Sunday, December 31, 2006

Packing for the trip...

What is a girl to do when her referral is taking 18 months instead of 6? Why tweak her packing list over ...and over... and over... well, you get the idea.

This my friends is my final list. I've already packed half of it away into little Ziploc baggies, sorted by "category". You will not see my shampoo packets anywhere near my toothpaste, thank you very much.

If you have something to add to the list, please post it. At one point, I had the grand idea to go carry on only. I would totally do that if I had a second person going to split up the baby loot up with. Then they messed me up with the liquid thing... tell me how I am suppose to survive on 2 ounces of contact cleaner for 3 weeks?

So now instead of carry on only, I'm joining the "Oh PLEASE let this be under 40 pounds" club. My goal is to have one hand free and be able to lift my bags with the other. I'm assuming the worst, several flights of stairs everywhere.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I normally don't get torn up over all the adoption videos out there. This one gets me twice, first when you see all the cribs lined up (any multi crib room scene kills me) and around 3:20 when they show her room. Heck I have a room just like that just collecting dust!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006



Only $10.02 after tax, shipping & rebates -


Jack's Map

Here is a great map of Shamian Island where adoptive parents spend their last week in China.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My 2007 Resolutions

I hope everyone had a very good Christmas. I got (and gave) all kinds of good loot. My movie buckets with Superman Returns and Pirates 2 went over well. I packaged them in little tubs and added candy and popcorn to them. Everyone "petted" their super duper fru fru fluffy blankets and seemed to like them. My mom really like her ladder and I think she'll be getting tools from me from now on (I can never find a screwdriver in her house and her hammer is sized for a 3 year old). I hope my angel tree girl enjoyed her stuff. I know there was too much clothing and not enough toys, but maybe buying some of the larger clothing items will free up some funds so her mom can get a toy that she know she'll love.

Anyway the 26th is the day I write down my goals. Last year it was organizing and sticking to my savings plans. I did organize a LOT so I think I met that goal. Savings wise, I was about 1K off, but that was because of beach trip #2 and beach trip #3 added to the Disney trip (I like the beach and it's taking all my willpower not to book a room for this weekend when it will be 73 & 70!). In the grand scheme of things, not too bad :)

So here it is for this year...

1. To behave myself $ wise until the end of March. I have a very good chance of meeting my savings goals if I can just be good (read- no eBay, no TJ Maxx - twitch twitch). Does the weekend beach trip count if I am driving back on the 1st? hehe

2. To cool it with buying things for Natalie. Heck I might even purge some stuff from her collection, she has too many toys. And I am going to get over redoing her room for the 3rd time. Pink is grand, the hearts are cute and I'm not changing it back to her original theme even tho red is cool and the quilt for that set is beautiful .

3. Use stuff up. Bath products, makeup, even stuff out of the freezer and pantry. Oh and gift cards, I have a bunch. I don't need bigger closets, I just need less stuff :)

I'm sure there is a lot more but these three are obtainable I think. Wish me luck!

Happy December 26th!

Ask me why I have a El Salvador ticker and weather girl on my blog?

Because DD#2 is there!

The program is 18-24 months total. The process isn't that much different that China, from what I've read. I'll use a lot of the same documents that I used for China (home study, financial, employment verification, medical) and they are authenticated probably just as much (TN requires a notary, a county verification, a state verification, a state department verification and a consulate verification). I'll travel to pick her up 4-8 weeks after referral and stay 2-3 weeks in country.

I'll be using America World Adoption and I'll start on paperwork on Oct 1, 2007. Hopefully Natalie and I will be back from China during the summer so I'll be back to work by Oct 1 to get a good feel on how it is to be a single working mom.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Track Santa

If you have kids, they'll get a kick out of tracking Santa.

How to survive an alien attack



You'll have to forgive me, a few days ago I was bit by a spider. It took less than a minute for my finger to blow up and I thought I might have to go to the emergency room (I weird allergy issues). To be preventative, I grabbed my "oh crap I ate something I shouldn't of" handy dandy bottle of children's liquid benedryll. You take a swig and it buys you time.

So anyway, I drink some, no change and I start to feel weird. So I drink some more. My dad was like let's just go to the doc and stubborn me was like no, they'll charge me $75 to tell me to go home and take benedryll. So I drink a little more.

The last thing I remember is being on my sofa with my dad trying to feed me dinner at 7pm. I woke up at 2:30 PM the next day....oops

So now, I'm just all messed up. It's 2am and I prob won't go to bed tonight. My mind is like "whoa, too much sleep, too much energy, you are killing me!" ....And am I using my boundless energy for anything productive? Heck no, I'm watching movie clips online, I'm just that cool (not).

Lumber :)

I know it's silly to be excited about lumber but I am!

Today we bought the lumber to repair my deck. Awhile back, a wind storm tore off the roof and took one entire wall out. It crashed 10 feet below into my driveway. The insurance company sent me a check that would cover a replacement roof & wall but I stuck that $ on the house because that was the exact amount I needed to pay it off (well that plus $3).

Soooo, fast forward to now, I have a 16 X 16 ft deck on the side of my house that is getting new railings that look like the front porch. Lucky for me, the floor was not damaged at all from the storm, that would of cost a LOT more. I choose not to put another roof on the deck because I really like the view from my kitchen sink window, a roof totally blocks that.

So when we are all done, I'll grab a couple of these:

and I'll be all set for summer :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Kim = nerd

I find the dumbest stuff online, I love it. This was on BR's Q&A page

and lookie lookie, there is a new Transformer's trailer. Something tells me I'll be the only girl in the theatre on opening night?

Windows Media

Cool thing about the movie, part of it was filmed on Holloman AFB in NM where my ex was stationed for the first 6 months we were together. It's where the stealths are kept and they always thought it was funny to buzz cars on the highway.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Support Northwest Airlines

They provide deep discounts on adoption tickets that they allow you to change at the last minute. I think that alone should have all adoptive parents that read this be willing to take a minute and sign their electronic petition.

They are trying to get approval to have non stop service from Detroit to Shanghai. More routes to China can only benefit us.

Check it out! - Kim

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


First time with lights. I bought the garland in 1999 to put on the house in TX. My ex wasn't really into decorating so it sat in a box until yesterday :)

And I changed over my wreath. It was fun decorating for the first time in 6 years!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

2 more days...

until my front porch is done :) I have my garland and lights ready to go. 2006..the first year I put out Christmas lights :)

This is day one. Yes that is SNOW. We froze!

And this was the end of today. It was 68 degrees today, more like April than Dec. For those who don't believe in global warming, you needed to be in east TN today!

(look, there is Maggie on the right, mom to the last batch of kittens. To the left is baby #5 I could never catch, he's fast so I've named him Rocket)

Only 14 more rails on the front to go, then we have to make 2- 18 inch wide sections just for decoration where I was standing. None of it's hard, just time consuming. We've learned the right way to do a lot of this too, so it will be much faster when we start on the deck after Christmas :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006


My friend Ann was on Jeopardy tonight! They filmed it about a month ago. She was so nervous but I think she did a really good job. Second place with 20K isn't too shabby :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I swear I am trying to get it out of my system...

I am just really ticked about the new rules for China. I understand that I should be happy I have a LID and that I will be there next summer. But here's the kicker... I qualify under the new rules EXCEPT for being single.

Listen to this little tidbit from the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee ---

78 percent of families in 2002 are comprised of dual-income earners.

Did everyone catch that? And that's just 2002, who knows what it is now. Even if you are a dual parent household, that doesn't mean your kids won't be in daycare with mine.

That is what frustrates me and just ticks me off. I am not against marriage (if it works for you, I AM happy for you!), it's just not my thing. I am happy with my life and self sufficient, I just don't care for an entire country telling me I'm not worthy because I choose not to get married.

I know one stay at home mom. Just one out of the hundreds of women I know

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Pre Adoption Trip

I sort of have in my head what my pre-adoption trip will be like. Any suggestions on tweaking it would be much appreciated.

Day 1- Fly to Beijing via Detroit. Arrive late that night, check into Holiday Inn Central Plaza.

Day 2 - Have hotel car service take me to the train station. Take the #2 bus to the Badaling section of the Great Wall. Have hotel arrange tickets to the acrobat show that evening.

Day 3 - Take taxi to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven. They are all together and under 5 miles from the hotel. Taxis are very cheap in China! Have hotel arrange tickets to the opera at Liyuan Theater inside Qianmen Hotel (FYI, tickets are 20-80 RM which is 3-10$s)

Day 4 - Check out of hotel but leave large roller bag in their holding area (just use carry on tote for a few days so I can be more mobile). Take taxi to Beijing Zoo, Panda Garden, and Beijing Aquarium which is less than 5 miles away. Take taxi to Beijing Bus/Train station for 20:28 soft sleeper trip to Xian.

Day 5 - Arrive in Xian at 8am. Take #306 bus from the station to the terracotta warriors. English speaking guides are available for $6. Take bus back to station then a taxi to the Sofitel Hotel and check in. Wander around local area and find someplace good for dinner.

Day 6 - Check out of hotel. Wander around Xian, try to make it to a section of the city wall. Make it back to the train station for 18:44 soft sleeper trip to Shanghai.

Day 7 - Arrive in Shanghai at 11:00 AM. Take taxi to Crowne Plaza Hotel and check in. Take taxi to Yu Gardens and walk around. Take taxi to Bund and make my way to Shanghai's New Heights bar to watch the sun set from their rooftop area.

Day 8 - Check out of hotel. Wander around locally, I will be in a college area, there will be lots of interesting things to see. Make my way to the train station again to make the 19:00 soft sleeper trip back to Beijing.

Day 9 - Arrive Beijing 7:00. Check back into Holiday Inn Central Plaza & pick up bag I left there earlier. Take taxi to pearl market and shop.

Day 10 - Use this Beijing day to finish up all the things I didn't get done in the first 4 days here. (Added- thanks for the comment!)

Day 11 - Meet up with my travel group in the AM so we can go our province together.

I've researched the hotels until I can tell you about them in my sleep. I choose each one based on Trip Advisor comments and their proximity to landmarks and the train stations. The only part of the trip that I feel weird about is being at the Bund at night alone. I will probably arrange a tour with a company that day. The reason I think I won't be going with a tour group the whole time is one, the cost. This trip is $2500 for a single traveler. I have it down as 1K on my own. And two, I don't do well with people telling me what to do and where to be...that is very bad in a tour group. Three - I also get impatient with other travelers who didn't do their home work and constantly ask me questions about where we are going. I always get those questions because I do a lot of homework before any of my trips and know where we are going!

If you could add 1 more day to this trip, what would you add? Any ideas?

I think I'm going to be ill.

A new policy is going into effect May 1st, that is the last day that singles can log in a dossier.

My 12-05-05 dossier is just fine, I'll be traveling to China probably in the summer.

But it totally kills off my second child.

Here is a crazy thought, put some money into the orphanages so they can get their kids ready for international adoption. Clear them out, let them collect the fees so they can take care of the un-adoptable children. Why would you want an institution full of children without families?

I am adding a week to my adoption trip. I'll be staying in Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. I think I just want to try to understand the people that she'll be coming from. Now that she won't have a Chinese sister, I'll need to focus more on how I can help her thrive in a white area. I think learning of the history and spending time with the people will help with that.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Very exciting :)

I am getting a new front porch..sort of :) Just as a background, my house was part of an estate sale and it was in pretty bad shape. We first tackled the inside projects, tons of paint, refinishing the hardwood, redid the whole bath, put in kitchen tile and painted the cabinets. There has also been a lot of plumbing redos and wiring upgrades. On the outside we did siding, new gutters and windows. It's been quite the project!

Now we find ourselves knee deep in the eyesore dilemma. Every time you fix something and make it pretty and new, it makes something else look just that much worse.

My biggest eyesore now is my front porch. My current front porch is a wide rectangle, about 14 feet X 8 feet. Imagine a box, my front door is in the upper left corner, my big living room window is in the middle of the top portion next to the door. All it has it two square columns holding up the edges in the bottom left and right corners.

I am getting new supports (which will probably still be square) and rails :) Originally I had awful metal ones that were rusty and sharp, I took those out the first week I lived here. So the front porch area has looked naked for awhile.

Once that's done I'll paint my white wicker furniture a cute color and put it on the front porch. I'd also like to have long curtain type things that I could gather and tie to the supports. When I mentioned that to dad he just gave me "that look", the "I'm just going to nod my head yes while you girl up my cool wood working project" look - hehe

Want to see something frightening? I know what is going through your head, holy crap, and she is going to put a kid in there?

Then look, just a year later...

I can't find my phase three picture with the white windows. Phase 4 is with the redone front porch, 5 will be the deck, 6 will be the driveway and hopefully the last project in this fixer upper :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Everyone says the baby is going to make a mess and get into things that I'd never think of. I think my rotten kittens have prepared me quite a bit!

It's my fault for leaving this case in the living room for more than 5 minutes...

And it's totally my fault too, I cleaned out the office yesterday and forgot the bag of trash out in the hall. This is what I woke up to...

They were very sad when I started cleaning it up.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's a girl, girl and.....girl!

Hooray! The referrals did come in!

The Hickman's baby is Wan Fey Ling born on 2-10-06.

The Moody's baby is Qian Xiao Ling born 2-25-06.

The Dixon's baby is Cha Mu Ling born 4-7-06.

They are all cute little tiny girls, super cute :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

I love my online groups....

they are just a wealth of information. Read this article, this is me:

Nearly half of women fear life as a bag lady

By Jennifer Harper
August 23, 2006

They may have money in their purses and a decent salary, but many women fear they'll lose their income and end up a bag lady, forgotten and destitute.
A "startling" 90 percent of women say they feel financially insecure, according to a survey of almost 1,925 women released yesterday by Allianz, a Minnesota-based life insurance company.
Almost half are troubled by a "tremendous fear of becoming a bag lady" -- 46 percent of women overall, and 48 percent of those with an annual income of more than $100,000. An additional 57 percent are sorry they had not learned more about money matters in school.
Such concerns foster an array of behaviors and thoughts.
Women, for example, are twice as likely as men -- 18 percent to 9 percent -- to set aside a secret stash of money, the study found. Roughly the same number counseled their daughters to do the same. And the feminine thrill of shopping took a back seat to practicality: Two-thirds said the best thing about having money is the feeling of security it brought them, rather than buying power or status.
"They want to know they can handle what might lie in front of them," said Ken Dychtwald, a gerontologist who consulted on the project.
Women have made substantial financial progress, the study said, noting their median income has increased 60 percent in the past three decades. They are expected to control 60 percent of U.S. wealth by 2010. Half of all stock market investors also are women.
And yes, men and women have different attitudes about money, which often spawns disagreements between the sexes. Women, for example, think financial arguments revolve around "power and control" while men say it's a matter of trust.
Are American men unnerved by financially independent women? Not likely. According to a related Allianz poll, more than 90 percent found such a quality to be "sexy."
Both polls were conducted May 4 to July 5, and have a margin of error of two percentage points.
Meanwhile, "the adage of 'marrying well' no longer works," the study states.
Indeed, only 8 percent of female respondents said they hoped a man would solve their financial woes. More than one-third considered themselves financially competent, almost a quarter said they had a financial partnership with their spouse and 18 percent said they felt financially "empowered." But 18 percent said they were confused and worried by money.
"Money fears of women are complicated. They fear failure, or making mistakes. They fear they are expendable. Their fear of being poor, however, has topped the list for two decades," said Judith Briles, a Denver financial adviser and author of 23 books on money management.
It seems an ingrained girl thing, though.
"Bag lady syndrome is a fear many women share that their financial security could disappear in a heartbeat, leaving them homeless, penniless and destitute," MSN money columnist Jay McDonald wrote in January. "Lily Tomlin, Gloria Steinem, Shirley MacLaine and Katie Couric all admit to having a bag lady in their anxiety closet."

I am naming that little nagger in the back of my mind the baglady. If I'm lucky I'll figure out a way to shut her up.

Disapointment, New music and a Lesson

My agency has no word of referrals unlike everyone else. My friend Pam might not be getting her referral this week :( The announcement says up to the 8th and in the past, that has included that date. Maybe not this month, Living Hope doesn't have anything coming from Beijing via DHL on their account. We had 2 families that were skipped last month due to questioning that were suppose to get their referrals also. It seems there is a new policy, if they ask questions, you get pulled from your group and you land wherever they are at in the review process. If it takes you a month to get information back to them and for them to process you, it seems like they'll scoot your LID to that later time. A month used to be just a month. Now it is taking 2-3 real days to process 1 paperwork day. I have 87 paperwork days until my referral. That could be 87- 261 real days for me. Worse case, that puts me with an August referral travelling in Oct. If that is how it's going to be, I'm ok with that. __________________________________________________

I really like movie soundtracks :) My favorite is Braveheart (James Horner) and I get REALLY ticked when I hear inferior movies using bits of the soundtrack (like Castaway, that was a stupid movie). I think movies earn their music!

My second favorite is Star Wars. Big shock there! It's written in the handbook for nerds, that one must own all the movies in the most expensive collectors edition format and have at least one of the soundtracks in their car :) John Williams - you rock!

Third is...wait for it.....Superman. Yup, no brainer I know. John Ottman did a good job, he tweaked the main theme that John Williams created in the 70's. I think he would of been hunted down by fans and poked with sharp sticks if he hadn't ;)

Anyway, I changed the music because it didn't sound superman-ish. It was the music from the teenage Clark jumping over cornfields, I liked that part of the movie :) Now it's from a flying scene.

Ok, here is our fun YouTube goody of the day. There is a girl willing to teach the world Chinese! That is no easy feat considering I am southern. Not too southern, I spent 10 years in other places that smoothed out my drawl a bit but it's still there.
Today we will learn how to say hello. "Ni hao" or "knee how" if you are from TN ;)


Have a good day for the 4 people that read my blog! I am off to my mom's to prepare for the garage sale. Wish me luck, I hope to finish wiping out my Avon inventory! :)