Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let The Countdown Begin!

Oh my gosh, we are traveling in 4 days!!! YES, that's right - 4! days from today!! We will fly to California, where we will spend Saturday night, and then climb onto that lovely Singapore Airlines jet on Sunday! ACK!
Now the questions that everyone has started to ask - are you ready? Have you finished packing? Are you nervous/excited? freaking out?
And the answers are: yes/no, no, no/yes. YES.
Immunizations finished (flu shots coming in next 2 days). Malaria drugs begun (for Maya). Medical/toiletry/bug repellant/clothing/contact lenses/etc purchased and piled up. Entertaining toys/games have been purchased, wrapped (it will be a mini-Xmas!), and packed in carry-ons for Maya (hidden away so not even the new 'Thomas the Train' carry-on is seen until the day of travel!). Baby items have been purchased and cleaned. Toy room has been re-organized (gotta think safety for mobile 1-yr old) and age-appropriate toys sanitized. Co-sleeper set up. House has been baby-proofed. Clothing is in piles to be selected and packed. Suitcases are waiting to be filled. Housesitter moving in this weekend. Dog moving out this weekend (thank you Uncle Keith/Auntie LuAnn!!). Work items are close-to-complete. Schedules are cleared. Paperwork is almost complete, and nicely filed in color-coded folders.
Flights are booked/Hotels are booked.
P H E W.
Thankfully I get to have an evening out with the ladies tonite. Book club (aka, 'fab excuse for babysitter and wine') fell at the perfect time this month. Much needed!
We are all very excited though. Maya wakes up every day and asks if today is the day that she will go in the 'big huge airplane to India to get Devika'. We cannot wait to meet our baby!! Devika - we will see you very soon!! I can't believe that we are finally almost there!!

The Final Countdown! {haa.. these guys are more excited than we are..}

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So this is a new spin on the 'ole 'Tupperware' or 'Pampered Chef' party. Someone in my neighborhood held a 'Baubles and Botox' party last night. Yes.. that's right.. I said 'Botox'. No joke - they had jewelry for sale, free cocktails, and a doctor there who did Botox injections. No, I do not live in Orange County, CA. And no, I did not attend. Can you see it? My hubby arrives home from work-travel, and finds me completely expressionless. :)) He'd think he walked into a scene from The Stepford Wives! What a disappointment THAT would be.. lol! Ok, maybe I exaggerate.. but that was the first time I've heard of that. Of course, I guess since there are actually cartoons about this type of thing, it must be relatively common. Go figure!

Some exciting news today! Found out that things are moving along well with the passport process, so we are planning to book travel. Our agency suggests that we wait until the passport has been issued, but we actually would not have any issues staying in Kolkata a bit longer if there was a bit of a delay (hubby has business partners located there) - so we are going to just go! Yay!
We're waiting to make sure that our legals reach our agency here in the US and that everything looks good, which should happen in the next 2-3 biz days. At that point, we will book! Our plan is to leave on October 6th and stay through the 20th or 21st. Need to nail down the departure date. We found great-priced tix thru Singapore - all 3 of us (I'm including Maya, not Devika) can travel for ~$4200. Not bad eh? Gotta luv their web fares.

I can't believe that we are actually to this point!! After all the waiting, we are finally to the very last leg. Wow. We have people set up to house-sit and dog-sit.. so everything is falling into place.
My big concern at this point is getting Maya thru this ungodly flight. I have purchased many little busy-items.. and will be wrapping them up like little presents. I'll then distribute them over time. I am very excited about the 'Chicken Socks' brand books that I purchased for her. I purchased 4 of them - they look great! One is all about fun with tape, and it comes with little rolls of tape. Another is fun with felt - and has felt pages and a bunch of felt pieces that you put together to make little animals on the pages, etc. Def. a cute idea. I hope and pray that this works! I think that it will. If it gets ugly, I'll let her 'braid' my hair. She's very into braids right now (tho she can't actually braid yet - but she tries!). This is last resort, as I might have issues getting into Delhi looking like this:

And I thought they stared last time - when I was just light-skinned and blonde. :D

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Everywhere Goa

First of all, let me clarify: we are NOT flying biz class to India. {sniffle sniffle} Plain 'ole economy seats. Unless, of course, anyone wants to donate to my 'suite-seat' fund. ;)

I'm a bit wierded out right now. Recall that we are going to stay a few days in Goa while we are traveling? Well.. yesterday I got my latest issue of Conde Nast Traveler, and their cover article is about Goa! And then tonite, I turn on the Travel Channel (see a theme in my interests?).. and it's Andrew Zimmerman - in Goa! Straaaange. And very cool! Especially seeing actual video on Zimmerman's show. I hope that I get a chance to photograph the markets that he visited - would mak
e for some great travel photography! The fruits and spices are gorgeous. The pork sausages, however, might ruin the entire trip for Aj. ;) Anyone who knows him will understand what I'm talking about! The boy will not touch a piece of pork.
Umm.. pickled fish. Stays good for 1 yr with no refrigeration. Ahh.. looking forward to foraging thru the Goan food market! Hopefully it is actually open - as we are arriving at the tail end of the monsoon season. This could seriously impact our trip. I'm praying that it isn't too much of an influence. I did see that this week is sunny.. after a devastating 3 days of hideous monsoon rains last week. Yikes. They have had over 100" of rain this season! Coming from a very dry climate, this will be quite the change for us.
Btw, one of my 'goals' in life that I have managed to actually achieve every year for the past 7 years.. is to visit a hotel/resort/ship/etc. listed in Conde Nast as one of their Gold List winners. Looks like this year - it is the Park Hyatt Goa! Wait. I already had one this year. Hmm. Well, I guess that makes 2008 an amazing travel year - in SO very many ways! 2009 is going to be a major challenge!

So, speaking of monsoons.. I purchased Maya a raincoat today. Ooo Aaah.. I know this sounds exciting. What actually WAS exciting (only for me I'm sure) was the fact that I caved and also bought a matching outfit (to the raincoat of course)
for her and a matching/coordinating dress for Devika. And a few more items for Devika. I'm no longer allowing myself near any mall or outlet mall or boutique or Target or store of any type where I might be tempted to 'just buy one little new item for little Devika'. I am cut-off. Done.

And speaking of Maya - she is doing SOO well at her new school!!! My little 'update sheet' from today said that she is fitting in very well with the class, and getting along great with the other kids. Using the potty... not hitting anyone.. eating all of her lunch.. WOW! I'm so very happy that I made the decision and pulled her out of the other school. She is also happier at home and sleeping very well at night (tho still getting up b/t 5-6 am - owch!). So, things are going very well and will hopefully be a comfort to her when we arrive back home from India.

And speaking of India and Devika.. we we
re blessed to receive some new photos of her yesterday! Unfortunately she was woken from a nap for the photos.. and she was obviously NOT happy! Look at the hair - is that not fabulous? I hope they don't cut it before we get there! What a sweetie.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Preparations and Celebrations

Yesterday we rec'd an email from our agency saying that Devika/Satarupa's passport has been requested. The timeline given was '15 days'.. but we'll see. Hoping for less than 15, but that would not be hideous by any means. We jaunted up to the Global Travel immunization office and rec'd our shots and prescrips for the trip today! That just makes it feel so close! Maya was awesome - she intently watched Mommy and Daddy receive thier shots, and then took hers like such a big girl! Not a cry or anything! I was most impressed - as were the nurses. I could not believe, however, that she still weighed in at only 22 lbs. Criminy! She is completely healthy though, so I guess we can't complain.
We tentatively scheduled our hotel reservations in Goa yesterday. Thought we would go ahead and try to ensure that the Park Hyatt has availability when we are there. If the dates work out, we should be good to go. We also checked on flights, and looks like we can fly all of us via web fares for less than $5,000 total. I guess that means that I'm not going to be luxuriously flying on the top floor of the plane with a private sky-suite, complementary Givenchy-pajamas, a feather matteress and duvet, and a 23" personal tv. Seriously, what's up with that? I feel extremely deserving! And heck, Maya could just snuggle in with me.. no need for her own sky-suite. I think that is well worth $14,890, don't you? And think about how comfortable little Devika would be on the ride home! I would even let DH visit on occasion from the back of the plane.. ;)))
Maybe we could start a little fundraiser and raise the money for my suite experience. I promise to blog all about it DURING the flight!! :D
Oh, and by the way, for all who have inquired as to whether I'll be blogging during the trip - the answer is def. yes! That's the best way for me to keep everyone updated without writing a zillion emails.. and it also helps me to have a nice record of the experience for future input into Devika's lifebook/baby book.

The slideshow below contains some photos from Maya's 3rd birthday. We celebrated once with Dad, b/c he had to travel on her actual birthday - we rode the train downtown and had a fab lunch at McCormick & Schmick (yes, that might have been more for us.. haha!). We then celebrated again on her actual birthday, with friends. She had asked and asked for a Barney cake, and luckily she had one! Wasn't easy.. which I found odd. Who would guess that Barney cakes are not popular among the toddler crowd these days?? She LOVED her Thomas balloon.. it plays a VERY LOUD song and talks a little when you smack it. Needless to say, it kept getting jostled between the floral dept of the supermarket and my car.. and it sang/talked at 'airline-decibal' the entire way. I was quite a spectacle - juggling this HUGE balloon.. a cake.. and 6 other balloons! Thank god for large sunglasses. :))

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Valuable Resource

I discovered a podcast recently thru itunes, and I really like it quite a bit. It's called Creating A Family: Talk About Adoption and Infertility'. The woman who produces the show - Dawn Davenport - is an attorney and an author. She has written "The Complete Book of International Adoption", if you have heard of it. And actually her podcasts are created from a blog talk radio show that she does.
Her September 3rd show was entitled 'The Connected Child', and is an interview with the woman who wrote the book by that name - Dr Karyn Purvis. I've read the book, and recently (ok, yesterday!) pulled the book off my bookshelf in order to brush-up on some attachment/bonding advice as well as behavior/discipline info. A bit of a coincidence to log onto itunes today and see this podcast link! It turned out to be an interesting and informative listen.
If you are an adoptive (or soon-to-be) parent, you might want to check out Dawn's website and listen to a few of the previous podcasts, etc. I only recently discovered her, and have only listened to 3 or 4 podcasts.. but they have all been interesting. There are a couple more that I noticed from the past that sound great - such as an interview with Mary Hopkins-Best, who authored "Toddler Adoption" - another highly-recommended book.
Dawn's website: http://www.creatingafamily.com. Click 'Radio Show' for links to stream previous shows.
You can also play her shows off of iTunes or BlogTalkRadio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/creatingafamily.

In other news, I've made the final decision to pull Maya out of her current school. I am visiting other preschools again and looking for the right fit for her. I was referred by her teacher to another Montessori, so I will be checking that out tomorrow. Today I visited a Goddard School - but I tend to feel that is more of a childcare establishment than a preschool. Difficult to go from a true Montessori Elementary School to a childcare facility. Anyhow, the other Montessori has younger kids and smaller class sizes - so it sounds like a possibility. At least I've made a decision. Phew! Need to take care of this change prior to our travel, so it isn't a major issue when we return.
Hope all of you are having a lovely Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happiness Is..

So I thought that since I am in a GREAT mood tonite, I should post a blog post eh? Seems like it is always easy to spew out all of my downer-thoughts.. but there are not as many 'up' posts. :)
To counter the recent depressing list-posts (and to keep you from recommending prescription anti-depressives), here are the things that I am most happy about today:
1) Duh. I think that if you have ever read this blog, you know what is #1. If you are new (and who is lurking out there from Iceland? I just noticed that one today..), simply scroll down to the timeline entitled 'We've Begun Our 2nd Journey..', note the timeline, and scroll back up here.
Ok, welcome back.
Now read the 2 previous posts from this week. 'nuff said.
2) Goa. We are going to Goa. Goa has been on my 'Place To Visit Before I Die' list for many, many years. My camera is happy-dancing as I speak/type.
3) Winning. I think I mentioned a couple months ago that I won 2nd place in a video-creation contest for Devika's video? Well, just found out that I won 1st place for a video-creation that I submitted for last month's 'Birthday' themed contest. Nice to have some recognition.. and nice to win a couple hundred bux! Thanks to my brother-in-law for being the subject and having his birthday video posted online for the world to see! Yes, I owe you many beerz. :)) Ok, vodka bottles.
4) Mom is feeling better. The virus has improved immensely, and she sounds much better. Had an appmt yesterday at IU Med Center with a team of 4 amazing doc/oncologists. They aren't super-confident about her new chemo, but they have other plans-of-attack if it doesn't work quickly. Nothing like a team of the best. Let it motivate you mama! Kick the crap out of this thing.
5) Ok, I have decided to stop working for awhile (or working much..) when Devika comes home. I want to help Maya work thru this aggression issue she is dealing with (and omg it is sooo hard), and I often wonder if part of the issue is the fact that she needs more of me. I also am fully aware that Devika will very very likely have attachment and adjustment issues - being 13 or 14 months when she joins our family. That is a full-time job coming at me. A fantastic, much-anticipated journey.. but not without obstacles.
That being said.. I have a FABULOUS work-related endeavor in mind. I think I'll just sloooowly cultivate it, and start working on it when my family is a bit more stable and ready to share me with clients. :) But seriously - it is a GOOD.. scratch that.. GREAT.. idea, and it is so very difficult not to work towards it right now!! argh. Ok. Enough type-A.. deep breath.
6) This is actually part of item #1, but I am SO very excited to be filling out my Visa request forms!! It has triggered some memories, and I'm flashing back to Maya's process, and how amazing it was. Especially the first time meeting our baby. I just cannot WAIT to meet our little Devika and bring her into our family! I have to go to Maya's school tomorrow to join in her birthday celebration (her teacher was sick today, so it was rescheduled) and read a book that I had to write about her life - to her class - and I hope that I don't do something silly like choke-up when I get to the part about her becoming a big sister. :) Haa.. Nothing like scaring 23 preschoolers.
And btw, isn't a class of 23 just incredibly ridiculous??? I did not know it would be so large, and I'm considering pulling her out if her behavior does not change in the next couple of weeks. Bringing Devika home is surely not going to help her issues. Hmm. This is a tough one..

Ok don't make fun of me. I luv this song, and the line from it popped into my head earlier. Must be my Catholic upbringing. They get into your head.. ;)) I choose to blame my sister (Sr Marie.. who, in real life, reminds me of the character that Whoopie plays).
I hope all of you have an amazing week, and I think I might purchase a lotto ticket tomorrow! Peace.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Well if this isn't just our lucky day! :)
I picked up the mail today - and lo and behold - there is our happy little letter from CIS! Fingerprints are complete and the updated info sent to Delhi.


Getting closer by the minute!!!!!!


We were granted Guardianship by the judge in Kolkata today!!! Yippeee! Finally Finally Finally!
Thanks to all for your kind thoughts and prayers over the past 7 months. This has been quite a long and painful wait for our family. Now we need the judge to sign the papers, ship them to the US, complete the passport process, and get our fingerprint update back from USCIS. Lots of things to happen in a hopefully very short time - but the big steps are all complete now!
Better start packing.. :))

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Isn't this a lovely photo? Yes, this is the view from the back of our home. They parked this monstrosity atop the dirt mountain yesterday, and it hasn't moved since. I HOPE they move it tomorrow. I'm going to be seriously annoyed if I have to look at this all weekend. It's the view from my kitchen windows also. Luckily our trees have grown in enough to hide much of the mess.
Yes, they are building in the open space behind us. Very sad. Oh well.. at least it is not the lot directly behind our house - rather it is the lot behind that lot. Sniff.. sniff.. we have lost part of our pretty view.

Maya, however, very much enjoys the view now! The girl likes her construction vehicles. I asked her today what she would like to dress up as for Halloween, and she said 'An elephant.. no, a tiger.. no, A BULLDOZER!'. sigh.

We're still having issues with Maya's aggressiveness. She is being overwhelmed at school (my theory.. there are 23!! kids in her class) and has been hitting/pushing some of the kids. Only the girls.. and only the younger girls. Yes, my daughter is the bully. {eye roll}
Yesterday, she and I had a meeting with her teacher to discuss the issue. We are both going to follow the 'Love & Logic' parenting/teaching methods.. and see if the consistency will help us to pull her through this phase. I have also taken away her beloved Thomas the Train toys.. and will begin returning them only if she does a better job of keeping her hands to herself at school. I did this on Sunday (after she hit poor little Sammy over the head several times at a dinner party), and so far she has had a much much better week. Hopefully all of this will work and she won't backslide too much when we bring Devika home. Luckily she has a completely wonderful teacher who is very interested and positive about helping her.
Not much else going on.. my mom is starting to finally feel a teeny bit better. This cold/virus she has been dealing with is wicked. Just not easy to fight anything with so little white blood cells. Thanks everyone for your prayers.. keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Potential Court Date!

A little news today ~ we have a court date! Now, we completely understand that many, many things can happen to cause this court date to be delayed.. but we are going to THINK POSITIVE!
{drum roll} September 8th.
We are sending out positive vibes, prayer requests, etcetcetc.. and we hope that we will receive happy news on the 9th! The 9th, btw, is Maya's birthday - what a stupendous birthday gift this would be! {Of course we are also waiting on fingerprints now.. but let's not ponder that at this moment.}
I think this is a fab reason to post a Seal video.. ;))) (luv him) No sappy songs today.. let's throw some energy behind this appeal!