Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sunday Snapshot -- The Zoo...again

We go to the zoo a lot.  An annual pass makes it "free" and it is a great place to practice taking pictures--a win-win for all!  So Black Friday, instead of shopping or staying home feeling like we "should do something," we went to the zoo.

The nice thing about cold overcast days is that means a lot of the animals are prowling about.
Clouded Leopard
Even if they are mostly behind glass.
The sunniest part of the day was when Oak and the kids went into the aquarium and I waited outside to take pictures at my leisure with my non-fogged up lens.
The Peacock was quite the poser, which is not something I can say for my children.
Thankfully our zoo has some beautiful foliage to enjoy even if I didn't get any great pictures of the kids.
Plus there is always the age old question of "what is the difference between a penguin...
...and a Puffin?" to entertain us all.
The zoo labels most...if not all...of their plants, but I almost never remember to read the label.  Oh, well, I think it is pretty.
The Polar Bear had moved away from the pond by the time I had my turn at the window, so I tried to make do.  My son said my first attempt looked like a human foot, so I tried again.  Some lady with a cell phone has the full view shot.
Red Wolf
I filled my card while taking pictures of this guy.  They have a nice, new habitat and zoos across the country are bringing these animals back from the brink of extinction.
But then I saw these purple thankful for back up memory cards.  But now Thanksgiving weekend is almost over...
...time to start celebrating Christmas!

(If anyone wants to visit us, we have 3 guest passes each time we visit the zoo...and ZooLights is quite beautiful.)

Ni Hao Yall


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a most fabulous Thanksgiving!  It is so nice for me to be able to see family and have my husband and kids home for 4 whole days.  Dinner with Oak's family last night, breakfast with them all here this morning, and dinner with my family tonight...then 3 days as a family (except for one "shoot" of a friend's family!)

Also, we are one step...a little step...closer to China.  It appears they matched families with LID 8/3/2006-8/7/2006...5 days.  I was hoping for more, but the fact that they sent a batch at all is great news.  Rumor Queen actually has us in the next batch...and her predictions have been fairly accurate even when I thought she was being hopelessly optimistic.  China can match 8/8/2006-8/15/2006 in one batch.  That would be the best Christmas present ever...better than the 70-200 f/2.8 camera lens which at $2499 is even less likely (as in impossible) than seeing my daughter's face before the new year.

Why do I feel like this?
SnapDragon is always up for a giggle!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If You Spill It

We finally got a desk so we can bring our main computer downstairs and out of our bedroom.  Hopefully it will make it more accessible to the boys as they start to need it more often, but more likely it'll just mean I'm on the computer even more frequently (if that was even possible.) 

Oak was putting it together when Sunflower spilled his glass of coke (only to be expected as it was on the floor next to the interesting parts Sunflower kept trying to steal.)  

I took the glass and got the carpet cleaner.  Then I sat down on the floor to cuddle Sunflower--partly to comfort her as she was upset and partly to keep her away from the mess.  

After a little while Oak handed the wet rags towards me and asked, "Can you rinse these out for me?"

Sunflower lifted her head off of my shoulder, looked at the rags, and said, "No.  I can't.  I'm holding Mom."

Monday, November 21, 2011

No Good News?

I should be doing something cleaning, folding laundry, or at minimum organizing/deleting photos.  Instead I'm watching Doras with Sunflower and checking China Adopt Talk for the latest news.

The current rumor is that referrals should be arriving this week and maybe August 8th is included...maybe not...maybe more.  August 8 would be 6 days matched leaving us 7 more days in front of us.  Really, it is silly.

Whether China matches to the 8, 9, or 10th doesn't make a difference to us.  Our odds of being matched in December is still low, but possible, and our more probable date of seeing our daughter's face is still February/March...and you know, those months are coming really soon anyway.

So clicking and clicking to find the latest news does not change anything...but it does waste time and give me a headache.  I should really turn off Dora and hunt down Sunflower...last I saw her she was heading up the stairs without clothes on and a pile of clothes in her arms to pack.

I guess because we took all three children on Friday to apply for passports she thinks she is going to China with us.  Oak figured we should get them all case we forget to find them childcare for while we are gone or have a need to flee to Canada.  

We got our passports at the start of the process...thank goodness adult passports are good for 10 years or we would have to renew them already.

On a side, related note, at one point I started panicking because we had talked to various people who might watch SnapDragon and Sunflower while we are gone, but I realized I hadn't asked anyone about Huckleberry.  That's because he is traveling to China with us...I hope I remember that when the time comes.

Monday, November 14, 2011


We decided to try to walk-in and have our fingerprints taken today.  Our friend took Sunflower last night so we could hit the road after dropping the boys at school and hopefully make it back in time for the school bell.  I had gotten very little sleep last night, so I was anxious about spending the day at the Department of Homeland Security waiting, waiting, and waiting.  However, several things came together to make it happen and God's fingerprints were definitely in the details.

First, even though I was exhausted, I had recently decided my hair was driving me nuts.  This led to my usual next step, splurging to buy the slightly more expensive shampoo and conditioner my best friend uses on her gorgeous hair.  I am convinced that if I use it frequently enough I, too, will have thick, beautiful, red hair.  By the end of a bottle I am usually happier with my hair as it is healthier and softer, but discouraged by the lack of red and thickness I go back to my bad hair care product purchase habits.  

Anyway, this time, I couldn't remember exactly which line of the product she buys, so I bought the "invigorating" one.  I figured it was just a marketing tool.   Well, no.  Imagine putting medicated chapstick on your scalp.  Kind of tingly and it really does wake you up.  Can I admit I kind of like it?

Then we made good time getting to the office and after going through security with no annoying beeps (last time we were there Oak had his micro-leatherman confiscated not to be returned) the next line was surprising short...3-4 be told to go to window 11 to find out if they would accept walk-ins today...his sad smile and doubtful head shake was quite discouraging.

The next lady at the head of the next quite a bit longer line was the one who would say yes or no.  There were several signs stating aht walk-ins are not welcome.  SOMETIMES our office takes walk-ins, but only when they are not busy, and they were clearly busy today.   She looked stressed and on the verge of a no but we'd prayed for those in power to find favor on us...and it was clear she didn't WANT to turn us away.  

So she gave us some papers and told us to fill it out and get back to the end of her line again.  Fast forward to the front of her line again and she gives us a number.  Then we wait a little longer and our number is called.  Then we go into the fingerprint room and wait in line one last time.  At each time I felt afraid that they would turn us away, but we continued on until completion...and while waiting we heard other walk-ins being turned away by the lady who had replaced our kind-hearted lady.

After only a little over two hours in the office, big happy sigh, it is done!  Now we can spend the day after Thanksgiving as God!  Just kidding, spending it with family being we do have so much for which to be thankful!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 on 11/11/11

I am thankful for:

1.   My God
2.   My family
3.   My friends--real and on-line
4.   My warm fuzzy blanket
5.   My house
6.   My reliably running cars
7.   My camera and all its fun accessories and photography
8.   My access to food
9.   My husband's job
10.  My activities--MOPS, Jeremiah Bible Study, Photography class, etc.
11.  All the Veterans and their families who sacrifice for My freedom
     (Thank you Captain...soon to be Major...Awesome)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Trip

We spent last weekend down South with Oak's brother and his (Oak's brother's) wife.  It was a great weekend of good conversation, excellent food, and slightly wild children.

Of course we did spend time at the Science Museum since our annual pass in not yet expired.  There are more Science Museum photos on my photography blog.
  They have lots of interesting things for the kids to try out.
And I tried the instruction from my photography class to take pictures from no higher than 3 feet.  My teacher said fashion photographers never take pictures from higher than that.
Doesn't it make Oak look like a fashion model...even if he did move away before I could play with my exposure more.  I've known to get down on eye level with the kids, but had never tried it with adults.
SnapDragon did excellently well on this math puzzle.  I am very proud of his math abilities...if not his hair cut.
We did have Sunflower use the bathroom before playing in the water...first dry trip at the Science Center...though Sunflower did try to take her shirt off because "it is wet!"
Then burritos for lunch, trip to the camera store, and an evening at the house which included some delicious homemade pizza and a movie.
Sunday Breakfast was smoothies and a scrumptious lemon, blueberry coffee cake.  Aunt H is a very good cook.
Are you ready to play yet, Aunt H?  Are you done yet?
Time for the second game of Settlers.  Poor, Uncle B, he just cannot understand the illogical thinking of 7 year olds.  Aunt H crushed them all.
We ended the visit with lunch at the best Vietnamese restaurant ever.  The owner will even make a bowl of plain noodles for those picky little 7 year olds...and grill a chicken breast to go with the noodles for little sister.
This is why my mother refused to watch us eat noodle soup when I was a child, but what is one to do with chop sticks?
Then good-byes in the parking lot though I was so busy taking pictures I didn't realize I'd left my purse.  Uncle B will pick it up and mail it to me...thankfully I have my wallet with my driver's lisence. I would have so much trouble breaking the rules or staying home for this next week.
Then we made a beeline for Oak's sister's church to see our niece get we couldn't stop and let me take pictures of the beautiful sky behind us.  That's mirrors are fun.
Ended the evening celebrating at the church with coaco and snacks.  
Huckleberry even had a chance to show his saxaphone (school rental) to his musically gifted Cousin J.  And I got a chance to practice more night photography...take off the glasses is my tip of the day.
Sweet Shot Day

Fingerprint Appointment

Today we got the notice for our fingerprint appointment which we need to get our I-800a approval.  The appointment date is November 25th...yes, black Friday.  We may or may not be able to go in on an earlier date which may or may not speed up our approval...we'll see; a Friday holiday may just give us more babysitting options or less.

In the meantime, Sunflower is well on her way to learning to eat with chopsticks...
Or not.  It is too bad since she is not the optimal person to teach baby sister the alphabet either as she sings it:

A B C D S O B H I J L M N O P...Always A B C D S O B.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Have China on My Mind

Tuesday, Sunflower and I were playing outside. Sunflower saw a spider on the slide just as she was about to climb up it. (Yes, my children are allowed to climb up slides.) This was her expression:
I told her the spider was had gone so far it was probably now in China.

"No!  Not China!  That's where my baby sister is!"
"Don't EAT my baby sister!"

She chased that spider down so it wouldn't get to her baby sister.  (It is always baby sister...never just baby...or just sister.)

Then today Sunflower was playing and said, "I'm a baby, wah, wah!  I need to go to China."

"China is where the babies are."

We have some things to clarify.  I am not going to tell you all the things she said about baby sister, China, and tummies.