Sunday, May 31, 2009

What did you just say? (on two different accounts)

From what our social worker has told us - just this past Thursday - our home study has a very good chance of being completed by the end of this week! All of us busted our tails getting every piece of paper work needed and completed all the necessary meetings but I NEVER dreamed it would happen this fast! Now, I know that once the HS is completed, it must first be sent to our agency for a review and if it is accepted, we can than submit it to the USCIS along with our I800A application. If "this all happens" the way it is looking like it might - we could be LID as soon as Aug/September of this year! Is that crazy or what! on one more note, I have to share with you all a conversation I had with Francesca this past week...(here it goes)....

Francesca: "Mommy, what colors are your eyes?"

Me: "What color do you think they are?" (as I move closer to Francesca)

Francesca: "Brown! Your eyes are brown Mommy just like a chinchilla! Did you know Mommy that chinchillas have big ears too? They can hear everything. You too must have big ears because you know when I am being bold and you are not ever around."

Oh - how I love this time with my sweet daughter...

As for our Annabelle, she is truly my little shadow! Where ever you see me, you'll see her! She loves being with her Mama and I have no issues with that! She is still wearing 18 months - 24 months size clothing, but even though she is tiny...and I mean tiny..she truly can hold her own.

Well, that's it on our end. I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend and here's to a HS complete week ahead!

***I know many of you are curious about our move and how can we do our dossier when we are in the middle of a move and the answer is - or at least our answer is - we are NOT selling our PA home - at least not yet. Not sure when we will put it on the market, but for now, that is not an issue for us. So since we - no...make that I...know what needs to be done in to complete our dossier in PA - that's where we are doing it.***

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Studio News & New Photos!

Studio News ~ Just this past week, the studio's shop on Etsy has sold three more pieces of my original creations! I am just super excited & super surprised! I never dreamed I would be able to do what I love & get paid for it! I am truly one lucky girl! I was also asked by a representative from the gallery where my showing will be (starting next week) if one of my pieces that I submitted can be worn during a photo shoot that will take place at the end of the month. I haven't gotten the written contract just yet, but what a feeling it is just to be asked...! onto the BEST part of my life ~ my kiddos!

(this is what happens when you are trying to pack up ~ she is just too stink'n cute!)

As many of you already know, we LOVE the horse any time a BIG the Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont are on...we must have a party! Here are a few photos of the girls with some not so lucky tickets! (come on did you actually think I would let them play with the winners...)

Now here are a few random photos that we taken over the past week while visiting G.G. at the nursing home.
Francesca & Grandma!

Annabelle and G.G.
We are still working on packing up our house in PA for our move to DC! Keith has moved all of our basement & attic stuff this past weekend...along with our patio/outdoor stuff as well. I still can't believe how much sh!t you can accumulate just over a 10 year period (that's how long we have been living here). We really got rid of so much - which will make this move a whole lot easier when it comes to unpacking...By June 7th ~ our new address will be in a beautiful suburb of DC!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Can it be?

(quick post here because I am just shaking over the fact that I think it is our Benjamin and I am dog tired from packing all day long...)

After what seems like hours of searching the internet for some updated photos of our Benjamin ~ I think ~ I finally found some video of him. It was taken back in August 2008 and the crazy thing about this video is that I HAVE SEEN IT BEFORE and have commented on the little boy that ~ I think ~ might be our Benjamin. If it is crazy is that! here is where I need your help. Our Benjamin is at time frame 1:40 - for about 10 seconds and again at time frame 2:30 for a few more. Oh you must check it out and let me know what you all think...

View this montage created at One True MediaClick here to see the video!

Can it truly be our sweet little Benjamin?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

its Sunday ~ already?

This weekend we here at the Leonard household spent it packing...getting ready for our big move...and shipping out my studio's Mei Faith original jewelry to the gallery for THE big show which begins in 12 days! We also completed all our HAGUE classes (which was almost 10 hours of credits & tests) and ordered new birth certificates, a new marriage license, and had another meeting with our social worker. And if that wasn't enough, we met with the auctioneers who are handling the auctioning off of many of our antiques and sold a TON of stuff on eBay, craigslist, and at our local jeweler.

With all that, I am finding I have very little time for everything else. The girls are doing wonderfully well and are super excited about our move! I hope you all are having a great weekend! I can't wait until - we are finally moved & unpacked - so I can get back into my routine of 'life'.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


From the title, I think you can tell what our lives have been like over the past week! Between the paper chase for Benjamin James, our BIG move to Washington DC - not only packing up but auctioning off/selling a lot of stuff that I refuse to move, my business adventure ~ Mei Faith Studio and a request to place a collection of my jewelry designs in a gallery showing in NYC (in two weeks)...the days are just flying by...

I was really hoping to get some photos from our Mother's Day celebration at Grandma's posted, but it just doesn't look like that is going to happen. I do have some photos from our Preakness Party this past weekend that I will try to get posted this coming weekend but as the saying goes (or at least for me it does)...we again have another full weekend ahead. So with that said, I hope you all have a great Holiday weekend - I can't wait to see all the exciting stuff you all have done! I'll be catching up with you all on Monday! since I wasn't able to get a ton of photos posted - here are a few that we taken over the past two weeks...

Keith having the kiddos "pick their noses" while taking the photo!!! (he is just so wrong!)

Our beautiful Annabelle!

My little girl just loves her new scooter!

All three kiddos - in one place! Now that's a picture!

(Since these photos were taken both girls have gotten their hair cut - short! I can't wait for you all to see how adorable they look!)

As for my showing in NYC - I am totally nervous and excited over! I have a few pieces already completed & constructed, but I still want to create a few more (I just ordered & received these gorgeous African Turquoise Beads that are totally rock'in and I must use!) I am hoping that my pieces will be sent out by the beginning of next week. I was 100% shocked and honored that my creations were asked to be in this amazing show....Wish me luck ;)

Friday, May 15, 2009



As many of you have already guessed - YES! - we once again have been chosen to be the parents of a child waiting for us in China...and as you can see - IT IS A BOY!!!!

It gives us extreme pleasure to introduce to you...

Benjamin James Zi Leonard
(his Chinese name is Dang Zi Zhong)

He is currently 18 months old and is living in a foster home in Luoyang Henan China.

We actually received an email from our agency, CCAI, asking us if we would be interested in reviewing a file. Seeing how we just updated our MCC this past April (originally filed in December 2008), we were so very excited! The email came in late on a Friday we waited all weekend long speculating on whether it was a boy or girl... it wasn't until Monday morning when Deniece called me and gave us all the details...that we found out it was a boy. Once we got his file reviewed and everything looked right on target, we called our agency back on Wednesday with a YES - HE IS OUR SON! So since that overly excited & happy phone call, we have been up to our necks in paper work. We must once again, compete a dossier and work with our social worker on new home study. We also have to deal with all the new regulations that took place since our last dossier was LID (April 2007) and receiving our referral for Annabelle back in June 2008. But for is SO WELL WORTH IT!

To answer a "statement" that I have been getting since announcing this referral to family & friends is..."I guess Keith is finally getting his boy." And to answer you truthfully, it was ME that longed for a little boy...a add to already blessed family. After visiting Hope when we traveled for Annabelle, I grew very attached to a few of the boys that were there waiting for their families to come and bring them home. After arriving home, I quickly started talking to Keith about the possibility of a son. He was on board, but as he would say..."I would love to have another daughter...I know my way around little girls." (seeing how Annabelle is his fourth daughter). So we decided to mark off "boy" and "girl" on our MCC and just wait to see what happens. When we finally found out that it was a little boy, we were both OVER JOYED with excitement that we were once again chosen for this child, a precious little boy...that will soon be our son. After a lot of discussions, Keith finally decided on a name. Knowing we already have two beautiful names for our girls, I just couldn't let our son's name no stand out too. So Benjamin James it is.

I promise, once I come off this cloud I am riding one...I will give you all more details.

As I am sitting her typing this, I am truly wondering, "How did we ever get so blessed?" My friend, Sara at Football & Fried Rice summed it up perfectly to me when I started panicking about child #3, doing another dossier, and traveling to China - again. She said to me, "You guys are truly incredible, loving, and faithful people. For God to hand you this gift guys are doing something right." In my opinion, it isn't me that is doing something right...if anything it is my husband who is being blessed. If you ever get a chance to meet Keith, you would soon see that this man is amazing. He is kind to everyone, never judges, always see the good in people, and will bend over backwards for anyone he comes in contact with. I do believe that it is he who has brought all this blessed joy into our lives. And from the bottom of my heart, I thank him every day for all that he has done, given, and encouraged. Without him, I would not be the person I am today...I can only hope that our son will embrace the same qualities that his father has and want to display them every day of his life....

Thank you all for for hanging in there with us while we waited to share our news with you all...and I hope that you all will stick around will we paper chase once again for child #3 and travel to China to bring home our son.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


In the light of things, we here at the Leonard household are keeping busy. Between the loads of paper work that has already started, the paper work that we need to tackle, my new business adventure, and our pending move (OK so I haven't pack a thing)...our lives are totally crazy right now, but I am loving it! The girls are doing well. We did sit down with Francesca this past Sunday and explained to her what was "going to happen". She is super happy! I so wish you all could have seen the smile on her face and how bright her eyes gotten when we told her the news and showed her some photos. It seems like it is all she is talking about now ~ which at times is bitter-sweet. She has been a tremendous help with Annabelle since our lives have turned up-side-down once again. She is truly the big sis who can't wait for....(well you know).

As for our Annabelle, she is just our ball of fire! She is learning so much every day and a lot of it is from her big sis. She has changed so much since arriving home back in November 2008. While we did also tell her the our pending news...I know she didn't fully understand - but she is just as excited as she can be (she kisses "the photo" and says "good morning" every day). She is just so stink'in adorable.

I did add a new piece to my Etsy studio ~ THE VINEYARD. I am planning on adding two more over the weekend. Business - for me - has been doing well. Since opening the doors to Mei Faith Studio (back in April) there have been five sales through the speciality shop here in PA, three through the gallery in NYC, and one from Etsy. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that people are loving my one-of-a-kind creations! (and the sales are truly helping us during this time of need - when some very unexpected fess are coming our way).

I am hoping that by this weekend, I will have our Mother's Day photos downloaded and posted. Since we did hear hear back from CCAI...from what they said it could take up to 4 weeks before we might hear the official word that we can make the official announcement. Last time it only took 10 that's what we are hoping for. This whole waiting is killing me. I what to shout it from the roof top, "We have a ---! Oh well, maybe next week...Hanging in there for now...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day and Mom's New Adventure!

Happy Mother's Day...from our family to yours

AND...if you haven't noticed (seeing what's on my sidebar), but I am finally getting around to explaining my new business adventure! As many of you know, I am an artist at heart! Painting, drawing & designing have ALWAYS been my PASSION! Before we started the paper chase for Francesca back in September 2004, I had really built up a name for myself among the artist community. I was "ask" over & over again to place my paintings and drawings in shows and galleries all over the world and to my surprise many of my creations actually SOLD! I can't begin to tell you what it felt like when you would see that "SOLD" sign next to one of your masterpieces. Not only were my pieces selling in galleries and show but they were also selling (and taking custom orders) online. My business, Shelly's Impressions, was truly the ride of a life time (I can't begin to tell you what I felt inside when an invitation would come in the mail asking me to feature one of my pieces). And all of this came to an end when we started paper chasing for Francesca. It just seemed like I couldn't concentrate on anything but getting that paper work done - let alone try to accomplish a painting for a show or gallery. I packed up all my paints and other supplies...and said to myself, "Someday, I'll be back." Well, after Francesca arrived home, my life as I knew it was never the same again. I had a very hard time adjusting to life as a new mom and Francesca just had a hard time period. After a lot of struggles, TONS OF LOVE, and a show of devotion, she and I formed a bond that will never be broken. Than came along Annabelle. Once we arrived home with daughter #2, I was so sure my life was even going to be crazier than it was before...and it was...only for a little while. Annabelle adjusted very well to me and our family's life style (so well that she formed an extremely close bond to me when in China that I will never be able explain). As the months rolled by, and those invitations still came in asking me to submit one of my pieces, we decided that more...we can and will try for another adoption...I started feeling those creative juices inside of me flow and scream for release once again. So through all that has been going on, I decided to open (yet again) another studio with a completely different twist, Mei Faith Studio ~ Original Jewelry Designs. (OK backing up here a bit) While I was doing my paintings, I also made a few exotic jewelry pieces (featuring semi precious stone, 14 KT gold and sterling silver) that were also featured in shows and gallery displays...and to my surprise, they sold too! I only made a few...seeing how I was so wrapped up with my paintings, but after having those creative juices once again surface, they were pulling towards my collection of amazing stones and forgotten jewelry designs. Mei Faith Studio was born. Since that time, I have sold a few pieces in galleries and speciality shops...and I also started my own shop on (that's it on my side bar). While my jewelry designs will never replace what I had with my paintings, I am loving this new direction my life and artistic expression has taken. Even when I packed up all my paintings the first time, I still received many invites to galleries shows and expos. Once - and only once did I actually complete a piece for a show and it sold within the first 30 minutes the doors opened. I guess it was that one piece that made me see that I can do this (have my family and my passion)...and that people are still loving my creations. I hope you all take a little time out of your busy lives to check out my new stuff. I would love to hear all your feedback...good or bad ;) This is a new road for that I have taken before...just with different twists and turns. So there you have least for now. I promise - more excitement and more WONDERFUL NEWS is about to come our way....once again. Here's to a blessed week ahead...

I also want to give a shout out to one of my blogging buddies, Colleen over at the NutHouse. It was she that really introduced me to Etsy back in March when I - no the Easter Bunny - was looking for a Wendy nightgown per Francesca's request. Since she does make some beautiful children's clothes, she was the first one I contacted. She directed me to Etsy and the rest is we say. Thank You Colleen for opening my eyes to a place where I can share Mei Faith Studio's designs.

As for our life in the Leonard household...things have been busy...VERY BUSY! I think you all know what's about to happen, but again, it isn't until the proper channels are covered that we make that official announcement. Tons of paper work is already happening...along with a move to Washington my life as a wife, daughter and friend...and raising our two girls...there have been days (this past week) that I am surprised I remembered to breathe...but I am loving it!

Friday, May 8, 2009


...the Easter photos!

(the Bunny who left some tracks!)

Annabelle & her Easter Basket!

Francesca and her Easter Basket (yes - she got her Wendy nightgown she asked for!)

Up at Grandma's - The Easter Bunny left the girls something up there too..
Francesca got a scooter!

and Annabelle got a Vispa!

There was also an Easter Egg Hunt up at Grandma's which was a super hit!
Francesca finding some well hidden eggs...

Daddy helping Annabelle with her findings...

my nephew - Scott Joe - showing off his collection of findings...

...Annabelle with hers...
and Francesca is still hard at work finding those eggs!
Here are just two photos of my girls being totally silly! Oh how I love them so...

(and you know how the saying goes - "Monkey see, Monkey do")

Monday, May 4, 2009


OK...since I can't keep you all in suspense any longer but due to some important regulations...I can't came right out to say what I am dying to say ~ so all I am going to say is this....

Here We Go ~ Again!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

emotions ~ questions ~ and wondering

How can one email make me feel...VERY excited...VERY nervous...unsure & scared. Hoping to find out more on Monday....

(bet I got you all wondering now)

Also - I will be posting FINALLY our Easter photos over the next couple of days ~ so please check back. Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend - we sure are!