Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Vietnam - a beatiful country

This is a terrific video and worth watching.

Don't know what happened to it! Let me try and get it back in.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Killing Germs

This is a fascinating article. I have to try this. Not only will this keep us healthy, but it can save us some money in the long run (actually in more ways than one.)

Microwave Kills Germs in Sponges
Updated 1/24/2007 10:36:40 PM
By Jennifer Warner

Jan. 24, 2007 -- Your microwave may be a powerful weapon in protecting your family against disease-causing germs.

A new study shows zapping sponges and plastic scrubbing pads in the microwave can kill bacteria, such as E. coli, that can cause illness.

"Basically, what we find is that we could knock out most bacteria in two minutes," says researcher Gabriel Bitton, professor of environmental engineering at the University of Florida, in a news release. "People often put their sponges and scrubbers in the dishwasher, but if they really want to decontaminate them and not just clean them, they should use the microwave."

Researchers say disease-causing bacteria and germs from uncooked eggs, meat, and vegetables often work their way onto countertops and cleaning tools, and the dampness of sponges, dish cloths, and scrubbers provide an ideal breeding ground for the bugs.

Microwave Sterilizes Sponges

In the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers evaluated the effects of zapping sponges and plastic scrubbing pads in the microwave on bacteria and viruses.

The sponges and scrubbing pads were soaked in wastewater containing a dangerous mix of fecal bacteria, E. coli, and bacterial spores. Bacterial spores are more difficult to kill.

The results showed that two minutes in the microwave at full power killed or inactivated more than 99% of all the living germs and the bacterial spores in the sponges and pads, including E. coli.

After an additional two minutes -- a total of four -- none of the bacterial spores survived.

Before you zap your sponges in the microwave, researchers offer the following advice:

  • Microwave only sponges or plastic scrubbers that do not contain steel or other metals.
  • Make sure the sponge or scrubber is wet, not dry.
  • Two minutes should be enough to kill most disease-causing germs.
  • Be careful in removing the sponge from the microwave because it will be hot and should not be handled immediately after zapping.

Bitton recommends that people microwave their sponges according to how often they cook, with every other day being a good rule of thumb.

SOURCES: Park, D. Journal of Environmental Health, December 2006; vol 65: pp 17-15. News release, University of Florida.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Passports and Fingerprints

Finally, the passports we applied for back on January 6th have been inputted into system and it says we should we receive them on or about 2/11/07; just about 3 weeks or less. Also the fingerprints, we sent to the FBI were received by them on the 16th. I mailed them on the 9th by priority mail so they should get there in 2 days and what the heck, it took a week! Makes you wonder if sending things priority or express is really any more efficient than regular snail mail!

Closest Thing to a Timeline

Melissa asked about a timeline and I'm sure she wasn't the only one wondering. Now, it's pretty early in the process and anything can happen, but here's the best I can come up with. We have to get all the paperwork for the homestudy and the homestudy report itself finished and then we have to wait for the U.S. government approval through the CIS (Citizenship & Immigration Service), formerly the INS and then we can be officially put on our agencies waiting list. I'm hoping somewhere between April & June of this year to be on the wait list. According to the last e-mail update from our agency, they are guessing wait to referral is going to be between 12-15 months for a boy (we are requesting either, but since the wait is shorter for a boy, it is most likely going to be a boy.), so that leaves us getting a referral sometime between April 2008 and September 2008. Then travel can be between 3-6 months later, so that is between July 2008 and March 2009. Now March 2009 sounds like a terribly long time, but then July 2008 sounds pretty darn quick. It's hard to gauge the time at this early point, but I'll keep you all appraised of how things are going and any updates to the waiting time from our agency.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Adoption Update

I've been meaning to update, but never find the time, so will do a quick one. On Tuesday the 16th, we had our 1st home study appointment at their offices. All went well and it wasn't as bad as one might think. This time they talked to us together for about 2 hours. Our next appointment will be in a couple weeks and we each meet with her separately. We are working to schedule those two. Then this past Saturday, we had the mandatory adoption education class. It was from 9-3:30, but we all brought our lunch back and ate it there and then they were asble to start the afternoon quicker. We talked about a bunch of different thing, i.e. attachment, medical issues, referrals, travel, etc. There were couples and singles from various country. For a change, China wasn't the most popular program, Vietnam was. There were12 people in all, 5 couples and two single women. I've run out of time, I'll talk more later.

Monday, January 22, 2007

E-mail Update from Agency

It has been a quiet week here with no referrals. However, the in country staff has kept quite busy. There are currently 6 families in country and 3 more will arrive tomorrow in Vietnam to adopt. We do not expect any more families to travel before the Tet holiday on February 17, 2007. We do expect to receive some more referrals in the next few weeks.

Super Bowl Bound

Has it really been 21 years since the 1986 Super Bowl Bears?
Don't know why this picture is so blurry!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Comments, Open for Business

I have now changed the Comments Section. Anyone can now leave a comment if they wish. If you click on "Other", you can leave your name or whatever so we know who you are, you can just skip the part about your web page unless you want us and others who frequent the blog to know about your website. You can also just use anonymous and sign it with your name. I'll be back later to update you about our week.

Friday, January 19, 2007

This a test!

No you are not back in school; I just want to see if this works and I can add this file. I am not expecting it will, but if I don't try I will never know. To view this you need Powerpoint, so since I only have it at work. I'm trying it here.

Nope didn't work. Phooey, it was really cute, too. If anyone knows how I might be able to upload a short Powerpoint preasentation, please either e-mail me or leave a comment on the comment page of this entry. I'm not very web savvy, as far as HTML goes and all. Thanks!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Current Stats & Tet

Our agency sends out an e-mail every week or so to update us about the current status of things. Here is an exercpt from the last one:

Currently there are 6 families in Vietnamadopting their children. 1 family is adopting from Vinh Long province and 5 others are adopting from orphanages in Ho Chi Minh city. 3 more families are leaving next week for Vietnam and they are all adopting from Kien Giang province. This will be the last group of families that will travel before the Tet holiday. After next week we do not feel there will be enough time for families in country to complete their adoptions before offices start closing for Tet. We did not receive any new referrals this week - but hope to have more in the upcoming weeks. Currently there are 39 families that are matched with children waiting to travel, 127 families with current CIS approval waiting to receive their referral and 164 application families in the home study process.

Tet for those of you who do not know, ( I never heard of it until recently). Tet is the Vietnamese equivalent to Chinese New Year. It is a big celebration and businesses are closed for at least a week. Tet, I believe this year is February 17th. I'll provide some more information at a later time.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Plugging along

We both had a three-day weekend, but it was nothing near restful. When Kevin got back from his Men's Breakfast Bible Study, we took the train to get our 2nd set of fingerprints. The place we had to go was just a little over a block from the train station, so it was very convenient. Took a while to get to on the train, but it beats driving into the city. We did tons of running around the rest of the weekend and we finally finished our autobiographies this evening. I just sent them off to the agency, and they hopefully will get to read them before our appointment tomorrow for our 1st homestudy session. Our homestudy appointment is at 2:30, so feel free to send us good thoughts around that time. Well off to bed for me, since I'll be getting up much earlier than I have in the past couplre days. Plus, it's suppose to be extremely cold and who knows how the snow will be, when I walk to the train. Usually, a friend gives me a lift, but she isn't going in too work tomorrow, so I am on my own in the morning.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I mailed our fingerprints to the FBI so they can conduct a background check. They said it might take up to 6 to 8 weeks, so end of February, give or take a week. Well for as change I want to just relax; no more internet for me tonight. Should work on my autobiography, but I need a short break. Tomorrow!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

This was our 1st week back at work. It's always good to get back to your regular schedule; even though getting up so early was not that easy. At least not for me, it doesn't phase Kevin and I don't think his alarm even went off on Tuesday and that would have been quite awhile before my alarm clock went off. Work for me was busy as usual; but things are rarely slow in legal offices. Even with only a 4-day work week, I was definitely ready for the weekend. On Friday, thank goodness, I got my hair done at the beauty salon; I feel o much better after all that has been taken care of. Then, we ate and visited with my parents and headed back home.

Saturday was quite a full day. After making sure, we had all the necessary paper work and filled out & printed an online application for each of us. We headed to Walgreen's for our passport photos to be taken. The ease of the digital camera made that an easy and relatively quick process. We then headed to the post office a couple towns away to file an application for passports. It was the first time, either of us had to get a passport. We had to wait for quite sometime, probably close to an hour. They were really busy and there was only one clerk doing passports and quite a line, since one, it was Saturday and two, they are starting to require passports to travel to Canada or Mexico, which was never required before. Thank goodness, we had all the required paperwork and everything went smoothly. Now in about 6-8 weeks, we should be getting our passports sent to us. I forget how long they are good for, 5-10 years I think; hopefully closer to the latter, since all the costs associated with them aren't cheap, but in the long run with the cost of adoption, it will be a spit in the bucket, so to speak.

We then headed to our town's police department, so we could get our ink fingerprints taken. We need to send them to the FBI for one of several background criminal checks. Lots of repetitive actions required. We'll end up having at least 3 different sets of fingerprints taken and have a physical and a couple different medical letters written that we are medically fit to parent both physically and mentally at several steps of this long process, but one that will be totally worth it in the end.

Well if that wasn't enough running around for the day, we decided to run to one of the local malls to pick up Kevin some new shirts and look around for some other shirts. We found some good deals, which is always nice. We ended up getting him a University of Michigan t-shirt, a DePaul t-shirt, a John Deere t-shirt (for that country boy in him) a long -sleeve University of Illinois t-shirt, and a UCLA sweatshirt. Also, I picked up some sheer yellow curtains for the French doors in our kitchen. It will be nice to finally have curtains on those windows.

Well, I think, I'll watch an episode of ER that I got from Netflix. I never saw the show before, so I'm looking forward to it, since I heard so many good things. Then, I'll just hit the sack; I'm sure I'll have no problem sleeping, after our busy day on-the-run.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Grease Is The Word

This is such a cute video, especially if you like the movie, Grease or if you like babies. Love both of them? Then you must watch this!

Monday, January 1, 2007

2006 out, 2007 in


Actually, our new year's celebration was nice and low key. We just spent some time with close friends with lots of soda, snacks, and just a champagne or sparkling grape juice toast at midnight. Nothing wild and crazy; we'll leave that to the younger generation and as a memory of our past inhibitions during our younger days!

Since it's the new year, a few resolutions I guess are in order:

  • The usual lose weight should be included although maybe only 10 lbs. or so;
  • Fewer visits to Starbucks is a must, but is difficult when every block or two has one;
  • Maybe eating out less (But we have improved a lot in that area);
  • Keep in touch with friends better.

Well, I don't want to go overboard, so I'll stop there. What is it they say, 95% of New Year resolutions are broken during the first 10 days or so?