Thursday, July 10, 2008

Couldn't Be Happier...

Happy Anniversary! Flower Text

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

DTC!!! We are DTC!!! FINALLY! We are DTC!!!


397 Days Later... We are FINALLY DTC!!! How does that happen? I am still at a loss as to how this dragged out as long as it did. But it did, and I do believe that we will go down in the record books for this particular paperchase. It happened!

As of July 8, 2008, our dossier has been sent to China!!! It has been a LONG time coming, and we are completely and totally exhausted and anxious to get Garrett home. But we are also simply overjoyed that this moment has finally arrived. So, as Gracie would say, "THUMBS UP, BABY!!!" We are DTC!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Videos of Garrett in China!!! More Surprises!!!

Van, Gracie, and I cannot believe it! What an incredible day! We received four new videos of Garrett in China this afternoon, and one additional picture of him with his foster ba-ba (daddy). These are such precious treasures allowing us to see him in good health and growing so strong. We cannot wait for Van and Niels to travel to China for our beautiful son. Knowing that the China Care Foundation is really not supposed to be sending these pictures and videos out to us makes receiving them even more special. Take a peek into the life of our son. What I have noticed about the pictures and videos so far:

1. The picture of Garrett eating and sharing an ice cream cone with his ba-ba...I absolutely KNOW this is a sign he is joining the right family (OURS) with the way we eat ice cream around here. LOL. Also, notice the way Garrett and his ba-ba are holding hands and the way his ba-ba has his hand resting around him...I can tell there is so much love between these two. His ba-ba must be a very sweet, caring man.

2. The videos...Some of the videos are sideways so turn your head or your monitor so you can view them. :) Garrett's hair has been shaved again. Must be hot there in Inner Mongolia this time of the year. He is definitely not bundled as some of the Chinese do to their children. He is wearing shorts and short sleeved shirts. Garrett is feeding his ba-ba snacks (chips, no less!). This tells me again that they have a close relationship, and is a pretty good sign I think that he is attached to him. Garrett is TALL for his age. When I first saw the video, I immediately thought about how BIG he is, and that he is NOT a baby anymore. And he is not yet 2 years old...He will be two years old at the end of the month (the 26th), but Garrett is solid for two! I can also tell that he is talking in the videos. He says "Ma Ma" when he reaches out his hand with the bag of chips as is to say "Open them for me". He also says "Ba-Ba". I noticed that he loves snacks and tries to open the bag with his teeth. It looks like one of the women pays for the chips so this must be some kind of a local snack store. There is a sliding window there and someone from inside reaches out to him. These videos are so sweet!

Stay tuned...There will be a very important announcement in a day or two regarding our dossier...Hint hint. We are THRILLED that we are so close to getting our boy home!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July with Delores and Grace

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Man, I miss that southern BBQ...That was the only thing missing today. That southern food sticks with you no matter how far you wander off. You just crave it on days like today. Virginia is "the south", but we do not have BBQ like we do at home. Regardless...What a wonderful day we have had today! Our friends, Delores and Grace, came to our home to celebrate the 4th with us, and we had the best time. The girls had a blast together, and we hardly heard a peep out of them all day because they were having so much fun catching up for lost time. We haven't seen them in a long time so today was VERY special. The girls are just pure joy. The connection between them is very special and very evident. Delores, Van, and I just sat around talking, catching up, watching movies, laughing, eating, researching some things on the computer, and having a relaxing day together. We had the girls decorate their bikes and get dressed up for the 4th in their best red, white, and blue. Then, we took them out to ride on the sidewalk in their own little July 4th parade. Even our buddy, Sugar, got dressed up for the occasion in her cutest doggy duds and bandana. Even Bindi, our cat, got into her patriotic spirit today and cat napped in the "America" basket on the dinner table. It was lots of fun! Here are some special pictures from the day we spent together.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Just dreaming of the day...

Just dreaming of the day when these two beautiful children will be side by side in one and sister...together forever! Can these two be any cuter? I cannot wait to see them in action!

Gracie's Big Girl Bed

Gracie has grown so much! It is hard to believe that she is almost four years old now, and she is as independent and strong willed as they get. Here are pictures of Gracie in her new big girl bed in her OWN room. She loves the new arrangement, and the new CUTE bedding we bought just for her. I found this bedding long before Gracie ever even came home. I just knew it would be perfect for her room, and it is. She has slept in her bed every night with no problems. It is AWESOME! We are so proud of her. She is really blossoming into such a big girl now. Where in the world did the time go???

The bed that Gracie is sleeping in is very special. It belonged to my Great Aunt Madeline who I am named after. She was such a great lady, and I loved her very much. Because I was her namesake, I spent lots of time with her in Montgomery, AL where she lived, and then again when she moved closer to our family in Birmingham. I grew up hearing wonderful stories in this bed. We would climb in it with her in the mornings and evenings when we visited her, and she would tell us all kinds of interesting things. My great aunt's given name was Julia Madeline (But she hated the name Julia!). I named Gracie after her, but changed "Julia" to "Julianna" ... and now we have Julianna Grace (Thanks, Rebecca, for helping me choose the perfect name for Gracie!). Gracie also has inherited Madly's big iron bed. I know that Madly is so happy in Heaven knowing that both of her namesakes will cherish this heirloom forever.
And do you know what the funniest thing I remember about Madly's room in Montgomery is??? She had a pin cushion on her dresser for all of those years that I absolutely loved. It was red and had little Chinese children circling around it. I found one just like it in China when we went to get Gracie, and it now sits on Gracie's dresser. I believe that all things happen for a reason in our lives, and this is just one more way that I know that God's plan for us is always at work. We have reminders of this in our lives everyday if we just look carefully enough.

Sedation Dentistry

Gracie underwent sedation dentistry last week. Her four back molars apparently did not form correctly in utero, and she has had issues with those teeth. They have been discolored and have progressively decayed. My sweet angel had to have a baby root canal and silver crown on one tooth, and two fillings in two of the others. Our dentist says that she will have problems with these teeth and maybe even the ones next to those four. We sure hope not! Gracie brushes and flosses too. She is very good at it even with an electric toothbrush.

The treatment for all of this was WAY scarier for me and Van than it was for Gracie. She only remembers (barely) getting a shot in her arm at the dental office. The rest is history and only a blur for her and we are so thankful for that. She now has perfect teeth. But let me tell you...Seeing them put her under nearly broke me. I won't go into details, but it is definitely not easy to watch that happen to your baby. Fortunately, they let us be with her as she was given the shot, and she fell asleep in our arms. The tears started flowing for me as we had to leave her in their care. But the dentist is wonderful, and she reassured me that everything would be fine. And she did great!

Here is a picture soon after we got home that day. She is playing with her favorite friends, Nick and Christopher. They are like big brothers to her, and they live right next door. Gracie LOVES these guys! And we do too.


Can you even believe it? My friend, Lauren, actually figured out a way to get Gracie's hair into pony-tails. And I came home from running errands to find my daughter looking so completely cute! Had to get pictures of this for all of you to see! Gracie and Emily have been the best of friends for several years now. And my dear friend, Lauren, is like a sister to me as well. We love you, Lauren and Emily!