Monday, January 28, 2008

....And One More for the Pet Lovers

Matching Your Kid With the Correct Canine

Why God Made Pets

They teach us how to relax.

They protect our children.

They love their teddies.

They look out for the smaller ones.

They know who's BOSS.

They help you when you're down.

They help out around the house.

They have GREAT expectations.

They CONVERSE with each other.

They are patriotic.

They are happy to test the waters.

They are great at decorating for the holidays

....and they know when we need a good laugh.

Smile for the camera......

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The DivaMobile, Fluffy Book & Appeal to Vote

Don's brother, Paul, gifted us at Christmas with eBay certificates and as we shopped, we came across the dog bike trailer in the pic. We bought it & hitched it up to Be's bike and once Diva gets used to it, she will enjoy the ride much more.

Last Saturday was the day of the trial run and Be found that hauling around an 85 pound pooch (plus the 15 pound trailer) can give one quite a workout. Another beautiful day on the Winter Garden Bike Trail - Don's foot was still healing, so he took off for Downtown Brown's (alas, our favorite soda shop is closing tomorrow) for a rootbeer float and a few more chapters of "Marley & Me". The book was loaned to us by a neighbor who said it was required reading for dog lovers ("You love dogs .... you gotta read this!") It's a real fluffy piece, but should be finished soon in case a book report is also required. I am told get out the hanky for the end.......can't wait.......
..........and now for something completely different
If you are a regular on Pregnancy by Adoption, you'll notice that we stay away from political and religious items for the most part. Both topics can push bottons in people and there's no need to make references to them - OK - let me clarify - I have no problem talking about my faith - it's the religious stuff I avoid.
All that to say ......... the Election Primaries are upon us. Regardless of your political affiliation, get out and vote. In our county, we have the luxury of early voting daily for almost 3 weeks prior to our primary (this Tuesday). Other states have their primaries in February, so if early voting is offered to you, take it. Both of us have already voted - and it took about 5 minutes of our time. So do it folks ....... vote.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

....and speaking of The Great Wall.....

...... I sure hope we get a summer referral ......

..... and while I'm here ....... I've got an appt with my doc tomorrow and I'm hoping I can get these dang bandages off my foot and get back into a regular ol' shoe ..... I've been keeping it elevated for TOO long...... wish me luck .....

TMI? ...... sorry ......

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Discovery Channel Special "Behind the Great Wall"

The Discovery Channel will be airing
"Behind the Great Wall" on Sunday, January 27 @ 9 P.M. The 2 hour special will be re-broadcast on Monday, January 28 @ 1 A.M.

Behind the Great Wall traces the story of one of the world's greatest feats of engineering, revealing the cataclysmic events that lead to its construction, the epic struggle to build it, and the enduring legacy of the Great Wall of China.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Women's Brain/Men's Brain

Pretty funny and (almost) painfully true for both sexes. On the line of John Gray's "Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus", this excerpt (from a marriage seminar organization) has been floating around the "China Dads" Yahoo group.

Singles should enjoy as well .....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Youth Orchestra

The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra ........
These young instrumentalists make symphonic music a sporting event! Stand up and cheer!

A friend sent this link to me and I had to pass it along ......

Friday, January 11, 2008

We want to thank our friend Dannye for the “Blogging With a Purpose” Award. During the long wait, blogging can be therapeutic and uplifting as we speak with other prospective adoptive parents, offering support, encouragement and prayers. Although our original purpose was to record our adoption process and provide information, it has become an account of our everyday lives due to the unexpected extended wait. It’s purpose seems to have become a testimony to our coping methods and diversions from the delay in Joanna Mei’s arrival. We wish we could do a ‘right back at ya’ to Dannye with this award as she and Ray have been a significant part of our adoption process with their loving friendship. But the award has to go 5 bloggers who have not received the award as yet, so …… here goes …..

….. and the “Blogging With a Purpose” award goes to …….

Ford and Aly – our adoption chronicles are like parallel segments in time. Read our unique stories here and here. We love this wonderful couple – their blog is always up-to-date with family pics, adoption related articles and matchless spiritual insight. They bestowed the “Nice Matters” Award upon our humble blog.

Esther – we nominated this unique mom for the “Nice Matters” award as well. A mom to several adopted special needs children, the name of her latest blog, "Kids Special Needs", says it all. We are fortunate to have met this wonderful and unselfish woman in Blogland.

Gail – mom to Loren – absolutely LOVES her daughter as evidenced by her slide show dedicated to her (1st page of her blog) to the song “My Special Angel”. Gail is a few months away from referral of her 2nd girl from China.

Amy & Michael – Amy is Blogdom’s Prayer Warrior. Whenever we hit on their blog, we are humbled by Amy’s specific prayer intentions in & out of adoption circles. Amy is a craniofacial nurse and is passionate about special needs children. She and Michael are also travelers on the adoption highway.

Jeanette – mom to 3 beautiful kids, she returned from China just recently with Elizabeth. Jeanette has a BIG heart for adoption and we were touched by her recent post which focuses on the trust that the adoptive child must develop in her/his parents. Please swing by her blog …….

……. And there they are, folks. We are honored to have all y’all following our journey.


1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.

2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.

3. In their post about the award they need to link back to the original entry.

4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to Eric Novak's site.

Lumbering Around

Foot surgery ........ done.
...... but quite a recovery time coming up, lumbering around on crutches and keeping Netflix on overtime - watching many DVDs while elevating foot. Any suggestions on good movies? - possibly adopton related?
Pain killers are doing their job quite well while providing a rather hazy & unfocused view of things.
Looking forward to the day when we can break out the bikes on Saturday morning again .....

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

CCAA Defaults to Agencies

Woke up this mornin' feelin' fine ....... and then .........

Lots of folks in adoption blogdom have been speculating that this would happen. I suppose that if one has a good working relationship with their agency, a monthly check-in is not so bad ..... and may even raise the awareness of unique siutuations with individual adoptions at each agency. Pray for the CCAA @ our prospective children ...... that's about all we can do.

I'll probably be shuttin' down again for a while ..... having surgery on my foot for a "Morton's Neuroma" (small benign tumor) which affects my walking and ambulation ...... nothing serious, just a lot of pain that I can get rid of ..... about a 3 week recoup with limited mobility for about another 3 weeks. Getting it done before Joanna Mei arrives .......

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Christmas WrapUp

We had a few days off together over the Christmas holidays and we laid the blogging aside and kept ourselves busy. So, here's last week's wrap-up.......
December 25, 2007
Christmas Day
Breakfast followed by a visit to Madison House Assisted Living Center.
Many of the residents are left behind on the holidays and we brought Diva over to
spread her special holiday cheer.
Dinner at about 3 PM along with several other families who came together to
celebrate redemption and Christ's birth.
We met with friends at BB King's Blues Club where our friend
was tearing the place up with his incredible vocal gymnastics on blues and Motown favorites.


December 27, 2007
Borrow A Kid For A Day

Experiment in Parenting - Taking an 8 Year Old to the Movies

We both wanted to see "Alvin & the Chipmunks", and so, to avoid the gazes of onlookers staring at 2 adults in a kid's movie, we had the bright idea of treating our friend's 8 year old to the movie and thus learn some valuable lessons in the 'parenting' category.
Lesson 1
Using the word 'please' will greatly expedite results when child requests soda, popcorn and restroom visits.
(On our particular excursion, Don popped some Orville Reddenbacher's and threw several cans of soda in his backpack to avoid the outrageous prices at the theater. This was not desirable to the 8 year old who did not want said snacks ....... oh well....... life is tough.)
Lesson 2
Arrive at the theater early enough to secure an aisle seat so as not to disturb other movie-goers when a certain 8 year old needs bathroom/snack breaks.
Lesson 3
Prepare in advance - methods of distracting 8 year old from the violent coming attractions because you've arrived early enough to secure an aisle seat.
Lesson 4
When you finally cave and buy 8 year old some Milk Duds (8 year old finally caved with snacks from home when we caved and allowed the purchase of Milk Duds), do not mix with prepared popcorn & soda snacks brought from home ....... 'nuff said.


December 28, 2007
Leu Gardens, Winter Park FL

After an early morning call from friend Kathy (who had passes to Leu Gardens) we brushed the teeth, geled back the hair & grabbed a 'to go' cup of coffee for an unplanned morning at the Central Florida attraction.

Be & Kathy at the Floral Clock - flowers are changed periodically providing the numerals
for a surprizingly accurate clock.

The Rose Garden provided vivid colors for our pics below.

Crotons are a typical Florida landscape plant - the lighting was good on this pic.

The following pics were taken inside the Mizell House at Leu Gardens.
We didn't get photos of the exterior as we forgot that our memory chip was at home,
so our camera's internal memory was limited.
We visited at the right time of year as all the rooms were dressed up
in Christmas displays.
Tree in entryway.

A live bromiliad topped this tree in the dining room.

Palm fronds top off this tree.

The French Horn Tree

Victorian Tree

The wreath of oranges caught our eye in the restored kitchen.

Set for tea in a nook off the gardens.

Bronze sculpture of a citrus worker.


December 29, 2007

Smyrna Dunes Park, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Loaded up the doggie for the 90 minute ride to SDP, the only dog friendly beach
within reasonable driving distance. Schlepping our windscreen, beach umbrella, H2O,
a sandwich apiece, spf30 sunscreen & some doggie treats, we took to the myriad of boardwalks (you can see them on the above map) twisting over the dunes ,
taking the second exit to the riverside beach.
Once there, we settled in and took in the beauty of God's creation around us -
dolphins which frolicked in the water about 30 feet from us,
sea oats that sang their own unique song as the wind blew them back and forth
rubbing against each other, water that lapped at our feet and the sight of pelicans
floating aimlessly, yet gracefully above the water, landing effortlessly to float and bob
on the wake created by passing boats.
The DivaDog was transfixed on the dolphins, a sight totally new to our inquisitive canine.
As we walked along the beach (barefoot, 82 degrees) we talked at length with
a couple from Wisconsin whose flight was cancelled the previous day because the
airport was snowed in.
Ah ........ so.............. Why did I move to Florida? Refresh me.
Ok. I'm back .... so ..... ah yes, the couple from Wisconsin - they decided to make the most of what could have been a very unpleasant situation ----- they went to the beach until their backup flight at 6 PM ----- my kind of people!
So, rather than posting a bunch of my pics,
hit the link for a Google slide show of this beautiful park

Boardwalks crisscross the dunes at Smyrna Dunes Park, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Ponce Inlet and lighthouse

December 31, 2007
A New Year's Eve Bike Ride on the
West Orange Bicycle Trail.

Since we had not been out on our bikes for quite a while, we decided to go easy and take the shorter southern route which starts near downtown Winter Garden.
It traverses the downtown area, neighborhoods, a nature preserve, a restored railroad bridge and the historic town of Oakland, FL - it ends 5 miles away at County Line Station where bicycle repairs and accessories as well as snacks are offered.
The longer route brings the rider through orange groves, a pine forest and horse farms, ending about 10 miles to the north. We'll work up to that end of the journey and report on it when our stamina and endurance permit.

So, here's our photo essay ........

The Bell Tower through which pass the world's best looking cyclists.

The Edgewater Hotel (opened in 1927) where we started today's ride.
Be stretches in the foreground.

along the West Orange Bike Trail.

Even the vacant buildings were decked out for Christmas.

Just about every square inch of lawn space at this cottage along
the bike trail is taken up with Christmas inflatables and lawn ornaments.
The style of decorating, which we like to call "cramique"
can be seen all over Central Florida during the Christmas season.

A sign of the times - a high end housing community has it's beginnings on lands formerly the home to fragrant orange groves along the once wild shores of Lake Apopka.

Destined to be "Phase 2" of the development.
So THIS is why FRESH orange juice costs 6 bucks a half gallon in Florida (no joke).

Be exits the bridge over Florida's Turnpike.
The former railroad tressle was restored for the West Orange Bike Trail.
About 3 miles up the trail from Winter Garden, we pedaled
(and took a break) in the Town of Oakland, FL.

The Oakland Town Hall was once The Bank of Oakland
in the early 1900s.

The town commons area where families picnic and relax and
moss hangs from trees like Christmas tinsel.

Oakland Police routeinly patrol the bike trail.
They must get to work early and stand in line for bike trail duty.

A detour in the road to preserve a centuries old oak.

Oakland is the home of The Oakland Nature Preserve with paths
and boardwalks leading to the shores of Lake Apopka. Many varieties
of foliage, birds and animals occupy the preserve - and it's a good
escape in case it rains on the bike trail.

Chillin' with a Coke at the end of the trail.

Epilogue To A Bike Ride

Later that evening, we received a call from the manager of
Downtown Brown's (pic below) that Don had left his cell phone
on one of the tables in the eatery. We had stopped there after the pedal back to Winter Garden and couldn't decide if we were hot or cold. So Don ordered hot chocolate and Be ordered ice cream and we shared - and we still weren't sure.
So, he loaded up the DivaDog and
took advantage of the oversight by taking some pics of the downtown
area at night.

The Bell Tower in downtown Winter Garden at night.
The big STOP is at an intersection on the West Orange Bike Trail
which runs smack dab down the center of a 4 block traffic island.

Downtown Brown's - all decked out for Christmas
our favorite place to stop for ice cream or a sandwich after
time on the bike trail.

Diva chills out on the trail. She's thinking "Show me a doggie treat
and I just MIGHT look at the camera for you, cheapskate!"

The Diva Tree in downtown Winter Garden.