Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Tony loves Photoshop! Here are his latest creations. A few of them will definitely be blown up and hung on the wall.

I love this picture!

I love this one more!
Natalie, I laughed when I read your comment because this was my favorite too...so Tony had fun with it! Thanks for all of your wonderful comments.

Monday, March 30, 2009


What an exhausting weekend to say the least. We spent it running errands, visiting my father-in-law in the hospital and attending my sister-in-laws baby shower. Our weekend was full of a lot of driving and Lainey Bug tolerated it well for the most part. Except for the last 1/2 hour in the car. She was in the car for 5 hours on Sunday and she does not like to be strapped in. So by the last half hour she melted, screaming on the top of her lungs basically saying "let me out of this car!" After about 10 minutes I was able to calm her down and bribe her with her favorite snack cup full of treats. And she went from screaming her head off to saying "Mmmmmmmmmmm." That's her new favorite word now (well if you would consider that a word). Everytime she eats something she says "Mmmmmmmmmmmm." Oh so cute. Did I tell you lately how in love I am with her?

My father-in-law is at an all time low. It is so painful to watch. We are still waiting upon tests and truthfully I simply do not have the energy to get into how terrible the hospital is that he is in. He has been staring at the same 4 walls for an entire month now. And he spends a lot of the time in the hospital by himself. He's aggravated and weak, his spirit is broken. He kept telling Tony that he just wants this ball game to end. He's giving up and he has such a long road ahead of him. So I am desperately asking for your prayers for speedy test results, for getting out of the hospital very soon, for the best treatment plan possible and for his spirits to be lifted so that he has the strength to fight this beast. Thank you to all and by the way his name is Sabatino so please add his name to your prayers.

Amongst this crazy weekend Tony and I and Halainah of course found time to spend some fun alone time together. On Friday we spent about an hour in our backyard enjoying the warm weather. We talked about all the fun we are going to have in the summer out there. We went out to dinner and Halainah was a Ham of course. She is such a flirt with the guys. And watch out if your table is close to her because she will stare and blow kisses and wave all night at you. She sure does get a lot of attention. And after dinner we strolled through the mall in Halainah's new stroller. It's one of those joggers with the 3 wheels. For some reason she just LOVES being in there, she thinks it's a ride or something. Of course I bought clothes for my Lainey Bug. The Children's Place had some great deals and I had a gift certificate for Baby Gap...so I had to spend that. And the best part is that daddy LOVES to shop for his little girl too. He picked some very special outfits for her. After the mall we went to our favorite ice cream shop and sat outside enjoying the warm evening. It really was nice to spend some quiet family time together. It's been a long time.

Enjoy the pics of our weekend!

Oh and by the way, you will notice Halainah's skin looks horrible in some of the pics. We are having a difficult time controlling her eczema. Johnson & Johnson products are horrible including Aveno. I started using Cetaphil. I used Burt's Bees products in China and I didn't seem to have a problem with them so I am going to go back to that. I started adding apricot oil to her baths. If anyone has experience with baby eczema I would love to know what you find works best.

Halainah was dressed so beautiful for Aunt Chrissy's Baby Shower!

She loves giving kisses!

Halainah staring outside...she wants to go outside to play!
Halainah cruises around the entire house with her lion!
She loves her letter magnets on the fridge!
Summer feet!
She's got such a cute bum!
Daddy and his baby girl going for a stroll!
I love to be outside!
Daddy and his China Doll!
Walking is so much fun!
Daddy loves to spend every moment he gets with his Lainey Bug!
Mommy and her hidden treasure! I can kiss those sweet lips all day long!
Lainey loved our outside swing!
I love that beautiful face!

Our happy girl!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Tony and I met in 1995. I was attending Caldwell College and desperately needed a job. I walked into Blockbuster Video and applied for a job. I was contacted by Tony and called in for an interview. A couple of days later I got the job. It was a fun job and I did not mind working the late hours. There was always a spark between Tony and I but we did not let each other know our feelings. He was my boss after all. After a year of working there and constant flirting he got enough courage to ask me a question..."how do you feel about dating your boss?" My answer, "it depends on how strong the feelings are." He asked me out that evening to see a movie which was Toy Story. I remember those early dating days as if it were yesterday and I miss the care free days sitting in his Mustang talking for hours.

Fast forward to August 8, 1998. It was a beautiful day and I awoke to birds chirping and the sun shining. It was a warm day but there was still a breeze in the air. I still remember walking down the aisle holding onto my dad's arms and seeing Tony, our eyes locked. He whispered to me..."You look awesome!" And I felt beautiful. Our ceremony was beautiful and our reception was a lot of fun. I remember feeling as though we could accomplish anything together. I remember thinking this is the beginning of something spectacular.

Tony and I decided to live with my parents for a litt
le while so that we can save for a house. Instead of renting and wasting money we would live with my parents and save. I don't suggest this to anyone by the way. You know it was rough. Tony and my dad didn't always see eye to eye. We didn't have any privacy. But looking back at it now, I was able to spend those 2 1/2 years with my mother. It was precious time that I didn't know than would be way too limited.

November 2000 we bought our old charming home. It's a small home but has so much charm and enough room to start a family. A family that I thought would be very easy to create. So day 1 in our new home began our journey to start our family. I remember being so excited, dreaming of becoming a mother, dreaming of carrying our baby for nine months and rai
sing him or her in our home that we picked out together. Month one, no luck. I remember thinking, that's ok...next month will be the month. Month two, ok...next month. Month three...will it be? Month four...are you kidding me? Month 5...what the hell is going on? Month 6...is there something wrong. Month 7...there has to be something wrong. Month 8...let's try ovulation tests. Month 9...excited that we pinpointed the exact time. Month 10...not working. Month 11...anger begins. Month 12...depression begins. I can't even express the feeling of thinking, hoping, praying that you have become pregnant and taking pregnancy test after pregnancy test and to only see one damn line.

One year after trying to conceive we consult
ed with doctors. We were advised to try infertility treatments. Our chances of conceiving naturally are very slim. Although we believed in higher powers we still felt compelled to try invitro. We both went through so much testing, such extensive testing. I will spare all of the details. But basically our course of action was to stimulate my ovaries to produce many eggs. The more eggs I produce the better our chances are. So I went on a regimen of drugs. I had to inject myself with 3 or 4 different medications every day for 2 or 3 weeks per cycle. I started injecting my thighs for I felt that would be less pain. But once I started getting sore I moved to the stomach and backside of the arms. Tony had to inject the ones in my butt as I couldn't reach and he had to hit muscle. But I didn't care...if it meant we would become pregnant I could deal with the pain. The first cycle I produced 8 eggs, 4 were fertilized, and 2 inserted in my uterus. We were given a picture of the fertilized eggs. Tony and I looked at that picture and we thought for sure, we prayed that one of those eggs, maybe both would attach and become our child. It failed and we were left with a painful reminder, that photograph that life was created by us, but it was not meant to be. Were we doing the right thing? Are we playing with nature? Would God approve? We needed a break before going into another round...it was too physically and mentally draining...so we played the count the calendar days game and pray.

In 2003 my mother was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor. My world crashed. My mother was my best friend. She is supposed to be with me forever. My quest to become pregnant grew even stronger. You see, my mother always talked about becoming a grandmother. She couldn't wait, she had such dreams. Tony and I went through a second cycle. I produced more eggs, we fertilized more eggs, we created life again, only for it to fail. Cycle 3 began...very promising, more eggs, well you get the point. FAILED CYCLE! We created life many times, but failed.

My mother's life came to end and her horrible battle with cancer ended in early 2004. My world collapsed. 2004 - 2007 we tried and tried and tried to create a family. There was no fun left in trying to create life. It became a chore. It became daunting, scary that our future holds no children.

In 2007 we decided to pursue adoption. As a little girl, I always wanted to adopt. Aunt Ellie who just passed away adopted 4. They were my family and adoption was part of it. My mom always knew I wanted 2 biological children and 1 adopted child, that was my dream growing up
. I don't know why it took us so long to start the process when it was a dream of mine. I think in a way, I needed a sign from God. And the signs were given in more ways than one. So began our journey to Halainah Grace which if you have been following our blog has had many ups and downs. Many mountains that got in our way, many mountains moved by God. Many prayers were said on our behalf and the dream of becoming parents became a reality. How were we going to afford an adoption that cost $32,000.00? No problem, family and friends gathered and dug deep in their hearts and pockets, strangers gave the last of the money they had in their accounts. We fundraised, we sold on e-bay, we saved, we moved money into cd's to gain interest, family thought of clever ideas to help save money. And through God's grace we made it. Paperwork got scrambled, I lost my job, new rules messed us up, more money was needed, our home equity line was frozen. Every time we were one step closer to Halainah the devil stepped in and threw us a curve ball. It's truly amazing to look back and see God's hand in all of this. It was all made possible by God. We prayed and prayed and our prayers were answered. We became parents.

January 4, 2009 is the day that Halainah was handed to us in an ordinary hotel room in Nanchang, China. How do I even describe that day? That was our delivery. We knew the face of our angel as
she was carried through the door. We had been staring at her face in a photograph for 5 months. But here she was in person...finally. She looked confused...not sad. She was beautiful. I took her out of her caregivers arms and held her close. I brushed the hair out of her eyes and told her over and over..."I love you baby girl. I'm your mama and this is your dada." It felt perfect. And somehow she knew we were her parents. We loved her the moment we saw her picture and finally having her in our arms...it's indescribable.

It is so hard to express how much Halainah means to us. The years we spent trying to create a family the way we thought it should be made were excruciating. I honestly thought that I was n
ever going to be a mommy. And now my angel sent from God calls me "Mama." I'm a Mama, what an awesome feeling. Halainah melts my heart, I am so in love with her. Her kisses, her hugs, her giggles, her smiles, I love everything about her. 10 years we waited to become parents. 10 years of waiting, of wondering, of praying, of crying, of anger is over. Others who are in the same boat as us always say it was well worth the wait. And YES Halainah was well worth the wait. But I don't wish those 10 excruciating years on anyone. Tony and I are forever grateful to the People's Republic of China for granting one of their daughter's to us. And we are forever grateful to Halainah's birth parents for leaving her at the front gate of the Social Welfare Institute of Xinzhou District of Shangrao City in Jiangxi Province because they chose life for their daughter, our daughter. And we thank god for this indescribable gift.

-I Samuel 1:27

I would be lying if I said I no longer feel the maternal desire to conceive a child. I long to be able to create a life, to watch it grow, to feel it grow inside of me, to nurse a baby. I would be lyi
ng if I said that I do not long to give birth to a son or daughter that Tony and I created. I would be lying if I said that every month I think...maybe just maybe I may be pregnant. I would be lying if I said it doesn't sadden me that I may never mother a child in that way. I suppose that is just something that I may always live with because that is what is written for me.

Halainah is my angel, my gift from God. She's my lost treasure that we traveled all the way to the other side of the world to find. She's the best thing that has ever happened to us. I walked
down memory lane today with all of you because I somehow want the world to know that Halainah is not another successful adoption story. Halainah is not the lucky one here, we are...her parents. For without her, our hearts would always be empty. For without her, I would never hear the sweet word "Mama." For without her, my life would not be complete.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I am still in a funk...and certainly not in the blogging mood.

My father-in-law is still in the hospital. VERY long story...the biopsy has not been done...he's been in the hospital for 21 days...he's very weak physically and mentally. It is very hard to witness for all of the family. Thus making all of us very weak physically and mentally as well. It is much worse for Tony's sisters and mother who see him every day. And it's hard on Tony and I for we feel there is nothing, absolutely nothing that we can do to help the situation. Please continue to pray for all of us but mainly for my father-in-law. The biopsy was rescheduled for today so please please please pray that it happens and we get all the answers we need in order to move forward.

My beautiful Aunt Ellie passed away on Sunday. Only 5 short days from the time they gave her 2 weeks to live. My heart is aching for all of my cousins and for her husband. She truly was a remarkable women who raised 8 amazing children. She had the strength and stamina that is hard to find nowadays. I know she is dancing in heaven with my mom because they were always so very close. I take comfort in knowing they have each other and believe it or not I can actually hear them laughing. They both had the most contagious laugh.

I am still not feeling well at all. I am battling my 7th cold since China. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Sometimes I feel like I don't have the strength to keep up with everything and I'm not even working. Well anyway, I went to the doctor today for the 4th time. I went to my regular doctor and she met Halainah for the first time. It was a nice visit as she is the one who helped us through a lot of the process with medical exams, vaccinations and medications to bring with us to China. She played with Halainah, held Halainah and was amazed by her. But she made a little slip. She said to me..."I bet your mother is in love with her." GULP! Yes my mother would be in love with her if she were still here with us. Doctor D felt horrible. It was just another reminder that life is just not fair.

So I am waiting patiently for the warm weather to arrive. And not for a quick visit but to stay. I am sick of feeling sick. I am sick of the closed windows and doors. I am ready for the flowers to bloom and to feel the sun on my skin, the open windows with a warm breeze and long walks with my hubby and beautiful daughter. Oh, and for life to somehow get back to normal, or to a nice new normal.

Since I haven't blogged in what seems like forever, there are tons of pictures to share...so this may be a while!

Halainah doing what she loves most....playing!

Yes she still has a runny nose...just like Mama...the cold that never ends!
Halainah's fishy face!
Fast asleep on her favorite toy!
Ummm yeah, half on the hard floor and half on the carpet!
Halainah is always so happy when she first wakes up!
She is a super fast crawler!
She's getting into some sort of trouble in this picture!
I stepped outside for a quick minute...I think Halainah wanted to come with me!

Down for a 5 minute power nap!
Enjoying some snacks in her new favorite snack cup!
Want some?
Can I eat my snacks in peace?
Having fun with my daddy!
Daddy you are so silly!

My daddy loves me!
Waiting for Opa to come so we can go out for lunch!
I LOVE this picture...my beautiful Genuine China Doll!
Looking at something!
Mommy and I singing together!
Daddy just came home...hence my happy face!
I love my daddy!