Monday, October 31, 2011

Emma's wonderful, amazing, beautiful, & thoughtful shower

2 years ago I was invited by my sister in law to to my first official 'wine club' . Fast forward to the present day. I now have a group of ~15 woman that I am lucky enough to call my friends. At 15 people you would think...well you aren't really good friends with all of them. But here is the thing, I am.This wine club is a diverse group of moms-- some stay at home, some work part time, some work full time. But we all have one thing in common....we love to drink wine, lol. And we love each other.

Anyway, these ladies threw me the most awesome shower on Sunday to help Matt and I prepare to welcome Emma home. As always, I had an awesome time with my friends but it also reminded me how lucky I am and how much I love each of them individually.

Matt and I have been through a ton leading up to this adoption and these ladies have all supported me in different ways. Seriously, I could tell you a story about each of them and how they have done something above and beyond for us over the past two years.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

Click here to see the full slideshow of pictures. :-)

Gorgeous shower, right?! We got tons of stuff for the family too...the most thoughtful gifts...matching outfits for Emma and Lexie, a camera and an album for Lexie to make for Emma, thoughtful gifts for Emma ('first words' books/flashcards, airplane toys, etc), tons of diapers, and even a red egg for good luck (see chinese tradition on that here!). I was truly touched by the generosity and love I saw in the shower and in the gifts.

I will close with a saying that I think recap's how I feel about the group:

"True friends are those who really know you, but love you anyway".

When you make friends with 15 people over 2 years & 200 bottles of wine**, you are going to know the real person. And if you still come back every month to see them, you must really like them.

Thank you ladies for a wonderful shower!!


**For those of you who don't know about wine is the gist: Each month, we all bring a bottle of wine to the hosts house to 'taste' via blind taste test (aka bottle of wine in a brown paper bag). During the night, we vote on each bottle. At the end of the evening, the bottles are 'revealed' (aka brown paper bag ripped off) to show the winner. Sometimes the winner is a $3 bottle, sometimes a $20 bottle. If you follow my math here you will see, we are not really alcoholics. If you get ~1o ppl each month (aka 10 bottles/mo), that is 120 bottles a year, or 240 bottles over 2 years. See? Totally legit. :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chinese School!

So I finally got around to looking into a class to learn Mandarin. Matt and I have traveled to a lot of places around the world and we really think its helpful to say some basic things when you are in another country (i.e. 'where is the bathroom', 'how much is that?', 'I want two coffees', etc). For this trip, we could spend the entire trip (airport to airport) with an adoption 'guide' (that we pay through via our agency). That said, Matt and I agree that we want to spend a few days, probably before Emma joins us, to see the country 'on our own'. So we need to have some language skills.

Anyway, without going to an actual university and paying for 'credits', the easiest option I found was our local Chinese school. The class is called an 'adult conversation' class. We also signed lexie up for the preschool class at the same time. I was very happy with my successful registration yesterday morning. In an hour I had planned it all out -- daycare for lexie during the adult conversation class, that Matt and I can take together. Ok, well, it was perfect until we got there and ran into a few glitches --
  • Problem #1 - Preschool class is not drop off. Parents are supposed to stay. - Its ok though, the teacher says if lexie is good we can just leave her. We will be just next door to her in the conversation class. Ok, problem solved.
  • Problem #2 - Preschool class is 98% in mandarin. Lexie is one of the only children (well, potentially the only) who doesn't also speak Mandarin at home. - Its ok though, the teacher says she will just speak to Lexie in english a bit more. Lexie finds a friend immediately and is goofing off with her in English and not listening to the teacher anyway. Ok, problem #2 solved, I head to the 'adult conversation' class.
  • Problem #3- The adult conversation classes started September 15th. We were on Lesson # 5 this week. I walk in (late due to above issues with preschool class) and they are speaking sentences in Mandarin and reading Pinyin & Chinese Characters.- I am not sure how this will pan out as I have no Mandarin background. Further, Matt has zero language background (I can at least speak Spanish, a little). It's ok though, I tell Matt (and the teacher) that I am smart and I will catch us up. :-)
  • Problem #4 - Preschool class is only an hour, our adult conversation class is 2 hours. - ok this was a problem that I couldn't solve. Half way through our class the preschool teacher came over and asked if one of us was going to come and get Lexie, lol! Matt 'took one for the team' and left the room. The preschool teacher suggested he take lexie to the 'youth conversation class'. He explained later to me that the class had kids grade k-5 (i.e. aged 5-10). He said they learned how to count from 1-5 and how to say 'mama' and 'baba' (daddy). While the class i a little old for Lexie, Matt said the class is perfect for him! :-)
So the end result is I am taking the adult conversation class by myself on Friday nights. Matt will take Lexie to her preschool class and then to the youth conversation class. Lexie clearly won't get much out of the youth class, but I think Matt will. Moreover, the people at the school were awesome! We had 3 ppl helping us...trying to get us into the classes, moving Lexie around, and helping us out as we joined late. And of course they all asked about the adoption and were very sweet about Emma's homecoming.

Now, on to that studying...hmm, where did I put those flashcards? :-)

Wish us luck!

Christy's plan this weekend, catch up Lessons 1-5.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Most Common Birthday!!

Emma's Birthday is 10/5/2010. Interesting enough, 10/5 is the most common birthday in the US. The attached speculates why... :-)

Another interesting fact, Emma shares a birthday with the daughter of my good friend Kate (they were literally born on the same day, 10/5/2010). Guess we know what Kate and her hubby, Fernando were ing NYE 2009, lol!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


YEA!!!! Here is how it went down... :-)

I dropped an email last night to my social worker asking what the heck was going on with our LOA. When the phone rang at 9 am this morning and I saw it was our agency, I thought, oh she is calling us to tell us that everything is ok, we just have to wait some more. Well, when I heard matt repeat 'early morning package' and then he started to tear up, I knew we had good news!!!

It was dated 10/12...a week after Emma turned 1. Anyway, here is what it looks like, yea!!

I got the I800 form and the LOA (copy scanned and emailed by our wonderful SW) overnighted to USCIS by 10:30 am this morning!!

We are looking at January travel, yippe! Who doesn't love Beijing in January?! Looks like I need a trip to REI to get some walking boots for the great wall!!

We are coming for you Emma!! Hugs, Mommy & Daddy

Monday, October 17, 2011

i luv emma!!

My good friend Lana has her own photography business and took some photos of our family last weekend. Lana is SUPER talented and here is sneak peak of a few of the pictures!!

More adorable pictures here..

PS... No LOA today, but my friend Mary got her TA, yea!!!! That means she will be in China anywhere from 2-4 weeks from now! Mary and I got our referrals for our DD's the same evening; she has just had really good luck on the paperwork front. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to meet Gracie the next time I am in Minneapolis visiting my sister!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Emma's Nursery Reveal!

The last project in the nursery is now complete so I wanted to post pictures to share!!

Here is the tour along with some color commentary on the 'projects' that took us through the past 90 days.

View from the doorway

The nursery was originally going to be a pink sea life theme, but then I saw this awesome yellow elephant fabric online in a nursery and the yellow and gray theme kind of took off from there!

'Favorite books' library

  • These are all of our favorite baby books that were handed down to Emma from Lexie.
  • "I love you like crazy cakes" is a recent addition (gift from a good friend). Super good book for those adopting or those interested in introducing the concept of adoption to your little one.
  • Lexie already has been in to check out the room to make sure she is ok that 'her' books are in Emma's room. So far so good...we will see how long that lasts!

  • Emma's closet is really big so we wanted to make the most of it. We ordered this closet organizer and then installed it to allow the dresser to fit in the closet as well. We only used about 1/2 of the shelves from the kit so we are planning to use the rest of the pieces for our entryway closet!
  • The dresser is from Pottery Barn Kids-- we got it at the outlet store for $299, b/c it was missing its feet. You know me though, after 3 weeks of hunting online for the feet, we ended up getting them shipped to the house for free! Bam, $700 dresser for $300. Note - Matt did have to install the feet and there was a broken ledge so it did require a bit of work. :-)
Wall Art from Etsy -

I ordered these pictures from Etsy Seller Finny & Zook. They were actually the wrong size when I got them in the mail so I scanned them in and resized/printed them to fit the Ikea frames. Turned out pretty good!

Window Seat

  • The window seat is really a bookshelf from Ikea turned on its side with cabinet legs underneath. Most of the items in the window seat are hand me downs from Lexie.
  • There is one little guy that is new...Mousie...see below for more on him!


This little guy was my favorite stuffed animal growing up. He was in my bed all the way through high school! I fixed him up with a warm dye bath (Rit dye in the washing machine), new stuffing, and some new eyes. My sister said he looks like a freakish elephant but I think he is adorable!!

Rocking Corner & Shelves

  • The glider may not be pretty but it is oh so comfortable. We literally JUST stopped using this with Lexie about 2 mos ago.
  • The Yellow Chicken and 'bowling' bunnies were gifts from my sister in law Leslie who is super talented and should sell her stuff on Etsy!! They are so adorable I had to put them up for display.
  • I also included a few items we have recently received for Emma as gifts, ADORABLE shoes (just got int he mail today, thank you grandma!) and 2 cute dresses. :-)
  • The subway art was custom ordered on Etsy from My Sweet Prints. I love this quote, it is from an unknown author but is so fitting for how I feel for Emma. Emma, who I still have not yet met, yet who I dearly 'miss' and cannot wait to have in my arms!

Do it yourself stuff
Since we had so much time on our hands, I had a huge list of DIY projects. This allowed us to keep the cost of the decorating down and also taught me a few things. As many of you know I am not very crafty (i.e. I had NEVER sewed before this room, not even sewing on a button). That said, 'easy but functional' was the name of the game while doing these projects.
  • DIY (no sew!) blackout lined curtains using this tutorial. Fabric from with a coupon!
  • DIY Fan - added light shade to existing ugly, 1988 builder grade fan using this tutorial
  • DIY Pillows using this tutorial, fabric from Ikea
  • DIY Duvet Cover using this tutorial
  • DIY Crib Sheet - Rit Dye made a $5 white Ikea Crib Sheet the perfect steal gray. I did use a 'fixative' after the Rit so hopefully the color stays.
  • DIY minky blanket on glider (this project was the most difficult -- sewing with Minky is not a fun afternoon)
  • DIY renovation of Mousie - Rit dye, polyester stuffing, and 'crazy' eyes. :-)
  • DIY wall letters - letters from joann fabirc ($4/each), painted white, and hot glued tacks on the back for easy placement on wall without damage.
That is it! Hope you enjoyed the nursery!!


We are still waiting on our LOA to help us confirm when we will travel. I am a member of an online chat board and we are now in the top 5 families (of ~60 families) waiting for their LOA. We had a two week break where no one got their LOA due to the Chinese Holiday. Then yesterday nine people got their LOA's (we were not one of them).

My hope is that there is another wave of approvals Monday and Tuesday next week and we are in it. This would be Mid January travel to pick up Emma.

Fingers Crossed!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday!

Happy First Birthday Emma

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Suckers, Socks, & Underwear...Happy Birthday Emma!

Emma will be 1 next Wednesday, 10/5! We initially wanted to send her a birthday cake to celebrate; however, given that we now know she is in foster care, we realize that will not be possible.  The foster village is 1.5 hours outside of town and the orphanage doesn't forward items on to the foster families very often (if ever).

So in lieu of that, we are sending the below care package to the orphanage. We wanted a way to recognize Chun Xiao's birthday without leaving any children at the orphanage out. It is 350 suckers, one for every child (excluding the babies), 100 pairs of socks & underwear (for the babies & kiddos who can't have suckers!).

What an awesome birthday party for the orphanage, suckers and underwear!! :-)

We also sent a letter and a camera. In the letter, we practically begged them to send the camera on to the foster family.  No harm in trying, right?

The package should arrive at the orphanage on Tuesday or Wednesday!