Archive for July, 2012


One year ago we were very busy getting ready for our trip to China to meet Xander.  This week last year we got our final update and pictures of Xander.  It was so exciting to see those pictures and we could not wait to actually meet him and get to hold him.  Along with the pictures we learned he was 32.8 inches tall, weighed 22.5 pounds, and he was wearing a size 5 1/2 size shoe.  Take a look at what our boy looked like a year ago.

A year later and Xander has grown a lot in so many ways!  He is now 37 3/4 inches tall, weighs 28 lbs, and is wearing a size 9 shoe!  He is so much stronger now than he was a year ago.  Take a look at our boy today.

Our sweet boy!

I'm so big!

Love that smile :)

Corn Roast

This past weekend we went up to Houston Woods for the afternoon to join Aunt Ree at Corn Roast.  Aunt Ree was camping for the weekend with her horse and pony along with several other members of the Horsemen’s Club.  Ariel loves the Corn Roast and has been going for years.  This was Xander’s first time going and his first time seeing the pony and horse.  At first Xander was a little nervous about the pony but soon he just couldn’t wait to ride.  It was a really fun afternoon and evening of riding and hanging out.

Xander meets the pony.

Hi pony!

Aunt Ree & Ariel

Ariel is ready to ride.

Xander is up and ready to go too!

Off they go down the road in the campground.

Ariel fell in love with 2 furry friends.

A make shift swimming pool.

Ariel and Aunt Ree singing.

A little Mama & Xander love :)

Our tree huger.

Xander & Baba hanging out.

Baba pulls the boys in the pony cart.

Xander and I get a ride in the cart with the pony.

Summer Vacation Part 3- Jacksonville, FL

For the final part of our trip we went up to Jacksonville, FL to visit with Rob, Michelle, Alex, and Andrew Tibbits.  We had a great visit with them and it was so nice to see the boys play together.  Xander thought their house was awesome because it was filled with trains, monorails, cars, and trucks… all the things he LOVES.

Xander, Alex, and Andrew playing with the trains.

Time to brush your teeth!

Our 1st full day with them we went to the beach; Ariel and Megan joined us.  It was a beautiful day and we all had fun in the sand.  Patrick, Ariel, and Megan built a mighty sandcastle before Xander came in and destroyed it.

Alex, Andrew, Xander playing in the sand.

Ariel and Megan start their sandcastle.

The final work of art.

Here comes Xander...

That night we all went out for seafood.  Ariel got her snow crab legs and she was happy :)  On the way home from dinner Xander helped Baba pump gas for the 1st time.

Crab legs, yum!

Andrew, Michelle, and Alex at dinner

Xander tries to feed Baba some crab leg but he doesn't like it.

Xander getting the pump.

Baba and Xander fill the car with gas.

The next day we went to downtown Jacksonville to visit the new Court House where Rob works.  After that we went down by the river to play and see if any trains might come by.  Then it was off for a ride on the monorail that goes through downtown Jacksonville; the boys all love riding the monorail.

The only way we could get a picture of all 3 boys by the river.

Xander and Alex

Michelle and Alex on the monorail.

Rob enjoying the ride.

That night on our way to dinner our rental car was involved in a hit and run :(  We were stopped at a red light and we were hit from behind.  We were all fine and the guy who hit us at 1st did get out and talk with us.  However, when he saw that Xander was crying and that Patrick was calling 911 he (very slowly) drove away.  He was kind enough to leave slow enough so we all could get a great look at his licence plate number.  So we all waited for the police and gave them as much info as we could.  There was hardly any damage to the car and when we turned it into the rental company they told us not to worry about… yay!

The minor damage to the car :(

The other side of the bumper.

The next morning we were up at 4:40 am to get to the airport and we flew home.  Check out our final picture of the trip…  Xander at the airport that last morning.

Disney Day 4- Animal Kingdom

This was our last day at Disney and we went to the Animal Kingdom.  We started our day with breakfast at the Tusker House Restaurant where you guessed it… there were Characters to see :)  After breakfast we headed right over to the safari ride and saw lots of animals.  Most of us loved seeing the animals; Xander was just impressed with the huge vehicle we were driving in.  It was REALLY hot today and it was miserable walking around the park.   Xander spent a lot of time enjoying the playground in the Dinosaur area of the park.  We ended up leaving at lunch time to go back to the hotel to rest.  But not before stopping by the Animal Kingdom Lodge where Grandma/pa Mccoy, Ariel, and Megan were staying.

That night we went and played mini golf.  It was lots of fun and Xander’s 1st time playing.  It took a few holes for him to get the hang of it but then he did pretty good.  There was one hole where Xander illegitimately got a 3!

Heading into the park

On our way into breakfast we met Donald Duck

Xander and Mickey!

Xander says hi to Daisy Duck

Xander gives Goofy a hug

Playing in a Jeep at the playground.

Xander is driving Baba (who is in his "car seat") around in the Jeep.

Coming down the slid with Baba :)

Mama & Xander looking through the window.

Megan getting ready for her shot in mini golf

Xander looking for his ball

Ariel is ready for her shot.

Xander watching Grandma take her shot.

Ariel & Megan having fun!

Disney Day 3- Epcot

Today was Epcot day.  We started our day at Story Time.  AAA arranges for it’s members to have a private story time for their children with a Disney Character.  We didn’t know which Character would be there until they came out and it was Jasmine from Aladdin.  I’m not sure what Xander really thought of all of this but I thought it was fun and Jasmine was one of the characters that Ariel was hoping for :)  After that we went on the Nemo ride and we all liked that.  The highlight of the day for Xander was taking the big boat across the lake.  He had wanted to go on a big boat for days now and he was so excited to ride the boat.  He liked it so much we road it both ways across the lake :)

For dinner we ate at Chip N Dale’s Backyard Grill.  We all loved it!  It was a revolving restaurant and dinner was served family style.  As we ate we saw the different landscapes from the “Land” boat ride at Epcot.  And of course there were several Characters who came by to see us.

That night we ended up staying for the fire works again.  It was a great show and Xander again loved seeing the fireworks.  It was a really long day and we were all exhausted by the end of it.  Unfortunately, this was also the day that I 1st starting feeling sick.  Very quickly it turned into a nasty sinus infection that would stay with me the rest of the trip.  I didn’t feel great but I didn’t let it stop me from having fun so it all worked out well.

Jasmine reads to all the kids.

Xander and I listen to the story.

We get to say hi :)

Megan, Jasmine, and Ariel

Nemo, Xander, and Mama

Baba, Xander, Mama and the boat :)

Riding the boat :)

Dale and Xander

Xander and Pluto

Chip, Xander, and Ariel

Chip and Xander

Xander and Micky

Ariel, Micky, and Megan

Disney Day 2- Magic Kingdom

The next day we went back to the Magic Kingdom again.  Xander again had a lot of fun going on rides.  He really wanted to ride a boat and it turned out that almost every ride we went on that morning was some form of a boat.  We had lunch at the Crystal Palace with more characters.  Unfortunately almost all of the characters came to our table while we were getting our food at the buffet :(  Although, Grandma Warwick did take Xander and track down a few of the characters we missed while they were walking around the dinning room.

We spent the afternoon napping and swimming and then headed back to the park that night.  We met up with the rest of the family and went on several rides together.  Then we got a great spot right near the castle for the fireworks.  We were kinda far away to see the parade but it was a great place to see the fireworks.  Xander had so much fun and LOVED the fireworks.  We all agreed that it was one of the best firework shows we’ve ever seen :)

Xander driving an old fire engine on Main St.

Pirate Goofy, Xander, and I outside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Winnie the Poo at the Crystal Palace

Ariel and Megan with Winnie the Poo

Xander riding the Carousel.

Getting ready for the Buzz Light Year ride :)

Xander and Megan waiting for the fireworks.

Almost time for the fireworks.

Wow, they are amazing!

Xander taking it all in.

Summer Vacation Part 2- Disney World Day 1

We all headed out next to Disney World.  Grandpa/ma McCoy, Ariel, and her friend Megan went a few days ahead of us because we thought a few of the parks would not be as good for Xander.  Patrick, Xander, Grandma/pa Warwick, and I headed up to Orlando on Saturday, July 7th.  We stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort.  Xander was so excited to stay in a hotel and couldn’t wait to get there.  He loved it!  Once we were checked in we took the bus to the Magic Kingdom.  I think that would have been enough fun for Xander… he loved the bus ride :)  As soon as we got into the Magic Kingdom we saw Pluto and Xander wanted to meet him.  He waited very patiently and was so excited to say hi to Pluto. (Before going to Disney, Xander didn’t know any of the characters but he soon learned them all and loved seeing them!)  We went on several rides and Xander had so much fun.  Right away he wanted to go on the train so we did that 1st.  Then we went on the Dumbo ride which he loved.  Patrick and Xander road the cars.  I think his favorite ride was the Rocket Ships in future world.  As the ride started they call you a pilot and Xander go so excited.  He took his job of driving the rocket very seriously :)

That night we ate dinner at Chef Micky’s at the Contemporary Hotel.  We had so much fun at dinner!   Xander LOVED meeting all the characters and the food was really good.  He got so excited when each new Character came up to our table and he would give them a hug and a high five.  After dinner we went back to the hotel and went swimming.  When we got to the pool they had a camp fire going so Xander got to roast his 1st marshmallow.   He did a pretty good job and liked eating it.  It was a great 1st day at Disney.

Riding the bus to the Magic Kingdom.

Xander and Baba waiting in line to ride the cars at the Magic Kingdom.

Riding in the car!

Mini Mouse & Xander at dinner

Xander meets Goofy.

Xander and Micky Mouse

Xander, Mama, and Donald Duck

Xander & Mama roast marsh mellows by the pool.

Time to swim!

Summer Vacation Part 1- Ruskin FL

We just got back from our summer vacation in FL.  Our 1st stop this summer was Ruskin, FL to spend some time with my parents.  Patrick, Xander, and I flew to Tampa while Grandma/pa McCoy, Ariel, and her friend Megan drove and spent some time with their friends Peggy and Katie.  Xander has been looking forward to flying to FL for months now and he was so excited to fly on the plane.

Just after take off on our 1st flight of the day.

Xander eating on the plane; something he pretends to do all the time :)

On July 4th we spent the morning at the beach.  It was Xander’s 1st time at the beach and he loved it.  He was a little scared of the “waves” in the Gulf of Mexico but he loved playing in the sand.

Look at all this sand!

Grandma showing Xander how to pack the sand.

Baba and Xander working on their Sand Castle as Grandpa watches.

Then that afternoon we headed to Peggy’s house for a cookout and fire works.  We all had lots of fun catching up with old friends and eating good food.  Then we enjoyed some fireworks.  Xander LOVED them :)

The boys playing before/during dinner.

A little brother/ sister love. Xander didn't want his picture taken with Ariel :(

Then next day, Grandma and Grandpa Warwick took Patrick, Xander, and I to Dinosaur World.  It was a pretty cool place with lots of dinosaurs all over the place.  Xander wasn’t real happy when we 1st arrived but he warmed up to the experience after a little while.  At the end of our time there Xander got to go on a fossil dig.  He did a great job digging through the sand and he found his 3 fossils very fast.  That afternoon, Xander played with Grandma and Grandpa while Patrick and I got to go see a movie :)  It was a great day.

We are ready to see some dinosaurs.

Playing in the play ground.

Getting ready to enter the woods and look for dinosaurs.

Xander in a bad mood and about to be eaten by a huge dinosaur.

Some of the dinosaurs we saw along the walk.

Xander's fossils

Xander showing off his find.

Our last day in Ruskin, Xander, Patrick, and I drove down to Venice, FL to see my good friend Devon.  We got to see where she is living now, the church she is working at, and then headed off for some fun at the beach.  Today Xander had lots of fun in the sand and the water.  He came to love the small waves of the Gulf.  We ate lunch right on the beach by the pier.  It was a fun visit.

Hanging out at the beach.

Xander sitting in the water with Mama and loving it!

Xander drives the ship outside of the restaurant.

Devon and Xander with the Pirate.

This ended our time in Ruskin.  Some of the highlights for this part of the trip was riding in Grandma and Grandpa’s golf cart, swimming in the pool, going to the beach, and seeing fireworks.  Stay tuned for the next part of our trip… Disney World!

Adoption Timeline
  • Summer 2010 - started talking about adoption
  • Aug 19, 2010 - participated in webinar
  • Sep 22, 2010 - mailed in adoption application
  • Sep 28, 2010 - adoption application accepted
  • Oct 8, 2010 - fingerprints for home study
  • Oct 14, 2010 - fire inspection done
  • Oct 25, 2010 - Patrick & Kimberly complete physicals for the adoption
  • Nov 4, 2010 - finished Heart of the Matters Parent Education
  • Nov 9, 2010 - Ariel's physical is completed
  • Nov 15, 2010 - 1st Home Study Visit
  • Dec 10, 2010 - Kimberly's Individual Interview with Social Worker
  • Dec 16, 2010 - Patrick & Ariel's Individual Interview with Social Worker
  • Dec 19, 2010 - Received rough draft of Home Study to review
  • Jan 7, 2011 - Received Final Home Study
  • Jan 7, 2011 - Sent I800A form into USCIS
  • Jan 18, 2011 - We see our son's face for the 1st time!
  • Jan 21, 2011 - Submit Letter of Intent to China
  • Jan 27, 2011 - Receive Pre-Approval from China
  • March 7, 2011 - I800a approval
  • March 24, 2011 - Dossier to China
  • April 2, 2011 - Log In Date
  • May 16, 2011 - LOA
  • June 2, 2011 - I800 Approval
  • June 10, 2011 - Cable sent by National Visa Center
  • June 13, 2011 - NVC Letter & final paper work sent to Agency!!!!
  • June 23, 2011 - Article 5 papers dropped off
  • July 8, 2011 - Article 5 pick up
  • July 19, 2011 - Travel Approval!!!!!!
  • August 15, 2011 - Forever Family Day!!!!!!
  • August 25, 2011 - Arrive home; Xander becomes a US citizen :)