Saturday, May 31, 2008

Delfest May 2008

Massanutten Waterpark May 2008

Old School Keller Dance Party

We have been searching for this video on the home computer forever, and finally found it again tonight. This is from spring 2007, but is definitely worth pulling from the vault.
video

Videos

I finally had a chance to sit down and upload some recent videos to our blog, and also posted a longer update on what the Huffman Crew has been up to. Enjoy!

Casey's cute little speech

Casey has quite a few "Casey-isms". He brought in the periscope and telescope from the playset and told me he had a 'calculator' and a 'lookin' scope.' Then he proceeded to give them a variety of other names. Pretty cute to see his language developing.
video

Dinosaurland

At the tail end of a day on Skyline Drive, we went to a place called Dinosaurland. We pulled up and found a rundown, rather sad little park that was probably pretty cool twenty years ago. The kids loved it though, and the gift shop was awesome--every dinosaur item known to man!!
video

Keller shows off some funky dance moves

Here's Keller breaking it down for Grammy & Aunt Lel
video

Keller hulahooping at DelFest part 1

Keller learned to hulahoop at DelFest!

video

Moving right along . . . .

Our paperchase is moving along pretty quickly now. I walked some paperwork through one of the authentication offices in DC on Wednesday morning, then sent it off to the Chinese Embassy on Friday for the final necessary seals. When those are returned to us, we can send our entire dossier (minus the immigration approval) to our agency for it to be reviewed and prepared for submission to China. I had my fingerprints re-done at the immigration office on May 15th (thankfully the coordinator took pity on me and moved my reprint date up from the 22nd) and so far, we haven't heard anything. The last time, we got the notice about my unreadable prints one week after the prints were done. It has been over 2 weeks since the second appointment, so at this point, no news is good news. Hopefully we will receive our approval in about 5-7 weeks, and then everything will be done on the US side. Once our dossier arrives in China, we have been told to expect to travel in about 4-5 months. My mom will be travelling with me for the entire 10-12 day journey, and we are still hoping to find a way that Dave will be allowed to come for the first portion of the trip and then leave to be at home with the boys. We aren't sure yet whether the Chinese and US governments will allow it. Many families have done this type of arrangement in the past, but we have heard that it is becoming more difficult in some provinces. My mom has not flown much and has not travelled out of the country, so this will be really exciting for her. She will be there to meet her first granddaughter, and will get to see a part of the world that many others never will. I might have to give her the "Mr. T Treatment" (remember the A-Team?) on the long flights, but we'll survive!

We got an update on Marley last week, although no pictures this time : ( We know that she now says a few words, including the Mandarin words for "auntie", "grandmother", and "mother". These are the names by which the nannies in the orphanage are called by the children. She likes to play with dolls and is apparently a pretty good eater. We will ask for another update in a month, and hope to get some new pictures with it.

The boys are doing great and are just about to finish preschool for the summer. Keller will have an official graduation ceremony from his Pre-K class, sniff, sniff. Can't believe my baby will be a kindergartener in the fall. He has learned and grown so much this year in school. He has a really strong academic base to start kindergarten (which, on a side note, I can't believe that it is even necessary to have an academic base for kindergarten these days--I swear when I started kindergarten all I had to do was draw a stick figure, count to 10, and be potty-trained!). He can spell some simple words, read some sight words, do basic addition, knows more about biology and science than I do, and has grown and matured in the realm of social interactions. Although he still has a very deep well of energy to keep him going, he has it under control. . . for the most part! Casey will finish his first year of preschool next week and is going to be going to summer camp for a week at his school this year. It's a big step--staying away for 4 hours/day including lunch--but he's super excited about it. Casey has learned a lot at school this year, too and most importantly, he absolutely loves going. It has always been a priority to Dave and I that our kids have really positive experiences with their earliest school years, and I really think they've both had that at their school.

Last weekend we took the boys camping at a bluegrass festival in Maryland. It was an excellent weekend with great weather, great music, and great people. Keller & Casey made some friends as soon as we pulled in with the pop-up and I'm sure we'll be seeing them around at concerts and on some hikes this summer. The pool is open and we've enjoyed three trips so far this week. Warm weather, sunny skies, but freezing cold water!

Dave and I are training for a triathlon which will be on September 7th. It will be my first one, and Dave's first since his back surgery last year. Our good friends Amy & Chris will be doing it with us, as well as our neighbor/friend Lynn. My foot has almost completely recovered, but I'm still a bit ginger in the running department.

Our summer plans include a romantic weekend away in June (if Dave mentions where we're going to anyone, I'll give you $5 to call and tell me!); a trip to NC to visit Grandma Nancy & Big Old Bob; camping at Lake Anna with the Rigbys; a long weekend at the beach with Papa Jerry, Uncle Jim, and the Cators; a trip to PA to visit Grammy, Poppy, and to go to Grandma Dot & Pappy George's 60th anniversary party; a visit to the Bartos in PA; and a few other short jonts here and there with the camper in tow.

Come on down/up/over for a visit sometime soon!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Immigration delay, ugh.

I got a letter in the mail today saying that my fingerprints, which were taken on May 1st, came back as 'unclassifiable.' I need to go be re-printed, and the appointment they gave me is not until May 22nd. So, rather than being 1 week into the 7-9 week wait for our final piece of paperwork, we are 2 weeks away from even starting the countdown. The immigration clearance is the last document that we need to include in our dossier before it can be sent off to China. This setback will most likely mean a 3-week difference in how soon we can travel to bring Marley home.

So, so, so disappointing. She turned 15 months old on Tuesday, which means another month of her life has passed without us being there to see her grow and change.

I am trying to keep a positive outlook about it as best as I can. We were lucky to have received our Pre-Approval to adopt her in such a short time (2 weeks versus the 4+ we had been expecting). Our local immigration office typically takes 9 weeks to process applications, but has been completing them in closer to 7 1/2 weeks. With those shortened time frames, it makes up for the three 'extra' weeks we'll have to wait for our immigration clearance, right? Yeah, well, I'm trying to convince myself of that.