Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MIND READER!

Try this!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

BLOG STATS

Up to 80 countries, over 31 thousand hits. For the first time there are more UK hits than US ones.

I love the tickers, but for some reason it's now registering me as a reader - even though it's set not to!

Only 9 more (after this one) posts until 1,000.

QUIET NIGHTS AT HOME . . .

. . . I'm using my quiet time to continue my research for Little Sis.

I'm currently considering Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or even Ethiopia! I'm also practising my spelling and brushing up on my world geography.

There is very little information available from the UK - so far most of my information has come from yahoo groups, adoption blogs, US adoption agencies and the US government sites, all via Google. Nevertheless all information, links, experiences or contacts would be gratefully received - please leave a comment if you can help!

I feel a little more positive about IA this week - as I was beginning to feel that there was no hope of Alice having a sibling who stood a chance of looking even slightly like her. Even getting some 'proper' research underway is making me feel more optimistic. I don't think I ever felt this way about Alice's adoption - I was committed to China from almost the very beginning and it was an established and clear route which was easy to find out about. I'm still struggling to come to terms with the fact that the second adoption is a greater challenge than the first - after all most things are more straightforward the second time around, but then again, my life was never that simple. It's probably Fate's way of making me appreciate my child(ren), if so, it's working!

STILL BUSY, ISH

. . . we both look better for a haircut but I'm still feeling rough. Other than our hair appointment it was a quiet day - socially and literally! I'm bored with feeling ill and fed up with not being able to phone friends in the evenings - talking hurts and my throat feels like I've swallowed razor blades, hopefully the antibiotics will take effect soon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'VE BEEN TAGGED, PART 2!

It's taken me a while to think of some answers, I'm posting here but will update the original post too.

7 weird facts about me:
  1. I always dress in the same order - starting with my left foot. But when I dress Alice I start on my left and always dress her in the same order too. (I know that it would be daft to put on underwear after clothes, but it's always (for her!) nappy, socks, vest etc).
  2. I have a degree in shopping, really, an Honours degree in 'Retail Management'!
  3. I'm a stress-bucket, I worry about everything - even things that I said or did from years ago.
  4. I love my car and I'm a car snob, my wheels matter to me - even Alice's pushchair!
  5. I'm single, terminally single and not even prepared to work out how long it's been since I had even a date.
  6. I went to a great cookery school, I loved the time there, I love cooking but tend to burn my food - just to make sure that it's 'properly' cooked!
  7. I must be really boring because I can't think of anything else that's weird - it's normal to me!!
I tag:
Well most of my bloggy friends are in the UK, most have either already been tagged or don't do that sort of thing (you know who you are!), so please consider yourself tagged if you'd like to be!

COMINGS AND GOINGS

Beach house is finally GONE!! Not without drama though - I had a phonecall this morning that there was one more document to sign before the sale could be completed, one mad dash into A and it was all sorted!

Then we went straight to M'b - for lunch with Grandad, GMJ and the gorgeous P. Lovely company, useless me feeling rotten and then a huge traffic jam on the way home. I think that they were all surprised how much Alice had changed, she was pretty well behaved but refused kisses (even for me!) "No!" is the new feature in the past few days, ugh.

Meanwhile I've got a throat infection and a very sore throat too - a course of antibiotics hasn't touched it yet and I've finished the first 3 days of a 7 day course.

Monday, February 18, 2008

BRIEFLY

. . . still here . . . still busy . . . still absolutely exhausted!

Have conquered (for now) the shoe-monster, finally, after 2 days, 2 cities and 4 shoeshops, we've managed to get a pair plainish 5 and a half 'F's that almost fit - long story about narrow ankles! Can't believe we'll have to do it all again in as little as 6 weeks. Meanwhile, Alice is extremely pleased with her new shoes but she's still walking like John Wayne missing his horse!

Today we went to B to see M, C and L. First Alice and I shoe shopped before meeting the B/Es for lunch. Alice was in a highchair for 90 minutes, without complaining. She was a delight all day - I told her as much over supper tonight and she repeated Mummy's declaration that she was a 'Goo Grrl!'

After lunch we went to see a Lion Dance - 15 minutes early but too late to see it, they were already turning away loads of people as the room was full, so we stayed where we were and joined the queue for the following hour's performance. It was worth the wait - lion dance and several dances from a local dance group, all very good. We also got to meet A, R and their daughter L - it was great to meet them but very strange too - as they're blog readers! I was quite spooked - they knew quite a lot about me and I knew only a little about them - quite disconcerting!!

Chris Evans was playing the Carpenters on the way home:

Such a feelin's comin' over me
There is wonder in 'most ev'ry thing I see
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
And I won't be surprised if it's a dream

Everything I want the world to be
Is now comin' true especially for me
And the reason is clear, it's because you are here
You're the nearest thing to heaven that I've seen

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

Somethin' in the wind has learned my name
And it's tellin' me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There's a pleasin' sense of happiness for me

There is only one wish on my mind
When this day is through I hope that I will find
That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me
All I need will be mine if you are here

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

The lyrics struck a chord with me and I counted my blessings - especially the one in the back of the car who was resting her eyes at the time, doubly blessed.

Another great day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'VE BEEN TAGGED!

I have been tagged. I was tagged by Gina and I am too list 7 things you may not know about me.

The rules are to link the person who sent this to you and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours. Post the rules on your blog. Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here's what you've been waiting for:

7 weird facts about me:

  1. I always dress in the same order - starting with my left foot. But when I dress Alice I start on my left and always dress her in the same order too. (I know that it would be daft to put on underwear after clothes, but it's always (for her!) nappy, socks, vest etc).
  2. I have a degree in shopping, really, an Honours degree in 'Retail Management'!
  3. I'm a stress-bucket, I worry about everything - even things that I said or did from years ago.
  4. I love my car and I'm a car snob, my wheels matter to me - even Alice's pushchair!
  5. I'm single, terminally single and not even prepared to work out how long it's been since I had even a date.
  6. I went to a great cookery school, I loved the time there, I love cooking but tend to burn my food - just to make sure that it's 'properly' cooked!
  7. I must be really boring because I can't think of anything else that's weird - it's normal to me!!
I tag:
Well most of my bloggy friends are in the UK, most have either already been tagged or don't do that sort of thing (you know who you are!), so please consider yourself tagged if you'd like to be!

(This will be added to later!) (Night, night!)

COMMENTS

Love 'em!

Please keep them coming.

Unfortunately they haven't been getting through to me, will use 'The Dashboard' more often, promise!

STILL HERE, ALL OK - JUST REALLY TIRED!

Busy, busy, busy . . . again.

The weekend was full of Chinese New Year celebrations (more to come in another post) - 2 meals out, 2 lion dances, 1 party and not enough sleep!!

We paid for the weekend's busy-ness yesterday - Alice was tired and so she was whingey and grumpy, didn't help Mummy's day go smoothly!

And the photo? Snapped quickly while waiting for Alice's oesteopath. The cardi? Super, but age 4-5!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

LEAVING ALICE

. . . for the first time . . . was very hard. I'm sure it was worse for me than for her.

She was at home being looked after by people who know her very well. Meanwhile I was 2 hours drive away, staying in a house with no phone or mobile signal!

How did she do? She didn't sleep when I put her down for her lunchtime nap on Tuesday, but she did go straight to sleep that evening! Tuesday was pretty much normal for her, even though I wasn't around she was used to seeing T and her Mum M for those parts of the day. Wednesday morning reality hit her - she was quite out of sorts when T got her out of bed (that's the one part of the day that Mummy ALWAYS does), she didn't drink her morning bottle and then bottles and meals were out of sorts until my return.

She was definitely pleased to see me. We had a play and cuddle before she went for the lunchtime nap - she went to sleep almost instantly and slept through the noise of removers through the house and shifting furniture up the stairs (wish she slept that way every naptime!) Since then she's been clingy - entirely appropriate given the circumstances - quick to cry and not happy when she can't see me - all good signs of attachment, I think?!

So . . . T wanted to know if I'd be going to New York the next time?

Maybe, but don't expect it to be any time soon!

I left her at home, with familar faces, for 24 hours. I left her because it was the most sensible option. I found it really hard. I did it because the alternatives were daft. My head won over my heart, it was the right decision. I just hope that I don't have to face a similar situation any time soon, or not so soon. It's times like this when being single bites hard.

BUSY, BUSY WEEK

. . . so busy that I'm still really tired, so this'll be quick!

Monday - soft play and loads of fun in the morning, osteopath for Alice in the afternoon, lots of organising for Mummy in the evening.

Tuesday - quiet morning with a few paperwork and household jobs in the morning - Alice's cold was still streaming so we didn't go to swimming. After lunch I left home and went to West Wales - chanting most of the way 'You have to leave to be able to come back!' I treated myself to a pub supper (didn't want to dirty dishes, cart food and I also wanted to make the most of a baby-free evening!) - delicious!! Back at the beach house there was quiet a lot of organising to do.

Wednesday - no lie-in, in fact the removal men arrived before 8am! They packed up quiet quickly and then waited for a new van to arrive from the other side of Wales (the one they had had broken down twice the day before)! They were very polite and careful. We left WW before 10.30am - the journey home was more emotional as I was getting more desperate to see Alice again (my first thought on waking that morning was 'I made it through the night!') Alice was pleased to see me and I was ecstatic to see her, we had a nice play before I put her down (slightly later than usual) for her lunchtime nap. The removal van arrived just after Alice went for her nap (and straight to sleep!) I stood in the drive and directed boxes and furniture into the house, garage or dairy - it would have been so much easier if they'd listened in WW! The Magnificent T and I then spent hours unpacking some of the boxes.

Thursday - J0 J1ngles as usual, fab as usual. Alice wore squeaky shoes and bounced an accompaniment through the class, we both had lots of fun. Then I needed a quiet afternoon at home!

Today - we visited school this morning. T was here when we got home, so she unpacked more boxes and I did some sorting. I went to the oesteopath while T looked after Alice. Then this afternoon we had fun with toys, books and dogs!

P.S. The spell checker still isn't working and I don't have the energy to proof, sorry!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

REUNION

Last weekend M, C and L came to stay, GFN came too. I love it when L's family come to visit - it feels so easy and so right to get the girls together and it's just so lovely to see the whole family.

They continue to be SOOO different but so wonderful!

RECENT NEWS

I've seen this expression quite a lot recently - it's the face that Alice makes when she'd like to try something that I've got!!

The last few days have been quiet. The week started in the usual way - soft play (Alice astounded me by climbing straight up the foam steps!) and swimming.

Unfortunately by Wednesday Alice had started a cold with a nasty chesty cough. She's OK but has a short tollerance of anything at the moment, she's been running a temperature on and off and we've been getting through the pink medicine, the cough medicine and the sleepy medicine in carefully calculated combinations. I'm also using a humidifier in her room overnight and using mentholated chest rub. Her cheeks are chapped and covered in dried runny nose - and for the sake of both our sanity I'm leaving them like that (cleaning them is painful and tear and snot inducing, it just compounds the problem).

PHOTOS OF PHOTOS!

The past few nights I've been busy, collecting, printing, triming and arranging photos for Alice.

Photos of life in China, our time together in China and life together at home as well as photos of the important people in her life. (Don't be insulted if you think you should be included and can't spot yourself, there is another side and it's an ongoing project!)

I've bought a 'thingy' to hang in her nursery - it's going to go by the changing table.

I left the 'thingy' hanging in the kitchen - to get the wrinkles out and so that Alice would see it this morning - judging by her reaction she liked it!! (But it could only hold her attention for 'so long' before vanity got the better of her - she totally believes that the oven's main use is as her personal mirror!!)

Next step is to hang it! Then I'm on to working on Alice's first lifebook - does anyone know where to get hold of a toddler friendly photo album (like a Whoozit but with more pockets)? Comments please!

DESPERATE SITUATION IN CHINA

The weather in China has been horrendous this week - snow, ice and stormy conditions have wreaked havoc.

This is from a charity called HALF THE SKY:

We expect to have a break in the weather tomorrow and then more storms moving in on Tuesday. We hope to use the brief window to get some direct relief to the orphanages that need it most desperately, especially in towns without power where no funds can be wire-transferred.

We will be receiving a list of orphanages with urgent needs by noon tomorrow (Monday here in China.) There are 20 in Hunan Province alone. We have made arrangements to wire funds directly wherever possible and promised anyone who's using their personal funds right now to care for the children that they will be reimbursed promptly. All institutions receiving funds will provide us with receipts and photographs of items purchased.

Here are a few updates. This list will grow substantially tomorrow. You can check our website at http://www.halfthesky.org/work/littlemouse.php for the very latest news and full details.

Changzhou, Jiangsu - UPDATE: The orphanage now reports they are running out of diapers and need 750 diapers per day for an estimated 10 days.

Chengdu, Sichuan - UPDATE: Chengdu repeats their request for a large heater and disposable diapers. They also request 80 warm quilts.

Chenzhou, Hunan - UPDATE: The largest hotel in Chenzhou is running on one emergency generator and townsfolk who've been without power for days have filled all rooms and lobbies. There are very few places in town with even emergency power now. Hopes are to get some electricity by next weekend. We are in daily touch with the orphanage. They know that everyone is thinking of them and determined to get them the help they need.

Chongqing - UPDATE: Temperatures continue to drop - request warm blankets and floor mats.

Chuzhou, Anhui - UPDATE: Reports that their industrial clothes dryer broke down two days ago. They've tried to repair but it is still not working and they have no way to dry clothes and diapers in the cold. They ask for purchase of a new dryer and for disposable diapers.

Guiyang, Guizhou - UPDATE: Power is intermittant. They repeat the request for diapers and now understand that HTS has okayed the purchase.

Hangzhou, Zhejiang - Because of snow, they've been unable to get vegetables for several days. They request a subsidy to purchase food at higher prices and also ask for disposable diapers.

Hefei, Anhui - UPDATE: The orphanage now realizes they will soon run out of disposable diapers. They ask for funds to purchase 7500 diapers.

Nanchang, Jiangxi - UPDATE: Their boiler for hot water supply has broken down. They ask for funds to purchase a new one.

Qingyuan, Guangdong - UPDATE: With HTS funds, they have purchased 110 sets of quilts and padded jackets but have been unable to find heaters anywhere in Qingyuan. They are going to try to send someone south to Guangzhou to find heaters.

Shaodian, Henan - HTS supports a Family Village here for children orphaned by AIDS. Due to the heavy snow and bitter cold, the children suffer from chilblains on their hands and feet. Water pipes have frozen and they are now able to get water only a few hours a day. Food costs are rising. Power supply is intermittant. They request heaters and cream for chilblains as well as a subsidy for food.

Xinyang, Henan - UPDATE: It seems first information on Xinyang did not come from director of institution. Today's news is not so favorable. It has been snowing since January 10 and temperatures are the lowest in history. Some heaters are broken. The institution has gathered all of the children together in the largest HTS activity room to kep them warm. Due to the weight of ice, the roof has cracked and there are leaks into some of the HTS acivity rooms as well as the nurseries. They are installing a "temporary" toilet on the same floor as the big activity room so children and caregivers don't slip on the icy corridors and stairs. They ask for disposable diapers, winter clothes, cream for chilblains for the children's hands and feet. HTS staff continues to walk to work through the snow and ice; there is no public transportation.

Yangchun, Guangdong - reports a need for space heaters and hot water bottles for 88 babies at two sites.

Please consider passing this message on to anyone you think might want to help.

To contribute to Half the Sky's Little Mouse Emergency Fund please CLICK HERE

On behalf of the many, many children whose lives you will touch, and possibly save, during this difficult time - THANK YOU!

With love,

Jenny

Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation
www.halfthesky.
org