Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another Week, Another Winter Storm

As another week is coming quicky to a close. Last week at this time, we were having sub-zero cold, which we suffered through for much of the week. Today, the snow came started around 9Am off and on. They are stating we'll have 3-10 inches in the Chicagoland area depending on where in the area one is. Coming hoime from work, my train was only delayed about 15 minutes or so, but Kevin who drives about 30 miles or so left work at 5:05 and didn't get home until 7:40. He said the roads were terrible and unplowed, although the snow started much earlier than they planned, you would have thought they could clear the roads within all that time. At this pace, Kevin will be leaving home about 6 tomorrow in hopes of getting to work by 8. That leaves me having to walk to the train. Could be pretty interesting since it is usually only a 10 minute walk, but who knows how the roads will be. Forget the sidewalks; I know those will be impossible.

Last week's adoption meeting was cancelled, because the speaker was sick. With the weather way below zero, I'm sure there would not have been much of a turn out anyway. Hopefully, they will reschedule it soon, but they may just schedule it for our April meeting instead. We got our weekly update. More explanation about the advisory issued by the U.S. Embassy. In conversations they have had with the DIA, they were told that dossiers will continue to be given referrals that were submitted before the MOU expired. Our agency staff in Vietnam is currently on vacation until February 12th. It seems like the 12th is a far ways off, but actually it is only a little over a week away. They do expect several referrals after the Lunar New Year and are actually waiting on medical and other reports on several referrals that have been matched to our agency.

It has been a long, busy week and I'm looking forward to not doing much of anything this weekend. The only plans I specifically have is the women's ministry is meeting at Panera Saturday morning. We also started a Crown Financial bible study and although I have been working the past week and a half on the book we have to read there are some other things that we need to do before Tuesday night when we all get together again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You Don't Know Cold...

I woke up a little while ago and checked the outside thermometer, -2.7. Yahoo Weather says it is more like -1, but if you factor in windchill, it's a frigid -20. Better than earlier this week when it was over 30 below, but when you get into the negative double digits, that's just inhumane. Even the penquins and polar bears would be complaining, I'm sure.

I'm doing much better, there was a conversation on the Yahoo group for our agency's Vietnam group and the main Vietnam person explained why their stance is that our agency will continue getting referrals and finalizing adoptions. They have spoken to people in the DIA or was it IAD as well as people at USCIS, who want to at least work on those dossiers that have been logged in. Of course, there is no guarantee, but hearing their reasoning after reading the statement by the Dept. of State and the Ethica's further explanation is making me feel better. Not great, but a little more positive. I'll feel much better, once we can start our dossier and get it logged in. I read somewhere one needs to be at about #92 on the waiting list to start their dossier, so that means about 12 more spots for us to move. Last week our agency didn't get any referrals and they really don't expect any before Tet. Our agency representatives are taking vacation from January 30th (today) until February 12th. Well, I better get ready to bear that cold out there.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Primal Scream

AARRGGHH!! I just needed to do that I've been so frustrated lately with the adoption, work, etc., etc. I guess the term primal scream comes from dead week or finals week during college when many colleges, the night before final exams began, all students would open their windows and let out a "primal scream" to ward off the frustration and stress they have been feeling. Well, I feel much better, so I can get back to work and actually be productive!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tag I'm It

I've been tagged by Lauren

4 Jobs I’ve had:

1. Bank Teller

2. Wal-mart cashier

3. Fast food worker

4. Sales associate at Marshall's

4 movies I watch over and over (I rarely watch movies more than once, but here's what I can think of)

1. Ghost

2. The Breakfast Club

3. Raiders of the Lost Ark

4. Somewhere In Time

4 Places I’ve lived:

1. Normal, IL

2. Western Springs/LaGrange, IL

3. Berwyn, IL

4. Bensenville, IL

4 Shows I watch: ( don't watch much television per se, since we don't have cable or satellite and I can't stand crappy reception, but I've been watching lots of shows through Netflix.)

1. ER

2. Project Runway

3. The O.C.

4. The Dead Zone

4 places I’ve been:

1. California

2. Florida

3. Louisiana

4. Virginia

4 people who e-mail me regularly:

1. Julie

2. Paul, my attorney at work

3. Netflix

4. My Yahoo groups

4 favorite things to eat:

1. Pizza

2. General Tso' chicken

3. Chicken Chow Funn

4. Brownies (I think I should make some today, if I have a a box on hand.)

4 places I'd rather be

1. Vietnam picking up our child!!!

2. Anywhere warm!

3. Australia

4. Greece or Italy

4 things I look forward to this year:

1. Starting our dossier

2. Hopefully getting a referral

3. Possibly going to Vietnam

4. Turning 40 --- NOT!!!!!

I'll tag Melissa, Angie, and Melissa,

Friday, January 25, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland???

I don't think that is how I'll describe it in 15 minutes when I am walking to the train in 6 below weather (that's not counting windchill, they say it feels more like 17 below. It is supposed to warm up to the teens or twenties, but I can't wait until it does. I need to be at work this morning. Usually my terrific friend, Julie picks me up, but this is her day off, since she works part-time. Lately, since Kevin's hours have changed and he starts later, he would drive me, but today he has a big early childhood conference to go to and the lady he was carpooling with picked him up at 6AM. My neighbor did say if I ever need a ride call her, since she is usually upway before this time, but the problem is that I don't have her phone number and I'm not showing up on her doorstep. Maybe she will be going out to for her early morning drive to buy cigarettes or whatever and I will catch a ride with her. Well, I better go blow dry my hair, which is something I never do because it dries out my hair, but I'm not going out with even slightly damp hair and with this weather my hair has been looking awful (even though I had it cut last Saturday) with the hats and scarves and hoods, how could ones hair look good!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Dirt on I-600s

If you haven't read Laurie's post on Pho for Four, you should!

A Good Morning to Stay In Bed

Well, I woke up this morning asnd checked the outside thermometer and it showed -3.6 degrees, plus they are saying with windchill it feels like -20 degrees. I don't look forward to going out there in about 45 minutes, that's for sure. Not much of a warm up is expected. Highs maybe in the single digits, but with windchill it will still feel like below zero. After work, I'll take the train to Des Plaines instead of to my usual stop, because our agency has a waiting families meeting. The topic will be Transracial Adoption. Wewill have a speaker with two adopted children from South Korea and view a videotape with perspectives of adult Vietnamese adoptees. Should be interesting? With the extreme cold, I don't know how big of an attendance there will be, plus it's on a weekday evening, instead of on Saturday morning. The good thing is before the meeting, we will head to this new Vietnamese Restaurant across the street from the Des Plaines train station, Dung Gia. (Anyone have any idea how it is pronounced?) With it being so frigid, I'm thinking of trying pho. I have not yet had any. Oh and also as of Monday, 1/21, we were #104 on the list.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Deep Freeze

The past couple days have been below zero as a high; right now it is a heat wave of sorts with it almost being 10 degrees. The wind chill though is making it feel even colder.

Our agency did not get any new referrals this week, but they did place one of the waiting children. According to my count that would make us 106, but last week Mindy who is right ahead of us in line checked with her CHI adoption consultant and found out she was 103 on the list, so based on that and that they placed a waiting child, we might be up to #103 on the list now; we're gettig close to the double digits. In other adoption news, US Immigration has raised the VISA fee, so the new fee is now $402. Also, hotel rates at the hotels we use have went up $20 a night. I know in Ho Chi Minh City, we use The Rex Hotel, but I'm not sure which hotel we use in Hanoi. They also expect to receive more referrals before Tet, the VietnameseNew Year on February 7th.

Yesterday, we finally went out and bought a new dishwasher. It is a Whirlpool and won't be delivered until February 9th, since it is on backorder. We got a great deal 18 months no interest, free delivery, free installation, free carting away of the old dishwasher and since a built-in dishwasher is thought of as a home improvenent,; there is no sales tax. Since we saved on this, we ended up getting the 3-year service plan.

The bookstore across from my work is going out of business (again). Last year when they went out of business, I bought a few child rearing and adoption books for me: Raising Adopted Children, What to Expect the Toddler Years, and How to Say No to Your Toddler. This time I bought some books for our child-to be.

The first four are cardboard picture books and Dumpy La Rue is a story of a pig who wants to dance. It was a really cute story. If any of you live or work near the Chicago Loop; the bookstore at Washington and Franklin is selling their inventory at 50% off and there's a lot that is still left.

Hotels dirty secret

If you haven't seen this yet, you have to. Yours and your family's health could depend on it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More referrals

In addition to the 2 brothers who were placed the other week, there was 3 1/2 month girl from Tam Binh 2 who was also referred. This past week, there was double the joy, when a lucky family was referred 3 1/2 month old twin girls from Phu My (aka Mam Non 6). I can't wait to find out who the lucky parents were. Vietnamese twins seem to be pretty rare; I don't remember hearing of anyone having twins referred to them. From China yes, but not from Vietnam. We now are down to about #107. Hopefully before long, we will be in the double-digits.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Newspaper Series on Vietnamese Adoptions

An English language newspaper for the Vietnamese community around LA (I think) ran a series of 4 articles: A New Family, Preparing and Waiting, Across the Miles, and Aftermath of an Adoption: Adjusting to the Culture.

Friday, January 11, 2008

What does Basketball and a Backed Up Sewer Have in Common?

Well, it describes this past weekend! We went down to Normal, IL for a basketballgame between the Illinois State Redbirds (my alma mater) and our rivals, the Southern Illinois Salukis I had not been down there for several years and it wasd neat to see all the changes down there, lots of building going on, the local College Hills indoor shopping mall had been transformed into more of an outdoor mall, one of the local watering holes (Rocky's for any former or present Normal townie or ISU alumni) had been torn down and in its place was a children's museum and one of the favorite pizza places was remodeling the adjacent building and move into a bigger place with more seating. We didn't get a chance to go to Micheleo's to see if the pizza was as good as I remember, but we did go to Avanti's, the local Italian restaurant for their spaghetti. It was as good as I rememered it to be, as well as the yummy bread.

We stayed overnight, so we wouldn't have to drive the 2+ hours home. We took our time coming home and when we got home, we really didn't suspect anything. But I decided to put a load of laundry and when I walked into the laundry room I discovered all this dried dirt and who knows what all over part of the floor. Since, it was warm out and all the snow melted really quick, we thought all the snow melting caused the sewer to back up. Well, we decided to flush toilets and run water to see if that did anything. Well it didn't so I proceeded to start the washing machine. Then since my wonderful husband sai he'd clean up, i decided to take a walk since it was so nice. Well, when the washing machine emptied , the sewer could barely handle it, so much of it I guess came up the floor drain. At least that was soapy water which helped clean more of the floor from earlier. Kevin had planned to stay home the next day and get a p,lumber out there, but after the washing machine backed up, he had to call the plumber right away. Of course, it was a Sunday, so the rates were sky high, but this just could not wait. So about an hour later, a plumber came over to grout the sewer between the front yard and inside. The previous owner had told us every few years it needed to be done and since we will be here 3 years in May, I guess this was unfortunately on schedule. It turned out the tree roots had wrapped around whatever it wrapped around and was the cause of the back up, so I guess the roots were cut back and now everything is fine except for having to spend $450 that we had not expected to spend. Don't worry, no pictures of that!

What do you expect, you live in Chicagoland?

The past week and a half has been crazy weatherwise. A week ago, Monday it started snowing & by the next day, we had 5-7 inches of snow and the windchills were dipping below zero. By the weekend the temps were in the 50s and 60s and the snow had, of course, melted. Since Tuesday, the temperatures have been dropping and is close to normal January temperatures, maybe a bit milder than usual. Tonight they are predicting snowflurries and by the end of this coming week, it's suppose to be in the teens. Where else but in Chicago do you have such a wide variety of weather in such a short span of time?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sharing the Good News

One of our agencies' families who have been waiting near the top of the waiting list have accepted a referral for 2 brothers, who are 2 and 4 years old. They originally planned to adopt an infant boy 0-18 months. Check out their blog; these boys are adorable!!!

I'll try to post soon, later tonight or tomorrow hopefully!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, New Post

Hopefully, this will be a quick post, but I want to wish everyone a happy new year! Thanks to everyone in both blogland and the real world for their support over the past year. It has been a little rocky sometime, but a positive word or post can make a big difference. I hope to stay up on this a little better than I did the last half of 2008. I should be able to keep up with everyone's blogs better. I finally signed up at Bloglines and am slowly adding blogs to my feed list, so I can see quicker, when there is an update without having to check each and every blog. I also decided I needed to update the look of our blog. Since the holidays are over red and green are also out.

We spent a relatively low-key New Years Eve at my brother and sister-in-laws. Both Kevin and I had to work. I got off at 1:00 and took the train to the my parents. Depending when we got off, I was either going to stop at their house or take the train directly to my brother's. It turned out Hank was over at my parents, so I as able to get a ride with him, instead of hopping back on the train. We got about 5 inches of snow last evening and another couple inches over night and it is still snowing a bit even now. This had to have been one of the snowiest Decembers that I remember. And with the way 2008 has started, we may be in store for a very snowy winter.