Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sweet Potatoes & Scooters

In total sensory overload right now. In fact I'm so overwhelmed it's hard to write about what's important - Annie! So let me get this out of my head and on the blog really quickly. I HAVE NEVER SEEN TRAFFIC LIKE THIS IN MY LIFE. There are scooters everywhere, and I mean everywhere and little tiny stores and people and did I mention the traffic? And let me tell you, crossing the street is like sky diving, definitely not for the faint of heart. Rie and I were cringing the entire time. Thankfully the hotel is across the street from a market but of course it's a wide, crowded boulevard.

Okay now Annie. We did get to visit with Annie for a little while today and she is even cuter in real life than in pictures. She has eight teeth, is teeny as she looks in pictures (but very healthy), hair's a bit out of control but she's affectionate and ready to play. I was on the verge of tears walking into the orphanage today but as soon as I saw her I knew everything would be fine. She's curious, active, alert and WALKING. She also let me pick her up without hestitation (and yes as soon as I put my hands out and she held hers up, she had me). She's just adorable. Rie and I had so much fun playing with her. Just one more night in the orphanage and then a new life begins for both of us.

Okay it's I don't know what time and I need to get some rest so that's all for today. I'd post pictures of her but she was constantly on the move so all we got was a blur. Guess we'll have to take photos of her sleeping. :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Leaving Soon

My bag is packed and all that's left is packing my carry-on (which of course includes my laptop so I suppose I should make this quick). I'll be meeting my sister at the airport and hopefully by the time the plane takes off, the excitement of seeing each other will have warn off enough that we'll be able to get some sleep. Hopefully. Not looking forward to the long flight but at least it's shorter on the way back when I'll have Annie. It's hard to believe than in less than 30 hours I'll actually see Annie in the flesh for the time. Yeah!

PS Thanksgiving was great, definitely a bit too good as noted by the fact that my jeans are a bit too tight. Sigh...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A dashed (basketball) dream

So Annie probably won't be a basketball star after all. I received an update on her updated height and weight tonight and while she's still a little tyke in comparison to american kids, she's no shrinking violet either. She's 27 inches tall and 17.5 lbs.
Now I just need to double check that the clothes I'm packing aren't too small (versus before when I was concerned about everything being too big).

Getting There (and a bonus)

Well I'm getting there. I "think" I'm done shopping (please let me be done shopping as it is definitely not my idea of a good time), Visa has been called, I have plane tickets, hotel reservations, an entry visa and an empty suit case just sitting the guest room waiting to be filled. Baring something I've forgotten I'm down to laundry, packing, making some extra copies of my paperwork and figuring out the new camcorder. Not too shabby since I still have almost four more days (yeah the odds are 50/50 that I'm spacing on somthing)!

Other than the "packing project", I'm in charge of the yams and stuffing this year (and I consider the stuffing a success if it takes just like Mom's, yummy). Oh yeah and two more days of work.....sigh.

PS Got some more pictures of Annie today (I know I wasn't expecting them either). So here are a few of the very last pictures we'll see without Mommy in her life. :-)

Yep, looks like I better keep an eye on my cell phone.
Is this a sign that my baby is already walking?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rest In Peace my sweet Mia

Thank you for teaching me that it's the small things in life that really matter, whether it's a game of fetch, snuggling when it's cold, playing frisbee on a beautiful day, that's it okay to ask for some lovin' or just letting someone else know you are there for them. But most of all thank for you for 14+ years of unconditional love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

She's gonna be a basketball star!

That is if the height I was given today is correct. Measuring in at 31 inches she'd be around the 85th percentile (for big American babies) but my svelte daughter still weighs a trim 15 pounds and doesn't show up on the charts for weight. Yes in four months she's gained less than a half a pound. Oh and in the same period (if her height is accurate both now and in July) she's grown over 4 inches! Obviously I'm not taking a lot of stock in her length but in case she's all legs I am going to bring mostly dresses. If it looks like a short dress that was meant to be a longer one no will be the wiser.

31 inches I'm only 5' 4", I'd at least like a few years where I can be the taller one. Sheez....

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Anyone know how to induce it? Is there a pill? Can I buy it in a store? Do I need to dance naked under a full moon? Is it only available online? It is something I should have been genetically given? Has it not been FDA approved so I'll need to cross the border to get it? Does wearing one of those bands or bracelets work? Just tell me, I'll pay it, I'll do it, I'll drive miles and miles to get it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm getting stuff done but it's not out of a compulsive inner desire to prepare for Annie. I'm doing it kicking and screaming the entire time. This is not like working in my yard I can do that all day without realizing the passage of time. Despite the fact that the clothes are cute, the toys are fun to play with (and don't even bother to mention that they aren't for me and that playing with them only takes up precious time), and everything is little it is just not my forte. I've tried telling myself that this is for Annie, whom I'm already head over heals in love with but this is.........

Is it a shot with a big ole needle??

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vietnam, here we come!

Friday November 28th we take off for parts unknown (well unknown by me). After crossing I don't know how many time zones, flying close to 10,000 miles, and walking up and down the plane aisles countless times, we will arrive in the birthplace of my daughter, Ho Chi Minh City. And most importantly of all the G & R Ceremony* will be held on Monday December 1st and at that point, she is officially and legally mine, Mine, MINE!!!

After the ceremony, my sister and I will have about 10 days to do some sightseeing, take Annie for a cursory medical exam, apply for her passport, do a little shopping, eat pizza in Vietnam and then we head home to begin life together.

Now I just have to make sure that I don't put off (everything) today, what I can do tomorrow.

* G & R Ceremony - stands for Giving and Receiving Ceremony. It is the formal occasion in which Vietnam legally hands an adoptive child to his or her adoptive parent(s). Although it's called a ceremony, I've heard it's mostly the signing of a few papers. Regardless it's something to celebrate and cherish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


All I can say is that I am truly blessed. Another baby shower was held for Annie today and I am again overwhelmed by the generosity of people. Annie is definitely going to be spoiled and she will have a variety of things to keep her busy (and yes I am going to keep at least one large box, I'm no fool, I still remember playing in a box for weeks...oh wait that was last month with the crib box, um never mind). While I've always known from the first time I saw her picture how much she is loved by "the fam", I had no idea how much of an impact she has had on those outside of my inner circle. I have been given so many wonderful things that have had me near tears and truly touched my heart. Not only has adopting Annie opened up my heart to a new love it has also reopened my eyes to the warmth, caring and generosity in the people that surround me, both at work and in my personal life. I definitely have been fortunate in that these wonderful people are not only helping me get ready for Annie but most importantly celebrating this wonderful event with me.

On a less sappier note, my brother will be happy to hear that I have received numerous "noise makers" (and somewhat naively I registered for many of them). Being the aunt, I have been known to give gifts that keep on giving in the form of the same sound over and over and o v e r (e.g. I gave my niece the most adorable Clifford the Big Red Book that actually barked). Yes karma, it can be priceless.

PS No travel date yet for those curious.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


On this day we pay homage to the people who are served our country past and present. Some sacrificed their lives, carried out orders no matter how risky, others supported troops, cared for the ill, built roads, guarded bases, cooked for the many and I'm guessing somewhere a real Radar O'Reilly worked diligently to keep everything afloat. It is because of them that we can still say we live in the best country in the world. We are free to speak our minds, practice our religion of choice, vote for our leaders and choose where we live and how we live.

A special thanks to my Mom, Dad, Bro, bro-in-law, best bud and best bud-in-law, who all at one time or another served our country (and in one case still serves). The flag will hang in front of my house in your honor.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All I have to say is.....

Tetanus, Hep A, Hep B, flu shot and now typhoid OUCH!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Shopping & Packing.... already getting old and I've barely started! Went to Walmart this afternoon with three different packing lists, threw a ton of stuff in the cart, checked each list what felt like a zillion times (and yes you will be glared at if you do that at Walmart on a weekend, or maybe it was my mumbling to myself) and I still forgot stuff. And let me just say that the organization in the baby department was severely lacking especially for me the poor soul who needed to look at everything, read the labels, compare brand a to b and so on. So tomorrow after work, I'm off shopping again to get the rest of it. Ha! Who am I kidding, I know I won't be done tomorrow, I haven't even begun to figure out clothes for myself or Annie.

Got down the suitcase I took to Germany a few years ago and it suddenly looks so puny. I went in November (which means sweateres) and came back with a bunch of souvenirs so logically I know my eyes are lying to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with washing clothes while there and I have an very large army duffel which will be an additional suitcase for the trip back but right now I'm finding the whole thing overwhelming. I'm a "pack the night before" kinda gal and I strongly suspect that's not going to work this time. And the clock continues to tick.....

But hey my toes look purdy and just looking at this face makes it worth all this and more.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Travel Date - TBD

I suppose I should have posted earlier that I don't have a travel date yet (and yes I'm more than okay with that for now). Originally the agency requested that my sister and I leave this Saturday (yes today!) along with two other families. I think just getting approval from our goverment had me so overwhelmed that I could not grasp what that really meant. Thankfully my sister knocked some sense into me. So for numerous reasons that I won't go into, I called the agency back to let them know that while I don't want Annie to have to wait longer in the orphanage that she has to, we'd have to be the first in the next travel group rather than the last family in the current one.

So now we are in a holding pattern. We could leave as soon as the 15th it just depends on when another family is approved to travel. My gut says the 22nd but there's nothing concrete in that just a feeling.

Regardless the clock is now ticking and I spent virtually the whole day shopping. Now let me just say for the record, shopping is not my favorite activity. Thankfully my best friend is still in town, and anything with her is fun. It is also an adventure as neither one of us have a sense of direction so heading anywhere we aren't familiar with usually results in seeing a few extra blocks of an area, and the entire layout of stores as we can manage to get ourselves turned around without any effort. Today was no exception. We spent time looking at camcorders, getting a few items for the trip, looked for more baby clothes (don't know Annie's current weight and the liquidation prices at Mervyns are far from a bargain so we walked out empty handed), did a little shopping for me and now I'm home in front of the fire. My feet are screaming at me and I've been trying to tell them that pedicures are on the agenda for tomorrow (and yes probably more shopping bah!). All in all it was a good day and yes I have my priorities straight I mean you have to have pretty toes for the trip. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Baby Shower

And a surprise one to boot. And one of my bosses (yes I have two either I'm so talented that I'm in demand or I'm such a handful it takes two people to handle me, I refuse to ponder which is closer to the truth) totally pulled me in by asking me about my favorite topic (yes money well in my case it really just the numbers). We talked about a few things then he said one of the board members was down the hall so let's go talk to him about it. I start to walk into the gym (I work at an old elementary school) room and I see all these pink tables and people everywhere. All I can say is that I was completely overwhelmed. My mom was there, my best friend, her mom and a ton of people from work. My first reaction was to bee line the other way. I know that I'm a big ham, but only in small groups, not crowds. Obviously my best friend would have tackled me had I tried so I walked around the room saying hello, thank you and probably smiling like an idiot. Then I saw this huge table of gifts. All I can say is that Annie has many, many friends and fans. She received books, blankets, a few clothes, a wading pool, a cute little pink trike (with blinkers!), a cake made of diapers, a bunch of toys.... and well things I can't even remember now but here are pics of some of the items that were displayed for me on the stage:

Yes, I love spending time in my yard (its my manna from heaven) so now I have many ways to keep her occupied, if I can just a place for everything!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Dance

Yep, I'm doing the happy dance and I don't think it's because I'm walking bare feet on cold tile. I actually managed to sleep through the night without my usual 3:30am e-mail check. Woke up and went to the computer, scanned my e-mail with blurry eyes and noticed hmmm Kohl's is having another sale, LL Bean is offering a free gift card with purchase and netflix received my movie. And wait a minute that's a new e-mail address but my eyes are so blurry what does it say? Hanoi? It's from Hanoi and there's approval in the subject line. So I skim through the e-mail and I begin the happy dance.

Waiting for a call from my agency about possible travel dates. Yeah there will be another stocking on the mantel this year.

PS By the way, it is virtually impossible to dial a phone while doing the happy dance even if it is the same number that your parents have had since you were two years old!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Election Night...

- and the political commercials will finally cease (but warning the holiday commercials are on their heels).
- the Prop 8 people (both for and against) will stop staking out major intersections all over the state (CA). Note to those who feel strongly enough about an issue to stand on street corners with your signs. To sway other people towards your view point it's probably a good idea to pay attention to how you dress, how you behave and to stay out of traffic since cars are BIGGER than you.
- polling places are packed all over the country. Despite how divisive this campaign seems to have gotten, it's great to see people voting and most importantly caring about our country. Despite the beating this country's reputation has taken the last few years, I still believe this is the best place on earth to live. And yes, I often choke up when hearing the national anthem.
- and tonight I'm going to watch anything that I have taped on my DVR or that's on Discovery or the History channel, I am DONE with this political season. :-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Referral Call

Since this blog was started well after I received the referral for Annie, I thought for posterity that I would back track a bit and write about my recollection of "the call".

Before I do this I need to give a little history (and it's a bit complicated so bear with me). On September 1, 2008 the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Vietnam expired and until a new MOU is signed, there will not be any new referrals. About two months prior to September 1, the US government came out with a statement that unless Vietnam's Department of Intercountry Adoption issued a letter stating essentially that "Child A has been referred to Family X" prior to September 1, a referral would not be allowed to proceed to completion. While this letter has always been part of the process it was normally just part of the documents that are gathered at some point along the line, it's never been required to go from first base to second base. This new kink obviously pushed the "drop dead" date from September 1 to a month to several weeks to a month earlier since "the letter" was now a very important piece of paper.

Now without further ado, the call. It's Thursday July 24th, mid morning, I'm at my Fair Oaks office (yes I work out of two locations) and the phone rings. Of course there's no caller I.D. so I have no idea who is on the other line. I answer with my usual "what!" (kidding) and it's Pam from the agency asking me if I have a minute. And I of course I know exactly what this phone call means. It means that the agency is calling everyone near the top of the list to let them know that they will not be receiving a referral. So as my stomach drops toward the floor, I hear Pam mention something about a baby girl and would I like to hear more? Did you know that it's almost impossible to think or listen when your stomach is hovering around your knees? Somehow I manage to say "okay". Pam then continues to tell me the following (I'll also note what I actually wrote in a very shaky hand):

Birth date 10/11/07 (via C sec seation)
Arrived at the orphanage after a month long stay at the hospital on 11/12/07 (I wrote 11/12/08)
Birth weight - 5.95 lbs
Weight on 10/30 - 8.31 (okay I'm only guessing what this scribble means)
Tested negative for a punch of diseases (noted by a bunch of minus signs on the paper)
She's very cute (noted by a somewhat off kilter smiley face)

Then there are a bunch more scribbles that I have no idea what they mean. I don't know if she was telling me more or I was doodling because of nerves. In addition, I also recall saying "okay" a lot. Pam also told me she had some medical information for me to review and pictures to see if I was interested. I said yes to the medical and no to the pictures since I knew that until I knew that we had "the letter" nothing was official . So for 4 long weeks, I told only two people and waited and waited. Not sure if it was real, not sure if the referral would fall through, just plain not sure and eating a lot of peppermint patties to boot.

Then on Thursday August 21st, I found out that everything had fallen into place and these are a couple of the first pictures I ever saw of my adorable little girl. And yes I was in love immediately. Can you blame me?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


As some of you are aware Annie, turned one on October 11th and although she's not physically here with us, a birthday party was a must. Ironically at the about the same time (although on the other side of the planet), Gina and Keith who were in Vietnam to pick up their adorable sons Sam and Eli managed to deliver a present for Annie. While it wasn't really meant to be a birthday present, sometimes fate takes care of things for us and in this case, fate had perfect timing.

Cake for Annie, hope she likes chocolate as much as her Mommy.

My birthday present!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Annie's Room

Word of warning, I am NOT a good photographer so I do reserve the right to replace these photos with decent ones at any time. That of course assumes I manage to take a good photo.

Also the creamy blobs are clouds, while they look great in real life, they don't photograph well (or I don't photograph them well). And yes there are angels around the entire room. I've been collecting them virtually my entire life.