Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Off to MICHIGAN!!!

YES...the time is finally here...we are off to Michigan this coming weekend to visit with Uncle Owen, Aunt Amy, and our beautiful Kate! We are all so we are counting down the days here until we leave!

We also have a fun day planned at a local park to reunite with fellow "Yihuang Friends"! (The Randles Family and the McRae/Luttman Family)

So please make sure you check back after the holiday weekend for lots and lots of photos!

message to our Yihuang Friends who are waiting for our arrival..."We can't begin to tell you guys what this weekend means to us! We here at the Leonard household are so looking forward to seeing you all and finally getting a chance to catch up...its been way too long...!"

(the photo posted above is from this past 4th of July celebration when Kate...along with her mom and dad...came to our house for a wonderful visit!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The official drawing our our LadyBug Afghan raffle!

(Francesca shaking up the bag!)

(picking the lucky winner...)

(still picking the lucky winner...)

And here it is!!!

Colleen from The Crazy Eight is the WINNER! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
(and Colleen, I'll need your mailing address so I can send it out to you!)

a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that supported us in this raffle for bringing our Annabelle home! I can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate all that you have done...It was a total success (so much better than I ever imagined) but we owe it all to you guys out there. Again, THANK YOU!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Guess who I am going to be calling this morning?

That's right...our social worker! And no, it will not be a friendly call...After we received the HS update and HS addendum on Saturday (and after posting the updated message regarding our home study)...I decided to sit down and read the whole thing. Well, what I found will totally shock you. How could he have gotten information - that was right there in front of his face -incorrect! Annabelle's date of birth was listed several times incorrectly...he mention that we adopted Francesca through the waiting child program...which we didn't and so much more....UGH!!!!. I have been going crazy since reading them Saturday afternoon! I guess you all know what I am going to be doing come 9Am eastern time here at the Leonard household..

(words can not even describe how we are feeling and what we are going through right now...we are so at our wits-end! I just PRAY that this gets corrected today and that the effects of his errors don't jeopardize where we are at for Annabelle's adoption... )

Friday, August 22, 2008

"One for me and One for Annabelle, Mommy!"

"Oh and look, Mommy...that's my name!"
"Your right Francesca, that is your name and the other one has Annabelle's name on it. Do you like them?"
"Yes Mommy, I love them. Can we wear them when we leave for China...tomorrow?"
(oh how I wish we were leaving for China tomorrow...)

***our SW called this morning to let me know that the home study update was sent to the USCIS office on Tuesday and the HS addendum will be sent to CCAI today. I can't begin to tell you what a relief it was to hear him finally say those words to me...***

UPDATE...August 23rd
We received copies today in the mail of our home study update and home study addendum from our social worker....With this news, we are going out to celebrate 'a little' tonight!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grocery Store Shopping..HS News...and hitting the 50 day mark!

When my sister and I were younger, whenever my mom took us to the grocery store, she would always tell us that if we were really good, we would be able to pick out one thing to take home with us...and only one thing. I can remember my sister and I making our individual choices...sometimes a book....sometimes crayons...sometimes a silly puddy...and other times just plain old candy! Well, I started the same thing with my daughter for when she comes to the grocery store with me....she too gets to pick out only one thing - if she behaves herself and since I restarted this grocery store shopping tradition that my mom started so many years ago...these are the only items that Francesca ALWAYS picks out! (and yes, these are what SHE picks out!)

Yes...that's right! No books, crayons, plastic toys, or candy for this little girl! She wants Band-Aids, toothpaste, or a new toothbrush! While others may find these choices "odd"...if you truly knew my daughter, you would so know that these are exactly what she would be picking out!

***our home study update for USCIS needs to be at their office by the 22nd...which is tomorrow...last time we spoke to our SW...which was on Tuesday, he said that he was still working on it and it will be sent in. I again EXPLAINED to him that it NEEDS to be there by the 22nd and he really didn't have a reply for we shall see what happens. I also requested copies be sent to me of the HS update and the HS addendum that needs to be completed...and so far we have not received anything in the mail. Our SW did call us this morning and left a message (of course, we were out) that the update was sent (not sure when) but he wasn't able to complete the addendum because he still needing some information from us. I called his office early this afternoon and left the information he was requesting with the office receptionist...hopefully that will also be completed soon. I just hope that our home study update arrives at the USCIS office in time... I so know this whole thing is totally out of my hands, but it is very upsetting to know that this whole HS update has been in process for over two months now...with no changes from our original HS that was completed for our dossier. UGH! (and that is so not the word I want to be using right now, but it is the only one that I can post!) Here's to praying that our HS update has been sent in... *** of today...we have been waiting for LOA - 50 days! If I am "calculating" correctly of when we might actually get our LOA...we still have another 25 days of waiting (thinking it is going to come around the 15th of September). This wait has been ever harder on us than waiting for our travel for Francesca (from referral to travel it was only 2 months and all the while, we were making travel plans and packing). My new official title is..."Internet Yahoo Board and Email Stocker"! It seems like every chance I get...every day, I stock the yahoo boards and check my emails to see if anything has come in and today there was a couple who were also waiting for LOA that posted a message that theirs arrived yesterday. Their dates are LID 11/28/07 LOI 6/17/08 PA 6/26/08 and LOA 8/20/08...that's only 64 days that they waited! Can we be next? I know, I know, we probably still have around 25 days of waiting, but can't a girl dream...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A photo that will melt your heart!

Isn't she just precious!!!

(tomorrow will mark our 50th day of waiting for LOA...I am going crazy here!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

After the rain...

After the rain comes...PUDDLES! (and with puddles...comes the fun of driving through them with little Scotty) Both kids had a blast!!!

(this post is coming to you a little late for all this "puddle action" happened last Thursday morning while visiting my mom, my sister and my darling nephew, Scott Joe!)

"Hi Mommy...Look at me and Scott Joe!"

Heading for...


And again, they just had to go through the PUDDLE!

"My hands are all wet!"

Two Peas in a Pod!

(this was what happens when Francesca and Scott Joe get together while I am visiting with my mom and my sister Lisa...who lives next door to our mother...on a beautiful August morning after a week full of rain!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Lunch Date with Grandma and Auntie!

That's right, we all had ice-cream for lunch this past Saturday at our local country store ice-cream shop!!!

Francesca with her Vanilla Ice-Cream on a cone!

Francesca and Auntie...

That's where we ate our ice-cream at...check out the size of that umbrella!

Francesca loved the cow swing!

Isn't she just beautiful!

Daddy and Francesca

Mommy and Francesca

After the ice-cream, Francesca was so ready for a nap...
(with regards to having ice-cream for lunch...every now and than you need to live a little and not worry about what's right and what's wrong but just enjoy!!!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Annabelle got mail...

When I woke up this morning and checked my emails, there were 5 of them from New Hope with photos attached of our beautiful Miss Annabelle opening up the care package that we sent to her! They are priceless!!! Here are a few of the tons that we received....

"That's my Mommy, Daddy, and my sister Francesca!"

"I got a backpack too...that my sister picked out just for me!" (I can't seem to put down the photo of my family...)

"I also got a cuddly pig!" (and check out my new outfit)

"I am so excited!"

(check me out!)

"Are they all for me!!!!"

Isn't she just precious! As I am typing this, I can't seem to hold back the tears..."We are coming for you very soon..."
(I am going to be posting more of the photos that we received to Annabelle's web site this afternoon. Just wait to see them all...words can not express what these photos mean to us!)

Stay Tuned...

We got an update on our Annabelle Faith this please check back for all the photos....

Monday, August 11, 2008

40 days and counting.....

It has been 40 days of waiting for our LOA...and I am going crazy counting the days!!! I do truly think it is going to take 75 days before receiving our LOA (making it around Sept 15th) but oh how wonderful would that be if we got it sooner...

Here are some updates from this past weekend...

As for the double stroller, I...yes...ME...was able to put it together Friday afternoon and the stroller is amazing! It is so easy to use. Francesca and I invited our neighbor's little boy Gavin to come for a stroll with us to try it out. We were gone for almost an hour because we were all having such a great time! The stroller is super easy to move and having two children in it that weighed around 40lbs each...that's saying a lot! (by-the-way the stroller can support up to 50lbs per child /100lbs max).

Francesca FINALLY went pee on the potty today...and I mean peeeeeeeeeeee! (lots of "yellow" in the bowel) I can't begin to tell you how proud she was to be able to "let go" and just "do it".

As for us, we had a quiet weekend at home. We went to Dickson City Days here in Dickson City to celebrate our town and have some fun. I left the camera at home because I just wanted to have some fun time with my family without trying to capture that perfect shot (plus I am so glad I did for I had my hands full of food, drinks, winning game prizes, and at times...Francesca herself).

Well, that's it on our end, at least for now. Here's to a speedy LOA for us....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Our Beautiful Francesca Mei

(need I say any more...)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

by-the-way: We got our double stroller delivered to us today and Francesca is so excited! She keep tapping the box repeating over & over that the stroller is for her and Annabelle. She wanted to take it out of the box, but I told her we had to wait for Daddy to come home. Never the less, she is truly excited about the stroller, about Annabelle, and especially about Daddy coming home tonight!!! (which I am sure he is going to be putting together a stroller as soon as he walks through our front door)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thinking about traveling to China! I know we will be returning to China hopefully soon, so I have been looking for a baby bag that is a little bit more stylish than the normal baby bags that are out there today. Having already been to China once before, I knew exactly what I am looking for and the other day on ebay I placed a winning bid on this....

a Vera Bradley Cargo Sling in fabric color, Puccini! (and I won it at a fraction of the retail price). The bag finally arrived and it is better than I imagined! I can't wait to try my new bag out! It is exactly what I was looking for....

(May sure you check out the double stroller we finally decided on in the post below. It is amazing how last time we needed "all this stuff"...crib and bedding, pack n' play, high chair, toys, clothes, shoes, feeding supplies, a car seat...and so much more and this time all we needed was a double stroller and a new travel/baby bag for me....oh ya...and I did purchased Annabelle a few new clothing items and a few new toys that I am sure she is just going to love!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A New Stroller for Francesca and Annabelle!!!!

After doing a ton of research and test driving so many with Francesca (and a HUGE thank you to all the other mommies that were in the stores when we were window shopping that were so willing to help us out in our stroller search by letting their child go for a test drive with Francesca to make sure that we really liked it...) we finally found one that we all loved!

It is from One Step Ahead is so easy to move...has a ton of sitting room...cup holders...plenty of room on the foot rest...5-point harness safety...great visor shade...not as big as you might think...and it was one that we all loved! (and at an amazing price too!)

We tried just about every double stroller out there...and let me tell just seemed like we could not find one that fit all our needs, until this one! (I was so looking into getting one of those Sit N' Stand ones, but Francesca so disliked it - and that is saying it nicely - main reason for her was that if she was sitting, she was sitting backwards and she was so not going for that plus the area where she would stand didn't seem very for us there were a lot of things we didn't like about the Sit N' Stand...the basket area - that was way too small - was not easy to get at...the front seat was so small that I felt it was more for an infant rather than a toddler and if we are spending that kind of money on a stroller I don't want the kids to grow out of it too fast...the way it folded up...the lack of storage...and when the front seat was in the reclining position while Francesca was sitting down, the reclining seat back was actually resting on her head/shoulders/back area...) So like I said, after much research, test driving, and hearing what other BTDT moms had to say/suggest, this is the one we purchased...

We can't wait...and from what we were told, it should be here sometime next week!!!

(we also got this stroller brand new and at a rock-bottom price with free could we pass up a deal like that!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How did this happen...!

It is truly amazing how similar Francesca and Annabelle are! When we accepted our referral, we knew so little about Annabelle...the main thing was, yes she has a mega colon (just like Francesca) and that she is shy and is a introverted (just like Francesca as well) but we just received an update directly from New Hope today...and it is amazing how much they are so a-like!!!! I can't believe it! Even down to their favorite could this have happened! We are truly blessed!

We got a ton of questions answered that we had regarding our soon-to-be newest addition. We were also told to email a family photo so it can be printed out and show Annabelle and her nannies. It is truly a blessing to have this kind of support and communication ability with the very ones who are taking care of your daughter! (I am going to be posting a lot of the information that we received this past weekend on our website within the next few days.)

Waiting for Annabelle...

(this is the family photo that I sent to Christina at New Hope)

"I love you so very much!"

Three generations...
And here is some additional updates as well....
We are sending out our first care package to Annabelle tomorrow! Francesca is so excited because she picked out a few things that just had to be added.
As of August 1st, we have been waiting for our LOA 30 days! (counting from when we sent our LOI)
Our LadyBug Afghan Raffle is still taking place (see post below)! THANK YOU for your support to everyone who has already purchased some tickets!!! How will we ever thank you...