This first shot is The Old Plantation-the house I grew up in.  My great grandfather built it in the late 1800s-you can tell that because we still had elm trees here in NH then.  The barn really was enormous, and was attached to the house by what we called "the back room", an old version of the modern mud room and under the same roof as the wood shed.  The house had five bedrooms upstairs and the formal dining room had been made into my parents' bedroom downstairs.  Good thing, since there were 11 of us kids.  The roof in the back left would be the sap house.  Our other outbuildings included a two stall garage, long garage (four stalls), chicken coop, blacksmith shop, and wagon shed.  My parents thought they might open it as a museum one day, but the barn burned when I was 12, taking the house with it (the house was still standing, but not salvageable).  The double bay in the front corner was the living room and above it was the bedroom that I shared with my sister at that time.  Our windows opened to the southwest and we could listen to the water rushing over the dam all night while we slept.  I think that's why I love the sound of the ocean as if I had been born on it.
So that is the old, and here is the new.  Below is our first photo of our daughter, Min.  Her file calls her Mindy and already I call her my Mindygirl.  She is turning six next week and she has club feet that have gone untreated, so she can stand, jump and walk, but on her ankles, and of course with pain.  After she comes home it will probably take about a year of castings before she can stand straight on her soles and walk without any assistance.  She is a peanut-the size of our average three year old at the time of her file when she was just over five.  So I'm planning to get a jogger when we go to China so that we can get around with something big enough for her to sit in comfortably and with three big wheels that can get around easily-anyone who has tried to use a stroller in China knows how crazy that is.

Anyway, this is an exciting time and I'll probably be consumed with fundraising efforts for the next several months.
Aidan got a little bit chunky this winter and G was worried about it, but I said, remember how our first son would get plump just before a growth spurt?  Well, Golden Baby is just short of 6'2".  Not a really big deal, but when I'm taller than my mother, her sister, and her father at just over 4'10" tall, that's a big deal (G's family is on the taller side of average and my father's family is tall).

Anyway, we were looking at Aidan today and both remarked on how big he is getting, so I measured him-48 & 3/4" tall, 63.4 pounds.  I dug out his referral because when it came I tracked the growth record that it had for him to see what percentile he fell on.  He remains on the same track now that he was on then.  If it continues, he will be about 6'4" tall.  Even people in China thought he was about seven when they met him and he was only four.  So we have one big boy!
Aidan has two spots of milia on his face.  For those of you who don't know what those are, they are very common little bumps, often found in babies but just as often found in adults.  They are frequently the result of blocked pores and, in his case, overactive sweat glands (very common in Asian children).  In children, they usually resolve themselves.

Two days ago his school nurse called to ask what the spots on his face were and I told her.  She asked how I knew, and I told her.  She then said that a staff member was concerned that they were something viral.  I told her that they weren't, that they either go away or have to be surgically removed, and that they had been on his face for months.

Today she called again (yesterday was a snow day, so no call then).  This time she wanted to know, again, if I was sure what they were.  This staff member again suggested that they were something else-molloscum.  I said that they weren't and the nurse told me that she had put a bandage over each one.  I asked if the staff member had any medical training-no.  I asked if Aidan's classroom teacher had noticed them-she hadn't.  The nurse then told me that since bringing them to his teacher's attention, he had been seen to pick at them.  Well, duh.  One day you call him in and wash them, then you call him in and bandage them the next.  Now he's paying attention to them.  She tells me that she wants them bandaged from now until April when he has his annual physical.  I tell her that this is ridiculous, that I'm both angry and frustrated, and pretty much end the call with that.

So I pick my kid up from school and take him to the doctor's office where they are just as angry and frustrated as I am.  When I tell them that the nurse expected him to wear bandages on his face for two months-one right at the corner of his lip and the other at the side of his temple-they can't believe it.  I leave with a note saying that he has non-contagious postules on his face.
This week I got a notice from Homeland Security that in order to get Aidan's proof of citizenship we now have to appear in person with photocopies of everything that we already sent them-in March.  So now I have to make an appointment to see if I can change this interview appointment because the back of the form where I'm supposed to be able to notify them of a need to change is a blank page.  Aidan came home in October 2008 and although he has had court issued adoption papers and a state birth certificate for well over a year now, he still has no proof of citizenship and still has no social security number.  There is the small matter of not being able to claim him on our tax return, of course, but the bigger concern is what a nightmare his custody would pose in the event that something happened to us and he was still in this limbo stage.  More time.  More money.  More waiting.  I'm going to write to my senator now about the discrepancies on the USCIS forms and the incorrect advice that I've been given by DHS staff.
I saw this on one of the blogs that I follow (Always in My Heart) and liked it, so here is my version:

Today... February 2, 2010

Outside my is a clear, sunny day but not warm enough for the eaves to drip.

I am thinking.......I can't wait for our new elliptical machine to arrive next week

I am thankful husband...he takes care of us all

I am wearing.......a red fleece with Santa Claus on it that my little sister gave me for my 40th birthday and that I never wear out in public

I am remembering....the latest trivia I learned (I love trivia)...that 10% of the Caucasians in Great Britain are immune to HIV because their ancestors survived the Bubonic Plague.

I am looking forward to....vacation in two weeks, even though Aidan and I have different weeks off.

From the kitchen.....chocolate chip cookies that Little Baby made

Pondering these words...Yield.

Around the house....G is making a cup of coffee, BB is napping in the crib, I am laying on the couch with a migraine and Little Baby is watching t.v.