Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Diet Diary Day #22

So yesterday marked week 3 of my diet!

Breakfast: Bolthouse Farms Hazelnut Protein Shake

Lunch at Grampa's Bakery was again another challenge because Grampa's specializes in home style comfort food and then there is the bakery part too! But I had a chicken salad platter which comes with lettuce, tomato, cottage cheese and fresh fruit. I had one of their awesome yeast rolls and iced tea too.

Dinner: my left over Luau salad and left over Korean BBQ pork from the other day. Iced tea.

I can say that after 3 weeks, I have cut down tremendously on the amount of food that I eat and also made much more healthy choices than before. I still don't have a scale, so I really have no idea how much I have lost. As far as exercise, that is a sore spot. We really have not done any. Still waiting on getting a wii fit.

Paper work at a Halt

Ughhhh. . . .

Talk about frustrating! Our revised home study is still in Tallahassee waiting to be authenticated. Every other time I sent the paperwork their for authentication, I received it back within 2 or 3 days. On top of everything, my little mistake of forgetting the check the first time has really cost us some valuable time. The first home study with the missing check got to Tallahassee on the 17th and I just got it back today. The correct one with the check got there last Tuesday, I really hope that it doesn't take that much longer to get it!

In the mean time, we are putting together a care package to send to our beloved little girl over in Vietnam. We are so excited about this!!!! But it is hard to choose what to send and more importantly even: what to say in our letter. We were told to write a letter and our agency employee in Vietnam will translate it for us. When Chianna gets this package and letter, that is when her Nanny will be telling her she is being adopted and show her all the things her new Mommy and Daddy and her new family sent her! NO PRESSURE, RIGHT!?

So far we have a pink woobie doll, a little Leap Frog that sings the ABCs, & our photo album. We got some crayons a big coloring book for all the kids in the orphanage to color with, and note pads, notebooks and pen sets for the nannies.

We have been shopping and we have quite a few really adorable outfits for her. I plan on taking pictures of them and posting them here, I just haven't had a chance yet. We are trying to decide which clothes to send. So far we have a pink Princess t-shirt that also says Florida on it, and a really fun pink dress that Myke picked out, it has a big flower on it.

We still need to pick up a blanket and I think a really cute nightgown or pjs to add.

Any other suggestions?

My friend Shannon (thanks!) told me to have two of each of the things we send so that we can bring the duplicate with us for her to recognize and to sleep with the blanket first so that she will know our scents. We will be sleeping with the woobie tonight = )

For anyone who doesn't know what a woobie doll is:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Diet Diary Day #21

Breakfast: Bolthouse Farms Hazelnut Protein Shake

Lunch: We ate at Friday's and I have to admit I didn't do so good. We decided to have potato skins as an appetizer. It was 1 app split 3 ways though, so I only had 3 small pieces. My entree was Parmesan crusted chicken breast with cheese tortellini with a spinach cream sauce and a side of cherry tomatoes and mozzarella and basil salad with a vinaigrette. It is part of their "right portion" menu so it is a smaller portion than a usual restaurant size. Iced tea to drink.

Dinner: We were out at the mall already so we ended up eating at the Cheesecake Factory and I am very proud of myself for resisting the temptation for a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake! We had a tuna carpaccio as an appetizer and 2 pieces of bread, I ordered the Luau salad for dinner, which I had about a 3rd of and took the rest home.

Dessert: Sugar Free Swiss Miss chocolate pudding with low fat whip cream and a banana.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Diet Diary Day #20

We slept in today and then we were out shopping for Chianna, so we didn't actually eat until around 3pm. Bad idea, I know, but sometimes it just works out that way.

We ate at Gabose, which is one of our favorite restaurants, it is Korean BBQ, and family owned so its like you are eating home made Korean food and it is absolutely delicious!

We had Kimchee Pajun as an appetizer, which is a flat pancake made out of rice flour with scallions, onions, and peppers and Kimchee in it. Kimchee is cabbage in a spicy sauce.

For my entree, I forgot the whole name of what I ordered. It is a Kimchee Bokum, which is pork, onions and other veggies in a Kimchee sauce with rice cakes, it also comes with a side of white rice. The rice cakes are my favorite part, I know you may be thinking of something like Quaker rice cakes, but it couldn't further from that. The rice cakes they serve are small little compact pieces that I can best describe as mushy, or chewy. I just love them!

All the entrees come with many little sides that are different each time, I had some pickled cucumbers, coleslaw, Kimchee with potatoes, there are also many other sides, Myke likes them, there was a seaweed salad, more Kimchee, and a couple of other things. All these are in little tiny plates, so you get just a taste of each thing. It is a great way to explore the different food they have. Not everything there is spicy and not everything is Kimchee either. Myke ordered what I usuallyhave: Chicken Bulgogi, which is BBQ chicken in a spicy BBQ sauce, they can adjust the spice according to your request.

If anyone ever wants to go, let us know and we can take you and demystify Korean cuisine for you. The restaurant also has a sushi bar and serves cooked Japanese food as well.

I was out running errands and got hungry for a snack so I had some Almonds, the Diamond bottle I bought actually portions out a one ounce serving for you. A little later, I had some Good and Plenty. I haven't had my usual candy fixes at all and sometimes I just have to have some junk. But I only at the 1/4 of the box portion instead of the whole box that I normally would have.

Dinner: Since we ate our breakfast/ lunch so late, we were kind of messed up the rest of the day. I had some Hummus with celery and carrots as a snack, then Myke made dinner: Salmon cakes with a mustard sauce and a Bertoli pasta mix of pasta, veggies and shrimp. It was a small portion and just right since it was late at night already.

For dessert I had a sugar free, low fat Swiss Miss chocolate pudding and a little bit of low fat whipped cream on it! It is really good, 70 calories and doesn't have that nasty diet taste.

I feel like this past week I haven't really been dieting, but I have still definitely cut down on what I have been eating and making better choices, so I think I am still doing alright. I am happy with my choices.

Paying Respects to A Pioneer for Disability Rights

A Life That Mattered: Remembering Elbert Johns--Led March of 3,000 to State Capitol

marty_omoto_june2004.gifBy Marty D. Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network

The world seems to continue on, seemingly without notice, even when tragedy strikes or someone dies. And yet, the world does notice. At least some of the world, some of the time.

But every life matters.

Elbert Johns died Monday morning, July 14, 2008 at Bloomington Hospital, in Bloomington, Indiana after a battle with cancer. He was 64 years old. To his family, he was a beloved husband and father who brought joy and happiness. For many others who knew him as a friend and disability advocate, he was a good and decent man, who we loved and respected. His death comes as a tremendous shock.

He was funny, he was humble, he was strong, he was passionate and he was modest. He was devoted and committed to his family and to the community of people with disabilities. And he will be missed. Terribly.

For those who did not know him or know of him, he was a human being who defined the words "unsung hero" because of his work fighting for the rights of children and adults with developmental disabilities to live in one's own home and community. He fought for the rights of self determination, inclusion and opportunity. Toward those efforts, he co-founded a website resource that connected critical information to tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families across the nation.

But he did his work and advocacy often behind the scenes, without flair, fanfare or notice - but with great humility that comes with deep and unshakeable commitment.

Elbert Helped Us in Finding Hope With Humor, Humility and Common Sense

The world over the years seems to have become a much harder place to live and survive. Sometimes, in our fight and struggle to overcome barriers, to overcome discrimination and prejudice, to overcome injustice, to deal with sadness and loss, it is sometimes easier to give in or give up and believe that all hope is lost.

But Elbert Johns helped us find hope again. He helped us find that hope often with his dry sense of humor, a Midwestern sense of humility and common sense, but always with a feeling of empathy and compassion for those in need.

Robert F. Kennedy once spoke in 1966 of what one person can do to make a difference against injustice and oppression, and for those of us who knew Elbert, it is perhaps the best tribute to his advocacy and work:

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation… It is from numerous diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

That was Elbert.

Elbert Helped CDCAN With First Protest Rally and March That Drew Over 3,000 People

And this was Elbert Johns: on a personal level, here in California in 2002, and early 2003, Elbert was invaluable in his help in our advocacy and organizing.

He was a tremendous friend and advocate in our fight here in California in 2002, 2003 and 2004 against massive budget cuts proposed by then Governor Davis and Governor Schwarzenegger. Four or five years later we are still fighting against potential cuts.

Some things don't change. And sometimes things didn't always work out in the ways we had hoped - but his efforts were always based on a real commitment to help and to make a profound difference.

He helped the California Disability Community Action Network (CDCAN) in California in our first big protest rally at the Sacramento Convention Center and march to the State Capitol in April 2003 that attracted over 3,000 people.

He led an advocacy training and meeting the following August 2003 that attracted over 250 people at the Secretary of State's Auditorium in Sacramento in preparation for the fall-out in more budget cuts after the historic California recall election.

He helped develop what has now become the CDCAN Townhall Telemeetings that since 2003 have attracted thousands of people with disabilities, families, workers and others. He helped so many others in other states in their efforts to be visible and effective in advocacy in fighting for disability rights - especially rights of self determination and inclusion.

For me personally - for the April 7, 2003 protest rally and march, just a week and half after losing my sister Alana, Elbert showed such compassion and strength, that made it possible for me to continue on.
There is a video of the protest rally and march and Elbert, wearing a yellow t-shirt (which each person designated as a "rally monitor" or organizer wore) with his backpack, and me together waiting for the right moment for thousands of people with disabilities and families and workers to cross the street to the State Capitol. He was like Moses with glasses and a backpack waiting for the redlight (and the police) to let us pass.

Elbert's help made a difference to us and CDCAN, to the advocacy of Arc of the US and Arc California and so many Arc organizations across the nation.

We will always remember his help.

We will always remember his life.

His Life Made A Difference

He made a difference in thousands of people's lives across the nation and in California - a difference that only a handful of people will know resulted because of his help.

For those of us who do know, let us remember Elbert Johns and remind others of his life and that his life mattered - to his family, and to countless thousands of people across the country and here in California.

I know I write often in recent years, and it seems too often - of good people dying. Some have been family. Some good friends. Some have been about people I did not know personally. But each had a life that mattered - and many lived a life that also made a difference and mattered to hundreds - or thousands of others.

That is why I am writing this about Elbert. His life mattered to us.

Our advocacy for disability, mental health and senior rights is about inclusion and independence but most of all about the basic proposition that a life matters.
Recognizing a person's life - and their contributions is something people often don't do enough when a person is living. Certainly it is something we can do when we are shocked, stunned and saddened into the reality of their death.

In remembering Elbert and his life, I recall the words of a Greek poet:

"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God."

For those who loved and knew Elbert, we will always remember that he did much to ease pain and suffering for so many others across this country. And we will always remember that because of his life, and through his work, and through his belief in God and his commitment to the rights of people with disabilities , he brought wisdom to us that overcame our despair.

To his wife of 39 years, Christina, and their four children and their families, let us offer our prayers, that will give them comfort to get through this difficult time of loss, and our thoughts to let them know how much the life of Elbert Johns mattered to so many people.

Our advocacy is always about a life that matters. In our prayers, let us always remember that.

The California Disability Community Action Network, is a non-partisan link to thousands of Californians with developmental and other disabilities, people with traumatic brain injuries, the Blind, the Deaf, their families, community organizations and providers, direct care, homecare and other workers, and other advocates to provide information on state (and eventually federal), local public policy issues.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Diet Diary Day #19

Breakfast: Bolthouse Farms Hazelnut Protein Shake

Lunch: Sweet Tomatoes: Spinach Salad with assorted vegetables, some Thai rice salad, and some tuna pasta salad, a cup of Tomato, Potato and Spinach soup, two small pieces of Asiago bread and a blueberry muffin for dessert. Iced Tea with Equal to drink.

Dinner: At Chilli's: Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls appetizer and Shrimp Fajitas, minus the actual torilla part, just the shrimp and veggies. Iced Tea to drink.

We went to the movies and Myke and I split a Reeses, we each had one peanut butter cup.

I am writing this a few days late and I now cannot remember, but I probably had a snack later on.

Free Rice Donation Game

Donate Free Rice Game

This image and link will remain on the side of my blog from now on. Anytime you get the hankering for a little word game action, please come and play, and donate grains of rice at the same time!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Diet Diary Day #18

Last night wad a crazy night. I was up all night uploading and fixing up the website with our new re-design. Please let me know how you like it!!?? www.anniescostumes.com
So I had some Triscuits as a snack, not sure if it counts as yesterday or today. I hope I don't have to pull anymore allnighters anytime soon!

Breakfast: Mango Pieces

Lunch: Lean Cuisine Pot Stickers and Rice (it was a small one and I was still hungry) so I also had left over Red Curry Chicken I added a couple pieces of other left over potatoes - it was a small portion. Two pieces of 9 grain toast with Promise Spread.

Dinner: Myke made a great dinner! Pork Chops grilled with that spiced apple BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes with Dijon mustard and pecans blended and pureed, applesauce & beets.

Dessert: Strawberries and Blueberries with Splenda.

An Amazing Love Story

An incredible love story has come out of China recently and managed to touch the world.
It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and love each other in peace for over half a century.

The 70-year-old Chinese man who hand-carved over 6,000 stairs up a mountain for his 80-year-old wife has passed away in the cave which has been the couple's home for the last 50 years.

Over 50 years ago, Liu Guojiang a 19 year-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu Chaoqin..

In a twist worthy of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, friends and relatives criticized the relationship because of the age difference and the fact that Xu already had children.

At that time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.. To avoid the market gossip and the scorn of their communities, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing Municipality

In the beginning, life was harsh as they had nothing, no electricity or even food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain, and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to light up their lives.

Xu felt that she had tied Liu down and repeatedly asked him, 'Are you regretful? Liu always replied, 'As long as we are industrious, life will improve.'

In the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began and continued for over 50 years, to hand-carve the steps so that his wife could get down the mountain easily.

Half a century later in 2001, a group of adventurers were exploring the forest and were surprised to find the elderly couple and the over 6,000 hand-carved steps. Liu MingSheng, one of their seven children said, 'My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion for over 50 years and never been apart a single day. He hand carved more than 6,000 steps over the years for my mother's convenience, although she doesn't go down the mountain that much.'

The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu, now 72 years, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu sat and prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms. So in love with Xu, was Liu, that no one was able to release the grip he had on his wife's hand even after he had passed away.

'You promised me you'll take care of me, you'll always be with me until the day I died, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?'

Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband's black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.

In 2006, their story became one of the top 10 love stories from China , collected by the Chinese Women Weekly. The local government has decided to preserve the love ladder and the place they lived as a museum, so this love story can live forever.

FCC June Luncheon

Yes, I know, the July lunch just past and I am first getting up pics on the June lunch!

Well my excuse is that I have been a little busy! = )

For anyone reading that doesn't know what the FCC is: it stands for Families with Children from China and is our local support group for families adopting from China and any other Asian countries too.

We had a great time, as usual at the lunch. My dad came along with us to see what we are always raving about and he had a great time too! Watching Myke play with all the kids is fun and visiting with everyone and meeting new people is fun too!

Here are some pics that I took:

Benjamin looks like he is having so much fun riding Myke's shoes! = )

Celebrating June Birthdays with a cake!

Welcome home Benjamin!

Paper Work Update

I last wrote about how I forgot to include the dumb check for the notary authentication to Tallahassee. I was so upset to find that I couldn't just send a check for them to add to my paperwork and proceed. Instead, I have to wait until they send the home study back and then re-send it with the check. I still haven't received the home study back yet, so I decided to just send the other copy that I have along with the check. I was going to do this on Friday, but the day went by so fast, it was over before I knew it! I was then kicking myself about not sending it. I decided I would send it on Monday. I have all of our paperwork in a bag that I decided to keep in the car so that I wouldn't have to take it here and there, back and forth in and out of work and the house, etc. So of course, we took the other car to work on Monday and there was one more day's delay. So I finally sent it out on Tuesday, it arrived in Tallahassee on Wednesday. I hope they send it back soon along with the other copy, that was my last copy of the home study. I'm sure I can get another one from my social worker if it doesn't come back.

In the mean time, I received the INS approval back lightening fast. So I have the amended approval and after much ado on Tuesday finally found out that paper does not need to be notarized and authenticated, etc. etc.

So, that is the update on the paperwork! I hope to have another update for you soon!

Baby Panda Grows Up in Pics!

Day 120:

Pandas Rescued in China

The Earthquake in China was near where giant pandas live.

People rescued the Pandas!

And fed them milk! : )-

Then the pandas played.

Look at this baby panda!

Baby pandas drink milk from bottles! So adorable!

"Maybe if I wedge myslef in here, it will be safe from all the shaking!"

Safe baby pandas!

Oh No! "I don't want a shot!"

"No more pictures, please!"

I had no idea that Pandas were so tame, playful and expressive! I am so grateful that the people in China are taking good care of these giant pandas. It would be a shame to lose such a beautiful creature from the face of the earth!