Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Life isn't...but it could be looking up!!!

Life isn't all gourmet and curry, sometimes it Oven Fry pork, frozen veggies and cous cous all prepared according to package directions.

Life may be looking up though. There are packages that I'm tracking sent from Beijing to both my agency and my friend's big agency in Texas (G...) and to another big Texas agency (H.....'.) and they all have the same reference code so I'm thinking these are the referrals!! I think my calm is beginning to fade! Keep your fingers crossed that this is it and we'll be seeing those beautiful babies starting Thursday!!!!

Packages also sent to a Christian based agency in Lexington, KY, another in Fort Washington, PA and still another in my old stomping ground of Brookline MA. More packages sent to Eugene, OR, Evansville, IN, Jenison, MI and Wilmington, DE.

This is it baby, I believe the stork is in the air!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Where we stand

First, I have major doubts that the package arriving at our agency in the next few hours contains referrals. The reason is, there doesn't appear to be a package coming from Beijing to my friend's big agency in Texas. It also appears that no new packages were sent out Monday from Beijing to either my or my friend's agency. Thus, if the current package doesn't contain referrals it would be Thursday at the earliest that we would hear anything.

On to a happier note. Sunday Trixie and WaWa came over for brunch and WaWa was the handyman of the day as he completed the penultimate project in completing Baby S's nursery. Here he is in all his handyman glory finishing up the ceiling fan installation. Thanks WaWa you did a great job and we appreciate your help.

The final project is the closet. Baby S's closet is tiny so I have to move the current shelf and rod up a little higher and add a second shelf/rod unit lower down so that I'll have more storage space. I also have a small closet just outside of Baby S's room to which I'm going to add shelves so that I can store more clothing and toys within easy reach of her room. Maybe today I'll go buy a saw to cut down the wire shelves and possibly even get a few of those in place. Then I can start pulling clothing out of the storage room and get things washed and organized.

Well, I'm not going to stress over the package being delivered today and I'm going to get on with all the stuff I need to accomplish. I'm doubtful that it contains referrals but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Have a good day everyone and try not to stress as it won't make the referrals arrive any sooner.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Packages and parties

First off, the package that I'm currently tracking is in Wilmington, OH and should be at our agency by noon mountain time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is the package with Baby S's info!!

Last night we attended our local adopters group Halloween party. It was lots of fun and most people did dress up. Kathy and Matt were great hosts and went all out decorating their home and serving some great food. It was also fun to have some new faces there and fun that some were dressed so well it was difficult to recognize them.

Thanks Kathy and Matt for hosting such a fun night.

If you're a local waiting family and would like to join us at our monthly gatherings, please email me and I'll add you to the mailing list. Below are links to check out our past gatherings.

August '05
September '05
October '05
November '05
January '06
February '06
March '06
April '06
May '06
June '06
August '06
September '06

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Here's another

No referrals yet so I'm posting another recipe. Last night for dinner we had my version of Shepherd's Pie, which has curry in it.

4 -5 medium sized potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 pound ground beef or turkey
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons hot Madras curry powder
2 teaspoons ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 pound frozen vegetables, thawed (we like the fiesta style mix which includes broccoli, carrots, kidney beans, white beans, garbanzo beans, Italian green beans and red pepper.)
butter or margarine
salt & pepper

Put unpeeled potatoes in a pot of water and bring to a boil, cook approximately 25 minutes until tender. Rinse with cold water. Peel and then mash with butter or margarine add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender and brown, about 7 minutes. Add the meat and cook until just browned. Add garlic, curry powder, tumeric and hot pepper flakes and cook until fragrant approximately 2 minutes.

Stir in the veggies. Put the meat and veggie mix into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.


Note: I cook my potatoes unpeeled and peel them later. This prevents the potatoes from absorbing too much water and makes for fluffier mashed potatoes.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Maybe Monday or Tuesday???

First off, the package that I was tracking on Tuesday unfortunately did not contain referrals. BUT, maybe this new one I'm watching does. It left Beijing Friday afternoon (Beijing time) and will hopefully be at our agency on Monday.

In preparing for our trip we have purchased some new adult toys. Get your mind out of the gutter! We have a very old digital camera and while it takes good pictures it's big, bulky and isn't able to hold many pictures on the memory cards. But now we're all set to look like true American tourists. We have a lovely new tiny digital camera, a shiny little digital camcorder as well as a small 1 GB MP3 Thumb Drive. It's amazing because the camcorder is smaller than my current digital camera and the all three of these items together weigh just a few ounces more than just my current camera. I'm making things easy and light for our carry-on-only adventure.

Speaking of carry-on-only, I finally have my packing list completed and I've done a test pack and it's no problem. We should have no worries that we can get it all packed, under the weight limit and with room to spare. I'm ready to go, now bring on those referrals!!!!

I love all the guesses and wonderful comments that people are making for where Baby S is as well as her weight and birthdate. Keep them coming, I love reading them and once we get our referral I'll announce a winner.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Guessing game

Sorry, no new recipe today as I'm meeting up with fellow blogger Theresa for lunch so dinner tonight will be either leftover beef curry or cioppino.

How about a game as we wait for referrals to get here.I know this version of the guessing game isn't as fun as when M3 did it especially as there aren't as many options and no prizes, but here it goes.

I've added the map so that you can see all the provinces

We've asked for one girl 0-12 months at referral.

Now it's your turn to guess:

  • Province

  • Birthdate

  • Weight as of latest physical
Have fun and good luck!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I'm tracking a package that has been sent from Beijing to our adoption agency and is due to arrive by noon tomorrow. I don't know if this is the package containing info about Baby S. So everyone, keep your fingers crossed that this is the news we've been waiting to hear!!

Until I have referral news, I'm turning this into a cooking blog. At least if I'm cooking I'm keeping busy and making the time pass. For dinner tonight I made my easy, weird version of cioppino. Here it is all nice and hot, ready to eat. I serve this with a nice Chicago hard roll, you know the ones that have crusts so crunchy that if you're not careful it'll cut your gums. It's great when you dip the hot roll in the cioppino, yum!

Here I go with another recipe.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
28 oz can crushed tomatoes with added puree
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups bottled clam juice
2 cup dry white wine
2 28-ounce cans baby or chopped clams, drained, liquid reserved
1 pound uncooked salad shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 pound crabmeat
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
1-2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender and brown, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and fennel seeds and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes with added puree, peeled tomatoes including the juice, clam juice, white wine and liquid reserved from clams. Increase heat and boil until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Add clams, shrimp and crabmeat. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Mix in fresh basil and simmer until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 2 minutes longer. Season stew to taste with cayenne, salt and pepper.

Maybe tomorrow will bring news about referrals!!


Monday, October 23, 2006

So I cook...

Since there seems to be no news as to when referrals will arrive and it was our
first really cold day here in Atlanta, (OK it was in the 50's, but trust me that's cold!!) I decided to cook and make a nice hearty beef curry. Here it is served up in our new pottery from Barbados.

Also since I'm not yet staring endlessly at a picture of Baby S, I figured I'd pass along this wonderful recipe in case anyone else wants to make it, especially if you're trying to find ways to keep busy during the wait other than hitting the refresh button on the CCAA website.

First gather all your ingredients.
3 pounds well-trimmed boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large onions, sliced
12 whole cloves
8 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
13.5 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 cup milk
6 plum tomatoes, cut into 8ths
5 tablespoons Major Grey chutney
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
salt & pepper

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, add beef to pot and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and brown, about 7 minutes.

Return the beef to the pot. Add cloves, garlic, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and dried red pepper to pot; stir 1 minute.

Stir in coconut milk, milk, tomatoes, chutney, lemon juice, ginger, curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beef is tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

Uncover and increase heat to medium. Boil stew until juices are slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. I serve this over jasmine rice.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring some news about referrals.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

More for Baby S

Sometime this week we should see Baby S's face for the first time!! It's amazing but I'm still very calm and in fact I'm sleeping at night, my usual insomnia isn't even keeping me awake. It's interesting how stress and anticipation affect everyone differently.

This weekend seemed to fly by. Friday I met with Deb & LiLi for breakfast, a long breakfast. We met at 8:30 and chatted until just about noon! Deb surprised me with a big bag of clothing which LiLi has outgrown. I love hand-me-down clothing and LiLi is just that far ahead of where Baby S will be so that seasonal clothing will work out perfectly. I love all the cute little outfits and dresses and I know next summer Baby S will look as cute in them as LiLi did when she wore them. Thanks Deb and LiLi too.

My parents saw this adorable animal train and got it for Baby S. I haven't taken it out of the package yet but I keep hitting the button to hear the little song it plays. I can't wait to play with for Baby S to play with all the animals and chase after the train as it travels across the floor. Thanks Mom & Dad we love the Animal Choo Choo Train.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Secret revealed

No, not Baby S's name but my fabulous CCAI secret pal's name. Loraine Brame has been sending huge boxes of wonderful gifts each month since November of last year!! I just realized that she has been sending us gifts for an entire year, WOW!!! Over the many months she has sent so many wonderful books, toys, practical items, decorative items and the clothing OMG, she has definitely spoiled Baby S with clothes! Sometimes she included separate notes which really helped boost my spirits and sometimes it was just a little note on the outside of the wrapped gift to tell me something special about what was inside or why she chose a specific item. I have saved every single note and will add them to Baby S's scrap book.

Every month it was a treat to open the boxes and see what fun things she included. Sometimes she followed the theme of the month and other times she just picked out what she liked, but no matter which way she went, she had us pegged and sent the most perfect gifts. It's funny because with our referral coming in the next week, I've been looking for footie P.J.s to bring to China and wouldn't you know, in this last gift that's what she included, the two adorable footies pictured with the rest of her wonderful gifts!!

Loraine, you have been a wonderful pal and I can't express how much your gifts each month lifted my spirits and helped make the wait so much more tolerable. Thank you for including the picture of your beautiful family. I had a feeling that you were a Mom already because you always seemed to know some of the practical things that I would need which I had overlooked

Hopefully your referral will come this month and we'll be able to possibly meet in Guangzhou!! I just checked your LID and see that you're 8/30/05, so if your referral doesn't come this month, then you know that next month you'll be looking at a picture of Shayna or Baby Boy Brame and I'll be watching for your announcement on the CCAI board. Thank you again for being such a wonderful pal and I have my fingers, toes, legs and everything else I can, crossed hoping that you receive your referral very soon.

To see all the generous and great gifts that Loraine has sent over the past year, just click on the following links. November, December 1, December 2, January, February & March, April, May, June, July, August and September.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Like a ton of bricks!

On Monday my friend Tiffany received her travel approval and I called to congratulate her. As usual with the time zone difference and the fact that Eammon and I tend to go to bed probably about the time she gets in after work and dinner, our game of phone tag continued. Well last night she called early enough that I was not yet in bed and before her dinner plans so we actually got to chat. I found out that not only has she received her travel approval (TA) but also has her consulate appointment and her travel dates!! We also talked about how referrals come out shortly after TAs and she told me that there's a rumor that referrals will be out either the end of this week or early next!! I was so happy talking with her and so excited too because if the rumors are true, Eammon and I will be looking at a picture of Baby S in less than a week!!!!!

When we missed the last cut off by one stinking day, I thought that I'd be upset or really antsy this month but I've been surprisingly calm. I've started making our packing list and have been shopping for travel meds and necessities but not really even thinking about referrals other than in passing. But when I got into bed and tried to sleep last night, it hit me that in probably less than seven days I'd be a Mom! All I could do is lay in bed smiling and giggling. Wow, its been 619 days since we officially started this adoption process, is our time really that close and could this be real?

Today when I logged on to my email, I had about two dozen messages from people telling me of this new rumor and getting excited for us. This is so fun and I love how many people have joined us in our journey to Baby S and are sharing this up and down roller coaster experience with us.

Now as a teaser. A while back I ordered letters to hang in the nursery spelling out Baby S's name. I'd love to show you all of the beautiful letters, but alas that won't happen until we get our referral. So for your enjoyment, here's the first letter of her name beautifully hand painted (not by me!) and ready to be hung. Maybe today after I finish the last bit of necessity shopping I'll actually pull out the ladder and get her name up on the wall!

Holy moly, we're next and it's happening soon!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

For Eammon

Lately when it comes to gifts, Eammon has received relatively few. Scattered in amongst the secret pal gifts was a book, t-shirt and a trinket or two for him but compared to what I received and especially to what Baby S received, Eammon was sort of left out. But thanks to the Incredible Kim Brown and hubby Lee, Eammon received a package just for him!! It was so sweet that Lee thought of Eammon whilst at the GZ toy market and such a perfect gift that he picked. Eammon loves his new mouse pad and it is proudly front and center on the computer desk! Thank you Lee and Kim.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Kacey!!

Today Kacey turns 2 but it was yesterday that her friends celebrated with her. In the two weeks that Kacey has been home she's changed so much and she's really starting to come out of her shell. Kacey got some cute toys and we all enjoyed some wonderful bbq and cake. Happy birthday Kacey!!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Chocolate! What a treat for having to spend a sleepless week alone. Eammon was in San Francisco on business and check out what he brought home for me! Regular visitors may remember my many rants regarding my usual sleep difficulties and bouts of insomnia but for me, having to be alone in the house at night, why even bother getting in bed as I'm just not going to sleep. So if any of you wonder why you received a comment or an email from me at 3am, you now know why. Hopefully tonight will be a good sleep night otherwise I may be up hitting the chocolates!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How many months?

Yep, as of today we've been logged in at the CCAA for 14 months. Yes indeed, our original projected six to eight month wait is now a full fourteen months worth of waiting. Hurry up referrals our patience is running thin. But at least we're next!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Now that my tan has faded (of course I'm still darker than everyone else I know), Christine has returned to England and I'm finally back on my normal schedule, I now have time to sit down and post all about our holiday in Barbados. First let me say it was wonderful, fabulous, relaxing and extremely well timed.

The resort where we stayed had an absolutely gorgeous beach with beautiful fine pink sand with virtually no rocks or coral. About 150 yards off the beach was a reef where the waves broke and then they came to shore as nice swells. It was easy getting in and out of the water as it was nice and smooth with no drop-off or coral encrusted hills to deal with, as my Aruba friends all know about. The water was warm but refreshing and so clear that you could see right to the bottom.

Eammon and I would have happily spent our days relaxing on the beach, bobbing in the ocean and enjoying the abundance of excess that all-inclusive resorts provide, but we did actually do some touring and I did just a little shopping. It was amazing because 95% of the guests were Brits, we still somehow managed to hook up with three other American couples. Two are from the Atlanta area and one is from North Carolina. It was really fun spending time with these other couples, they were good fun and we shared lots of drinks and laughs. Speaking of drinks, I introduced everyone to banana daiquiris with Poncha Kuba and WOW, did we go through a lot of those!! I don't even remember the last time I had alcohol so the daiquiris hit me hard. Eammon thought I was drinking all of mine and wondering why he was feeling no pain and I was still OK. Then he realized that I was pouring my drinks off into his glass. It was all-inclusive so I really tried but after about 1 1/2 drinks per day I just couldn't keep up and by day six I had switched to virgin coladas. I know, I'm a wimp!

Other than the breakfasts which got monotonous the food was really good and I had some wonderful Bajan curries that I just loved. Lunches were buffet style and there was always plenty of selection. At dinner they did a different theme each night, Italian, Mexican, Caribbean, I forget the others but it was all good. In the afternoon they served tea with a nice variety of sweets and of course there was always the snack bar which served sandwiches and salads from 10 am till 10 PM. Needless to say, we were never hungry or in need of a drink.

My big shopping excursion was to the Earthworks Studio where I purchased beautiful handmade place settings for us. Three years ago when I was at the studio, I only bought a couple of pieces which I love and use whenever possible. I've been wanting new dishes so when we planned this trip, I knew where I'd be going and what I'd be buying. We'll have to keep these out of Baby S's hands for many years as I love this pottery and would hate to see it broken...hmmm, that would mean we'd have to go back again though, beaches and pottery, yeah!!! In the picture to the right, I've picked out my plates and bowls and they're boxing everything up for me.

I decided to have each place setting be different, so here you can see the eight patterns that I picked out. Now that I'm thinking of it, maybe I should have purchased 12 place settings and I know that they have at least four more designs...Maybe a return trip is in the works!!

Located right next to the pottery studio is the Treehouse Cafe where you can sit, have a wonderful little meal whilst enjoying beautiful views of the island.

One day Eammon and I joined with two of the other couples and we visited Crane Beach which according to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world. It was beautiful with its pink sand and it was lots of fun as the waves were quite large and we all had fun getting knocked about by the waves.

We then headed off to the Ragged Point Lighthouse which which is located on the eastern point of the island. The lighthouse is an 85-foot tall coral stone structure which was erected in1875. Both the lighthouse and the residence are in a sad state but it would be an incredible site if it were ever to be restored. The views of the eastern side of the island from the 60-foot cliff which the lighthouse stands on, are absolutely beautiful.

The picture at the top of this post was taken up at the lighthouse, so you can see some of the spectacular view. The picture to the left is of us at the lighthouse, showing how much work needs to be done to restore this beautiful structure.
Eammon thinks this picture is funny because he says all he can see are my teeth and t-shirt...He's just jealous!

Our last stop of the day was Codrington College which is the oldest Anglican Theological College in the Western Hemisphere. It was established by the will of General Christopher Codrington who died in 1710 and was opened in 1745. The coral-stone buildings and grounds are on a cliff overlooking Consett Bay.

On our penultimate day we went on a catamaran trip and because two other couples were going along, Eammon decided to join us too. I usually go alone as he tends to get quite sea sick so it was a huge leap of faith on his part to embark on a five-hour cruise. I'm very proud of him though because he chewed on crystallized ginger, drank ginger ale and didn't feel or get sick at all. We all had a blast because we got to swim with sea turtles, we snorkeled around two different wrecks and we got to float around and relax near a calm beach. The lunch on board was filling and delicious and though the alcohol was free flowing, I had already had my fill for the year and Eammon didn't want to risk the possibility of getting sick.

We had an easy flight home, even with all the restrictions on what you can bring on board the plane. By the time we got home it was close to 1:30am and Christine arrived before noon so as I said in a previous post, it's really only now that things are settling down and are back to normal.

How long normal will last now that we're next for referral? I'm ready, bring it on!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Today I got to spend the afternoon with Kacey. We had lunch and played with her blocks on the floor and she loved playing with my cell phone. Hugs? Nope not ready yet, those are only for her Momma! Kacey is so observant and you can tell that she's taking in everything. I'm looking forward to seeing her again, oh yeah and her Momma too!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Zip-ity Do Dolly and Cupcake

For September, my CCAI secret pal sent a wonderful gift of Zip-ity Do Dolly and Cupcake the giraffe. It's funny because I was recently looking at a Dressy Bessie but I like this one so much better because there are many more fun things to learn on Dolly and she is so cute! I also love Cupcake the giraffe, the squeak and rattle are great and I know Baby S will love both gifts.

I can't believe that October is the last month of the swap and it's finally our time to meet our children. My pal, I don't know if you've already received your referral or if you're still waiting but know that I'm thinking of you and can't wait to find out who you are. Thank you again for all the wonderful gifts you've sent to us and Baby S.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Weekend in review

Things in the Shanahan home are finally starting to calm down. Saturday morning Christine and I did some last minute shopping as she still had greenbacks burning a hole in her pocket and was still well under the weight limit on luggage. I'm sure that she's back at work this morning still trying to adjust to GMT.

Saturday evening our group of local adopters met for dinner where there were lots of laughs and plenty of good food. Ilene and Michael were proudly showing off pictures of their adorable daughter April, who they will meet in just a few short weeks.

I purchased petrol for less than $2.00/gal. Not great but getting better.

On Sunday Eammon and I did lots of yard work and garage cleaning. Neither is finished but at least we made a good start.

One week down since the last batch of referrals so we're one week closer to Baby S because we're next!! I think I'm starting to nest because I've had the desire to go through the entire house with a big rubbish bag, cleaning out all the junk, so off to do all my fun cleaning!
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