Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ye Dan Kuai Le

The closest I could come to "Merry Christmas" in Chinese ......

Ye is short for Ye Su, which is the transliterated name for Jesus.
Su means to revive, to come to, or to rise again.
Kuai le is happiness, joy, delight, or rejoicing.
Thus, Ye Dan Kuai Le, or Jesus' Birth Happy, is how you say Merry Christmas in Chinese.

.... and Happy Hanukah (The name "Hanukkah" derives from the Hebrew verb "חנך", meaning "to dedicate". On Hanukkah, the Jews regained control of Jerusalem from an invading army and rededicated the Temple. At the re-dedication there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil. So, Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days and nights) to our Jewish friends in Blogland ..... Joanna Mei reminded me of this yesterday as she babbled along in the back seat and said something that sounded like "Shalom" ..... from the mouths of babes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Narnia Tree - Then & Now

The spirit of the past 2 or 3 Christmases without Joanna Mei are reflected in the pics below.
Christmas decorations & lights were minimal.

In 2007, we put "The Narnia Tree" in the thicket on the side of our house.
It was named for the mythical land in CS Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia".
The land was always cold and snowy
and the blue lights on the tree gave the area the feel of a cool evening.
Click on the pic above for the full view. It's kinda cool......
This year, the addition of the lights strung in the trees was added.
The presence of Joanna Mei in our home is reflected in the decorations throughout the house.

Friday, December 12, 2008


CCAA has updated the portal to reflect referrals matched through LID February 22, 2006. Some blogs are reporting 2/23/2006.
We congratulate the new parents who have been waiting for this news.
JMei is doing the dance of joy for y'all.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

And the prize for the LONGEST PREGNANCY goes to......

.......the Alpine Salamander.........found in the central and eastern Alps. It gives birth to 2 young .... at lower altitudes, the pregnancy lasts for 2 years and at higher altitudes it jumps to 3 years ...... longer than placement of a child from China. We should all rejoice that we are not Alpine Salamanders living above the tree line!

......and the runner up......... the African Elephant.......the pregnancy lasts for around 22 - 24 months.This is one of the longest gestation periods in the animal kingdom. (The blue whale, for example, has a gestation period of around 1 year.)

As for those in the Waiting Room for China Adoption, does the pregnancy begin with the decision to adopt and attendance at an informational meeting - or - with the LID. If we're talking about the latter, then we're doing a bit better than the elephant and hopefully ....... the salamander.

It was 2 years ago that we originally posted this peice. Well, it indeed WAS 3 years from the beginning of the paperchase to our Forever Day, so at that point, the gestation period of the Alpine Salamander at high altitude was just about in line with the CCAA's time frame.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo Boo?

Living so close to the Magic Kingdom, The Empress and myself get to visit often (annual passes - big Disney bucks) and love the place. She gets a ride or two and I get some exercise pushing the royal stroller. This happens just as the parks open as crowds increase over the course of 2 hours - then, it's back home for a nap and lunch.
Many times, we observe young girls, around 5ish, decked out in princess costumes (made of the finest 100% polyester) accompanied by tierras, scepters, big hair and rather garish makeup. Turns out, these lovely little girls have been to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
One morning, after a visit to the MK, I stumbled across a reference to the attraction in an adoption blog. Here is one person's description of the pamper parlor ....... At the Bibbidi Bobbibi Boutique, Disney takes dress-up to a new level, giving each girl her own station in the salon and her very own “Fairy Godmother-in-training” whose job is to pamper her with every accessory and service a Princess could possibly want. Parents can choose from three packages at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: the “Coach Package” which includes a hair style and shimmering make-up (for $35), the “Crown Package” which includes hair style, shimmering make-up and nails (for $45), or the ultimate “Castle Package” which includes the Crown Package plus a Princess photo shoot and a complete Disney Princess costume of her choice with accessories (starting at $175). After her makeover, each girl is given a pink sash that says “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique” — so everyone who sees her knows that she’s an official Disney Princess.

For some folks, the money is a drop in the bucket (not for this HomeDaddy), however, beyond the big bucks, is this giving the girls a false sense of value? I mean, $200.00 for a temporary fantasy? Maybe I'm making too much of it. After all, aren't we adults entitled to $200.00 fantasies on another level? Shouldn't we get our little girls ready to grow into bigger fantasies? Am I stirring the pot here?

Here is Disney's Web blurb on the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, as well as another blogger who comes close to my feelings on the Baby Spa.

Don't get me wrong ...... we LOVE the Disney parks. I'm just a bit unsettled on this one. Next month's topic .......
"Children's Beauty Pageants".

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby in a Tree

A friend sent us this illustration.

If you don't look for a baby, you'll see the baby.

Pretty cool..........

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deja Vu

Joanna Mei returns to her homeland via the China pavillion at EPCOT.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

JMei enjoys a performance of "Beauty and the Beast" at the Disney Holloywood Studios. We found a walkway along a canal which leads from the Boardwalk Hotel (where we sometimes take walks around the lagoon) to the Studios. Since we were already there, we went inside and caught a show. Not sure there's much else there for toddlers.
More pics of our morning at the Studios over on "Joanna Mei, Bebe & HomeDaddy -or- Tales from the Cryb"

Monday, November 03, 2008

Brunch With The Empress

....... just in case you happen to be in Orlando .....

Please join us for

A Brunch to Cover All Bases


Welcome Joanna Mei
Be’s 50th Birthday
Joanna Mei’s 2nd Birthday

Saturday, November 8, 10 AM

Bring a brunch item to share – we’ll have some breakfast casseroles and coffee for y’all.

Gifts: Not necessary. JMei received SO many that we’re rewrapping some and giving them to her at Christmas!(of course ….. we could STILL use that SUV)

Drop us an e-mail at for directions.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Trunk or Treat

Our church, Windermere Baptist Church, sponsors the annual Trunk or Treat in our area and this year's event was quite a success. Church members deck out their trunks with family oriented themes, dress themselves up and give out the treats to the attendees. People came by the hundreds figuring that the Baptists were 'low risk' for handing out tainted/booby trapped candies. 10 inflatable play areas, a contemporary gospel band and food prepared by the Boy Scouts completed the offerings of the evening.
Sign in is required - leave an e-mail at if you'd like to follow Joanna Mei's journey.

Windermere Police officer, John, catches Joanna Mei 'double dipping' in one of the candy tubs.

Vince, one of the founding members of the church, displays his great sense of humor as he poses between 2 skeletons singing Old Time Gospel Music. He rigged the skeletons so that he could control the jaws to move as Bill Gaither music played.
His theme was
"Old Time Gospel Music Never Dies".
I laughed like a soprano when I saw Vince and his buddies.

The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe Slide.
One of 10 inflatables at "Trunk or Treat".

Katie - one of Joanna Mei's best friends at church.

I can't comeup with a caption for this one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Check It Out

Check out "Stay at Home Dad" rap vid over at "The Other Blog - Content Questionable"
This guy is wild!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Post ......

Head on over there and take a look at "Hu Flung Galumkie".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hello Dolly

Hey, y'all. We went to see Dolly Parton the other night and what a hoot! I wrote about the evening on "The Other Blog", so head on over a take a read.......

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What Province?

We lived on the south end of Runway 3-west at Newark Airport - well, not exactly ON the runway, but close enough that if you were seeing someone off and said "I'll wave to you when you're on the plane" it meant "I'll be waving from my bedroom window." If you wanted to get to my hometown of Elizabeth, NJ from the New Jersey Turnpike, you would take Exit 13, go past the oil refineries, warehouses and railroad yards to the north end. If you make it to the Budweiser Brewery surrounded by 3 cemeteries, you've gone too far - back up about 3 blocks and you're in my 'hood'. It was a rough area and I'm proud to say that I survived 17 years at Elizabeth's North End with no visible scars - except 2 which were inflicted by Benedictine nuns - but that's a post unto itself. When fellow Jerseyites would be introduced the conversation would go something like "Hey! You're from Jersey? What exit?" "13" "Eeww!"
Disney World is just a hop skip and a jump from our home in Orlando. We love to schlep ourselves over to the Boardwalk Hotel area and wheel JoannaMei around in her stroller on the boardwalk which is reminiscent of some of the grand old towns along the Jersey shore. As we strolled this evening, I noticed a pasty white couple with a beautiful little Asian girl. I have found it awkward to strike up a conversation about adoption with a complete stranger as some people can be ssoo sensitive about the topic. But tonight, I had a flashback of my past. "Hey! What province?" "Sichuan" "Oh yeah? I've got Hunan in the stroller here." ....... and the conversation began ...........

Friday, October 17, 2008

Object d' Art

JMei's first art project (painted with a toothbrush) in the Mom's Day Out preschool program.
(Yes, I have petitioned to have "HomeDaddy's Day Out"
as the program's name once a month.)
JMei did fine and she'll attend twice a week for 6 hours each time.
12 weeks ago, 2 nannies from her orphanage in the Hunan province, China, drove her 2-3 hours
to a government building where she was handed over, kicking and screaming, to total strangers, never to see her nannies again.
What goes through little Joanna Mei's mind as I hand her over, kicking and screaming to her pre-school teacher who, until her first visit was a total stranger?
I realize that this should change as she is socalized with the children in her class, becomes familiar with the staff and realizes that HomeDaddy will always be there to pick her up.
Still, its a heartbreaker.....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Waiting for Mama to Come Home From Work

I love this shot of our little girl, JMei, and her doggie, Diva.
Other new pictures will be available on Joanna Mei, Bebe & HomeDaddy
on Thursday, October 16.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

D, B & JM to Sit On Adoption Q&A Panel

Our agency, Bethany Christian Services, has scheduled us for participation on a discussion panel taking questions about our adoption journey. The event takes place this Saturday, October 11 in Orlando. Below is the information that we have about the panel. If you are in the Orlando area, come on by if you can - we'd love to meet with you and discuss our adoption journey.


Bethany Christian Services is hosting an Informational Meeting on Domestic and International Adoptions on Saturday,
October 11, 2008
From 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon
Location: Trinity Lutheran Church
427 N. Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL
RSVP (407) 877-4006


From Tampa:
Take I-4 East to Robinson St exit. You will exit onto Garland Ave. Continue on Garland to Livingston St. Turn right onto Livingston St. and follow road. Turn left onto Rosalind/Magnolia. Church office is a brown brick building across from the backside of the Court House.

From Daytona:
Take I-4 west to Amelia St. exit. Exit on to Hughey Ave. Follow Hughey to Livingston St. and turn left. Follow Livingston St and turn left on to Rosalind/Magnolia Ave. The church office is in a brown brick building across from the backside of the Court House.

From the Beach:
Take the Beachline (528) to 417 North. Take the 417 to SR 408 toward Orlando. Follow the 408 to I-4. Take I-4 East to Robinson St exit. Exit onto Garland Ave.
Follow Garland to Livingston St. Turn right on to Livingston Street and turn left onto Rosalind/Magnolia. Church office is a brown brick building across from the backside of the Court House.

From the South:
Take Florida Turnpike North to Orlando and exit onto I-4 East toward Daytona. Stay on
I-4 to Robinson St. exit. Exit onto Garland Avenue. Follow Garland to Livingston St. and
turn right. Follow Livingston St to Roslind Ave./Magnolia Ave. and turn left. Church office is a brown brick building across from the backside of the Court House.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Weather in Central Florida is Breaking!

We have experienced the first hint of fall! The air has a bit of a nip and the breeze is just delightful! Neighbors are coming out of their houses just to enjoy the weather!
This past summer, when we visited China during the adoption procedings of our daughter,
the weather was hot (real hot!), humid and polluted in the cities.
"I should be used to this!" I said to myself as we toured the Forbidden City, climbed The Great Wall and stood atop the solid heat absorbing concrete in Tienemman Square.
After all, I live in Central Florida, the humidity capital of the US - then it dawned on me -
"I don't go outside in this weather when I'm at home!"
And here I was, playing tourist in the equivalent of a steam room!
Anyway, the peasants are rejoicing - fall will be here soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What is Your Favorite "Most Annoying Song of All Time?"

Recently, we took our daughter to The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
We went on that ride which features, in my opinion, "The Most Annoying Song of All Time".
I can't even say the name of the song without getting annoyed, so here's a picture.......
It was her favorite ride - she smiled throughout and screamed with delight at some of the scenes. Since we have Annual Passes, I imagine I'll be hearing the song many times over.
It's just one of those lessons in tolerance in parenthood.
So, what's your nomination for
The Most Annoying Song of All Time
Leave a comment indicating your nomination .....
and, if you feel led ...... why do you find it so annoying?
No contest .... no prizes .... just for fun

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Catherine's Chatter" Author Interviewed for Toronto Star

Fellow Blogsters - Head on over to the Toronto Star and take a look at the article on international adoptions. Our friend and blogger, Catherine, was interviewed to participate in a pretty good article where she lends her upbeat view on the subject. Go Catherine - you're the best!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Letter to J Mei

Several weeks back, our wonderful friend of 20+ years (number of years we've been friends - not necessarily referring to age) Molly, gave J Mei a welcoming party attended by many of my co-workers and retirees (such as myself). She surprized us with a beautiful letter, written from the hearts of parents longing to have her in their lives. Here is her letter .......
Little girl of our dreams, you come from a land so far away..A land of magical dragons and bright colors all covered in mist.How could you know we wished for you over the years, day by day? Though the years of our lives were busy and full, we worked so hard to make our way, while keeping in our hearts the Lord's pathway of light. We served Him and praised Him with song. We knew all along we had an abundance of love we needed to share. As we studied His Word and followed His path, our hearts were opened to the Message He sent..."And a little child shall lead them." So, Joanna Mei, our journey to find you began. We searched the world over, we prayed night and day for the sweetest of God's little angels to come our way. Our hearts and our home are ready to welcome you now...where you will thrive in His Love and His Light. You are all we could wish for - our heart's delight. You are our dream come true......We love you so much! Mommy and Daddy.
The letter is now framed and hangs over her crib. Thank you, Molly for your thoughtfulness and friendship.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another Theory of the Adoption Showdown

Fewer Kids Available for Adoption by Foreigners
from "The China Daily"

A view of the adoption slowdown by a Chinese journalist

Friday, August 15, 2008

Larry King Reflects on the Chapman Family

......scroll on down to the bottom of the page for Larry King's reaction to his interview with the Steven Curtis Chapman family.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In Search of the Right Men's Diaper Bag

Several months back, a wonderful friend threw us a brunch/shower for Joanna Mei.
One of the beautiful gifts was a pink diaper bag. Be really likes it. I don't do pink.
I'm going to be the stay-at-home-dad. I will not be carrying a pink diaper bag.
Be says she'll carry it. Fine. But what do I do when Be's not with me?
I need MY OWN diaper bag......and it has to meet MY specifications.
* it must double as a personal 'carry-on' bag when Joanna Mei is not flying with us.
*must have a flap to accommodate airline boarding passes and baggage receipts.
* it must hold a lap top.
* it must double as a beach bag for our Hawaiian vacation
the week before Joanna Mei's adoption.
*it must have compartments for easy accessability
to cell phones, CD players, keys and sunglasses.
* it must not look like a diaper bag when not being used as a diaper bag.
The bag we chose was the "Eddie Bauer" model pictured above. It actually looks like a regular tote type bag disguising the fact that contained within it's synthetic fabric walls there are wipes, a sippy cup, emergency diapers, an airtight plastic pouch for dirty diapers (Yuk! Does anyone actually carry around a diaper defiled by baby poopie inside their diaper bag? What kind of a wacko thing is that? Perhaps it's there as a conversation piece ...... Guess what I have in my diaper bag? Yikes! There's GOT to be some other use for the airtight plastic pouch!), Pediassure, apple juice as well as
sunglasses, cell phone, water bottle and change of shoes for dad.It's a great piece of luggage for the discriminating DiaperBaggist.

Along the way, I discovered that there are several versions available to taste specific men. I have included several examples below for your shopping pleasure ......

The Camouflage Diaper Bag
In case you need to change your baby while hunting.

The Ninja Diaper Bag
(also comes with orange trim and dragon)
The packaging includes the warning

"Ninja practices not to be used while diapering baby."

The Peace Sign Diaper Bag

Caution: Users of this diaper bag may be subject to additional SW questioning.

The Flamingo Diaper Bag

For the man with a good self image.

For some reason, during my internet search for "Men's Diaper Bags", this
manual came up. I thought "What the heck!" I ordered it.

The Skull and Crossbones Diaper Bag


The Diaper Vest
Now who the heck came up with this one?
Here's something that'll really disguise the fact that you're carrying baby equipment
much the same way the combover disguises baldness.
This brilliantly designed garment includes pockets for diapers, wipes, bottles, cell phones and the piece de resistance ----
a slim design diaper changing pad in a hidden pocket in the back of the vest!!!!
Isn't that fabulous? Maybe for someone who doesn't mind being called "Lumpy"!
Actually, I thought of buying it but alas ......
Some fool didn't include an airtight pouch for poopied diapers!

I'm outtahere.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You Know You Are An Old First-Time Parent If .......

........ wine glasses and sippy cups occupy the same shelf in your kitchen cabinet.
Any other suggestions for
You Know You Are An Old First -Time Parent If .........

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Congratulations!! January 2006 Referrals!!

CCAA Update!

LID’s through the review room: JANUARY 31, 2007 (no change)

LID’s through referral: JANUARY 31, 2006

CCAA advanced 6 calendar days
(4 business days + 2 weekend days; landing during the CNY), from January 25, 2006.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

SW Follow Up

The Empress was on her best behavior last Friday as we had our post adoption follow-up visit. She could charm just about anyone as she babbled like Pebbles Flintstone and demonstrated how a triangular block fits into a round hole quite unsuccessfully.
Everything seemed to be status quo so our SW invited us to sit on a panel at an adoption event the agency is hosting in October. We'll take questions on "Special Needs" adoption (our agency calls SN kids "Children of Promise") and our experiences until that point.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why Is It Taking So Long?

I wish I had this vid while going through the 3+ year adoption process.
This is all information that prospective adoptive parents already know, but get SSOO tired of explaining. Next time, just tell them I'll send you a link ........

Today Show video on China adoption......

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here's some great advice for new parents - tuck it away for future reference....
Most of America 's populace think it improper to spank children, so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have one of 'those moments.' One that I found effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk.Some say it's the vibration from the car, others say it's the time away from any distractions such as TV, Video Games, Computer, IPod, etc.Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our car ride together. I've included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use the technique.
I think this will work with grandchildren, nieces, and nephews as well.