Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pumpkins and Apples and Prada, Oh My!

Saturday was our annual family trip to Land of the Giants pumpkin patch and the uber-commercial Illinois playground known as Apple Holler. I mean, I'm just sayin', no one should wear Prada shoes to the apple orchard. No one. Don't get me wrong, once you wade through the sea of BMW-driving, perfectly pressed yahoos, the orchard is lovely. I guess they probably don't do the pick-your-own apple thing, what with their Prada shoes and all. Grrr.

Anyway, Land of the Giants is on Highway 11 in Sturtevant and is so worth the trip. They specialize in growing big pumpkins...really GIANT pumpkins. And they have goats that walk up ladders to platforms and llamas that are trimmed to look like standard poodles (freaky) and a corn maze and portable toilets with hand sanitizer. Good stuff.

So I'm sitting in the portable toilet taking care of business when I hear Josiah's voice from next door:

Josiah: "Ummm, Abu?"

Me: "Yes?"
Josiah: "Ummm, is the stuff in the dispenser hand sanitizer? 'Cuz that's not a sink, it's a urinal and if it's not hand sanitizer in the dispenser, then we can't wash our hands because if it's soap then there's no place to get water because that's not a sink, it's a urinal."
Me: "Yes, Josiah, it's hand sanitizer."
Josiah: "Thanks Abu."

I love kids.

Anyway, so we picked out our pumpkins (mine is full of warts, Dan's is triangular and everyone else's is perfect) and headed out to Apple Holler for apple pickin' and apple eatin'. And just in case you didn't know, watching a toothless 6 year-old eat an apple is one of life's great joys. I'm convinced of it. Life is good.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Our nephew Samuel has an amazingly adorable and inspiring love for all creatures. People, rodents, cats, hermit crabs...and as of Saturday, baby snapping turtles.

We spent Saturday afternoon at a party for my Aunt out in the boonies. While everyone was busy enjoying the campfire, someone noticed a baby snapping turtle had come up from a hole in the ground. And then another came up...and another. And before you knew it, we had collected some 14 itty bitty hatchlings in a stainless steel mixing bowl for safe passage to the river. (I am continually amazed by the versatility of the stainless steel mixing bowl. My Mom still has the bowl we all barfed in as kids--affectionately named 'puke bowl.' The thing about that bowl is that it was never held away from its kitchenly duties because of its part-time job... I love that bowl.)

And I love that Samuel.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Door County 2008

3 years ago, my family began an annual tradition of spending Labor Day weekend at the Glidden Beach Resort in Door County. We hang out, eat, play at the beach, eat, play rousing games of bingo, shop, play at the beach...you get the point. I highly recommend everyone spend at least one weekend a year with the beach in your backyard. And bring along lots of people you love. It's pretty much the bee's knees.

A few pics from this year's adventure below. Josiah is 8, Samuel is 6, John Thomas is 5, Aidian is 4 next month, and Tommy is 22 months. I mean, do kids get any cuter than this?!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to Blogland with an Adoption Update...

Where does time go? I have no idea, but somehow nearly 4 months have passed since our last post. And I must have thought "hey, I should blog about that" a million times between then and now. I have no excuse. But I do have news that will eventually...some day...lead to my excuse for getting nothing done...

Today referrals began rolling in quite unexpectedly, as it has only been 22 days since the last round. (That's a record!) For those unfamiliar with the China adoption process, the CCAA (government agency in China that handles both domestic and international adoption) sends out batches (for lack of a better word) of referrals (the matches!) about once a month. China's system is very orderly. Upon receipt, the CCAA scans the dossier of every family seeking adoption through China into their system. The date of that "log in" is known as your "LID" (log-in date) and marks your place "in line". When we started this process in summer of 2005, the CCAA sent out about 30 days of LIDs every month and families received their referral about 7-8 months after LID. By late 2005, the CCAA began sending out fewer and fewer referrals each month. Within the past year, an average of 6 LIDs have been referred each month.

We have been logged-in since 02-23-06. Yep, since February 23, 2006. Yep, 30 months. Yep, 30 months and still counting.

So, the news? Well, the CCAA, with the round of referrals received by agencies today, has made it into February 2006! OUR MONTH! Matches have been made for families logged-in through 02-09-06.

What does this mean for us? Well, according to the China Adoption Forecast website (http://chinaadoptionforecast.com/) updated today:

Our prediction for LID 2006-02-23:

China has 14 days of dossiers to be processed before they get to your dossier. China currently processes about 6 days of dossiers each month.

Our best guess:

Since China generally sends out referrals in a batch about once per month, your referral date could easily vary +/- one month depending on whether you just get included or just get missed in a particular batch.

Will we really have our referral in November? Who knows?! November, December... But the point is that there are only 14 days of dossiers to be matched before they get to ours. We are really close! (Though not close enough for my Mom who wants this kid here yesterday...) We will travel to bring K home 6-8 weeks following referral.

So much to do, so little time!