Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I'm taking the day off to finish my final paper for this block. There are five blocks in this program and after today I will have completed two of them. This class has been Assessment and Inclusion for Diverse Classrooms. Fascinating, huh? I'd post my final paper, but I don't want to flaunt my genius (or bore you to death).

What has been far more stressful to me than finishing this final paper, has been registering for the next class which starts next Wednesday. I always register a little on the late side because I hate parting with $2k every ten weeks. So, when I tried to register online Saturday morning, I found out that the system would be down until Tuesday morning. When I got home from work yesterday I tried to register again, but was told that I was on a hold status because of missing transcripts. I know I requested those transcripts back in November or December from two other universities, and that the checks I wrote to pay for them have cleared long, long ago.

Finally got to talk to a live person this morning and it turns out that my transcripts have spent the last six months in an 'orphan' file because they couldn't figure out that my last name had changed since college. Come on! Most of the women in my cohort must have married since college and have different last names. I have not ever been married, but changed my last name when I was pursuing my musical dreams six years ago.

Now I have to wait another 24-48 hours for them to update the system before I can register. It seems unlikely that I will receive my materials before the class begins. Oh, well...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Like a lot of Americans, I usually take Memorial Day for granted and enjoy it as the start of summer and a three day weekend. But this Memorial Day, I'm thinking about the day I spent at the American Cemetary in Normandy, France last summer. The rows upon rows of grave markers were beautiful and eerie at the same time. It was so still there. So many young men sacrificed everything for the welfare of their country and to free those oppressed by the evil forces of the Nazis.

We walked on the beach at Omaha where numerous French families were enjoying a perfect summer day splashing in the waves and picnicing on the beach. My brother-in-law pointed out how flat and wide the beaches were. How it was through sheer numbers the American forces were able to overcome the Germans entrenched on the cliffs above.

We walked through the battlefield at Point du Hoc, and saw the remains of the German bunkers - cement bunkers and gun stations dug deep in the earth and protected with barbed wire. The land there is forever scarred.

Today I remember the artifacts I saw last summer that speak of the sacrifices those soldiers made, and I appreciate the sacrifices that have been made in the more recent past by others serving and protecting our country.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


This doesn't bode well for a June DTC for me. My receipt is dated April 14, 2006.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Thanks, I Needed That!

Thanks to those of you who left me such supportive comments in response to my last post. I'm back on the band wagon of optimism and hopefulness. That I-171H is going to show up soon, I'll wrap this paperchase up and be DTC next month - anyway that's my plan.

I think I'm just weary. It's the end of the school year and there are a million things that need to be done - meetings about students who might be retained, class building for next year, cumulative folders, archival portfolios, final assessments, grades, report cards, and packing up and moving to a new classroom. I'm feeling overwhelmed. I always do this time of the school year, but somehow it always gets done.

I'm also working on two papers for my master's class that are due by Wednesday night. So, while I'd rather be relaxing and enjoying the overcast weather (seriously, it's supposed to be cloudy all weekend) I'll be attached to my iBook.

One more thing about last week...

On Wednesday night we held our Open House at school. My students and I had worked very hard to prepare our classroom for the night - it was sparkling clean and decorated with their art and writing. I think it was a real feast for the eyes. It was great to see my students with their families - they were little tour guides. I even got to see several former students of mine who are middle schoolers. That's always a treat. And I saw a family whose daughter was in my very first fourth grade class at another school in the district ten years ago. Their youngest is entering fourth grade in the fall and he attends my school. He was just a newborn back then. His sister has just completed her first year of college. Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a real honor to see these kids grow up and to be connected to their families in this way. I can't imagine doing anything else professionally with my life.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Life is Uncertain (Eat Dessert First?)

What a week... Referrals are coming in for a lucky few and rumors are swirling about China's intentions from here on out. I'm so happy for the families who are receiving their referrals and the families who are preparing to leave next week to meet their daughters. I mentioned the referrals to my class today, and one of my students said he'd like to get on the computer to see those pictures!

Anyway, back to the uncertainty theme I eluded to in the title of this post. It sounds like China is getting ready to announce some changes to their international adoption program. People are speculating that it will effect those applicants who are seriously overweight, have some skeletons in their closet, or possibly single applicants. I do know that my agency sent out an email a couple days ago that addressed the slowdown and encouraged those of us in the paperchase to hurry up and get our dossiers submitted. It made me wonder what the outcome of this journey will be.

I have wanted a family ever since I was a little girl. My role model was my mother who was a SAHM. I thought that's what little girls did when they grew up - marry and have babies. Instead, I've become way more educated and independent than I ever thought I would be, which is a good thing, but I just never thought this is what my life would be like at 38. I've waited for my Mr. Right to help me make that dream of having a family a reality, but once I couldn't wait anymore I decided to adopt. I have been working so hard and making sacrifices so that this can happen. I would just be devastated if China decided that they didn't want to give their babies to single women like me.

While we all wait for China to let us in on their plans, I keep checking my mailbox for that I-171H. No I-171H, no DTC...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pandora's Box

Last night my niece, Rebecca, told me about a cool site online - Pandora.

Pandora is a personalized radio station. You simply put in the name of an artist or song that you enjoy, and Pandora finds other artists and songs with a similar vibe and adds them to your own playlist - automatically. You can have as many radio stations as you like.

I set mine up this morning and have been listening while I read the paper and surf the web. It's very cool!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Julie!

A happy, albeit belated, birthday to my little sister, Julie. Yesterday was Julie's birthday and I did get to see her and wish her well, but I meant to post about it, too.

Julie is my only sibling - my baby sister.

She is a gracious friend and a loving and devoted mother and wife. Julie has an amazing green thumb - her yard is a riot of colors and textures. She is an outstanding cook and she and her husband frequently entertain friends and family in their beautiful home. Julie is an effective teacher, in fact it was she who inspired me to become a teacher. She is a voracious reader - we definitely have that in common. She has a servant's heart and she loves God.

I am blessed to have a sister and a friend like Julie.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Jumping for Joy!

Don't know why I couldn't see my package on the FedEx site, but when I called the SOS office to inquire about my documents, the woman I spoke to gave me the tracking number. Well, that little number proved to be the ticket to my sweet relief. My documents are at the FedEx site in Huntington Beach right now and will be delivered to my worksite this morning. Thank you, Lord! Now I can proceed with my day and not be under a cloud of uncertainty and worry.

p.s. My documents have been delivered and they are in my sister's hands. I've told her to protect them with her life if necessary!

- one more p.s. -

I went to my sister's a little while ago to pick up my docs. I just couldn't wait... Mostly, I wanted to know if they'd authenticated all of them, because there were two I was sort of concerned about. Thankfully, all twelve documents were authenticated! Now, I just need that I-171H...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Who's Got My Docs?

So, no FedEx delivery today. I was checking the FedEx site last night and today and knew something was wrong when there were no shipments in my account window. Concerned, I called the SOS again, and after waiting about *30* minutes on hold, a nice man answered the phone. He checked up on everything for me and told me that my documents were done yesterday after the FedEx pick up. So, that means they should be delivered to my school tomorrow.

Wouldn't you know it, I'm taking tomorrow off to write papers for my master's class! I'll have to make a trip back to school tomorrow when they show up, because I'm not taking chances and leaving them there over the weekend!!!

post script - as of 8:36 p.m. my documents are still not showing up on the FedEx site. What is going on?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Maybe Arnold Reads My Blog?

I just got through to the secretary of state's office, and my documents were processed yesterday and sent out today. That means they should come via FedEx tomorrow morning! Yippee!

Now I just hope all of them met the criteria for authentication. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hey, Arnold!

I want my dossier docs back!

It's been two weeks since I sent my documents up to Sacramento for authentication, and they haven't come back yet. I'm hoping they return to me by Friday.

Saturday will mark three weeks since my fingerprint appointment. How much longer you wanna bet I wait for that I-171H?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Too much...

...chocolate cake. That must be why I weighed in 1.6 pounds heavier than last week.

That and maybe a little PMS - come on, it's tough to be a girl! There were just too many temptations last week with it being Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother's Day. I'm also finding it hard to eat within the 20 points a day, especially when cake is being served.

Okay, I'm done with the excuses. I'll try harder this week!

It is my sister's birthday this week. I wonder if there will be cake...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, mothers-to-be, grandmothers, and aunties.

For those of us still waiting for our Chinese daughters, here's to speedy referrals!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Teacher Appreciation Week

The first week of May is technically Teacher Appreciation Week, but in my district that's state testing week. So, we hold out for the second week of May. My class was so thoughtful this week. I recieved many bouquets of flowers, body lotions, shower gels, gourmet teas, pretty notecards, a hand knitted scarf (stunningly beautiful), and at least $50 in Starbucks gift cards. I do enjoy the students' generousity!

Furthermore, the PTO held a really lovely luncheon for us on Wednesday. They had a theme of A Day at the Races. The food was delicious and the decorations were so creative. Our PTO is run by some amazingly devoted and energetic parents.

A side note for those of you with kids or those of you who will have children one day - there are some gifts that are more pleasing to most teachers than others, and it has nothing to do with how much you spend. Gifts I really enjoy are gift cards, because even if the amount is small I can use them whenever I want and put them towards something I'd like to have. Favorite gift cards amongst my peers and I are Starbucks, Blockbuster, and Barnes & Noble. Oh, and movie tickets and carwash certificates are great gifts, too.

I strongly suggest you don't purchase lotions and shower gels unless you're certain that the teacher really likes that scent and/or doesn't have an allergy to that product. I can't tell you how many lotions I've not been able to enjoy because the scent was too strong for me.

Gifts I don't usually appreciate are teacher themed jewelry, clothing, or home decor. I don't dress like that and I don't decorate my house like that either. But, if your child's teacher frequently wears things like that, then it's probably okay.

Lastly, a homemade card with a sincere statement of appreciation and a bunch of flowers from your garden are always appreciated. It's the thought that counts!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Everything's Coming Up Roses

English Sachet - hybrid tea, but very similar to the English roses.

Iceberg - a great landscaping rose. It blooms all the time.

Evelyn - a David Austin. My personal favorite, although it's not in full bloom, yet. It's stunningly beautiful and highly fragrant. This bush survived the most callous treatment by some landscapers a couple years ago. It has forgiven me by growing back as healthy and beautiful as it was before they dug it up in the middle of summer and threw it on the grass!

Leonardo da Vinci - usually blooms just once a season, but twenty or more blooms like this on one bush make a strong statement.

Roses are my favorite flowers. My home has a rose theme throughout, and my yard has about twenty different types of rose bushes. Since I got around to pruning them later than I should have, they are beginning to bloom just now. I can't tell you how much I enjoy these first blooms, so I thought I'd share them with you so that you can enjoy them too.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Winning Points!

I'm telling you... This WW thing really works! I just weighed in this afternoon and I've lost a total of 5.2 pounds in just two weeks. The only thing is that now I can only consume 20 points worth of food per day. That's down from 22 points a day. Oh, well... Those points can be earned back by exercising - something I'm not very consistent about. I'd be much better about a daily walk if I had a buddy to go with. Yes, I can take one of the dogs with me, but neither of them is much of a conversationalist. If I talk to them while we walk, people give us funny looks... I have been walking a mile with my class most days right before we go home. Surprisingly, they love it.

I ordered this WW book from last week. It has some really great recipes in it, and none of them takes more than 30 minutes to prepare. I'm looking forward to cooking something out of it soon.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

One Week...

...since my fingerprint appointment. I've been told to expect a four to six week wait for the I-171H.

In the meantime, I need to put together my picture pages and have my passport-sized pictures taken.

I hope it's still realistic to be DTC next month. I'm ready to be done with the paperchase and move on to the big waiting game.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Well, twelve of my precious documents are on the way to Sacramento to spend a little time with the Secretary of State. It was difficult to let them out of my hands! It's terrifying to think of them being lost! I used FedEx, so they should be okay. I included a FedEx envelope and shipping label for them to be returned to me also.

I went ahead and sent them now, even without the I-171H because I think a couple of the documents might be rejected. A friend, who is a notary, pointed out that on two of the documents the notaries had not used the required wording that the state had begun to require in January of this year. So, if they're going to be stringent about the wording and reject them, I'll have a few weeks to have them notarized again before the I-171H arrives. Otherwise, if I were to hold off and they were rejected, it would delay my DTC. I'm just trying to think ahead and anticipate things before they take me by surprise and bum me out!

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Few Pounds Lighter

This week's weight loss - 3.4 pounds! It works! Who knew?