Thursday, December 31, 2009

And not to be outdone..... the cuteness department -- here's my other little angel.

Plus, a bonus -- two fun facts about Cassie:
1. As of last Monday the 21st - the day before she turned 21 months old - Cassie has figured out how to escape out of her nap crib, which is a Pack n Play. Sounds scary, but I must say I actually have seen her do it and she's very careful and quite good at getting out safely. So now the baby gate in the hall is always up during nap time and the playroom door is shut. :) Knock on wood - she hasn't yet figured out how to scale the baby gate. 2. When we give Cassie something for dinner that she doesn't recognize, she now will smell it as if to verify that it isn't poison. Yep, I said smell it. It's so cute. She'll load up her spoon, carefully raise it to her nose and smell. If it meets her approval she'll smile before putting the spoon in her mouth. Otherwise it goes back onto her plate.

She's getting to be such a big girl now. And a daddy's girl because he's been off since the 23rd and they've had a lot of time together. She's going to be disappointed on Monday morning when she wakes up and dada isn't here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Chloe picture

Why....because she's just adorable. Isn't she?

There's a family in Nanjing right now with their new son and they visited the orphanage today -- Tuesday in China. It was nap time so they couldn't visit with Chloe but one of the nannies took the family's camera into the nap room to get a picture of Chloe for us. She looks like they woke her up. Poor baby. But, I still love the picture. Everyday we are one day closer to holding her.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The PERFECT end to our Christmas

We got another update on CHLOE!!!!!

I emailed Ann at Red Thread on Monday about mailing Chloe a package for Christmas and tonight I got two more pictures and measurements on Chloe. Chloe will have her package in a couple of days. It didn't make it there for Christmas but it will be there soon. We also mailed a small letter to Chloe's caregivers so they know a little bit about us. Plus, she'll be getting a photo book with 10 pictures of Sonny, Cassie, Tehya, Sage and me too.

Here are the new stats we got on Chloe:

head: 17.7 inches
chest: 18.1 inches
weight: 22 lbs -- with all her winter clothes on
height: 31.1 inches
feet: 3.8 inches
teeth: 4 on top and 3 on the bottom

Here's also a picture of the package we are sending Chloe. I'm so happy she'll be getting a small package from us and will get to see pictures of her new family. I only wish she understood what it all means. I wish I could explain to her why it will be another 6 - 8 weeks before we'll be there for her. But, then I remember that she's too little to understand it all and in all the pictures we have of Chloe she does seem like she's happy. That at least helps me sleep at night.

Merry Christmas to all --- especially our baby girl waiting for us in China.


And to baby Chloe -- we miss you, love you and will be there soon. We know Jesus will be watching over you this Christmas and everyday until we can be there with you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More LSC info

I talked to our agency this afternoon and our LSC is actually dated December 16th. That was our 7-month anniversary of being home with Cassie!! Such a great day!!! :)

Our agency will overnight our LSC to us today. We'll get it tomorrow, sign it, check the box that 'YES' we want Chloe, then run to back to the FedEx office so it can be delivered back to our agency on Wednesday morning. Then they will mail it to China on Wednesday afternoon. I'm tired just thinking about all the traveling our LSC will be doing in less than a week.

If everything going according to the averages -- we'll be leaving for China the last week of January the first week of February. I'm so excited!!! I can't wait to see my girls together.

Tuesday update: I just realized that from the time we filled out our WC application until we got the call for Chloe was 80 days. And now from the day of our LID to the day our LSC was signed was 80 days. Doesn't mean a thing -- I know -- but still kind of neat. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

I got all I wanted for Christmas.....................

OUR LSC!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chloe Jewel is officially ours. The call came today at 5:39pm.
On day 82 of waiting.

Now on to the good stuff -- more stats on Chloe:

Chloe was born on June 20, 2008
(that makes her exactly 90 days younger than her sister)

Chloe is currently living in an orphanage in Nanjing, which is in the Jiangsu province.

Since November 2008 she has been in the Half the Sky little sisters program.

Chloe has a repaired cleft lip and a cleft palate that still needs to be repaired.

Chloe's cleft lip is on the right side -- Cassie's is on the left side -- God gave me a matching set of little angels to love. :)

On Sunday Chloe turns 18 months old, and on Tuesday Cassie turns 21 months old.

And -- for the first time ever -- Cassie called me 'mama' today without being coaxed. Such a wonderful day!!!

We have three different sets of pictures on Chloe -- in the three posts below.

Chloe's referral pictures -- she was 11 months old

Pictures from September -- 15 months old

We also got this update on Chloe:

Chloe is very active but shy before strangers. She can now speak some simple words, such as ‘a’, ‘ma’ and so on. She also gets along very well with other children in the orphanage, but can grab toys from others’ hands.
She is a good eater with an excellent appetite. Her physical status is fairly good. For her movement, she is now able to stand with assistance, and even can walk slowly with support.

Her height is 29.94inches
weight is 18.7lbs (same as it was at 11 months)
head size is 17.14inches
chest size is 19.7inches
foot length is 3.94inches
She has 5 teeth

Chloe at 17 months old -- Thanksgiving Day

These picture were taken by a family that was in Nanjing picking up their daughter. The first picture is of that mom holding my baby girl. I had asked her to give Chloe a hug from me and to tell her that mama would be there soon. What a great gift this was to receive on Thanksgiving morning.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

7 months home...yesterday

As of yesterday we have been home 7 months with Cassie. Or Zhen-Zhen as we still call her.

On Monday she had 3 more vaccines -- she was not at all thrilled about it. But she is now up to date on all her vaccines -- including the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines. She's up to about 23 lbs -- she refused to be weighed at the drs office so they had to weigh me holding her, then weight me alone. Nice. Not. So we didn't get an exact weight.

She knows about 25 words now. Can put two words together, and tries to say things like "I love you" and "strawberry" when coached.

Her stuffed animals are still her favorite toys. She actually sleeps with about 8 of them and both Sonny and I have to kiss them all goodnight each night. It's the new bedtime routine.

Zhen-Zhen and I go to play & learn classes 2 - 3 times a week. The classes have really helped Zhen-Zhen with her core muscle strength, her balance and her climbing skills. She's really started to open up at class and show everyone her true personality. Which is silly, giggly, and pretty fearless.

She's still on the bottle -- has no interest in a sippy cup. And I have found that if a sippy cup is thrown across the room the value comes loose and then it leaks. Because of that, we'll stick with the bottles for a while longer. At least until we get Chloe home from China.

Speaking of Chloe -- no new news. Yet. But the phone could ring at any time. I'm beginning to think that the all important phone call isn't going to happen until after the New Year. I'm trying to be patient. Really -- I am.

I did finally hear back from the USCIS office, by email. We actually don't need a new I-171H. We can travel with the one we have since it's up to date and is for 2 children. I wish it wouldn't have taken 12 weeks to learn this information. But at least we now know.

Otherwise things are good here. Getting ready for Christmas and finishing up and starting more projects around the house. More on those in another post. Still no snow here. The pictures here are more from our Santa/reindeer/petting farm visit on Sunday. Zhen-Zhen loves the animals there.

More soon on the many projects around the house. And of course another post as soon as we get our LSC.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Offically going nuts......

yes - it's true - I'm officially going nuts with the waiting.

Today is day 73 of waiting for our LSC. I'm praying it will be here before Christmas -- it would help me sleep at night knowing this step in the process was complete.

And Friday will be 12-weeks since we mailed USCIS our request to have our immigrations (I-171H) paperwork updated. I impatiently wait for mailman everyday -- maybe today I think. I have emailed our local USCIS office twice about our update and haven't heard anything back from them. Of course they don't have a phone number I can call. Soon I will have to take a more aggressive approach.

Tomorrow Thunder would have been 8 years old. I think that mixed in with the holidays have made the wait the past couple of weeks harder.

A family picking up their daughter at Chloe's orphanage were able to take pictures of Chloe for us. I woke up Thanksgiving morning to 28 new pictures of Chloe!!!! That was such a blessing and I was so thankful for them. She's growing up so fast. They are letting her hair grow and she's got the cutest little smile. I can't wait to bring her home. Soon....I pray.

Other than me totally losing it we are all doing well. We all have colds....again. And I promise to post more pictures of Cassie soon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

6 months with our gift from God......

and it's the best little gift I could have ever imagined. It's hard to believe we have now had Cassie for exactly 6 months. Because I know in my heart she has always been a part of our lives. Sonny and I are so blessed to have been chosen to be her parents. To raise her, nurture her, spoil her, watch in awe as she blossoms everyday before our very eyes. And we are doubly blessed because we now get to give our daughter a sister. Soon -- we hope.

Cassie has made great progress the past 3 weeks in many areas. She can now say about 15 words. Her climbing skills are excellent -- mama's not so sure this is a good thing. Her balance is now excellent. She runs, jumps and dances. She's super silly. She loves three stuffed animals with all her heart -- they are -- puppy, bear and lamby. She understands everything I tell her to the point it's scary. She feeds herself now but still has no interest in a sippy cup. She babbles all day long. You can just see her trying to form the words, so it won't be long before she'll be talking up a storm. Oh, and she thinks Sesame Street is pretty cool.

Sleeping has also changed and gotten much better. For the most part she's now sleeping through the night. Except for waking for a diaper change -- the girl really doesn't like wet diapers. She's up at least once and sometimes two or three times for a diaper change but then goes right back to sleep. The only time she has issues with sleeping now is when she gets too scared or overwhelmed during the day. For example, she was up 5 times crying the night of the Halloween party. I still think she's making great progress on the sleeping issues.

As for naps, they have changed too. We tried to switch Cassie from two naps a day to one nap a day and that didn't work out so well. On 3 out of the 5 days that she had only one nap, she fell asleep while eating dinner. Once while chewing. The other 2 nights she was a complete bear. And I don't mean the cute little cub bears -- I mean the big bad papa bears who you don't want to mess with. Needless to say, we are back to two naps a day. But Cassie has decided that she will no longer take a nap if I just lay her in her crib with a bottle and her waving bye-bye to me -- as we have done for at least the last 3 or 4 months. Nope, not anymore. She now demands to be rocked. Yep, that's right. I said rocked!! My baby girl finally wants to be rocked. And I LOVE it. Other than me forcing the issue of her being rocked when she was having night terrors, she has never let me rock her. Never. Not once. And now I get to do it twice a day. Normally with her laying on my shoulder with both her arms around my neck. That's the best feeling in the world. I waited a little over 5 months to be able to rock her -- I'm not normally a patient person -- but it was so worth it.

She has brought unbelievable joy and contentment to our lives. We are so blessed. And Cassie is so amazing!!!!

Here are two photos - one from the first few moments with her in China, and one from last week.

She's found her mama and dada, and that's done a lot for her smile. And ours.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Party

On Saturday we went to our first Halloween party with Cassie. For you that don't know -- I truly dislike Halloween. Don't really know why -- I guess I don't understand the idea of having your kids beg for candy from complete strangers while they play spooky music to scare them. But, that's how I feel and most don't agree with me. But, I'm not going to prevent Cassie from enjoying some of the fun. There will be no trick-or-treating in her future but she can dress up and go to parties. So on Saturday we went to the Gymboree Halloween party. She had lots of fun but got a little overwhelmed at times and needed mama or dada to hold her. She still has problems with too many people. But she's getting a tiny bit better when it's familiar surroundings. And since we are at Gymboree once a week that seemed to help with the party.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Early Christmas at our house.....

for Sonny and I. Yep, we bought each other an early Christmas present. And most likely the only material one we'll be getting for each other. Since our best two gifts this year have come in cute-little-smiley-adorable-can't ask for the car keys yet-packages. So what great item did we buy each other? A Learning Tower. And guess who's it's really for? It's for the two big people but the two little people get to use it. It's another place for the girls to safely play, so mama and dada can get stuff done. Like mama cooking dinner and not worrying about someone getting in the way, getting hurt in the other room, going up the stairs, tormenting the dog, etc, etc. With the Learning Tower Cassie gets to 'cook' with her very own 'food'. So far -- it came in the mail Friday afternoon -- she LOVES it. She begs to play in it. She's now at counter height and can see what's going on in the real world. And it's safe for two kids in it at once and up to 500 lbs. Not sure why it's rated so high on the weight but if we ever all 4 and the dog want to get in it we could.

Here are pictures of Cassie in it last night and this morning. Oh, and it's adjustable to 4 heights. Can you tell I love it? And I put it together all my myself with the Cassie and Tehya both trying to 'help' me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Because I'm a little slow these days.....

I asked our agency to see if they could get an update for us on Chloe on September 23rd. I got the update on Monday the 28th. The pictures we got were dated the 25th and the written update was dated the 27th. The 27th is also our LID. Kind of cool. Doesn't mean anything -- just cool.

And why am I slow -- because I just realized that the update and our LID were completed the same day -- which also was a Sunday.

And because I took up your time with reading useless facts, I'll reward you with more pictures of our other little angel. And no -- I can't get her to smile for the camera. Half the time she puts her arm up when she sees the camera. Check out the one of her in the dog crate closely -- she's got a chair in there and about 10 toys -- because that's the perfect place to watch Sesame Street. And the one where she's eating -- that's a bowl of spinach. She loved it. It wasn't plain spinach -- I made homemade gnocchi with a spinach cream sauce. Cassie and I loved it -- daddy ate it and didn't complain. And the bonus of the day -- in the last picture there's a new picture of Chloe on the window sill. Cassie has a few of these that I printed out on paper for her. When we ask her where Chloe is, she runs and finds one of the pictures, kisses it and then makes us kiss it. She's going to make a great big sister.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where has the last month gone?

I don't know either. It's been one month and one day since I posted last. Sorry about that. So here's what has been going on with us since the last post.

1. We had family pictures done. (all pictures will be in another post -- it's easier that way)
2. Our dossier was hand-delivered to the CCAA on the 21st of September.
3. We found out last week that our LID (log in date) is/was September 27!!! So we now start the count down to our LSC. The average wait is 30 - 100 days. Since our dossier needs to be translated first - the 30 days isn't going to happen. I'm guessing it will be somewhere between 70 - 90 days. Today we are on day 22 -- but who's counting? (me)
4. All three of us had colds. Sonny got off easy -- his only seemed to last a couple of days, mine lasted about a week and a half, and Cassie's two full weeks. Of course Cassie's and mine only over lapped a few days -- so it was a long three weeks around here.
5. We met with our social worker and completed our 6-month-post-placement visit. We will have been Cassie's parents for 6 months officially on November 4th. (we have to send a report to China at 6 months and 12 months) November 4th will also be 38 days of waiting for our LSC -- but again, who's counting?
6. Cassie now has a social security number, a MI birth certificate, a savings account, and a US passport.
7. We also got a new update on Chloe, complete with pictures. She seems to be doing well -- she's grown in length but hasn't gained any weight since her last update in May. And she's got the skinniest little neck. In all the pictures we have of her, she's got a buzz cut. I can't wait to let her hair grow.

That's all for now. I promise not to make you wait as long for the next post.
See the posts below for new pictures.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Update on Cassie's doc visit

Cassie had her 18-month old checkup today -- she'll be 18-months old on Tuesday. She's doing great. She's grown a half of inch and gained 1.8 lbs in the past 3 months. She's now 32.5 inches tall and 21.8 lbs. Still my tiny, little, tall girl -- I know that makes no sense but that's what she is. The doc things she's doing great in all areas. Cassie now knows about 8 English words and still understand Chinese when the doc talks to her. I know it won't be long and she'll forget the Chinese she knows, but I just love that she still remembers it after being home for 4 months.

She also got 3 shots -- she wasn't happy about that. And will be going back in a month for a flu shot. Then we don't go back until she's 2.

I also had our doc look over Chloe's paperwork. The doc things her info looks good. And that her SN is manageable. She just wants us to get her home asap. That's because she knows she needs her family.

Our dossier is on it's way to China as I type this. I'll be hoping and praying the CCAA processes our file quickly. Now we just wait.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DTC......on Friday the 18th!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our good news came a little bit early. Jessa called this morning at 10:56am to say that she had everything for our dossier (it was shipped from me and from the courier in Chicago) and that it all looked great!!! It's already packaged up to go to China in the mailing on Friday. YEAH!!!! So that means our official DTC (dossier to China) date is 09/18/09.

Our next step in the process is getting our LID (log in date). That's kind of like a FedEx tracking number in a way -- it means that our dossier is in the system to be processed. After that we'll be waiting on our LSC -- which meaning Chloe is officially ours -- that takes anywhere from 30 to 100 days -- on average. One we get our LSC we can post her beautiful little face on the blog.

Here are some stats on our dossier:

We started our dossier on July 20th. From then to the day it is mailed to China is less than 9 weeks.

Our LOI was sent in on August 7th. Our dossier will be mailed to China exactly 6 weeks later.

It didn't take too long -- it was stressful -- but for a short amount of time. Now the hard part -- waiting for our LSC. I'm so grateful that I have Cassie to keep me busy this time with the waiting. It's very easy to get lost in watching her giggle and play all day. I need to focus on that and my deep breathing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Too cute Tuesday

Not much to say today. The past week has been crazy trying to get our dossier completed. As soon as I have some good news to share about the dossier - I'll post more on it. I'm hoping to post about it on Friday. You know this coming Friday. In 3 more days. The 18th. That Friday.

Until then here's some cute pictures of my little munchkin. The first picture is Cassie getting ready for breakfast. I was frying an egg for her and she went and got a bib out of the bib basket and put the bib and her bottle on my chair -- next to her highchair. She's such a sweet girl and such the helper. When she first came home she'd scream if she smelled food -- I think she had gone without it so many times, then if she smelled food she'd stand at the stove and cry for a bite, then it was stand near the stove and say mmmmmm, and now my baby girl knows she'll get food. She has come such a long ways in 4 short months. Tomorrow will mark the day we have been home with Cassie for 4 months.