6.29.09: It's been a whirlwind of a couple months to kick off summer for us. And quite frankly a rough adoption journey time. We rec'd notice that our homestudy that includes another visit with our social worker--which is in no way a problem--we adore her and all she's meant to us and our daughter throughout this journey. But this round brings another set of medical appointments to update our health status--and of course the normal criminal background checks and child abuse checks. And although we know--that all this is SO VERY NECESSARY--in order to assure our daughter she is getting the best possible home--it's again yet another hoop to jump through. And with it--right behind it comes another round of immigration paperwork updates. So...to say the least I was so discouraged...and opted to take a break from blogging for a spell. I still try to keep up on all our new very special friends, and LOVE seeing all the families growing! It's a blessing. Taking that break and listening to God's call for me to just "let go and let Him" has been sooooo wonderful. And we've been very busy...soo...here's a quick update.
Our trip to Vermont was GREAT! Relaxing--as you can see from this less than flattering picture of me and my mom and "my girls" on my sisters porch on Mother's Day. It was so nice to visit her during nice weather season--usually our visits are in the winter and if you know anything about Vermont--you're pretty house bound.
Also a picture of my sister's beautiful home, taken as we were pulling out to head home to Iowa.
And our VERY special husbands together with their matching Harley shirts :)
We made it there safely--thanks to my amazing husband. Once there--within hours--our dog Sadie was "romping" in the woods up near a brook at my sisters house and cut her side a good one. So we spent our first night in Vermont at the Vet's getting her stitched up and she spent the first couple days laying low and healing. My mom was thrilled to be home for mom's day! She had been gone for 6 months! So she really missed everyone. This is a picture of her and I on Mothers Day on my sisters porch. I love her so much...and upon our return missed her and my sister immensely!
We returned and have since sold our boat (that was a sad day) but we were blessed to sell to a couple that are so amazing. We just love them...and hope to continue to get to know each other and maybe even join them for a boating weekend sometime this summer. God truly blessed us with this transaction in so many ways. And to top it all off--the day they picked up the boat they blessed us sooooo deeply by telling us they had decided to name the boat "Izabella"! I am still in shock and awe of this amazing gift...it touched us so deep we can't begin to explain. Dan and I bought the boat thinking we'd have so many family memories on it--and in fact we did, they just didn't include a child--our child. But we did have many memorable and turning point discussions on that boat--that have played a significant role in making this journey possible for us. So in essence, we conceived her--although we haven't met her yet--on that boat. And how amazing is God to put these precious, tender and thoughtful people in our lives at the most perfect moment in our journey? I am so grateful. Even if they never name the boat "Izabella" we are immeasurably touched forever by their sweet and kind and loving gesture. Vicki and Terry you are truly a HUGE blessing. I hope to post a picture of the boat with Izabella on it and our new friends in the future.
I've been crazy busy at my studio, finished up the shower project (I'll take a picture soon), painted the deck and numerous other house projects.
We also rode our bike in a fundraiser ride for a friend of ours organized--called "Bikers Against Diabetes". It was only our second organized ride. It was a huge success, they raised a good amount of money and--as a side bonus we won several door prizes too...one of which was a autographed NASCAR driver t-shirt--that we gave back to our organizer and friend Missy. She is the most giving person giving much of her freetime to organizing events that support all kinds of charities, from flood victims to Diabetes. It was a wonderful day all around. Lots of Dan's co-workers also rode in the ride--which was so fun. And I saw parts of Iowa I've never seen-Iowa is gorgeous--but the people are even more beautiful. I love this state I've come to call home--that has given me an amazing group of friends that I cherish so deeply, an amazing husband, a beautiful home, my dream design studio and soon a beautiful daughter (I hope). OK--so God gave me all those things...but they all happened right here in Iowa...all my dreams have or will come true right here. That's so special to me.
We volunteered for the "Ride for the Cure" registration event at the Iowa Speedway--it was a lot of fun, we raised money for a good cause, and I was touched by so many amazing stories of women that are fighting or have fought breast cancer. Very emotional.
This is a picture of Dan and I in the tent that I designed!
My sister's daughter and my favorite niece Katie moved to Des Moines to live with us while she gets settleed into the Des Moines area. It has been such a HUGE pleasure to have her here with us. Dan and I are thoroughly enjoying lovin' on someone we love so dearly and getting lots of lovin' back.
This is a picture of my sister and her daughter (my niece) Katie at the 4th of July fireworks evening. She has always been very special to me--and I have been begging her to move to Des Moines for years now. I wanted her to be a part of Izabella's life-she touches everyone is such a special way--and I'm sure Izabella will be no different. She's so great with kids and her excitement about Izabella is so sweet and special to me.
Infact--she was inspired after a visit we had about Izabella to draw this illustration for me--it's so special! She's so talented. Obviously--you can see she is also a graphic designer and has been a HUGE help to me in my studio during this crazy busy time for the studio. I can't tell you how neat it is to have someone working side-by-side with me--sharing tips and racing to meet deadlines together. This picture of her is with her new friend Krisha--she is so sweet and I'm thankful she has found a new friend so quickly. Katie--Izabella is so blessed to have you here for her--you're going to be the best cousin ever!
Then came my sister's annual visit--we look so forward to this time together and although I had to work during part of it--we had a great time.
We never make any big plans--just hang and spend time together on our deck, grilling, listening to music and catching up, Chris loves to bike ride--so he does a morning bike ride (which Dan did with him this time--but over did it with a 20 mile ride--when he hasn't been training for that--I was proud of him though). He wanted to show Chris all the bike trails and where they went. He's such an amazing host. We went to the IMAX theater at the Science Center to catch Transformers 2--it was so cool! I love the world "pendulum clock" and when we were there the pendulum was swinging directly back and forth between the US and China! Perfect! I was touched by this little "God's Wink Moment".
This trip though--I decided to get us tickets to an I-Cubs game--Chris loves baseball (he's a Red Sox fan--but we have a beautiful park and I thought he'd enjoy it), well, we made the game--but it was raining-downpouring to be honest--we had fun with it all though--the sad part was it was a GREAT game--and we had to leave cause we were drenched! We won though--go Cubbies!
We also took in the Blank Park Zoo and the Botanical Center and a new Chinese Garden on the river walk--my sister and Katie and I did all this on Saturday--"girls day out" as they called it--when in fact they were really part of a big plan for a "Surprise 50th Birthday Party" my husband put together for me. He is the sweetest and cutest thing ever! He has never thrown a party by himself before so--my friend Shayna helped with the invite list and inviations--his sister helped with the decorations (pink and black--I loved it) and my brother-in-law helped with all the food and drinnks. The cutest thing was the talk we had after everyone had left and he was telling me about the preparations. He said, "Honey, I spent too much money on food--I had 30 RSVP's, so to be safe--I thought, if each person would eat 2 burgers and 1 brat--I'd need 60 burgers and 30 brats!" Oh my--he had enough meat, potato salad and fruit and veggie trays food for 100 people! Too funny! Then enough beer for the entire neighborhood and everyone drank propel. Makes me giggle just writing this. I LOVE him so much--this was not an easy thing for him to pull off. BTW--my birthday is not until January 1, 2010--but he works pretty much 24/7 during the winter and in no way could pull off a party--and he didn't want to miss this big one for me. So--we had it early! I was blown away when I saw the huge sign that had "My Name" on it. I've only had 2 birthday parties (my mom had the same problem with my birthday being so close to Christmas on the party front as a kid), one on my 5th birthday--and now one on my 50th! It was such a special day--Dan grilled for everyone--the food was delicious--family, neighbors, friends and clients all came to wish me well on my big 5-0. It was heaven sent.
This picture of me is not very flattering--but it's one of the "funny" gifts I rec'd--my friend Annette and her husband put together a sweet bag of fun things for me on my 50th--these glasses were one of them--she said--"at 50 you should always look at life through tequlia colored glasses". She also touched me deeply with a beautiful adoption book entitled "I chose you"--in it are quotes from adoptive families saying why they chose the child God Bless them with--once finished--I said, "I feel exactly that way--the whole book--everyone of those things." In the end--the party was perfect--it was doing what I absolutely love the most--hanging out with my family and friends on my deck, listening to music--with my umbrella lights on (my hubby knows this one well)...a truly precious day.
My sister even got her first ride on a Harley--she looked adorable in my new "shorty helmet". :)
We also went to an amazing fireworks celebration at the mall lake--and spent the 4th of July with some neighbors at a backyard picnic. Overall it was a really great visit and I so hated to see them go. We're already planning for next year--hopefully Izabella will be with us too! I couldn't help but think of her the entire time. OK, she's on my mind a lot anyway--but she would so love the zoo, playing baggo, the botanical center, the fireworks and the ducks in the lake, and just hanging out with my precious sister, her husband and our Katie girl. I pray God delivers her in our arms before the next visit. You never know.:)
On the Izabella note: I have a couple "God's Wink" moments lately that I want to share. The first week Katie was here--she was on the deck and said, "hey there's a ladybug!" I haven't seen one in years! And just yesterday--one of the families in our only July 07 LIDr's group posted a video about Waiting Children in China. Click the link to the left to watch it--it's so great in explaining and understanding waiting children program in China. I loved it--it spoke to exactly how I felt about our Izabella. But there was something special that happened. In the video there is a place where they show a photo of two precious little girls--and the text reads "Which one of these girls has a special need?" Well that photo of those two little girls, is the very photo I spotted online 3-years ago after I saw my Izabella when awoken from a deep sleep, shortly after we started our journey to her. When I spotted that photo--I saved it and called it--"I saw you in my dreams.jpg". One of the little girls in the photo looks just like the girl that awoke me that night. I had no idea then--that we'd be in the waiting children program--or that our Izabella was a waiting child. So...as you can imagine--the warmth that flowed through my heart--as I saw this video/photo and text. What are the chances of all the 100's of thousands of pictures of children online--that the one photo that I looked like my Izabella--would be in this video--for waiting children. Obviously, the girl in the photo is not our Izabella--she had a forever family--but our Izabella looks much like this little girl--or so it was that night. God is so good...truly. He always lets me know we're on the right journey.
So...we are still waiting--but thoroughly enjoying our lives together in the meantime. Dan and I have espeically enjoyed riding the Harley. We spent last week-end riding all over central iowa together--it was a gorgeous weekend and we took full advantage of it. Iowa is a gorgeous place. We also had our homestudy update the week my sister was here--and just need to get our medical paperwork completed and submitted and we're good to go for another round of waiting--hopefully the last round. All in all--I want to end this post saying--this has been the most amazing journey. I love and respect my husband more each day. He is an amazing soul--and as I close this long post I realize yet again--I am so very blessed!
A special thanks--deep in my heart to my friends, Melissa, Naomi, Tonya, Kelly, Angela, and Laurie for your prayers, your concern and your very special friendship. You touch me so deeply with your compassion, kindness and generosity of spirit and faith. This is a gift that is so unexpected and so eternally appreciated.