Sunday, June 27, 2010

Olivia's Dol

We got up at 6:30 or 7 and headed out to work in the yard to prepare for the party tonight. My parents arrived around 9 to help, my sister-in-law came and tied ribbons on the paper lanterns (inside) and then Ashley stopped by around 12 and washed fruit. My mother-in-law came by at 2 and began helping mom in the kitchen. (I think I got kicked out of my own kitchen 5 times before the day was over) Around 3:00 I began to feel like the clock was SPINNING. I couldn't get it all done, and I was still running around in my swimsuit working in the yard. (How many times did I tell people, "this is NOT a swim party.") It was so hot here that when I would work and when I started dripping in sweat I would jump in the pool and then get right back out just to be cool for a while. It got really cloudy around 2 which delayed taking stuff out. Also, because of the heat we couldn't take out the centerpieces or dol towers because of the candy would melt. So, it was the last 2 hours where I really hurried.

Around 3:30 the doorbell rang for the first time. It was our cake! It was absolutely GORGEOUS and DELICIOUS!!!! Seriously, if you need a cake for anything, call Lori Lafayette! She is awesome.

Lori is on the left and Audra is on the right. Lori makes the cakes!!! WOW!!!

Shortly after, Amanda's mom arrived with all the fruit. It was also beautiful! She did such a good job and it was also delicious.

So, now it is 4:30 and I am taking stuff out to the Dol table and fixing centerpieces. (yes, still in my swimsuit) Next, our singer arrived. He did a wonderful job and was a hit! He was suppose to be here from 6-9, and I think that is what I was looking forward to the most. I was going to sit down next to the pool, listen to the waterfall and music for an hour. Can you believe it got really windy and started lightening so he had to clean up his equipment and be done. It never rained a drop! In all that rush, we all started grabbing stuff and getting it inside. Pretty sure my guests would think I was a horrible host. Really are you suppose to WORK when you go to a party??? I promise, next year will be more relaxed friends and family! You will NOT work! (disregard that sentence mom) This party was all done to honor ALL the traditions of a Korean child's first birthday. Yes, it is very involved and I couldn't do it all alone. Well, enough about are some pics of the Dol. (I know, where are the people??? I stink with the camera. Once people got there, I put the camera down. I missed a lot of good shots of friends, family, and CUTE kiddos!)

See why I needed help cooking! I have a big refridgerator and we couldn't fit another thing in it.

The candy buffet (before it was complete)--I forgot to take one once I got it ready for the party)

Dol table with the cake on it.

Dol table without the cake on it.

The Doljabi table. What did she choose at her Dol in Korea????

Flowers and stuffed animal that Uncle Hugh and Aunt Judy sent. I wish they could have been here!

The cake!

Food table (chicken kabobs, bulgogi, fruit, all kinds of tea, bread, hot dogs, and rice)

Center pieces


Looking from the deck (food wasn't out, lanterns weren't quite all hung, no singer and waterfall not turned on) wish I got one of the full effect.

Me, Cassie, Ashley, and Amy (holding Khloe)


Sweet girls!

dad, buddy and Mickey at the grill working on kabobs

Uncle Don, Mickey, and Jeremy

Once everyone went home, I had to get my house back to normal. I couldn't stand it any longer. Around 11:45 John took Oscar out and came in calling for me. It appears our local raccoon friend (we have named him Ricky) came and went through our trash. John saw him running off with pineapple. I came out and we picked all of the trash up (Yuck!) and then remembered we didn't get the mail. I walked to the box and found a document from USCIS. I knew what it was. We got Olivia's I600!!!! I looked at the clock and it was 12:07, so we received it on her actual birthday! How cool is that????

We came in and I began to get ready for bed. Before I could turn around, both boys were snoring. Oscar was belly up before he heard the flash of the camera pop up. We were all exhausted, but had a GREAT day.

Thanks to all of our friends and family for making her Dol special. We are so glad you joined us!!!!

Happy Birthday Olivia!!! I can't wait to spend many more with you!!!

Happy Birthday Olivia

Dear Olivia,

Today you turn one year old. Though you are half way around the world, and I have never held you in my arms, my heart knows that you are my daughter. I love you so much. I am missing you on this day, but I know that you are in good care. I know that you had your Dol in Korea and I am happy that you could celebrate your first birthday in your home country. I have wondered what item you chose at from the doljabi? I tried to honor you in every way possible for your party here. When everyone sang happy birthday I started to dart for the house so no one would see me cry or hurt, but the truth is that it hurt. I want to hold you in my arms so badly. Each day is another day away from you and you are growing and changing quickly. It is another day that we are not being able to bond.
For some reason, all that is going to change for you has really been on my heart when I think about you turning one. I am not going to lie to you. The transition from Korea with your foster mom, to the USA with us will be hard for all of us. You are going to grieve. You are leaving everything you have ever known, smelled, heard, felt, etc. I feel like the bad guy coming in to take you away, but know that we love you so much. Please also know that your birth mother loved you too. On this day one year ago she gave birth to you. She did the most selfless thing because she loved you so much. She gave you up to give you a better life than she could give you. She is and will always be a part of you. Please know that we can talk about her and you can ask questions. I don't have all the answers, but will try to help you find them if you feel that need.
We are going to have so much fun through life. I don't want to miss anymore than I have to. I can't wait for next summer when you turn 2! I already have the plan for your party! I think about you every minute of the day. (that is absolutely NOT an exaggeration)
Olivia Rae, we love you so much! We can't wait for our phone to ring and hear that you are ready for us to come get you. I would have been there in a heart beat to spend your first birthday with you if it were allowed.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting ready for Olivia's Dol

My goal for the summer was to stay busy. Well, I have definately succeeded. We had the shop and swap, then the garage sale, and now we are having a clebration for Olivia's 1st birthday. The Koreans believe this is the most important day in the life of a Korean, so we have chosen to honor her and celebrate that day. I have tried to do all of the Korean traditions that are typically done at a Dol, and I hope that I have done it justice. The only thing that could possibly make this day better would be if she were home. (obviously) I am glad that I worked ahead since I came down with a stomach virus yesterday. I feel much better, but my stomach is still hurting today and I don't have energy. Yuck!
Her actual birthday is June 27th, but I have planned her celebration for the 26th since the 27th is on a Sunday this year. While we are here celebrating on the 26th, she is in Korea celebrating on the 27th (same day due to time difference). How cool is that? Some of you may think it is silly to go all out and do this celebration since she is not home, but I want her to know that she was so special that 2 different countries and families were celebrating her. I want her to know that we couldn't wait to get her home and I also want her to have photos of her first birthday to look back at when she is older. Doesn't your mom have pictures of your first birthday? I also think this has been a great way to learn some Korean traditions and embrace the country more.

These parties can often become CRAZY expensive. We set a budget and we have stayed close to that budget. The Koreans spend what we would for a nice large wedding. We didn't go that far! :) We have done quite a bit and we are excited about Saturday. Our families and closest friends who have been right beside us through the ENTIRE journey will join us.

Here are some pictures to show the preparation process. (It is a good thing that she doesn't have furniture in her room since it is covered with birthday stuff!)

(this is a mild mess compared to what it is now)

I used these candies to make two of the 5 Dol towers. It is a a Korean tradition that signifies hope for the child to have a long and healthy life. They are all made out of food. (I originally bypassed that tradition, but then decided that I should do it. Thanks Ashley for spending 1 1/2 hours on putting one of the towers together. :( It looked good and I had fun spending the day with you!

I decided to do a 'candy buffett' for the favors. I thought, 'oh this will be cute and inexpensive.' DON'T EVER DO THIS!!!! Candy is EXPENSIVE! Once I had invested, I had to finish it. Somehow a lollipop theme emerged from this.

Asians seem to use these paper lanterns a lot. I really liked them. I found them on a website for 1.50 each! Can't beat that! This past Sunday I decided I would get them all put together so it would be one less thing to do. Hmm....I didn't really think about the space they would take up for a week. Oops! :)

Oscar seemed to really want attention. So, when we were at Wal-Mart one night recently, we got him this toy pig. He LOVES it! When I get home with groceries I set them down in the hallway and unload them. Usually he sits in the den patiently holding a toy in his mouth waiting to play. Not this time. He came running in, went through each bag and pulled out his toy. He squeeked it the entire first night he had it. He will take toys into Olivia's room and just lay there. He never even knew this room exsisted.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Garage Sale

Well, I think it is record heat here in Tennessee for June--not to mention the humidity. But, on Friday the 18th we woke up at 4 a.m. and hauled out 10 tables of stuff, four tarps full and some other stuff.

A garage sale is not complete without pictures of our Miss. Olivia to let all know that we are waiting for her to come home!! It is so neat to talk to people about adoption. You can seriously read people on if they are pro-adoption or not-so-much on it. As soon as someone knows you are adopting they share their story about their third-cousins daughter who adopted a child. I guess that is their way to relate to adoption. It is somewhat entertaining to have these conversations, but it is also neat to hear how it all unfolded for them.

We completed day one around 5:00. My mom came and sat both days. This is beyond sweet if you could have felt the heat!! John was at work on Friday and then he was in the back working with dad all day on Saturday. They are building a rock path. This path has been in the process since we put the pool in. Since we are having the birthday party next weekend we are in a mad rush to get things in the back. We are going from ghetto to gorgeous! :)

Day two began at 5:00 a.m. and my parents showed up to work (yet again) at 7:30. It was another scorcher!!!! Around 8:45 we began to hear thunder. It slowly started to rain and then it poured. We rushed everything into the garage and the rain stopped shortly. We got it all dried and started to take it all back out.

Oscar insisted on being with us the whole weekend. He would go inside for a bit to cool off and then come running back out. He was so good! Here he is sitting with his sister.

Each child that would come he would go to them and want to play. One little girl came and was crawling around while her mom looked. I don't know which one like the other one more? She would pull his tail and he would just take it and look at her. He also LOVED the stuffed animals that were out. He would occasionally go over and bark at the box of them. I would turn it over and he would pull out the one that he wanted at that time.

We decided to quit around 2:30 because I had a father's day errand to run. We got it all boxed and in the cars. We took the left overs to goodwill and then headed on our errand.

Well, keep up this week! We are going to be getting ready for Olivia's birthday celebration! It is going to be a fun but busy week. Pray for a sunny upcoming Saturday!!!! I am trying to do her birthday celebration with ALL the Korean traditions for a first birthday!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shop and Swap

Today was an exciting day! It started with baking two pans of brownies and two batches of chocolate chip cookies to take to the shop and swap. John was out back with dad working on the rock path to the pool (for the 3rd time..they were going to concrete it the next day and the flood came and washed away all the sand), and I worked on birthday stuff for Olivia. The morning completely snuck away from me. I noticed that it was pushing 12 so I sent a text to one of my best friends that I was suppose to meet at 12 to get tables for the shop and swap and asked if she was on 'Laura and Traci time' or 'normal time?' Luckily, she was on 'Laura and Traci time' which automatically bought me 30 extra minutes. :) So, I grabbed a shower and headed out to go to the church to get tables. We loaded 10 tables and headed to school to set up for the shop and swap.

This is what the gym looked like before we set up.

setting up is taking shape! Ashley and John are working hard to put things in place.

We had a lot of fun!! Traci is bringing in a stand to put some pictures of Olivia on.

Looking good in here!!!!

This is Skyar (a former student) who brought me the sweetest book today when they came. It is called "Tell Me Again." It is by Jamie Lee Curtis. The little girl in the book wants to know her adoption story.

After people set up their goodies, they were invited to wait in the hall and have some treats to eat. (thanks to mom, Leslie, Ashley G, Traci, and Ashley S. who all supplied food)

Lilia and Reagan are eating some of those treats! Too cute!!! :)

Right before we were ready for people to head in to shop, I told everyone thank you and Traci explained how it worked and then said a quick prayer.
I kinda slacked on pictures once the shin-dig started, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We had a good turn out!! Everyone brought GREAT stuff! I was completely surprised of how much stuff there was!! Some people said we should do this again when she comes home! I think the turn out might have been better if it had been in the fall or winter because a lot is going on since it is summer. Completely understandable!

Mom and Aunt Candy with friends mingeling behind them.

I felt so blessed today. I can tell you the true definition of a best friend after today. I know they are hard to come by, but God has blessed me with a few. Thank you girls for giving up your Saturday, time with family, time with your children to help me. Also, thank you to my family who has been with me at every turn. One of the questions in the 'home study' process is "how is your support system in your family with adoption?" Well, I think we have 110%!!!! My aunt from Chattanooga came, mom, my sister from Murfreesboro, and my sister-in-law!!! My mother-in-law sent a donation (she had to work), my cousin called before it was over to see how it went (her husband threw a world cup party so she had to stay back and help), and my brother in law called to meet us and help unload the cars when it was over!!!! WOW!!! Lastly, my husband, who loves soccer (It is world cup weekend, which I know he loves since he has watched it every year since I met him! ), gave up his Saturday hanging out on the couch relaxing to spend the whole day helping. Poor thing was drenched in sweat, but never complained.

He did have one small problem.

He forgot to teather the clothes line and right before we started the shopping part, it fell! As we were cleaning it up he said, "crap, this is going on the blog isn't it?" :) Yep, sure is! I love you John--we were SO made for each other!

I was walking around during the shop and swap and couldn't figure out why he was just sitting where he was. Then I noticed that he was holding up the pole in the middle of the clothes rack! Too funny!!

The one picture I really wanted we never got to today. I wanted one with the girls that helped make this happen! We were all running around so much that we didn't get it. However, girls, I love you!!!! Thanks again!
I am currently getting texts from Traci planning the next fundraiser. It is sounding really fun!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I600A approval

I have been checking the mail daily. Today was the day. I went to the box and there was the approval for the I600A. This document means that we are eligable to adopt Olivia. It is late coming because USCIS (homeland security) didn't have all the documents they needed. We got our fingerprints in April and should have had this approval in mid-May. The only way I knew to check on it was because an immigration officer called saying she was ready to process Olivia's I600 (her document that says she is eligable to be adopted). They couldn't process it because they needed our paper which is what came today. So, hopefully we will get the I600 in the next couple of weeks!!!! No, this doesn't mean she is coming home any sooner (unfortunately), but it does put us one more step closer to getting her. I am checking the list off! Once the American side of the paperwork is done (just a few more steps) then it will go and SIT on a desk in Korea. UGH!!!! That is SO frustrating, but part of it I guess.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Come join in, and help spread the word for our 'Shop and Swap'

(this is a copy of our evite!!)

Host: Laura Parker's Friends at Guild Elementary
Location: Guild Elementary Gymnasiam
1018 South Water Ave
Gallatin, TN 37066 US
When: Saturday, June 12, 4:00PM to 6:00PM Add to my Outlook Calendar

Hey girls!
Instead of Olivia looking at her mom and dad in a photo album, let's shop and swap to help raise money for Laura and John Parker to bring her home so she can look at them in person for the rest of her life!!

The concept may seem complicated but it is really quite simple....
Simply bring GENTLY used childrens items such as clothes (all sizes), indoor/oudoor toys, baby gear (strollers, boucy seats, playmats, boppys, etc), furniture, etc to SWAP by arriving at Guild Elementary between 3:00 - 3:50pm to set out your goodies.
After you set out your goodies, grab a plate of munchies then pay a ONE TIME amount of $35 that will be donated directly to Laura and John to help pay for their travel expenses to go get their precious little girl....
At 4pm, all "SWAPPERS" will be given directions and free reign to SHOP and take whatever your arms can hold for ONLY $35!

There is no limit to how little or how much you bring - just remember...the more you bring to SWAP the more choices you will have when you SHOP. This is a wonderful way to clean out your playroom, garage, attic, and child's outgrown clothes without the fuss of tagging for consignment.

What do you do now?
Reply to the evite that you are coming. Mark your calendar. Collect your things! Tell a friend, tell her to collect her things, bring her! Give $35 to help fly John and Laura to Korea to bring Olivia home to her forever family. Walk away with more than $35 worth of goodies!