Monday, October 27, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

Here are some pictures of us at the Heartlands Orchards pumpkin patch. We had a great time and picked out two large ones and one tiny one for Gracie. I love this time of the year. I cannot wait to carve them this week. Halloween is Friday!!!

100 Days and Counting

We have not received our LOA yet, and are at day 100 in the wait for it. We are thinking it will be here anytime now, and then we can start estimating our travel dates.

The weekend was just beautiful. The leaves are a gorgeous red and yellow and orange here in Virginia. Van, Gracie, and I went to Skyline Drive to look for "our bears". Last year, we were lucky enough to see two brown bears in the wild. It is a memory we will always treasure. This year, we made the trip before the leaves had all fallen, and looking for the bears in the woods was not as easy. We do this in the car; not on foot. No bears were seen this time. the ranger told us that they are very active right now though. We may go back in a few weeks to see if we can see them in the same location we saw them last year. We did happen to take pictures on our favorite rocks along the way, and had a little scare on the trail. At one point, Van and I both heard a pretty loud grunt. Now, I love seeing bears. But I don't want to meet one up close. I grabbed Gracie and took off running back up the little hill to the car.
Gracie found a ladybug that day too. She was so excited because we haven't seen any ladybugs lately. It has just gotten too cold for them I think. This is a GREAT sign for us that our LOA must be on it's way. We also had a ladybug in our car on the way home. Here are some pictures that capture our weekend trip to the mountains.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gracie is FOUR Years Old Today!!! Happy Birthday, Gracie!!!

I simply cannot believe that she is four years old. It baffles me where all of the time has gone. People always told me that children grow so fast, but I just never realized until Gracie came home how very true that statement is. I look at her, and I still see my baby girl, but she is so much more of a little girl now. She is not a baby by any means. But she will always be MY baby. We celebrated her birthday on Saturday again with a HUGE Halloween costume party for all of her friends and their families. We had about 30 children here, and most of their parents were here as well. It was amazing, and fun, and WILD, and PACKED, and hilarious, and Gracie had a blast. The disco was again a huge hit in the garage. We had sack races outside on a simply gorgeous day, a pinata, crafts galore, cake, and lots of fun. The kids really got into it this year. I guess turning four makes one a little more independent. The kids danced. There were bubble machines going off. Many of them had a great time with the parachute play. The sack races outside were just hilarious. Here are some pictures. Oh, and the presents!!! OH MY GOODNESS. She totally racked up! It was like Christmas. Anyway, today is her actual birthday, and I have to say,

Happy Birthday, Gracie! Mommy and Daddy love you more than words could ever say. You are and always will be the most special girl in the entire universe to us. We KNOW you hung the moon! I am forever thankful to God and to your birthparents in China for giving us the greatest gift of our lives. YOU! We are honored to be your forever family. And we are so very proud of you!

The Bakers Have Logan in China!!!

Check out that sweet baby boy! The Bakers are in China right now getting to know their new son. Nicole and Brandon live near us, and we are so excited for their family. Check out their blog when you can. Children are such a blessing, and we are so very fortunate to have friends here in our area that also have adopted children from China.

The Baker' Sweets

Monday, October 13, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

1. I have been tagged by my friend, Stephanie, who I met for the first time when she and her husband, John, were adopting their daughter, Avi, in November of 2005 from Anqing City, China. Our travel group was wonderful, and we have enjoyed life long friendships with many of these families. Stephanie and John also have a son from China now. To make things even more interesting, I actually found Garrett's waiting child picture in looking at their website and finding the link to their adoption agency, Small World. We have so much in common. Their son, Adam, is a China Care baby too! Steph is a great girl and a wonderful mama to her children. I always get a huge kick out of reading her blog. Here is a link to their website:
I was also tagged by my friend, Epin, who I have also known since our paperchase began for Gracie. Epin is in my large Jan/Feb DTC group, and lives nearby...I wish even closer than she is. She and her husband, Scott, adopted their daughter, Hana, from China at the same time we adopted Gracie. Hana and Gracie have been friends for a long time, and they have had many playdates together. We love to get together with their family when we can. They just came to Gracie's fourth birthday party. Epin is a fantastic mom, and she has such a sweet heart. You would love her blog as much as I do, but it is password protected so I cannot give it out. She and Scott are also waiting for the referral of their second baby from China, and we are hoping that referral comes VERY soon! We are all so excited for them, and for Hana, who cannot wait to be a big sister.

2. Seven random wierd facts about me. Hmmm, that is hard to pinpoint. There are so many things I could say about myself, but they all make me sound so wierd and random. LOL. Here goes:
***** 1. I love to go fishing! I could fish all day long, everyday, for the rest of my life. I should have been a tournament fisherman. That would be my dream job if there was any real money in it. I guess if you are very good at it, there might be good money in it career wise. My Daddy used to take me fishing a lot. The last time I went fishing, I caught several spotted trout. And they were HUGE. (Yes, it is a fish tale...but I did catch two relatively large spotted trout.
***** 2. I love to sing. My second dream job would be to do it professionally, but believe me, I am not THAT great at it. I think Gracie loves to sing so much because I do. I would never attempt to do American Idol though. Those people that can't sing and know they can't sing are just plain crazy to go on that show. I used to sing three part harmony with several friends of mine, and we were actually pretty good at it. We performed at high school functions.
***** 3. I have a HUGE fear of dying. I don't know why because I have a strong faith in God in knowing what waits for me in eternal life. It is the how I am going to make that journey and when that frightens me. I continually think about it. It would qualify as a phobia for me. Now that I have children, it has gotten worse. I pray about it. I think it is because my dad almost died when I was three years old, and it had such a huge impact on me. I remember the day he had that heart attack like it was yesterday.
***** 4. I cannot seem to stop cleaning things. I rarely sit still during the day until the evening. I do play with Gracie a lot, but if I am not playing with her, I am cleaning or doing something to organize our lives. I seriously need a break from this.
***** 5. My right elbow is dislocated, and I cannot straighten out my arm. It has been that way since I was in third grade.
***** 6. I seriously want to adopt another baby from China, and we haven't even gotten Garrett home yet. I think our next baby will be a girl. I want Gracie to have a sister so badly.
***** 7. My first career was in Social Work-Child Welfare. I used to do child abuse and neglect investigations, and was also a foster care worker. I also worked in a domestic violence unit. I also was an intake coordinator for an eating disorder unit in a hospital. I have had many jobs in my lifetime.

3. Tag seven more people! I'll try, but pretty much everyone I know has already been tagged.

4. I will let these people know they have been tagged by me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rebecca and Bob's Wedding

Introducing Rebecca and Bob Gray! My eldest niece, Rebecca, married the man of her dreams on October 4th in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the most breathtaking bride I think I have ever seen. She is a special girl! The trip was filled with fun for me though I missed Van and Gracie very much while I was there. Gracie and Daddy had bonding time, and I had some bonding time of my own with my huge family. It was wonderful to see everyone, but especially to see Rebecca so radiant and so happy and so in love with her favorite guy. Bob is a sweetheart! Here are some pictures of the family. The bridesmaid's luncheon was a huge success, and the Eitzen sisters were together once again. Check out all of my sisters!!! Cool, huh? (Joan, my brother's wife, was missing though as she is still recovering from a broken foot and may need surgery.) Also, there is a picture of my very kind brother, Eric, and his wonderful wife, Keri, who took me in while I was visiting. They have no idea how much I appreciate their hospitality. It was great to visit with my big brother and his family.