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Join me in my ramblings about my life, my kids, the meaning of the universe, and adopting from China.


Wednesday, February 27

Just because it's been a while

Thought I had better post just to reassure you all that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Life with my big kids back at school has been incredibly busy and I am struggling to find the time to do regular things like the ironing (urgh), let alone updating my poor neglected blog! Anyway, bubby is in bed for her morning nap and I am relatively up to date with my chores, so here 'tis. The divine Miss A grows and changes with every passing day. She is becoming much more vocal and now says 'nana' for banana, 'bye bye' (whilst waving), 'Daddy', 'Mummy', 'jie jie', 'num yum' (for yummy) and 'bo bo' (bot bot) for bottle. She is such a funny little thing that she cracks me up on a daily basis. Her personality is shining right through now, and she really is a kid with 'tude! We were discussing on Rumour Queen this morning about babies with 'tude, and are all agreed that our precious Chinese princesses have hit 'that' age where they begin to assert their independence. With this comes a corresponding increase in 'tude. Alice has what we call her 'filth look'. This look is produced anytime we say 'no', or if she simply doesn't want to do what I am trying to get her to do (like, for example, EAT!) She frowns, peers out from under her brows and almost sneers. Very attractive! Unfortunately for her it doesn't have the desired effect as I always end up laughing when she does it. Poor baby - can't even stare Mum down with the 'filth look'.

I will try to put some new pics in the slide show for you all. Louanne - make sure you take care when you head off on your Excellent Adventure and take HEAPS of pictures!!

Thursday, February 21

Four months ago today...

our precious China babe was placed in our arms. I can hardly believe that she has been with us such a short time, as it feels as if she has always been a part of our lives. She has just fitted in so well with our family, and seems to be pretty happy with the way things are! She is cuddly, funny, affectionate, silly, gorgeous and an utter joy to be with. It still blows me away to think that on the other side of the world, someone at the China Centre for Adoption Affairs matched us with the PERFECT child. They sure knew what they were doing - but I suspect they had a bit of help from a little higher up ;)

Wednesday, February 20

Mummy Brag (again)

After waxing lyrical about my beautiful daughter yesterday, she came home to tell me that she had been voted (by her peers) to be the girl's School Captain. I am so proud I could just about burst. She will do a brilliant job (for all of the reasons I outlined yesterday) and is a truly deserving recipient of this honour. I, of course, am compleltey non-biased and objective in this assessment . Heh, heh.... Well done sweetie - we are all very proud of you!!!

Tuesday, February 19

My Baby is Eleven!

Yesterday my DD turned eleven. Wow. I can hardly believe that it was so long ago that she arrived in this world. She took a long time to make her appearance - a 23 hour labour was NOT fun for her poor tired mother! She weighed a healthy 7 pounds 14 ounces and was an interesting shade of purple when she came out. It didn't take her too long to pink up though, and she had the honour of being delivered by her own Daddy (who was, at that stage, half mad with sleep-deprivation). So eleven years have pased and my tiny baby is now a pre-pubescent, growing in all manner of ways. She is loving, cuddly, opinionated, caring, impatient, brilliant, God-fearing, empathetic, finicky, and much, much more. I am so very proud of her and feel so blessed to be her Mum. Happy birthday sweetheart.

Sunday, February 17

A Fantastic Photo

I am currently in the process of creating a Life Book for Alice. A Life Book contains Alice's story - information about her birth, her country, her foster family, etc etc. I have been going through the (literally) hundreds of photos I took whilst in China, trying to decide which ones to include and I discovered that I don't have a decent photo of our batch whom we travelled with. Eeek!! This group of eight other families shared one of the most amazing experiences of our lives with us and I didn't have a picture to commemorate the fact. So, in a moment of brilliance I emailed our wondeful guide from Nanchang, Evelyn, explaining my predicament. She promptly emailed back not one, but two superb photos of our travel group, just outside the Teng Wan Pavilion in Nanchang. Have a look for yourselves - I think it is a brilliant memento of a truly amazing experience. I am now feeling all nostalgic for China... Wonder if I can convince DH that we need to go back again soon?????

Wednesday, February 13

Then and Now...

What a differnce almost four months makes!!! The top photo was taken just an hour or so after we first met Alice. Although she didn't cry at handover, you can tell from her sweet little face that she was feeling scared, lost and vulnerable. She was so very tiny - just 5.3kg - and so quiet. Almost four months on, things have (thankfully) changed dramatically. The Alice I know and love so much is a happy, lively, effervescent little person with an infectious smile (that she WILL NOT let me capture on camera!!) and an attitude to boot. She now weighs in at 8.1 kg and has grown a whopping 6 cm in height. She squeals with excitement when I go in to get her out of bed in the morning, and gives me big snuggles when I lift her up. She loves me to read her favourite books to her whilst she sits on my lap, and waves her tiny hands in the air above her head when we sing 'Twinkle Twinkle'. She adores her jie jie and ge ge, gives her Daddy big kisses, and seems very happy to have me as her mum. It has been quite a journey for all of us so far, but for none more so than our sweet Alice. She has undergone so many changes in her short life, yet seems to be happy, content and full of love to share with us, her forever family. I am just so full of admiration for this spunky little person - my sweet, vibrant and spicy Chinese daughter.

Monday, February 11

Sunny Monday

Well, it's Monday morning and I am feeling surprisingly chipper. I have, for the first time since Alice arrived home, made it out for a walk and it felt great! Our aged labrador was incredibly excited, and whiffed and wuffled her way along the bush roads for half an hour, soaking up all the exciting doggy smells. I popped Alice in the Ergo (the best baby carrier in the world!) and we had a beautiful stroll in the early morning sunshine. Mind you, we live on the side of the hill and I must admit that my lack of fitness was beginning to show on the trek home, but thankfully the trusty aged lab pulled me up the hill and I made it back home OK.

Now onto my silly eye disease - I have had two people email me in the past 24 hours who also have AZOOR!!! This is incredible, as there are so few of us about. I have emailed both of them back and it is fantastic to be able to chat with people who are experiencing the same things. Putting the word' AZOOR' on my blog has meant that it is showing up in search engines, so I imagine this is how these ladies found me. BTW - this is, strangely enough almost an exclusively female disease. Of all the people I have corresponded with over the years since my diagnosis, only one has been male. And here's another interseting AZOOR fact - the BBC did a TV series a few years back called 'Second Sight' starring the incredibly yummy Clive Owen. In this series, Owen plays a police detective who is going blind due to, you guessed it, AZOOR!!!! And to think I was a big fan of the show before I ended up getting the dratted disease. Funny things happen sometimes don't they???.....

Saturday, February 9

Tagged Twice!!!

Many apologies to OziMum for being a complete slacko and not replying to her 'tag'!! I have now been tagged by Louanne so I had better extract the digit and see what I can do! Here's the rules:
You are to link the person who sent this to you and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours. Post the rules on your blog. Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. So here's my seven strange/weird facts:

1. I have a convict in my family. Robert McBurnie was my grandmother's grandfather, and he was transported from England to Tasmania for 'harbouring a criminal'.

2. I have an incredibly rare eye disease. See my post

3. I have an Honours Degree in Classics, and my thesis was a study of the portrayal of ancient Greek sexuality in their pornographic red and black figure pottery.

4. I travelled widely as a child, taking my first O/S holiday at the age of two. I stopped travelling O/S when I was 19 and experienced a horror flight which led to an acute fear of flying.

5. My grandfather was Mayor of Devonport, the city where I was born and currently live.

6. My great-uncle opened the first nudist colony on the north-west coast of Tasmania. He later died of syphilis!!

7. I ALWAYS wanted to get a nose job. I in fact worked from the age of 14 in my parents' bakery to save up for it. By the time I had enough money I was also old enough to drive, so I decided my money would be better spent on a car. Still haven't had the nose job either....

And now these are the people I am going to tag:

1. Jen

2. Kurt and Kelly

3. Ruth

4. Nicky

5. Mark

6. Mary Mia

7. Janet

Thanks again OziMum and Louanne - not sure how weird or interesting my seven facts are, but I hope you will enjoy them!

Friday, February 8

Xin Nian Kuai Le!!!

Or Happy New Year for those non-Mandarin speakers (like myself) out there! Admittedly, I am a day late, as the Year of the Rat started yesterday, but I wanted to wish all my very special cyber-pals a very happy New Year. I have moved on from the doom and gloom of my last post (Suzie Sunshine is back OziMUm!!) and after having a few days throwing a great big pity party for myself have decided to get on with life and not brood about 'maybes'. I will be peppering my opthomologist with questions when I see him on the 20th, hopeful that he may be able to shed a bit more light on this stupid disease. If not - well, I can see today and that's all that matters.

I have just had a very exciting time GETTING ORGANIZED. Those who know me personally will know that I am a big fan of GETTING ORGANIZED (read: obsessive compulsive!) I received in the mail today a huge order of Asian-themed scrapbooking supplies from my lovely cyber-pal in Queensland, Shell. I have joined the China Life Book Yahoo group, and my project for this year is to produce a fantastic lifebook for Alice. So now I have all the supplies in the one box, I have oodles of ideas and just need to make the time to start!!

Back to CNY - we had a great lunch yesterday. A group of about 20 of us, including eight girls from China, headed out to the local Chinese restaurant for a celebration of all things Rat. Luckily it wasn't on the menu, and the food was great. Conversation was easy, the company fabulous and all the girls seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. The only thing to spoil the day was two cranky old people sitting at a table nearby who shot daggers at us the whole time. Perhaps they thought we had stolen the children?? Anyway, we had a great time and it was lovely to catch up with two of Alice's batch buddies again.

I must sign off for now as I can hear Alice stirring - an HOUR too early!!! Enjoy the pic of Miss A in her CNY finery. Note she is wearing her 'not another stinkin' photo' look....

PS - big hugs going out to all my beautiful friends who have left such kind messages for me. Thank you all for your unconditional love, support and prayers. I feel truly blessed to know so many wonderful people. xxx

Tuesday, February 5

A Bad Few Days

Now I don't want to be a Debbie Downer for all my Loyal Readers, but I just wanted to give you a little bit of an update, and to explain my recent absence. Aside from the mad rush of covering schoolbooks, locating uniforms, buying regulation school socks and the like, I have been having a pretty stressful week. For those of you who don't know me personally (and even some of you who do!) you may not know that I have a rather rare disease. So rare in fact, that there are probably only about 200 or so cases documented in the world. The disease is called acute zonal occult outer retinopathy (or AZOOR for short) and it affects the retinal receptor cells of the eyes. To cut along and rather boring story short, I began having problems with my vision about six years ago. Basically, I developed a large blind spot in the peripherary of my right eye, and suffered from flashing, strobing lights in the same eye. I went to ther optometrist, cheerfully expecting him to say 'Oh yes, that's xxx and here's how we fix it!!' Little was I to know that my journey with AZOOR was just beginning. After many, many months of fruitless tests, examinations, scans, and lots of things ending with 'gram', I stuumbled upon a retinal specialist from Melbourne who had just happened to be reading a medical journal a few days before he saw me with a case study in it identical to the problems I was having. That was when I finally got my diagnosis. I was just so pleased that this problem finally had a name (and wasn't a brain tumor, as I had been told it may have been) that I could have kissed him. Then I naturally asked how it could be fixed. His reply was rather negative - 'it can't be'. So I got onto the Web and did my own reseacrch. There is very little out there about AZOOR as it is so bloody rare, but what info I did find was a little disheartening. Some people recovered, some stabilised and in others, the disease progressed until they were virtually blind. You can read a little about AZOOR here.
For the next 5 years (it took a year to be diagnosed) my vision stayed pretty much the same - a bad blind spot in the right eye which caused me to do dumb stuff like walk into walls, but otherwise not too troublesome. But this past week, I noticed a blind spot in my left eye, and a worsening in the severity of the blind spot in the right eye. Basically, this means that the disease is not resolving (this usually happens in 1-3 years after diagnosis) and once you get AZOOR in both eyes, the prognosis is dim, no pun intended. So, I am now living with the knowledge that I could wake up one morning and not be able to see. This is, as you would imagine, doing my head in a bit. Do you remember when you were a kid and you asked each other the question, 'would you rather go blind or deaf??' I ALWAYS said deaf, as I couldn't imagine life without the gift of sight. Now I am facing the reality of losing that gift and it is tearing me up. For those of you so inclined, please say a prayer that I will recover. I have an appointment with the opthomologist next week, but expect no joy there as the last time he saw me he said there was nothing he could do and to come back only if I noticed things getting worse. Thanks for listening to my whinge - must go and pull my socks up and stop the pity party. Catch you again soon xxx

Saturday, February 2

Praise God!!! WE WON!!!!!!!!

Love Without Boundaries won the facebook challenge!! Yeeeehaaaaahhhhhh! Because of the generosity of over 5000 people, ten children waiting in China for life-saving operations will now get a chance at life. What briliant news to wake up to on a cloudy Saturday morning!!! Thanks to all those who donated - you have just saved lives.

Friday, February 1

Love Without Boundaries NEEDS YOUR HELP!!!!!!

What would you give to help save a child's life?? The cost of a coffee and a slice of cake? About half what you would pay to go to the movies? This is all it will set you back to help save the lives of ten Chinese orphans. How??? By donating to the Love Without Boundaries Facebook Cause. Here's how it works - for the past month, LWB has been competing with other causes to raise funds. Every day, the Cause which has the most individual donors wins the $1000 daily prize. Today is the last day of the Challenge and the winner of today's donations will recieve $50,000. LWB will use this money to provide despaerately needed heart operations for ten babies in Chinese orphanages. How do you help? It is dead easy. Just click this link and follow the instructions. Your donation is done securely, and for the cost of giving up a small daily pleasure in YOUR life, you will help to save the life of an innocent. Hurry though - there are only 22 hours left, and the Tibetan Freedom Casue is currently in the lead. Remember - it's not how much you doante ($10 is great) but HOW MANY individual donors LWB receives. So pass this on to your freinds and get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with helping someone else out.