Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What are you waiting for?

So, how close are we to being a family of eight?  Pretty darn!  A week ago I was letting you know that we got our LOA {Letter of Acceptance}, which is just a fancy way of saying, CHINA SAID YES!  So, why aren't we on a plane yet?  Why isn't he in our arms already???

Well....there is the matter of not having all our funds together yet for one thing.  But, that isn't the big hold up.   There is a process. And this time {as opposed to when we adopted Claire}, it's different.  Last time we went from LOA to TA to China.  Not so this time around. 

Right after we received and signed our LOA, we sent it back on it's way to China so they would know that we accept Asher as our son.  Then we quickly filled out some paperwork for immigration and sent that in to immigration services. 

Over the weekend, we received a letter stating that they have that paperwork and are reviewing our case to declare Asher {an orphan} as a citizen upon his adoption. 

So, what we are waiting for next is our I-800 Provisional Approval.  This should happen in the next week or so is what I hear.  Then it has to be forwarded to the National Visa Center. 

The National Visa Center will send a notification in the mail that the I-800 Provisional Approval has been forwarded to the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  This takes a week or three, but you can call or email them to get a copy of the letter emailed to you so you can move on to the next step.

And, the next step is that the Adoption Unit is going to issue an Article 5 letter to verify that our case meets all the Hague requirements.  This step takes another couple of weeks.

Then China Center for Adoption Affairs will issue a Travel Approval {TA}, which will be mailed to our agency and forwarded to us.  This takes a few more weeks, but once it comes, our agency can request an appointment with the US consulate.  And, once we know when our appointment will be, we can book our trip! 

Whew!  Makes me tired thinking about it.  But, there you have it.  That is what we are waiting for! I'm not packing my bags yet.  But, I don't think I'm going to have much free time come January.  We believe we will travel immediately following Chinese New Year.  We'd love to go sooner, but that would take a whole lotta forward movement quickly!  The government isn't known for that, now is it? 

Then we will get to scoop him up in our arms and bring him HOME! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't forget!

I wouldn't want you to forget the Thirty-One catalog sale that is going on right now!  If you are in need of any bags, purses, wallets or key fobs, this is the place for you.  This Thirty-One sale is courtesy of Erin Johnson and the proceeds go to our adoption fund!  How fun is that?  Shop and donate all in one!  Feel free to browse the catalog with this link!

The last day to place an order will be this Saturday, the 4th!  Got questions?  According to all my friends these bags are the bomb! 

As a thank you to anyone placing an order, I am giving away a cookie bouquet!  Yum Yum!  Get a lookie at these cookies!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks!

Right now I am sitting in my living room, enjoying the quiet and reveling in the fact that my home is already decorated for Christmas!  The guys have gone off to shoot guns and do guy things and the girls are outside with friends.  Me?  I'm sitting here with the Christmas tree lights on, giggling at the sight of all our stockings hung on the mantle, loving my life and remembering everything I have to be thankful for!  That is what I'm doing. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how well Thanksgiving went.   It was the first time my side of the family came to our home for Thanksgiving.  We are the only ones that don't live in my hometown and so usually go to them.  This year, they came to us! 

There were sixteen of us. Oh, and seven dogs.  Seven dogs y'all! Fifteen  of us and no dogs are pictured here! I cooked for them, they posed for pictures for me.  It was a good trade-off! 

My clan 

It all started with these two!

I'm the oldest of three sisters.  Not surprisingly, I have the largest family!  This will be our last Thanksgiving as a family of six....yes, we are a family of seven when Lizzie is with us.  But next year, we will be a family of seven, eight when Lizzie is with us!

Jennifer is the middle sister and she was here with her daughters, Brooke and Megan, as well as Brooke's boyfriend, Matthew. 

Amy is the baby.  She was here with her husband, Charles and their children, Brianna and Christian.

We managed to get TEN around the kitchen table!

And the six youngest of the group in the living room.
The newly painted living room, thanks to my Isabel!  That kid is an awesome painter, I tell you!

The turkey....MmMmMmMm good!

The pies....even better!
It was so much fun to cook and decorate and set tables and eat and laugh and play!

Jennifer is a natural with decorations and took charge of decking my halls!  I am so thankful for that help this year and for her spin on things.

Amy and Brianna became the mother-daughter-photography-team!  I am so thankful that they were there to capture all the best moments on memory card for me!


Claire enjoyed hanging out with the adults while the kids played upstairs.  She wanted to hang ornaments....that's my girl!

Having some down time with Papa.

I am thankful that my mom fought her way back to being well enough to travel for the first time in two years.  There was a time this past year when I wasn't sure she would ever be able to come back to Charleston.  She showed us! 

I am thankful that my dad is such a loving grandfather to all the kids!

I am thankful that our teenagers are the kind that enjoy hanging out with family and aren't always trying to ditch the adults!

Mostly, I'm just thankful that we could all be together. 











I know, not very original, but hey, we were together and that was the big deal!

Of course there came a time when there might have been a little too much together!

What do you think?

I hope all of you had as much fun as I did with my crazy, wonderful family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Yes, it is quite possible that I go a little overboard around this time of year.  The next five weeks are only the the best weeks of the year, y'all! And our house is already bustling and bristling with excitement!  And this week?  This Thanksgiving week?  Has new meaning this year!  THIS YEAR MY FAMILY IS COMING TO MY HOUSE!  Which has never, ever happened.  Well....I mean, they've been to my house, just not for Thanksgiving!  I  go to them, or stay here and have the day with Paul's family.  But, circumstances aligned themselves this year so that when I offhandedly said we could do it at my house, everyone took me up on the offer! 


Yeah, only I get a little bit excited about his kind of stuff.  And, maybe go just a little overboard.  As in, I decided I wanted them to see my tree, so that meant that the tree needed to go up before Thanksgiving, which meant that the living room and hall needed to be painted now and the outlets and switches had to be changed out and the paint in the kitchen and bathroom needed to be touched up!  Makes sense, doesn't it?  Okay, maybe only to me!

And, because my family is coming from three hours away, I don't want them to have to cook and bring a lot of stuff, so guess who is doing the cooking????

Anyway, several days into my planning I sent out an email or two letting everyone know things like, sleeping arrangements, (Mom and Dad and one sister and all cousins will be at my house, one sister and husband will be in hotel) and menu items and such stuff.  I thought they'd think I was nutters for all my excitement.  But, that was until my baby sister replied to my email.  Now we know who is the nut in this family.....

Dear Travel Chelsea,
Thank you for my upcoming travel itinerary. We enjoy using our trusted travel agency as you always find us the best deals and ensure our complete preparedness.
Our deposit of 1 dessert custard pie will be made upon arrival of our destination and we will plan to tip the concierge for their hospitality (and grocery bill).

The reservations for our dinner sound splendid. I have no meal preference changes to the menu. If the chef would care to make the green beans into a green bean casserole, you will hear no complaints from me, but rest assured the absence of those delightful little fried onions upon dreamy, creamy mushroom marinated beans will not take away from my overall dining experience.

We are tickled you have decided to throw us an optional end of the trip celebration with small people and other talking animals. ( referring to Chuck E. Cheese birthday lunch for Claire)  I am unable to speak for my chauffeur (husband), but I would love to partake.

Much to the dismay of my therapist who is currently treating me for Shiny Object Syndrome, I am most excited for the tourist attraction (James Island Festival of Lights show) you have scheduled for us to see.

Thank you, Travel Chelsea, for your detailed planning and commitment to excellence. My upcoming holiday excursion sounds like the perfect little getaway I’ve been hoping for!!!!

Kindest Regards,


PS: I believe I would also like to adopt your tagline, Justlovemeforbeingme (this was how I signed my email).  Thanks and keep doing what you’re doing!

Need I say more?

Hoping you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I  am so Thankful for my nutty family!  How 'bout you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Playing with Photoshop



Beautiful either way!

Every now and then I take a photo that surprises me.  I'm still learning my way around my camera and Photoshop, but I want Lightroom instead now.  I think it might be easier because I hear there are a lot of pre-sets available for it.  It took me quite some time to edit this photo.....but, I can see that if I do it often I would be able to do it much faster.  I really like the way this one turned out though!

And these weren't bad either!

Okay, maybe it has more to do with the subject I was photographing than with my mad skillz behind the camera.  There is just no way around it....she's beautiful!  She isn't going to take a bad picture.  Of course, she did take a few interesting ones, though.

What is up with the kissy faces???

Photo session ovah!