Saturday, May 30, 2009

Preparing and more


A very sweet gift from a very thoughtful friend. Thank you, Sarah K.

Congratulations Kole and Nika! Kole just had his preschool graduation and I can not even explain his cuteness during the program... I have to figure out my video software. Nika has just a few more days and she has graduated 3rd grade! Jadyn, she is graduating 3 and wants to be off and running at school already. Funny thing I forgot to mention: Kole's school did mother's day fun and they made portraits of their mother and wrote something about them. One of his school mates wrote... "My mother loves vegetables and alcohol." Alcohol?!@

Well, quick run down. 13 days to go... I'm silly, I count a day ahead (tomorrow) and then leave off Saturday when I leave because I'm going to have to drug myself to get any sleep that night. Too excited. In fact, I'm worse then the kids when it comes to Disneyland and family vacations (go to sleep at 11 or so... eyes just open at 4 am... or worse I am up every hour & then squeezing my eyes trying to pretend to sleep for hours.)

So we know when we are leaving, have tickets for coming back home... hoping all goes well and we can come home as scheduled... praying everything is in order. Hey, at least if something happens... Milana is ours and we'll be together with each other while enjoying ourselves in TW.

Now, we have a little surprise joy; we were offered to Skype with Milana right before we leave. How cool is that!? At first I was terrified... what in the world am I going to say... then it hit me... I never ever run out of things to say! ha ha We'll have a translator and my family is out here for a graduation so one great part... my mom can meet her too and my sister and her children. For the others, I'm video taping it... unless someone knows of a way to tape it on Skype? Anybody? I learned a song in Mandarin... hopefully, I'm brave enough to sing it. I'm going to have a friend check my words first... still trying to prefect some though.

Next, I have been making taxi cards... what else. I have some to restaurants that are fairly American comfort foods and I will post them later this week... sorry that list will be long. If I can figure out a document to download, I will otherwise... get ready for the boom.

Ha ha... I think I've been reading alot of Chinese English because I did spell check and "surprise" came out "supise"... I never leave out "r"s (what English speaking American can't be harsh on those bad-daddies) That's what happens when you scourer the net for travel tidbits.

And lastly, to my waiting friends... may your heart find some comfort and your worries cease and may your little blessings be home in your arms soon. I still feel your pain, I do.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

20 Days and I love Picture Software

20 Days until the day of lift off! Woohoo! I have nerves... so many nerves... who wouldn't?! Very surreal. WOW. Ok... now who knows about bottled water? Can I take it on the plane? Do you have to buy it in the airport or can I pack unopened bottles in my carry-on? Does it need to be packed inside the luggage instead? Anyone ever had something explode that they packed all over the inside of the their suitcase?

Husband loaded the PICTURE SOFTWARE! Yippee! Well, he built this new fancy pc and I haven't figured out the magic of plug in your item and the pc finds and downloads all software for you... so I had to wait for him to do it. But you guys finally get more pics & me! I Next I have to load my cd's of pics so my family can be on the blog again.... darn html.

Some of my silly family! Siblings: 4, Nieces and nephews: 4 (one is hiding on her mom) My Mama, my brother in law and my husband and children.

Finally posting pictures of the egg hunt!

Nika had to work for that egg. Great spot Grandpa!

Kole's expressions are just so cute and funny.

The egg hunt excursions' results.

This is the way everyone watches TV right?

Don't tell her that she has piggies. Shhhhhh And she says she's Rainbow Bright today.

Odd strange dead bug we found out back.

Burial for said bug.

WOOHOO! Congratulations to "A"! My niece is Graduating this year!

Nika took this picture of me. Sorry not right after I recently cut and dyed the hair but oh well. =0)

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Oops... just realized that I might have given the impression that I'm going to drag Milana everywhere whether she's screaming or not. Actually... that Formosa Land would be just for me (I've never grown up). hee hee Don't worry... all good. If I have to get meals at 711 and snack all day at the park to keep Milana happy, will do. =0)

Kole, Jadyn and Nika were allowed to blow bubbles all over the yard the other day (you know the multi-packs for weddings... yeah). Well, by the time I said ENOUGH: Jadyn drank the bubbles and was spitting and foaming at the mouth, Nika was super super sticky (mostly her hands... she is never really messy) and Kole had somehow spilled the bubbles down his pants!@? So he took off his pants and I find him outside buck naked! What?! Yeah, you can see why there are no pictures! There were bubbles spilled all over the concrete and I still haven't sprayed it off... still trying how to tactfully do it without making an even bigger mess.

So I have Jadyn crying and screaming about the bad tasting bubbles which are foaming all over the place and in her hair and Kole running around screaming bubbles in my pants! Nika is just saying MOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM! HEEEELLLLLPPP! All I was doing was the laundry and in two seconds... Bubble Madness!

Oh and when I post more stuff soon about travel stuff.... I'm just an overprepared kind of person and like to cover all bases and what-if's. Plus I think after waiting a year, I've gathered enough ideas to share with future travellers. Please don't worry; I really won't torture Milana with too much... I'm a stay at home mom... I can handle staring at the same wall for a week. ha ha

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Found the Museum

Eslite ... oooooooh WOW! Okay, we HAVE to go to this Children's Museum and then bookstores and boutiques for kids in the same area. I'm going to have so much fun playing... hopefully Milana will too. Definitely heading to the zoo and taking pics of Milana at different landmarks (of course probably some of my own ideas of landmarks too). Thanks for the ideas.

Determined to find this smile kid learning store. I want to find bilingual books too. Official Website and here's a map

Activities Guide ... would LOVE to go to Formosa Wonder Land... but probably not going to happen. Also wanted to soak up some Peitou. The hardest part is going to be narrowing things down... See, it should not have taken this long to get travel because now I've been looking for so long and so many people have given me great ideas that I have too much itinerary. Don't get me started on what I would love to do in areas besides Taipei.... I'd need a month.

If anyone knows about some Dragon Boat Festival fun, let me know. I know they celebrate it at different times and we will be there the week before June 27, 2009!... official Dragon Boat day this year.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Booked Tickets!

Milana Monkey! You fit right in with all my other monkeys!

Milana, I love Cream too.

Alright! Thanks everyone for your kind words. A sweet friend of mine said I sounded like I was an Oscar winner giving a speech. hee hee I'm not even sure I remember what I wrote.

Okay so here is the travel-low-down. 13th Leave America! 14th arrive nice and stinky and sleepy. 15th survive Jetlag and the 16th Meet Milana! 17th AIT... 18th free day. 19th pickup Visa and then fly home. AIT closes for Tues. and Thursday for some summer hours it seems so we have an extra day that I didn't count on with Milana in TW for site-seeing. Any ideas of fun things to do with kiddos, let me know.

Also booked the hotel in Chinese last night. Took two hours to translate but all good now! It was very funny imaging how many people try to book their hotels online in a language and characters that they can't decipher. Yes, I could have gone to an online booking company that writes in English but hey, why not go the adventurous route and see what happens.? Just kidding, the real reason was I wanted a specific room and could only be absolutely sure I booked it through the website. Every broker we went to only made it seem like we would only get a double size bed... uh no, we want the king.

We are staying at the Dolamanco. Never heard of it... yeah me neither but I like it! I found it about 8 months ago and kept on eye on it. It used to have reservations in English so I had already made an account with them with a log in etc. Good thing too because no more English for me after a few months.

This hotel is small, about 30 rooms and across from a giant park. It doesn't cost much at all but is considered in the mid-range price on all the websites. We'll let you all know how it goes and if anyone wanting to save some moolah can benefit. Also, we're from Vegas, the land of excessive amenities and some of the best hotels in the world... we just need a room and to bring our daughter home. Shoot, compared to those hospital rooms where I first met my other children... this place is a mansion. Oh, and it is on the same road as AIT about a block away... with my over planning self... I have to make our AIT appt., rain, typhoon, or bad Taiwan traffic!

Next comes more packing. I have quite the list of things that I've been packing away. I'm really good at organizing though and bringing essentials (ok and a few pieces of the kitchen sink). I'll post a rough draft for you all later... so you can tell me what I've left out or you can have a list for yourself. =0)

Happy Day!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Invitation to Travel and Introducing Milana! Finally!

This is our precious Milana Lee Hsiu Yu... making her marvelous debut into our world on ...
TUESDAY, JUNE 16th!!! AIT will greet us on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17th and all our family will be together on FRIDAY, JUNE 19th 2009 (late after flying in reverse time zone wise)!!! We WILL have Milana in our arms!

Join me, will you, in feeling the amazing rush of "FINALLY"! I checked the email.
Started screaming, WE HAVE TRAVEL across the house. Rush of adrenalin, excitement, and blabbering. Here we had an email asking to confirm dates and instead of just immediately replying yes, we virtually sat blabbering about travel until we realized... do that later! Just email the biggest fattest YES ever!

Then came... let's celebrate and get food... too much happiness and all... I got nauseous... what?! Nauseous? Who gets nauseous when they hear good news? I guess I do. Then I had to lie down and breathe. Goodness I seem so weak! Nika seemed stunned and just kept following me around like a sheep. She had that Pongo look from 101 Dalmations where he just had 15 puppies. I'll have to have an age appropriate celebration for her tomorrow and what I mean by that is not watching her mommy go into crazy emotion happy buzz where she is just oblivious to all going on around her. Oh you want to dump my favorite plant in the garbage, go ahead. Oh you want to flush Star Wars toys down the toilet and pretend they are in a black hole, how nice. J/j that didn't happen but it could have.

I can't believe we are ACTUALLY GOING! FOR REAL! I just keep smiling and laughing and shaking my head. My husband and I feel so happy and relieved. Just wait until the kids really get it tomorrow! Okay I need some brownies or mint ice cream or something (yeah it's 11 o'clock at night). After 1 year and 10 days... we will have Milana in our arms! AAAHHHHH

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!? Oh and I have to do a speech of some kind and say thank you to all the people that had the utmost patience with me as we waited. I can never express my gratitude for all your uplifting words and encouragement when I was very low. Thank you... you never know just how much your words carried me. I have to thank FEC and SLC for struggling and plunking away at this hard case but never giving up and making this a success. To my waiting friends... come along with me... I have room in my suitcases... we can just forgo clothes right? It's for the good of our babies! just joking... about forgoing clothes that is... I really want you to come.

MY little Milana is coming home, OUR little Milana is coming home.

Please enjoy a few pictures I have received over the past year, and smile and cry along with me and thank our Heavenly Father for a most precious angel indeed.

Milana scoping out her family for the first time.

Our First Glimpse of Milana. About 13 months old.
Milana about 18 months old wearing the outfit we sent her and the book of family photos... she looks like she is very inquistively asking, "Now what do I do with this?" Daddy thinks and keeps teasing me that she will love pop tarts... I don't like pop tarts. He's usually right on things like that though.
Milana and her first update photo... so cute in her styling matching hat, shirt and capris that the foster family dressed her in! They have cute fashion taste... nice! about 17 months
Milana visiting the orphanage complete with locks that scared me at first... I thought she had curly hair and I don't have any children with curly hair. I was certain I would screw her hair up. Then I realized it had to be curled... wait a minute... those are extensions! Milana... you so ROCK that look! She was 22 months in this picture.
And we get to love on you in one month... see you soon, Love Mommy, Daddy, Nika, Kole, and Jadyn. AH HA... I CAN SAY SOON AND MEAN IT!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Crossing Over Into An Asian World

I am Caucasian. I have lived in many multi-ethnic areas and been immersed in many cultures other than Caucasian. That still does not take away that I "live in a Caucasian World." People look at me and see a white girl. That is an automatic first impression and with it comes stereotypes. I try to erase and blur some of those lines, but it is often not a possibility.

First, understand that I have no problem being Caucasian and it is a gift to be what/who you are and comfortable in your own skin. I love my heritage and all my ancestors have done to allow me the privileges I have (having struggled to immigrate to America). Second, I will never completely understand my daughter's role as an Asian American with a family background of Caucasian and Asian. American... Yes. Asian ... no... not completely. Learn all I can about the culture and beliefs of such a rich history, ethnicity and soulful world, I will do. Teach great values and principles that mirror both American and Asian cultures I can, but walk into a room and be Asian... I can not. That is something she does without me; thankfully she does not do it alone as she will have a whole community of Asian Americans with her doing it everyday in America facing, challenging and breaking down bad stereotypes and building up solid good images. I want to teach all my children to break down walls and barriers. I want them to fully embrace everything about themselves and this world that is lovely and praiseworthy.

Why am I speaking about this. NW Asian Weekly This is a story about one of my favorite shows that is being made into a Movie called The Last Airbender. I love this show. I am disappointed that the cast was not chosen as Asian Americans. Aang Aint White I posted this comment...

"This show oozes Asian flare, from the characters to the culture and beliefs. I've seen every episode with my 4 children and husband. We converted the children to it as well as slyly had our adult friends become hooked as well. I was disappointed and confused when Asian actors were not chosen. Asian American or otherwise, my expectations were to have certain facial traits depicted that quite frankly most often only Asian people have. My daughter often pretends to be Katara, even though her stark blond hair, fair skin and light blue lagoon colored eyes are quite the give away that she is not Inuit. I won't take her pretend play away but I would not have her cast as Katara in a major motion picture either. I have a beautiful Asian daughter with fair skin, dark brownish-black eyes and hair (and a slight upturned upper lip and gorgeous moon shaped face) as well and I could never imagine having her cast as my Caucasian child if a movie was made about our lives as my ethnicity is Caucasian. Can you imagine a Viking not played as a big old Scandinavian brute? To blatantly ignore my daughter's beautiful Chinese features in a movie depicting her life would be appalling, the same as ignoring the ethnic makeup of the characters of Avatar.I understand "modern" movies having role variations of ethnicities, but in a movie that clearly accentuates Asian culture in every aspect, it is wrong to take away something that represents Asian culture at her best, Her People. Asian actors need more representation than being cast just for their ethnicity as well, but to go as far as taking Asians out of their own roles is morally indignant. " (Ok, I put 4 children because I mentally think I have all 4 home, so it should be corrected to say 3 at home but oh well).

Which brings me to this ... Angry Asian Man. I have been reading, keeping an eye on how it "feels" to be Asian American. Imagining what my daughter would feel like everyday while I run around slightly oblivious in my "white world". Of course I am not oblivious, and expect comments and can handle them tactfully, but I can't take for granted some of the "comforts" I've been allotted having "white skin". I just want to make sure that I don't "have a wake up call one day" that knocks me out. I want to make sure that I stay aware of any issue that could face any of my children at all times.

I needed to rant a moment about my favorite show and disappointment over not seeing positive Asian American role model characters to share with my children besides the cartoon characters. I needed a release from remaining mum on a subject that many consider "taboo". I do think that the actors that were chosen more than likely can play the roles quite well; but I know there are quite a few Asian Americans who could also have filled those roles and made a positive contribution to the view of movies cast with a majority of Caucasians as lead roles. Caucasians no need to get your panties in a bunch either... I still love ya'll too. We can share. =0)

One good step forward. Disney is finally creating a movie for African American Princesses everywhere, The Frog Princess. Let's hope this movie really does move us forward. The Frog Princess

We are all one world and all neighbors of one big community... I just hope that one day, this world can play fair in this big old sandbox called Earth.

Standing Ovation for Mommas!

Whoop Whoop it up for all those mommies, honorary mommies, birthmommies, Grandmommies, Godmommies, Fairy Godmommies in our precious children's minds, foster mommies, Step-mommies, soon to be mommies and anyone who has ever been a mother figure to anyone EVER! You all make this world a much more beautiful brighter place to be. I love mommies of all kind... maybe because of my awesome mother who you have no idea how awesome she really is. She's the kind that Oprah should have as mother of the decade.

For those of you waiting to become mommy... I honor you and hope your dreams come true.
For those of you who cannot be with their birthchildren for one reason or another, I honor you and remember you everyday.
For those of you who take the time to be there for a child, I honor you and know you are a hero.
For all those waiting for a mommy, my heart is with you and may you one day be wrapped in that love.
Much love to all those mommies out there... one of God's greatest creatures ever made.

Adoption news: Tentative dates are mid-June. I'm not posting about the exact days because they aren't for sure and a bit untypical, but I'll take anyday to travel at all! The hold up is... dun, dun, dun dun (drum roll) ... paperwork! ha ha I'm so not kidding you. After a year of waiting June 6th... I swear... this is one very unique journey with it's very own blend of special spicy something every now and then. Ok this paperwork isn't one that is in the hands of myself, FEC, SLC or even the courts.... just papers that are needed to make that all encompassing AIT appt. & will hopefully, prayerfully and with much pleading and begging arrive soon to SLC as in tomorrow. No direct confirmation of final so I guess I can't plaster my mom's day post with Milana pics. I am so restraining myself right now.

Thank you Judy and Sarah K., those thoughtful surprises helped make the waiting a bit sweeter. I wore the necklace all day and it's going to be worn today at church. It is a beautiful handmade necklace with mother-of-pearl circles. Each circle has my children's birthstones, names in English and names in Traditional Characters. A beautiful silver pendant swirls around an Asian bead that looks like a tree branches hugging it's treasure and little birthstone drip from it's branch. Lovin it! Thank you Sarah for your thoughtful gifts & letters for my family as they helped me remain hopeful and cheery. Perfect gifts especially for right now. Thank you.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kole can read?!

Kole has started running, but it hasn't been a slow turtle race. No. He is giving Usain Bolt a run for his reading money. I can't believe how fast this little guy is absorbing this challenge. We started off noticing him reading as we drive by Sub shops and pizza places, etc. Next came the street names, which are not easy for half the adults here (Decatur... give it a try). So we have always let him read some words as we read his bedtime stories. Now he is reading them to us! He can read big words like Rainbow, Excited, LiftMaster (garage door opener)... that was last night; he was in the garage and asked how long we've had the liftmaster! ha ha

So I wanted to see his level of reading... I just have been thinking, "Where are you boy and how am I going to know where to start to challenge you this summer?" So I pulled out an old Ginn systems reading book I had in second grade and had him read about 3 pages. I only needed to help him with one to two words per page. What? I'm in awe, in shock and can't help but giggle with amazement. Where did this come from? I have no clue. I wouldn't give me the credit at all; he has somehow pulled off what is so difficult for so many people in the world before reaching kindergarten.

I am just reeling at this revelation and I can't figure out where to go... I'm not a teacher so I don't know the level signs of what to look for. Since he can read and write and acknowledge all numbers etc... how do I keep him challenged, not bored but not overly exerted with his brain power/ I'm at a lost and still in awe by this little guy.

I am in awe of all my children for all their separate talents... you all amaze me at so many different levels and points in your lives. So if you read this when you are older, don't think for one second that I haven't had so many points of amazement's in each of your lives. You are all uniquely amazing and I promise you ALL shock me everyday! ha ha

p.s. In case you are wondering about pictures... hubby built a new pc and we haven't loaded my camera software as well as any old pictures we have... so I am shorted a 1000 words per pic. Bummer.

edit: Kole was in church with Grandma and the teacher was reading and he called her out... "That's not what it says." She was so surprised and of course had to run to Grandma and ask if he can read. Yup... looks like editing stories is gone out the window and now comes the days of stopping mid-story to explain why or why not we do or do not do these things. hee hee

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Messed with HTML

Yup, now my stuff is fritzo. My sister said she couldn't read the blog with the pink and in my attempt to make it a little lighter... we'll just say I messed up. Hopefully, I can find everyone's blogs again. Hopefully, I don't make my blog vamoose.

"You are the best Mommy I Never Had."

Thank you Kole.

Said with Love from my little guy every night. Now Jadyn says it. Nika used to say, My Mommy every night and squeeze the crud outta my head. Ah I love those times. Right now, Kole is hysterically laughing in his sleep... now I can hear him talking away. Even when I have "alone" time, I love feeling their prescence. Just a joyful moment.

Oh and Jadyn has a temper and her favorite saying now when she cools off is, "Mommy, I sorry, I won't never ever ever get mad at you again, only bad guys get mad at, not good guys."

Okay, this hysterical dream was too good to miss... funny man. I went up there and he woke up from his funny dream and told me about it. Something about a man who burned his head and then threw his hands up like "oh well" and walked into the place that burned him.?!@ What???? I guess I just had to be there... I think it went something like along the lines of Charlie Chaplin. Silly silly.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

HaPpY BiRtHdAy to my littlest monkey!

Hi Milana... Happy Birthday sweetie. I hope you had a great day on your second birthday. It's great being two and I'm so very thankful we get to share that year with you soon. I can't wait to meet you and get to know that bubbly little personality I see glimpses of in your pictures. I'm excited to see and her your voice and laughter and to be there for your tears & tantrums. I can only imagine what adventures you will bring to our home. Your whole family is so very eager to celebrate your Homecoming soon. May you have sweet dreams and make a few more wonderful memories with your foster family. We love you. Love Mom, Dad, Nika, Kole and Jadyn & all the extended family you could ever ask for, who all love you dearly. =0)

A week ago was Milana's 2nd birthday. We sang her Happy Birthday and Nika made her a great card. We were going to have a little party but since we found out she'll be home soon, we'll have a low-key little sing-fest when she gets here (that won't be too much for her because we sing all the time & kinda party it up each day with the monkeys). So we will all get a little birthday fun coming along shortly.

Adoption news... well nothing so far. I know our agency is contacting SLC each day about travel dates for us so we will report when we have something. 14 days since first part of final.... good thing I was super busy these last two weeks because I think I would be losing my mind worse than I am now!

I am asking that people give me pointers on international travel. My husband has done it, but I have only gone to Canada which counts as international but very much feels like home at the same time... so I need ideas of any random thought that comes to mind that you would have liked to have known when you travelled.

EEEKEKKK! Are we almost there yet!? Get your spatulas ready to pry me off the ceiling!