Monday, June 30, 2008

Sweet Lilymei

Just a quick post to show you all what we found in our INBOX today!

Just when we thought we weren't going to get any new photos we have been blessed to receive 5 new pictures in less than 1 week's time.

Only 3 weeks and 1 day until we travel!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New photos of Lilymei!

The past couple of weeks Scott and I have been emailing our agency asking if any updates have come through for Lilymei. We have been so curious to know how her health is and how big she has gotten since the referral photos were taken. Scott is always up in the morning before me and he checks our email accounts to see if anything "good" has arrived. Well, this morning he lets out a yell saying that Tina, from our agency, has sent updated info on Lilymei! You can bet I was out of the bed in a flash, barely able to see yet, straining to get a good look at the computer screen. Here are her "new" stats:

Weight = 10kg = @ 22lbs
Height = 77cm = @ 30in.
Head size = 50cm
Chest size = 50cm
Foot Length = 12cm
# of Teeth = 9

Here are the new photos:


Doesn't she look incredibly sad? That pouty face is just pitiful! She is so tiny sitting on the couch, yet she looks much older when you compare these new photos to our referral photos,below.

Can you believe it?...We are parents of a TODDLER ~ again! I guess she's really not a baby anymore :-(

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What a weekend!

Nate finally made it home from a week at "Fantasy Island" Scout camp, which is located on Naval property. He had a great time and earned his Nuclear Science and Space Exploration merit badges. We were able to visit twice and enjoyed our time with him and his troop. Nate was also able to meet scouts from around the island of Guam and from a troop that came to Guam from Japan. Nate says he is looking forward to the next camp where he won't be the lowest ranking scout in the troop again!

Jean is recouping from her ant bites, but had a serious injury on Friday. She was stung by a local bee deemed a "boonie bee" which caused great pain and swelling. So much swelling in fact that Scott and a doctor had to cut all 4 of her wedding rings off before her finger was permanently damaged. Jean is upset about her rings and Scott assured her she could've upgraded at anytime without all of the extra stress!

All is well here on Guam and we are all greatly anticipating going to China in just a few weeks, about a month actually. Please enjoy the photos of Guam and our family. Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts. We miss you all!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boy Scout Camp

This week Nate is attending his first Boy Scout Summer Camp. I dropped him off at the scoutmaster's home at 7am Monday morning. I think Nate was a little nervous; he's never camped away from home for more than 2 nights. This year's camp runs from Monday morning through Saturday morning.

Last night was Family Night down at the campsite. Scott, Drew, and I made it down in time to hear Nate shout his Troop's "cheer" (for lack of a better term) all by himself, in front of the other troops. The rest of Troop 20 was busy cooking the hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner that evening. Nate is not one to be quiet so he did just fine on his own. Just as I was trying to capture a few photos Drew and I stepped into a nest of red ants. OUCH!!! I can't believe how those ants can hurt you so much! One of the scout moms had a first aid kit so we doused the bitten areas with AFTER BITE. Those bites just itch so bad. I awoke through the night just scratching like crazy. I have been bitten before, but not this bad. Needless to say, Drew and I will have shoes and socks on when we go down to the campsite Friday night to watch the troops skits and bonfire.

Nate is having a great time at camp. He has been working on his Nuclear Science badge, Space Exploration badge, and his Shooting Sports badge which includes Archery and BB gun shooting. I didn't have much time to ask him how things were going...he was busy with serving food, changing out of his Class A's, and finally eating. He is sooo tired. His scoutmaster said Nate fell asleep in the chair at camp Tuesday night by 8:30pm. He was almost asleep in a chair when we left him last night @ 7:15pm. I wonder how many days it will take him to recover once he gets home to a hot shower and a comfy bed?

Summer means Goodbye!

It's a sad day for the O's on Guam. In the military, summer is the big time of year for families to move from one duty station to the next. This year is no different. Although we are not moving (except to get on that plane to China to bring Lilymei home!) we have friends who are leaving. We are sad to see them go but we know this is what has to happen. Since becoming a military spouse I've come to realize that I can't wait around forever to make friends in the neighborhood like I did before the military. Now I realize I've got to move fast or before I know it it will be time to move again. Sometimes I think when time is limited, friendships can grow that much quicker. Also, being so far from home where not many relatives can come out for a visit, friends are that much more important. We really do become a support system for each other.

Last night we said goodbye to our dear friends, the Lan****. We've been friends and neighbors for 2 years. We have shared holidays together, babysat each other's children, went to the beach, the movies, and out to eat together. Mike and Scott are dive buddies and Natalee and I traveled to Bali together, were in the AOSC Book Club, and enjoyed a good cup of tea once in a while. Nate and Drew were on the swim team with Ashley while Zachary and Madison spent many afternoons jumping on our trampoline with the boys.

We will dearly miss our friends but one consolation is that they are moving to Ohio where all of our family lives. We can visit them when we are home visiting with family. Yeah!!!

Take Care Lan**** Family! We miss you all already!!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Where is Lilymei?

Check bottom of post for current updates:

Many of you may be wondering where Lilymei is living right now. The information that we have received so far indicates that she is living with a foster family in Inner Mongolia, PRC which can be found on the map below, near the top colored in yellow . Hohhot is the name of the city where her Child Welfare Institute (orphanage) can be found. If you look just above the "B" in Beijing that is approximately where Hohhot is located.

UPDATE: Tickets purchased!
We have yet to book our international flight but our plan is to get to Beijing either through Hong Kong or Tokyo. Shanghai is another potential port of entry. Our tentative itinerary looks something like this:

Wed. July 23 ~ Leave Guam, Arrive in Beijing
Thurs. July 24 ~ Tour Summer Palace
Fri. July 25 ~ Temple of Heaven(am), Lunch at Dai Jia Cun Restaurant, Hutong Tour and Chinese Acrobat Show(afternoon)
Sat. July 26 ~ Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City, Great Wall and lunch, CHI orientation
Sun. July 27 ~ Fly to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, where Lilymei is!
Mon. July 28 ~ Meet Lilymei!!!
Tue. July 29 ~ Adoption Process
Wed. July 30-Fri. Aug 1 ~ Sightseeing, Free days in Hohhot
Sat. Aug 2 ~ Fly to Guangzhou, Meet other adoptive families
Sun. Aug 3 ~ Free Day
Mon. Aug 4 ~ Medical exam for Lilymei
Tue. Aug 5 ~ Consulate appt, Farewell Dinner
Wed. Aug 6 ~ Go to ACS for oath, Get visa for Lilymei
Thurs. Aug 7 ~ Fly Home!

Guangzhou can be found at the bottom of the map, located in the province of Guangdong, also in yellow. Guangzhou is just north of Hong Kong, probably under the big red dot.

Now that Scott is home from Orlando and hopefully not expected to travel anywhere else before we leave for China we will be getting the paperwork for our visas completed and mailed in ASAP. Once our consulate appointment has been confirmed we can purchase our international tickets and start packing our bags! Oh, so much work to little time.

As of today, June 17th, we have sent off our applications to apply for our visas. This morning we also purchased our international flights from Guam to Beijing and back home again. Wow! It's really happening!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spring Recital

On Wednesday evening the youth center on base held their annual Spring Music Recital. Approximately 25 children entertained family and friends with their musical talent showcasing performances on piano, guitar, drums, and vocals. Our own Nate was co-emcee. It was an enjoyable evening. Unfortunately Scott was off island and missed the show but I attempted to videotape the boys' each playing their pieces. Drew performed "Minuet in G" & "The Sailor" on guitar and Nate played "Minuet in G" on piano. Once Scott gets home we'll see if we can post those videos.

Do you think the boys look taller in some of our recent photos? This school year I made a conscious effort to weigh and measure the boys every other month. Here is the comparison from the beginning of school to the ending of school in their height:

Sept. 07 Height: 58 1/2 inches, June 08 Height: 61 inches

Sept. 07 Height: 55 1/2 inches, June 08 Height: 57 3/4 inches

Nate grew 2 1/2 inches in 9 months and Drew grew 2 1/4 inches. It's no wonder the boys never have pants that fit for church.

Adoption Update:
We have received our tentative dates as far as when we will be traveling, getting Lilymei, and having our ACS appt. I will post these dates soon but it looks like we will have Lilymei in our arms on July 28, 2008!!!! (Happy Birthday Owen!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Travel Approval is in the Mail!

It has been a busy week communicating with our agency; trying to make sure we have all the correct information in place for our travel approval. We have received by snail mail our travel preparation packet and by email we have received a list of the families who may be traveling with us. We are so excited!!!

Today we received this email.....

"Dear families,
I have been informed that your travel approvals were mailed on 6/10 by the CCAA. It usually takes about 2 days to receive them. I will send you an email after I have submitted the request for appts at the ACS..."

Now we wait to hear when our appointment will be at the American Consulate. It will be hard to wait until our travel date but I have a feeling we will have so much to do it will be here before we know it. We'll keep you posted when we have official word of when we are traveling.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fun in the Sun

I spotted some "Fun in the Sun" the first few days of June. Thanks to our friend Mike, here with Scott, who provided the Family Beach all-time "Fun in the Sun" jet-ski for our pure enjoyment. Who wouldn't love to hop on and take a spin or two? Let's just say that Drew only got off the jet-ski long enough to eat a few, fresh out of the oven, chocolate chip cookies and then he was back at the handlebars taking anyone who dared a trip around Apra Harbor! Notice who's driving? Thanks for all the fun Mike!

Drew asked me the other day, "Mom, is it more fun to drive a jet-ski than it is to drive a car?". I can see I'm going to have my hands full with this one. This is the same child who had a fascination with motorcycles at the age of 2! Lucky for him two of his aunts purchased a battery operated motorcycle for him on his 3rd birthday. He had better not get any crazy ideas for future gifts. Too late, I know.

This is a photo of Scott teaching the boys how to clean a trampoline. Only a few essential items are needed: swim suits, a brush or two, the hose, 1/4 bottle of dish soap, and one more thing....oh yeah, your body! I decided I was going to sit this one out. They all had a great time and the trampoline did look really good after a long rinse!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scouts move up in rank!

It was a thrilling week in the world of scouting. Nate and Drew were both promoted to the next rank in the boy scouts and cub scouts. The boys are having a great time with scouting and Nate is getting ready for summer camp on Guam. Drew is preparing for a trip to the rock climbing wall and a summer of planned activity. We are proud of all the hard work they have both put into the program.

On the adoption front we have received some travel plan coordination, but are still waiting on our Travel Approval (TA). We are probably still looking at going to pick up Lilymei sometime in September. The Olympics can't come quick enough for us!

Lilymei joined our family...

Lilymei was born...

Drew is...

Nate is...

Jean and Scott have been married....