Friday, October 26, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Can you say, annihilation?!? The Red Sox definitely pulled out a win (er, massacre) over the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of the World Series. For those of you wondering how in the world we got tickets ... one of Danny's best friends works for the Red Sox, and he was gracious enough to offer us tickets just behind home plate! Our view was amazing, and better yet, we were under the overhang so we were shielded from the cold and rain. It was a surreal experience, to say the least, to be at Fenway Park for the World Series. Here are a few shots from the night!

This game reunited Danny with his best friends from college -- Sheen, Joe & Clay.

At the VIP Party before the game

On one of our last nights in Boston, Emily got to reunite & have dinner with her good friend, Linling.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sox vs. Rox TONIGHT

We're off to see the Red Sox play in Game 1 of the World Series!!! Look for us on TV ... we'll be in the Grand Stand behind home plate (incredible seats!). Pictures to follow soon.

Cape Cod

We love Cape Cod! We have been staying in beautiful Chatham, Massachusetts, on the cape. We have spent our time walking around town, browsing the quaint little shops, driving around looking at houses, admiring the view from the beach, playing golf, and having drinks on the water at sunset. We also drove out to the very end of the cape and admired the lighthouses & fall color here. Sounds like we are doing a lot, but the days have been pretty low key. Here are some pics ...

Riding bikes on our first morning

On the porch of the beautiful Chatham Inn

At the famous Highland Lighthouse on the tip of the cape, written about by Thoreau

In front of the house we stayed at

On the beautiful beaches

Somebody here really went all out for Halloween

Doug "worked" while we shopped up & down Main Street!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Boston ... first few days

We've had a great couple of days in Boston ... visiting with old friends, seeing the sites, and frequenting good restaurants. Here a few pictures of what we've done so far:

We went on the Boston Duck Tour. (FYI ... each "Duck" is a renovated World War II amphibious landing vehicle, so the tour goes all over the streets of Boston, and then through the St. Charles River.)

Danny was hoping we'd be in the University-of-Texas-orange Duck.

But, instead we got the Rainbow Duck. ;o)

Breakfast at the Paramount with our good friends, the Jan Clan.

Danny getting in some good time with little Bear (Bear's dad is one of Danny's best friends from Texas).

We drove out to Cape Cod today, so more on that in the days to come. We are pulling for the Red Sox to win tonight & tomorrow night. If so, that means we get to go to Game 1 of the World Series. Go Sox!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beantown Bound!

We are heading to Boston & Cape Cod soon for some much needed vacation!

We will be traveling with Danny's parents, Doug & Carolyn. (Here is a shot of our last trip together when we went to Los Angeles to see Texas play USC in the Rose Bowl.) This trip may take on a sports theme, too, IF Boston ends up going to the World Series. Fingers crossed!!!

We'll all get to spend several days in Boston seeing the sites and catching up with old friends, then several days in Cape Cod, where we will relax and enjoy good food.

We are very excited about getting away ... to see some real Fall color, to spend time with family, to celebrate the end of Danny's ordination exams, and to enjoy one last hurrah before this baby rocks our world. We may get to post some pictures while we're away. If not, we'll update the blog upon our return.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baby Belly -- 24 weeks

At the request of curious family members, here is another baby belly shot. I think I'm covering the bump up, more than I'm showing it off. Oh well...

Danny Races for the Cure

Danny was one of 11,000 runners this Saturday to take part in Birmingham's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k. It was a beautiful Fall morning, and he finished strong despite doing only a few practice runs prior. We followed the race with breakfast at the Original House of Pancakes. Yum.

Post-race/post-pancake crash...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Piper turns the big 0-1

Our little puppy, Piper, officially enters adulthood at the ripe old age of one this weekend. When we brought him home last December, he barely weighed a pound. Now, he's a 7 pound ball of energy. It's been great fun in the Giffen house to have him around this past year. So, happy Birthday Piper/Pipes/Little Pips/Pipster!

Here are some cute pics of him over the last year ...

Piper then:

Piper now:

Shaggy Piper

Shorn Piper

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thanks, Grandma Dottie!

One of our favorite wedding gifts, courtesy of Danny's Grandma Dottie & PawPaw, was a piggy bank filled with lots and lots of change. We decided to wait until the bank was full before we broke into it. So, for the last three years, we have been saving all our pennies & loose change. The real story: Emily would go around and collect Danny's change every day, much to his frustration!

Grandma Dottie suddenly passed away in July, and it was then that we decided to break open the piggy bank -- in her memory -- and use it to buy some of the baby items we'll need. We opened it up and were surprised to see some bills in there! Thanks, Grandma Dottie & PawPaw. When the last penny was counted, it added up to well over $200! Though Grandma Dottie never got to know about this little one on the way, we are glad that, in this special way, she is helping us bring home baby.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Adoption Update

For those of you just tuning in ... in addition to expecting lil' Giffen in February, we are expecting another lil' Giffen, by way of an adoption from China. I thought I would take time to address the questions that we seem to get asked most often.

1. Where are you in the adoption process?
We are almost done with all the paperwork! We are currently waiting to get approval from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to bring in an orphan from another country. We expect this approval any day now. Once we receive it, we have a few more paperwork tasks to complete our Dossier. At that point, our Dossier is off to China, where it will be translated into Chinese, and then submitted to the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA). They will approve our paperwork and log us into their system. The date that we get logged in will officially be our "log-in date" (or LID). This date will determine when we receive our referral (information about our child) down the road.

2. Will it really take several years?
Yes, it really will. As mentioned above, the CCAA refers children based on log-in dates (LID). Our log-in date will likely be sometime in November 2007. The CCAA has just referred children for November 2005. So from this point, there are two years worth of referrals that have to happen before we get ours. To give you some perspective, the CCAA started working on 2005 LIDs in July of 2005, so here we are in October of 2007, and they are still referring babies to people who applied to adopt in 2005. At best estimate, it could be three years before we get our referral. But it could be longer.

3. Will your child be a boy or a girl?
We'll be requesting a healthy, infant female. Considering that 99% of orphans in China are female, we can be pretty sure that we'll be bringing home a bundle of pink!

4. How old will the baby be at the time of adoption?
She will probably be around 12 months old (in other words, she won't even be born for a couple more years). At the time of referral, infants are usually around 6 to 9 months of age. But since it takes a few months to get travel arrangements together, by the time families get to China, the babies are around 12 months of age.

5. Will you have to go to China?
Yes, we get to go to China! We'll spend about 2 weeks there. First, we'll go to the province that our child is in/from. Then we travel to Guangzhou (in southern China), where the U.S. Consulate is. We finish our paperwork there, shop for lots of souvenirs, and then fly home with new baby in tow. We are so excited about getting to travel to meet our baby. We hope to absorb as much of the culture as we can, so we can tell her all about where she came from.

6. Do you have to learn Chinese?
Because the baby will likely only be 12 months old, there will not be a big language barrier between us and the child. Our adopted daughter will probably speak English later than American children, but the delay will likely be because she heard Chinese for the first year of her life. Of course, we'll have to learn enough Chinese to get by during our two weeks there.

7. Why are you adopting?
This is a post for another day. In short, we are adopting because we feel called to adopt. This question deserves a longer answer, so we plan to post on this soon!

New Look

We are working on a new look for our blog, so bear with us until we get the kinks worked out!

Monday, October 1, 2007

It's been a year ...

We have officially been in our "new" house for a year. It's hard to believe, because we are still settling in. We still have lots of pictures to hang, and there is even one room (full of boxes) that we've hardly cracked the door of. We love living here and we love our neighborhood, so we are so glad, in retrospect, that our old house was on the market for *seemingly* forever! We look forward to another Fall here. With the 50 trees we have in our yard, we'll be spending a lot of time doing yard work in the next few months. Ahhhh ..... home ownership.

Here are some pics for those of you who haven't been able to come visit us: