Friday, October 30, 2009

This and That and Lots of Pictures

Disclaimer: this post is long, rambling, and disconnected.  But it's also full of cuteness.

Cory's language skills are just multiplying by the day!  He's easily putting three to four words together into sentences and has something to say about everything. Whoever said that boys don't talk as much as girls has never met mine.  They talk all day long.  And sometimes at night, too.  But that's another story.

Some of the sentences (or phrases) Cory's recently said:
Read book to me.
New, new library book.
Leaves are falling down.
Dat too spicy for me.
Step back, Mama! (when I leaned in to blow on his food.  Apparently I was crossing his boundaries!)
I love dogs. (yeah, right)
I love leaves.
I love Daddy!
Pray for baby sister. (This one gets me every time he says it, which is several times a day.)
Dee Gee-us, please help baby sister, Gee-us name, AMEN!

Someone gave us a classic red tricycle and the boys adore it.  Iain loves riding his bike, too, so it works out well.  Here's the all-American boy in overalls on a trike.  The overalls were mine when I was his age, and Iain wore them, too.  Super cute!  I love boys in overalls.

Of course, Cory would just as soon dig in the tomato-plant dirt as ride a bike any day.

The boys and I, plus Jenna (my sister) and Isaiah (her baby boy), spent a week in Florida early this month.  What was going to be just a fun trip turned into a work trip, as I had to get our old house ready for new tenants, and it was in a... um... rather untidy state.  Jenna, Shannon, and multiple cousins, as well as my mom and Nan and our wonderful used-to-be-neighbor Robert helped and the house is now clean (THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR BRAVING THE DISASTER!) and standing empty, waiting for new tenants to hopefully love it more than the last ones did.  And to hopefully come and find it soon.

Anyway, the trip wasn't all about work.  The boys and I made it to Yaya's for a visit (she's Jeremy's grandmother), which was really good.  Cory ate a banana right from the tree.  And refused to be in a picture.  Iain was a better sport, though:

Grammy and Papa (Jeremy's parents) made it up for a visit, too, and Kelsey and Haylee (my other sisters) came down.  It was so good to see everyone!  I even made it out for late-night coffee and lots of talking with my good friend Lauren (okay, I didn't have coffee.  But the hot chocolate was great - and the conversation better.  I miss you, Lauren!).  And of course, spending time with my mom, Nan, and all the family down there was so nice.  

The weather in Florida was hot, except for one lovely day - the day of the fall festival at a local church!  The boys and I went with Grammy and Papa, and met up with Jenna and Curtis (who flew down on Saturday) and Isaiah, and Haylee, and Lauren, Noah and Jude.  What fun!  The boys each got to pick out a pumpkin (or strange squash, as Iain decided to choose), and played games, did a hay ride, and pet animals.  

Cory's shining moment came after we had already left the petting zoo.  He told me, "Me pet black bonny.  Me hold him."  So back we went to the petting zoo, and he did indeed hold and pet the black bunny.  This is significant because Cory has a fear of anything that moves and has fur.

When we got done with everything at the house, we went down for one last walk-through.  I took a picture of Iain under our tree.  My mom gave us this tree as a first anniversary present.  Here it is Christmas of '04, all decked out in Christmas bows.  Can you even see it?

And here it is now.  

Heading back to Georgia...

It is absolutely beautiful here.  The leaves are changing colors and falling and the air is chilly and damp.  It's rainy.  When the sun shines, it actually feels good, instead of like it's baking you alive.  Can you tell I'm loving my first Georgia fall?  The boys are, too (all three of them!).  I made the mistake of letting the boys gather leaves to bring down for Nona (my mom) and Nan (my grandmother) and now every time we go outside, they want to gather leaves.

They give them to me constantly, with the sweetness of boys bringing flowers to their mama.  But if I casually drop them, hoping no little eyes see, they fuss at me to go get my leaf an put it in the car or the house or wherever we're going.  Otherwise the wind might blow it away!  (Hello kids, there are three thousand leaves all over our yard!  We can get another one!)  So we have leaves.  In the car.  In the kitchen.  In the bedrooms.  They are completely enthralled and fascinated by the leaves.

Iain: Here Mama, here's a leaf for you!
Me: That leaf is from a tree called a Tulip Poplar.
Iain: (thoughtfully) Tulip Poplar.
(A few minutes later, Iain brings me another leaf, this one torn in half)
Iain: Look Mama, is this one called a one-lip poplar?

And a few times, it's even been cold enough for footies!
On a recent walk at the lake nearby: (It's so hard getting a good shot of these jokers!)

Jumping boys:
Look at that Iain jump!
I love Canada geese!  And so do my boys.

Tell me it's not gorgeous here?

My fellas:
Cory's answer to almost any question: foh-ev-erh. (forever)
Me: Cory, why did you throw your cup?
Cory: Forever.

Jeremy: Cory, do you want some grapes?
Cory: No, forever.

And on it goes.

The boys loved getting dressed up for our church's Pumpkin Party.  Cory was a cowboy, and Iain was a "Super Policeman" (he has a cape on).  Jeremy and I were "Tired Garage Sale Putters-On."  

That's right, we had our second (much less successful) adoption benefit garage sale at our house last Friday and Saturday.  We made $216 for both days.  And we got fingerprinted on Friday, too!  And after we closed down on Saturday, we raced to the pumpkin party, which boasted bounce houses, games, hot dogs, tons of candy, and little pumpkins to decorate.  The boys' favorite thing was the little putt-putt game.  They didn't even want to go get candy!  As we were getting into the car to haul our tired selves back home, Iain said, "This was the best day ever!"

And there you have it.  I had many more funny stories to share, but they've all disappeared from my mind.  I'm sure the boys will give me more tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rwanda Bracelets

These are the doors to the "HH" Orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda. (I'm calling it HH so as not to post its real name, out of sensitivity to the people who live and work there.)

This is the orphanage from which we will adopt our baby girl.

She may already be behind those doors.


Introducing the Rwanda:Hope bracelets!  Colored blue, like the distinctive doors, these bracelets can remind you to pray: for our little girl, for the others behind those doors, for Rwanda's orphans, for Africa's orphans, for the world's orphans.  

If you'd like to buy a Rwanda:Hope bracelet, please say so in a comment, or email me at HopeNotes.kab (at) gmail (dot) com.  Obviously, you'll have to replace the (at) with @ and the (dot) with .

Suggested donation for the bracelets is $3 each and all proceeds go to our adoption.  We ordered them and we'll be mailing them out, so you can get them directly from us.

I think Iain's telling you to buy five!  (Really, he did this when I said to model the bracelets.  I guess that's what models do.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adoption Update!

Yesterday was a big day.  We finally got our finalized home study in the mail! 

Here's a quick summary of what is going on: We had to do the home study and be approved, and then we have to send the completed home study, an application, and a fee to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).  They send us an appointment for fingerprinting, and then we wait 2-12 weeks for the approval.  (Some people get theirs in two weeks; the website says 90 days.  It seems that the average is 5 weeks.)  During this time, we'll be working on the rest of the dossier (which we've been doing all along).

When we get that approval, called the I-171H, hopefully everything else in the dossier will be done, and we'll send the whole thing in to our agency for approval.  They send it to the embassy, and then it goes on to Rwanda!

When it gets to Rwanda, we have our longest wait: 3-6 months is the estimate at this point.  Then we receive from Rwanda an approval that we can adopt.  Two months after that comes the Big Day: the referral!  That's when we find out who our precious girl is and get to put a face to the love we already have for her.  Then (I think) about 1-2 months after that, we get to go pick her up.  That's the real Big Day.  So we're looking at May-October of next year before we get to bring our baby home.  We're hoping for May. :)

So here's where we are:
We sent in the I-600A application on September 21, with the fee, but without the home study.  We thought the home study would be right behind it, but due to several delays that tried my patience and tested my Christian virtue it was late.  Yesterday it arrived!  Jeremy and I immediately checked it out for any errors.  The ones we found were mostly grammatical (yes, we're snobs), but there was one that gave us pause.  

Although we're requesting a little girl age 0-12 months, we worded the home study to read 0-2 years (we'll still get a younger child; this is just to avoid legal issues).  But the last paragraph of the home study said in one sentence 0-18 months, and in the one following it 0-2 years.  After a call to our social worker and then one to our wonderful family coordinator from AWAA (our agency), and then two more calls to our social worker, we got it taken care of.  The problem: it was 5:20pm.  Other adopting parents will feel our pain here: how could we lose another day?  I had to get it mailed today!  So Jeremy graciously fed the boys dinner while I rushed to the only post office near us that is open until 6:00.  Whew!  I made it with minutes to spare and our home study should have arrived today or will arrive at USCIS tomorrow!  Blessed day!

Are you still reading?  Then you are committed!

Our fingerprint appointment is for Friday, which is wonderful.  Then everything will be at USCIS and we'll be waiting for them to process our documents while we finish up the dossier.  Hurray!

Tomorrow, check back for our adoption fund-raisers update.

Apple Picking Day

What a wonderful way to welcome my very favorite season!  We ushered in fall by driving up to Sky Top Apple Orchard to meet up with the cousins for autumnal fun.  We picked apples, played in the bamboo forest, enjoyed the sunshine and the sweet, juicy apples: the best I've ever had.  How simply delightful to pick an apple right from the branch and eat it as you walk along the rows of trees, with the smell of warm grass and the dappled sunshine enhancing every bite.

Look at these apple-loving boys!  Iain's got one in each hand. 

Rome apples - so tasty!

Jenna and Isaiah drove up with us, which was very nice as the drive took an hour and a half longer than we had anticipated.  Iain and Cory especially enjoyed being with the cousins, whom they love dearly.  Iain ate three apples during the day, and when I didn't see him chomping down, all I saw of him was his back as he ran off with one cousin or another to play.

Iain and Sam:

What a handsome fella!

Did he stop running all day?  I don't think so.

Sweet Cory ate his one apple and loved it.  He kept slipping on all the apples on the ground and winding up smelling a bit fermented from the apple mush.  He especially liked plopping the apples into the bushel.  He also loved jumping on sticks.  He skipped his nap and did wonderfully, although he was a little more snuggly than usual.  (We have in the past few weeks gotten to the point where he only has his pacifier for naptime and nighttime.  But the poor little guy was so sleepy, I let him use it during this time too.)


Cory and Mama being a flower:

Cassie, Cory, and Sam in the playhouse:

Cassie and Cory in the bamboo:

What a beautiful place!
Iain, Jenna, Aunt Steph and Isaiah:

The gang's all here!