Friday, February 29, 2008

Fingerprints - check!

Well, we got inked! Except there was no ink involved. It was all about them spraying some goo on our hands and pressing them to a little glass thingamajig. When we first arrived the intake guy looked at my hands, then looked at Spence's hands and said, "Hmmm. Come with me." Several people in a back room inspected a little cut on his finger, no doubt the result of tearing down a barn. Lucky for him they declared him fit to print, because I was about the pull the plug on his manly manual labor for a while.

We met another couple getting fingerprinted who is adopting through China. They said their wait would be about three years! I know China's taking longer, but three years? Some people are telling me the wait is even longer. This may make Ethiopian adoptions much more attractive to people. The print tech said she'd fingerprinted 4 other couples pursuing Ethiopian adoptions that same day. It's pretty exciting, but I really want to get my dossier across the pond before the rush begins.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Here's the steeple; where's the church?

There's a big Baptist church just down the road from our house in Nashville. When I was living there full-time before Spence and I married, I would give people directions by saying, "Turn right after the two big steeples." About six months ago the Baptists sold the church to a Hispanic Catholic congregation, and last month they completely renovated the building and removed the steeples. Weirdly, they set one of the steeples in the courtyard of a retirement high rise next door. I guess the residents wanted a memento from the Baptist church, which had been a city landmark since I was a kid. I personally thought it was an eyesore.

Three weeks ago a storm came through and did this:

I think I may have said a short, silent prayer that they take the steeple out, but this was not quite what I meant. Anyway, my prayer wasn't completely answered as, nearly a month after the storm, the steeple still sits exactly like this.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One day

Before Caroline was born, I used to fantasize about this special moment I would have with my daughter one day. I always felt pretty certain I would have a girl. The fantasy went like this:

We would drive into town one Saturday. Having nothing urgent to do, we stop at a coffee shop. She's about 5, old enough to walk with me without running into traffic. We go to the counter where I order a latte and then ask her what she would like. She says, "Hot chocolate... with whipped cream." The barista asks what size, and I say, "Young lady size." Then I mouth the word "small." We sit, sipping our drinks, watching people come and go. We tell each other stories and make a game out of predicting what the next person who walks in will look like. We're in no hurry. We have all the time in the world to enjoy each other's company. She feels grown up, and I feel young and hip.

I still look forward to that day. I wonder how the fantasy will change when Baby E joins us. He/she will probably order coffee like a good Ethiopian.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fingerprint appointment!!

At last! We're scheduled to be inked on Friday, February 29! Yay! What else can I say? I'm happy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to get Spence to sit still

Here's a dangerous combination: feeling like crap and the start of a new American Idol season. If I wasn't totally useless on Monday (which I was), 5 hours of Idol in 3 days rendered me that way. And yes, my wonderful husband, the one who pooh-poohs all reality shows AND the one who got me hooked on Idol, was by my side for every minute. Except for the few minutes we raced upstairs and lovingly rocked our baby before bed.

Help! We're hooked.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I've been off the radar for a few days. That's because the stomach virus is running rampant in middle Tennessee and it landed on me Sunday night. Here's the best way to describe it: I haven't even felt up to making a trip to the mailbox to see if our fingerprint appointment has arrived.

'Nuf said?

Thanks to Mama Norma and Nana for keeping Little C for me -- even after you suffered with the bug too.

More later...I've had to put on hold the paper chase and arguing with folks over the correct way to complete dossier docs.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Homestudy approved!!

Our homestudy was approved by our agency's headquarters yesterday, and it will arrive at USCIS on Monday to meet up with our I-600A application. Hopefully, the "marriage" of those two pieces will quickly produce an offspring called "our fingerprint appointment."

In the meantime, we are working on our dossier documents, which require a delicate balance of dates, signatures, stamps and seals. We've already encountered speedbumps in this process, one of which came when the nurse called to tell me my doctor is on medical leave until April and couldn't sign the medical letter. She then proceeded to sit quietly on the line, waiting, I guess, for me to say, "Okay, that'll be fine. I'll just put my adoption plans on hold til she returns." Geesh! What is it with people? She didn't even laugh when I suggested they forge my doc's signature. I mean, they already have my medical records. I just need a signature attesting to those results.

Needless to say, I have a consult with another doctor in the practice on Monday, and he'll sign the letter.

Frustrating...but it's still better than morning sickness.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Caffeine -- jumping off the wagon?

I gave up caffeinated coffee about 13 years ago. Back then, I worked in a coffee shop and loved to drink it at night. So I gradually switched to decaf for obvious reasons. Now, if I have a cup of the real thing, you have to peel me off the ceiling.

But lately I've been wondering if I shouldn't ease back into caffeine in preparation for our trip to Ethiopia. Thanks to some research by my blogging buddy, Holly, as well as some of my own, I've learned that coffee is an integral part of the social scene in Ethiopia. It's very common for visitors to be invited to take part in a coffee ceremony. During the ceremony, which can last a couple of hours, the beans are roasted, ground and served in a formal style. But here's the kicker, it's considered impolite to retire before you've had 3 cups as the third cup is considered to bestow a blessing.

If I did that without a little caffeine desensitization training, I would set a Guiness record for insomnia!

I'm not sure how long it will take to crank up my tolerance, but I figure since I've gone 13 years without, I better start now. Of course, I'm open to other ideas and suggestions that anyone might have. If you want to read more about Ethiopian coffee ceremony, check out this link. Did you know two-thirds of Ethiopia's earnings come from coffee growing and picking?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Weekend of woe

This weekend didn't go the way we planned. Caroline was up sick Friday night. By 10:30 pm, when it appeared there wasn't an iota of liquid left in her body, I thought we were in the clear. By 11:30 pm, after Spence had bathed her again and I had changed her sheets twice, I tried to remember that some people choose to stay up this late. By 1 am, when any movement triggered more retching, I switched to my nursing mantra, "I'm going to enjoy this because it won't last forever."

NOT! The whole experience brought distinct memories of my mother smashing up towelfuls (towelsful?) of ice with a rolling pin.

Well, we made it through the night and then slept a good part of Saturday. We lazed around Sunday, then had a one-episode relapse after dinner. Today we're doing much better and I'm practically pouring the Gatorade down her throat. She doesn't like sissy Pedialyte!

Here are a couple of pics from her bath last night. A bath always makes it better.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A post that needs no words

But let me at least try to explain. It's a simple equation really: Squirmy, barrette-eating toddler + Type A mother + a handy pair of kitchen shears = yes, a total disaster! But alas, what mother hasn't done this to her child at least once?

I want to assure a certain person out there that I didn't even attempt to even things out, lest it bring back painful memories of your mother's bang butchery so many years ago.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Post-weekend update

Goodwill was a gold mine. I thought I was addicted to craigslist, but this is much better. I found about 30 items for Caroline, all 99 cents each and all in excellent shape. People apparently donate a lot nicer stuff than I do. As I drove to town early Saturday morning, the streets were like a ghost town. Then I pulled into the Goodwill parking lot and it was like Christmas. I had to tote an enormous armload of stuff around the store, then stalk someone in the checkout line so I could get their basket. Then I waited in line 25 minutes to check out. It was a blast and a major score!

Tech didn't score quite as well -- they lost (at least that's what I heard) -- but the game was so fun. Caroline was all decked out in purple and gold and cheering as loud as anyone. She loved the band and danced every time they played. We left at halftime to make the birthday party, then the fish fry. We were thoroughly pooped by day's end.

Spence and crew make good progress on the barn, but most of it still stands. The dozer comes next week to pull it down.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A full weekend

Our social worker is a total go-getter. She's been emailing me questions left and right so our homestudy paperwork will be all ready go once she visits our house on Tuesday. For those of you who know where we live, she's in for an adventure.

We've got a full weekend planned. Caroline is sleeping over at Mama Norma (M-na) and Papa Connie's tonight so I can get to Goodwill when the doors open. I perused the racks last week and found her a great winter coat for $2. It has a faux fur collar, and whenever she wears it she strokes the fur and says, "Ooooooohhh!" Tomorrow, everything is half price. After that, M-na and Papa and I are taking Little C to a Tennessee Tech basketball game, her first (and maybe her last til she grows up...we'll see). Then we're heading to Sarah's birthday party (she's turning 2), then the Dodson Branch Fish Fry, where I will undo all my good exercise for the week.

If you're wondering where Spence is in all this, he's tearing down the Johnson's barn next door. It's a piece of Roaring River history, so it's going to be sad when it's gone.

Roaring River and Spring Creek are both up, so we may skip out on church and paddle...if we can find someone who would like to watch Little C on Super Bowl Sunday. If Spence weren't our trusty trip leader, he would be the perfect babysitter as he's still not sure which teams are playing. Bless his heart. My hubby is a talented, happening guy, but football is not his forte. And I'm thankful for that!