Sunday, 30 October 2011

Crafty weekend!

So now that our dossier is sent off, all I have left to do for Katie is wait.
And I am not good at waiting patiently.
I must have something to do.
Thankfully, three children, a full-time job, a husband, two dogs, and a 120 year old house leave me plenty to do.  Most of which I neglected this weekend to do some crafty things.

And I should start with a confession. . . 
I have Ballard Designs tastes.
On a Big Lots budget.
I'm very frugal.  
It's like a game to me to see how inexpensively I can do something, but I still want it to look amazing.
If you know me in real life, I PROMISE you have heard me say, "I'm not going to buy that.  I could make that!"

I made a bunch of pillows for Katie's room this weekend, most for the window seat.  
I am OBSESSED with these fabric flowers.  
They are so incredibly easy, and I love them!
Total cost for all of the pillows I made for her room?
Zero dollars.
Everything I used to make the pillows I already had.
The material and stuffing were all things I had left from previous projects.

Next up? 
This hideous chair.
It was a leftover at my office when we moved in.
It was going to the dump, but I can't throw furniture away.
I rescued it, but it is ugly.
Good bones, ugly (professional) cover on the seat.

Need a closer look?
Hello 1980's hotel lobby.

I like this much better.
This is the infamous drop cloth material.
I bought four painter's drop cloths last year.
I have made dining room curtains, monogrammed pillows for the boys, recovered a rocking chair cushion, pillows for Katie's room, fabric flowers, covered the lampshade in Katie's room, and now recovered this chair.  That's some serious mileage out of $60 worth of material.
Total cost for this project?  
Zero dollars again.
The chair was "trash" from my office and the material was scrap I already had.

I put this little bolster pillow I also made this weekend on.
I'm loving the orange with the green walls.

The chair oddly goes really well with this little vanity we have.

I also painted this bookcase this weekend.
It was just primed when we got it.
And not primed well.
I painted it with two coats of glossy white.
I lined the back of each shelf with this cute paper.

I have extra that I'm going to use for some mats on some frames I'm working on.
Price breakdown:
Bookcase - Free.  It was given to us.
Paint - Leftover from painting our downstairs hall built-in.
Paper - 9 sheets, normally 59 cents each at Hobby Lobby.  I got them on sale, and they were 50% off, so I paid $2.66.
Total project cost?  $2.66!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Katie Needs This!

My mother will likely regret that she found this. . . 

This is a Matroyshka nesting doll quilt.
I. Love. It.
I love the colors.
I love the detail.
I love the pattern.
I love the dollies.

It is so sweet.
My mom makes "Gigi Blankets" for each of my children.
And they are my kids' most prized possessions.
I hope Gigi likes this pattern. . . the mama sure does!

And It's Off!

See these stacks?
All 62 documents?
This is our registration dossier and our court dossier.

This is the result of over four months of filling out forms.
Over four months of getting tests done at the doctor.
Over four months of waiting for documents to be returned to us in the mail.
Over four months of paper chasing.

It's in this box and on its way to Arizona to our placing agency.
And then?  
Once she has approved it all it is on its way.
On its way to Katie's country to formally register our intent to adopt.
And then?
We will get a date to travel to meet our girl!!!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

{Sort of} Wordless Wednesday, by JT

My friend Julie's son JT (who is seven) wrote the following at school:

"David and Henry were going to get their little sister from China."

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Catching Up

We have been busy, busy, busy around here!  We still have not apostilled.  Thursday we had a (disastrous) IEP meeting at school for D.  Friday Jack had gymnastics (which he calls Science class) and David was sick.  We certainly weren't going to drag him to the Secretary of State with an upset belly.  Saturday and Sunday they're obviously not open.  Yesterday we had another IEP meeting for D and Jack had gymnastics again.  Today D had a speech evaluation and Chris had to get him out of school early.  We were afraid that he wouldn't be back from Nashville in time to pick up from school to get to speech.  And Jack had his library story time.  

TOMORROW is the big day!  Yahoo!!  I am excited, nervous, and anxious to get the dossier out of our hands.  Excited because it is obviously one big, big step closer to our girl.  Nervous because I have been guarding those papers like they were a child for the last four months.  Anxious because, along with the papers for the dossier, will go almost all of the money in Katie's bank account.  The next thing we will have to pay for is our first trip, which will be a big, big expense.  I'm nervous we won't have enough when it's time to go!  We have been very fortunate that every time we have needed money we have had it.  I need to trust that will continue.  And we will keep fundraising!!

I have a wonderful client who I just adore at work.  He is funny, generous, and passionate about his family.  He has contributed very generously to help with Katie's expenses already, and has even donated four tickets to the December 26th Nashville Predators game for our silent auction.  He has a super sweet daughter M who is 15 years old.  She, all on her own, decided she wanted to do something to help with our fundraising.  She ordered 500 pink bracelets for us to sell as a fundraiser.  The bracelets say and Help bring Katie home on them.  She did this all by herself!  For everyone who has a story about how awful people are and how depressing the world is today (and trust me - I work every day with criminals and people getting divorces - there are LOTS of people out there who think this way) I have a story about amazing generosity, the kindness of strangers, and the love of people for a child they have never met.  It's really incredible and brings me to tears every time I think about it.

My favorite part about this journey to Katie (clearly other than getting the child home to me!) is to see how everyone is coming together to help her.  It is so amazing to me.  

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Oh Canada!

Remember Krystyna?
She has this jar on her desk at work.
In Canada.
See the Canadian money peeking out of the top?
People all over North America are working to bring Katie home!
Thank you Krystyna and friends!

Down Syndrome Fact Sheet

I get a monthly newsletter emailed to me from my health insurance company.  I never read it.  Oddly, today I did.  It included a Down syndrome fact sheet that I thought was pretty good.  I've posted it here!

  • Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
  • Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome.
  • There are more than 40,000 people living with Down syndrome in the US.
  • Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
  • The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
  • People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
  • A few common physical traits  of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.  Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
  • Life expectancy for people  with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades-from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
  • People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society. All people with Down syndrome experience  cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate  and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents each individual possesses
  • Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.
  • Researchers are making great strides in identifying the genes on Chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Many feel strongly that it will be possible to  improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.

Happy Days!

This is how happy I am!
The Ministry of Education in Katie Ruth's country, which is where our dossier information will be submitted, along with our application to adopt her was closed for several weeks. 

And if that was not enough. . .
Our FBI documents - the only thing we are still waiting for - were sent on October 13th.  We should get them any day.  What does that mean?
We are ready to send our dossier in! 

What's left after that? 
Translation.  Registration.  Then OUR FIRST TRAVEL DATE!

We're getting so close!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Did You Know?

When we first told people we were considering adopting a child with Down syndrome, many people were concerned that we realized what a commitment that could be.  I think, what some didn't say, was that they were concerned about all of the things Katie wouldn't be able to do.  Here are some things I bet you don't know about people with Down syndrome.

Did you know. . . 

  • That 1 in 5 children with Down syndrome (DS) play a musical instrument? For children older than ten, that number doubles. 
  • One of five children with DS sing in a choir or vocal group, for children older than ten, it is every one in three...
  • Two out of every three children with DS like to draw and/or paint pictures
  • Approximately 9 out of every 10 individuals with DS listened to someone read a book more than three times a week between the ages 2-5
  • Approximately 7 out of 10 children w/ DS use total communication (signs, etc) between the ages of 2-5
  • Approximately 7 out of 10 kids with DS saw a speech therapist two or more times a week between the ages of 2 and 5
  • Approximately 1 of every 3 children with DS older than ten rides a bike without training wheels
  • Seven of every ten individuals with DS older than ten participates on an athletic team through Special Olympics
  • Two out of every five individuals with DS participates on an integrated athletic team.
  • According to their families, 3 out of 5 individuals with DS know how to operate a computer.
  • One of every three individuals with DS older than ten with DS reads the daily newspaper on his or her own
  • Seven of ten individuals with DS older than 10 read books on their own for personal enjoyment
  • One of two children with DS go to school in a mainstreamed class.
  • 3 of 5 children with DS participate in school activities that are open to all students.
  • According to their families, 1 of 5 children with DS talk on the phone with friends more than three times a week. For children older than ten, that number doubles.
  • One of three children with DS write email regularly
  • Two of three children with DS over age ten have a boyfriend or girlfriend!
  • Approximately 7 of ten children with DS pray on a regular basis.
  • According to their families, approximately 7 of 10 individuals with DS imitate characters from a television program or movie
  • Approximately 2 of 3 individuals with DS older than 10 prepare their own breakfast each morning.
  • Three of four individuals with DS older than 10 make their own bed in the morning.
  • One of two individuals with DS (older than 18) work in a non sheltered workplace
  • One of five individuals with DS (18 or older) lives on his or her own.
Chris and I choose, with all of our children, to focus more on what they CAN do, not what they cannot.  I cannot wait for Katie to be able to do these things!  

Saturday, 15 October 2011


Itemized, for Misty.

1.  After the boys ran this morning we went to a huge craft fair.  (Or, yard sale on crack as Kirk's wife calls it. . . much more appropriate than "craft fair").

2.  I *may or may not* have gotten Katie Ruth four headbands and a hair clip.  And a Halloween hair bow.  Oh and I *may or may not* have also picked up the cutest embroidered Halloween shirt for her.  The only other items we purchased?  Dog bones (from the people who had that pony dog) and food.  Funnel cakes, kettle corn, a corn dog, and about a gallon of lemonade that was "so fresh, if it was any fresher you'd slap a lemon."

3.  I also *may or may not* have gone to Hobby Lobby tonight to get some supplies to make the cute little felt hair clips I saw.  Because I can wield a hot glue gun like it's nobody's business, and I wasn't going to pay $7.50 for that when I can make it myself.  And not keep the glue strings on it when I'm done.

4.  My debit card number for our adoption account got stolen.  I found that out when I attempted to pay for our spaghetti dinner for our runners.  And my card was declined.  Twice, because you know I did what everyone else who has a declined card has ever done and said, "What?  That's not right.  Run it again please."  HeLLO!  It was declined again.  So I called my bank.  Reason number 7294056720 I like using a small bank.  They know me by first name when I call.  I had changed my PIN the day before, in the branch, and wondered if there had just been some mix up when that was done.  My girl Adrianna (and a runner on our team!) called the fraud department, and there was a hold on my card.  I called and they asked if I had been to Italy lately. . . Um, no.  A plane ticket had been booked in Italy and reservations made at the Crown Plaza hotel.  Right.  I wish that had been me!  There were also six other charges that were attempted and declined because the bank realized it was fraud.  Sooooo, my card cannot be used and has been cancelled.  A new card has been ordered, and we will get our money back after a fraud investigation, etc. is done.  Inconvenient?  Yes.  The end of the world?  Absolutely not.  It could have been much, much worse.

5.  In all of the excitement, I haven't posted that we GOT OUR GOLDEN TICKET!!!  All we need is our apostilled FBI background checks back (which were sent almost three weeks ago) and we are ready to submit!!!  

6.  Tomorrow?  Benefit concert in Massachusetts for Katie.  The circus for us.  I wish we could be at the concert and cannot wait to hear all about it!

Run For Katie

The Murfreesboro Middle Half was today.
This was our Run for Katie day!

We had our Run for Katie dinner last night.
And I didn't take any pictures!
We had a great time, and the runners raised $1,781.73 for Katie!
Our grand prize winner was Misty, with $665.00!

The kids did the fun run this morning at the Half.
I LOVE this picture of Misty's daughter Ella with the boys.
They all ran together.

David, Henry, & Ella proudly ran wearing their Run for Katie shirts.

The kids run was a mile.
Please note the size of the boy next to David.
I'm pretty sure David finished with 10 and 11 year olds.
Who started two corrals before David.

He was fast!

And Miss Ella was right behind him.
She did a great job.

And I'm SO proud of Henry!
He did a really great job.
David is more of a natural runner, and Henry has to work at it.

He was so determined, and he stuck in there and finished really well!
He did SUCH a great job, and wants to do more runs!

They are so proud of their medals!

My parents and my sister were there to support our Run for Katie team, and the kids running.

Chris' parents came to support our team and the kids too.

We had a great, great morning.
The spirit at the race was fabulous, and we will definitely do it again.

Katie's family - all of us! - is so thankful for our runners and the great fundraising they did! 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Thirty-One Fundraiser for Katie!

Kelly, the cousin of my friend Erica's husband (did you follow that?!) has generously offered to host an online only Thirty-One fundraiser for Katie.  You place your order online, and Kelly will donate her entire commission to us for Katie.  That is 25% of the total sales from the online party.  Have you seen Thirty-One products?  They are CUTE!  I went to a party last month and got some really cute goodies.  The things I purchased are:

The Cross-N-Fold Tote

The Fold-And-Go Organizer with Notepad

The Rolling Tote (This was a hostess special, but my hostess didn't want it so I bought it.)

I also got some teacher gifts, which I'm not going to post here. . . just in case!

Some things I love?

The 5th Avenue Bag.

The Cindy Tote.

The Hang-Up Home Organizer.

The Hostess Apron.

The Picnic Thermal Tote.

The Medium Rosette Clip.

The Small Rosette Clip.

The Zipper Pouch.
I actually got two of these at Erica's party, but I'm too lazy to move the photo up. . . 

To purchase Thirty-One items for our fundraiser, CLICK HERE:

The Thirty-One products are great for teacher gifts, birthday presents, and Christmas!  
And remember, 100% of Kelly's commission goes to Katie!
This fundraiser will run through October 22nd.  

Thank you!

If Katie Were Here Now. . .

It's not a secret I love to shop.  I love to shop for anything.  Houses.  Cars.  Electronics.  Home Decor.  Office Supplies.  Clothes.  Dog Accessories.  Seriously, I'm not picky.  For the last seven years I've shopped for boys.  Have I mentioned I'm very conservative?  I don't like clothes with pictures on them.  For boys that pretty much means they wear polo shirts or striped shirts.  And khaki, red, navy, green, or orange shorts.  Or seersucker.  Shopping for a girl?  Excuse me, but that's a whole different ballgame.  If Katie were here now, she would have the following, in no particular order:

I'm obsessed with Puddle Jumpers shoes.  I love the polka dots!

I would like this coat for myself as well. . . 

Girlfriend will need all the help in the hair department that she can get.

I love little nightgowns for girls!

So cozy.  We'll have bunches of these.