Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Such a blogger slacker...

But I have a good excuse... I'm a new mommy and I've just been handed a 8 month old.... when she sleeps, I sleep. When she's not sleeping, I am on duty... daddy is doing a good job, but when he's got her, i'm cleaning the room or getting the bottles washed and ready, or putting laundry together, or showering, or... you get the idea. This is hard work! All you mommies out there can laugh at me now...

Let me see.... Friday we came to Guangzhou. Abby did pretty good on the plane. She only got a little fussy because we weren't moving and had to sit in a seat for a hour and a half. The 14.5 hour trip home should be fun. NOT. Ready to come home, but I am not looking forward to that flight.

The White Swan hotel is beautiful. And the AC is glorious!  And the breakfast buffet is huge! We are pretty much doing a big breakfast and then dinner. Lunch is just snacks.

Saturday we toured Guangzhou... went to a Buddhist temple and the babies all received blessings. We went to a arts and crafts store and also an art museum.  Sunday we did visa paperwork and a group dinner at the local Thai restaurant. Which was ok, but was not as good as Thai Taste at home.  Monday we went for the babies visa photos and medical exam. Abby was a trooper and didn't cry once. She was 25" long and 13.7 lbs, but I take that weight with a grain of salt. She had a full diaper and had just taken a bottle, so i think she is probably just over 13 lbs. Either way, she's gained weight!  In the afternoon we went to the pearl market. Very fun, I spent a ton of money and got presents, Daddy stayed at the hotel room with Abby as she was snoozing good.  Today we had to wait in our room while our guide took our paperwork to the Visa appt. Just one hiccup for us as I left out an important document, but our guide got it from us later and took it back to the consulate so it was all ok.... At noon we took the babies down to the lobby for the traditional red couch photos. It seems all the families who stay in the White Swan hotel get their picture made on the red velvet sofa...

We received Abby's going home Barbie yesterday. It is a gift from Mattel Hong Kong. A white barbie with a Chinese baby. Very sweet and very collectable! Though Abby is going to get to play with hers....

Today after the red couch photo we shopped. I bought a suitcase and have been filling it up. I will know I am done shopping when I can't fit anymore things in it! LOL.

Some more tidbits about Abby. She loves her bath and doesn't mind when we dump water on her head to rinse her hair. She is taking 5 bottles per day instead of 4. The extra one comes in the middle of the night and seems to help her sleep.  She hates to have her clothes changed, and is now sitting up precariously on her own. Rolling over is no problem.  She won't take any solid food, only her bottle. She pushes everything out with her tongue if we try to give her any soft foods. Still no teeth.

Ok, ok, enough writing, I know you really just want to see pictures. Don't know when I'll get to blog again, I'll try to do it once more before we leave on Friday. You know, it's just hard to fit it in when you have a new little one!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

A Thanksgiving we'll never forget...

Sorry for the lack of posts, but this is our first rodeo. New mommy and new daddy = not much time for anything else. And yesterday miss abby didn't feel too good. A little fever and diarhea, and didn't sleep well the past few nights, but I think we are past all that now. I'll get the hang of this before too long and will be able to multitask better.
I quit following the feeding schedule the orphanage gave us and prett much went to feeding on demand. She is such a tiny peanut, she needs all the extra calories we can stuff in her. She is not interested at all in solid food... that will take some time.  We are getting more and more smiles and giggles and this morning she discovered she could splash with her feet. So stinkin cute!
She's napping right now... and we have to pack soon for our trip to Guangzhou soon... we are so ready to leave Jiangxi... it is so freaking hot in our room... no air right now...and I've been sick all week from the pollution...we literally are dripping in sweat all the time even though it's about 50 outside... hoping the White Swan has better AC....
Last night we had thanksgiving dinner in the hotel restaurant... they tried, but it wasn't the same.  We have a great group of families... everyone is so much fun and we all get along pretty good.  This morning we woke up to Christmas decorations and Christmas music all over the hotel. It was almost like Santa had come!
We are ready to come home... still not looking forward to the plane ride from hell (14 hours on a plane with a baby) but we are so ready to be able to brush our teeth with tap water, breath clean air, and not have to dress the baby like a mummy. seriously, if skin is showing you will get chastised. I was reprimanded in the shopping area because apparently the fleece snowsuit I had abby in was not thick enough nor did I have her in enough layers. It apparently did not matter that she was dripping with sweat...
enough with the writing, I know you just want to see the pictures!


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More about Miss Abby

She sucks her thumb a lot. Actually, it's her first finger and her thumb. I am sure it helps with teething and she is doing it when she is overstimulated or needs to calm herself. It is so stinkin cute!
We had her first poopy diaper today. Hooray! It is a big deal around these parts as stressed out babies tend to be constipated. One way to know they are relaxing with you is when they finally have that first poopy diaper. And it was a doozy. Abby didn't sleep well last night and after seeing that diaper I am sure she was constipated. She was wiggling every which way, I'm sure she was not comfortable. Tonight should be much better.
It's not that cold here, but we have to dress her in so many layers that she is sweating. Today we took a walk down to the local market and a Chinese grandma, aka the clothing police, examined her big pink fluffy fleece snowsuit and looked at her layers and indicated it wasn't enough. For real! All this with sweat practically dripping off her little head. I didn't even have a jacket on, just a long sleeve t-shirt. Oh well, you can't please everyone. Mostly everyone just gives us the thumbs up and a lot of smiles. They follow us along chattering in chinese, probably wondering why we don't answer them. A few know english and that helps a lot.
I did see the biggest baby I've ever seen today. A boy, looking like he was less than a year old, had to be 25-30 lbs, and short. A true Buddha baby. LOL. Poor little Abby looked like a squirt compared to him.
So far we are having a wonderful time getting to know our daughter. She is giving us all kinds of smiles and laughs now, and we are trying to teach her about eating baby food... she's not quite sure what to do with her tongue, she spits out about as much as goes in. But we'll keep working on it, no doubt about it, she won't lack for food at our house, LOL.
CCAI had a pediatrician come today and look at all our babies. Another great thing about our agency... they truly are on top of everything. The doctor said her lungs and heart sound good and that her ears were wet but clear. Evidently the Chinese babies' eardrums go up instead of down and it's hard for them to get ear infections. Very good news. He did say she has pretty severe ecxema (sp?) and gave us cream to put on her cheeks. Should clear up. Told us to get outside a lot and give her more sunshine and when it clears up to keep moisture cream on it. Can do!
Ok ok, here are some more pictures... the first two are from this morning when she woke up... and the last one is of a little school group of children that we saw in the marketplace.  Will try to post more pics later today as we take them...

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Abby is here!

And she is fabulous!!! She cried for maybe 30 seconds when we got her but then settled down. She was a bit shell shocked last night, but she is rapidly showing us her little personality! She loves her bath, she loves to kick her feet, and she loves being in the Ergo carrier.  She doesn't show a preference for either one of us, and is quite content to be held by either...
She is tiny tiny tiny. She is swimming in her 3-6 month pants. The tops almost fit, but the pants are huge on her! And the shoes I have for her are all way too big. Not sure I can find any that will fit here. But I'll sure try!
Today we went to the government office and made her adoption official. Everything went very smoothly... I give all the credit for that to CCAI. These folks are definitely on top of everything! Then we came back for lunch and met with the director from the orphanage. I can tell he is very proud of his babies... as soon as we walked up, the girl with him starting saying "jiang yan, jiang yan" so she must have been pretty special to the people at the orphanage. The director had books made up for the babies, that has their pictures in it, the staff, the orphanage, and a little about it all. At least that's what I think it says... it's all in Chinese.
Hopefully tomorrow we'll get more giggles out of girl. We are seeing them, but she is stingy with them... you have to really be funny to get a giggle...
Now here are some pictures!

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Touring Hong Kong and McDonald's

Today we toured Hong Kong, going to Victoria Point and the Aberdeen Harbor and a marketplace of some sort. I was struck by how clean everything is. There are people everywhere constantly cleaning. And the entrepreneurs are everywhere... they sell sell sell and set up their shops pretty much any place you could put a table.  We didn't buy any thing today, but it was fun to look at everything.
Lunch was dim sum at a restaurant near the hotel. Our guide had prenegotiated drink prices for us, so Derek and I were able to get cans of coke zero for $2 USD per can. Normally they sell for $4 or $5 each! After lunch we went to the History Museum and are now on information overload. But I did see some nice pieces of blue and white pottery that dated back to 1375. Apparently, the blue and white china never goes out of style! LOL. I really hope to be able to find a cup and saucer or finger bowl when we are in Guangzhou.
Tonight we went to the harbor for the spectacular laser show. That turned out to be a dud. One color laser and it didn't last very long. Makes me wonder if they were having technical difficulties. But we did get to spend time with 2 of the couples here on the trip and that was fun! We have a very good group of people!
After the light show Derek and I went to the McDonald's. Our last night as just a couple and that's where we ended up. Kind of fitting since we had pizza hut on our wedding night. But it was after 9 PM and we wanted something fast and easy.
Hong Kong has been very impressive. Most every sign is in Canton and also English, and there are a lot of foreigners (non Chinese) that live here.  Our guide says her son refers to himself as Hong Kongese. I imagine things will be very different when we get to mainland China. 
That's about it for today. We are pretty tired and want to get a good night's rest tonight. We get Abby tomorrow. I can't believe that the day is here. WOW.
Here are some pictures from today!

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We're Here!!

Wow, all I can say is that was the LONGEST plane ride of my life. I thought we would never get off that plane! And Derek and I sat inbetween two Chinese people who must have been camels in a previous life because they hardle drank anything and consequently never got up to go to the bathroom. LOL.
I also got a cold 2 days prior to leaving. Nothing like flying at 40,000 feet with a stuffed up head. But I'll live. It's for a good reason! We didn't manage to sleep much on the plane, so when we landed in Hong Kong, we came to the hotel and went right to bed around 9:30 and slept through until 5:30 this morning. And now we are both wide awake, waiting for them to start serving breakfast at 6:30.
I'll leave you with pictures I took on the way, today we are sight seeing around Hong Kong so maybe I'll have more to blog about!
<a href="http://s87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/SuzanneS_01/?action=view&current=HongKong002.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/SuzanneS_01/HongKong002.jpg" border="0" alt="China Trip"></a>

<a href="http://s87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/SuzanneS_01/?action=view&current=HongKong003.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/SuzanneS_01/HongKong003.jpg" border="0" alt="China Trip"></a>

<a href="http://s87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/SuzanneS_01/?action=view&current=HongKong004.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k123/SuzanneS_01/HongKong004.jpg" border="0" alt="China Trip"></a>

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Updated pics!

Here she is in all of her annoyed, why are you taking a picture of me glory!
Her updated physical stats are that she still weighs 12.1 lbs but is now 24.8" long. Not sure if I believe that she grew an inch in 2 months without putting on any weight. I think one of these measurements is off! Still no teeth yet!
One week down, approximately 4-5 more to go. As busy as I am going to be, I'm sure 4-5 weeks is not nearly enough to get ready. However, it feels like it's going to be an eternity before I can get my hands on those sweet cheeks!!! Abby, hang on, Mama and Baba are coming as quick as we can!

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

We have a name!!

Our little Tiger, Feng Jiang Yan will be Abigail Jiang Yan Schlotterback. We will call her Abby! Abigail means "Father's Joy" and we are so happy to have made a decision!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More Pictures!!!

And a correction... Our Feng Jiang Yan is in the Fengxin County Welfare Institute....
We are so in love! Trying to decide on her American name right now. We do plan to use Jiang Yan as her middle name but that's all we've got so far!

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here she is!!!

Introducing, our little Tiger....
Feng Jiang Yan
Born: 3/7/09 (she's 7 months old!!!)
Feng Xian County Welfare Institute
Jiangxi Province
As of 8-21-09 she was 23.62" long and weighed 12.1 lbs.
Her favorite activity is playing outside and she sucks her fingers when sleeping!!!!
She is described as being very quiet, likes to listen to music, and can be very obstinate!
She is perfect for us in every way!


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Monday, October 12, 2009

This is not a drill.... deep breath

Referrals were mailed Friday and calls are starting in the US!!!! Our agency always delays referrals by one day because they have their China reps confirm with the orphanages that the babies referred are still available. So if our agency receives their glorious package today, then we will get our call tomorrow.
YAY!!!! OMG!!!
In other news, I got a new to me dishwasher this morning! My mom redecorated about 5 years ago and replaced her barely 2 year old dishwasher because it didn't go with her new color scheme. Well, it goes with mine just fine. So we picked it up yesterday and the Roto Rooter man installed it for me this morning! Now I can wash all the new little baby eating utensils!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

You put your left foot in...

You take your left foot out. You put your left foot in and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about!
Conflicting reports are in. Some folks are reporting referrals won't be mailed until after the Chinese holiday period. Another agency is reporting a package on the way due to deliver Wednesday, and while they don't know what's in it, they are speculating referrals.
At this point I don't know if I should jump on the roller coaster or not...

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Friday, September 25, 2009

This is a post about not much

This morning we got a little news. Seems there are more agencies reporting that they think the 29th is in. This doesn't really affect us, since we are for sure next, but it may explain why they are taking longer with referrals. Still no news as to when they are going to send referrals. I am hoping for next week before they break for their holiday. But if they send them after Tuesday I may have to wait another weekend. Will this wait ever end?
In other news, I am a big ole hot mess right now. Super duper amounts of nervous energy. Enough to drive Derek crazy. So I am planning projects to do over the weekends to keep myself occupied.  This weekend I plan to paint the stairwell and landing, our guest bathroom, and our guest bedroom. I am a painting madwoman. I actually plan to do this all on Sunday. Hopefully I can get it all done. If not, I've got another weekend on the horizon...
Color choices: stairwell and landing: China Doll. Most of my house is painted China Doll. It's a really light tan, very much a cool neutral.
Bathroom: Down Pour: this is a dark blue, more in the royal family than the navy.
Bedroom: Light lilac
Will post pictures!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

I think the stork got lost...

Perhaps we should have given the stork a  GPS unit for the trip....

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Enough already!

You know, after 41 months and 27 days of official waiting, I thought I was a patient person. Really I did. I have been so good during this wait. We've accomplished so much and really, both of us have not struggled. We've enjoyed each other, we've done things we knew would be hard with a little one, we more or less lived our lives, and lived them fully.
The past 2 weeks have been absolute torture for me. I don't know about Derek... he really is my calm center... he has the patience of Job! But I am going crazy. I think for me if I had a date when I knew I could count on, I would be ok. But this not knowing part, but knowing it's close... it's insane.
Right now there are rumors that the Chinese govt is going to wait and send referrals just before they leave for their national holiday, which begins 10-1. That means if they mail on Sept 30th, they will land in the US on 10-2 or 10-5, and we will receive the information the following day. There are also rumors that they aren't going to send them until after they return from holiday, which is 10-8. That would mean we wouldn't hear until 10-13 or 10-14. That to me is unbearable. How in the heck am I supposed to wait until then? Arghhhh!!!!!!! And, if we don't hear until then, we will likely be travelling in mid to late November and will miss Thanksgiving at home. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
But, there are also people who believe that they may mail referrals out at the end of this week, and there is always the chance that they've already been mailed.
Do you see why I'm going nuts?

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Monday, September 21, 2009

A post about nothing...

Can you hear it? Silence.
Hurry up stork, flap those wings faster!

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

A post about something other than the impending referral

Pictures from our first football game of the year!!! This weekend we play Boston College at noon on Saturday.
Thank goodness there is a big game to distract me this weekend. Oops, I guess I mentioned something about the referral. Oh well, this is then the post that is almost about something other than our referral...

Rumor Queen

You've probably read many references to Rumor Queen on my blog. Who is she? What is this website?
Rumor Queen is the reason I know so much about the adoption process in China. She is an adoptive mom herself, to two little girls who she refers to as GlitterGirl and TwinkleToes.  She is anonymous, as the CCAA and her agency would probably be very upset with her if they knew who she was. Why, I don't know.
She reads all the different adoption sites daily, and she takes information that readers send her from their agencies and compiles it. If she's hearing it from a lot of different sources, she will rate it as a R4 or R5 which means she stakes her reputation on it being correct. She may also do this if the information is being put out by an agency that is usually right about such things. If she only hears rumors form a few sources or unreliable sources, it may only garner an R1 or R2.
She has been invaluable to all China adoptive parents in waiting because without her, we would not have any information. Agencies are very guarded with the information they put out, so as to not offend the CCAA. Trust is everything, and if the CCAA(the govt agency that handles adoptions in China) knew that a specific agency was putting out sensitive information, they would definitely jeopardize their relationship.
Not only does Rumor Queen know about the rumors of what's going on, she is very knowledgeable about the process on the Chinese side of things. She has spoken with people who are VERYCLOSE to the process in China and has some insider information. Seriously- this lady knows more than most US agencies.
And so she's been a lifeline for all of us waiting families. I check site daily, and here lately, every hour. Waiting for the announcement that referrals are on their way. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. If it weren't for her, I would not have a clue when my referral was expected.
And so I hit refresh. And wait. And read. And wait.
Next week is our week. I feel it in the depths of my soul. We will know our daughter next week.

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Monday, September 14, 2009


The rumors have started.... so that usually means that matching has begun... which means we are 1-2 weeks away from seeing our sweet baby girl's face!!!
Would anyone like to start guessing what province she's from and her age?
My totally random guess is Jiangxi and I think she will be 9 months old...
We still are working on names. Planning to see her sweet face first and take it from there....
This weekend was a fun one. I did the Tour de Paws Metric Century bike ride to benefit the Spartanburg Humane Society. The ride went really well and I was averaging a good speed when a rider in front of me decide on a hill it would be a great idea to down shift to a smaller gear and his speed dropped SOFAST. I couldn't react fast enough and hit his back wheel with my front wheel. So what does one think about when one knows she's about to hit the pavement? PROTECT THE BIKE!!! Luckily all I got was some road rash on my knee and hand (yay another scar on my poor knees!), a few bruises, and some ripped up tape on my handlebars. Easy to fix. Phew. I was not a happy camper though about the incident. When you are riding in a group, no abrupt changes please!
I also took Edra shopping- we had a great time and found lots of cute things. I mostly stayed away from the baby clothes. I did buy one pair of orange stripped pants in a 6-9 month size. I couldn't resist! Gosh, I can't wait to go shopping for baby girl! At least then I will feel like I'm doing something productive!
Next weekend is the Boston College/Clemson game at home. That will help the weekend go by fast.  Thankfully. I want all weekends to go by fast until we are together as a family!!!

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ok, I just had to buy these...

Yes I know that when we are in China we can get squeaky shoes for about $4-$5. But what are the odds that they have THESE squeaky shoes? Baby girl has to have Clemson shoes. She just has to. So mama bought these for her. Aren't they just the cutest things ever??????

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Monday, August 24, 2009

The countdown has officially begun...

With the stork bringing referrals on Friday for families logged in on 3-23-06 and 3-24-06 (Thursday and Friday), it is now safe to begin the countdown for our referral in September. Our log in date is 3-27-06 which was on a Monday. Yahoo!!!
I am guessing that referrals will arrive around 9/22, so we are at 29 days and counting.....
And, another 5 1/2 month old baby was referred... I love seeing the young babies!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Drumroll please.....

The rumors are out, and my gut instincts are correct.... we will not receive our referral this month, but we are on for September. It's finally official, we are NEXT.  The rumors say that referrals are in the air as we speak and the cut off is for families logged in on March 24th. In 2006, March 24th was a Friday. There are a few families logged in on March 26th which was a Sunday- it seems odd to have a log in on a Sunday, so my guess is that these families were actually logged in on the 27th but somehow their date was miscommunicated. Regardless, by all intents and purposes, the 27th (which is our log in date) is the VERY NEXT date to be referred. This means there are no ifs, ands, or buts... we are definitely in for September.
Referrals in July came on the 21s/22nd. Referrals for August are expected on the 19th/20th. So, my best guess is that we will see our referral arrive somewhere between September 18th and September 25th with the most likely days being the 21st or 22nd.
Oh my goodness. That means there are only about 34 days until we will see the face of our baby girl! It is wild for me to think that somewhere in Beijing, our file is sitting on a worker's desk with a bunch of files of other families. And on that same desk are a pile of babies' files. And that worker is deciding which family gets which baby. It most certainly has to be Divinely inspired. 
Thursday is my birthday. I will be 37. How is this possible? I still feel like I'm 24. I never in a million years thought I would be a first time mother at 37. But, somehow this feels right. It also means that I'm younger than the rest of the 37 year olds. Right?

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pink Puppy

Because everyone deserves a friend...

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Granola Shoes

Part of me loves Coach purses, Ann Taylor clothes, getting my nails done every month, and reading Glamour magazine. The other part is a no-makeup-wearing northface patagonia merrell outdoor loving tomboy who has no time for all that. The two vastly different sides of my personality seem to peacefully coexist.

I present to you my new shoes. Derek calls them my granola shoes. I thought they would be good for the trip- they are Merrells and they are easy to get on and off for airport security, and by golly, they are pretty comfortable.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Impatiently Patient

When we are travelling to get Baby Schlotterback, on our in-China flights we will be limited to one bag, 44 lbs or less per ticketed passenger.
44 lbs. That's not that much when you consider how big the suitcase is that I planned to pack. And if we travel in November, we will likely need warm clothes for our daughter's province and summer clothes for when we go to Guangzhou to finalize. (Avg temps for Guangzhou in November are around 80- it's on the same latitude line as Cuba)
Trying to figure out now how we are going to handle this. 44 lbs just isn't a lot. We'll stuff our backpacks too as carry-ons. But still. 44lbs.
At the consignment sale I found a stroller. A Graco Metro Lite for $50 (retails for about $140) that is in great condition. I also bought just a couple of outfits, but mostly pjs. And I bought a brand new pair of Robeez in size 0-6 months for $4 and a brand new pair of pink Nikes in size 3.5. I don't even know what age child wears a 3.5, but hey, they were only $5 and looked brand new. All in all I showed restraint and stayed within budget and then Grandmommy Ann surprised me with money to cover it all! YAY! Thanks Mom!
All I can say right now is that we are impatiently patient. I've been so good throughout this whole wait, taking it in stride and not really obsessing about anything. (Thank you triathlon!) But I've found as we get closer to our referral, I am becoming a neurotic mess and am very impatient, wishing the time away. But because this is all on China time, we must wait, there is nothing we can do about it. So here we are. Ok, mostly me. Impatiently patient.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


A few things that I've ordered have come in over the past few days. First of all, our Ergo Sport Baby Carrier came this weekend. I'm dying to try it out, but the puppy dog just doesn't want to cooperate with me on that.
A few books also came in... Rosie's Adoption Story, I Don't Have Your Eyes, and Red Thread Journey; a Fairy Tale. So Cute!!
Tonight I am going to a large consignment sale at the local Catholic church. I went to this same sale back in January and bought so many cute spring and summer outfits. Yes, those same outfits that are now probably going to waste. Today starts the fall and winter sale, so I am going to stock up.
The good news is that I found out that anyone can be a consignor. You don't have to be a member of the church. So all those things I bought before... if they end up not being used, I can take them back and re-sell them in January. They tell you to price your item at 30% of the retail price. Then if it sells, you get 70% and the church gets 30%, for which you get a tax receipt for a donation. A friend of mine said she made over $700 at one of the sales!!! Woo Hoo!!! So, I feel much more inclined to do my shopping for fall and winter. I'll buy a few 6 month things, a lot of 9 month things, and a few 12 month things. That should cover the range I need.
I can't wait. I'll try to post pictures of any treasures that I find!!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Pins and Needles

Since figuring out we are next NEXT and should be receiving our referral at the end of September, I've been on Pins and Needles. All day long I've got packing lists and to do lists and what not dancing through my head. Every morning I must check the blogs of those in China now and it makes me giddy with excitement.
This is not good. This is going to make the next 2 months DRAG by.
The good news is that this months referrals had a lot of very young babies. The youngest referral I've ever seen was this month and it was for a 5 1/2 month old. I would LOVE to get a young young baby. I'm not counting on it, and I won't be disappointed if we don't, but it sure would be nice to have more of our daughter's babyhood, and that means less time for her without a mom and a dad.
So, there is a chance that all those 12 month old clothes I bought will not go to waste after all... we might be using them next spring if we get a young baby! Chinese babies are typically smaller anyway. It would not be uncommon for a 12 month old child to wear 6-9 month old clothing. But of course, with all the different ethnic minorities in China, this is not a hard and fast rule.
So that's where we are right now. In the final countdown. Less than 2 months to referral. My birthday is in August, right around the time referrals are expected. I have my last triathlon for the season on August 16th. Clemson Football starts on September 5th. If there ever was a time where I wished for time to fly by, this is it.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

September it is...

The big news today is that the CCAA has mailed referrals for families logged in on 3-21 and 3-22. What this means for us, is that next month, the referrals should be for 3-23, 3-24, 3-25, and 3-26. (3-23 and 3-24 are medium big days and 3-25 and 3-26 are teeny tiny). We are a shoo in for September. I am 95% sure this is when it's gonna happen- when we will receive our referral. I think at this point the only thing that would prevent that from happening is if referrals stopped altogether for a month again.
So, a referral in September (likely the week of 9-21 through 9-25) would mean we will travel to China late October/Early November. YAY!!! We should be home in time for Thanksgiving. The long wait is almost over. It's hard to comprehend.
I would like to address something that today I had to address with my mom. I will not be taking the baby to any baby showers, parties, or any kind of get together until we are home for several months. Over stimulation for a child who has only known a very small world can cause them to shut down and will make the attachment process harder.
Let me paint the picture for you... a child, who is around a year old... has never ever left the orphanage except on the day she was brought to you. If she was fortunate enough to be in foster care, she was likely in a home that was very simple, perhaps even dirt floors.
Suddenly for the first time in her life she is removed from that world. And handed over to 2 people who look nothing like her other caregivers. Who smell weird and want her to eat different food. Her clothes are different too... no longer bundled up in 10 layers. And airconditioning in the hotel...this is new too. Suddenly she's in an airport... surrounded by a crowd of people...loud noises and lots of lights. Then she is on a plane for at least 17 hours. Day is night and night is now day. She is brought into a new home...all the Chinese faces have disappeared... no one looks familiar. The things these people are saying... they don't sound anything like the sounds she's heard. Suddenly there is a furry creature there....
That is a lot of change to happen to a one year old in a very short amount of time. When we come home, our world will be very small. We are going to be at home most of the time. Any trips out of the house will be to quiet places like the library, or a park, or for a walk in the neighborhood. If I have to take her to the store, she will be in the carrier facing me and we will go when I know not a lot of people will be there. Even though it will be near Christmas, the only decorations I will likely put up are the tree and stockings. All my attention will be on this child and teaching her what it means to have a mommy and a daddy and a home. After we get home I will only have 10 weeks before I am back at work full time. I have to make sure she is as attached to us as possible, and part of that means keeping her world small.
Until we feel she's bonded with us, Derek and I will be the only ones to hold her and feed her and change her. She has to learn that we are her parents and she can trust on us to take care of her.
I'm not going to be one of those parents who think their way is the only way. BUT, I am going to be vigilant about helping her bond with us in the beginning as that will set the stage for how secure she is her entire life. I'm reading the books, doing the research. I realize there are no guarantees. And our daughter may bond to us very quickly and I will be able to relax more about it when we are home. I have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I have to be ready for this to be a difficult transition.
I know many of you mean well, and think, "Oh it will be ok, all you have to do is love her and she'll fall in love with you and Derek."  I respect the fact that many of you are parents and grandparents and you have a wealth of experience and advice. But please know that parenting a child who has been instituionalized her entire life and has been abandoned twice (1st by birth parents and 2nd by her orphanage caregivers)is different than giving birth to a child. If we do it right in the beginning, the chance for problems later greatly diminishes. So while I realize you do know what you are doing for your children, please respect our wishes concerning our child.  I can't wait to introduce her to our friends and family... but I will do so only as I feel she can handle it... one at a time... most likely in our home.
I hope you all can share in our joy and I hope that no one gets their feelings hurt. We are just trying to do what we feel is best for our daughter.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Freak out!

So I'm surfing the net this morning, making all my usual stops and I see a new post on Rumor Queen.... apparently a Canadian agency received referrals yesterday for their families logged in on 3/21 and 3/23. WHAT?

What does this mean? Were these referrals sent out by accident too early? Were they really logged in on 3/20 and they are just late?

So many possibilities. I've emailed CCAI to see what's up. Because if this is a 2nd batch, and that batch goes through 3/23, then there is a great chance that we are NEXT.

Did I just type that?

Oh Boy. I'm gonna be one busy girl next week. I suddenly feel so unprepared!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A List a Mile Long...

So next week I am off from work (mandatory shut down) and my to do list has grown like kudzu on a steamy afternoon in the South. (for those of you that don't know, kudzu grows like a gazillion feet per day).

I want to replace our front shutters... the green ones that are up are getting kind of bleached out from the sun. I am putting up black instead (they are in stock at home depot). I also need to pull weeds and clean the house. You know, one of those "good" cleanings where you do things like dust the ceiling fans.

I want to go register at Target and Babies R Us. This is how I am going to feed my shopping habit without actually spending any money. I am very excited to do this, I've held off because our referral seems so far away. Well, it's getting closer now, and I know I won't have time to do it after the referral, so I thought I'd go ahead. My friend Jennifer is going with me to do the Target one and my mom is going with me to do the one at Babies R Us. Fun stuff! I hope to visit a few consignment shops as well while we are out.

I also need to start the 100 good wishes quilt. If I don't do it before baby girl comes home, she'll be in college before I get to work on it. I figure I'll do the top and then get someone else (perhaps the quilt shop) to quilt it to the bottom. First I have to decide on a design and buy the coordinating fabric. I will probably do that this Saturday, after my triathlon.

Oh yeh, did I mention I'm racing again this weekend? Short sprint here in town, shouldn't be too big of a deal. Should be home and done by lunch.

I am also taking Derek's mom to a few doctor's appointments, and I'm sure other things will crop up during the week. And of course I'll need some relaxing-by-the-pool time. Good stuff.

Today I ordered "Taming the Tiger While It's Still A Kitten" attachment parenting cds and booklet. I really need to start educating myself on this. Odds are our daughter won't have any issues, still, I think we need to be prepared in case there are problems.

I guess that's all that's going on at the moment. The next set of referrals probably won't be out until the week of July 20th- 24th. I hope hope hope they do more than just 2 days worth, but that is all I am realistically expecting.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June Referrals are in...

And the Log in Dates covered were March 15th, 2006- March 20th, 2006. If you remember, our LID is March 27th, 2006. So we are close.... very close....
My best guess is still September, though there is an outside chance for August. If we receive our referral in September, we would likely travel at the end of October-Beginning of November, and should be home in time for Thanksgiving.
Wow. How cool is that? Thanksgiving- Christmas is such a special time of the year anyway, so being able to spend that time at home with my new baby girl getting to know one another will be such a blessing. Maybe I'll be able to piece her 100 good wishes quilt together before we go. I would love to find someone who can quilt it together for me. I can do it, but really don't have the time to sit and quilt it... (truth be known I'm not sure I have the patience... hand quilting is sloooooowwwwww).
In other news, I think I will be making a new purchase soon... a Flip Ultra HD digital camcorder. They are so reasonably priced and seem to offer everything we need in the way of a camera. I love that they are so small and honestly, I don't think I will ever need anything more than the 2 hours of footage that the camera will hold.
Had a sprint race this past weekend. Tri the Midlands in Columbia, SC. It was hot. Hell Hot. I saw the devil on the course. I did pretty good, finished 27th OA female and 6th of 19 in my age group. I was satisfied with my swim, pleased with my bike, and disgusted with my run. I had to take 3 walk breaks. That is so unlike me. The 5th place girl passed me in the last mile... I tried to run her back down but had nothing left. She ended up about :30 ahead of me. But I am pleased that I seem to be getting better overall... still not at the front of the pack but seem to be moving to the front of the middle of the pack. That's better than I thought I was capable 3 years ago. I'll keep training and working hard. It seems to be paying off.
Have another race this weekend in downtown Greenville. Go Tri Sports Sprint- 300m swim, 9 mile bike, 5K run. The bike is a 3 loop course and the 5K run is an out and back on a trail. This should be interesting...

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Does this worry anyone else?

Ok, having been the daughter of an engineer who worked for Milliken & Co., I have always been taught the importance of buying American made products. This fact has been reiterated to me over and over in my life, and even more so as an adult since I work for an American manufacturing company.
I believe a lot of our country's problems today can be directly linked back to what I call "The Walmart Effect" and our country's primary focus on finding and buying cheaper and cheaper products. This has not only killed the small businessman, who now can only exist in a niche market, but has also killed American manufacturing companies. The fact is that labor is cheaper in other countries and transportation, which was once an obstacle to doing business with foreign countries, is now easily accessible and relatively inexpensive.  This has driven the consumption of Chinese made products up to an all time high.
Lately, with the way the economy is going, people have started to once again talk about "buying American" and steering clear of the "cheap and inferior" products coming out of China. This worries me.
1. I am absolutely behind the "buy American" campaign. I truly think that by doing so, we can help bring this country back.
2. I am worried that my Chinese born daughter will hear someone comment about the "cheap and inferior" products coming out of China and will think that about herself.
Obviously, we will do our best to raise our daughter so she NEVER questions her self worth. But, surely she will hear these comments over and over again throughout her life. And I'm sure it will not make her feel proud to be an American, but rather ashamed that she is Chinese. This is something I really worry about.
And to be honest, while I loathe Walmart, and try to never step foot in there, I can't blame the Chinese for the downfall in American manufacturing. The people of China are doing everything they can to create wealth for their country- to rise from severe poverty levels that claim so many Chinese families... which may have been a reason that my daughter was abandoned. So, I can't disparage China for wanting more for their people. I want my daughter to be proud that she is Chinese. As proud as I want her to be that she is American. Can the two co-exist?

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Festival of Flowers OLY Tri 2009

Sometimes a race is good because you have fun and not because you PR. This weekend I did the Festival of Flowers OLY distance triathlon. I finished in 2:51:39. Last year I finished in 2:47 and change. Of course, I was in the best shape of my life heading into Ironman CDA.
This year I was fine on the swim, slightly faster on the bike, but my run stunk. I had to take 8 weeks off from running due to some mysterious hip flexor injury. I've only been running again pain free since the end of April, so my expectations of what I could do were not what they have been. I was just hoping to run 10 minute miles for the 10K. I managed to do the 6.2 miles in 1:01:59. I'm not sure I could have nailed 10 min miles more perfectly if I had had an official pacer.
Next year I'm going for that PR.
Anyway, I managed to finish 5th out of 9 in my age group. For the swim I was 3rd of 9 (missed 2nd by 1 second!), 3rd of 9 on the bike, and then 6 of 9 on the run. I see lots and lots of running in my future. Hopefully pushing baby girl in the jogging stroller will help me get stronger and faster.
I leave you with a picture from the race. Left to right are: Brad Fraedrich, Kimberley Westbury, Jan Garrett, Katie Malone, Me, and Andy Van Evera. All on the Malone Coaching team!!

Lauren found her dream laptop. Find the PC that's right for you.

Friday, June 05, 2009

one more test

Testing from hotmail account to see if all the legal mumbo jumbo is left off the end of the post...
A little pic of my girl when we met....

Lauren found her dream laptop. Find the PC that's right for you.


Just a little test to see if this email to post option works or not….

A little funny I found…. I wonder if Chip and Dale realize someone is selling their Chippendale chairs…

Random thoughts...

I am having one of those days where it seems like all I can do is think about the adoption, the trip to China, and what our little Tiger is going to look like. It's days like this where I can't imagine that we've waited already over 38 months. A few more to go, that's all. I guess it's normal... if I were pregnant, I would say I'm just getting ready to enter in the last trimester.

After reading about Pugmama (her blog is http://pugmama.wordress.com) and how she got her TA (travel approval) and then had to leave for China in 2 days, I am starting to make plans for everything that needs to be done once we receive our referral. I do not want to be stressing about what needs to be done at the last minute, and since we have that little black cloud hovering over us, that is bound to be what happens... We need to register... we need to purchase a car seat... we need to pick out a pediatrician...we need a stroller... we need a booster seat/highchair.... we need baby clothes (once we know about the size)... we need sleepers and onesies... we need bottles and sippy cups... you get the drift.... and don't even get me started on packing.... my plan is to take 2 large suitcases. One large suitcase for Derek and I and one that has a smaller suitcase in it for all things related to baby (yeh i'll probably mix the two in case one gets lost). I will pack diapers for the trip home all around the smaller suitcase inside the large one. This should leave us with an extra suitcase to bring home all kinds of special goodies. From what I understand Chinese diapers are not as absorbant as those sold in the US, so parents who have BTDT advise to bring some from home for baby to wear on the journey home. The last thing you need is a diaper blowout at 35,000 feet or in line at immigration...

Lately I've been enjoying reading the blogs of new parents in China... because it helps me to imagine what it's going to be like for us, and what to expect. It brings me such joy to read all about these new families. I race to my computer each morning to see what the latest post is all about!

Thank goodness it's Friday. I have a full weekend planned. Tomorrow I have a short 20 mile bike ride and then need to clean my bike and lube the chain. After that I need to get my pigsty of a house in order and laundry washed. Sunday I have my first race of the season! Festival of Flowers OLY triathlon in Greenwood, SC. Last year my time was 2:48 and change. Hoping to shave a few minutes at least off that... but I was in much better shape last year getting ready for the Ironman. Hopefully Derek can get some good pictures this year!

I guess that's all my random ramblings for now (is that redundant?).

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Trying this on for size....

Thinking about the name Samantha.... would probably call her Sam for short....

It's not for sure, but it's moving up in the short list....

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

One little day makes all the difference...

Over and over again throughout this adoption process, I've learned that one little day makes all the difference in the world. One day sooner on our doctor's visits, one day sooner on our fingerprints, one day sooner on our homestudy, etc would have meant one, or even a few days sooner that our dossier was logged in in China.

Well, after looking at the number of waiting families to be referred, I am reminded that STILL... one day makes all the difference in the world. I am beginning to understand that the best way to predict the # of referral days that are going to come out each month is to look at the number of families that are reported for each log in day (this is based on the rumorqueen website and her polls). The closer we get to referral, the more important these numbers are....

Basically I have crunched the numbers and poured over them, and if the next batch of referrals goes through a LID of 3/21/06, then we will get our referral in August. If the next batch only goes through 3/20/06, then it will most likely be September.

This date assumes that the next batch will be received sometime during this calender month, after the "April" referrals were received on May 20th. Yes, this means that a month in there will have been skipped.

On another note... I just watched a "gotcha" moment (I hate the term gotcha, btw) on the web. A one minute video showing a waiting mama receiving her precious baby girl. It suddenly hit me, I just watched a family being made, as much as if I had just watched her give birth. It was a beautiful thing, and I am not ashamed to say I got a little teary watching it. After all, that will be us in a few months. It's all starting to sink in.

Monday, June 01, 2009

tick tock tick tock tick tock

Well, if I had a biological clock, that is what it would be doing. So instead I present you with what my "adoption womb" is doing.

Our best guess is still that we will get our referral anywhere from the end of July to the end of August. But I wouldn't be surprised if it extends to September. Either way, we are for sure going to be travelling this year to get our little Tiger! We still don't have a name picked out. You understand that we will probably be on the plane over the pacific still discussing names....

I received some distressing news from my employer. It seems that while I can take up to 12 weeks leave as required by law under FMLA, I will receive no compensation. I also understand that if I were giving birth to a child, rather than adopting, I would receive 6 weeks of paid time off as part of what I could take under FMLA. I guess I never realized prior to this journey all the... what's the word I'm looking for here?.... the... second class treatment that adoptive moms get. I mean, after all, we aren't REAL moms.... according to many.

It is so frustrating to be in this situation. We've had so many obstacles to overcome on this LOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG journey that I just want to know, can't we catch a break?

This too shall pass. No one ever promised that life would be fair. We will be ok, I'll take the full 12 weeks (instead of only 6) and will bond with my beautiful baby girl. No, we won't have money to live high on the hog, but we'll be ok. It's just hurtful to think that not everyone will recognize our family as being "real" and that my child will go through life with other's questioning our family and perhaps not being treated equally.

But, I still love Derek, and he loves me, and we'll love our little Tiger. That's all that matters, right?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rumors Rumors

Looks like the newest set of rumors has referrals this month going through 3-14-06. If that is so, then I am excited! That puts us on track to get our referall at the end of July/Beginning of August. We would travel in September... baby girl might actually get a chance to wear all those summer clothes I bought....

Not much else to report. Spent the weekend working in the yard and getting ready to open the pool next weekend. I love our home. I could just sit on our porch and by the pool all day long everyday. *sigh*

On another note, I am starting to run again since my long hiatus due to hip flexor injury. I've been cycling and swimming, but there is just nothing like a nice long sweaty run. Oh how I've missed it. (seriously). I am slow now and can't go very far yet, but I am hopeful to be back to my racing speeds by end of June. I've got 3 races in June, one in July, and one in August that I want to do. I hope to be able to "race" in June and not just participate. We shall see...

Maggie Mae is still such a dream dog. She is so sweet and loving... seriously one of the best dogs I've ever been around. Oh she's had her moments, but only a few... and we've had her for 7 months. I love how she gets on her belly and crawls to little kids when she meets them... it's like she knows not to scare them. She's gonna be great with the baby!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Are we there yet?

I'm wondering if anyone is still reading this blog? I gave up on it after a year, so it wouldn't surprise me if everyone else gave up as well!!

I did some analysis for Derek to let him know what the current situation is... and let me just say that nothing is written in stone. It changes every month. BUT, based on what the Chinese govt is doing right now, we can figure out when we would get our referral if that continued.

So, the new rumor is out that referrals for March (let's call it March/April since it's now April the 1st) are for 2 days- March 7th and March 8th LIDs. Now at first that sounds discouraging. But we must look at how many families are logged in on those two days. March 7th is huge- according to the Rumor Queen polls, it's the largest Log in Date for 2006 to present. So that being said, if they get through the 7th and the 8th, there is reason for some celebration.
If they get through the 8th and continue at that same rate, I believe we will get our referral at the end of July/beginning of August. I do think there is going to be a speed up. The question is, is it going to happen before or after we get our referral?

My reasons for thinking a speed up is in the works have merit. The orphanage donation increased on January 1st from $3000 to over $5000. This increase is meant to not only cover the rising costs associated with caring for our children from the time they are received until they are put in our hands, but to also bring the donation in line so that it is no longer more profitable for the orphanages to hold on to their children. (If this is all it took, why didn't they do it 3 years ago?) But I digress...

Children who are placed for international adoption in China must be legally declared an orphan. To do this, a finding ad must be placed in a local paper and no one must come forward to claim the child for 6 months. The orphanage directors do not place ads for babies unless they are destined for IA. So, if the fee increase went into effect in January, and this increase encouraged the directors to make more children available for IA, then it stands to reason that if they started placing more finding ads in January, then we should see more babies being referred starting in July or August or September. The ad is only one part of the process. The directors must fill out a lot of paperwork for each child being adopted, much like the stacks of paperwork we had to fill out. These things take time, but I am optimistic that we will start seeing more families being matched later this year.

I would love to be matched at the end of June and travel in August to get our child, but I'm afraid it may be that we are matched at the end of July and travel in early September. At least by going in the hottest months of the year, we'll have more room in our suitcases because all we'll be wearing is shorts!

Monday, January 19, 2009

What in the world is going on?

Well folks. I'm back. It looks like we are getting close to a referral. And I'm not kidding. Our agency is thinking things are heading towards a slight speed up, so while we will DEFINITELY have our referral by Junish, we might even have a referral in the next 2-3 months. Wow. Suddenly I feel so unprepared. I mean, evidently, 3 years was not enough. I have books on attachment to read. I need to dust off the baby care books. I mean, what do babies even eat at 8 months- 15 months old? I need to find a jogging stroller! I need to register. I need to finish the nursery (at least that is almost done). I need to find a daycare. I need to find a pediatrician. WE NEED TO AGREE ON A NAME! (this probably won't happen until we are being handed our child!)

Whew. Suddenly my to-do lists have to-do lists. I can't believe that it's almost time. Am I going to be ready? Am I going to be a good mom? I think this is all natural nervousness, but suddenly I am realizing that this person we are going to be entrusted with to raise is just a few months from becoming a reality in our world. Oh my gosh!!!

In other news, Derek's mom just finished chemotherapy for non-hodgkins lymphoma. We are praying that the nasty drugs did their job and that she is on the mend for good. We adopted a rescued Springer Spaniel and named her Maggie Mae! She has been lots of good company for Derek's mom and is such a sweet, loving little girl. She is great with kids. She recently met Derek's cousin's granddaughter who is 2 and she literally crawled to the little girl and was so gentle with her. God has sent us a fur-angel!!! We are so in love with her. She is a very good girl and has just made herself at home with us. It's like she's been with us all her life instead of just a few months. We think she is about 2 years old. She was pulled from a high kill shelter and was literally skin and bones and pregnant when we met her. She was spayed (didn't find out she was pregnant until she was spayed!) and has quickly put on weight. She is now at a normal weight and we are soon going to have to put her on weight management food. A good problem to have!

I trained for 2 ironmans last year. Let me explain. I originally signed up to do Ironman Coeur D'Alene in June. BUT (and that's a big BUTT) 10 days before the race in one of my final training rides, I crashed and broke my collarbone. Race was done. Luckily I had registered for the race through a charity, and they were gracious enough to let me change my race registration to Ironman Wisconsin in September. I literally only took about 10-12 days off and began training again, hoping to maintain fitness and rehab my shoulder. I swam with one arm for 6 weeks. Literally. My coach gave me workouts full of kicking drills and one armed swimming drills. We're talking 1 hour of this. 2200 yds of this. Ughhhh. By the time the doctor released me to swim with both arms I was about to go crazy!!! I maintained my run fitness through pool swimming and the elliptical. I rode my bike on the trainer for crazy 3 hour rides.

I wasn't sure I would be able to come back and be ready for the race as there was only 12 weeks between my crash and the race, but not only did I do it, I was only about :30 off my predicted time. I finished in 15:31:58. I should have finished in about 14:30, but my stomach was not agreeing with me on the first part of the run. I got my issues worked out and by the last 7-8 miles, I felt the best I had during the entire run. (for those of you who don't know, an Ironman is 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking, and 26.2 miles running and you have to finish in less than 17:00:00 to be considered a finisher.) I swam about what I expected. I could have been faster, but with a bum shoulder, I was happy. My bike kicked butt. I got a new carbon tri bike with my stimulus check, and let me tell you, it made a huge difference. I know they say it's not the bike but the engine running it, but having a nice bike does make a big difference.

I will say that I loved every minute of it. I will do another Ironman. But I realize that because of the time it takes to train for it (at least 20 weeks of 12- 18 hour training weeks) I will need to wait until our daughter is old enough to not want mom around 24-7. So for now, I will focus on shorter races: sprints, olympics, and maybe half iron. I might even throw in some more run only races. I would love to do another stand alone marathon. Maybe in 2010.

I am still about 10-15 lbs from my goal weight. I plateaued and then with all the training for the ironman, it was impossible to lose weight. Yes, I know this sounds silly, but when you are eating 3000+ calories a day to fuel workouts and maintain enough energy to do it all, it's literally impossible to try and lose weight. I think I gained about 3 lbs during the process.

I guess that is enough ramblings for now. I will leave you with a few pictures....

Me with the big inflatable M-Dot. The unofficial mascot of the Ironman.

Brad, Katie (my coach) and me. All 3 of us raced. Katie finished first in under 12 hours, Brad was next in the 13 hour ish range, and I was pulling up the rear at 15:31. Yes, Brad is very tall and we are very short.

The sea of bikes that is transition 1. This is on the top level of the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin. About 2200 bikes were lined up and ready for the race.

My bibs. I wore Schlotterback during the bike portion and Suzanne during the run. It was nice to hear people cheering for you by name. Since no one can pronounce Schlotterback, I figured I better wear the one that said Suzanne during the run.

The mass start of the swim in Lake Monona. 2200 people all trying to occupy the same space. It was like swimming in a washing machine.

Sunrise on Lake Monona waiting for the gun to go off..

More waiting....

This wasn't during the race but during a practice swim. Since Derek was unable to travel with me for the race (due to his mom's health) I have the pictures that the pros made during the race and the ones that my coach made before and after. This was 2 days before the race during a practice swim. The lake was around 70 degrees, and with the wetsuit it felt great.

I blinged out my new bike, a Felt B12. I wanted everyone in that race to know I was a TIGER! Isn't it sexy?

Just at the beginning of the bike. Yes, I was taking it easy. Hey, I probably had 110 miles to go at this point. Gotta pace yourself...

At about mid point of the bike, somewhere around mile 50ish. I played cat and mouse with the chick in the pink all day on the bike. I'd get her on the hills and she'd get me on the flats...

During the run- this was during the first of two laps and we ran through Camp Randall Stadium. BTW, this stadium was TINY compared to Death Valley, though it is very historic. The grass was fake, but it was all very neat...

Hamming it up for the camera man. This was at the very beginning of the run, probably in mile 2. I will say that shortly after this picture was taken, the wheels fell off the bus and my stomach started protesting. But hey, I looked good for the picture!

Me crossing the finish. With about a block to go a race official called in my number so as I ran down the finisher's chute, Mike Reilly (the voice of IM)called out "Suzanne Schlotterback from Simpsonville, SC, YOU are an ironman!"

I ran down the chute with my Tiger Rag up in the air. Yes, you know it, I'm all orange!

Here is a close up of the finisher's medal. It's in the shape of a cow. Ironman Wisconsin is frequently referred to as Ironman Moo or IM MOO for short because we ride through dairy country during the race. So it was neat how they combined that idea to make the medal we all received after crossing the finish line.

Last but not least, here is a picture of our sweet Maggie Mae the week before she came home to her forever home. She is such a good girl! We love her with all our hearts!