28 February 2008

Mike got stung!
Today on his way home from California, Mike sat on the plane next to one of his favorite bands 'The Hives'...he was so stoked, and the guys put him on 'the list' for tonights concert! I told Mike to pick up a onsie for Paisley! Good to know peeps in the bizz!
Update: Mike and his buddy Matt went to the concert at First Ave, (where Prince filmed Purple Rain), they had a blast!
and just for fun, an entertainment tidbet...WE live five minutes from 'Paisley Park' Prince's recording studio..and NO, that is not what we are naming Paisley after! Paisley is a Scottish name, not an ode to the short purple one!

27 February 2008

Paisley Day is March 16!
We haven't got our full itinerary yet, but we know we fly out of Hong Kong to Nanchang on the 16th...and on the same day we will get Paisley! In less than three weeks we will be a family of four!

23 February 2008

To g or not to g?
that my friends is the big question! Oh how my poor little head has been fretting of late about our potential contribution to the ever growing landfill issue...do I want to participate in the poobomb war? or should I take the higher ground and go cloth? These diapers are kinda new, they have a 'flushable' insert, which sounds good, but it does require more work, it's a little more money up front, but it also means we'd save some cash on the tail end (pardon the pun).
I'm going to give it a try, maybe when we are at home, and use the non-chlorine diapers when we go out or to the hospital or Doctors?
I'm going to get a 'starter' pack....I know mike is not keen on this, just from the 'touch the stink' perspective....but I am going to give it a try. The starter pack is about $25 and gives you 2 diaper covers and some liners...I think thats a small enough cost to at least give it a try right?
take a look at g
Mike just brought me my moring cup of coffee and I showed him these diapers and he said YES! He said we could give them a try, wow...he must still be half asleep!

21 February 2008

"I'm getting a Cinderella dress in Hong Kong!"
yes she is! Piper is going to DISNEYLAND! In HONG KONG!
We thought since Mike's ticket is covered through work that we would have a mini vacation on Lantau Island at Hong Kong Disney! We went online tonight, booked our hotel through travelocity and got two nights at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel...it even came with two free Character breakfasts and 3 free park tickets! Piper will pee her pants when she finds out we are staying at a hotel where CINDERELLA wanders the halls! Piper has only just discovered the Disney princesses, and is enamoured with Cindarella and her mean sisters! She has been belting out "sing sweet nightinggale" for the past two weeks non stop! This my friends might be the only way to make her SPEECHLESS!

Tickets are booked!!
We got the call from CCAI bright and early this morning...our Consulate Appointment is booked for the 25th of March! How awesome! We had such a fast turnaround, I picked up the phone when I was on the way out the door to Piper's swim lesson....once we got home I went online in search of the cheapest tickets! We got a sweet deal directly from Singapore Airlines (my favorite airline)! We are actually going a wee bit earlier than we need to, Mike is going to have a few meetings in Hong Kong and Shenzen and we decided that we'd take Piper to Hong Kong Disney as a last hoorah as an 'only child'
So...we fly to San Francisco on the 9th of March, and take the midnight flight to Hong Kong, we arrive on the 10th and will spend the next few days doing a cross between business & pleasure...then we'll meet up with our agency group on the 14th and fly out to Nanchang on the 16th. No news as to which day we will get Paisley, but it will either be the 16th or 17th of March!
After about 8-9 days in Nanchang, we'll fly to Gunagzhou and stay at the Victory Hotel on Shaiman Island (no White Swan this time too $$$)...go through the motions of getting all the legalities sorted, and on March 26th we'll go to the US Consulate to take the 'oath' to make Paisley a US Citizen! The next day we'll fly to Hong Kong, then catch a plane to San Fransisco and back to the Twin Cities! woohoo.
If anyone has any ideas how to wrangle a precocious three year old and a wiley 11 month old for 17 hours on a plane please feel free to comment.

20 February 2008

Piper decided to use the bathroom in our 'hardly used' basement tonight...she hasnt really spent much time down there in the past few months, but as she was sitting on the potty she looked up at Mike and these words came from her mouth...I kid you not
"Daddy, this room is essentially green isnt it? "
aaah, how quickly they grow up! What the heck?! Speaking of potty talk, today we took Olive to the Vet for her yearly checkup (aka wallet emptying visit)...Piper was enamoured by the cats on display ready for adoption. She was talking to them, having a lovely conversation when one of the Vet Techs came over to talk to her.
Piper asked.. "what's that box?" pointing at the litter box..
the Tech replied "that's the kitty's bathroom"
to which Piper said "eeew thats gross, I do my poo on a toilet and my dog Olive goes poop outside" She's funny, she goes 'poo' and her dog 'poops'???

Our agency called today to let us know they received our TA and to ask us about when we can travel!!! We were given the option on leaving on the 6th of March, but we decided to leave the next week because we can get better prices on airline tickets and also have to possiblity of being joined up with a travel group which is ideal since it lowers your expenses whilst in China..and the 'support' of travelling with others is 'priceless'
We weren't expecting it quite so soon...but I did think we'd be travelling mid-March, and it turns out we are!
We are going to leave a couple of days early so that Mike can squeeze in a business meeting or two, and so we can take Piper to Hong Kong Disney...her last 'hoorah' as an only child!!! Now we just need to get the nursery set up and the bags packed and the dog booked into the kennel, and the freezer stocked, and Piper's room fixed up and all her clothes moved from the Nursery, and...and...and....

15 February 2008

So yesterday I got a voicemail from our Homestudy Agency, apparently they had received an electronic notification of our fingerprint approval but not the extension of our 171*H (in adoption terms - THE golden ticket)...there seemed some 'confusion' in the voicemail so as soon as the clock struck 9am this morning I gave them a quick call to 'clarify' the details.
As it turns out...in Minnesota the USCI*S emails this valuable piece of information to the Homestudy Agency and then sends a hard copy to the applicants (in this case that means us). Apparently, whomever read the email did not look at it thoroughly, and they misinterpreted the information. It does seem that the USCIS processed both our new fingerprints AND our request for renewing our 171H! So...we are re-approved!! It took a little over two weeks and here we are! We were told it was taking 90 days so we are either very lucky or USCI*S is actually (gulp)...doing their jobs?!
Just so you know I'm not jumping the gun and getting excited willy nilly, the Agency emailed me a copy, and I read it, and it's actually true!!!
I never believe it until I see it! and I saw it...so I'm a believer!

14 February 2008

a small token of gratitude

I have been thinking for a while about what little token I can give to the woman who found Paisley? Yes, we know who she is...in fact, she works at the orphanage where Paisley now lives.

It's not uncommon for someone at an orphanage to be called to 'come to pick up a baby' that has been found, but it is less common for an actual orphanage worker to 'find' a child. This is a far less common scenario and we have been told by someone who researches these things on a daily basis, that this could mean one very important thing...that the person who found Paisley was 'possibly' told where to find her by her birthparents. A valuable clue...one we may never have the real answer to...but knowledge seems so close. So,...my mission was to find a small gift, nothing too crazy or over the top...just a simple token to give the woman who found Paisley...and perhaps...just perhaps it might someday make it's way back to Paisley's birthmother...a lofty dream, yes....but we are allowed to hope. Yet I neither assume that my intentions will be met with joy or wonder, they could be as easily met with disinterest or denial, as it is the way of many Chinese to look foward and not ponder what has past, call me an optimist, it is the action that counts the most, and that is what I will hold nearest.

I found this pendant on Etsy, a lady in Singapore makes these tiny frames, I emailed her with our story and request and she immediately agreed to make a custom charm for a necklace. With Paisley's photo on the front, and the words 'safe' and 'love' on the back. Just something to let them know Paisley will be safe, and loved in her new home.

I also bought this charm to sit alongside it, it means Luck & Wealth...something I hope for not only Paisley, but for her birthparents and those who care for her. I can only hazard a guess, but I suspect life is not kind to those who have to make the decision to place their children to be found...I will not assume anything, yet I am sure I will imagine everything...the complex and complicated scenario that took place when that decision was made. I am grateful that I will have this child, one who otherwise had little hope for a future, but I will always have a place in my heart and soul for her birthparents, and I hope she will too.

12 February 2008

"Heigh Ho, it's off to work they go!"
The CCAA is officially back to work as of today!! Yep, the government holiday is over and the workers are back in their cubicles! What does this mean for us? Uh, probably that we will get our TA in the next week or three...if we are lucky. It truly depends on how long it takes them to 'shake it off' and get back in the swing of things! I'm hoping that because they 'cleared their desks' prior to the National Holiday that our LOA will be processed el-pronto and we will get it in the next two weeks!
That means, we could travel by mid March!!!



Great news everyone! Yifeng has heat! AND formula!!! The staff at Love without Boundaries are just amazing. Their staff in China are truly angels. They not only agreed to work over the Chinese New Year holiday (this is the ONE big holiday in China where families spend a week together and EVERYTHING closes down!) but they convinced suppliers and shopkeepers to open up their businesses to provide them with the heaters and additional formula for the Orphanage! As of today, LWB has raised almost $3300 from donations for Yifeng, which means they were able to purchase SIX heaters, not three...AND they were able to provide formula provisions that will give Yifeng a 'cushion' so that no child will go without!

And while the snow and ice seems to have melted, the cold is still at the 100 year low, so these heaters and the extra food is extremely appreciated.

This is better than any baby shower, Christmas or Birthday gift! I would personally like to thank the eighteen friends, relatives and local FCC families who gave to this wonderful charity to help the children at Yifeng...to help our Paisley.


09 February 2008

I would rather poke my eyes out with a blunt spoon!
I'm not kidding...that's how much I detest the giant superstore that is 'Babie*s r us'! As we pulled into the parking lot, Mike sighed a sigh reserved only for fathers...a sigh that speaks volumes..."lets get in, grab the stuff we need and get the heck out of that hellhole!"..."ten 4 rubber ducky!"
The parking lot is filled with expectant parents and grandparents, soaked in unnatural amounts of 'breeder' hormones...Mike's hilarious, he makes fun of the people who look like their brains will explode if they dont get the matching pack n play AND swing...I mean they sky is sure to fall if the child still in utero has mismatched baby accoutrements! We had to go to buy the BPA free bottles we need for Paisley....and to pick up a few other bits and pieces...ugh...that place is madness...madness I say!
Thankfully we survived. I hope we never have to return!

08 February 2008


I couldn't resist...this is too darn cute! I had to have one for Paisley! Good thing, it will go really well with the shoes we got her a few months ago! Don't worry, she isn't quite ready for the White Stripes or Sonic Youth t-shirt!

I'll be sure to throw in some pink, perhaps even a tutu!!
You can't blame me though...after all...

"I'm with the band!"

07 February 2008


Today is Chinese New Year, and thanks to my friend Maia, I learnt that one should not wash one's hair today...nor buy a new pair of shoes as it is 'bad luck'...well, blissfully unaware I proceeded my normal morning ritual of washing my hair...and I kid you not, less than an hour later I am stuck in the parking lot of the Supermarket with a screw in my tire! No worries I think to myself, calling AAA to let them know...she'll be right as rain, I have AAA roadside service, and it's just a screw right? Not so quick chook, seems like I drove on the tire as it was deflating(I couldnt tell, the roads are covered in snow and ice), and I damaged the 'wall' of the tire, and since I have an AWD car, well, you cant just replace one tire, you HAVE TO REPLACE THEM ALL!
crap crap crap! That's $600 I don't need to be spending right now! If only I hadn't washed my bloody hair this morning...Thank God I didn't hit the shoe store too!
When Piper asked how they tire went 'exflated'(nice try huh!), I asked her how did she think it happened(smart Mummy's always turn the question around to the question'er) she said
"Pirate's poked it with their poking sticks"
at least I got a little laugh from that.
Onward...I hope the rest of the day is better!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Happy Chinese New Year!

06 February 2008

After trying for days Kate at Love without Boundaries got through to Yifeng SWI!!! They are in desperate need!!! Please please please consider donating even just $10 towards the heaters that will keep Paisley and her friends and the wonderful Ayi's who care for them warm! More cold weather is on it's way!

from Kate at Love Without Boundaries

Thank you everyone for your concern for Yifeng. I just received an email from our facilitator in China and Yifeng is in desperate need. They are in one of the worst hit areas. Director Yao has said their solar heaters (for heating water) and all their air conditioners (which are also used for heating) have all broken due to the cold. The normal power supply has not been restored to their area yet but the local government has given the orphanage the highest priority so their lights are on. The local government has also given money for blankets and coats for the children but it wasn’t enough for all the children and the price of formula has jumped 30% . Director Yao has asked for 3 A/C units to keep the children warm as a first priority. The price of the A/C units (wall or tower) are $350-$625 each so we would need between $1050 and $1875 for all 3 units.

Now, a little information about Love Without Boundaries (LWB) and how to donate. LWB is a volunteer organization so 97% of all donations reach the children. Also, all donations are tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for tax purposes. We can take donations either online or by check.

If you would like to donate online go to
www.lovewithoutboundaries.com and click on ‘Donate’; click ‘Other’; enter your information and in the ‘Notes’ section please write ‘Yifeng Orphanage Assistance’.

To donate by check make your check payable to ‘Love Without Boundaries’ and write ‘Yifeng Orphanage Assistance’ on the Memo line. Mail your check to: Love Without Boundaries, 306 S. Bryant St., Ste. C, PMB 145, Edmond, OK, 73034.

Thank you for your help and if you have any questions please feel free to email me at

Kate Finco
Director of Special Projects
Love Without Boundaries
'Every Child Counts'

UPDATE: Love without Boundaries has received $2000 so far to cover the heaters! We'd also like to make sure the orphanage has enough warm clothes, coats, blankets and basic food supplies for several weeks. Please keep giving! We are so thankful for everyones generosity!

05 February 2008

What's up Doc?
talk about quirky...here's the other photo we received today! Clearly she is the most stunning child I have ever seen (and Piper too of course!)...so pleased that the SWI is letting her hair grow!
I had no ideas bunnies were quite so prevalent in China!
did I mention she has EIGHT teeth now!
Piper also had eight teeth when we got her...chompers!


HOLY CRAP BATMAN!! Look what we got in our inbox today!! An update on Paisley! What is amazing, is that the photos and information was sent on February 4...which means the orphanage is functioning despite the storms!!! Can you believe this photo! We have another rock star in the family! OH MY GOD...she is so freakin beautiful I can barely get my head around it!


The growth has not grown in size. Hair grows on it. - woohoo!
She can make sounds. - wonderful!
She does suck her thumb or fingers. - just like her Mum!
She can sleep through the night. - praise the Lord!
She likes noisy toys. - go figure
She is afraid of strangers. - bummer
They call her Zi Zi Bao Bao. - zizi-TOP!
She eats formula mixed with rice cereal, biscuit, soft noodle and congee.

We are so lucky to have received this when we were so worried about her SWI and all the children. I think someone answered the BATPHONE afterall!

FYI: the drumset was already superimposed by the orphanage! they always pop something in the middle to cover up 'split pants', I've just never seen a full drumset before! mike says they must have a good sense of humor!

I know, let's use the Batphone!
What did I do yesterday? Oh, I called or emailed about 8 different places that makes calls to Chinese orphanages..and as of yet NOONE has been able to get hold of the Directors or anyone at the SWI!
Let me tell you what doesn't help...when I ask a question, like lets say...
"can you contact the orphanage to see if everything is okay?"
and I get this reply
"oh, everything is just fine, your baby just needs her Mommy & Daddy to come and get her"
that...doesn't help...you know why?
because YOU DONT KNOW THAT! You havent spoken to your guides, they havent spoken to the orphanage to see what is going on, and most of all I dont need glib comments that are meant to placate me and make me feel good...I need answers, I need to know that you are trying to get through, I need to know you have your staff in China trying to contact the Directors, I need to know you give a flying rat's arse! The wonderful ladies at OCDF did try to contact the orphanage for us, but noone is picking up the phone. Now, I don't know if that is good news or bad news, but hey, they tried! We have several other 'outside' sources that are also trying. Lets hope today we learn a little more about the situation. Go here to see how other 'sponsored' orphanages are faring, remember that Paisley is in a non-sponsored orphanage, which is why the news on the 'sponsored' ones make me worried.
I just got an email back from Jenny Bowen the Executive director from Half the Sky, she is going to do everything she can to contact Yifeng for us. Thank You!!

04 February 2008

It just keeps getting worse...
this photo was taken of a rescue in Jiangxi Province, can you see the ice from the storm? It's insane. I just checked in with Half the Sky and they are posting updates of all the orphanages they sponsor...it's not good, and those orphanages are the 'lucky' ones. I am so worried about Paisley, and about all the children spread out across China..this is a massive tragedy.

I am also in contact with Love without Boundaries, they are trying to contact Yifeng, but as of yet they have not been able to get through. I will also try to get our agency CCAI to contact the orphanage, but if they can't either, then we just have to wait. I know for a fact that Yifeng doesnt have enough warm clothes for this kind of weather, and I worry about lack of power, heat, water and food. I am so distraught, and so helpless...it is not a good feeling. Please please consider a donation to Half the Sky's little mouse emergency fund, or help us help Yifeng by contacting Love without Boundaries and asking to donate for Yifeng SWI.

03 February 2008

stay warm my sweet

I was reluctant to mention the crisis in China at the moment, but I just cannot get it out of my head. The worst weather in over half a century is pummeling China and Jiangxi is being hit HARD!
I am really worried about Paisley and all of the other children in her SWI, and all the SWI's in China! Many of the coal deliveries have been cancelled and without coal, the orphanages cannot heat the rooms, which means...hundreds of thousands of small babies, children and the elderly are without one of life's basic necessities...a warm home, and quite possibly without food as many roads and railways are at a standstill and have been for a week or so!
This photo is not of Jiangxi, but of Shaoguan in Guangdong...Piper is from Shoaguan, it is not a region that is used to harsh weather, lets just say it's the Arizona of China...so snow like this is not just rare, but deadly!
Please take a moment to consider a small donation to 'HALF THE SKY'
who are trying desperately to ease the burden during this disaster and make sure life saving supplies will make it through to those who need it! Please donate to the Little Mouse Emergency fund if you can..and if you have a spare moment and the inclination, say a prayer for Paisley.

where does all the poo go?

Last week we bought what I am sure is our first of many 'mega' boxes of diapers! Mike's apparent enthusiasm for the re-emergence of all things poop was clearly showing on his face as we struggled to control our cart through the mammoth aisles of our local GIGANTIC-co! To be honest, I've changed enough diapers in my 18 years of Nannying that it really doesnt phase me at all! However, I have to admit we hit the lucky streak with Piper, who refused to poop in her diaper from the seasoned old age of 12 months old! Just another five months later and she was completely potty trained...so lets just say, we were uber-lucky on the poo front! I also have to admit that I use disposable diapers...I just can't do cloth diapers...I hang my head in shame when I admit that, but I can't...I wont...well, not if I dont have to! So, instead I potty train early...there's a few secrets (and a lot of intuition!) I use, mostly just experience from my profession, but I figure if my girls use them for 'less' time then I can feel just a little less guilty about the havoc these poo filled bombs do to our fragile environment!

I believe our carbon footprint will triple in the next year, but we'll try to offset it by planting some trees, buying local produce and meats, using non-toxic cleaners and generally being savvy green consumers. But...I hope you will all forgive me for my environmental faux pas...I am usually so so good!

01 February 2008

serious bathtime conversation...
"now Piper, you know when Paisley comes home you can't touch her head right?"
"okay Dad...(pause)...Can I touch her belly button?"

I'm going to do it! I've decided that if I want my freezer filled in anticipation for our arrival back home with Paisley then I have to bite the bullet and start cooking! I did 'Let's Dish' with our FCC a couple of years ago, as part of a fundraiser. The food was good, nutritious and easy to prepare. Basically you go to a store and they have all the ingredients laid out, you can choose to make 4, 8 or 12 meals and since they serve 6 people per meal we were able to split the meals in half and ended up with 16 meals!! It is actually cheaper to prepare meals in bulk this way than to buy all the ingredients and make it at home! So, I'm going to do it! I'm going to take an evening, and use it wisely! We expect that we will be spending a lot of time in Doctors offices and hospitals in the weeks and months after Paisley comes home, it would be nice to have a psuedo 'home cooked meal' on the nights when we get home late! I'll let you know how it goes!

A new school for Piper
last night we attended an open house for a local pre-school. We really liked the program and having the Prinicpal as our next door neighbour helps! It is a Lutheran school that goes up to grade 6. We really loved the teachers and hope that we can secure a spot for Piper for the Fall. We are keeping Piper at her current
pre-school/daycare until the summer, then we will start her again in the Fall at her new school. When Paisley comes home I wont be able to babysit in the mornings, hence we wont be able to afford the school she currently attends. I'm sad to say goodbye, her teachers are lovely, but this new school is a 2.5 hour program and is 80% cheaper than her current school. The only bummer is that she will have to repeat the pre-school 'three's' class. We got a variance from the State so she could do pre-school three's this year, the variance is not transferable. However, since Piper was 2.5 when she started pre-school, it wont hurt if she does the three year old program again, it's a different school with a different curriculum so I'm sure she wont get bored.

"I am ever not so well"

Our family now has a majority share in Puff's and Tylenol! We are all feeling a little blue. Piper succumbed last week with a case of the sniffles, and this week it hit Mike and I like a freight train. We have a bad case of the croakies, snotitus, owie heads and sinus-strangularingitus! yuck. I've never been particulary good at taking meds, but yesterday was the worst...I choked on one of the Tylenol's and ended up losing my lunch! Funny how I couldn't taste it when I ate it, but I could as it came back up?? TMI!

Piper sat on the bathroom floor and innocently asked me

"Mummy, are you yakking?"

Between gags and trying furiously not to burst blood vessels in my eyes, I replied

"yes honey"

her reply