My husband has a tendency to say that things happen in threes.  I don't really believe this-I tell him they happen in fours, fives, and sixes, too, if you keep counting.  However, I posted a little while ago photos of our daughter with another little girl who was adopted and that mother has found the pre-adoptive parents of the third girl in the photos.  So in our cases, good things do happen in threes.  All three of these little girls will have forever families!  The baby is already home, the oldest girl will be home next month, and our daughter will be home by summer.
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Tonight we had our annual professional development book discussion at work.  This year we had a few books to choose from, so I chose the only novel on the list-House Rules by Jodi Picoult (who also happens to live in New Hampshire).  It is not a bad book.  The older son in the book has Aspberger's Syndrome so the story revolves around his condition and how it impacts everyone who comes into contact with him.  It is also a murder mystery.  The downside?  It switches "voices" from one character to another, which I don't like, and there is no real closure-intentionally, but I like closure. 
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The book was good, but I would actually recommend The Out of Sync Child if you have an interest in sensory processing disorder in children.  While it's not about Aspbergers or autism, it is about characteristics on the autism spectrum and it presents four different types of SPD, while the novel shows only one child with Aspbergers, leaving you thinking that all children with it are just like him.  There is also a book called The Out of Sync Child at Play, which I've heard is really good.
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We finally got snow.  After only having snow on December 26 and most of the state having a brown Christmas while the rest of the country got hit, we are making up for lost time.  We've had three snow days and a delayed opening in the past two weeks.  This coming week we will have either heavy snow and winds or a blizzard-depends whether or not the storm tracks along the coast or further out to sea.  And the temps?  They'll be frigid for at least the next week.
So what do you do with weather like this?  Yes, there is sledding and skiing and snowboarding, but there is also hanging out around the house playing games and going out for pizza with the whole family when Aidan's first badge ceremony for Tiger Scouts gets canceled due to heavy snow (how many of you learned to spell cancelled with two Ls and get frustrated that one of the rules that made sense in grammar has been changed?).  Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks:
 
 
I have to admit I've been in something of a panic since I sent the paperwork off, not sure how we would have all of the $ that's due when it's ready to go to China, and having received denials from a couple of funding sources at the same time, but then as it always happens, I got a wonderful surprise!  A lady who adopted from Guizhou in the spring had taken pictures of Eva for me and since then I've become friends with one of her friends on Facebook.  When I posted the most recent picture of Eva (now that I feel confident talking with the "general public" about it), that lady said she had pictures of her from her own adoption-she just hadn't realized it was the same little girl.  So here is the newest photo of our sweetheart, on the right.
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I got eleven in all.  Here are a couple more.
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I took today off because this was THE DAY to get our dossier certified at the NH Secretary of State's office and I was worried that if I rushed there after work they would not have time to do it.  Smart choice.  We ended up with 15 documents total, I got all the certs and then went to FedEx where I sent the whole thing, plus a copy, to the US State Dept. in DC with an envelope for them to forward it to the NYC PRC consulate when they were done with it and with an envelope for the consulate to then send it all back to me!  The longest of the three steps will be the DC one, but hopefully by the end of the month I'll have it all back.  It's amazing how paralyzing it is when you hit a big stage like this because there are just so many places to mess it up.  I was in the den making the photocopies of the dossier for the PRC consulate and I was running my hands over the papers to make sure that the copies with seals ended up in the right folder.  All I can say is phew!

My (currently) youngest daughter is doing okay at school.  I think that in the end she will be better off but it sure was rough.  The president wrote to me, the dean and I spoke this morning, and the traumatic return to school is the result of a late decision on her roommate's part, a miscommunication to us by the R.A., and a bad policy regarding housing.  So I will address the policy later in the week because I don't want the main complaint diluted-that my daughter was unnecessarily hurt.
 
 
I am a fairly unemotional person without many highs or lows.  Easily irritated by little things but rarely upset by much of anything.  Think of a bear swatting at something annoying but generally not roaring or anything.  Then picture the bear when she is actually mad, and you have a complete change from the rather lazy, placid creature that might look round and cuddly to the sharp teethed, sharp clawed, ferocious beast.

Yeah; that's me.  And today, due to some nasty manipulations by a small group of mean, dysfunctional girls, Mama Bear was a-roaring.

We were taking our daughter, LB, back to college.  She was pumped.  Had Christmas gifts for her roommate and another friend all wrapped.  Packed up her new clothes, movies, and electronic games.  Was excited about her new classes.  We were excited for her, and very proud of her.  She finished first semester with one A- and every other grade higher than that.  She is on the student government association and in the business club.  She works in the division of arts and sciences with professors that she really admires-she is majoring in English with a minor in marketing and is considering a second major of history.

So imagine what transpires when we get a message 45 minutes before arriving on campus from her roommate that tells our daughter not to unpack when she gets to campus because she'll be moving out.  Her school has a policy, apparently, of moving people out of the suites if anyone complains about them.  Two girls complained about our daughter and, without any substance to those complaints (one of her wrapped gifts was for one of these girls, who spent Thanksgiving break at our house) and without any hearing about these complaints-made in her absence while they remained on campus over the break. 

I'll make the long story short.  The president and the dean of student have a letter of complaint in their inbox for the morning.  Our daughter is in a room of her own, crying, surrounded by new stuff that we bought to replace the stuff her roommate had brought-they had talked this summer and agreed on who would buy what.  And this Mama Bear is not done yet.
 
 
We have everything we need for the dossier except an inter-agency agreement.  Our agency says they don't have it in our file, so I had to contact the homestudy agency and ask them if they had it.  This definitely gave me a few moments of stress since our social worker is only part-time and it took them about two months just to get our homestudy done after they had (supposedly) everything they needed.  However, I have a couple of weeks before I absolutely need it while things are getting certified, authenticated, etc.  Today we went to the bank and got the last of our documents notarized.  One more mini-step done!
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This afternoon I got the I-800A approval in the mail and hopefully by Friday we will have our documents sealed by the NH Secretary of State's office!  It has been a long, long process to get to this point.