Monday, May 30, 2011

tick-tock, tick-tock

I know it's only been a few days for you readers but for us as we wait for adoption news... it's felt like much more!

It seems as though nothing has really happened in our adoption case for about a month (according to our timeline) but each day we wait we hopefully move up in line.  The whole Korean end of the process is a little beyond our understanding so we ask questions but mostly trust our expert case manager at WACAP.

The step we are on currently is getting Sweet Pea's Emigrant Permit.  The way the agency in Korea gets children's EP's is they submit them in batches (along with other children who's families are ready to adopt).   Since the EP's are submitted in batches the next batch is not able to be submitted until all the permits from the previous batch are returned.  Each batches processing time differs (of course) but usually ranges between 2-5 weeks for approval.  We've been hanging tight for almost 4 weeks just to have Sweet Pea's permit submitted, then we will have to wait for approval.  I know, it's all a little confusing and we feel somewhat helpless as our days pass and we anxiously wait for news.

Once approved she will have a visa medical where she will see a special doctor (only certain doc's are certified to clear children for medical visas, and all children being adopted internationally from Korea need a visa medical).  Whatever language that doctor uses to describe Sweet Pea goes onto a form that we have to sign and say we know all her medical history (again) - once signed this will be overnighted to the agency in Korea.  THEN, she will be scheduled for her visa interview.  This is basically an appearance where they officially clear her to travel and usually the day following the visa interview is when families get the call to come get their babies!

Sometime during all the aforementioned the agency in Korea also has applied for and probably received Sweet Pea's Korean passport.

In short, once the EP is approved bringing our baby girl home is very near!  Phew!

Since we have so many pending life changes we've just continued to roll through our many check lists to get ready to travel to Asia again (5th time for Kel, 4th time for David) and get ready to move to Europe (1st time to Europe for Kel, 3rd time for David).  We've been selling items online and buying things online and meeting up with beloved friends, starting many little piles for our trips ahead :)

I'm also excited to say that we have the gifts in order that we want to bring with us for the foster parents and Sweet Pea's social worker.  We are excited to bless these people who have loved on and supported our daughter when we weren't able to.  How do you thank someone for such an amazing gift?!  It's nearly impossible.

*Update: We just found out (today is June 1st) that the EP was submitted on May 20th!!!  We're so excited!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

our friend, vinegar

I've come to appreciate all the great uses around my home for vinegar!  I know it sounds silly, but it's true.  It's cheap, a gallon is about $2, and it's has many uses.  Here are some of the ones I've found recently.
  • Fill your hot pot or coffee pot with 1 part vinegar 2 parts water and boil or run a cycle, this gets rid of all the mineral build up in the pots.  Make sure you boil or run a full pot of water through after you do this so you don't have any vinegar taste the next time you use your hot pot or coffee pot.
  • Run a quick dish load in your dishwasher with only a bowl of vinegar, right side up, on the bottom rack.  Again, this cleans your dishwasher from mineral build up.
  • Use vinegar as a rinsing agent in your dish washer instead of something like Jet Dry.
  • Make your own dishwashing detergent!
  • Put about a cup of vinegar in the bleach dispenser the washing machine if your towels or clothes smell musty (after 5+ years of marriage our towels are old and we almost bought new ones cause I thought they were getting old and stinky - this did the trick and helped save us some money!).  Make sure you do an extra rinse cycle here too!
  • Pour vinegar in your toilet to help eat up the water line, let it sit while you sleep or are at work for the day
This is about all I've tried so far but there are apparently 1001 uses!  I found this fun website with many more ideas about whitening your teeth, getting your pet to have shiny hair and many more.  Check it out!

One more fun fact, in Germany they make vinegar from beer!  That's hilarious since it seems like the Germans LOVE their beer.  At least they've found other uses for it, besides just drinking!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

submission to His timing

Oh Lord, your ways are better than mine.  Help me to embrace this truth not just in my mind, but in my heart too.  We have seen you move and work through this adoption in only ways you could, but still I doubt your timing and discernment over our situation.  Please change my heart oh Lord and help me to trust you and find peace through the wait.  It's so hard to know that our little girl is without us (although, she doesn't know the difference) and growing and developing (hopefully!) in beautiful ways.  We are thankful for those things, yet yearn for more instant gratification.  Continue to teach me to let go and let you lead us and this process.  I give this to you - but I promise, giving it to you doesn't mean I'm not still longing for the minute Sweet Pea is in my arms... thank you Lord for a mother's love and longing for her child to be home.

From another adoptive mom's blog: When it comes to adoption, (at least in our experiences so far) every time God moves he does it in a way that puts his glory on display, at least to me. God moves in me to pray, and then he listens. He cares about the state of my heart. He wants me to depend on him and watch him work. And then he comes through. Every single time. 

I am longing to share a picture of our girl with you bug again, we aren't able to so... I'll leave you with what I can :)  Remember this package we gathered for Sweet Pea?  The most recent picture we received was her and her foster mom (so fun to see her too) and the items we fit in our one gallon bag - here's your sneak peak!  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

a breath of fresh air

My wonderful parents drove over 20 hours to visit Norah and me!  How awesome is that?  It was a last minute decision as far as them coming--they just felt the need to visit Spokane in all it's glory in the spring and see us as much as possible before we live on the other side of the pond.  Their visit really couldn't have been timed better.  I needed my lawn mowed, basement organized, to make a Costco run, I was missing my man and overwhelmed with the thought of the move and I needed another woman to help me get the baby area ready for my Sweet Pea!  Besides all the great stuff they helped me accomplish, we also did some walks and explored a a park or two for Norah's sake.  It was fun showing off my city and showing off my parents to some of my friends.  So proud of them both!
 Aren't they cute?
 Norah's really into walking and not being pushed, this particular day she wanted to push the stroller!
Cuties in hats.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Pictured above:
Jen, Me, Joy, Marybeth
Karen, Ashley, Laura

My wonderful Taylor girls have all played such unique roles in my life and walk with the Lord.  I've only been able to attend two reunions and missed maybe five but the times we've reunited have been super sweet!

Reconnecting with friends who have walked through daily life with you, through getting married and having babies... it's a sweet sweet thing.  I'm so thankful for these wonderful women who love the Lord and me!
Some highlights of the trip: talking until 4am (yikes!), eating lots of good food (what's a girls weekend without it!?), adding 4 more flights to Norah's list (it's quite exhausting, to say the least!), surprising the girls with David being in town (I'll explain) and surprising them with our move to Germany (they found out the same day you did) throwing Ashley a bridal shower, seeing David and Disko (otherwise known as Stephen) together giggling like little girls.
Here's how it all went down:
  • David was training in AL the week we got the call, he came home for a long weekend and quickly left for a month long training - in OH of all places!
  • Norah and I left the following day for the reunion.
  • Since we were only an hour from David, Disko picked him up late on Friday night and they arrived to suprise the girls!  Then David spilled the beans about Germany to them.  It was a fun way to announce the news.
  • I was so thankful to have a babysitter/David so I could hang with my girls :)
  • We had to say bye to David again.
  • We are almost done with the month long training (!!!!!) - then we can actually process the move and the impending changes!
  • Crazy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a bean bag!

I finished a super cute bean bag for my girls!
I mentioned that I was working on something with the cute fabric back in this post and here's the finished project. I love it and Norah seems to think it's pretty fun too :)
After I finished sewing, literally a few weeks ago, I was procrastinating on putting the bean bag pellets in the bag - it was a pain, but the end result is great so whatev.
The free pattern and fabric idea came from this blog, one of the creators of Michael Miller fabric!

On a total side note, I've had to use this website a few times recently, it's saved me from my 20 month old hiding me phone.  Maybe it will come in handy for you too!

Friday, May 13, 2011

a bit overwhelmed.

I cannot believe it's been literally a month since we found out we were moving, and two months since we first laid eyes on our Sweet Pea.  I've cried everyday of this last month. I cry on the way to church, small group, and at both of those places too, while I'm driving, on the phone with dear friends, as I write emails, when I'm laying in bed at night processing, in the shower and during other daily things like cooking and vacuuming - sheesh, you'd think I was pregnant (I'm not)!

All the impending changes have been a really hard concept to wrap my brain around. I honestly feel completely overwhelmed. At the same time, I know that I can only do one thing at a time!  In the past week I've been to the medical building on base 6 times, been to a doctor downtown and been to the dentist!  There are a lot of clearances that need to take place in order to move overseas. The AF wants to make sure our family is in good health and that if we are not that the base in Germany can provide for our needs.  So far we are all in good health so it shouldn't be a problem. You can certainly pray that our Sweet Pea doesn't have any needs that can't be met in Germany.  If that's the case, we'll tackle that when the time comes.

We are planning on selling one, if not both of our cars, I'm trying to get the house ready for a new baby, we are organizing all the adoption stuff so that everything (that we can control) transitions smoothly once Sweet Pea is home (getting a lawyer in place to finalize, setting our social worker up so she can come visit us ASAP when we arrive back in the states, know which documents we need to get Sweet Pea a US passport immediately following her finalization). All the stuff I feel like our family shouldn't have to be worrying about during the transition of bringing a baby home.  I'm not trying to complain, I'm just hoping I can let you in on some of the stresses we are feeling. It's hard to handle sometimes.

David gets more and more excited everyday about the move.  I think I'm more of an ebb and flow kinda girl.  I get excited one hour and the next I'm feeling total heart break as I think of leaving this amazing place.  I would never want to fast forward my life and miss out on anything but, much like what I was feeling when David was deployed, I just want the hard parts to really short and soak in the good stuff.  But, again... I want to savor.  Savor my time with Norah.  Savor this wonderful town and the nearness (although not that near) of family and savor my dear friends here in Spokane.  Ah, so much to be thankful for.

Thanks for letting me vent.  Sometimes I just need to let it out so it's off my chest!

Two highlights from my past week:

Mother's Day with my girl!
*Please note my SuperMom shirt!*
So blessed to have been with my amazing mom on Mother's day!  What a gift from the Lord to have a strong, God-fearing, fun mom!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

toddler tip

Randomly think of things I wish someone would give me tips on for parenting or mothering - nothing too serious, more practical stuff so, I thought I would share some of my 1.5 years of parenting knowledge with you once and a while.  Fun right?

Q: How do I get my toddler's nails clipped without drawing blood or without a screaming tantrum?

Tip: Strap or ummm, put them in their high chair or booster seat and give them something good to eat.  And usually for an extra distraction I turn on Word World :)  This is how I get Norah's toe nails clipped and for the fingers... I wait until they start to tear off (kids nails are usually too soft to actually break).

Happy clipping!

In other amazing news... we got a new picture of our baby girl!!!!!!!!!  She has a full head of beautiful hair - it's so much longer than the last pictures we have!  WE LOVE IT!  I wish I could post a picture for you to drool over :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

children's day

Today, May 5th, Korea celebrates Children's Day , which celebrates children of all ages. It was founded by the Korean children's writer Pang Chong-hwan in 1923 as a way to instill in the children a sense of independence and national pride and became a public holiday in 1975. Children's Day highlights the dignity of children and their need for love, care and respect. It is also a day to honor adults that have contributed to improving the lives of children. Many cities have parades and public activities and museums, zoos, amusement parks, and movie theaters offer free admission to children. Traditional games, such as yut are played. Gifts are given to children from their parents and from stores that the children visit during Children's Day. - WACAP
The board for the game Yut 
*Image from Wikipedia

In other happenings we have an official I600 approval (!!!!!) from USCIS Homeland Security and are completely cleared to bring Sweet Pea home.  Things are just falling into place and we should be able to travel, Lord willing, in 6-12 weeks.  Obviously we are praying hard to travel in 6 weeks which would fall around June 13th :)

With all the life changes coming up we are just overwhelmed with knowing how to process everything!  I have moved on from crying throughout each day to just being a little numb and overwhelmed.  David and I were just talking about how we aren't sure where to focus our energy.  There is so much to be done in order to prepare for the move and so many emotions surrounding it all but yet, there is so much surrounding the joyful arrival of our baby girl's homecoming!  I don't want to miss out on any opportunity to love and welcome Sweet Pea home, this is the one and only chance we get but... at the same time I don't want to miss the opportunity to gracefully leave Spokane and enter into living over seas.  Maybe these anxieties are just a distraction from what I'm really supposed to be putting my energy into.  It's all very confusing and coming on so fast!  Am I making any sense!?

I feel good that we've gotten these things done for the move:
*Scheduled physicals for Norah and myself
*Sheduled our International Drivers Permit test (eek!, autobahn here we come!)
*Applied for our military passports
*Booked our tentative flights for July 25th
*Dental appointments

Monday, May 2, 2011

he is risen!

He is risen indeed!
Sorry for the delay in our beautiful Easter celebration pictures!
We went to church, sat on the porch in the sun and played in the yard then headed over to our wonderful friend's house for desert, and easter egg hunt and time together.  What blessed day to celebrate our Jesus being alive and active in our lives!
Kathleen & Amelia, Amy & Clara (this is the only pic I have and her eyes are closed), Kelly & Norah
And this was after Easter but still, so cute!


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