Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! I only have a minute before I head off to down some turkey and have a feast with the family!! But I wanted to share that we will be heading to get our little Josh on December 10th! Out at 6am and back on Christmas day around 11:45 at night! I think Santa is coming one day late to the Mongold house this year...what a magical day it "may" be?

Of course...a screaming baby, that does not speak English....jet lag....excitement of three crazy brothers....yeah....we are hoping for the best....and no matter how that day is for everyone will be PERFECT to this mom!!! :) Love to you all and please never forget that I am thankful for each one of you! Every day of my life!!

I will post from China if AT ALL POSSIBLE! I am lugging the laptop along so that I can update friends and family during my journey! I may be traveling alone, but I am never really alone! I just hope it works out that I can share my weeks with you as they happen - here's to hoping'!!!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

News on our travel

Well....the TA did not come on Friday! So as long as we receive it this week - by Thursday - we will travel the second week of December. The process ro receive the papers we are waiting for is traditionally a 1-4 week process and we are in the end part of that - OF COURSE!!! ha ha the chance the we would not see our approval this week is slim!

Our agency is penciling us in to travel out on the 10th or 11th and then we would come home on Christmas Day or Christmas eve day!! Fingers crossed that we get home for the Holiday!!!

Thanks for all of the support and I will check in next week when we know more!! I'm not that concerned that we will not get our TA next week. I was concerned that we would miss the opportunity to be home well before Christmas...but now that the reality of that not happening is behind me...I am ACTUALLY more at peace now and can wait a bit more patiently for our paperwork next week!! Love to all! More when I have it!!:)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here's the scoop for all those waiting anxiously with me for our Travel Approval!

Here is everything I know! I'll just paste the letter from the agency. This is in response to my question: "Do you think I should begin preparing to be away from my children for Christmas?" They know my situation - of daddy being gone, and none of the kids coming with me - this was their very nice, but not so informative response!!! ha ha ha....In the defense of the ladies in the Travel Department at our agency - they truly just don't know! Her answer was exactly what i was looking for - scenarios for all possibilties. Read on!!! :)

Hello from the Travel Department! Pam asked that I get in touch with you regarding the travel timeframe and when it is likely that you will be picking up your sweet little one. We definitely understand the difficulty with planning to leave for China, let alone planning to do this during the holiday season while leaving other children at home and a husband is away! At this point we are still hoping for families to leave during either the 1st or 2nd week of December. If you left during the 1st week then you would be home before Christmas, however, if you left during the 2nd week then you would likely just be coming home on Christmas day. Really, it is still uncertain as to whether or not it will be the 1st week. All of this is dependent on when we receive the Travel Approvals from the CCAA. If we don’t receive the Travel Approval until next week, then it is likely that your travel will be pushed off until the 2nd week of December. As far as planning goes, I think we will have a better idea of what is realistic as soon as the Travel Approval arrives. Hopefully we will have a more accurate estimate soon. We will definitely keep you posted with any information that we have. Hang in there and we will be in touch soon.

The word of the week is Actually!

Will has a new thing. He LOVES the word ACTUALLY. He can find a way to use it in every sentence. you want something to eat? ACTUALLY no thank you. you have to go to the bathroom? Actually yes I do have to go potty mom.

It's time to go to get Ben from the bus stop Will? Actually...I'm ready to go mom!!

Is the upstairs a mess Will? Yes, it ACTUALLY is a big mess!

Do you want to play a game Will? I ACTUALLY want to watch tv mom.

He told me this morning, "Mom, I actually love Bah" (his bear)

Too funny little man! I hope I always remember your new word and how well you used it!! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Small Update on our growing little China Man!

We got an update today on little Josh. No pics, but his measurements as of this morning. He is now 20 months old, weighs 24 pounds, and is 31.5 inches tall. His feet are 4.7 inches long? What the heck does that mean? A size please?!?! ha ha ha.....Guess I'll just get him shoes in China! He'll probably come with at least something on his feet right?!?!

He is really not that small anymore. He gained 7 pounds since April and is now in the 20th percentile for American kids? Way better than the - less than 5th percentile - that he was in April of this year!

That was such great news and with the 18 month clothes that I have bought him...I think we will be in business!! :)

The e-mail are your updated measurements for Song...he is completely healthy and without virus or infection. And it ended by saying..."get packing"! That seems like good news!

We still have no travel assignment. Everyone really thought it would be here late last week - but no JOY! So I hope to have good news to report one day this week! Fingers and toes crossed to be home by Christmas! The anxiety is about to put me under...but I'll get through!

Come on TA!!! COME ON!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

another pic of our puffy man!

This pic is from the same day that the others were taken...but a new pic is a new pic!! :)

Reality Check?!?! here it goes....

Yesterday morning, Ben was sitting with me on the couch. He was hugging me and touching my face and smiling. Being the wonderful affectionate Ben that I have grown to not only love, but need to much! The way he looks at me melts my heart and I can't imagine a day without him!

His face was close to mine and he had both hands on my cheeks....and he said, "Mom....I love you...(and then...the words that will haunt me for some time to come)

so let me start over so I can say it all to you ...the way that I heard it!

"Mom...I love you so much....your face looks just like an OLD LADY with lines and bumps all over it....I love you!" (tha's a quote) there it is. I said, "Ben...mommy looks like an old lady?" And he said, "Yeah...just just your face...the rest of you does not look like an old lady!"

So was there a compliment in that SLAM? hee hee...and God love Ben - He truly did not even know that it was negative (if it even was...I mean...everyone gets old right!! :)). He loves me so much....lines and bumps and all! :)

This morning when we all got up and were eating breakfast I asked him again, "Does mommy really look like an old lady Ben?" And he said, "Why did you ask that mom...I already told you yes!"

I explained to him that all people get lines when they grow up and that people don't really want to be called an "old lady"....even if it is true. Kind of like when someone has a bad haircut and their hair sticks may be true..but it kind of hurts their feelings to hear about it? And he understood that. I just don't want him telling his teacher, or a friends mom...the same thing! One thing to offend your mother...another to offend someone that does not love you with all of their heart!! ;) He laughed as I explained myself and said..." I was just kidding!!"

Love that kid...honest and all!! :)

PS....and I promise I am not looking to hear how young I look from everyone!!! ha ha ha ha!!! I am at peace with my lines and bumps! But I had to share how the mind of a 6 year old works - priceless!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Zhang Song's Finding Ad

We were able to receive Joshua Song's finding ad today. I have the original news paper that it appeared in, a laminated copy of the actual ad, and the translation of the ad! This is priceless to me and I can't wait to show it to Josh when he is old enough to appreciate what it is! Here is some info on Finding Ads, and the adv. is below! Look will make you laugh out loud!! :)

What is a finding Ad? Since 1999, the orphanages in China are required to run a provincial newspaper advertisement for children that are found and brought to their orphanage. They call them "Finding Ads." These ads contain information about where and when the children were found and which orphanage is caring for them. Originally these were text-only ads, but most provinces now include photographs in their ads.

What does Songs Ad Say? Zhang Song - a boy - He was born on March 4, 2007. On march 21, 2007 he was found abandoned at the front gate of the Xinyang City Children's Welfare Institute. On the same day he was sent into the Xinyang city Children's Welfare Institute by the first group of 110 police reporting office of Xinyang city Police Bureau. Characteristics: A round face, a double eyelids, small mouth, light skin. He has a congenital cracked urethra.

May 13, 2008 - Hanan Daily.

Why is a finding ad important? The finding ads published by the orphanages in China are an important part of our children's lives for two reasons: First, they are published within a few months of finding, so they usually represent the earliest tangible proof of our children's lives. Second, the photographs in the finding ads are typically taken earlier than any other photos families receive during the adoption process.

And the most important thing to note about this photo: THIS CHILD WAS BORN WITH ONE HECK OF A HEAD OF HAIR? I MEAN....DID YOU SEE IT? He LOOKS LIKE "LITTLE RITCHIE!!" My bio kids were bald till they were two! This pic is taken at just over 2 months old! ha ha ha ha

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nega-Ben Kyle cracks me up and I needed to share!!

This morning Ben was whining about the shirt I put on him, it was to bumpy. Then, his toast was too soggy, his milk cup was too wet, his socks were not tight enough, Kyle was not playing x-box the right way....he didn't want to drive to school with Miss Sarah....he wished it was Friday....he was not sure he wanted to go to spirit night tonight....he was not sure he knew his vocabulary words well enough......YEP! All true...and all in his own brain! He was NOT ASKED about any of these things?! And yes...they came flying out of his right after the other!

When he starts to feel uncomfortable about something - (I think this morning it was about me NOT driving him to school) - the negative vibes just overwhelm him and he can somehow - find peril - in a rainbow?

It ends as quick as it starts, and truly - we just ignore it and he eventually lets it ALL go!

This morning it was a typically long chain of negative thoughts and the whining was a bit louder and more annoying than in mornings passed. I still ignored it - we all did - we always do....UNTIL...

Kyle, walks up to me in the Kitchen and says in a dead pan voice, no drama, very matter of fact, "Mom...I am giving Ben a new name - NEGA-BEN!" And he went on to explain, "He is so negative that I think we should tell God that we are changing his name to that!"

hee hee....I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes! hee that Kyle...acts like a boy...thinks like a man! :)

How much they change in just 7 months!

In the original pics that we got of Song, he was just 14 months old. They were dated April 2008, and his estimated birthday is the 4th of March. So he could have been - almost - 15 months, but none the less - it was 7 months ago. The few pics that we received this week are of Song at almost 20 months! Amazing how much he has changed! I put the pics together so I could see the change up close and it was a cute collage, so I thought I would share!

So glad I got the new pics because I am not sure I would have known what kid was mind in a room full of crazy toddlers! So grateful for the Orphanage for sending these pics!! :) Can't wait to get you out of your stay puff marshmallow outfit little man!! !:) I promise...I have warm LL Bean polar tech fleece just waiting for you! You CAN be warm without the bulk...I'll prove it!! :) ha ha ha.

Panda PHone this made my day and I have to share! I found out through a Yahoo group that I belong to, that other people in my situation that have traveled to China - leaving their young children at home with family members - have access to what is called A PANDA PHONE!

Yep...a phone that I will order just before I leave that will be delivered to me at my first hotel. I can give out the number to family and friends before I leave and we can call back and forth just like a regular in country cell phone! Granted I will be 13 hours different in time and the logistics will be hard that way, but if I am needed and vice versa....we have that access to each other!

Wow how this has put my mind at more ease. Still scared to death....but at least i know I am available for my little men!! Whoo hooo!!!!

Back to my paperwork! Love to all!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mixed emotions and a goodbye to our back yard friend.

Well…after our gator killed a large raccoon and then the very next day an opossum, I knew that it was time to call someone. So I called the animal control and they told me to call the Sheriff Department. Two very nice men came out to see me within an hour.

This was 10am.

The one guy was from PA and a super great dude and the other an older man that was equally as nice. They went right out and there was our friend. They walked over to him and he turned and opened his mouth. They yelled at him and so he slowly crawled into the water and then turned to head toward them and lunged for the shore? Yeah…I have never seen two men run that fast! I felt sick! Aghh

At that, they said – Mrs. Mongold…he will be out of her today. He is a HUGE danger! They told me that as soon as he spent more than 10 min on shore I should have called. No neighborhood Alligator should put more than a head onto land. They told me they would try to catch him and that if "they" could GET HIM, they would relocate him to the St. Johns river. Well…after 4 hours of trying…and some close attempts…they had no luck! Crazy watching them try…He was mean and angry and I think I lost about a year off of my life watching them!

After 4 hours they called in a trapper. 2:pm Now.. I knew what this meant. the trapper would say that he would relocate the gator, but the Sheriffs were honest in that the state pays them $50 for a captured gator, and the black market pays them like 500.00. So I knew this was not good for our friend. I burst into tears and begged them to just leave and say that they had never been here.

I felt awful. But at this had already been reported and with his aggressive nature, the Sheriff said there was no way he could walk away now. He was so nice and very understanding of how sad I was, but none the less…our back yard friend.... had to go.

So sad that people fed the gator! Makes me so mad! Just three months ago he was fine - not aggressive, not friendly, and now I see why they say don't feed the alligators! Because they get used to people, lose their fear and then are a danger!

The trapper was a crazy guy – a nice guy, but also an honest guy. He planned to sell him for his hide and meat. And he flat out told me that. He also...without me asking or saying anything added...."And I intend to keep that between you and me because I know the Sheriff's already told you - for anyone else that asks...including your kids - he will be taken to the river in the AM".

Another three hours goes by and NOTHING. 5:pm (we have been at this for 7 hours?) Not even a close attempt at this point. The gator was scared from the last two attempts and hiding deep in the pond. But sure enough...just min before he said he would quit for the day...that darn trapper, snagged the gator with a hook, reeled him in…asked me to bring him his noose!

And TAPE….yeah!! Dear God…what a day!! The kids were on the deck crying…don’t get too close mom! They saw it all!! The man got him on shore, sat on him and bound him up. He was just over 7 feet long and very strong. Kids were able to pet him and get their photos taken with him and say good bye as the trapper drug him to his truck. Said he weighed about 100 pounds.

And so it is done. No more gator…I am sad and have much inner turmoil about what went down here, but I am so relieved that he is no longer in that pond. When I saw what he was capable of…I knew for certain that he had to go from our house! The Sheriff also captured the small gator in the pond across the street, but assured me that it was too small to sell and he would take him to a gator find and release pond in Jacksonville. I felt good about that. Kids got to pet him too! CRAZY day! WE missed our last tennis lesson and didn’t leave the house except for school all day? But a day to remember here on Portside drive!! And to our gator friend. I am so sorry.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Quite a day on Portside Drive.....

Ok....real quick....because I have to get back to our Alligator trappers in the back yard. The Alligator did some crazy things lately and so I called in the experts! They are very glad I it went after one of the men? Yeah...scared me half to death! So I'll post any good photos I get there soon....

but I had to share our fun today! 2 new photos of Josh....and he is smiling! OMG...if I thought I was in love I am 10 times over!!! :) Love to all!!

Who is Stronger...Daddy or Spider Man?

Saturday morning, the boys and I hit the beach on the north end of the island – just a few miles form home, to watch daddy’s submarine pull out to sea! It was quite an affair. Helicopters, security boats, dolphins, lots of people watching, rain, cold, and truly a fun time with navy friends and families. The boat even honked its horn as they passed by the beach. Sad to see the men leave, but it was quite amazing to see the support and security involved in getting this boat to sea to do their job defending out country!

So this leads me to last night with my kids.

I had the most interesting conversation with my kids tonight before bed and I have to share. Ben started crying as I was tucking him in bed and he said, “mommy…I am so sad that daddy has to go away for this long. I hate when he is not here!”

Now this is normal for Ben to find something to cry about before bed? He gets very sad about EVERYTHING when he is tired. The problem with this night is that daddy being gone truly is a sad thing. Wow…I can’t just tell him to go to sleep and it will feel much better in the morning! (unlike many of the things he chooses to cry about before bed like…tomorrow might be too cold….or Santa might not know that he wants an Annikan Skywalker light saber for Christmas…etc. etc. ETC!!!)

I paused for a min, because I wanted to say something that would ease his mind, but the truth of the matter is…Daddy is gone…he will be gone for a while…and he will go away again? I didn’t want my response to sound bleak, but I needed to keep in mind, that the reality of this separation will be reoccurring and I don’t want him to live a sad life because of that fact.
So I said: Buddy, you realize, that daddy leaves us because he is one of the people that helps to keep the world safe from Bad Guys. And with that, he sat up and stopped crying. Kyle and Will also got quiet and I had full attention in the Mongold Dorm room.

I went on to tell them that every time daddy leaves, he his helping to keep the world safe. The fact that we can play outside, and go to the beach, and have parties and have Halloween and just all of the great things that we do in our lives, is because we live in a country that is safe from bad people. And while I don’t like daddy being gone any more than they do – without daddy and his friends, we would not be so fortunate.

I told them that daddy was kind of like a “super hero” that protects us, and it takes someone very smart and very strong to be a super hero. We are lucky that daddy is both of these things and we have to share him with the rest of the world, because he is so needed.

And Ben said, “Yeah mom…Daddy is like a super hero that doesn’t wear a costume!” And Kyle said…yeah…and daddy has no powers just like Spiderman and Batman, but he can still beat the bad guys buts!!” And will Said, “Mom…daddy is not spider man…he is Steve Mongold!” (Will does not quite get a lot of things…but he is funny!!??? )

And then they began talking about it. How if daddy didn’t leave us…kids would not be safe and they knew that spider man was gone from his family a ton because they never saw him with his kids in the movies?! By the end of the 20 min talk, they were all excited and just in awe of this new reality – Daddy was the Mongold version on Spidey!

And then Ben asked the question that brought tears to my eyes. “What is daddy dies fighting the bad guys mom?” Aghhh…. What do I say to that I thought? “Well Ben….have you ever seen a super hero die?” And with a big smile he said, “Oh no…that’s right…he’ll always win!”
Ben ended the conversation by saying, “I’m not excited that daddy is gone, but I won’t cry because someone has to do his job right mom?” And I said, “Yep buddy….we can be sad because we miss him, but still proud of what he is doing can’t we?” And he smiled at me and said – Yep we can! That’s exactly how I feel!

I’m going to get this blog into an e-mail to Steve just as soon as I get word from him that it is ok to send an e-mail! I hope he is as proud of his boys as his boys are of him right now! And I know he is!! The military life is rewarding and great in many ways, and very tough in other ways – especially when children are involved. I went to sleep last night so thankful that my boys see their daddy as hero and I hope that every little military boy and girl brat can see their daddy or mommy in just the same way – in only for a little while! Thanks to Steve and all of our other super hero friends for all that you do for us! We love you!


The big boat on the left is the scurity boat that is keeping the waters safe as the Rhode Island makes its way to sea!

These wonderful ladies also have a husband that left this weekend!
Barb with her super camera! We can't wait to see her photos!!

A group of guys were standing on top waiving to the families!
LIttle Zoe won't really understand this time around...but her mommy does!

There were dolphins surrounding the boat - jumping in the wake!

The boys were waiting for their honk...and hiding from the drizzle!

Helo's kept the airway safe as well!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our first Halloween on Amelia Island was a blast!

Here are a few pics of Halloween! I didn't do such a good job of remembering my camera. Forgot it at Kyle's party - forgot again at Will's party...and then I just forgot to use it while trick or treating! But this will at least show you what the crazy Mongold boys were this year! It was a super cool night! Lots of candy, warm weather, nice people - I just love Halloween!!! We are already talking about what to be next year!!
Oh...and because i am not right today...I wrote the captions UNDER the photos? don't get confused!! ha ha ha
Silly Spider
Kyle loves this costume more than any toy he owns!

Ben and Emily!

Will and his girlfriend Carmen!

The Dynamic Duo!

I can't remember what came first - spiderman or superman?

Men and his friend Mikah
Mrs. Jones - Ben's 1st grade teacher. She is a sweet sweet lady!
Two of Ben's best buddies in FL!

The principal of Ben's school drives a motor cycle and she kicked of the school parade on Halloween day! She truly is the most awesome lady!! :)