comes to Lolee (picks out her clothes, helps her with the DVD player, etc).  She’s doing awesome at school.  Her grades are awesome and she is such a hardworker with her homework.
This summer she worked hard to become just one of the boys.  Dee’s friends have been known to steal away time with Sissy to play video games.  Dee gets very mad about it, but I’ve had to explain to him that with a beautiful sister, he’ll always have to deal with his friends trying to spend time with her.
When asking her what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer is the same as it was last year – “a stylist”.  She wants to help make people beautiful.  The girl knows what she wants!

Sissy in late 2010 (really this is mid-2010 but I just love this photo!):

Sissy in late 2011 (one of the few photos where she’s no posing):

 

 

 

 

Lolee

It’s hard to believe that Lolee is 4 already.  The only word that I can think of using to describe her is “precocious”.  In the car last week she gave me a lecture about how the song on the radio was inappropriate for her and Sissy because it mentioned a killing.  She uses the word “appropriate” on a regular basis.  Funny child.  I’d like to say that this is the year that she will start kindergarten but because she was technically born 22 days after the cut-off, we will have to have her tested.  I think she’ll be approved – both her doctor and the 1st grade teacher at the kids’ school think she’s ready – but it’ll be up to the testing doctor to decide.  The one thing that may get in her way is the fact that the girl LOVES to sleep.  She takes after her mama in the way that she’ll be up until 1a, and sleep until 11a the next morning without thinking about it.  Those early morning classes will be tough for her.
This was also the first year that Lolee has had a haircut – she gave it to herself.  I was crushed at the time, but really, I think the haircut she got to fix her chop-job is cute.
Last year when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up she said that she wanted to be a rabbit, “a rabbit who eats all the food.”  This year when I asked her, she said “I want to be a Japanese girl”…..hmmm…..At least she’s human this year.  I hate to break it to her, but I don’t think even this year’s wish possible.

Lolee in late 2010:

Lolee in late 2011:

 

 

 

 

King

Once again I’d like to give a first hand account to King’s development this year, but 2011 was once again not the year we got to meet him.  This year King turned 8 years old.  By his letters I can tell that he’s been practicing his English letters.  His front teeth have been coming in with a vengeance and I see a serious ortho bill in our future!  From his pictures I can see that he’s becoming quite the little man.  I can’t wait to hug him!  We really, really hope that this year will be THE year.

King in late 2010:

 

 

 

 

Bogart

This dog just gets bigger and bigger.  This year he topped 120 pounds.  Not much more to report – he’s smart and seriously the best dog we’ve ever had.  I will never own another breed again – Great Danes for life for me.

Me and the Hubs

I’m glad to say that this year didn’t bring as much change as usual.  I am still working at the same job and The Hubs is still going to school.  I still love my job.  I’ve graduated almost 100 students and 80% of them are currently in college.  I’m so proud of every-single-one-of-them.  The Hubs is doing very well in school.  He is officially a senior now and is already looking for graduate schools.  This year he didn’t change his major at all and is still working towards a Liberal Studies degree so that he can work with those suffering from combat related PTSD.

Last year we had several goals for the year.
–  I wanted to work in my photography site.  I did better than that.  I met a woman over the summer who ran a local photography business and with in the week, she asked me to go into business with her.  We started fresh and now own October Rain.  It’s been a lot of fun and we hope to make 2012 OUR year.
–  I also wanted to make more videos of the kids.  I totally failed at that one.  I don’t think I took a video all year.  Ugh.
–  I wanted to blog more often.  I think I failed at that one too.
–  The Hubs wanted to write more and he’s done that in spades.  He’s taken several fiction writing courses and has actually added a writing minor to his degree.
–  He also wanted to keep his GPA up, which he did a great job of.  I don’t think he received a greed lower than a B+ all year.
–  I once again failed at the 52 week photography challenge for 2011.  I will try again this year, but I joined a group of women who are trying the same thing.  I hope that the accountability will be just what I need.
–  I also tried the Daily Joy postings on my Facebook page.  I did a great job up until August but then I skipped a few days and was on a downer from adoption woes.  I never picked it back up but I regularly hear people asking me why I don’t do them any more.  I will try again this year.
– I wanted to read 25 books in 2011 but ended up reading over 30 – totaling over 10,000 pages!
–  Finally we tried giving up red meat as a family.  It was by request of Dee but by June we weren’t as strict as we should have been.

We haven’t talked about goals for this year yet.  I’m too focused on getting the Thailand to think about anything else.  Thank you guys for all you’ve done to keep my spirits up this year.  See you next year!

Just the way things are

My trip to France was lovely and my host family were the best I could have ever asked for.  I walked the streets of Paris, road the bullet trains of Europe, strolled the water front of Marseille, and ate croissants every morning in Avignon – truly once in a lifetime.   Once I got back I had some serious catching up to do.  Over the 9 days of my trip I skipped my whole “prep” week between class groups and the first 3 days of my new class.  I was poorly prepared.  I’ve been working hard to try to catch up and I think it’s been working because my class tested very well this last week. What little troopers they are!

If you’re interested in seeing my photos from France, you can see a small collection of them here:  http://octoberrain.com/2011/11/08/trip-to-france-portland-or-travel-photographer/

Tomorrow is my last day of work and I’ll be off for 2 glorious weeks.  But again, I’ve been poorly prepared and King’s Christmas present is going to end up being late.  Thankfully the orphanage will be getting him a scooter on their end to hold him over the extra couple of days we’ll need.  Speaking of King, things aren’t going so well with our adoption process. I know some have heard me cry about this already but yet again, his file was sent back to the orphanage that holds his paperwork for rewriting.  We have no idea how long it will take to complete and be resubmitted to the committee but we are always hopeful that it could be as little as a week, but really it could be as much as weeks/months.  Much like I did last year when thinking about 2011 – I’m hoping that 2012 is OUR year.

I’m already working on my “Year in Review” post for 2011 and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone.  I’ve failed at many of my goals for the year but was successful in a couple of them.

Bonjour de France

At first I thought it would be funny to post this while thing in French but then I thought better – I’ll save you guys a trip to Google Translate.  I landed in Marseille yesterday evening after something like 20 traveling hours.  My first flight was rough – I had the seat smack-dab in the middle (middle row, middle seat) between 2 men, one happy and nice, the other quite cranky.  The nice guy let me use his noise canceling headphones (boy are those sweet!) so that I could take a nap during the first leg of the flight.  After landing I spent 6 hours at the Amsterdam airport running this way and that.  Then a short trip to Marseille.

It is so lovely here.  Of course right now it is raining but who cares when you’re sitting at a little table in an adorable little french kitchen with the view of a garden filled with grapevines while sipping coffee??  I know I sure don’t!  My friend Anne is a wonderful host and we’ve already had eggs and coffee and fresh bread.  The room I’m staying in is adorable and I can’t wait to upload some pictures today.  So far, the trip as been a success.  We leave for Paris in 2 days!

Stay tuned for a photo post a little later.

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