Two big letters.........TA!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Can you believe it?  God has done it again!  
Our agency said to expect TA in 2-3 weeks.  That was almost 2 weeks ago.  Yep.  He's in the details.

Well, I was sitting in the kitchen munching on an apple and texting my sister and hubby when I noticed I had some new emails.  I could see that one of them was from our China coordinator, and when I saw the words "Congratulations.  BAAS received your TA this afternoon," I almost choked on said apple.  For real!

So now the planning is kicking into high gear and the packing must commence.  Unfortunately the new camera/laptop backpack I purchased last week was waaaay too big on my petite frame.  So I need to ship it back and try again.  Ugh.  I really want to wear a backpack to tote around all my gear so that I can wear Havi in the carrier without having to keep a bag from falling off my shoulder.  So I really need to pick something quick.  We are hoping to leave mid June after Madeline's dance recital.

Anyway, enough rambling.  Now for some photos.  Shame on me; I didn't get either hubby to snap a photo of me with my sister the weekend of our birthday/Mother's Day.  Pathetic, I know.  I did, however, follow all the littles around as they walked over to the playground and played wildly one night after dinner.
I love watching Caleb take Josh by the hand.  It's a foreshadowing of the weeks to come.
These last two photos crack me up.  I wanted a shot of all the kids together. So Caleb corralled Josh.  Madeline and Leah jumped into the shot.  But I couldn't convince Madeline to put her knees down so she didn't flash the world.
She couldn't take it and up and left.  And the other three came crashing down.  Not quite the end result I had in mind! lol
Anyway, I'll be sure to keep you all posted on our travel plans when we nail them down.  I plan on blogging when we travel. So be sure to check in on us and leave some comment love.  It'll mean a lot to us while we're half way around the globe.

Some of my birthday fun

Monday, May 20, 2013

Last weekend (not this last one but the one before...yep, slacker here) we skipped on over to the Mouse for a little birthday fun for yours truly.  My birthday was actually on a Thursday (the 9th, to be exact).  And wouldn't you know it, but Disney was doing a free afternoon at Blizzard Beach for passholders, which we are.  Since it had been since the water park first opened that I had been there, and none of my beloved peeps had ever been, we thought we head over there for the afternoon.  (I didn't take my DSLR into the water park.  So I snapped these with my iPhone.)

We had an absolute blast!  We started in the kiddie area just to introduce the whole water park concept to the kids without intimidating them.  It worked.  They had a blast in the pre-teen area, walking on "floating ice" and going down the big family raft among others.  We also managed to hit a few head first mat using waterslides, and they LOVED them! I was worried about Madeline's ability to hold on to the mat and whether or not the lifeguard would allow her to slide down.  But she was able to do it, and it wasn't an issue. Woot!  Woot!

It was a great way to spend my birthday.  As I said last year, I just love seeing my kids happy.  That's all I really want on my special day.

We actually stayed that night in a local hotel (we normally just drive home) so we could hit up Epcot on Friday.  The kids had fun checking out the local maps and such while we got checked in.
The next morning we ventured over to Epcot.  The HGTV Flower and Garden Festival was lovely.  The topiaries throughout were beautiful.  Flowers in bloom everywhere.  And vendors too.
Normally our dumplings don't wear flip flops to amusement parks.  All that walking requires good support.  But since we first went to Blizzard Beach, Patrick and I both forgot to pack their sneakers! lol.  Oops.
We ate lunch at the Biergarten restaurant in Germany.  The food was delicious!  Thankfully they had roasted chicken because that's all Madeline ate.  Oh that and Black Forest cake.   Caleb, on the other hand, was adventurous and ate lots of different and new things.  I'm so proud of him.  And the entertainment was quite good too!
We didn't want to miss the 360 degree movie in China. So we made sure to catch it on our way out.  Can you tell it was in the afternoon and quite hot by then???? 
Thankfully there was a freshment stand that shot mist up out of the ground.  These two absolutely loved it!  And got a little soaked while they were at it.  (Good thing for those flip flops!  Who knew?!)
It was so hot they dried off pretty quickly.  We had to take a ride on Spaceship Earth just before exiting. 
And because we still had to drive home, we stopped for a little coffee for the grown ups and donuts for the dumplings.
This boy of ours was so great at pushing his sister around in the stroller.  He's all ready to be big brother times 2!
For those of you who don't know April to June is love bug season in Florida.  They're everywhere!!!! They're harmless but sure are annoying.  When you're driving on the highway, it sounds like it's raining, but it's really love bugs being smashed against your car.  This is what our car looked like when we arrived at Blizzard Beach!  A whole host of dead love bugs.  Nice.
So when we arrived back home, we had some cleaning to do.  Fortunuately, my mother-in-law once told me that Mr. Clean Magic Erasers really do wonders on love bugs.  The dumplings couldn't wait to clean my swagger wagon.
That lasted all of one day because the following afternoon we headed back to Orlando to visit my sister to celebrate our birthday/Mother's day together.  Stay tuned for those photos.

Sunset on the river

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I have lots to share from our birthday/Mother's Day fun last weekend.  But I just had to share these photos first.  

We LOVE watching the sun set down by the river.  Oh yes we do!
The dumplings were already in their jammies, but we ventured over to watch the sunset anyway.

A little getaway and birthday wishes

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Yep, today was my birthday....and my sister's too.  Love having a sister to celebrate our special day together.  LOVE being a twin.  Can't imagine life without being one, really.  We will be getting together this weekend to celebrate.  That makes me happy.  I celebrated today with my dumplings and hubby.  It was F.U.N!  More on that later.

Anyway, these photos here are looooong overdue, as in almost two weeks overdue.  But here they are.  I kept my promise....better late than never.  So I'm posting them.  Our trip to Ponte Vedra Beach...
(with a mix of iPhone photos thrown in) 

Havi came with us.  This is how she travels all the time in Patrick's car. So he decided she'd get away with us too.

After we settled into our hotel room, it was time to grab dinner.  We walked over to this great little Italian restaurant, where my sister and her crew met up with us.

I tried to get a shot of Caleb with his cousins.  Tried is the operative word.  Josh has a mind of his own. I guess I better get ready for that when Havi comes home. lol
The kids played a little as we sorted out rooms and keys.  Caleb was so precious with Josh all weekend.  He is ready to be a big brother to an itty bitty sister!  He's so helpful and compassionate.

Next morning we grabbed breakfast and hung out a bit in the rooms before we headed to the beach.

Yes, that's sand you see in those beautiful, long eyelashes!  It was all over his precious little face!

That night my sister and BIL watched the dumplings while Patrick and I went to a pre-wedding party.  Dinner was held at a restaurant overlooking the water.  It was breathtaking!  And here is the gorgeous couple, Jesse and Shylie.
We had such a fun evening meeting new friends.  We sat at a table with two couples from Alabama.  They know the bride's mom and dad from when they all used to live in Alabama.  To say we hit it off would be an understatement.  We laughed all night!  Seriously.  My mouth hurt from laughing and smiling so much!  New friendships were formed that night.  It's amazing how much we all had in common.  Crazy.

Next morning we had breakfast, or rather attempted to have breakfast.  We waited an eternity for our food to come out.  We were quite grumpy about the whole thing because the littles really needed to eat.
Caleb tried to keep Josh busy by playing with him.
Then it was back to the room/s for chill-axin, as my kids call it.

Then Patrick and I had to clean up for the wedding.  My sister snapped a few photos of us before we left, with my DSLR and iPhone.

Then she snapped a few of Madeline, who escorted us downstairs.

Then there was the wedding.  Ah, the wedding.  Shylie was gorgeous.  Jesse was handsome.  The setting- surreal. It was held at the TPC Sawgrass.  For those of you that aren't up on your golf courses, it's kinda like the 5th Major.  A-mazing!

And this was the view from the clubhouse overlooking the 18th green (beyond all the people.)  I had to keep pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming this up.  The ceremony was absolutely perfect.  So moving.  So full of love.  The atmosphere was sensational.  The music, the dancing...oh Patrick and I were cutting it up!  We truly had a fantastic weekend.  We couldn't be happier for Shylie and Jesse and feel so blessed to be in attendance at their wedding.  And I have to give a big shout out to my sister and BIL for watching the dumplings so we could attend all the events.  We couldn't have done it without you two, or should I say four. lol.

Well, even though today is my birthday, the celebration is going to continue into the weekend.  So I will have lots of photos to share.

Oh, and on the paperchase to Havi, we should have had our Article 5 picked up from the consulate yesterday and overnighted to CCCW@ in Beijing. So the official wait for TA has (likely) begun!  Though I probably still need to confirm it.  We should expect our actual invitation to travel in another 2-3 weeks.  We are getting so close, I really need to do something for the girls' room!  lol. And time to start nesting!

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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