Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dates and tickets!!!

I'm still waiting for our final itinerary but so far our trip shapes up as follows:

Dec 7: Fly to Hong Kong

Dec 10: Fly to Chongqing


Dec 16: Fly to Guangzhou

Dec 21: Fly to Beijing

Dec 25: Fly HOME!!!!

To Glenda

Glenda, please email me at regarding going to Beijing. Your comments don't link back to an email addy so I can't contact you. Thanks!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


We're going to China, we're going to China, la la la la la, la.

Yes, I'm dancing around the house because we have our consulate appointment and our dates and we're going to China to get little Miss Maisie!!! But holy moley we leave a week from tomorrow!! Now I'm scurrying trying to book airline tickets and some extra nights as well as a tour in Beijing. Whoooohooo we're going to China!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm not ignoring you

For some reason bloglines isn't letting me know when all my favorite bloggers are updating their blogs and then when it does notify me, I'm a good week or more behind. On top of that, when I do find out that you've updated and I'm reading your posts, less than 25% of the time will blogger allow me to leave a comment. What a pain in the tush!

So I'm not ignoring everyone, if I read your blog before I'm still reading your blog now and I'm really sorry about my lack of comments I do try and sometimes one or two will go through.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Travel Notices arrived!

Our agency is requesting Consulate appointments during the week of December 18th, which would have us leaving for China next week!!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The postman always rings twice

Or in our case, the postwoman knocks loudly and often. Our postwoman must be sick and tired of getting out of her truck, bringing packages to the door daily, but I'm loving it!! Over the past few days more wonderful gifts have been arriving for Maisie. First is this adorable monogrammed backpack from local gal pal Georgia. Unfortunately Georgia had to miss my shower as she was out delivering packages to other people. I missed you at the shower and hopefully we'll get together soon. I love that the font you picked is the same font as the letters I had made for Maisie's room!! You know that Maisie is going to love this bag, she'll be so cute with it, I can't wait!!

Next was a box with a return address that I didn't recognize and I was so surprised when I opened the package to find two great gifts. First was an adorable pair of overalls and a coordinating shirt from Connie. Next was a shirt that yes, does make Eammon proud, a cute London shirt from the Motor City Mammas, Catherine, Connie, Krista and Stacy. A big thank you to each of you for taking time during your trip to not only follow along as we received Maisie's referral, but for thinking of us and sending such great gifts. The overalls and coordinating shirt should fit Maisie this winter and hopefully next year she'll be strutting her stuff in the London shirt.

The next wonderful gift was a handmade Teddy bear from my Utah bloggy summit pal Lisa. The bear is so cute and is now proudly displayed in Maisie's room. Thank you for making such a sweet gift for Maisie, I know she'll love it!

Thank you again to everyone, we love all the gifts and appreciate the thought and care that you each put into them. Maisie's going to be one very fashionable, very loved and spoiled little girl.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I'm so excited that for us, this will be the last holiday we celebrate without Maisie!! We did have a good day though, my parents were here and Deb, Dan, Ian and LiLi joined us and we had a good dinner together. No pictures of food today because as soon as it was out of the oven we sat down to dinner. After dinner Eammon and Ian shared some math and memory tricks that the other adults weren't allowed to know.

We were also all entertained as we watched little cutie LiLi test driving some of Maisie's new plastic.
Finally LiLi pointed out all the places we still have to baby proof. I will have to say though, the cutest part of the night was LiLi walking around with a picture of Maisie. When we'd ask her "where's Maisie?" she'd show us the picture. I think Maisie has a best friend in waiting.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The "bestest" tea ever!!!!

Saturday I attended the most wonderful baby shower I've ever been to and it was for me!! It was a beautiful tea party and what made it so special was the time, effort, thoughtfulness, care and attention to detail that the ladies-who-lunch, my girly-girl posse Cindy, Daphne, Jill, Julie, Sonia and Stephanie put into making the shower so "me." From entering Jill's home and seeing a large poster of Maisie waving till the time it was over, it was just a beautiful and special afternoon.

There was one beautiful table after another, each draped in tablecloths with scattered rose petals everywhere. In addition each table had beautiful fresh flowers and it seemed everywhere I looked there was a picture of Maisie waving and a giraffe. The girls had gathered every stuffed giraffe that their children owned and added them to the table decoration. The first table had beautiful china teapots filled with a great variety of teas, china teacups and butter mints in little ladybug wrappers. Another table held champagne flutes filled with mimosas. The food table was beautiful too with pretty platters of tea sandwiches including pimento, cream cheese on cinnamon bread, smoked salmon and of course cucumber. There was also a wonderful salad, delicious fresh fruit, lemon poppy seed cake and the pastries set up on tiered platters, OMG!!!

Sonia, her sister Lisa and their Mom Barbara made numerous different kinds of cookies and pastries. I tried each and every one so let's see if I can remember them all even if I don't have all the names quite right. There were apricot bars, date nut bars, lemon splash cookies, walnut butterballs, buckeyes, ginger snaps, seven-layer bars, ruggalach, brownie bites and walnut tarts. As I said, I may not have the names right but they were all delicious. One last special detail was the little diaper candy holders that Julie's Mom Susan made as favors. They were so cute and I hope that she didn't get too many pin sticks from the mini diaper pins. I really appreciate Susan, Lisa and Barbara taking the time to help make all the wonderful treats and treat holders, thank you so much!!

More special things about the shower were all my wonderful friends who were able to attend including my girlfriend Angela who came down from

North Carolina and really surprised me as I never expected any of my out of town friends to be able to attend. Before the gifts were unwrapped, everyone told of how and where we met. It was nice to hear all the stories and just how much so many people were looking forward to Maisie's arrival. I was surrounded by so many fabulous ladies, just thinking about it makes me smile and I'm so pleased and thankful that they were able to share in my special day.

Now talk about being spoiled! Gifts have been arriving at our home all week and the wonderful gifts I received at the shower was over the top!! I'm pleased to say that Maisie now has many, many toys both educational and fun. Plastic is the newest member of the house and I'm not just talking about all those great gift cards or the often used and abused cards in my wallet but the big, colorful plastic that is meant to be climbed on, through, pushed, pulled and makes lots of noise kind of plastic. Maisie will be kept warm with clothes, adorable hats for her little bald head and tiny slippers for her little tiny toes. She'll be loved with many soft blankets, cuddle blankies and just a few giraffes including a blue one! Her bed won't be just for show anymore as she now has pads and sheets and if just by chance there happens to be a stinky diaper or two, there's a genie to help in that department. Her room will have books and CD's and the girl will be wearing just a little bit of bling and I think 14K is going to be her color!

In addition Maisie will now be able to leave the house and be safe and comfy in her cushy new car seat. She'll also have one hot Momma, OK maybe not, but she'll have one fashionably attired Momma attending to her as I'll be strutting around proudly with my new Kate Spade pink giraffe diaper bag. Hmmmm, how long can I keep Maisie in diapers so I get to carry that bag around!?!?!

Truly though as long and bumpy as this road to Maisie has been, looking back I don't know if I'd change anything including the wait. The friends and people that we've met along the way have been an inspiration, a blessing and a gift to not only Eammon and I but going forward many years to come, for all of us including Maisie. We've made some lifelong friendships that wouldn't have been made had the wait been as short as first anticipated. Thank you to everyone who attended my shower and to everyone who sent such fabulous gifts not only now but all through the wait. A special thank you to my girly-girls for the "bestest" tea party shower ever. Thank you also to our family and friends for your support, encouragement and for sharing the ride with us. Now bring on Maisie and let the real ride of a lifetime begin!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

What's been happening??

Last Friday we received more paperwork to be filled out. Most of it was for our agency agreeing to all the terms, conditions and hold harmless on travel, all of which needed to be notarized. We also received an email letting us know that Chongqing was one of the few provinces where we could opt to wire our orphanage donation fee. Yippee, that's a lot less crisp, new 100's that we have to worry about obtaining and carrying around. Our final bit of paperwork was the application for our visas.

By Saturday I had all the forms filled out and notarized (Thanks Dan!). Early Monday morning I was at the bank getting a money order for the orphanage fee and writing out a check for the visas and then it was on to the post office to mail everything off. By Wednesday everything was received by CCAI and the travel agency obtaining our visas.

Now we're waiting for our visas to come through, we're still waiting on our updated I-171H and of course still waiting for travel approval (TA) so that consulate appointments can be scheduled and travel dates can be set. So close and yet still so far away especially when we look into Maisie's eyes.

We have so many things on our plate right now that hopefully the next week or so should pass quickly. Today my parents come in to spend the week with us. Tomorrow is my baby shower and I'm so excited. Then of course is preparing for Thanksgiving and that whole day. Then the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Eammon's Wetting the Baby's Head which means Sunday I'll be taking care of him!!

I'm really hoping that before Thanksgiving maybe we'll hear something about not only our TA's but also our I-171H. Please keep your fingers crossed for us!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Names and game winners

I know that I teased everyone with the letters of Maisie's name so I wanted to show all the letters as they're now hanging in the nursery.

I've had numerous people ask about the pronunciation of Maisie's name, both her new and Chinese name. So here's a pronunciation guide:

Wan Chun Miao
Wan is pronounced like wen (w like in wood and en like in ten)
Chun is pronounced like chwan (ch like in chalk and uan as in wander)
Miao is pronounced like meow (like a cats meow)

Maisie is pronounced like mayzee (may like the month and zee with the long e like in zebra)

and just for good measure,

Eammon is pronounced like Amen (a like in able and mmon sounds like men, the emphasis is on the A) Or as my Dad remembered it, "Lisa's getting married, AMEN!!!

Now for the winners of the name, weight, province and date of birth contest.

Melissa, Georgia, Kikalee and Dawn all guessed Maisie with the correct spelling.

Diane from Canada was the closest on guessing the weight of 16.5 with a guess of 16.6.

Monica, Nicole and Susan all guessed the correct province of Chongqing.

Finally, the winner of the date of birth goes to Lisa (LID 2/6/06) with a guess of 10/1/05. Maisie's actual birth day is 10/17/05 but Lisa was the only person to guess the month of October.

Congratulations winners, be proud to know that you were right!!! Thanks to everyone who played along, it really helped us with the wait.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

N.C. invasion and hot lips

Saturday night, exhausted Ikea shoppers Susan and Shannon joined Eammon and I for dinner. We've met Shannon before but this was the first time we've met Susan and she was so nice. We spent hours chatting like long lost friends and laughing so hard at Shannon's stories. I don't think I've ever met anyone with so many funny stories, that girl should do stand-up.

The evening was just so easy, no drama, no stress, it was casual and they both ooooohed and aaaaahed over Maisie's pictures. Who could ask for anything better!! Even though this was the first time meeting Susan, because I've followed her blog from the beginning, it was like meeting someone I've always known. I wish that both Susan & Shannon lived closer so that we could get together more often. I hope that they never build an Ikea closer to them so that when they need a fix, they'll drop in and visit us.

Shannon still remembers what I served for dinner when she visited a year ago and I guess she liked it as she convinced Susan that they had to come visit and have dinner with us. I fear that Shannon may never forget this year's dinner as she found the pork-stuffed poblanos with walnut cream sauce a little hotter than she anticipated. Sure, my lips tingled a little and Susan and Eammon seemed to enjoy the meal but poor Shannon really felt the heat of the meal. She said she enjoyed it and I really hope she did, even though she had very hot lips.

Susan & Shannon, it was great spending an evening with you, you're great guests and you're welcome back any time. Can't wait to see you both again.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Care package

Today we sent Maisie her care package. We included a cute little lion holding a blanket (No decapitated creature attached to a blanket here!!) We've slept with this lion which is all micro-fleece and oh-so soft. There's also a Lamaze toy which has lots of different textures, the leaves crinkle and if you pull on the lady bug ring, the bee and the flower get pulled down into the green cup. I like it because it's easy to hang onto and great for teething. We included a disposable flash camera to which I attached the picture of Maisie waiving along with her name. A letter to the SWI Director was included, asking for the items to be given to Maisie and for pictures to be taken and the camera returned on "Gotcha Day." A bag of fun size M&M's was added for the nannies.

The final item included is Maisie's Who Love's Baby book. A work mate of Eammon's wrote out captions for the pictures in Mandarin which I attached to each photo. Here are the pictures that we included along with the captions.

Baba Loves Wan Chun Miao

Mama Loves Wan Chun Miao
Mama and Baba Love Wan Chun Miao
Wan Chun Miao's bedroom
Wan Chun Miao's home and garden
Wan Chun Miao's friends and playmates

I really hope that these items get to Maisie and that the nannies take pictures of both Maisie and the SWI. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, November 10, 2006

End of an era

OK, it's not that dramatic but today the ladies-who-lunch celebrated the final member of the group receiving their referral and that member was me!! The girls spoiled me with balloons and Nana Susan made mint oreo cheesecake squares. Thanks Nana Susan!!

It was weird, me walking into a lunch sans cupcakes or cake. It was fun though and the girls spoiled Maisie with lots of great gifts. It's amazing to think that when we started this process and the CCAA was matching full months, the seven of us would have traveled back to back and all would have been home by early summer. Yet here we are with our travel dates covering almost all of 2006. Soon Maisie will be home and the ladies who lunch will be complete with their seven new little cuties. (Until the second round of adoptions begin!!)

Thanks Cindy, Julie, Daphne, Jill, Sonia, Stephanie and of course little Liza for all the wonderful gifts, a great lunch and for sharing in this exciting roller coaster experience.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post referral craziness (part 2)

Sorry that these posts are so delayed, this week has been flying by. I know that I've accomplished a lot, but trust me, many hours have been spent studying Maisie's face and just staring at her picture.

Starting where I left off in the last post, Saturday we were up early as I needed to run to the grocery before the FedEx guy arrived with our referral packet. Sorry, no piccie here of the FedEx guy. He must have delivered these packages before and be camera shy because by the time I got to the door he was burning rubber down the street!! Hey, who needs a delivery guy picture as long as he left the information.

Eammon and I were upstairs and had just opened the package containing all of Maisie's information and her new pictures when the door bell rang again. This time there was a delivery guy with flowers. He was so cute, he said that he tried to knock quietly before ringing as he didn't want to ring the bell because he knew there was a new baby. I told him the baby was in China and boy was he confused. My parents sent some beautiful congratulatory flowers in a adorable sailor duck!!

Saturday afternoon I finally had the opportunity to really see some of the other babies who were matched with their families along with many more phone calls. A big congrats to all the new families. I managed to track down four of the six members of our travel group. I also made another batch of brownies, with out nuts this time so that I could bring both kinds to Deb's home later that day. Saturday night Eammon and I packed up both kind of brownies, some beer and all the information and pictures of Maisie and we went over to Deb & Dan's home for a nice relaxing, comfortable, fun bonfire. We got to be proud, bragging parents and show off all of Maisie's info. Ian was the hotdog cook of the night as he made perfect hotdogs on sticks over the open fire. Both Eammon and I were exhausted physically and emotionally from referral day so we didn't stay out too late but when we got home I checked the phone and there were so many messages. Eammon sacked out on the sofa as I once again was on the phone until 3am.

Sunday morning I didn't wake up until the phone rang at 11am. We decided to just have an easy day hanging out staring at our Maisie. Of course there were still many phone calls but it was a good day and it allowed me to plan what I'd need to do over the week.

On Monday, first thing in the morning I sent off our acceptance letter and then the real shopping began. This wasn't shopping for Maisie, it was shopping for Eammon and I. Neither of us have winter jackets so I was off to Land's End to get some real nice lightweight but very warm jackets. While there I also found a couple of pairs of chinos and some wonderful fleece tops for me so those were added to the bag. All in all Maisie is already costing us big as it was one expensive day! Trust me though it's definitely worth it!!

Obviously the best part of our weekend was seeing Maisie for the first time, it was the best thing that has ever happened to Eammon and I...Totally incredible. The second best part though had to be the calls, emails and comments left by all the wonderful people who have been following along with us on this roller coaster journey. If I didn't get back to anyone please accept my apology but please know that we have read every single comment and email and we appreciate and love every single one. I've saved them all and they will become part of Maisie's scrapbook.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Post referral craziness (part 1)

First, I can't resist having Maisie's picture at the top of my blog because she's so darn cute!! So she may be toping my posts for a while, at least until I get a picture of her onto the sidebar.

OK referral day was long. Daphne wanted to come over at 7am or some other freakishly early hour, but I had things to do in the morning and knew that I'd be finished before 11 am, which would be the earliest the Atlanta CCAI office would start their calls. So Daphne arrived just before 11 am and was absolutely freaking out with excitement. She paced the hall, clicked her pen, complained about how long it was taking, was on the verge of an anxiety attack, thought she was going to be sick, not a calm bone in her body.

I was excited that our day was finally here but I was still relatively calm. I was sitting at the computer answering emails and responding to comments as well as stalking the sites of other bloggers expecting their calls and waiting for them to post their pictures. So, Julie, Jodie, Jodi, Andrea, Caroline, Dawn, Gwyn, Karyn, Lindsey, Mary, Melissa and Wendy if you go back and see thousands of hits on your site from Atlanta, it was me!! Congrats to all of you, your babies are fabulous and I know just like Eammon and I, you're so in love, floating on air and can't wait to travel.

I love how so many people supported us, shared with us and we're caught up in the excitement of our day. I can't even express how special that was to us, thank you so much to everyone who followed along and especially to those who left comments or sent emails. I've responded to all the emails and I'm still working on responding to all the comments where there's a link back to an email address. So many of the comments don't link back to email addresses so to those people, please accept my thanks here. Focusing on all the emails and comments made me laugh and it really helped the time pass.

About 1:15 I found out that Atlanta wasn't going to be making our calls because the conference call from Denver was late in the morning and the Atlanta office already had people arriving for a farewell party for one of the gals who was leaving and Friday was her final day. Since the office is the size of maybe three cubicles, there was no privacy so our referral calls got bumped back to Denver so they could make the calls. We must have been put at the bottom of the pile as the Atlanta people were the last to get their calls. Well no complaining because we have Maisie!!

Daphne was great once the call came in. I had the call on speaker so that she could hear all the info and write it all down just in case my hands were too shaky to write. I remained pretty calm and was able to talk and write and Daphne made sure that I asked all the questions on my list and then she sat quietly as I stared at Maisie's picture and got teary eyed. I had told her ahead of time that Eammon had to see the picture before I was going to let her see it, so even though I know she was jumping out of her skin to see the computer screen, she remained calm.

I called Eammon only to get his voice mail so I sent him a page and he left a meeting he was chairing to call. I told him all the info and sent him an email with the picture. Before he received the picture, he said he'd call back. I thought he was just going somewhere private to look at the email but he looked at it and then had to go back into the meeting to finish it off. After about 15 minutes I paged him again since I didn't know if the email had gone through and if he was happy. About 5 minutes later he called back, he had just briefly looked at the picture before heading back into the meeting and only now could call back. Well, once I got off the phone with Eammon and I told Daphne she could see the picture, you never saw a girl move so fast.

While I was waiting for Eammon to call back and while I was settling down I filled the details into the announcement email and wrote up the post and upload the picture to our blog. After Eammon saw the picture and we chatted a bit I called my parents before hitting the send button on the email and post. I only got their machine... Geez where was everyone??

Once the email was sent and the post posted, I started calling the ladies who lunch. I didn't get to talk to anyone for too long though as the call waiting started clicking in almost immediately.
Eammon arrived home soon after I posted and emailed everyone and we spent a bit of time ooohhhhhing and ahhhhhhing over Maisie's picture.
Here we are, the proud new parents!

Daphne headed home and Eammon and I spent some time going over all the info I had been given during the phone call and we each cried a little as we studied Maisie's sweet face. We then headed out for a quick celebratory dinner before coming home to many more emails and phone messages. I started returning phone calls, starting on the east coast, working my way west finally getting off the phone and into bed around 3am.

I now have to run out so I'll write part two of this post tomorrow.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ni hao Mama & Baba

Please hurry, I'm waiting for you to come and get me!! Please come soon, I don't want them to shave my head again!!

Eammon and I are so in love with our little cue ball cutie, Maisie Miao, and can't wait to travel to get her.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Eammon and I have a beautiful new daughter.

Maisie Miao Shanahan

Chinese name: Wan Chun Miao
Chun means Spring
Miao means Sprout

She is in Chongqing District, in the city of WanZhou at the WanZhou Social Welfare Institute

DOB: October 17, 2005

Picture probably taken in May.

She likes to laugh & listen to music. Her favorite activities are to be held and played with especially with her doll and rattle. She recognizes the differences between strangers and acquaintances, is able to hold blocks and grasp toys. She eats milk formula mixed with rice as well as eggs and soup.

Notice on Maisie's jumper, the London double-decker bus from her Daddy's home town!!

Crazy and bored

Daphne's crazy, antsy and driving me mad. She's feeling sick to her stomach, on the verge of an anxiety attack and can't wait any longer. I'm bored with the wait and ready for the call.

Denver office has started making calls and referrals are starting to come in. Atlanta office is still quiet and we're still waiting for their call.

So...Still no news...

Here's another pretty letter.
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