Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve Celebration

What a great Christmas Eve we had! 18 people, tons a great food and even better conversation! To get to that point Troy and I ran around like mad getting ready! We had to put all the leafs in our table and bring another table upstairs, borrow 5 more chairs and cook a turkey. Whew!! It was worth it!!
Troy and I also used the occassion to take family photos for our book to leave with our child in Russia! It was perfect! So, in honor of our wonderful family and one day soon (hopefully) Daniel's family, we'd like you to meet everyone!

The Future Parents - Troy and Rachel (Check out Troy's facial hair - never seen him with that much before!!)

Grandma (Rachel's mom) and Aunt Cassandra (Rachel's baby sister)

Granny and PaPa (Troy's parents)

Uncle Joe, Aunt Cathy, Caroline, Lori, and Karmen (Rachel's sister, our brother in law and nieces and grandniece)

Uncle Richard, Aunt Sandy & Ian (Troy's sister, our brother in law and nephew)

Aunt Amber, Uncle Stephen and Parker (Troy's sister, our brother-in-law and nephew)

As you can see - Daniel will have an amazing family!! Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas!!

Merry, Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Exciting Changes!!!



Many of you may have popped over to Becky’s blog and read her exciting news. Well, we have the same news to share. We were also contacted about switching regions and we said YES!! While we will miss knowing all we know about Vlad, we feel that this opportunity was afforded to us at a great time.

The most amazing thing was that in my last post I said I was throwing in the towel and just as my mom predicted, things started happening. I also had specifically prayed that very morning that our agency would call us out of the blue with information about anything at all. What were the chances of that?? When the receptionist told me my coordinator was on the phone my heart jumped around like crazy. She made sure to tell me it wasn’t a referral right away but that she had an opportunity for us. Now I know the Lord answers prayers, but I also know that they are answered in His time and not always so obviously. It truly was amazing to receive that call.

We have switched to a region called Izhevsk. We did have to up our age range to 18 months to 3 years with referrals generally around 2ish. The great news?? We may be able to travel quickly AND the time in between trips is only about 1 month!! Not 5, like Vlad, which was something I had been extremely worried about. Troy and I had also been discussing increasing our age range for quite a while.

This new region sounds right up Troy’s alley also!! Hunting and fishing is widespread there. Troy is already trying to figure out if we can book a fishing trip somewhere while we are there!!

Other good news – the plane ride from Moscow to Izhevsk is way shorter and the time difference is 9 hours from here instead of 15. This really is a huge blessing!!

Before making the final decision, I called my mom and Troy’s mom to hear their feelings on the subject. I knew they wouldn’t persuade me either way, but I knew they would throw some good things to think about during the conversations. My mom was reserved until she heard I had prayed specifically for a phone call and then she just said, “Well, it doesn’t get more obvious than that and if anyone can handle the adventure, it’s the two of you!!” (Did I ever mention Troy and I sent an application and video to The Amazing Race – I think we didn’t get chosen because all we could do was laugh during the video!!) Troy’s mom said a few things and when she was done, I said “we’re going” and she started saying “Go, Go, GO, GO, GO!!!!”

So....we’re going and I can’t wait for what is next!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tree or No Tree – The Great Debate

And the answer is....No Tree. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking why in the world wouldn’t we put up a Christmas tree this year? So let me give you the run down on our decision.

First: We put out the outside decorations and we decorated the sideboard in our dining room all Christmassy – isn’t that enough?? If you think not, then read on!!!

Second: Animals – Jack (cat) licked up so much sap off the real tree we put up one year that we ended up at the emergency vet with a blocked kitty and a BIG bill. Elka (dog) bit all the glass balls off of our tree one year and we rose to colored piles of glass all over the living room. (Switched to wooden ornaments) Thank goodness she had been spitting them out along the way and her mouth was alright. Jerry (newest member and so timid) I really don’t want to terrify him by putting up a big, green thing in the living room or tempt him to eat the rest of the ornaments we own or have him accidentally pee on the tree thinking he’s outside. (We think his eyesight is not the greatest from past abuse.) If you still have questions see Becky and Keith’s blog about Callie, their adorable kitten jumping headfirst into the tree undecorating it as she goes!!

Third: I just don’t have time. We have our BIG adoptathon event at the SPCA this weekend where we have special prices and we schedule Santa and an Elf to deliver new pets Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and of course I’m working. There just isn’t time. If we are going to try to finish Christmas shopping, mail gifts to family and then be ready for a dinner party of 17 at our house Christmas Eve, then the tree has to go.

As for the adoption: So far I really have thrown in the towel for now. Will I make until after Christmas like I planned?? Probably not, although I am trying!!

Don’t forget to check out Michael and Carrie’s blog and say a Big congratulations to them on their Christmas miracle!

Next Christmas we’ll have a tree, a child and lots of new memories to make!! To those with new little ones celebrating your first Christmas together – ENJOY!!
Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Dreams & Happy Birthday!

First off I need to say - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my husband Troy!!! Another good year!!

As we approach 7 months of waiting I can’t help but feel a little down. I know every day is one day closer to bringing Daniel home, but each day feels like a year has gone by. Also it seems I am slowing moving families from Waiting to Referral or Completed on the sidebar, yet we are going nowhere right now.

I’ve also been having strange dreams lately about the adoption. Just last night I dreamed I was handed a blond headed (full head of hair), green eyed little guy and he immediately arched his back and cried. Of course I just looked over to a lady and she smiled and I set him on the floor and we began playing a game of him looking through his legs on all fours upside down and me with my head on the floor looking back at him smiling and laughing. It was funny because he was young enough to crawl on all fours, but old enough to have this amazingly full head of hair. The other funny thing is that when Troy and I talk about what our son may look like we have never even considered green eyes. We always laugh and say between us, any child would fit in – I have black hair, brown eyes, he has sandy brown hair and blue eyes. How many mixtures can we get with that!!?? Not that we would mind green eyes at all – we just never thought about it!

That is one of the better dreams I’ve had. I know I am probably just facing all my worries in my sleep like with the back arching scene. I need to remember that they are just dreams and I need to worry less!!

My mom said to me a couple of nights ago to just go ahead and throw in the towel. Let myself be free of thoughts of the adoption during the holidays and focus on the last (hopefully!) Christmas, Troy and I will have alone for a long time. She said if I threw in the towel, things would start happening.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m throwing in the towel and I am not going to expect or think about a referral until after Christmas. We have planned a big Christmas Eve dinner at my house with my family and Troy’s family. (Don’t worry Troy’s cooking – it’ll be okay!) We should have 17 family members eating Christmas Eve dinner at our house. Whew! I think I’ll be concentrating on that for now. Plus we need to get out the decorations and start, well...decorating!!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Becoming Prepared

Now – don’t get excited. We haven’t received a referral but we have decided to start making some preparations and at least thinking about things such as: What kinds of toys to take, what to do with the animals while were gone, what kind of clothes, etc.

Well, we have the animals worked out. One of my sister’s will be house sitting and my mom lives close enough to check on them daily. After all my doggies and kitties love “Aunt Cassandra” and “Grandma”. The mere mention of “Grandma” puts my oldest doggie, Elka, in a full pant, jump, and run around mode. Did I mention she loves her Grandma??

We have some toys picked out that we though might be fun. The first is a soft bunny teether toy. It came from the wonderful Wally World and the funniest thing is that it has the name RAE initialed on the front. Rae is my nickname and used to be my initials before I got married. My entire family and Troy’s family only calls me Rae. Troy and I joke that Troy’s family doesn’t even know my full name!! And if Troy calls me Rachel, I think I’m in trouble!! We bought a Little Tykes hammer that makes sounds when you hit it on something. We also have an inflatable ball, another teether/rattle, some blocks, and a soft book.

Other things we are taking are a blanket to leave with our child, and disposable cameras in the hopes to get a few pictures back from during the time we are gone. (Is 2 too many to give them?)

We are going back and forth on all the electronics to take with us. I really hate to lug around the camcorder, laptop and camera. Our camera doubles as a camcorder, but it just isn’t the same. I did learn about, thanks to my grandfather, disposable camcorders you can buy that have 20 minutes on them. Then you take them to the store and they put it on cd for you. You can also review and erase so you get the 20 minutes you want. They are small (same size as a disposable camera) and only about $20.00. This sounds great, but you can’t load them onto the computer while there to send to the Dr. I’m not sure how we are going to handle that yet. I’m not even sure the Dr. really needs the video, as he really just talked about the photos.

We also ordered coats finally. Troy needed one and I needed a heavier coat in case we go to Russia anytime soon. We ordered Extreme Squall Coats and they look great and warm!! I ordered a Paradise Aqua color. Usually I am a black or tan girl, but thought I’d go out on a limb. We ordered Troy a dark green. Here’s to hoping these coats will come in handy. Thanks mom for helping me pick them out and placing the order for us!!

If anyone else has any ideas about what else we might need, let me know. I am particularly interested in the electrical converters. We bought one that we used in St. Lucia, but I’m not sure it will work in Vlad after seeing the Marlowe’s pictures with the sockets in the background. The box we have is square but the prongs come out all different ways. Let me know!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Little Bit O’ Fun

One of my good friends and co-workers, Sue, went on vacation and left me with a mess of a real estate closing. As a thank-you she came back from vacation bearing a gift for me in the form a book called “Bad Dog! True Tales of Trouble Only a Best Friend Can Get Away With”. This book is full of short stories written from a dog’s perspective about how much damage they can do!! It is the most hilarious book.

So, Sue and I decided that Jerry, my very own mutt, needed a story of his own (a true story). (Sue did a wonderful job!!)

Title: Jerry Owns a Boat
Owner: Rachel Williams
Age: 2 years old
Breed: Hound, Ridgeback Mix
Damage: less than $10.00

I love paper! Any kind of paper! My Mom has repeatedly told everyone in our house not to leave paper things on the coffee table because that is MY area for reading materials. Anything placed there is fair game for my perusal. Well, my Dad, Troy, is a great guy. He loves to hunt and fish and do great outdoors stuff. Dad bought a really nifty Grady-White fishing boat from some nice man on the coast of Virginia a few hours away from our house. He got a very fancy green piece of paper called a “Certificate of Title”, folded up in a nice envelope, which he carefully placed on the end table next to the couch. Dad had to mail this piece of paper to an important place so he could officially own the boat. For two days I left that very enticing piece of paper alone. I was trying so hard to be good. But, my Mom and Dad decided to run out to the grocery store one morning, and there it was, the very piece of paper I had tried to avoid. It sure was tasty! It shredded so wonderfully! The only mistake I made was leaving pieces of it for identification purposes. Mom and Dad came home, and wondered what the paper was. It wasn’t until they saw the green parts that they knew. Poor Dad, in slow motion (which is very interesting to watch if you know what I mean), he brought his hand to his mouth and looked at Mom. Mom quickly let me out the back door, and she and Dad had to contact that nice man on the coast of Virginia to ask him to apply for another one of those green pieces of paper. I could hardly wait, but Dad took it right away to the important government office and I never got another taste.

The End

That day I thought Troy might make me take Jerry back to the SPCA. We had to explain to the fellow that Troy bought the boat from that Jerry ate the title he had signed over to Troy and he kindly applied for a replacement title and then signed the new one over to Troy. When Troy got the new title he didn’t let it out of his sight or below 5 feet off the ground until he could personally deliver it to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for the new title in his name!! It has since been resolved and Troy is the rightful owner. I tease Troy that Jerry just wanted to own his own boat, but I still get the evil eye when I mention the whole situation!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Not Much New

This post is about exactly what the title means. There just isn’t much new to report. Still waiting. Waiting for a referral. Waiting for accreditation. Waiting for the day we meet our son and the day we bring him home. We’ve been waiting a tad over 6 months now since our dossier went to Russia and it’s been over a year since we started the process.

I did get my second Hepatitis shot last week and that was no fun. Then the nurse tried to talk me into a flu shot and a booster for Parvo even though I had that stuff before I went to college. I held my arms close to me and said, “No thanks!”

Becky and Carey have inspired me to look at bedding this week and we think we may have chosen a set. Originally we were going with a puppy theme, but then I decided that with three dogs all ready, we may overwhelm our child with puppyness and wanted them to have a break from the dogs in their own bedroom. Besides that, Troy created ceiling fan pulls from fishing lures which he cut the hooks off of, so I think that may have been a hint.

So, here is the set we are thinking of. We would get the four piece set and there is also a matching lamp and valance we would get as well. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tagged, Etc.

I feel like I have been so out of the loop lately with the adoption world. This is not necessarily a bad thing as I just realized that we are closing in on 6 months of waiting for a referral and I’m not even sure where the last month has gone. Hopefully time will continue to fly by until referral. I did check in with our agency today and received some positive news about the goings on in the adoption world. I also realized that Troy and I need to update our homestudy regarding a change in job for Troy and also some additional forms that may go along with that. That will keep me busy the next few days!!

Meanwhile I was tagged by Joy to list 8 random things about me. So here goes:

8 Random Things About Me (don’t laugh!!)

1. I have a seriously huge collection of My Little Pony’s from the 80’s. I also have been collecting the current ones as well.

2. I can’t sing or clap to a beat, but I marched (on beat) with the high marching band as a flag girl and I loved every minute of it!

3. I can only cook a few things well. Troy does most of the cooking.

4. I listen to audio books on CD in the car on my commute to work. I especially love the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series. Oh, and I still like to read an old Harlequin every now and again.

5. I like to cross-stitch but am famous for starting one project before finishing another and have a whole bin of unfinished projects. (I should start working on those!!)

6. I was voted Most Friendliest Female my senior year in high school.

7. I wouldn’t trade Troy for the world, but I miss living in my dorm room at college surrounded by all my friends. It’s hard to keep up with everyone now.

8. I can’t wait to be a mom. There was a time I thought I might never want kids until I met Troy and knew right away I wanted to start a family with him. It’s amazing what the right man can do to you!! We can’t wait to be parents!

Well, I can’t tell who has already been tagged, but I’m going to tag Mandy on this one!! Hope you don’t mind!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sad News

When Troy and I first started this blog we decided that we would try to keep any negative news out of it so that when our son read our blog it would only be filled with happiness. We feel that out of necessity, however, we must share this bit of sad news with everyone as it will forever affect us and our son.

It is with great sadness, that I write, that my father Daniel Alexander passed away on Tuesday. We are so happy he has become one of God’s angels, but will miss him forever.

I’d like to tell you some of my favorite memories of my father, if you would like to hear them.

When I was a child my dad would run down the hall chasing me yelling “I’m mean and I’m green” (pretending he was the Incredible Hulk) and wrestle with me and tickle me like crazy. I would scream and scream “Help!!” for my mom and she would just laugh and say, “You got yourself into the mess, you have to get yourself out of the mess.”

Every summer for many years, my dad and I would take off from Orlando, FL (where I grew up) and drive all the way to Trenton, TN to visit my grandmother. Along the way we played the “Gas Station Game”. We would each pick 3 major gas stations and count them on the 13 hour trek. The trick to the game is you actually have to see the gas station off the interstate, so as you can imagine, we spent a lot of time denying seeing the others gas stations!! All in good fun of course.

Most recently, my dad and I became hooked on playing Jeopardy and watching Survivor. Since season 2 of Survivor, every Thursday night, with an occasional exception, I would go and have dinner at my parents and my dad and I would play Jeopardy. Now you need to know my dad was a history major at Washington & Lee University and he knew EVERYTHING!! Playing with him was pretty amusing as the only times I even had a prayer was teen week when the categories were ‘pop music’ or ‘5th grade math’. (You get the idea!!) Now every once in a blue moon I would have a good night, but no matter what after the first round when it was announced who would go first in Double Jeopardy (the lowest score) my dad would call out my name!! It was always, “And Rachel goes first in Double Jeopardy!” and of course I would try to argue my points to no avail. We even had a silly ‘song’ we sang each time a daily double popped on the screen!! It was quite hilarious. After Jeopardy we would watch Survivor and bet on who would be voted off. We had so much fun.

One more thing I am so happy about is that some months ago Troy and I decided that we would name our son Daniel after my father as we knew he would not be with us forever. We were planning to keep it a secret (and yes, this is the first time I have posted the name on the blog) but my big mouth just couldn’t do it and one Thursday night, when my dad was feeling good, I told him. He looked so proud and surprised and happy all at the same time and he couldn’t even say a whole lot to me the rest of the night. I just know he has already met our son and is keeping watch over him now.

I miss him so much.

Wedding day next to my mom and dad - 1996

My dad and mom at Lake Michigan, in Wisconsin, 2004 (one of my favorite photos!!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Change in the Title

On Friday I should I have posted a blog entry entitled “Eleven Years Ago Today…”

Instead, today I title this “Eleven Years Ago This Past Friday, I Married Troy!!”

Yes – you heard me right – Troy and I have been married 11 years as of October 19, 2007. We didn’t know each other long when we married (only 7 months) but we knew we were gonna make it!!

This past year has been a very exciting, trying and wonderful year. Troy has proven his love this year to me like no other. He has listened to me through every emotion this adoption has brought on, (those of you out there in the same shoes – you KNOW what I mean!!), he has been an amazing help to my parents (and me) in helping them move to a smaller place, closer to us, as my dad is not well, he mowed their grass every other weekend this past summer and moved stuff galore, and as you know by my last post he was a trooper for me when I was in the hospital. I am lucky to have him.

In adoption news, I finally called my local rep on Friday and we had a very nice conversation about the goings on with our agency. We still have a wait in front of us, but good things come to those who wait, right? I just know you are reading this giving me back a resounding “RIGHT”!! I also talked with our coordinator in the St. Louis office and we had a good conversation as well. We feel at this point that we are in the best position we can be in right now.

Here’s to anniversaries and adoption news!! (Hopefully more adoption news before the next anniversary!!)

Finally, thanks for all the well wishes left for me. I am finally feeling on the mend and hope to head back to work this week for a couple of half days to see if I can make the drive and hang out at work for a few hours without being exhausted, and then back to the grind next week.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Out of Commission

Remember this…

As part of our 10 Things You May or May Not Know About Troy and I that we posted a few months ago, number 3 read as follows:

3. We look for emergency rooms as a joke now when we travel – this is for Troy (broken ribs from a flipped 4-wheeler), (stung by a catfish in Florida), (deer antler through foot – don’t ask). Just to name a few!! We joke that we are on retainer at the local emergency room and have our own parking spot.

Well this time we need to change the part that says –‘this is for Troy’.

Some of you may have noticed that we are missing from the photos of lunch at Chili’s in Nashville with our blog friends Adrienne & Jim, Carrie & Michael, Becky & Keith and Carey & Norman.

That’s because I was in the Emergency Room at Vanderbilt first thing Friday morning after having severe stomach and back pain Thursday night. By 1 pm Friday I was being prepped for surgery and by late afternoon my gallbladder had been removed. For someone who never goes to the Dr., unless forced, and someone who hasn’t been in the hospital for medical reasons, since she was three, this came as quite a shock.

Troy was a real trooper through all of this. He insisted on sending the night in my hospital room and helping me up every time I needed to get up which was pretty often, thanks to the IV pumping so much liquid into me. He had flowers sent to my room and while I was still in recovery he delivered a stuffed Shar-pei to me which I held onto by its tail the entire time I was in recovery and in the hospital.

I was so sad not to get to go the Pre-Adopt Class and also not to see my blogger friends. But...surprise, Becky and Keith and Carey and Norman came to my hospital room Saturday mid morning and spent some time with me. I was so happy to finally meet them and it was so nice to have some company being as far away from home as we were.

I was able to leave the hospital Saturday late afternoon and Sunday morning Becky and Keith brought bagels and cream cheese to our hotel room and we were able to chat. I was so glad to get to spend some time with them outside of the hospital. It does feel like chatting with an old friend!

To everyone who has checked on me – thank you!! I am sorry I have been so long blogging. I had a few decent days, then two bad days and today has been decent. I am hopeful to start back to work the middle of next week for half days, but so far I can’t sit up more than 20 or so minutes at a time without pillows. This one post has taken me three days to write!! I’ll try to update again soon.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Another Baby Milestone

This coming weekend marks yet another Baby Milestone on our path to parenthood. We are headed to Nashville on Thursday to attend CHI’s Pre-Adopt Class 2 on Saturday. No, it doesn't take 2 days to get there, but it does take two days to visit my grandmother and of course the Bass Pro shop for Troy!! We loved the Pre-Adopt Class 1 and can’t wait to hear what this class has to offer. We also get a chance to meet our blog friends Keith & Becky, Jim & Adrienne, Michael & Carrie and Norman & Carey. We are also hoping to be able to meet Coby & Brandy, if they can make it. I know we’ll have a good time.

Now that we have almost reached this Baby Milestone we need to come up with a few more. We’ve had basically one a month and had hoped at this point to be closer to referral than we are, so we don't have anymore planned. I’ll have to get to work on setting more Baby Milestones for us.

Oh – well I do have my second Hepatitis vaccination on November 9th- Yippee – Uh, not really!! I guess it will count though – any port in the storm!! I will REALLY, REALLY be working on those milestones soon!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Please Welcome

Jerry Williams to our family. Jerry became a permanent member of our family Saturday as I finally officially adopted him!! He’s been in foster with us since last March and well, I just can’t give him up!! He’s come such a long way from being so terrified to now as my brother-in-law, Stephen, aptly said, “Cautious, but not scared.”

I sure the love the darn dog!! We are now at 3 dogs, 2 cats and I am forbidden to foster any more animals. I think Troy wants me to quit my weekend stints at the SPCA, but that’s not happening!! Thanks honey – for allowing yet another four legged baby into our home!!

Jerry chillin'
Jerry sleeping on Ruby - one eye always open to see what's happening!
On his dog bed (well, chair he adopted next to my side of the bed)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More St. Lucia, Including Our Top 10

I thought I would post some more pictures from our wonderful vacation. Danica asked me about the food, so I included some pictures of our plates while we were there. Why did we take pictures of our food you might ask? Well it’s because I am camera crazy when I’m on vacation. The picture of the Piton beer is from night 2 when we went to Chateau My’go which has Happy Hour all day long – you order one beer you get two!! The Piton beer is the local brand and it’s delicious!! There is even a picture of Troy and I from the night we went to the Green Parrot (the rat infested restaurant!)

In answer to MandyJo’s question – we did take some great underwater pictures, but unfortunately I would have to scan those to post them, and well, I’m just too lazy. We did see sea urchins, squid, angel fish, bright blue spotted fish, beautiful coral and underwater plants just to name a few.

One thing I thought you might enjoy hearing about was our trip to the IGA grocery store, where there are tons of people. They have so many workers because the shelves go bare within minutes. They also have security guards walking around with night sticks in their hands constantly looking into your cart. Interesting!! Plus if you don’t stand on top of the person in front of you in line, it’s an invitation to allow someone in front of you which we quickly learned. We were glad to get out of there.

So, on that note I will leave you with our Top Ten Things We Learned on this vacation and more pictures below!!

Top 10 Things We Learned About a Tropical Vacation

1. Eat out after 7 pm to avoid mosquitoes!!
2. What you need the first night, you can probably get at the restaurant bottled water).
3. Pay in local money, it’s cheaper (ex. $2.67 US is $1 EC however the restaurants figure on $2.50 US per $1 EC costing you 17 cents on each dollar.)
4. Make sure to ask, ask, ask questions about trips before you take them (ex. How big is the boat exactly? What kind of fishing is it?)
5. Don’t eat the local yogurt.
6. Make sure if you have a refrigerator to check the setting before piling your food in for the night.
7. Store ALL food in the refrigerator regardless.
8. As a local said – be sure to drink whiskey with every meal to kill any bacteria on the food. What?!?! We didn’t know this until the last day!!
9. The taxi drivers are not out to kill you.
10. Last, but not least, avoid anyone offering you Dr. Happy.

Troy's farewell dinner - lobster
My farewell dinner - steak, salad and potato
Troy's shrimp & scallops
My pepparoni & onion pizza (very sweet tasting crust)
Piton Beer and it's yummy!
Garlic wings - MMmmmmm!
Bananas Flambay - tons of rum to burn off!
Female birdie heading into our house
Male birdie in our house
Plant known as Cat's Whickers
Pretty yellow flower hung all over a trellis where people get married in the Botanical Gardens
This heart shaped flower was jokingly called "The Little Boy's Flower"
These are known as Lobster Claws
Troy & I at the stairs leading into the Green Parrot
Parrot's Beak flowers
Sulfer Stream (from the volcano, water is not dirty)
Flower wall in front of the bay at Oasis Marigot where we stayed

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We’re Back!!

We had a wonderful time in St. Lucia. What’s even more?? Troy is our newest sky member and he LOVED it!! He was very nervous getting on the plane and when we began to taxi his hands were sweating and he kept looking at me shaking his head. But as soon as the accelerator was hit and we zoomed down the runway he was thrilled!! He even liked the turboprop plane which I wasn’t thrilled with!! We were able to see the Pitons (picture below – 2 mountains formed from volcanic stuff), the botanical gardens, Diamond Falls, and the actual volcano. We shopped in the capitol of Castries, we took a day sail, we fished (Troy caught a Barracuda), we deep sea fished trolling for Marlin (caught nothing, but I sat on the top of the boat with the captain chatting it up the whole trip and learned a great deal about St. Lucia), we snorkeled three different times and we ate out at the most interesting restaurants. Eating there is an experience. At the first open air restaurant we were surrounded by cats begging for food. Troy named one Whitebeard (he kept one eye squished and we decided he needed a patch) and one Egypt or Little E as he had the most beautiful green eyes. Me, being the sucker even found the cat food at the grocery store and fed them on the sly!! We went to another restaurant called the Green Parrot, located at the top of Castries with an amazing view, candlelit, very romantic and halfway through our meal we realized no cats, but rats running around under our feet. Ugh!! But that’s just the way things are there. Best yet, we were in bed every night by 7 or 8 and slept until 7 or 8 each morning. Ahhhhhh...relaxation. Plus, we spent a lot of time at the pool. It was beautiful.

We had the mostest, cutest birds who joined us on the veranda of our sea house every morning while we ate breakfast. They would take bread out our hands. They would even come into the kitchen while we were cooking and would wait patiently for a scrap of food. It was delightful!!Enjoy the pics below!!! Also a picture of us at our last dinner is on the sidebar!!

Sailing from Marigot Bay to the Pitons

The Volcano

Troy with Barracuda

Whitebeard (me feeding him/picture aptly named sucker)

Marigot Bay

Egypt or Little "E"

View from our sea house

The Pitons

Flower nicknamed Crab's Eyes

Birds on veranda
Dinner at Chateau My'go
Diamond Falls

Friday, September 14, 2007

And We're Off

Finally!!! Just a note to say we're off tomorrow morning for St. Lucia!!

Oh yeah ...I got my first Hep A/B shot this morning. That was loads of fun!! Uh...not really.

Here's hoping there is lots of adoption news when we return.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pediatrician Appointment

Last Friday Troy and I saw a local pediatrician who we were hoping would be the one we would use for routine visits after returning from Russia. The office is close to home and was cheerfully decorated. They had separate waiting areas for healthy and for sick children. We were greeted nicely and told to have a seat. Everything seemed to be going well. Then, the wait began. We waited almost 45 minutes before being seen. I am not the most patient person in the world, so this was not the way to start off the interview. I realize it was the end of the day, and I realize we weren’t sitting there with a sick child, but I wasn’t thrilled.

The conversation with the Dr. seemed to go around and around also. While he was excited for us and was happy to prescribe medications we may need for the child on the second trip, he just didn’t say much else. He waited for us to talk and on one particular topic we just couldn’t seem to mesh our conversation. I asked him one thing and he was talking about the other and no matter how many ways I phrased the question, he just didn’t get it.

I think we may try another office. After all the “Pre-Natal” appointments are free!! Seriously, I don’t want to go to a Dr. that I can’t communicate with very well. I guess I’ll have to add looking for a different pediatrician to my “To Do” list!! That will have to wait until after vacation!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

God Answers Prayers

Now you may really have a good laugh about this, but in case you forgot, in my previous post I mentioned that Troy has never flown before and that we were not able to book seats together on his very first flight. Well, after much prayer and persistently looking at the airline’s website for seat availability, there were finally two seats together showing unoccupied. Needless to say, I hopped right on the phone and grabbed them. While I might regret that I won’t be sitting directly behind my husband so as to knock him over the head or overly annoy him and hence the people around me, he is already feeling a thousand times better about his first flight.

On the other hand, when I told him we were in the middle of the plane (near the wing) and he could have the window and we were right behind the emergency exits, (thinking this would be good) he announced, “Great, then I will be the first to see the wing rip off and if that isn’t bad enough, I’ll be the first to be sucked out the door.”

I’m pretty sure we’ll be hitting up the liquor cart first thing!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Out of the Blues....

For the past week or so I hate to admit that I have had the blues about the adoption process. We were notified our coordinator left our agency and were assigned another very nice coordinator. She and I talked for a while and it appears that we still have quite a wait on our hands. I think Troy and I really hoped we would travel for the first trip before the end of the year. Now it sounds as if we may be waiting until January at the very earliest. I know I should have been prepared for that and compared other countries - 10 months isn’t that big a deal, but I wasn’t prepared at all. A very special thanks to Becky who has put up with my whining all week long!!

After being initially shocked and then mad and then just plain sad, I emailed both of my jobs and said I was taking an impromptu vacation in September. I went home, cleared it with Troy, who also had to let both of his jobs know (obviously we are working way too much) that we are in fact going on vacation, something we missed this summer in the hopes of traveling to Russia.

So.......between last night and today I booked our vacation in St. Lucia!!! Now, Troy has never flown before so I figured why not go all out and have him fly now. Plus we will leave out of the same airport we will leave out of when we travel to Russia. So technically, we are still getting ready for the adoption—right!?!? This way we’ll know where the airport is and how to get around.

Unfortunately, I have never booked airline tickets so close to a travel date and we had a time trying to get tickets without 8 plus hours of layovers and arriving on the island before midnight so in the end we paid a little more, got decent hours, but we can’t sit next to each other on Troy’s very first flight. However, I CAN sit directly behind him and hit him over the head if I need to!!!

So, off we will go mid-September. We are staying in a sea house that overlooks Marigot Bay. They have tons of activities from day sailings to fishing excursions to snorkeling etc. Oh, I can’t wait.

The pink houses/condos on the right side of the picture is where we will be. This is an acutaly photo from an attorney at work who was there on a cruise about a month ago!! At least we know it is as pretty as the pictures on the internet.

Oh yeah – I did have about an hour of pure panic after booking everything about vacation days left at work (hardly any) and of course funds for the adoption (there is a reason we are each working two jobs) and I called my husband and told him I was going to go throw up. In his usual calm way, with his usual 'calm down Rachel' voice, he says, “Why are you worried about it now? It’s done, it’s paid for, there’s nothing you can do about it and either we go or we stay and I don’t know about you, but I’m going and I hope you’re coming with me.” Ahhhh, now I remember why I love this man so much!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

IAD Appointment

Today Troy and I had a chance to meet with an International Adoption Doctor (IAD) to ask some general questions and get a feel for whether or not we were comfortable sending a medical report and photos to him for review while we are in Russia. The doctor put us right at ease and answered most of our questions without us even asking them. We were very pleased. Some things we learned were that:

  • The very best photo to send to a doctor of the child is a head-on, straight view of the child’s face when they are not smiling (relaxed facial features);
  • Profile shots are helpful as they can look at the shape and development of the head;
  • Pay attention to their muscles. Many times they will be limper than expected due to their lack of stimulation. However, if they are stiff or tight, this can be because of an underlying issue; and
  • Pay attention to their hands. A child who is 6 months should have open hands and be able to transfer an object from one hand to the other. A 12 month old child who keeps their hands in a fist may have underlying issues.

We also talked about taking toys and watching them and noting as much as possible. He said not to be shy when we email and even if we think something we observed may not be that important we should email it anyway as it could raise a red flag to a doctor. He also gave us permission to call him anytime day or night while we are there if there is an issue that just can’t wait. He also had no problem writing a letter for court and prescribing some medications before the second trip of items to take with us in need be (general children’s antibiotic, cream for scabies and such).

All in all, we are very happy we went and hope that some of this information benefits others.

In saying all this we have reached what Becky coined a “Baby Milestone” during our waiting. Each time we reach a baby milestone more of the waiting has passed and we are closer to bringing our son home!! Our next baby milestone is the local pediatrician appointment on September 7th. We are now looking forward to that one!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Don’t Quit My Day Job

Why? Well, let me tell you. This weekend we had a Pajama Party at the SPCA. It was an event to help promote the adoption of cats and kittens as we have tons!! We had face painters and hair stylists and karaoke. Have you figured it out yet?

Yes, I got talked into singing since I was staff member and I’m pretty good sport considering I know I can’t sing. So up I go with another staff member and we belted out Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”. The kids loved it, and the cats loved it (of course). I think I even might have heard a dog howling in the background, but it was worth it!! We were even asked to do an encore and sang Rascal Flatts “I’m Moving On.” Not a good choice for us, as you can probably imagine!! We had a great time and moved over 20 cats out into great homes!! Even a couple of dogs found good homes as well!!

Nothing new to report on the adoption today. We do have our appointment with the International Adoption Doctor this Friday morning which I am looking forward to. We plan to ask lots of questions so that when we do travel we can email or fax the right information to them for a review of the child’s records. I’ll let everyone know how that goes.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Great News

I checked in with our Agency this morning and there has been more movement in Vlad!! This is so exciting to us as any movement means things are coming along. We don’t know exactly where we are in line, but we know each day is another day closer to our son!! Thank you to everyone for their prayers on this journey and please continue to pray for more referrals, not just in our region but all regions as well.

As you have probably noticed I changed our blog around a bit. The other blog wasn’t jumping out at me anymore, so I hope everyone likes this style.

Here's hoping for more good news soon!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm It...

I was tagged by Becky with this questionairre - so here we go!!

5 things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Enjoying being married almost a year
2. Bought a Mustang Convertible – I miss that car!!
3. Working for Afterthoughts piercing ears (which isn’t around anymore)
4. Going to school part-time for my legal certificate
5. Living in the smallest one bedroom apartment there ever was!!

5 snacks I enjoy:

1. Wheat Thins
2. Honey Mustard Pretzel Pieces
3. Pickles
4. M&M McFlurry
5. Coconut Doughnuts

5 songs I know all the lyrics to:

1. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix Alot
2. Raspberry Beret - Prince
3. Sweet Child of Mine – Guns N Roses
4. These Dreams - Heart
5. Keep It Between The Lines – Ricky Van Shelton

5 things I would do if I were a Millionaire

1. Pay off debt
2. Travel
3. Buy our families houses – or pay off their debt
4. Buy a Yacht
5. Adopt another child or adopt siblings now

5 bad habits:

1. Biting my fingernails
2. Hitting snooze on the alarm clock
3. Never knowing when to let go especially when I am trying to make a point!
4. Talking too much
5. Worrying about EVERYTHING!!

5 things I like to do:

1. Scrapbook
2. Read
3. Fish
4. Cross-Stitch
5. Swim

5 things I would never wear again:

1. 3 headbands all at once alternating colors
2. Bikini (Me too ladies!!)
3. Tube Top
4. Biker Shorts
5. Slouch Socks

5 favorite toys:

1. My Pets
2. Scrapbook Items
3. Laptop
4. My Little Pony (I collect them from the ‘80s)
5. Hot-tub

I'm going to pass this on to Amy!! Lucky you!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Looking Ahead

That’s what we have been trying to do. I posted about our appointments with the International Adoption Doctor and the pediatrician (one in August and one in September). Now Troy and I have signed up for the Pre-Adopt Class 2 in October at our Agency at the Brentwood, Tennessee location. We already attended the Pre-Adopt Class 1 and think it was one of the best things we have ever done. We learned so much and gathered a bunch of information that we are grateful to have. We are looking forward to attending that class. On a side note, my grandmother is in Nashville and we can combine the trip to see her as well which works out wonderfully for us.

With one appointment each month it gives us something to look forward to and helps make the waiting a little easier as we feel that we are using the time to prepare as much as we can. It also gives us short-term waiting goals which I find are very helpful in the process. Hmmm...now for November...referral maybe??

Monday, July 23, 2007

Old Times...

What a weekend!! I spent this past weekend with two of my college friends. We had such a nice time catching up. We even visited a winery on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the weather was fabulous. I needed the break from the internet and adoption talk. We stayed up to midnight (haven't seen midnight in a while!) both nights and were able to just sit around and chat. It's so good to have friends you may not see that often but when you do you can pick up just like it was yesterday.

Below is a picture of us from this weekend. Brennen, Sarah and I - I miss you girls already!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Yesterday was a busy adoption information day on many topics. Let’s see - I managed to bombard our agency’s email groups with not one, but two questions about traveling. I also managed to make two appointments concerning the adoption – the first with an International Adoption Doctor (IAD) located only 30 minutes away from us at a well known University, the second with a local pediatrician who also has some experience working with internationally adopted children. The appointments are in mid-August and early September, but I was glad to get them set up and out of the way. Those poor doctors aren’t going to know what hit them when I walk in with a million and one questions for them!!

One can never feel too prepared. At least that’s what I have been thinking. Of course I just know the moment I lay eyes on our son, I’m sure all my questions will fly out the window. Good thing we have a list from our agency of questions to ask. Thank goodness for those lists!!

Well, I’m off for a couple of days to visit with two of my college hallmates. We are spread out by about 3 hours each so the northern friend is picking me up and then we are traveling to our southernmost friend. Hopefully I’ll make it back without the three of us having gotten into too much trouble!! Troy said he wouldn’t hold his breath!! (We’re adults now right?!?!)

Monday, July 16, 2007

What To Do, What To Do????

All is quiet on the adoption front right now. Troy and I are putting in every effort to get the items done on our list as mentioned in a previous post and now moved to the sidebar so we can keep up with it. It’s like a challenge now since it’s posted – No way out of it!! We did manage to knock off #16 this weekend which was to replace our basement back door. I’m glad that’s done!! We also have an appointment to have 4 trees removed out of our backyard in 3 weeks. Looking forward to that. Well, not really, but it will help. We have a partially wooded back yard and the trees are everywhere not just in one spot so we are taking out the ones that are leaning and are going to limb the other trees ourselves to allow for more sunlight and hopefully more grass!!

I also added to my blog today and “Email Me!” link under our photo. Feel free to email me anytime. Thanks Becky for helping get the up and going!! Becky and Keith also decided on a region and their dossier will be sent to Krasnoyarsk this Friday – Congratulations!!

We are looking forward to hearing when Melissa and Nathan reach Vlad safely. I expect their blog will be hopping with great news soon.

This week I have a goal to finish scrapbooking vacation pictures from last year!! I am so far behind and need to get that caught up. So, I am taking a break from closets until at least that vacation is done!!

Hopefully we'll have more exciting news to post in the near future...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Adoption Update

I found out yesterday that there has been one referral since June for a child 18 months and younger in our region, Vlad. This is good news as that means we are one family closer to receiving our referral. While things are still moving slow, at least they are moving. It seems that there are also a lot of families waiting for court dates at this point also, but I believe they are for children mostly over the 18 month range.

I can’t believe 2 months have gone by already. Troy and I considered last Friday, July 6 as our two month mark as it was 8 weeks exactly from when our dossier was shipped to Russia, but technically, I suppose yesterday July 11 could also be considered the two month mark. Either way – we have made it past that mark!!

Please continue to pray for speedy referrals for not only us but for the children who need loving homes and for speedy court dates for the families ready to go back for their little ones.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Belated Happy Fourth and Here’s to Late (Very Late) Spring Cleaning!!

I am sorry I am so late saying Happy Fourth and I hope every one had a good time. As for us, I had told Troy I needed an activity where I could squeal and laugh and be silly so we went to the beach. Great idea!! Troy, my sister Cat, her hubby Joe and myself all took off for Virginia Beach for the day!! We had a blast. The water was so cold. Joe and I barreled in and Troy soon followed and then Joe had to get Cat and drag her in. Once we were in we stayed in for 2 and ½ hours because we knew once we got out we weren’t getting back in!! Enjoy the silly pictures at the bottom of the post!!

In other news, and more exciting news: Accreditations from Russia started coming in!! There were 8 agencies in the first batch (ours was not included). This is a great sign and we hope to hear that our agency is next!! It could be any day now!! We hope to see many more referrals and many long awaited court dates in the coming months.

Also, Congratulations to Melissa and Nathan who received their court date of July 20th in Vlad. They will soon be the proud parents of Little I.

And finally...I have to admit that after reading Becky and Keith’s blog and at her mention of cleaning out closets, I decided I hated our closet and made Troy help me take every piece of clothing, every pair of shoes, purses, etc. out of the closet. After scrutinizing every item before putting it back in to the closet we managed to set out a pile of clothes for a garage sale over 4 feet high AND I threw away three pairs of shoes. I was so brave. Then, last night I bought $45.00 worth of cleaning supplies and off we went. We scrubbed the bathroom, we vacuumed, we swept, mopped, you name it. Our house has never looked better, so when I was out of things to do...

We made a list!! A list of items to get done “Before We Go To Russia” and a list of things to do “In Between Trips To Russia”. I love lists. It gives me a goal. We used a huge piece of 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper and wrote each item in real big writing. (This way we can’t ignore it and we feel like we have accomplished more when we cross it off.) We even added things that we most likely can’t get done, but will motivate us anyhow.

They look something like this:

Note: Moved to sidebar to keep up with it. Bold items have not been done. Unbold or regular font items have been completed - Let's see how many items we add and how many we get done!

Cat and Joe ------------------------------- Troy and I

Cat and I --------------------------------Looking for a wave

Troy ------------------------------------- Wild Blue Yonder