the homepage of gregory and ann kline

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Just Another Post

I have been saving up lots of ideas of happy things I could post about but right now I am all out of happy thoughts. Mostly I think about William and how he isn't home and everyday seems like an eternity. I used to think that each day was one day closer to bringing us home. Now it just seems that each day gives us one more chance to accumulate yet another reason that the finale of this process will be delayed.

So, what do we know? Not a damn thing. Seriously, if anyone out there knows a single thing about my little boy, please fill me in. It is becoming apparent that our agency is not capable of doing this so it is worth a shot to locate someone who can. We haven't heard a single thing about William through our agency since July 3. We did hear about the PA, but that was from the US Embassy themselves. Last week I emailed our agency in an attempt to find out something and the only thing I heard was that we should hear something soon and hopefully we will find out if our PA had been picked up. IT BETTER HAVE BEEN PICKED UP!! The thing has been ready for a week now. I could have been down there and picked the thing up and submitted our case back into PGN days ago. The people that we have given our life savings to (along with going into debt for) better get off their butts and do something. For all we know, our PA could have been picked up the same day it was issued and our file could have been submitted to PGN that same day too, but how would I know because our agency is like some secret society and I most certainly do not know the secret knock.

I just found out a few minutes ago from guatadopt, a very trustworthy site, that it is looking as if there is going to be a requirement for a second DNA test to be done starting on August 1, which is tomorrow. This DNA test will be done sometime between when the pink slip is issued and when the parents travel. This is supposed to be a good thing, ensuring even further that there is no foul play involved with the adoption process. I only see one more thing for our agency to lie to us about (recall how our agency lied to us about when our original DNA test was done) and one more thing to delay William coming home to us forever.

In an attempt to end this blog entry in a not completely pissed off mood, here are a few things that hopefully I will have the strength to smile about again soon:

- Marcus loves Baby Einstein suddenly. He really has no interest in TV but we were looking for something different to do so I set up his chair right in front of the TV, put in Baby Einstein, and plopped him down. He was comatose for 15 minutes straight, so relaxed that he actually fell out of the chair twice!

- Marcus is slowly learning to walk, finally. He can take about 2 steps all alone. Twice he made it up to about 5-6 steps. He won't perform his talent though unless we trick him into it by making him think that we are actually holding him up but in reality we had let go.

- Marcus loves to slide. I'm not talking about those wee little baby slides. I'm talking about big kid slides. We went to North Park over the weekend and he was climbing and crawling and scooting all over the playground. I was nervous but he showed no fear tackling the slides all on his own. Then he insisted on climbing back up them. His favorite slide was the really long tube slide. He would scream the whole way down to hear himself echo.

- Our cookbook is still for sale!! Don't forget to pick up a copy or 12. (Really, a friend of mine bought 12! She said she is done Christmas shopping now!) We have to sell 200 in order to make it worth it. We have a long way to go. Please share the link to our webpage with all your friends, family, and coworkers. If anyone has any suggestions on how to get the word out about our cookbook and the wonderful little boy that the orders will benefit, please let me know! Order your cookbook by clicking here.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Cookbook for Sale!!

We are proud to announce that finally our cookbook is ready! I am quite impressed with the outcome. I never expected so many of our friends and family to submit so many delicious recipes. I must confess, during the course of production I tried out several of the submissions on my family and all I can say is, "Mmmm!"

There are over 340 recipes starting at breakfast and taking you through after dinner snacks and desserts. The book includes a full color cover, cooking tips, and a full index to make finding recipes easy. Pick one up for yourself and don't forget your friends and family. (Christmas isn't too far away!)

Last day of orders will be on August 17th. The printer needs some time to fill orders so it will likely be October when the books will be available. You can make arrangements to pick your book up from me or I can ship the book to you for a small fee.

To order you cookbook(s) simply follow the link below. You can pay via PayPal. If you aren't comfortable with this option please contact me at anniemwk6@hotmail so we can make other arrangements. Also, you will need to email me if you need the special discount code if you have submitted a recipe.


Remember, all proceeds from this sale go towards bringing this little boy home to be with his forever family!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

All About William

As I mentioned, we got our pre-approval!! I was expecting to have to wait a couple more weeks for this so I was ecstatic. I was visiting an office for work when I checked my email and there it was. I think I frightened some people because I jumped up and ran out the door. I had to get my cell phone that was in my car so I could call Greg and let him know. We are still waiting to hear if our file has found its way back into PGN at this point. It better have!

Over the weekend Greg, Marcus, and I went shopping for some things for William. Marcus and I are going to drop them off today at a fellow adopter's house so he can take them to Guatemala when he goes at the end of the week. I took some pictures so show off everything we got.

I just couldn't resist that cute puppy sweater.

I just hope he is able to get some wear out of it. I realize that it is cultural that they bundle up their kids, but still, a sweater? I guess we will see. Yes, those are disposable cameras in there. I can't resist the opportunity to get more photos of my little guy!

You have got to take a closer look at this shirt. Isn't that awesome??

Last night I sat down and wrote William a letter. I have been trying to figure out what to write in that letter for about a week now. Every time I start thinking about it, I tear up because what I really want to be doing is holding him, not writing him a letter. I considered posting the letter I finally composed but decided that it is between me and William. I miss that boy so much!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

So little time...

So little time and so much to say. I'll just stick to one little sentence though.


(Woohoo doesn't count as a second sentence, does it?)


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Zoo Again!

We were going to go camping this weekend but decided not to. We did decide that we would do something fun together as a family though. At 10:15 Greg said we should go to the zoo. At 10:35 we were on our way! Yeah, I probably smelled as bad as some of the zoo animals since I didn't shower, but we don't mess around. We go!

There is a new exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo that none of had seen yet. Marcus and I went to the zoo twice already in the spring but this was the first time we went as a family. Going to the zoo on a weekday in the spring is so much nicer than going on a weekend in the summer. Everyone was there. There were a few things we didn't even bother to see because of the crowd. One nice thing though was the amount of staff around giving information on the animals. I talked to one man about the elephants (my favorite!) and he told me all about the two pregnant girls. I wish I would have thought of it at the time but I wonder how they know those elephants are pregnant early on. Do they make them pee on a stick? Do they use those digital tests or those old fashioned ones where you have to see the lines show up?

The new exhibit had potential to be cool. It is sorta an underwater tunnel where you can see the polar bears, sea otters, and sea lions swimming from underneath. The polar bears weren't swimming since they hardly ever swim. The water was a bit cloudy so it was hard to see the sea otters and sea lions. Greg and I decided that we were going to skip the aquarium to see the new exhibit since the new exhibit closed early and then we were going to circle back to the aquarium. Apparently that is not allowed. Everyone was forced to enter the aquarium and from there forced into the new exhibit and prohibited to move in a backwards direction. We decided that if we wanted to see polar bears before we saw penguins, we should have that right. So we headed off down a road that said, "Do not enter. Staff only." No one stopped us and we were happy.

I was impressed at how long Marcus made it before he fell asleep. The last two times he slept through the aquarium. This time he made it all the way to the llamas at the very end. He took a little rest when he came home but really didn't get much of a nap at all. We decided to risk it and head to Red Lobster for dinner. We rarely eat out so this was quite a treat. Marcus behaved very well. Then he fell asleep on the way home. I decided to put him to bed as soon as we got here, which was around 6:15. I am just hoping that he is tired enough to sleep at least until 6 tomorrow morning.

In other good news!!

1) Someone that we know who travels back and forth to Guatemala frequently is making another trip soon. He said that he would take a package down for us on his next trip, which is coming up soon. We have really been missing William a lot. This is the perfect opportunity! Tomorrow we are going to head to the store to find a few things for William. I can't wait. I am going to write him a letter as well.

2) In even better news, the above person brought us back the disposable cameras that we had given the foster family. We got to see lots of great pictures of William with his very loving foster family. There are even pictures of a park that they go to with him in a very scary looking swing. I am too lazy right now to add any of those pictures to this entry but you can see them all by clicking here. (We felt the need to edit out some of the naked pictures because they were just a bit too revealing. Those are pictures we will save for about 15 years and then pull out to mortify William. That is just the kind of parents we are!)

3) A fellow adopter Jennifer just sent us an update on their case. I am so happy to hear that they finally got their PA and will be submitted back into PGN ASAP!! Thank goodness because everyone is ready for Karla to come home. I am also excited about this for completely selfish reasons too. Jennifer and her husband Jason got their DNA results about 2 weeks before we got ours. This means that we are about 2 weeks behind them in getting our PA. Woohoo!! That thing can't get issued fast enough! We are ready to get back into PGN too!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blah blah blah

That is what I apparently sound like when I am on the phone. Yesterday Marcus was trying really hard to steal my cell phone. I found an old phone of mine and let him have that one instead. He knew just what to do, I supposed from observing me doing it multiple times. He took the phone, flipped it open, held it up to his ear (although he had the back of the phone to his ear), and said "Blah blah blah!" Maybe it is just because I am his mom and all, but I thought it was the cutest thing. I also thought it was just great that he knew to hold it up to his ear and talk, without us prompting him on what to do with a cell phone.

In other news, I am having a bad adoption day. This waiting thing really really sucks. William is now 2 days shy of being 7 months old. When Marcus was two days shy of being 7 months old Greg and I were with him at the US Embassy in Guatemala getting our final stamp of approval to say that he was our son. I feel like we have forever to wait until we get to that point with William. I checked out airfare on a whim and it looks like if I left on Friday and came back Monday, it would cost just over $500. So, who wants to buy me a plane ticket? Our case worker claims that we should get an update on our case this week but that typically means that we could hear something anytime between now and mid-August. It doesn't help that I already know our update will be that we are still waiting for pre-approval and there is not a darn thing we can do until we get it and no one knows when that would be.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pretend Camping

We were hoping to take Marcus on his first camping trip this weekend. Long story short, we didn't go. We did have quite an exciting weekend though.

Don't worry, no one really died. We started off the weekend after work on Friday by spending some time on the driveway. Marcus seemed to have mastered his walking push toy overnight and we were getting tired of doing laps inside the house. It was a beautiful evening so we headed out to do laps on the driveway.

We took some chalk with us as well. Marcus insisted on holding on to at least one piece of chalk while he was pushing his toy and would often randomly stop, sit down, and draw. He drew some really nice pictures!

The weather was beautiful and we were sad that we weren't camping. We decided to pretend camp. We set up our tent in our backyard and played outside all evening.

I wasn't sure how Marcus would sleep that night, figuring it would be strange for him to fall asleep alone in a tent while in his pack 'n play. I laid him down, told him that Daddy and I would be right outside, and we didn't hear a peep from him until 7:00 the next morning. Greg and I spent the evening on the patio playing cards, which is an activity that we often partake in while we are for real camping.

We continued our pretend camping trip on Saturday by taking a trip to Coopers Rock, WV. Coopers Rock is one of my favorite places. I spent a lot of time there in high school. It was just a quick trip from my college campus and I went there often throughout college to go hiking or just watch the sun set. I strapped Marcus on my back when we arrived and we headed to the overlook to get a view of the incredible sight.

Then it was time for a quick picnic lunch under some big trees. We needed to be well-nourished before our big hike!

I just love Coopers Rock so much. It is such a beautiful place and every time I am there I discover something new. It is on top of a mountain with rhododendron everywhere. They aren't like the rhododendron that I have out in my front yard. These ones are huge and more like trees than little decorative shrubs. The place is so rocky as well, with huge boulders everywhere. Sometimes you are hiking along a wooded trail and suddenly there is a big rock ahead of you, jutting out from the ground. There are a few caves in the area but I only remember where one of them is and we weren't hiking near it.

We decided to head into Rock City. We just walked at first, not really paying attention to any particular trail, just exploring around some of the big boulders. I didn't do as much exploring as I might have had I not been carrying Marcus on my back. We connected with a real trail eventually and headed into a forest of rhododendron. It was so thick that only small specs of light made their way through.

We kept hiking and found ourselves deep within the rocks. On both sides of us rocks climbed up about 25 feet. The path was narrow and it was very cool.

There were a few places we probably could have veered off the trail to do some exploring but we decided to stick to the trail, letting Peyote lead the way. She used to by my sole hiking partner but now our clan has grown and she was just as excited as I was to get to share Coopers Rock with the rest of the family. The trail suddenly turned upward. We scampered up some rocks and suddenly we were in a different world. Now instead of being surrounded by rocks on either side, we were above the rocks. We had to be careful where we stepped because what looked like solid ground would suddenly stop and we could see down between the rocks to more paths below us. We headed out of Rock City and followed a trail through some woods. We circled back and started going back where we came from. Marcus thought about taking some rhododendron home with him and carried a piece a good bit of the way, but ultimately decided to leave it behind.

I couldn't believe I was able to carry Marcus most of the way. We did stop to take a little break on the way back.

The last leg of the hike was uphill and I just didn't think I could make it. Greg took over and got Marcus back to the parking lot, with Peyote dragging me the rest of the way.

Marcus slept the whole way home and I caught myself nodding off once as well. When we got back, I stepped up to the stove and made Guatemalan Beef with Tomato Pepper Sauce, a recipe that will be in our fundraiser cookbook that I should start taking orders for soon. I was starving! The food took awhile to cook but it was well worth the wait. Yummy!

We headed out to do a few more laps on the driveway before Marcus was ready for a bath and ready to go back into the tent for yet another night of pretend camping. Greg and I played some more cards and I was asleep before my head ever hit the air mattress. (Yes, we have an air mattress. My days of hardcore camping with my head in a pile of leaves are long gone.)

Usually Marcus sleeps in a bit on the weekends. Not today. It must have been all those lovely city birds singing this morning but when I opened my eyes at 6 am, he was sitting in his pack 'n play, staring me down. It made for a very long day. After lunch Greg and Marcus were both able to get in a 4 1/2 hour nap. I headed out with a friend to get fabric to finish William's blanket and to get some fabric so I can make a Mayan Sling/Wrap that my friend wants to give to a friend of hers.

Marcus is snoring away already. It isn't quite 8:00. I am so ready for bed! Pretend camping is exhausting!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

(Soon to be) American Baby


Monday, July 09, 2007

Bad Boy

I don't have a job. I am one of about 25,000 people in Pennsylvania who didn't have a job today thanks to our elected officials not being able to come to an agreement on a budget. I was rather excited about getting a day or however long off at first. Then Marcus decided to go insane this morning. He exercised his lungs all morning long by screaming as much as possible while eating breakfast, while shopping at Target, while grocery shopping, and while eating lunch. We had made plans for Cara and Max to come over to play and I had to threaten him at least ten times that I was going to call Max and tell him he couldn't come over because Marcus was being a bad boy.

Max did come over though. We had a great afternoon, despite both boys being sleep deprived. They played a little and then we all hit the pool. It was very hot outside today and a great day for swimming. After a swim we had some snacks and played a little more before Max headed home. I am sure Max took another nap and I put Marcus down for another nap as well.

Even though Marcus was behaving much better the rest of the day, he was still quite the bad boy. Check him out.

Check out the flames on his shorts and those cool shades. That is one sweet ride he has as well. I don't remember where we got the "motorcycle". The flaming shorts (actually they are swim trunks) were a gift from Grandma and the sunglasses were a gift from Uncle Willie. Uncle Willie got Marcus the shades before Marcus even came home. I put them on him this afternoon and showed him how cool he looked in the mirror. He knew it. He wouldn't stop smiling and wouldn't take off his awesome shades.

P.S. Greg thought the title of this entry should be "Adopted to be Wild". Let's just say I didn't marry the guy for his great ideas.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

William Update!

We got an update earlier this week on William!! Not only did we hear about our case, but we also got a medical update along with the cutest pictures, like this one:

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Isn't that just the cutest little outfit he has on? Of course it is because we gave it to him. We left several things with the foster family when William had to stay in Guatemala and we had to head home. Our foster family is just so wonderful, very considerate, and is always dressing him in clothing that we have given them when William has his monthly photo sessions and his rare video appearances.

We are still waiting for the US Embassy to issue our Pre-Approval. There is absolutely nothing that we can do but sit and wait for this to happen. It is sooooo aggravating. Can't they just get this taken care of so our case can do SOMETHING??

According to our medical report, William saw a dermatologist. We spoke to his foster mom while we were in Guatemala and also to someone that works for our agency in Guatemala about getting him in to see a specialist about the marks on his face. His pediatrician suspected that they were mosquito bites that he had an allergic reaction to and they were just not going away. According to the note on our medical report concerning William's visit to the dermatologist, these are indeed mosquito bites.

I guess that is about all for now. Waiting just isn't any fun.


First Fourth

Marcus celebrated his first 4th of July. Every year the neighborhood where I grew up throws a block party. My sister and I were talking yesterday and decided that this year was the either the 34th or 35th block party. I grew up in a unique neighborhood but of course, I didn’t know it at the time. The houses in my neighborhood were built in the early 1970’s and many of the people who built their homes still live there. Several of these people have known each other since they were children. My parents went to grade school with a few of their neighbors. Not only do the people in my old neighborhood throw a block party every year, they also all go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day and up until recently, celebrated New Year’s Eve together. All the kids in the neighborhood (that’s me) ran from one house to another and we were all great friends. Once I remember falling and scraping my elbow a few houses down from home. A neighbor saw it happen and took me into her house, cleaned me up, put on a bandage, and sent me off to find the rest of the kids. As I started to get older I was quite befuddled that other people didn’t have block parties, or even know their neighbors! When I got married, about a quarter of the guest list was filled by my neighbors.

The block party has changed forms over the years. For quite awhile it was held on Labor Day. About 15 years ago it was changed to the 4th of July because less people had conflicts and we always ended up getting together on the 4th anyway to watch fireworks. The very early parties, the ones before my time, had games for the kids and bicycle decorating contests. The early parties that I remember mostly consisted of us playing the annual parents vs. kids volleyball game (a tradition that ended after the parents started getting rather brittle and one parent slipped on the grass and broke his ankle). One of the big highlights of the block party was that once it got dark we would all have a massive game of Jail Break. The parties have always been held at the same place. They have always involved lawn chairs, hanging out in our neighbor’s garage and yard, and good food. The parties have always been BOYM (bring your own meat) and there have always been long lines at the grills for people cooking their burgers and hot dogs. My family always avoided the lines at the grills by bringing a bucket of KFC.

The biggest change throughout the years has been our age. A few years ago we all sat around and stared at each other. There were no kids anymore running around. There were no games or contests and not even a mention of Jail Break. Then something changed. All of us kids started having kids. Even though most of us have moved off the street, we all come back with our families for the block party. There must have been 25 kids at the picnic all under the age of 8. This is the first year in a really long time that there were lots of organized activities for the kids. There was a sack race and a game involving water balloons and pin-the-eye-patch-on-the pirate and bean bag toss. There were several Power Wheels type toys that all the kids seemed to share quite nicely. We can’t forget the temporary tattoos! There was a whole station set up for getting tattoos and by the end of the evening, most of the kids and the adults were covered from head to toe.

There was also lots of confusion on my part as to which kids belonged to the kids that I grew up with. Oh, there was lots of good food, long lines at the grill, and my family with a big bucket of KFC.

Marcus had a great time. He played on the slide, climbing up with a little assistance and going down all by himself. He had a great time playing with his cousins Maria and Scott and just laughed and laughed. Maria took him for a ride in the electric powered Jeep that was roaming the property. He took a break and hogged the kid’s swing that hung from a tree for quite awhile. He ate Jell-O squares and fruit salad and, of course, KFC. He drank Hug drinks. He got a tattoo on his arm. By the end of the evening, he sat like a lump in my arms exhausted.

I was just so happy that he was there. The block party the last few years just hasn’t been much fun for me. Two years ago we were struggling to get pregnant. I watched all those other kids running around and thought that I would never be there with my own child. Last year, everyone was trying to be cute, saying that next year (which was this year) I would be running around after my child. That just made me sad because last year I kept thinking that Marcus should have been home then and I shouldn’t have to wait until this year. So finally, it was this year. Finally, Marcus was there. Finally, I wasn’t one of the only kids at the block party who wasn’t there with my own kid.

Things were winding down at the party last night and I was sitting around with my mom, sister, and brother in law. We were starting to get board. It quickly became evident that we weren’t the only ones. We looked at the table beside us, filled with some of the men of the neighborhood, and saw that one of them had brought out there shiny new leaf blower to show off. Several of the older men took a turn trying to get it started and finally a younger guy stepped in and got it going. Then all the older kids lined up to get shot with bursts of air. My brother in law said all we needed to make that party complete was for my dad to go get his tractor!


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Family Fun Day

Today we had some of the family over for a cook out. We got Marcus off to his afternoon nap early so he would be well rested and awake when the guests got here. The guests were here for 45 minutes and he was still sleeping so I had to be the mean mommy and wake him up.

Marcus had a blast playing with his five year old cousin Scott. They played dinosaurs and played on the slide. Scott made Marcus laugh all afternoon. Later in the day they were playing cars together as well.

We had some yummy food and they I put the guests to work.

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We worked on decorations to put in William's room. (Actually, it will be William and Marcus's room since they will be sharing, eventually.) I had everyone paint a letter of William's name on a 5x7 piece of paper. I am going to frame them and hang it in the boys' room. The pictures aren't framed yet but for now it looks like this:

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After the work was done, I let everyone play. We took a dip in the pool, which was far colder than it was early in the summer. When Scott's lips started turning blue and his teeth started chattering we all decided it was time to get out. We all chatted some more and then watched some of the video from our trip to meet William in Guatemala. All too soon it was time for everyone to head out the door. All in all, it was a great day!

Just out of curiosity, I gave Marcus a fork with his lunch. He tried really hard to get food to stick on it with little success. I loaded up his fork for him and he knew just what to do. Then he would promptly hand the fork back to me for a reload. I think I started something bad! I was so excited when I didn't have to feed him every bite of his meal and he could do it himself with his fingers. Now it looks like I am going to have to start loading up his fork for every bite!

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(Yes, that is broccoli in his mouth. My boy likes his veggies!)

Now my nose is all itchy and running. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is just allergies because I really don't think I could handle another cold.