Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy

Tuesday was a day of surprises for Daddy. He woke up to a homemade blueberry bran muffin and coffee served in bed by Madi and Mommy. Madi was so excited for this moment. It was the last thing she talked about the night before and when she found me in the kitchen the next morning, she was barely awake but very aware and insistent that we had a job to do. We tiptoed around preparing his "breaksis in bed". He was so good to stay in bed and pretend to be asleep for Madi's enjoyment. When Daddy went to work, we were busy baking his birthday cake, which looked disastrous but tasted pretty good. Madi decorated it with several types of sprinkles and adorned it with four peanuts representing Daddy, Mommy, Madi and Daniel.

Grandpa treated us to dinner out at P.F. Chang's. Madi was thrilled to wear her Chinese outfit but was a bit disappointed at the lack of authenticity. While she enjoyed the food and company, she much prefers a Chinese restaurant where she can practice her Chinese language skills with the staff!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mermaid Madi

Move over, Ariel. There's a new mermaid in town.

A few weeks ago, Madi discovered that she had some spending money in her wallet that Bubba and Grandpa had given her. She quickly appropriated the $15 for yet another Barbie doll. "Really Madi?" I quipped, "Another Barbie doll??" She already has a collection of probably twenty. "How about spending your money on one of those mermaid fins we saw somewhere--wouldn't that be better? I offered without thinking or remembering where we even saw it last year. Madi happily jumped right on the bandwagon. She wanted that mermaid fin, and right away I might add. Good job, Mom.

We went home to discover online that it wasn't very easy to find. There are only two versions that seem to exist, and the least expensive version was way more than she her wallet had to offer. I promised her, and Julianna, that we would venture out the next day to look for the items they were seeking, well knowing that we would likely strike out at Target. And I was right. No such luck.

Bubba and Grandpa got wind of Madi's desire to be a mermaid and decided to send it for her 'just because'. They obviously must miss her already having gone back to CA two weeks ago. It arrived yesterday and Madi's eyes were as big as saucers when she opened it. She tried it out today, and it was a bit more challenging than she expected. Something tells me she'll master it in no time. And if not, her and Daddy can reenact the Barbie Mermaidia movie for hours on end!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moving Forward

We have been hustling with our paperwork, and it's hard to believe that our dossier is already complete and was sent to our agency yesterday for the certification and authentication process. Our amazing home study social worker really came through for us with our home study report and Holt was quick to approve it for us.

We had an interesting development along the way. We found out that our USCIS clearance is approved until 2/3/11. The good news about that is we don't have to do our fingerprints again--at least for now. This also shaves about 4 - 6 months off our wait time. It is likely that we will have to file again, but there is a chance, albeit slight, that we could skip this step IF we are able to be matched with a child AND travel by 2/3/11! We hope that Daniel is flying around up there right now trying to locate the perfect little brother or sister for Miss Madi...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Visit to New Smyrna

We had a really nice relaxing weekend in New Smyrna with Aunt Diane & Uncle Shrimp. We arrived on Friday and Aunt Diane had laid out big plans for Madi. Her "to do" list consisted of: swim, make a cake, wrap presents (for Daddy and Uncle Shrimp's birthdays), and make cards. She stayed busy all day enjoying each task, especially licking spatulas, beaters & bowls:)

I love that Madi enjoys "the little things" in their company. This trip, she was absolutely fascinated by two things--their cuckoo clock and an old-fashioned record player. She would drag Uncle Shrimp into the room a few times a day so he would adjust the clock and she could get the full cuckoo experience. She also loved dancing to records with both of them and loved the fact that most kids have never even seen a turntable, yet she has!

We got a kick out of the fact that when Madi would wake up and go out in the living room, she would order Jimmy and I to stay in bed and rest. She really loved having her quality time with them, and it was clear she wanted to embrace every moment of time-dominating opportunity!

When we were saying our goodbyes, Aunt Diane and Uncle Shrimp thanked Madi for coming to visit, to which she replied, "Thank you for coming to visit Daniel." Always thinking of her little brother...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Better late than never

I was driving on I-95 today, and I started thinking about how being late used to drive me crazy. I mean really crazy. Downright neurotic actually. The slightest traffic jam could send me into a tailspin. Running late for an event could give me heart palpitations.

Daniel changed me. Going through all of that chaos with him and watching his bravery every step of the way changed me. Not that I never let hiccups along the way affect me now--in fact, Jimmy would probably laugh if he saw this post! But seriously, I feel differently. Losing Daniel made me realize what really matters. Traffic jams and running a few minutes late do not matter. Not one bit.

Thank you, God, for reminding me what is really important. Losing Daniel was critical. Nothing else even compares.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Popcorn for breakfast

I love Summer. All our schedules thrown out the window. Nothing to rush out the door for. Just sun, fun, and cuddle-bugging in the mornings while watching cartoons.

We have managed to have a great and busy Summer so far, without enrolling in camps and expensive activities. Madi has enjoyed relaxing, and yes--watching that forbidden television too. Down time is exactly the medicine we've needed for reflecting and for healing.

The next few weekends will bring some small family trips that we've planned. These little trips are giving us a lot of excitement to look forward to. We can all use the break, but especially Daddy who's been working so hard while we're goofing off.

This morning Madi requested popcorn for breakfast. Popcorn and strawberry lemonade to drink. Request granted, happily I might add. I just love Summer:)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lion Country Safari

Last week, we went to Lion Country Safari with the boys and Aunt Sheila. Madi loves to drag Murphy around everywhere. She is such a little bossy thing. It is cute because Aunt Sheila insists that the boys listen to no one like they listen to Madi! She wants me to bring Madi over to see if she can get them to do housework:) I love the shot of the kids in hardhats. Wanna guess which one's in charge?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Year Ago Today

It was exactly one year ago today that we received the phone call from our agency about a baby boy named Weifeng. It is so hard to believe that a year has passed and he has come and gone from our lives like a shooting star.

I remember vividly receiving that call. I was returning from the grocery store and bank with Madi and Julianna Debonis in the back seat of the van. I remember answering my cell phone and the Holt agent telling me that they had a baby boy who needed a home. It was impossible to keep the tears from falling. I was barely able to speak.

I should back up two weeks prior to June 24th. My Mother-in-Law, who we were all very close with, passed away from a formidable battle with uterine cancer. That morning, Jimmy and I went in Madi’s bedroom to break the news to her. They had been very, very close. We explained to Madi that Grandma had gone to Heaven. At that time, we also told her that Grandma had a job to do—she was going find us a baby.

So when the phone rang with our news of a baby, I knew in my heart that he would be the one. I tried hard to keep my composure, especially with the kids in the car. I raced home and inside the house to call Jimmy praying that he would feel the same.

The same day, we were emailed the file about our son-to-be, a baby boy from Nanchang, Jiangxi province born 2/2/08 with multiple heart conditions. We read his file over and over soaking up every detail. We stared at his pictures, studying every beautiful detail. We cautiously did our homework on his condition and met with doctors for the next month until we knew we were ready to take this leap of faith. It was then we shared our news with our world.

Just this morning, Madi woke up saying, "I miss Daniel". We all miss Daniel. Thank God for memories, for pictures, and mostly for videotape--which reminds us where Daniel started and where he ended up in our home, as a happy little boy who was so full of life. We will always love you, Dan Dan...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Operation Tadpole

Our dear friend and neighbor, Carol, just had a swimming pool built in her backyard and it was "ready for swimming" the other day. Madi just couldn't wait to get over there to take a dip this morning. As we entered the pool, we noticed that there was a bit of debris, which didn't seem abnormal given the rain squalls we had yesterday. Right away, I spotted a frog or two that I pulled out of the pool. Then I noticed something much smaller swimming around. It was a tiny, tiny tadpole. As I looked around, it was easy to spot more tadpoles. Apparently, the pool hadn't been balanced yet and was basically like a big swamp! We asked Carol for some plastic cups and began our tadpole saving mission. We scooped literally hundreds of tiny little tadpoles into a large bucket for Jimmy to take to the lake. He made five trips. The frog population (and the lake fish, I'm sure:) were loving us today! Madi had a blast knowing that she was saving these babies. She was so fired up about the whole mission. It was precious. When we came home, Jimmy ordered us right to the shower!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tea Time

We went to the tea room this week with gal pals Olivia and Lauren. These three will be going to First United Methodist together in the Fall. They had a great time running around and accessorizing themselves and their mommies! The attention spans are still a little bit too short to make a habit out of the tea room, but it was the perfect place to celebrate new beginnings:)
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