Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prepare for a miracle!

This is an image of a bone scan, not mine but I thought the illustration might help. The reason I posted this is because I recently had one and the results weren't particularly the ones I had hoped for. I think most know that I was healed of breast cancer 5 years ago. When I went for my annual exam I mentioned the pain I was having in my knees since May. Dr. Philip ordered a bone scan as a precaution with the assurance that it was probably mute and nothing to worry about. A phone call followed 3 weeks later that there is an "area of concern" in my mid-back and I will need to get a CT scan so they can get a better look at it. As if on cue, my back decided to "go out" on me and render me a couch potato for about 5 days. I have since re-gained my mobility, gotten prayed up and have peace over this situation. Mike and I will be heading to Farmington Hills for my CT Scan tomorrow. One can never have too many prayers so if you feel inclined to pray for me, PLEASE do so.
I will get the results on Jan. 6th when I meet again with Dr. Philip.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Toby is calling

Jo gets to open one present under the tree on Christmas Eve. There are 4 to choose from: Something she WANTS, Something she NEEDS, Something she WEARS and Something she READS. Choices, choices, choices...

Move over Jenn & George! It's the Jake & JoJo Morning Show

JoJo got the opportunity to co-host the Morning Show on Smile FM for Christmas morning. Her co-host is Jake Hewitt, son of mom's co-worker, Clayton. The kids talked about their chilly experience ringing the bell for the Salvation Army in Grand Blanc prior to taping the show. Tune into Smile FM 6 AM - 10 AM Christmas morning to get all the details.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The littlest Elvis fan

Naomi grooves with a musical Christmas ornament

Maahmm! She's looking at me again!

This is Naomi's imitation of Brooke blinking because of her dry eyes. It's kind of funny that she is already picking on her sister.

She done stomped on my heart

This is Jo's Stomp (or Stump, as her very talented cuban instructor says) concert. She is sitting in front of the drum kit on the far right. There were kids from elementary age up to high school.

Friday, December 19, 2008

All I want for Christmas is...

Wish I could say I was in the holiday but spirit but anyone that knows me, knows that I spent too many years in retail to actually enjoy Christmas. After a week hiatus from the internet, thinking that it was my computer, I discovered it was actually my internet service. I'm so glad it wasn't my puter! I think I have all my shopping done. I really don't have any holiday pressures but....sigh, I'm already over it. I'll be honest, you probably won't like me after I mention this but I'm just going to puke it up and get it out there for everybody to see. So here it is:
I get an email from a local business that is looking for help for providing a Christmas for a "needy" family. So here's part of their list - an ipod, make-up, a Wii, one of those fur-real ponies ($200)... does anyone else see the lack of "a need" here besides me? My hubby has a family that they all pitched in money at work to get gifts for, granted they sound like a nice family but I didn't see one pair of undies or a winter coat anywhere on the list. A game system, yep, a leap frog system, yep, a football, basketball, yep, yep...A back pack for school, nope, any books, nope, sweater, nope, you get the picture. Please someone explain to me what any of this has to do with Christmas? I admit, I'm sucked into it too. I had to buy presents, because what kind of parent would I be if I didn't?
Wow, I think I just figured out why I can't get into the holiday spirit. I feel cheated, shanghi-ed, and even bullied into participating in this retail buying frenzy. How could I actually feeling good about this or what has become of the human race? Oh, but shouldn't I feel good about giving the presents... sure, and I do. But I don't feel good about feeling pressured to do so or how our society thinks that people who don't get gifts are under-privileged. If they were, would they be asking for game systems and ipods? So once again, another year later, I dream of a warm tropical island that doesn't participate in this ridiculous tradition. One where I can lay out a blanket in the sand, crack open my bible and have a moment with my Creator. Now that would be Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I think I lost my head.

Ever have one of those weeks? Not sure where it went but not real interested in looking for it anywhere? Naomi has had a chronic runny nose and been real needy, thus the absence of an update to the blog. Jo had her Stomp concert, Jo, Mom/Grandma & I went to the Freedom Center Women's PJ Party and then Saturday was Fenton's JingleFest which included a concert with SevenGlory. The week was topped off with an email containing a virus that I couldn't seem to kick. 20 virus scans later...It all seems a blur.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gobble! Gobble!

The Fellas of the South came up for turkey day with the Fellas of the North. All the way from Gulf Shores, Alabama. Nana and Papa have been braving the snowy weather to spend five days with us. We fried our turkey, which we have done once before. It turned out awesome. Then we tried something new and fried up some sweet potato fries, then sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. Can you say, YUM? Of course no Thanksgiving is complete without the funeral beans a.k.a. green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and burn & serve rolls. We skipped the cranberries because no one really likes those, do they? We topped the meal off with Rachael Scott's famous (at least in my house) peanut butter pie and some apple streudel. We were going to make a pumpkin pie but the recipe we wanted was online and the internet was too jammed to get it so that'll come later in the visit because Jane says she's not leaving until she gets some.

We headed to Runyans Tree Farm in Clio on Friday to partake in our family tradition of cutting our Christmas Tree. We voted for a Balsam Fir and found ourselves the perfect 8 footer. We warmed up with hot chocolate and indulged in some gingerbread cookies afterwards.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas before Turkey Day

Christmas came early with Grandad and Granda Linda this past week. We celebrated with Lasagna and Apple Cinnamon Streudel. Naomi took extreme interest in smelling the candles on coffee table and would only hang with Grandad when he fed her icecream. They will be heading for warmer climate the day after Thanksgiving.

It was a great opportunity to get a picture of the girls together

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dedication to Our Lord

Sunday was baby dedication day at church. We are so happy that this day has come. Of course it couldn't go without some kind of strange occurance. It just so happened that during that 10-15 minute span I felt a vibration from the phone I was babysitting for my friend Rachael in the choir because her sister was coming in from out of town and wasn't sure she knew the way. Knowing that she was probably in need of directions I tried to decreitly get Rachael's attention on the stage behind me so she could get the phone. Her husband, Pastor Ben, playing the keyboard, indicated I should try to slide it over to him... that didn't work out so well so JD, another band member, had to sneak over and pick up off the stage and give it to Rach. I'm not sure if Pastor Jim was completely oblivious to this drama as he prayed or just extremely patient. He knows me by now and probably expects such things. Either way I'm grateful for his kindness.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Earth calling Jo-Jo

Teenage heartthrob Luke Benward (How to eat fried worms & Minutemen) was in Grand Rapids with the iShine Live tour so I took Jo and a couple of her friends to see the show designed for tweens since I had to be there for the radio station anyways. She was a bit starstruck but has finally returned to earth.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Starring Jing Ying

Naomi demostrates her "bear hug"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Meet JingYing

Big sister Brooke is good at spoiling her younger sisters. This week she took Naomi on a little girls day out to lunch and to Build-A-Bear. Her red pantie wearing panda bear is named JingYing which was her Chinese birth name. She just loves this bear and gives it "bear" hugs all the time.

Hey, Halloween's Over!

So how would you like to meet this guy in a dark hallway? Yea, that's what happened to me. Although he is a very nice fellow and has some very annointed music, I couldn't help but jump a little when I turned around and he was standing there. I probably gave him a scare with my reaction. We both seemed a little stunned to find the door that seemed to go backstage blocked by a big trunk. That was my excitement for the evening of the David Crowder Band concert. It was a great show and I was grateful for the hotel room that the station hooked me up with and that Mike, Jo and Naomi were all able to go too. It was our first big event on the west side of the state. Our new station over there should be up and running shortly and we'll probably be doing many more, it's a good thing I like Grand Rapids!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Welcome November

What a week! My birthday, then Mike's, the Light the Night event and more. I wacked out my back so I'm hobbling around. We went to Journeys coffeehouse in Midland to see Michael Maher play on Mike's birthday. The Maher clan sang a great rendition of Happy Birthday to him. They are much better singers than they are cake deliver-ers. I had them take the cake with them so it could be a covert operation and surprise the birthday boy but I'm not sure what happened after that. Let's just say that it still tasted good. Friday was crazy with the Light the Night deal. I was the Linden team leader and responsible for keeping things running smoothly. I spent most of the night cruising between the 3 homes because two of the 3 were getting blasted with visitors. Which of course is a good thing. Mike took our little ladybug to one of the homes and stayed there. Jo-Jo was doing the "hippy" thing and hanging with her friends. The daylight savings time threw our schedule for a loop on Sunday. We planned on going to a birthday party but Naomi decided it was time to take a nap so we missed out on that one. I'll be making a drive to Grand Rapids this evening to work the David Crowder Band concert. I'll be spending my drive with Jesus discussing the candidates and praying for wisdom for myself and all of America's voters. Tuesday will be a big day...for the world.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me! Thanks for all the Birthday wishes. I feel loved! I had quite a few people ask, "what did you do for your birthday?". Well, let's see...I changed poopy diapers, cleaned up cat vomit on the carpet, laundry...the usual mom, wife, pet owner stuff. Pretty uneventful until I got to thinking, which is always scary. I remember a birthday five years ago. A birthday when I was uncertain as to whether God could hear my prayers or my families prayers, friends prayers, co-workers prayers. Five years ago when in 3 days (Mike's birthday too) I would be heading to the hospital to get hooked up to an IV and have toxic stuff trickled into my body to get rid of the toxic stuff in it. Go figure??? I couldn't help but wonder if he could hear us, answer us, fix me. In my heart I knew He could and despite satan's attempts to crush my spirit, God kept me strong and gave me signs to let me know that he wasn't done with me yet. Although I would never wish cancer on anyone, I wish everyone could experience the tingle of prayers being answered and knowing that God is in charge. People asked, "how can you have such a good attitude?" while I was going through treatment. How could I not? When you're getting loved on by you're Daddy Ol' Mighty. I knew I was safe and that his plan is always better than mine or anyone elses. There was a test score on one of my medical reports. My score was a 9 out of 9. I looked up what this test was for and it was to determine the estimated success of treatment. 9 out of 9 was the worst score you could get. But satan didn't estimate the power of prayer and so here I am 5 years later.
Happy Birthday to Me!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The adventures of Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Thumb

It's such a shame that State fans are just so used to losing that they don't know how to behave when they win! Someone in my household, not me, but I'm not saying who, felt a creative urge after the win last weekend and had to vent his artistic, more like devilish, talent on a poor unsuspecting co-worker who happened to be a Michigan fan. Of course this was such a big project he, oops, I mean, this person, had to engage another fence sitting fan into partaking in this occasion. I'm not naming names but I have heard them called Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Thumb. But just because someone is nicknamed Tweedle Thumb and a friend of ours has an injured thumb doesn't mean that is who I'm refering to...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time to store up fat for winter hibernation!

What is it about fall that makes me want to cook? Brooke and I went on a little cooking binge this week and ventured into some pie baking. I have to confess that Brooke did most of the work but I was head cheerleader. We made apple and pumpkin pies. oooohhhh they were yummy! The apple was made with jonathon and granny smith apples and the pumpkin was made with sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated. DE-LISH!
For the big MSU/U of M game day get together with the Taylors I made some chicken n cheez enchiladas, found the recipe in a magazine. Wooo Wee! Another winner!

Here's the recipe if you're interested (I doubled it):
1-10-3/4 oz. can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 c - sour cream
1 c - Pace Picante sauce
2 tsp.- chili powder
2 c - chopped cooked chicken
1/2 c - shredded colby jack cheese
6 - flour tortillas
1-sm. tomato, chopped
1 - green onion, sliced
In Med. bowl mix : soup, sour cream, chili powder, set aside
In Lg.bowl mix, chicken, picante sauce & cheese.
Divide the chicken mixture between the tortillas, roll up the tortillas and place them seamside up in an 11"x8" shallow baking dish.
Pour soup mixture over the filled tortillas.
Cover and bake at 350 for about 40 min.
Top with tomato and onion.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Farewell to the camping season

It was brisk but beautiful. We spent our last camping weekend at the Holly KOA before we cleaned out the camper for the winter. The Taylors camped with us again. We spent alot of time around the campfire. The boys (Kenny & Mike)even watched the MSU/Ohio game sitting by the fire. We only had to share the campground a few other campers and they pretty much hibernated the whole weekend. There were a couple of really brave guys in a tent. Madalynne and Connor Scott visited on Saturday while mom & dad went to a wedding. The kids had a picnic over on the basketball court and played in the leaves most of the day. It was a nice way to bid farewell to the camping season.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vacuum use training video

This ones for Grandad! It seems affection for the "popcorn popper" runs in the family!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Less blaa, blaa, blaa and more cluck, cluck, cluck

I thought I'd share this letter we got at the radio station. Chicken farmers throughout Michigan will soon be listening to Smile FM!

It reads.

Dear Smile FM,

I intended to call in this pledge during the fundraiser but every time I
thought of it I was busy.
Now that you signal is improved (you said awhile ago) my husband who is
a welder at Morbart in Winn can no long get your station.
He really misses it (88.3 WEJC).
Also our chickens like the music. When the station goes off the air
occasionally they don't seem as content and don't lay eggs as when the
music is going.

Thank you, keep up the good work.

Love Pat L.
Blanchard, MI

Summer has slip slided away

Well, it isn't exactly slip-n-slide weather but I wanted to put this on my blog back in August when we did this but didn't get around to making it into a movie until now. So I hope you enjoy it. This is the highlight of the Freedom Center Family ReUnion we had on Labor Day weekend. As you can see Pastor Phil knows how to throw a party!

I apologize for the poor quality but You Tube has a way of doing that to videos!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One step forward, Two steps back

Well, this week has been a comedy of errors so far. On Monday, I thought I'd get the dreaded trip to the Social Security out of the way so we could get Naomi on our health insurance. So I pack up, which anyone who has a toddler knows that is a pretty big task in itself. I had to dig up the key to the fire safe box to get our passports and our official paperwork from the government, Google the directions to the SS office, de-hair my black sweatshirt and remove the Naomi boogers from about an hour later were finally in the car. I head to Flint. Of course the directions I googled don't take into consideration that Robert T. Longway is one way so I end up having to fumble my way around anyways. Once I get going in the right direction I pass the office because I am in the left lane and can't get over fast enough so I have to double back. When I finally get there the parking lot is eerily quiet. In fact, there isn't even one car in it. Hmmmmm, that's strange. So I call before I unload Naomi (smartest thing I've done all day) only to discover it's a Federal holiday and they are closed! Columbus Day! So back home we head.
That evening I send out the will call list for The Afters concert to the respective person after I have notified all the ticket winners only to find out that there has been a typo somewhere and the concert is the 24th NOT the 14th as I had told them all. So back to the drawing board with that one.
Today I had a client coming for a cut & color. I spent an hour and a half just picking up the house before she got here because it was so trashed. It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to do her hair then I had to spend another hour cleaning up the house because Naomi has unloaded every cupboard, the dryer sheets out of the box, the kleenex out of the box, all the products out of my roller cart, need I say more. I forgot to take my Super Mom pill today so I decided to load her into the car to get her to take her nap. I drove around for about 2 hours and I think I only got a half hour nap out of her. She's had a cold so I figured she need some good sleep but that didn't happen. I spent a whole lot of time doing a whole lotta nothin' today. Oh well, there's aways tomorrow.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Naomi walks

We went out for our Anniversary to dinner and a movie, we were only gone about 5 hours. While we were gone Naomi decided to start walking! Go figure!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Message on our DJ Blog

Smile FM helps to wrap the homeless

Donate gently used fall/winter coats, clothing and accessories to be distributed to shelter. Men's, Women's & Children's items accepted. Also in need of diapers, new socks and under garments. Please drop off at: Freedom Center in Fenton, Freedom Center North on Saginaw in Flint, Smile FM Imlay City office (across from Kroger), Imlay City or Smile FM Williamston office. Items are needed by 10/24. See our Family Fun Calendar for drop off times and directions!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I've got mail!

I have to confess, I am an internet addict. I didn't think I was, like anyone with an addiction. My computer took a vacation for a couple of days and it was driving me bonkers! Thank heaven for geeks, Ed and Clayton (Smile FM engineers) were able to remedy the situation fairly quickly so I didn't have to suffer too long. I have come to realize I really rely on the internet for a ton of information. On top of my internet obsession is the fact that I hate lagging behind in my email correspondence (very different from my lack of concern regarding voicemails). How odd is that? I am not fond at all of phone calls yet get edgy when I can't get to my emails...
Today Mike was presented with "Mutual Separation" papers from GM. Essentially what that means is that in the next 45 days if not enough salary personal take the early retirement option that is being offered at the present to bring their numbers down Mike may be offered another job (who knows where) within GM or be tapped on the shoulder for a quick exit. I have peace that it is in God's hands and if we need to move for Mike's job it is his plan. I have complete confidence that he will take care of us if we are obedient to his command to trust in Him. It is hard not to anticipate the what if's with my "planner" mentality but I'm sure He is working in me with this very test.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

BLeach added color to my life

Praise God for the likes of inspirational speakers such as Brad Leach. We had some really great speakers at the Leadership Conference at church. Brad was my favorite. He used some Roman history to illustrate how our economic downfall could be a windfall for the Christian faith. It was a long day but well worth the wait. I've been very discouraged lately and this was just what I needed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brenda Hamp 12/23/48 - 9/26/08

Tightrope walker,
Peace maker,
Morale booster,
Salon receptionist.
These are just a few titles you could label Brenda Hamp with. During her eulogy she was immoralized with a repetative description of someone who gave with all her heart. Now everyone who knew her will have a piece of her heart with them. Her physical heart could not withstand the rare disease that took it over but Satan cannot take away the memories we have of this wonderful woman, nor can Satan say that he won in any respect because she is dancing with her Savior. The physical pain she had no longer exists. She is free to dance and laugh. I imagine her beautiful blue eyes are sparkling and her face is beaming with her welcoming smile. She is home. We will miss you Brenda! See ya soon.

Flashlight tag to funeral

Another emotional roller coaster week. We spent the weekend camping in Port Huron with friends and celebrating (belated) Jo-Jo's birthday. They had a blast doing what kids do...flashlight tag, hitting the arcade, riding bikes...I made up a scavenger hunt for them, they performed a dance to a mamma mia song for us. We hit a cider mill down the road for donuts and cider on Sunday morning and the girls topped off the trip an adult-free visit to the pizza parlor on the campground. The weather was a little brisk but very pleasant. Naomi loved the donuts and fresh air as much as I did. We made it home in time to catch the evening service at church. Monday night was the Women's ministry service at church. Jo-Jo was gracious enough to go in the nursery with Naomi so I could attend. Naomi still isn't too keen on going to strangers and I'm not going to push her until she's ready. Who knows what must go on in that little mind when all the familiar faces disappear. It was an awesome service and God really did some work on me.
Brooke came home on Tuesday. Unfortunately it wasn't the happiest of occasions as we had to go to the funeral of a former co-worker. Which I will post a separate blog about. It was nice to see everyone from C.C. & Co. Salon again, the eulogy was beautiful and the dinner after the funeral was very nice. I'm feeling pretty somber at the moment and hoping a good nights sleep will pull me out of this funk.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

F * I * V * E !!!!

FIVE, yeah 5! I am now officially a 5 year breast cancer survivor according to my onocologist, Dr. Philip at Karmanos. I will now be able to have my appointments at the clinic instead of going to Dr. Philip. God, is truly amazing. Five years ago the the prognosis did not seem so bright. Stage 2-B, aggressive, hormone negative, malignant, over-sized walnut tumor. A 9 out of 9 Scarff-Richardson score. Basically a diagnosis of "looks like you're screwed because we don't have a clue how or why you got this tumor in a 8 month time frame". But God had a different idea. He said, "I'm not done with you yet", "I've got more for you". And prayers were answered. Every night I could feel the tingle of healing blessings falling down on me. Like when you hold a sparkler in your hand and the sparks land on your wrist. Some days it feels like a lifetime ago, Some days it feels like yesterday. I am so grateful for these years, for the grace God has given me, and for all the prayers that were said and answered in my name.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jo-Jo enters the world of politics and more

Another first for me! I actually ran the batteries down in my camera from taking so many pictures. I have an awesome picture of the birthday cake that Brooke made for Jo-Jo's 12th birthday on Thursday but I have to get some batteries so I can retrieve it off the camera. I don't want to spoil the surprise so I won't tell you about it. Jo made out pretty good too. Our friend, Miss Patt, shares the same birthday and has made it a new tradition the last 2 years to take her out to breakfast that day. What an awesome way to start the day. Dad took her shopping for her present when she got home from school. They got the last Rock Band for her Wii game system at Walmart. She's worked herself up to Medium level on the drums already. She capped the school week off by getting elected to the student council with her slogan, "Want a student council with some go-go?, then vote for Jo-Jo."
We went camping and did an outreach at the same time this weekend. It went really well and we are hoping to expand it next year. God had put this on my heart just a couple of weeks ago and of course because it was His big idea it came together well. Of course we had a few hang ups. Which I always take as a sign that we are doing something right. The last thing Satan would want us to accomplish would be to show the love of God to people who didn't know it! We had a great time.
This weekend we will officially celebrate Jo's birthday with an annual campout/sleepover. I think we are going to the KOA in Port Huron. Jo didn't want to share her birthday sleepover with the outreach. I love fall camping so I'm not complaining. If it were up to me I'd do it every weekend. Naomi did great and has actually been open to having a few of our friends hold her occasionally. Which is great progress for her. She has 3 new teeth breaking through to add to her other 8. 2 more on the bottom and one on the top.
I have my annual appointment with Dr. Philip (my oncologist) tomorrow, that is, if I can get Dr. G to spit out a referral in time. I requested it over a week ago and as of Friday it was still "pending". It seems so weird to only go once a year. Brooke has the day off so she will be here with Naomi, which will be so nice since I never know how long it will take.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bird Brain

This is actually from a couple of weeks ago but I forgot to post it. We were at the Renaissance Festival in Holly.

Just helping mom

Today while talking for a moment (o.k. a couple of moments) on the phone my darling daughter unloaded the baby wipe container that I had only moments prior to the phone call refilled. Do you see the "who me?" look on that face? I couldn't help but bust into a laugh. Needless to say the wipes did not all fit back into the container and are now being stored in a ziplock.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Step by Step

Naomi is still stumbling around furniture, standing up by herself and actually taking a step (without realizing it) but hasn't taken off full tilt yet. We recently learned that probably most of the formula she consumed while in China could have been tainted with a chemical called Melamine that can cause kidney, bladder and reproductive problems. Luckily she has not shown any of the symptoms but who knows what damage could have occurred that cannot be detected at this time. I trust that God will take care of this problem that man has created out of greed. The nitrogen in the Melamine was used to produce protein levels in testing of the milk that had been watered down at the dairy. The chemical was first detected in March but no recall was enacted until now. Who knows how long they were doing this prior to detecting it. It is such a sad affair.
On a better note, Jo-Jo is really blossoming in Middle School. She seems to like it real well. She is volunteering after school one day a week to help the art teacher. She doesn't even have art this year but stayed after school one day to organize her locker and in the process of waiting for me to pick her up met the teacher and you know the rest of the story.
This past week was a big rivalry game with Linden (that's us) and Fenton. Fenton got a little stinky and burned a big "F" in the middle of the football field the night before the game. This was fuel for the fire and Linden beat the pants off of Fenton. It was pretty shocking news to hear of Fenton doing something like that after they just got a brand new field with "golden" turf (or you'd think it was golden for the price they paid for it). A big "L" burned in their field would have been there for awhile!
Brooke came and played with Naomi for a couple of days this week and I was able to get so much stuff done around the house. It was a big AAAHHHHH!
Naomi got to go the the Smile FM Imlay City office with me while I worked the Fun Drive. She takes it all in stride. Jenn's twins still aren't sure what to make of her.
The girls and I pretty much holed up in the house most of the weekend because of all the rain (Hurricane Ike and more) except to venture over to our friends the Taylors for dessert on Saturday.
Mike helped with the Sports Ministry's Sportsman's Classic event on Saturday and got drenched. He discovered that his Cabela's "waterproof" jacket wasn't so waterproof when his pockets got filled up with water and made a casualty out of his phone.
Aside from the phone we only had one water issue. With all the rain we developed a leak in the kitchen window. We tried deflecting the water during the downpour but it was still getting in. We stacked up towels to catch it and will have to investigate on a drier day. We were concerned that the sump pump may burn up with as much as it was running. We noticed the neighbor across the street having a bucket brigade out of their front door onto the lawn and suspected that's what happened to them. So far we are doing o.k. and the rain has let up a bit so the pump can get a break.
I pray that all the families displaced from this hurricane will get relief soon. Sometimes it's not such a bad thing being stuck up here in Michigan. A few feet of snow doesn't seem so rotten when you look at the downside of living in the south.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Maria Sue Chapman

Labor of Love Day-Weekend

My how time flys when you have a house to keep clean, 3 cats, a dog, a high maintainence soon-to-be 12 year old, a hubby, two jobs and a baby that doesn't know how to ride on mommy's hip! We ran out of time to make all the stops we wanted to this past holiday weekend but we enjoyed what we did get in. We had the Freedom Center Family Re-Union (campout) on Friday starring an amazing humongous slip n slide, a bonfire to big to attempt to roast marshmallows on and a good 160 people attending. We had plans to hit two more parties on Saturday but that was nixed when we realized we had to wait until the other campers departed to get our casa out. We opted to continue our camping excursion at the "Scottabaumorson's" (our crazy melded family unit with the Scotts,Dickersons,Fellabaums & Taylors nickname) campground and ended the weekend with a bash for Pastor Ben's birthday there. Naomi took it all in stride and even let a few folks hold her briefly. I think we have corrupted her potty training with our hectic schedule as I seem to rarely get her to "do the deed" on the pot anymore. So much for saving the planet from diaper overload in the landfills. She is standing by herself like a pro these days but doesn't seem to notice our mouths hanging open when she does it nor does she seem to have any idea that if she picks up her feet she would actually move.
Jo seems to have taken nicely to the Middle School. Her only challenge so far has been to consume her lunch before the break is over, which is really a bummer when you just got a big ol' Arizona Ice Tea in the ala' carte line. Brooke gave her phone a "swirly" (old geezer lingo for flushing it down the toilet)when she was hanging with Naomi while I went to work last week so we had to get her hooked up again. I went to the Steven Curtis Chapman/Michael W. Smith concert at DTE and discovered that SCC's daughter, Maria, looks alot like Naomi in her baby pictures. They showed a video of her while he sang We are not home yet. It was a tear jerker. For those who aren't familiar with his story, he adopted three girls from China, his 5 yr. old daughter suffered a fatal injury this past May when one of SCC's older son's accidently ran over her in the driveway of their home. Please keep his family in your prayers. This upcoming weekend seems to hovering with a few plans but nothing solid yet. Hopefully I can find a way to relax a bit.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Showered with Love

Wow, that week flew by. Brooke got a good dose of Naomi last week and now Jo-Jo is back home from camp. The two busiest families I know added to their already over-flowing schedule by hosting a family shower for Naomi. She made out like a bandit and has a wardrobe like a princess until she is 2. We have been so enormously blessed with Naomi already and now our friends and family have put the cherries, sprinkles and whip cream on the sweetness of life. She has advanced with leaps and bounds. I wouldn't be shocked if she started walking this week. She stands by herself barely hanging on to anything. My persistance of getting her into one two hour nap instead of two one hour naps is succeeding. Now if I could just figure out her potty schedule. It's been hit and miss. She is still doing great, hasn't had any problems with adjusting to foods or lifestyle. She just goes with the flow. She has learned the word "no" and actually is obedient when she hears it. It is so amazing! She learned how to rap dance this past Friday at the FlowFest in Lansing and puts her hands on her head as if she is saying "oh no". She will get her first camping experience this coming weekend with the Freedom Center Family Reunion campout on Friday. I'm sure she will love it. Hopefully we won't have the stiffling hot weather we had this weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Naomi went boom boom and got an oww-y

We sent Jo off to camp today. She is going to get so filled up with Jesus! She was looking forward to this so much. It's the same camp she went to last year and has been yearning to have the closeness she had with Jesus ever since. Naomi and I bid her farewell and later that day Big, Big Sister, Brooke came over and spent the day with us. I am so loving having Brooke around more. I'm sure she is probably bored silly with us but I just love having her in our presence. Poor Naomi took a dive on the wood floor in the kitchen and got a little goose egg on her forehead. She was half sitting and half standing with her legs spread eagled and fell forward. She does this little move all the time but usually falls on her bum which is no big deal. This all happened just as Daddy was getting home. We iced her up and she got some Daddy lovin' and was all good. Brooke and I snuck out to see Mamma Mia at the theater and Daddy put Naomi to bed after her lasagna dinner. She is doing so great. Everyone asks how she is adjusting and it seems like a funny question. It has been such a natural transistion for everyone that it seems odd to even consider that there should be an adjustment time. Today she learned how to wave "hi", double-handed of course and I swear she said kitty cat. It is hard to believe that she couldn't roll all the way over 3 weeks ago. Now she is standing barely holding on to something. She is such a joy and so easy going. God prepared her heart for us and ours for her so it's as if she has always been with us. I guess there's no need for adjustment when God's got his hand on the situation. The only adjustment has been in the amount of time it takes me to get out of the house! She's making friends with all the animals and we are making progress on getting a schedule in place. Life is good.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Worshipping with Jeremy Horn now that's the icing on the cake!

Nothing like getting to worship with Jeremy Horn and his band. Naomi and I dodged the orange cones, zigzagged on the Z bridge and made it to Bay City in time to catch Jeremy Horn performing at a church in Bay City. They have been performing all over Michigan this past weekend and I was in Georgia so I was pretty excited when I heard they would be in BC on Wed.. Naomi seemed to enjoy the worship (but who wouldn't). They are headed up to the U.P. to perform all weekend then will head home (Memphis) and get a month off so Jeremy can enjoy his new little one that is coming soon. It was so good to see the gang.
Jo made a birthday cake for Naomi since we didn't really get to celebrate because everyone got sick. It was a whole day ordeal but as you can see in the picture it is quite the cake! Naomi is suffering with teething lately and didn't sleep well. Hopefully that tooth will bust through soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rub a dub dub, 3 Sisters in the tub!

There's no place like home!

Sorry for the break in blogs. I wasn't able to get online in Georgia. After 23 gruesome hours on an airplane we finally made it to Georgia to spend the weekend with Mike's family. Not without issues though. We missed our plane to Atlanta from Detroit because we had to go through customs. Which probably wouldn't have been a problem except Naomi wasn't a citizen UNTIL she went through customs so we had to get in the "visitor" line, then we were told to get in the "blue" line, then we were told we were suppose to go to the "US citizen" line - then the "blue" line... We could have made it IF we didn't have to RE-CHECK our luggage. To top it off in the rush and confusion I left a bag with some fragile fabric kites that I was going to decorate Naomi's room with on top of the stack of luggage to be checked. We realized as soon as we got to the gate of our "Re-scheduled flight". Mike went back and they were no where to be found. :(
Naomi did pretty good on the flights. She couldn't get comfortable to sleep even though we bought her a seat to give us more room. Brooke was on the flight that we were suppose to be on for Atlanta and ended up having to wait for us in Atlanta with Papa, Nana & Jo-Jo who came to pick us up.
On Saturday the whole Fellabaum clan headed for Lake Lanier Islands Resort. Our niece, Natalie, was having her 10th birthday party/sleepover there so we got rooms too so we could hang out in the pool and have cake with her. The big bonus for the weekend was when the Post Family from Blairsville, formally from Fenton, joined us so they could meet Naomi. For those who don't know, Terri Post and I have known each other since we were in elementary, which was just a few years ago.
In true Fellabaum fashion, someone ended up sick, actually a few did. One was my daughter, Jo-Jo. At first we thought it was from too much junk food, jumping around and laughing too much (all sounds like good stuff to me so I don't know why it would make you sick). Then Zack, our 3 yr. old nephew, spent the whole night "sick". Poor Lori, all the stink was in her adjoining rooms. Sunday was spent with most of the gang sacked out on any available flat surface and Mike wasn't feeling so good either. When we left for our flight on Monday Jane was sick and Ryan called us at the airport to let us know that his daughter, Ashley, was now sick. Somehow, Naomi, Brooke & I avoided the plague.
It is so great to be home! I let out a huge Woo Hoo when we finally pulled away from the airport in Flint. Naomi is still trying to figure out when to sleep and eat but she's doing great. She is experiencing a lot of "firsts" and every moment has been a blast. I will be posting more pictures as soon as I can find my camera. It has gotten lost in a pile somewhere in the house.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Guangzhou slide show

Almost home

Today's the day. We get sworn in. One of the families that we have been going to dinner with the last few evenings were sworn in yesterday and left today. They are actually from Lake, Michigan. They had quite a scare and had to go to the hospital yesterday. Their daughter got bumps all over her. Which in the states would not be a big deal. Parents might even wait a day or two to see if they developed into anything else but since they were leaving today they had to make sure it was nothing serious. If it were chicken pox or something infectious they would quarrantine them for two weeks to the hotel room. They turned out to be mosquito bites (strange since I've not seen a mosquito here). At customs you have to go through a heat sensor to make sure you are not running a fever. Officials also do a quick physical check of the babies. They got a doctor's note stating that it was bug bites so that they didn't get detained. They shared their horror story at dinner last night and we all started to envision what it would be like to be quarrantined to the room for another 2 weeks. You can imagine the conversations. So now we are all paranoid of being near anyone that might be sick. One of the parents came over to us at breakfast to tell us about a table near them was overheard saying that they had a virus going through their group. It was probably just food stuff but our friends got right up and left.
Now that it is finally time to go we are discovering it is a little bittersweet having to leave. It really has been an interesting experience. We have enjoyed the company of our new friends and hope that we can keep in touch with them. We will be going to say goodbye to Judy today too. We have to leave for the airport at 5:30 AM.
I'm looking forward to a nice cold fountain pop with ice and Mike is anxious to get a good cup of coffee.

Cluck, Cluck

Naomi has figured out to do the clicking noise with her tongue on the roof of her mouth. Many of the gift shop workers make that noise at the babies. She picked up on it and started mimicing it the other day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Only 1 more appointment!

All went well with the consulate appointment today. Tomorrow afternoon we take a bus, along with many other families to the formal "swearing in", where we promise to love and care for Naomi. After 24 hours we are free to go. Unfortunately there are no flights leaving after 7 PM on Thursday so we will be leaving early on Friday. We will be spending a couple of days in Georgia with Mike's family before we come home. Jo-Jo is already there visiting and Brooke will joining us for the weekend too. Tonight we are going to dinner with the families that adopted from JiangXi again and hope to get a group photo to post. It's raining today but we are hoping it will clear up soon so we can do a little shopping before dinner.
We have a VIP guest staying at the hotel here with us. Mike saw a convoy of limos with a police escort coming down the street the other night. Then we heard that the governor of Hong Kong is here. I'm not so sure I'm excited about that. I'd rather the political figures stay far away from where I'm at. The military is all beefed up presently too. I'm guessing this had something to do with it.

Naomi Comaneci

Mama Mia!

Wow, we actually had a great meal tonight! We went with a group to an Italian Ristorante'. This place was FAN-CEE! I almost forgot I was in China. Mike and I got this huge calzone. To top it off, the whole meal was about $20 US/$128 Chinese/Yuan. We were with 4 other families. 3 of them had children from JiangXi Province, which is where Naomi is from. I am learning that certain regions have particular characteristics that are common in the children. JiangXi children are known to have lots of hair and for being tall. They also have a certain shaped eye. I wouldn't have thought there was much truth to that until I saw all the kids from there together tonight.
We have been exchanging contact information with all our new friends in hopes of keeping in contact. We have met two families from Michigan and have already started planning a rendevous. We also have found a few families that will be leaving on the same flight we are. It is reassuring to know we won't be the only ones with a baby on the flight.
We also exchanged email addresses with our Christian shop owner friend, Judy.
Tommorrow we have to stay in the hotel room from 9-11 AM so the consulate can contact us if they have any questions about our petition to adopt. Peter takes all the paperwork there and presents it to them.
Naomi is still being a daddy's girl which I am only tolerating because I know I'll get to hog her when we get home and he has to head to work. I'm just the official potty cheerleader right now. She doesn't seem to want to perform for daddy. Must be a modesty thing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Green pizza

We had a typhoon yesterday so I wasn't able to post or at least I should say that I was too chicken to turn on the computer with the lightning after blowing out my last computer that way. We took a trip into town to what we were told was the electronics market but it wasn't. It was more like China's version of Best Buy. We toured the mall next door which was probably the Somerset Mall of GZ. Lots of designer stuff and no bargains. The grocery store was next door so we spent some time in there marveling over the strange food again. They must think we are nuts. I was taking pictures. There was a KFC outside the market but we decided to pass it up after we noticed the pictures of the food on the window didn't really look like the colonel's famous recipe to us. We ventured into the Papa John's nearby. It wasn't too bad. The pizza cheese had a greenish tint and they had fountain pop which we were a little leery about but we didn't find ourselves running for the bathroom anytime soon after partaking in it. We had a little trouble getting a cab to stop for us until I figured out that I could stand behind a pole and wave my hand and they couldn't see I was American until it was too late. We hit the pool when we got back to the hotel and later visited the "Swan room" which is furnished with toys from Mattel. Today we are just going to hang around the hotel and relax. We had some new adoptive friends invite us to go to tea later.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Shamian Christian Church, Guangzhou, China

Shamian Christian Church, Guangzhou, China

Christian churches are now open to the public in China. 70% of the Christian churches have been built in recent years. I read somewhere that approx. 10% of the population of Guangzhou is Christian, a high number for any area in China. The city that Naomi was born and fostered in (Feng Cheng City) only had 1%. Even though Christianity is state governed, many Christians still suffer because of their faith. Christians must register with the government and have many restrictions, especially when it comes to sharing the gospel. Therefore, many choose to attend "house churches". The church on Shamian Island where the White Swan hotel is located was built more for the American guests. That was the Chinese government's plan, God's plan has this building overflowing into the "side room" with video feed with Chinese Christians. We were able to purchase a Chinese/English Bible from the bookstore on the grounds. The store is only open for 1 hour on Sunday and it was packed with people, many were walking out with stacks of bibles. One can only speculate and hope that they were going to share these with friends and family. This church also holds bible studies during the week as well as prayer sessions.

Napping in the pool?

Naomi's personality is really starting to shine. She is getting quite active. I don't think she had much opportunity to really move around while in foster care. In just a week she has figured out how to roll over and is making strides in figuring out how to walk. Today we went to church (I'll write another blog on that experience) then spent about 3 hours in the pool. She actually fell asleep in the pool. It started out like "daddy's club" again but after awhile more mom's joined in. It is so interesting to hear all the different stories from each of the families. We went to Lucy's for dinner again. The buffet in the hotel is about $45/person which is really ridiculous. We can eat at Lucy's for under $10 for both of us. After dinner we did some shopping and met another Christian shop owner. Mike noticed his bible on his desk and struck up a conversation with him. His name is Jordan and he wrote Naomi's name in chinese calligraphy for us as a keepsake. We stopped at the 7 eleven on the way back to the hotel and got some icecream bars. I'm sure it was another 1st for Naomi. She really enjoyed it. So far we haven't found much she doesn't like. Tomorrow the plan is to hit the electronics market.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Swim, Swam, Swum

Naomi met a new friend, Stephanie, at the pool today. Stephanie has to get therapy on her right arm. She cannot extend it due to an injury during birth. Her parents said that it will probably be overcome with therapy.
Naomi gives daddy a kiss and flashes one of her fantastic smiles.

Moon cakes and more

Ahhh, it is actually very refreshing to be in GZ. The hotel is much busier but the area around the hotel is much more laid back. We are on an island so to speak but it seems more like a peninsula. I would compare the lifestyle somewhat to Mackinac Island (minus the horse poop), but Asian style. Peter says it is too expensive for most natives to live here. They get many Chinese here on vacation as well as adoptive families. You only see taxis, limos or high end vehicles here. They have tennis clubs and fancy restaurants down the streets. There are "squares" inside the neighborhood blocks where they play badminton and hacky sack. The buffet is much better here at the White Swan hotel. They actually have a chef from Louisiana working here. So the french toast is really french toast. They even had waffles today. I didn't see any duck or chicken feet, but it was breakfast! We had our medical appointment for Naomi (which she passed with flying colors) and had her photos for her visa done today. Then we took a taxi into GZ and did a supermarket trip. We were going to do the electronics market too but we spent so much time marveling over the delicacies available that it was time for Naomi's nap. We'll make another trip this week and check that out. After her nap we ventured out to the shops around the hotel and visited our new China friend, Judy, that we met last week when we were here. She invited us to her church (she's a Christian of 3 yrs) here and we are going to go tomorrow. She owns a shop off the main street so we did some shopping there. She gave us some good deals. We hit the pool after working up a sweat (nothing in comparison to Nanchang though). Naomi loved the pool and made some new friends. The swimsuit Danna Taylor gave us fit her perfectly. It seemed like there was a "daddy's club" meeting in the kiddie pool. It was great to hear all the different adoption stories. Some of the stories were sad but all had happy endings. There were quite a few older/special needs children. A few cleft palettes, one had burn scars on her arms and another had something with her arm that it wouldn't extend. All are fixable it seems. Most of them were 2 or older, most of the parents started out like us and switched their dossier to accepting a special needs baby because they were tired of the wait. It looks like it only speeds the process up about 6 months. Many of them used The Holt International agency that is supported by many of the Christian artists we play on Smile FM. I have heard many praises for that organization from the families that have used them. We have not met anyone who has used the same agency as we did.
We don't have any more appointments until Wed. & Thurs. so I'm sure we'll find some trouble to get into the next couple of days.
Today starts the Mid-Autumn Festival aka Moon Festival to celebrate the abundance of the summer harvest and tradition is to eat moon cakes under the moon. They have moon cakes for sale here and we are hoping to partake in this tradition sometime this week. I'll let you know how that all works out. As long as it involves eating cake and not some kind of animal feet I'm up for it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodbye Nanchang!

We caved. We ate at the buffet again last night. Peter wasn't feeling well (allergies acting up) and we thought we'd have mercy on him since we had to rely on him to get us there. We WILL be eating at Lucy's in Guangzhou tonight though! We met some other couples here with their new baby's. They will be joining us in GZ tomorrow. It turns out that they did have Pizza Hut the other night, evidently the cheese on the pizza is very different, someone suggested it might be goat cheese. Frankly, I don't wanna know what it is. Naomi is doing much better today. We padded up the "death bed" with towels so she couldn't get her head stuck in between the rails. Not a peep all night. She is a big fan of animal crackers and we can bribe lots of smiles out of her with them. She has been a big hugger from the first day but didn't have a clue what a kiss is but now she is giving kisses out. I think she is going to be the cure to my IT deficiencies as she has quite an interest in anything electronic. The remote and the ipod are her current favorites. Next week we have her medical examination and then we get her visa. After that we can come home. We got a copy of the newspaper posting her abandonment. It was so sad. It was a full page, probably about 120 adds for babies that had been abandoned. We asked Peter if that was an everyday occurence to have that many or if they only published it monthly or weekly. His response was kind of wishy washy. He said they publish them as they are needed. The paper we were looking at was only for this province. It is so saddening. We also got a notarized report of her abandonment. She was left at the hospital in Feng Cheng City with a note saying she was born the day before. She was taken to a foster home that day and that's where she was until we got here. I'm sure they did the best they could to take care of her. She had extremely dry skin, little bug bites all over her and heat rash when we got her. I could tell the foster family gave her lots of love though and that's the most important thing. She has had a fan club in the dining room for every meal. There are a few of the waiters that have really taken a liking to her. At first I thought they just did it to all the babies but after watching them a few times I realized it was just her they fawned over. I know I sound a little prejudice but that's really how it is, really! She's a celebrity here.

1 minute 8 seconds

"The Smile"

Oh happy day!

Happy dance time! We are on our last full day here in Nanchang. Tomorrow we get Naomi's passport and fly out of this joint. Despite Peter's attempts to talk us out of going to Pizza Hut tonight we are headed there for dinner. Mike vowed not to eat at the buffet for dinner tonight. He choked down more fried rice and chicken yesterday. I opted to order off the ala carte menu and got a cheeseburger and fries. Not sure what meat the burger was made out of but it was better than the other choices. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to the ingredients of the food in these parts. At breakfast we talked with some other adoption families and found that we were not alone in our stir craziness. Oddly that was reassuring for some reason. Naomi didn't sleep well last night. We put her in our bed after her head got caught in between the rails of her crib or should I say death bed. I don't know if it is the lack of sleep or the fear of going into the crib again but she hasn't been napping well today and is giving us a good dose of stubborn. Which equates into one cranky baby. It started raining yesterday and has rained all day and actually brought some cooler weather with it. I think Naomi is ready to blow this popsicle stand too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We're not in Kanas anymore, or even any place relatively close!

Yes, it's another stinking pagoda...temple, whatever. At least this one had some nice garden areas for photo opportunities but basically it was just as boring as the one we went to yesterday. We have two more days here. The American channels (hbo & cinemax) were blown out with a wind storm, it's 100 + outside, I am sick of the Chinese version of "western food" and I forgot my ruby slippers to click and get the heck out of here!

Dinner Anyone?

Here's our movie star!

Free Day #1

O.K. already. I'm IT Challenged so this video stuff is a little out of my league. Today was a "free day", which translates into "no appointments today". Unfortunately it is so hot here that if you don't get your sightseeing done in the morning you're out of luck. I love Peter, our interpeter, but he's not much help when it comes to suggestions on what to do. Today we went to a 1000 year old temple. Which probably would have been pretty cool except that everything was written in Chinese so we just wandered around looking at stuff and sweating. Not my idea of fun. To get to the park we went down a tree shaded "walking" street that had many retired people sitting around tables doing whatever retired Chinese people do. We felt like we were a one float parade. Every face turned our way as we approached. Too bad Naomi doesn't know how to wave yet.
We had a pivotal breakthrough today with the potty. She did the deed! How strange to have a 11 month old using the potty. We were making a big to-do about it and she looked at us like "what's the fuss, I've been doing this for 6 months".
Tomorrow is another "free day". We will be hitting the "city center" as Peter says. That's downtown for all you round eyes. There's a McDonalds, Pizza Hut & KFC there. I'm looking forward to eating something besides fried rice. Today's specialty at the buffet was braised chicken unguis, that's fancy chicken feet for you round eyes. Yesterday was fried duck unguis. And no, I am not kidding! Still haven't seen any monkey brain jello.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Officially Ours

We had a very busy morning. First there was an appointment at the CAB (China Adoption Bureau) at 8 AM to sign papers to let them know that we would indeed keep this baby. I guess yesterday was a free trial and we could still change our mind until we officially signed today. Yeah - like that ever happens! We had a short interview, a family picture done for their records, paid lots of money, turned in signed papers and then it was off to the Notary office, then Mike and Peter went to different Notary while Naomi and I hung out on the cushy couches in the first office, they had to go to make a deposit at a bank, then back to the second notary and finally back to get us. After all that we headed to the Security Bureau to apply for Naomi's passport. We ventured to Wal-Mart and are now hanging out at the hotel watching movies. It's too stinking hot (100 +) to be running around a busy city. We might do some sightseeing in the mornings on the next two days (before it gets scorching). Naomi was a trooper through it all and didn't make one little fuss. On Friday, we will pick up her passport and then head to the airport for our flight back to Guangzhou. I like the hotel room here better but the buffet is a little strange. Supposedly we eat at the "western" buffet which is more western-friendly but I just can't ever remember a western restaurant serving fried duck feet before. I've been sticking to fried rice and steamed rolls, supplementing my diet with cheez-its and pepsi to sustain my girlie figure. Also the pool here is rather strange. It's indoors, on the 4th floor, but to get to it you have to go through the locker rooms and then up about 3 floors by steps. Not exactly the easiest task for a woman with temperamental knees and a 30 lb. kid on her hip. So needless to say we won't be visiting the pool in Nanchang. I'm looking forward to taking Naomi swimming at the one in Guangzhou. We took a dip on Saturday and it was really nice.
Naomi is a good eater. She takes bottles of a rice and powdered milk formula and then eats fruits,breads and congee (a rice soup) with us at meals. We haven't mastered the potty thing yet but haven't given up yet. Peter says her scheduled it all messed up right now and once things settle down we will probably be able to get the hang of it. We got a written schedule from the foster family and are trying to stick to it as close as possible. She goes down for naps without any trouble too. She's just perfect!

White Swan Hotel

It's Gotcha Day!

There are no words to describe today. I realized that I did have some pre-conceived ideas of how the delivery process of Naomi would go based on stories and videos. I had expectations of a doctor's waiting room and someone coming out and hollaring our names and then handing her to us so I was completely caught off guard when we walked into a big room with benches lined on the walls and a couple dozen or so people lingering around. A small group of 5 adults and 2 babies caught my attention. I recognized Naomi immediately and any doubts I had were diminished when the man holding her threw a big smile my way. It was really awkward because I didn't know what we were suppose to do. Our interpeter was chatting with someone near the door and it was obvious that these folks with Naomi didn't speak any English. Mike didn't even have the video camera going. He was like a deer in the headlights when he realized he was looking at her. I should of had the video camera on him!
But that has been the only awkward moment since we got her. From the first time she came into my arms she has been a love bug. It was only a short time after they handed her to me that we were whisked back to the hotel in a cab. She layed her head on my chest and I knew that my prayers for her heart to be readied for us had been answered. We have yet to hear her cry. She has smiled, gabbered and cuddled as if she has known us for the day she was born.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I apologize for not posting any video yet. I am having difficulties and hoping to figure it out soon. I've been having a lot of fun capturing it all so I hope I get a chance to share it. We hopped on another plane to Nanchang today. It was only an hour and a half flight, which was nice but... until you experience being in an enclosed area with a hundred or more Chinese you won't be able to relate. It is so noisy! They all talk, all the time, loud and fast. The closest I can come to describing it is the lunchroom at the elementary school. For someone with A.D.D. (that's me) it's like someone who's claustrophobic getting a CAT scan.Check SpellingThe flight was a domestic flight so we got to experience a little of the culture. Instead of peanuts or pretzels for the snack on it, we got a little bag of roasted green peas. I found them quite tasty. Similar to corn nuts without the tooth chipping hardness. Another treasure I discovered on the flight was the Chinese barf bags. Those who know me well, know that I have a warped sense of humor and so these are wonderful gift bags in my world. Nanchang is quite a bit different from Guangzhou. It's more like a big city even though I think it is smaller than GZ. It is hotter, noiser and busier. I had my first "no toilet paper" experience at the Nanchang airport. Luckily, I had my pocket tissues with me so I was all set. It was odd to go in the stall and not have a dispenser in there. Which reminds me of a funny incident in the bathroom at the GZ airport. I went into a bathroom that only had four stalls and one of them was out of order. There were 3 girls already lined up waiting and it wasn't long before there were another 3 behind me. After about 5 minutes of waiting I noticed the girl in front of me was fanning her nose. No emotion just fanning. About the same time a horrific odor wafted my way. The first girl in line got out tissues and put them over her nose. It was apparent that someone in one of the stalls was having issues. The second girl in line actually had to walk out side to get some air. I looked behind me and two of the girls were gingerly holding their noses. No one made a comment, or showed emotion through the whole thing. I never did see who the culprit was. They were STILL in the stall when I finished my business and left.
Our hotel room is gorgeous. It's an elegant contemporary look and layed out really nice. We got settled in, Mike had to go get some copies made down stairs because the copies we had made at home are too big. Evidently China's paper is smaller so the copies we had made won't fit in the files. We had lunch and now are chillin out until 3:30 when we will leave to go get Naomi. It's so strange to think that in a few hours our lives will completely change. Similar to birth but very different at the same time. We have been praying for her heart to be open in accepting our love and that her adjustment will go well. We will be here for 5 days and then we will head back to GZ. Our interpeter, Pei Dur (Peter), is here with us the entire time which is refreshing. They speak a different dialect here, as well as Mandarin, and not many know English.
After we get her, Peter will take us to a store to get the kind of food she eats. My understanding is that most of the babies eat a rice soup. We have a hot pot in the room for heating the water and they also brought us a big fancy thermos thing too. We should be good to go.
Well, next time I post we will have our new family member. If I can't get the video up, I will at least get a few pictures.

Introducing Guangzhou

Well, Here we are, Guangzhou (pronounced kind of like Gah-wan-joe) China after a grueling flight. I'm already dreading the return flight. Northwest Airlines took us from Flint to Detroit, then we switched planes and flew to Tokyo-12+ hours, about an hour lay over in Tokyo and then it was another 6 hour flight to Guangzhou. I won't go into the details but let's just say a root canal sounds like fun now. So we arrived to the White Swan hotel about midnight. We went to bed shortly after arriving. I have tried to give you a taste of everything we found in GZ on video. Of course I missed a few good opportunities but I think I make up for it with the clip of the "gold digger" I captured in the hotel lobby. Some of the things I couldn't capture were some of the things that we noticed were absent. So far we have found China to be absent of men wearing baseball caps, pigeons, ice in drinks (guess that goes hand in hand with "don't drink the water"),and GM cars. I was pleasantly surprised to find flush toilets, toilet paper & air conditioning. We got daring and went to a shopping mall. So now we can say we did it, and I'm not too interested in doing it again! We even went into the market place where you can work the prices down. Mike got a kick out of the "hawkers" calling me "miss woo-woo" when they were trying to get me to look at their wares. Not sure if that was a compliment or an insult. The coolest thing that happened today when we went for a casual walk around the hotel and ended up in a little store off the beaten path and had a great conversation with a young woman named Judy. She noticed the cross necklace I am wearing and proudly proclaimed that she is a Christian. Which as you might know, is a rare thing in China. She invited us to her church which happens to be close to the hotel. We are hoping to find it next Sunday. This Sunday is our "Gotcha Day" and we will be flying (ugh!) to Nancheng (nan-chang)to pick up Naomi. Today we saw dozens of "round eye" parents with their new babies around the hotel. I was so precious to see these kids just sucking up all the love that was floating around. It was great to see all of their smiles. We are soooooo anxious to finally get to meet our daughter.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The countdown begins!

Yikes! Only 3 more days to blast off! We have been hussling around trying to get everything we might possibly need while in a foreign country. Anticipating our needs has been the biggest challenge. Besides the usual obvious excursion needs we will be bringing plenty of pocket tissues as we hear that toilet paper is a hot commodity in the orient. We also doled out close to $200 for medications that may be needed for Naomi, travel size everything, diapers & snacks. Then we had to buy some new luggage to take it all in! Fortunately, we were able to get a great flight package that is just for foreign adoptions through Northwest that allows us 2 - 70 lb. bags each instead of the measly 1-50 lb. bag allowance. We are flying out of Flint on the 24th and returning to Atlanta on the 8th, then to Flint on the 11th so that we can spend some time with the Fellabaums of the South. Our 11 yr. old daughter, Jo-Jo, is already down there on her annual visit and our 23 yr. old daughter , Brooke, who lives in Auburn Hills, will be joining us in Atlanta as well. It's a 22+ hour flight from Flint to Guangzhou. My legs get "charlies" in them just thinking about it! God has been so good as to give me peace in these crazy pre-Naomi days even when my heart races a little thinking of all that needs to be done before we go.
Check out this website of other babies who have come from the same province that Naomi is from. It's pretty funny. We have a similar picture hanging on our fridge.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fengcheng, Jiangxi

Population 1.2 million. 333,000 under the age of 15. Famous for a special tea called yun wu cha. Porcelain capitol of China. 80% of industry is agriculture, another 10% is industrial. Approximately 20% of the population is illiterate. These are just a few facts about the city our Naomi has spent the first 11 months of her life in. The most stunning revelation in my research adventure of this little known city in central China is that only 1.5% of the population proclaims faith in Jesus Christ. Most have no idea what God has done for them.

I expected a low number but, WOW, that's incredibly low. Granted most of the figures are from a 5 year old census and Christianity is on the rise. An estimated 15,000 people out of over 1 million. What a sad place this must be. Not to know the love of Jesus and what is to come has to make a city groan with pain.

The literal meaning of Fengcheng is "Harvest City". Which translates to - it's seed planting time! Can't have a harvest without planting a crop! So please pray that we will get the opportunity to plant some hardy seeds in this drought plaqued countryside. Let us quench a thirst for the Living Waters.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stay Tuned

I know I started this blog years ago - literally, to use to journal our adoption of Naomi with all intentions of getting the hang of this blogging stuff but of course, stuff happens, and so this didn't happen. So bear with me as I take this crash course in blogging. So onward with our adoption progress...
After 3 years, 5 months, & 17 days (I may be off a day or two as my head is spinning with dates these days) we finally got our referral notice that we would be heading to China to get our little doll. The agency told us the process would go something like "wait, wait, wait, HURRY, HURRY, HURRY". For us it has been a little different. More like, wait, wait, wait, wait some more, wait a lot more, wait again, HURRY, wait, wait, wait, HURRY, wait, wait and that's where we are now. We actually have our consulate date (our last appointment in China before we can head home) for August 6th but are still waiting for our CAB date which is the date we to be in China by. We put our 11 yr. old, Jo-Jo on a plane to Atlanta this morning for her annual visit to Nana & Papa. She usually goes a week or two after school gets out but it got scheduled to fit in with the adoption trip this year. It looks like we will be flying to China somewhere around the 23rd so we will have a couple of weeks to get prepared for our new family member.
Naomi is reported to be about the same size, weight as an American baby of the same age. She has been foster care since August 11th, 2007. Which may be why she is not under-developed as many internationally adopted babies are. We are so happy to hear that our prayers for her health and safety have been answered while we were not able to care for her ourselves. The report also stated that she has developed an attachment for her foster mother, which is a blessing in that we know that she does not suffer from an attachment disorder but could also prove to be a hurdle for Naomi's separation from her. We are now praying that God will comfort her in this time of change as only He can.
I am hoping to get the hang of adding video to this blog so that we can share our China adventures with you. So stay tuned !