Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

A Self Portrait-notice the metal mouth

The Two Witches of the House
The Trick or Treat Gang
Noah the Friendly Ghost
Audrey Trunk or Treats
Audrey wore a pirate outfit to school and a witch costume later to trick-or-treat in. Peaches was happy to play along.
Taylor was glad to be completely incognito...this year he's starting to feel a little silly trick or treating with the younger kids. I told him to give me one more year so that I could enjoy it knowing that it was his last time to trick or treat. He did go to a party at a friends house. When he got home he reported that there were girls there. I about had a heart attack!
Xander was a 'frong' (strong) pumpkin this year. When we stuffed him with shopping bags to plump his pumpkin, he thought that he was getting muscles...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Retail Therapy

It works for me!...and luckily for my husband I am frugal-okay, I'm CHEAP!!! I love a bargain and seem to have a sick talent for finding them. I've been pre-stressing (def. stressing out way before it is even necessary) about the gifts to take to China for officials, SWI directors, etc I've read on other BTDT blogs that this is something that they wished they had not stressed out about before leaving for China because it was so minimal of an event in the big scheme of things in China. The gifts are just placed on a table. They are not opened in front of you and you really have no idea who gets what anyway. The general guidelines for these gifts are that they be made in the USA and not too horribly expensive. I've also heard that items specific to your home state are well-received. So, imagine my surprise to find these Arizona state spoons, thimbles and bells at the car wash today...

Yep, I cleared 'em out. Here's why: The spoons and thimbles were regularly priced at $5.90 each. The bells were $10.50. Wanna guess what I paid for them???................TWENTY FIVE CENTS EACH!!!!!!! So, after some fun with the calculator, here are the official stats. Regular price would have been $167.90 total. I paid $5.75. That's a savings of 97%!!! Now that's what I call a bargain! I plan to take small red gift bags and tissue to China in my suitcase and leave them flat. I'll also pick up some chocolate, hand lotion, etc. and when it's time to leave the hotel with the gifts, we'll just assemble the bags then. Here's a close up of a spoon. Notice the $.25 sticker for proof!

I was feeling a little guilty about paying $17.95 for someone to wash my car for me. The truth is, I don't do it often. I do it myself most weeks but can't reach the top of the Suburban very easily. I figure that if I take it in once a month or so, the top will get cleaned then and I won't worry about it the other times. Needless to say, I think the net financial impact of the errand leans heavily in my favor!!! Now, I'm a bit worried that the fact that I clearance shopped at the car wash and am so excited about it makes me officially WT...

Crappy Week

Uncle Steve-with the boys in Sabino Canyon-March 2006

Papa Brown singing "Jimmy Cracked Corn" with Taylor in July of 1999

Last Monday, we found out that Matt's Uncle Steve killed himself. We knew that he struggled with depression, but never thought that it would come to this. My first reaction was shock, a semblance of which still remains. Next was the anger-what a selfish, crappy thing to do to your family! When does shooting yourself in the head become a better alternative than seeing a doctor and getting some treatment?? Why the hell did he even own a gun???? and my favorite-Thanks (not) for putting us in a postition to have to tell our children about the concept of suicide, not as an abstract, but as the sad reality that came to someone that they dearly loved. It plain sucked and I'm sure that there are credible arguments for why we should have told them something, anything else. Believe me, we thought about it but in the end we knew that they would learn the truth someday anyhow and we didn't want them to look back and realize that we had been anything but honest with them. It was a sobering peek into what the future will hold when we attempt to explain to Meili the circumstances surrounding her beginnings. Sometimes the truth sucks nuts.

Now, we are just trying to remember the good times and there are many. Matt has a whole childhood filled with them. Steve never married or had children of his own but was 'adopted' by Matt and his siblings and cousins. Our kids remember that Uncle Steve helped to build the playset that they enjoy daily and I won't forget that he got my grandma out on the dance floor at her birthday party a few years back.

Matt went to CA for a memorial service and took Xander along with him for some company and a much needed diversion. The night before he was to come home, the call came that his grandfather was not expected to make it through the night. He passed away the next day. We are preparing to travel, as a family this time, to CA next week for a funeral while his grandmother's health seems to be failing as well. Not a good week to be a Bouton...

My Secret Pal Has Done It Again!

Yesterday there was not one, but TWO packages waiting on my doorstep. One for Meili-so neat to see her name on a package!-and one for me.

Meili received these cute Pooh-themed items: a sippy cup, stackable snack containers (I think that if you look at them from the top left to the bottom right, there's possible Gotcha Day scenario A!), a spoon and fork and a cute plush toy.

I received a photo album, tissues with a mom pushing a stroller (how appropriate!), a tooth fairy box (all of our other children have one of these-now Meili does too!), and an adorable August Moon figurine. It says, 'Dream Big.' I love it.

Thanks again, Secret Pal! You're the best!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Have You Seen the Slideshow?

I know that Madonna and her adoption plans are a hot controversial topic right now. I'm not weighing in on that here but wanted to share a cool slideshow found on her Raising Malawi website. The slideshow is set to her song "Frozen." It's a song that I've liked for a long time but I have to confess I never thought of it as a backdrop for a slide show about impoverished children in Africa. The weird thing is that it really works! It's worth checking out-the children are beautiful!...and it will put any of our financial woes in perspective. Click here. Then, after the intro, click on 'See the Slideshow' on the left. Make sure that your sound is turned on.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Our First Pumpkin Patch!

I can't believe that we have never done this before. Where have we been? This was our first time heading out to a farm in the Fall and picking our very own pumpkins. The kids loved riding in the horse-drawn wagon and scouring the patch for the perfect pumpkin. Another family tradition in the making. Blogger isn't letting me post more than one pic at a time(user error, I'm sure) so I'll add them in the next posts.

It Just Might Be Impossible to Take a Bad Picture in a Pumpkin Patch...

Taylor couldn't narrow it down to just one...

Audrey going with the theory that 'bigger is better.'
Noah gets a pumpkin...and a hernia.
Our little pumpkin...with his little pumpkin.

Our kiddos in the pumpkin patch.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's a Long Road...

But we're 7 months down it!
Are we there yet??? Nope.
Maybe half way...if we're lucky.
Here's hoping for a HUGE
batch of referrals this month!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Calling All Waiting Desert Dwellers!

Plans are in the works for a get-together on Saturday, January 13th, 2007 in Tucson, AZ for Desert Dwellers (and anyone who cares to make the trip!) who are waiting for their Chinese daughters or sons. I know that January seems a long way off but with the holidays coming up, I thought we should set a date and make it official before we get swept away in holiday preparations.

Details will follow but so far plans include meeting at a Chinese (or Mexican) restaurant for lunch, pedicures (because we will still be wearing flip-flops in January down here!), and then coming back to my home for dessert and China/adoption inspired fun and games. It should be lots of fun and a chance to meet and visit with others in the same 'slow boat to China!' Post a comment or email me at azboutons@comcast.net if you are interested in attending. Hope you can join us!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Divide and Conquer

Tonight was one of those nights...the parents must split up (divide) to accomplish (conquer) all of the parental responsibilities of the evening. Taylor had his first orchestra performance tonight. He plays the violin and did really well. Here he is with pals Ethan and Kyle. I was able to attend accompanied by Noah and a cooperative (aka-sleeping) Xander.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, a Daddy/Daughter church Halloween party was taking place. The witch and vampire had a fun evening together. The tricky part to the night was that mom was in charge of the food for the DD party so there was some creative coordination involved. But, in the end it all worked out and a great time was had by all.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Somebody Has Noticed That We Are Doing Some SERIOUS Shopping...

Granted, this is subtle enough not to turn away the average consumer-but if I can spot a Chinese baby in a crowd 5 miles down the road, this ad wasn't going to get by me! I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted. Apparently, as consumers of all things baby, the China adoption community is such a force to be reckoned with that there are now ads created just to tug at OUR heartstrings and capitalize on what is the slippery slope of our sanity with the ever increasing wait to referral. Perhaps the increase in wait times is having an effect on retail-America. Maybe the increased wait times are actually a conspiracy between our two countries to extend the period of time that we will be dumping money into the American economy?

What are we all dreaming of? Having our babies home by Christmas! Of course, now it's Christmas 2007, not Christmas 2006, but I digress... Now, thanks to The Children's Pl*ce, the dream won't be complete without coordinating pajamas!!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Missing Meili

I saw this picture when I was scouting out online adoption education courses for myself and for clients and it made me smile...and miss Meili. I don't know if you can miss someone that you haven't met yet, but I miss her.

I'm gearing myself up for a May referral and July travel. Bad news....it will be hot-but we're used to 110 on a good Summer day. Good news....less clothes to pack (more room for shopping!) and the kids will be out of school. As of today, I think that we will take Taylor and Audrey with us to China. We're not telling them, of course, in case things change or we can't affort their airline tickets. I just can't see the kids (the older ones, anyway) missing out on this experience. They are just as frustrated with the wait as we are and they want to meet their sister just as badly as we want to meet our daughter. Plus, Taylor is a good photographer...;o)