Sunday, August 26, 2007

Zach's Belt Ceremony

Zach being helped by a higher belt to change his green belt to high green

Zach taking off his green belt....It's time to move up!

Master Choi hands Zach his certificate for completing all requirements to earn his high green belt.

This past Tues., Zach participated in a belt ceremony for his high green belt. It is a very nice presentation that follows a belt test that includes bowing, drum beats, and a person with a higher belt helping with the changing of the belts. We are very proud of him!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A New Addition

Snickers, making herself at home....

It's strange having a kitten after having cats for so long. Snickers will eat heartily and play and play. Then, she will sack out and take a nap.

Yes, I'm crazy. After Zach's belt test and getting my hair cut on Sat., I meandered over to PetCo to gather some pet supplies for our current four-legged brood. Well, of course, the Humane Society of Lawrenceville was there adopting out dogs and cats of all ages and breeds (mainly mixed). They had many kittens up for adoption. I held a couple of small kittens, but they just did not seem right; they were more interested in escaping than playing with me. I also looked closely at some of the adult cats. Since we have three other animals, I wasn't sure how "adaptable" they would be. Then, one of the "foster" parents directed me over to the cage of Sara Begonia. She was between 3 and 4 months and was supposedly very affectionate. I took her out and held her. Amid all of the chaos of dogs barking and people walking around, she was content to sit on my lap and play. She also purred really loudly. That was it; I called Tim and the kids to make sure it was okay, and I brought her home.
Well, she has only been here for a day and she rules the roost! She is not afraid of the dogs and does not want Oliver around her. (Yes, she does remind me of Katie.) She has definitely made herself at home. Because of her unusual markings (I was initially attracked to her personality and not her beauty.), we named her Snickers.

Belt Testing

Zach, preparing to do his palm...notice the concentration.

Zach did a fabulous job breaking the board with a jump, spinning reverse kick.

Saturday morning, Zach tested for his high green belt. He did a wonderful job, really putting effort and force into each and every move. We are so proud of him! Notice his black uniform. He committed himself to the black belt club which basically puts him on a faster path towards earning his black belt.

On Tuesday, he will have his belt ceremony and receive his high green belt.

Friday, August 17, 2007


This week I am very thankful that my friend and colleague, Rebecca, is okay. On Sunday night she was car jacked and assaulted. The assailant either pushed her down or hit her on the head. Regardless, she went from her feet to her head in seconds. Then, he punched her in the face and held her down by the face when she tried to scream and kick him. He then tore her pocket off and grabbed her keys. She was able to save her fabulous Coach purse as her attacker fumbled with the keys (maybe not the smartest move, but a victory none the less). The scary thing is that she was in a well-lit parking lot in Buckhead.

She had to get 5 staples in her head and had some swelling and bruising, but there was no internal bleeding. Plus, on Tuesday night, she learned that they had found her car with two men in it! They arrested the man that fit her description. On Thursday, detectives visited her at home and she was able to identify her assailant from a lineup.

Although she has some physical and mental healing to do, she is going to be okay. When I talk to her each day, she amazes me with her strength and positive outlook.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Difficult Week

Some weeks are just harder than others; aren't they? This past week was one of them. Hannah complained of a stomach ache all week. She did not have temperature or any other symptoms, so I do not know if it was due to tiredness, stress, or truly a little bug. To make matters worse, it was over 100 degrees most days last week. Because it was so hot, I picked the kids up from school on most days.

My week was also stressful. I had two big projects due for Monday and worked many hours past my 40 hour week. While I finished most of my work by Friday, I did have to work for a couple of hours this weekend. However, Hannah and I did squeeze in some shopping time too. We even stopped at PetCo to check out the animals up for adoption, but I'm just not ready yet for another cat. Tim and I also worked on the basement. It is amazing the amount of junk you accumulate over 14 years. I hope it doesn't take another 14 just to clean it out....

Perhaps it's just starting school (for all of us) and the fact that it's so hot. Regardless, I am looking forward to a much better week!

Monday, August 6, 2007

At the Lake

This weekend we went to visit Tim's mom and dad at their house on Lake Sinclair. It is Tim's dad's (Papa's) birthday today, so Tim's brother, John, our sister-in-law, Amy, our niece, Kelly, and our grand-nephew, Jaden, were all there. It was a lot of fun to visit, catch up, and play on the lake. Below our pictures from the weekend.

The birthday boy, Papa....

Jaden looking so cool after a swim....

Ms. H, the bathing beauty....

Amy and Mom enjoy the sights of the lake from the shore.

Jaden and John chilling out on the hammock...
The kids had a wonderful time playing on the "Delta." This is a triangle-shaped float with a space for sitting in the middle. Hannah and Zach took turns riding on the Delta as Tim pulled them "steaming fast" over the lake. The one that did not ride during a turn was the lookout for the other and let Tim know if he or she had fallen or needed help.

Tim and "lookout" Zach get ready to pull Hannah on the Delta.

Hannah, getting ready to ride....She had no fear!

Even the dogs had fun at the lake. Rex was very interested in fetching his tennis ball but would knock it out farther into the lake when he went to retrieve it. He was getting braver and braver in the water as the day progressed. Since he's not a strong swimmer (He sinks like an anchor.), I had to keep a close watch on him. (He did not like wearing his pooch preserver.)
Daisy, in turn, wore herself out making sure her "people" were okay. The kids would jump off of the dock and she would yelp at them. Then, she would run around to the shore and swim out to them to make sure they were okay. One time she even jumped off the dock after them....(She did only do this once.)

Rex waits patiently for his ball to get within reachable distance while Daisy watches to make sure her "people" are swimming to the shore okay.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

First Friday

Hannah and I attended First Friday this month at Joan and Scott's house. It was a small group, compared to other First Friday meetings, but it was extra special with the arrival of two new babies from China, Mia and Ally (left). Mia was active, loving the sound of her squeaky shoes on the floor and running and playing while Ally was definitely more shy. We heard wonderful stories about both trips to China (They traveled within a week of each other.) and viewed pictures of the trips. There was even a special "Congratulations" cake, which Hannah and Ally particularly enjoyed. It is nice getting together with families in all stages of the process, so we can learn from and support one another.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

First Day of School

Yea! Yesterday was the first day back to school! Zach and Hannah are in the fourth grade this year (hard to believe). They are also at a new school since our system decided to re-district students. On Monday, Tim, the kids, and I attended open house and met their teachers, both very nice. Even though the kids were excited Wed. morning, they were also a little nervous. Hannah was actually a lot nervous; however, by the time she arrived at the bus stop, the tears were gone.

My handsome young man, Zach, before leaving for the bus stop

Beautiful, cool Hannah and all her gear, waiting for the bus

Even though Amber lives closer to another stop, she joined Hannah at her bus stop. Her presence was great for calming Hannah's nerves. She is also in Hannah's class this year.

Zach, Amber, and Hannah....beautiful smiles!

The boy pose: Matthew, Andrew, Zach, and William - William is in Zach's class this year.
Both Hannah and Zach had a great first day! They came home all smiles with stories about their teachers and what they did. Zach also made a couple new friends....

Big Brown Envelope

Two days ago we received the "Big Brown Envelope" from the American Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. Basically, all the envelope contains is notification that the Department of Homeland Security has sent our adoption approval to the U.S. Consulate in China and more paperwork for Tim and me to fill out and bring to China in order to obtain our child's visa to travel to the U.S. The city of Guangzhou will be the last stop on our adoption trip. Many people who adopt do not receive the "Big Brown Envelope" (We were told not to worry or be upset if we don't.) and just fill out the paperwork when they are in China, but it was exciting to receive in the mail. It marks another step in our process!

Below are what the first couple of lines of the cover letter read. Thought you might like to see:

"Congratulations! The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services recently notified U.S. Consulate Guangzhou that the Department of Homeland Security has approved your petition to adopt an overseas orphan...."