Thursday, May 26, 2011

Overdue Update

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been so long since the last posting!! As most of you know by now, the Maurer Family Story has been sent on a different path and into another direction, but for those who don’t know, here is a synopsis…. I am now 20 weeks pregnant!!

We are so blessed to have been on the adoption journey, and now are blessed to be on the biological journey!! We know God has a plan for our family, and we are so happy to have Him setting our paths.  We withdrew for the adoption process with AWAA in April, but hope that we can work with them again in the future.
I have been doing wonderfully throughout pregnancy, and have had very few and no bad symptoms.  Praise the Lord!! I have a team of doctors at Duke Medical Center working together to ensure the baby and I are healthy, including the High Risk OB practice and my Cardiology team. They are all optimistic that I will have no issues with regard to my heart condition and are watching us closely.
Just two weeks ago we had an ultrasound and discovered we are having a baby girl!! We are so excited!! We plan to name her Marylou, after my late mother.  She is a very active little lady, she was during the ultrasound and I can feel her moving daily.
Jason finished the project in Georgia and we are now in Wisconsin.  I hope to travel with him as much as possible before staying home in Greensboro to prepare for our addition. 
I hope to more regularly update the blog, so look for more postings to come!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

St. Augustine - Part 2

Jason tricked me this morning; he woke me up and told me it was noon when it was really 9:30... He has gotten way too good at waking this sleepy-head up in the morning!! I quickly got ready for the day and we headed to downtown St. Augustine. We didn't really have a plan, but ended up by the lighthouse and thought it would be a good place to go first to get a "lay of the land!"

 As Mrs. Maurer can attest, heights (and lighthouses) are not my favorite activity (thank you mom for holding my hand through the lighthouse on SSI!), but I decided to try my mind over matter technique and tell myself the trip to the top would not be scary.  Jason and I have never gone to a lighthouse, or really done much else together that blatantly revealed my fear of heights to him.  I have told him about the unsteady feeling I get when on a ladder, and thus he does all ladder work around the house.  And I've told him how I have avoided heights ever since my first broken arm at a young age; falling off a tippy table I should not have tried to stand on. But I think he was surprised by the trembling of my steps as we started the 219 step climb to the top! At each landing I stopped to catch my breath, not from the climb so much as all the working out I’ve done this last year has helped my stamina, but rather because my heart was pounding out of my chest looking out the windows and looking down to see the next step.  At each landing I had the thought of bolting back down the stairs and meeting Jason outside when he was done, but I knew the trip would be worth it! And it was so worth it!!  Simply beautiful!! (Notice the white knuckles clinging to the railing! ;)

We skipped the lighthouse museum because we were both ready for lunch.  We headed to A1A Brew Pub, another suggestion from the hotel.  The burger was great! And the tables looked out onto the busy street corner and water, very nice place to have a meal and see the action!

We walked off lunch a bit with a tour of the exterior of Fort Matanzas and a walk through the much busier historic downtown.  We headed back to the hotel to put our feet up and relax for a bit. 

We searched high and low for a fun Saturday evening event and decided to go on a “Haunted Pub Crawl.”  Now, in all my innocence and naivety, I thought haunted pub crawl meant a walk through town stopping at popular night spots with a historian giving factual, intellectual, tidbits of information about the historic buildings and areas.  What was I thinking? We met our tour guide and other participants and chatted as we walked to the first stop.  The place we stopped at can only be described as a dive, and everyone got a glass of wine or beer.  The tour guide, Vana, startled us all with her very excited announcement “The children are here!!” As she excitedly clapped her hands and jumped up and down.  ….err…what?  She had a Electronic Frequency Meter (EFM), like one an electrician would use, and tried to describe that AC power is man-made and DC power is natural and the meter will go into the red when man-made power is present and in the green or yellow when natural energy is present.  Once I composed myself from holding back laughter and rubbed my ankle from Jason’s kick under the table, I began praying for Vana!  I also prayed that the EFM would not have any more jumps on the supernatural meter thing!! Her story of the location was entertaining, but at this point I had more clarity of this activity and was not sure it was for us.  While traveling to the next stop, we talked to the only other couple in our group.  They were very nice and said they were happy to not be the only married people in the group, so we stayed.

We arrived at the next location and settled into a large room behind the main seating area. Jason and I were the first ones to sit down while everyone else got drinks from the bar. Vana placed her EFM reader on the table, Jason got his cell phone out and placed it under the EFM reader under the table. “Catalina is here!” Vana exclaimed! ;-) She told her story in a way only Vana could, and the group as well as I was more relaxed and ready to just be entertained by her dramatics. (Although, I continued to pray for her when she said something off the wall! ;-)

We traveled to the third location and now the group had bonded a bit.  Vana named all the groups of people on the tour, Jason and I were named “the intellectuals” because we were the only ones nodding when she asked if anyone had heard of “The Treaty of Paris.”  Now Vana turned up her acting, she was really hilarious and overly energetic. She even danced around the room a bit and as her back pocket (with her cell phone in it) whizzed by her EFM reader, she once again exclaimed excitement of the supernatural presence! We were all cracking up about it at this point!

At the final location, not only was Vana entertaining, but the staff at the location was hilarious as well!  A girl from a group of four, who were quite tipsy at this point, I guess may have (sadly) been taking the supernatural thing a bit seriously.  She stormed out of the pub crying saying she felt like the ghost did not want her to be there.  I’m not sure how any of this could be taken seriously at this point, but I think it may have been more like an alcohol-induced-pity-party.  I have to admit, I could not stop laughing about her upset-ness! Lord, forgive me!!  

Jason and I went with the other couple on the tour to a taco shop that is open late and grabbed a bite to eat. The couple were up from Daytona for a weekend away from their 2 year old before he headed off to boot camp.  Jason and he were  cracking jokes about the night and we were all in hysterics about it! We exchanged emails and I hope we will be able to stay in touch and hear all about their army experiences.

Sunday we headed back to Jacksonville to stop by Costco and get the camera I decided to get,  but it's been removed from Costco inventory! Not in the store, not on the website, gone!! I guess we'll just have to keep looking!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

St. Augustine - Part 1

We decided to take a short road trip and check out St. Augustine, Florida for the weekend.  We were interested in seeing the historical sights and enjoying some even warmer weather! :)

We have been putting off buying a nice camera for quite a while, but decided we would take the plunge and buy one!  We stopped at Costco and Best Buy in Jacksonville to compare prices.  They didn't have the exact same cameras, so it was hard to compare them on the spot.  We decided to check online for reviews and prices over the weekend and stop back in Jacksonville on our way back on Sunday. (More about this in Part 2)

We continued on to St. Augustine and checked right into our hotel - it was beautiful! The lobby was so bright and airy, the room was spacious and new looking and the view of the World Golf Hall of Fame could be seen from our balcony.  We immediately felt like we were on a VACATION!! :) 

We talked to the hotel front desk and got a tourist map and some dinner location ideas.  We headed downtown and decided to park and walk towards the steakhouse suggestion.  The evening was what can only be called warm-cool.  Warmish while walking and since we know it’s not cold, and cool because once and a while you get a shiver and our fingertips were cold.  I usually only like hot, but this felt great!! We walked maybe just over a mile and arrived at the Raintree restaurant hungry!! We had a very delicious black pepper steak that had to be two inches thick and ten inches long!  It came with the best mashed potatoes - they must have had some sort of cheese in them!! Yummm!  The restaurant was cozy and the outer wall was all windows looking out at either the street or the courtyard. We would definitely recommend stopping here if ever in the area! I wish I had taken a picture of the inside!

We walked back to the car through the historic downtown that is full of touristy shops and landmarks. Most of the shops were closed, but at least we found the area so we can visit again tomorrow!  

What a wonderful weekend!! Our first weekend in over a month alone together and with both of us healthy!! Hooray!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Third and Final Home Study meeting!!

We met our social worker, Michele, at the same Panera's.  Once again, Jason and I got there early, so we ordered some soup!  Michele once again got down to business. She had a questionnaire that each of us had to complete individually. I volunteered to go first. She started by asking me about each immediate family member, how often I spoke with them and saw them, and how my relationship with each is. Then the questions got harder... including my own personal strengths and weaknesses and then those for Jason. Our expectations for our child, what changes we will make in our lives once the child arrives, and so on. Jason had it easy because I had already answered each question!

We wrapped up by discussing some additional training we need to complete, the outstanding documents we owe her, and the timeline of the process.  She said we can expect to see a first draft of our home study 75days after our first visit... or March 25 according to my calculations! Whew! That still seems like a long time away!!

We left Panera and ran to a car store to get a fuse for my cigarette lighter in my car, I had really missed Pandora! Then we headed to Jake's new apartment to check it out!  It was AWESOME!  I wish I could move in!!  Jake gave us a tour of his apartment and the buildings facilities, then we went to CPK for dinner (I thought of you Melissa!!).  We had a grand old time talking, laughing, and enjoying each other! The first of many visits with the newest North Carolinian family member!!! So exciting!!

We left Jake's and headed back to our "other home" in GA.  We got back in record time in part because there was no traffic and part because Jason didn't let me drive a leg. ;-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Second Home Study Meeting

Today we had our second home study meeting in our home.  Jason and I woke up early to get the house cleaned, the driveway de-iced, and ourselves ready for the meeting. Michele arrived about 20 minutes early, which was okay because we were just playing Wii to pass time until our noon meeting. Michele came in and we all sat at the kitchen table and got down to business. I owed her a couple of papers, so we gave them to her and she checked them off her list. She proceeded to ask us some questions about our home, neighborhood, and community. I gave her a tour of our house, pointed out the room(s) our child(ren) would sleep in, and all the other rooms in our home and their function. I also included my usual commentary on how we have updated the home since we bought it! ;-) After the tour we went back to the kitchen table and chit-chatted a bit, asked her about the next visit on Sunday, and then she was done!! It only took about an hour, and the time seemed to fly by!

Jason wasn't feeling very well, and waking up early to break up the ice on the driveway had not helped! He took a nap for a bit. When he woke up, we went to go pick up a changing table I had to leave behind when I bought baby stuff from a lady on craigslist. We drove out to Summerfield (about 20 minutes away) and arrived at her hectic home just as she was changing her 18 month old's diaper on the couch! ;-) Guess she really doesn't need the changing table!! Jason and I had quite a time getting the bulky piece from the back bedroom, out the front door, down the porch stairs, through the muddy yard to find that it would not fit on my car!  Jason confidently, due to his years of working in the furniture department at Mejiers, disassembled the cabinet piece by piece with just two screwdrivers. As Jason was working on the table, the lady's 4 year old came out of the house with flip-flops on.  As she was just telling him to go back inside and get better shoes on, he skidded on the mud down the yard and got his pants and jacket caked in the mud!! He was quite upset by this, but didn't cry... he ran in the house and not 5 minutes later was back with a smile and a whole new outfit on!  As we packed up and left, he gave us hugs and asked us to come back soon to play Wii with him!  So cute!!

As we drove away from their house, Jason said he did not actually want the changing table! We were driving past the Goodwill store on our way home, so we dropped the table off!! Too funny! ;-)

That evening, we had a double date night with our "Greensboro parents" Charlie and Martha (our neighbors, but they have now been deemed our GB-rents because they do so much for us!). We went to dinner at Smokey Bones where they wanted to know all about how our home study visit went, the timeline left in the process, and when we would be back in town.  We really enjoy spending time with them and Martha and Jason can have some very funny banter! We saw "The Kings Speech" after that, which does have some bad language, but we all thought was a very good movie!  The four main characters do a great job acting and the cinematography (I think that's what its called!) was interesting.  We went back to Charlie and Martha's to chit-chat and enjoy each others company!  They are such great neighbors and friends!! (and parents ;)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

First Home Study Meeting

We had our first home study meeting today with our AWAA social worker, Michele.  We met at a Panera in Concord, NC. Jason and I (surprisingly) arrived about a half hour early, so we grabbed some lunch and a table!  We were a bit confused as to how we were going to connect and find Michele since we had not met her before and I did not have her cell phone number!  As 12 noon came and went, we started to get a bit anxious and I circled the restaurant to see if there was anyone looking for us. Just after I arrived back at our table my cell phone rang!  Michele was also looking for us, and I met her at the front door.

We small talked only briefly, then got right down the business!  I had prepared all our documents with sticky tabs with the document description, so Michele made quick work of going through them and checking them off her list! Luckily, I had also brought my "baby binders" (ALL the paperwork) so she was able to see some original documents such as our marriage certificate, birth certificates, and SS cards even though we also gave her copies of each.

She then let us know that it will take her 90 days to complete the study - not what I was thinking. I had envisioned it taking two the three weeks. And therefore, being done with all our paperwork by the end of February or early March. But, now it looks more like June or July. Once we get the home study, we have a couple of documents to get such as our child's visa, which we need the home study report in order to obtain. I was sad on Sunday about the reality of the timeline, but it is so great to have such a wise and supportive husband, dad, and family who knew just what to say to cheer me up!  "All in God's time," "Our child will be ready when we are," "We just need to pray that all the timing is in our favor," just to name a few. ;)  

Now we are focused on getting the house ready for our home inspection for the home study on Friday! Pray that all goes well!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Week after Christmas

We were sad to see Chad, Teresa, and Gustavo leave for home Sunday after Christmas. But the following day, our good friend Jim flew in!! We were so excited to have him visit until Friday.

Jim was such a trooper as I dragged him and Jason around to complete some of the tasks off our list of adoption paperwork. Jason had to have his physical, including a TB test that had to be read two days later, we got fingerprinted for the State Bureau of Investigation, we got our police reports, and Jason had to have a mini-physical to buy life insurance.  On top of that, we replaced our downstairs furnace because it was on its last leg, and I started to feel sick and ended up going to the doctors office and getting a Z-pack - this made my tummy really upset!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

The whole Maurer family was together to celebrate Christmas!  We had an early dinner and then opened stockings and presents. Jordan had requested a "Fox" brand hat from us for Christmas. When Katie, Kelly, and I had been shopping at Urban Outfitters after Thanksgiving we found this fox hat...
I wish I had gotten a picture of Jordan in it, it was much cuter on her!  She seemed a bit disappointed when she opened her present to find our interpretation of a fox hat, but I think she also thought it was kinda cool. ;-) When all the presents were opened, we brought out her real "Fox" hat... she was so happy!  We all had a good laugh about all her reactions!

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing the Michael Jackson Wii dancing game and enjoying the time together!  Shortly before the Maurer's headed home it began to snow. As they were leaving, Jason started an impromptu snow ball fight!! Jason and I got Jamie and Mr. Maurer good!! ;-)

Jason, Gustavo, and I were committed to completing the Santa puzzle that evening. We finished it around 2 am!  We decided to write inside the box cover the year and all the people who contributed to putting it together and making it a Christmas time tradition. This year included the whole Maurer clan and the Rogers!  Here's a pic of the completed puzzle, it was harder then it looks!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Jason and I left Chad, Teresa, and Gustavo at our house and went to my dad's house for my families traditional Christmas Eve dinner.  The Maurer's, Jamie, and Jordan went to our house to have dinner with our guests! 

At dad's I played some cards with the Malcolms and Kelly while dinner was cooking. Jason, dad, and Jake watched sports, of course! ;-)  Dinner was fabulous, as usual - thanks Kelly!!

After dinner we piled into dad's family room and guessed our Kris Kringles. We had been unsure whether of not David would be at dad's on Christmas Eve, so we brought his presents just in case!  When he finally did guess us, Kelly took a picture with her phone of the pile of presents we had for him and sent it to him. When it was our turn we were sure the Lever's were our Kris Kringle - but we were wrong!  We guessed everyone that was left and our last guess was Jake - he was it!  He gave us Wii Mario Galaxy 2! Yay!!

When all the guessing was over, we started to explain one of the presents we got David to everyone... but decided to show them instead!  We unwrapped the gift... a strobe light t-shirt!  It was black with red (pinkish) wings that light up to music (noise)... David will be a chick-magnet in it! ;-) The kids all had lots of fun playing with the shirt with music and making loud noises!

We were surprised when we arrived home late that Teresa and Gustavo were still awake and working on the Santa puzzle!  Jason and Gustavo worked on the puzzle while I hung that stockings by the chimney with care! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tron and Jason's vacation begins!

Chad, Teresa, Gustavo and I met up with the Maurer's at the IMAX theater to see Tron.  I had never seen the original Tron, and didn't really know what to expect. I think it was a boy-movie!  Mr. Maurer, Chad, and Gustavo seemed to like it! ;-)

On our way home from the movie, we stopped by South Point mall so Chad could buy Teresa's present!  Teresa and I went on our own and Teresa got Jason a present. We left the mall and we were all hungry!  We headed back to the 'Boro and stopped by Friday's.

The next day, Jason came home to start his Christmas vacation!! I had to run back to the doctor's office to get my TB test read and was hoping that I could get the documents I needed, but alas, the doctor was not in the office.