Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Re-cap

My two oldest nephews both celebrate February birthdays like me. What can I say... Aquarians rock! Tanner turned 11 on the 16th. Travis will be 8 tomorrow.

They came for a special sleepover on Saturday. It required some trickery to get them out of the house without her highness ( a.k.a. their 5 year old sister) knowing where they were going. It woulda been full on meltdown if she knew they were spending the night with me and leaving her out.

Our first stop was Toys*R*Us to spend their birthday money. They're at that age where it's impossible to buy for them so I don't even try anymore. Much easier to just take them on a shopping spree. Who knew the decisions would be so difficult? We spent about an hour there while Travis carefully weighed his options. Tanner, however, coulda been in and out in about 10 minutes.
Then we moved on to the grocery store where they got to pick out something for breakfast the next morning. Travis chose chocolate donut holes while Tanner chose chocolate iced donuts. They wanted chocolate milk on top of that. Boys after my own heart. I drew the line though and made them get regular milk. Hey, there has to be some semblance of order around here.
They turned down the option of dining out. Instead choosing to order pizza at home. I think they just wanted to get their new toys opened as you can see by the aftermath. Travis didn't want his picture taken and tried hiding behind his slice.
As you can see by the look I got, Tanner wasn't too thrilled with the paparazzi either. Of course, we're sitting in front of the TV and NOT at the dinner table. This is Aunt Krista's house, after all.
We had a great time! These guys are at the perfect age for just simple chill-axin. And they seem to enjoy it as much as I do. We spent the whole day Sunday just laying around in our comfy clothes, snuggled under blankets together, eating popcorn and watching movies. Unlike their younger siblings who seriously don't have the attention span to sit still for even one movie.
Griffey and the remote control were always within reach. I couldn't have chosen a better way to spend a cold snowy Sunday afternoon. I honestly had the most fun just hanging out with these guys. I didn't want the day to end!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

3 Words

My friend, Melissa, loves to watch Good Morning America's segment on Saturdays called "3 words". She turned all of us on to it during our morning coffee chat while we were visiting her last weekend.

It's a very creative idea. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes sad, sometimes brave, sometimes moving. But always very touching. She thought it'd be a great idea to do this on our blogs.

Here are the rules.....
Sum up your week in three little words. You can sing it, you can say it, you can write it, you can draw it. It can be funny or sad or poignant as long as it’s honest. Post it in video or photo format on your blog.

This is mine.
I'm always a little sad for a few days after I leave my homegirls.

*If anyone wants to participate that isn't already and doesn't know how to get to Melissa's blog, leave me a comment here and I'll direct her to your blog. (Her blog is private so I can't link it.) She's going to collect all of the three word submissions and make a video to post. This is something she plans to do every Sunday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Things I Learned Last Weekend & A Video

I'm not a petite girl. So I have a natural fear of sleeping on the top of a child size bunk bed. Instead I chose to "share" the big bed. Who knew that would set up an entire weekend of endless punchlines? Although maybe it's a little concerning how easily Tracy and I fell into our roles? But why did I always have to be the husband?

Even though the princess is used to tropical weather and turns the heat on in her car when the temp outside gets to a chilly 72 degrees, she prefers to sleep in a room where you can actually see your breath. There was a discussion about seeing on TV a way to treat hypothermia by laying on the victim with skin to skin contact. But in a house in the middle of Georgia, that's not wilderness survival. It's called "curious experimentation". Freak. (See what I mean about the endless punchlines.....)

I got to experience my first hibachi restaurant. And in a small southern town, no less. Yes...I admit that even though I'm in my mid-thirties, I was a hibachi virgin. It was absolutely delish! But what kind of restaurant doesn't serve alcohol on Sunday?
I definitely was in the bible belt.

Thank goodness my lov-ah and I split a dinner cuz the servings were ginormous. She couldn't even finish her shrimp and offered them to me. As any good friend would do.... after they've had a chance to eat their fill. LOL!

It's hysterical to hear a man with a Japanese accent refer to a large, strapping, bald, tattooed redneck as Big Daddy without even batting an eye. And I mean "redneck" in only the most affectionate of terms so I hope no one takes offense to that. But seriously ...lighten up if ya did.

Although Mel and Big D are the most generous, kind hearted, loving people in the world, you can not just faithfully believe everything they say. Seems they both have a little practical joking side. And they play off each other like trained actors. I've learned my lesson.

But how did our hibachi chef know to make the heart rice for me and my lov-ah? Maybe the waitress told him we were a couple? Right, Mel?

I'm not getting out of bed in the middle of the night to investigate scary banging noises just because of my line of work. Especially when there's a Big Daddy and a large menacing German Shepherd in the house. Besides I knew we'd hear the screams from downstairs as the serial killer attacked the others. Which would then give me enough time to climb out the window to escape.

I'm not fond of scary ghost stories or hearing the creepy Ouija board experiences some had at teenage slumber parties. Freaks me out. And makes my eyes water. Just weird.

A house full of wild women somehow affects the weather. Kind of like that scene in "Witches of Eastwick" when the three ladies started arguing and the winds howled and the ground buckled. We've created two tornadoes now. But not cuz we argue. It's just that the universe must not be able to handle all of that amazing energy in the same place at the same time.

I absolutely love our crazy bed hair, no make up, still in our jammies, morning coffee chats that last until afternoon.

Maybe I shouldn't have excitedly yelled Head in the middle of a crowded airport when I saw her step off the plane on Thursday. Better yet... maybe the princess shouldn't have yelled "Can't wait for your bullets!" as we were seeing her off at the gate on Monday. We knew she meant the blog post bullets ......but I don't think the airport SWAT team would have been so understanding.

Only CJ could make a bright red, footed, union suit complete with back door flap look sexy. Unfortunately, she refused to let anyone photograph her in it. It helps to set the visual image if you realize she was also sleeping on the bottom bunk under a camouflage tent. She definitely brought sexy back!

I never would've expected a group of polished, mature women to somehow find their inner hip hop streetwise side and decide they had talent as beat boxers. Then do it ALL WEEKEND LONG and use peer pressure to force every one else to try it. I'm not very good so I guess I'm gonna have to learn to break dance so we can take our show on the road.

I met a blogger chick with a very cool tee shirt and a wicked sense of humor. But she orders chicken wings and coffee at Mexican restaurants. I'm not sure how long our friendship can last with that type of odd behavior. But she does enjoy a good cocktail so maybe I can overlook it.

Stacy has an enormous amount of willpower since she brought her own food and stuck to her diet all weekend. I, on the other hand, abandoned mine completely and will pay a hefty price for it. All the while, she continues looking more and more fabulous. As if that were even possible. Mad props to ya, Stacy. (By the way, that's beat boxer street slang for "great job").

But I'm not sure her husband will be able to support these friendships now that he's met us all in person. And witnessed what we're capable of as a group. Maybe his quick exit wasn't really because he was tired. He just wanted to get off his ride on the crazy train. LOL!

If I ever play Trivial Pursuit against Head, I will surely lose. She is the Queen of UBI's. Not those kind. That's a Urinary Tract Infection. I'm talking about Useless Bits of Information.

Kristen's blog is far too tame. It doesn't reveal enough of the wild, crazy, hysterically funny woman she really is. Plus she has great hair.

Big Daddy is an amazing man. He can cook like nobody's business. He's an awesome host. Even jumps in his truck seconds after a tornado warning to go get us another bag of ice for our cocktails. We didn't even have to whine or beg .... he did it just cuz he knew we needed it. He's a true southern gentleman.

He's tolerant of the estrogen overload and all the vagina talk in his house. Even when he loses sleep cuz we're too loud. He's managed to remember all of our names. No easy feat for any man!

We come through and make his life really chaotic for a few days and he handles it with so much patience. I think he secretly misses us when we leave. But mostly you can see how much he totally and completely loves his wife. It truly is something special what these two got going.

I'm always sad for a few days after I leave Georgia. This place is like home to me. Not that I'm in love with the state itself....just one perfect house in a small little town where I'm always made to feel welcome. If I could choose anywhere in the world to go at any time, this would be the place.

Where my homegirls come to relax, let their hair down and share this amazing connection. Thanks to Mel and her amazing Big D for making their house so inviting and comfortable. I could never really put into words how much it means to me. To all of us.

I know it sounds so totally sappy but I love these chicks. Those that could make it this time around and those that couldn't. I feel so very blessed to have found not just one best friend in life but actually far too many to count. They are the blessings in this wait. I miss you all terribly. Looking forward to next time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

20 Months!

This sign could not be a more perfect way to mark my 20 month LID-versary.
Because in a few hours I'll be on my way to celebrate with some food, friends and good times!

Need to run.......I gotta plane to catch.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thanks Mom!

In the below post, my mom commented asking whether I'd received a special package yet. I didn't think so and then went to bed for the night. But about five minutes later as I was starting to drift off to sleep, I sat straight up and remembered that I'd heard a delivery truck earlier in the afternoon.

Okay... I confess... I'd been napping and didn't answer the door.

So I went and checked the porch. Sure enough.
This is what I found!
Unfortunately, I dropped my camera a few days ago and killed it. So you have to rely on the stock photo. But it came beautifully packaged in a fancy red box. I almost didn't want to open it, it was so pretty. But, of course, I did.

It's perfect. Because my mom gave it to me... her oldest daughter. And I'll wear it for my daughter. Kinda full circle.

My first birthday present for my 36th year.
Thanks Mom! I absolutely love it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Little Bit Of Whatever

It's freezing here. Yesterday morning it was 8 degrees when I left for work. Today it snowed and then rained. But since it was only like 20 degrees outside, the rain froze and made driving and walking a little treacherous. Not looking forward to my commute tomorrow.

Which is my birthday by the way. There...the cat's outta the bag. Guess what I get to do on my birthday? Not only do I get to work both of my jobs for a long 12 1/2 hour day, but my license plates also expire and my property taxes are due. Oh joy. What a celebration that'll be.

But I'm saving the real celebration for this weekend. I have something fun planned. And I'm really looking forward to it.'ll just have to wait and see. I plan to drink my very first margarita of the new year. I've been being good because of the diet. Didn't want to waste my calories, ya know. But this weekend I'm giving myself a free pass. My mouth is practically watering in anticipation. LOL!

Big Brot!her starts again tonight. I can't wait for this damn writer's strike to be over. I miss Grey's*Anatomy. And Desperate*Housewives. And The_Closer. But I'm excited about BB.

I'm also watching the new Sur*vivor. It started last Thursday. I like the idea of fans vs favorites. This season should be fun. Can't wait to watch the crazy hook-ups. Of course, I didn't expect Johnny Fair-play to go home... the very first episode.

Speaking of reality TV.... my own little guilty pleasure.... has anyone else been watching Celebrity Re-hab? Wow. That show's a trip. Some of it's very sad. It just goes to show that wealth and fame won't bring you happiness if you're all screwed up on the inside. I hope to see these people complete their treatment successfully and stay sober.

Another favorite is Rock-of-Love. The one where Bret Michaels* is looking for true love. For the second season. Apparently, he wasn't so lucky last season. Or maybe he's just looking for a reason to make out with more slutty chicks on TV. And not call it porn. I just love all the skanky stripper train wrecks on the show. Ohhhh.. the drama in that house. Hilarious!

Speaking of skanky train wrecks, I'm on the phone with my sister the other day (no I don't mean my sister is a skanky train wreck) and I can hear Tatum in the background singing. She got a CD player and headphones for Christmas. All the sudden I hear "Oops I did it again" come out of her mouth followed by some gibberish which ended with "I'm not not innocent". Yeah so she messed up the words but worse than that... WTF is she doing listening to Britney Spea*rs?! Although it was quite hysterical, Carla quickly convinced her that a more appropriate children's music CD might be the better choice. I really wish she'd gotten the video camera out first though.

To wrap up on a more serious note, please go read the story on the Half the Sky website about their emergency relief trip to Chenzhou. It's absolutely amazing. And heartbreaking at the same time. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it. There are pictures, too. It'll give you a good insight into how the orphanages look and what happens there. And thanks again to all who've donated to the Little Mouse Emergency fund. I'm not sure why the dollar amount doesn't update in my sidebar cuz I know that the button has raised more than that already. But thanks again from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Birthday I-Con!

For my very first bloggy BFF
I hope you have a magnificent 25th birthday!
I love ya sweetpea
See ya soon!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Happy Birthday Tracy!

Can't wait to raise a glass with you real soon,
my fellow party girl!
Love ya babe!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

I'm aware that 2008 is the year of the Rat. But all these years I've been under the mistaken impression that I was born in the year of the Rat. You see, 1972 is also a Rat year.

However, I didn't take into consideration that since I have a February birthday, I actually needed to look at what date the new year started. In 1972, it started on February 15th. I just missed the cut with a February 13th birthday. So what to my surprise!
I'm really a Pig.

Now I realize that all those smart asses who called me a "Pig" when I worked in uniform were actually right. Go figure. (That's a cop reference for those who don't get my very funny little joke.)

Of course, I had to look up the personality traits for a Pig. I mean, since I've been trying all these years to identify with the Rat. Only to find that I was wrong. This is what I found.

"Contrary to its rather negative reputation in the West, the Pig of Chinese Astrology may be the most generous and honorable Sign of the Zodiac. Pigs are nice to a fault and possess impeccable manners and taste. They have so much of the perfectionist in them that others may be inclined to perceive them as snobs, but this is a misconception. Pigs are simply possessed of a truly luxurious nature, one that delights in finery and riches (in surroundings, food, lovemaking and otherwise). This Sign believes in the best qualities of mankind and certainly doesn't consider itself to be superior. Pigs also care a great deal about friends and family and work hard to keep everyone in their life happy. Helping others is a true pleasure for the Pig, who feels best when everyone else is smiling."

Yep. All that's true. That sounds like me. And please don't think I'm a snob. Obviously that's a misconception, you see. And I swear I didn't make that part up about lovemaking. It really did say that.

"A Pig with no one around to appreciate its giving nature is a sad sight. Pigs are so magnanimous they can appear almost saintly; this can lead some less-than-well-intentioned souls to stomp all over this Sign, and the bad news is, the Pig will take the blows! Pigs make great companions in part because of their refusal to see the more negative or base qualities in a partner, but that rose-colored view can lead to this Sign's allowing itself to be taken advantage of. Contrary to their seemingly benign dispositions, however, Pigs can be quite venomous in response to being crossed by a lover, friend or business partner."

Saintly, huh? Wow. But I have to disagree with the part about taking the blows. I much better relate to that venomous when crossed stuff. Although, I do have to admit to wearing some terribly unfashionable rose colored glasses from time to time.

"Pigs are highly intelligent creatures, forever studying, playing and probing in their quest for greater knowledge. They can be misinterpreted as being lazy, however, due to their love of reveling in the good stuff; this Sign could happily spend hours on end making love, napping, taking a long bubble bath or dallying over an incredible spread of rich foods.

Oh yes... highly intelligent. "Reveling in the good stuff"...that does sound much better than just saying "lazy", doesn't it? LOL!

"Pigs tend to make wonderful life partners due to their hearts of gold and their love of family. Even so, Pigs can be rather exclusive, choosing to spend time with those who will appreciate them most and ignore the rest of the populace. Pigs would do well to realize that there's more to life than being needed. When they open up their world to a diverse group of people, they will truly bloom."

Okay I'll try to work on not ignoring the rest of you little people.
After I finish my long bubble bath.....

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How Did I?

Many of you have asked how I've been able to lose over 15 pounds in only 4 weeks of dieting. And with no exercise yet either. Well the secret is, I started smoking crack.

Now don't call my social worker. It's a joke, people! I'm just kidding. Geez.. lighten up. Oh and no offense to any actual crackheads out there who might be reading this.
(Gawd let's hope that's not the case.)

The truth is that I started taking a diet supplement. You've probably heard of it. It's called Alli* .

I was a little leery at first. I've heard the scary poopie stories circulating. And when I read on their website that you should stick close to home the first weekend you start it in case of... errr... "accidents" and that you should wear dark pants to work and maybe bring an extra pair in case of ....errrr... "leaking", I was like Hell No! I have enough poop issues of my own, thank you very much. I don't need any help with that.

But I have a friend who is taking it and lost over 40 pounds in like 3 months! (Hi Lee Ann) She told me all the good and bad about it. So I started to re-think it. Maybe I could try too?

The truth is that towards the end of the year I'd really lost control of my eating. I was constantly eating in response to my emotions. I'm sad.... how about I order pizza? I'm depressed... hmmm ice cream sounds good. I feel pretty good today... let's celebrate with a cake. You get the idea. I managed to put on about 20 pounds between Sept and Dec 31. Now that's in addition to the extra junk in the trunk I was already carrying, mind you.

I decided that I really needed something to put myself in check.
I seriously needed some consequences for bad eating. And if it'd help me lose weight faster than why not try it? So I did.

The pills work in your digestive tract to block the absorption of fat. They're not like other diet pills that make you feel wired, all jittery and shaky. I don't feel anything at all. They guarantee that you'll lose 50% more weight than you could on your own. Which means that if you could lose 10 lbs thru diet and exercise, then you'd lose 15 by also using the pills.

As long as you follow the program and don't go above your allowed amount of fat grams, you're not going to have poopie problems. I'm allowed 19 grams of fat per meal (including snacks so you need to adjust your numbers if you're a snacker) and 1800 calories a day. That's based on my current weight. It'll adjust down a bit once I lose some. I've only had two "incidents" so far and both were my own fault.

The first time was because I hit my 19 fat grams at dinner. Exactly. I'm usually under. Apparently, I was too close to the threshold cuz about 12 hours later I paid the price. Let's just say that things were ugly. And would've been uglier had I not been only 5 minutes from home. The second time was on Saturday. I had pizza for dinner. More than I should have. I was planning to eat the pizza so didn't take any pills after breakfast. I didn't have any emergency runs to the bathroom ... pun intended.... but I felt very crappy all day Sunday... again pun intended.

Anyway, the last four weeks have gone remarkably well. I love this stuff and plan to continue taking it until I get to my goal weight. Well, actually there are a few out-of-town weekends planned over the next 6 months that I plan to skip it. But the rest of the time I'll be good. This is exactly what I needed to convince me to eat right. I needed some dire consequences. Quite frankly, I'm terrified of pooping my pants in public. So that keeps me in check. LOL!

I highly recommend it for anyone trying to lose weight. BUT... you HAVE to be commited to a low fat diet plan or you'll pay dearly! This isn't something you can cheat with. Even though I skipped my lunch and dinner pill on the pizza day, there was still enough left in my system to give me a nice little stomach ache the next day.

But the stomach ache was a good lesson. Next time, I'll choose more wisely. That pizza won't look as yummy when I realize how bad it's gonna hurt. If I can do this, anyone can. So good luck in your weight loss quest and may the force be with you!

Monday, February 04, 2008

January '08 - Done

So I got through the first month of the year relatively unscathed. Wasn't too hard to do. My "2008 Plan" is in full effect and making good progress. What's the plan, you ask? The "Get Your Ass In Gear" plan, remember?

I'm finally taking the advice of all my BTDT mom friends who told me their biggest regret was not being productive during their wait. They've all said if they could do it over, they'd get in better shape. Apparently, being a mom is pretty exhausting. And babies are heavy! They want to be carried all the time. Back breaking, man.

They also told me to do all the little home improvement projects and new household purchases before the baby is home. Cuz afterwards you won't have the money, the time, the desire or the energy to do it. Remember the part about motherhood being exhausting? So I'm heeding the advice. Every month I plan to knock something else of the "To Do List".

So I'm checking two things off my house list for January. Finished the kitchen stencil and finally finished the sexy bedroom makeover. Awesome!

And my diet is going fabulously. At the end of week four I'm down
..... drumroll please.....
15.5 lbs!

Fan-damn-tastic! Now I just need to do that about 5 more times. LOL! I'm going to start hitting the gym after I get back from a little trip I'm taking in a couple weeks. far that's all from a diet. I'm still being a bit lazy about the working out part. But it'll come.

Thanks to all of you who've contributed to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund. Things are still rough over there but with the donations, relief efforts have started. I added a donation button in my sidebar if anyone else wants to give. Thanks to those in my family and non-blogger friends who responded to my e-mail request. I appreciate your concern and your desire to help. You guys rock!

There's some good news to report in adoption land. China has sent out referrals through December 27, 2005. Congratulations to all the new parents! Next month I think we'll FINALLY see the end of 2005 log in dates!! I know I still have a long way to go ...... but bring on 2006 LID's already.

And for those wondering, my best optimistic guess for a referral for me would be sometime towards the end of 2009. But the reality is that it may be 2010. Hope not. But only time will tell.

Right now I'm okay with it. I'm back to my zen place with the wait. At least for 2008. Cuz I have a plan to keep me busy and distracted. Now talk to me again 12 months from now after I've run out of projects to do and I'm all skinny and fabulous. Then I may start to freak out again.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Plea For Help On Behalf Of Our Children

Half The Sky is a charitable organization that works to better the orphanages in China. It's a charity that is near and dear to my heart. For those of you who asked about my "Great Wall" poster below, their website is where you can purchase it. It costs $50 but $40 of that is tax deductible.

This post would get far too long for me to try to explain all the wonderful work that this organization does. Jenny Bowen is an adoptive mother to two beautiful daughters from China. She started this organization as a way to give something back to her daughter's homeland and to better the lives of China's orphans. Please go to the Half The Sky website to learn more.

If you've followed the news this week, you've seen the snowstorms that have hit China. This is a country that's not prepared to deal with this type of weather and it's been disasterous in many cities. It's been weighing heavy on my mind and my heart. I'm fairly certain with the wait being as long as it is that my daughter has not yet been born. She probably hasn't even been conceived. But her birthmother is there and may be caught in the middle of this. Whoever she may be. And I'm worried about her.

The orphanages are being hit hard as well. They need help. I think that most of you who read my blog have some kind of vested interest in China and her children. Whether you're adopting, have a child home already, or may just be a friend or relative of one of us in this process.

So today I'm using my blog to ask for help on behalf of Jenny Bowen and Half The Sky. Below is part of what is posted on the Half The Sky site today as Jenny was on a plane heading to assess the situation herself.

"Welfare institutions in south and central China are having the hardest time dealing with the weather disaster. This part of the country is simply not equipped to deal with extreme cold or heavy snow and ice.

The most common critical problems are power outages, lack of safe drinking and cooking water, lack of fuel, diapers and public transportation. In many places where buses have stopped running, our Half the Sky nannies have been walking hours (in one case, 4 hours) along icy roads to get to the children. As conditions worsen, our nannies and teachers are remaining at the institutions day and night. They have given up the idea of going home to their own families for the holidays.

They need quilts. They need warm clothing. They need coal, water, disposable diapers and food. Here are the reports I have thus far, while in-flight. I will send more soon. Where you don’t see a report, either all is well or I don’t yet have information. I will tell you when we’ve heard from everyone. We’ve also given all the directors an emergency number to call when/if the situation changes.

Hunan Province –
Chenzhou has had no electricity or water for six days. They are relying on coal for heat and cooking. The supermarkets and banks are closed. Staff is using personal money for baby food, diapers, coal and water. Costs are rising due to shortages. They have a natural well which, thankfully, is not frozen. Even the older children are helping to fetch water. They have perhaps six days of food remaining. The local government is overwhelmed by the disaster and is unable to help much.

Shaoyang has seen heavy snow every day for 20 days. There is sufficient water and, for the moment, there is power, so the children are warm. However, 5 of 6 power poles have been downed by weather. Only one stands and the institution fears it will fall as well, leaving them without electricity. Much of the rest of the city is already dark. Children and caregivers continue to work and play together. High school students are cramming for exams and trying to ignore the cold. Everyone prays that the power pole will continue to stand.

Yueyang also has no electricity. The one functioning power generator is being used in the children’s dormitory. They are relying on coal heat but the price has tripled in recent days. They are running out of food and have applied to the local Bureau of Civil Affairs for funds to buy more. Our HTS nannies have been walking for hours to get to work, often slipping on the ice, “even though they try to be cautious.”

Xiangtan has had snow for the past 10 days. The main water pipe is “broken again.” There is no water for cooking right now but they do have electricity, coal and blankets. They are still able to buy food but prices have gone way up. Not all of the HTS nannies can get to work every day. They are keeping the programs going as well as they can and make sure that at least five nurturing nannies are there with the babies every day, along with the institution’s caregivers.

Jiangsu Province –
Changzhou has seen some heavy snows but the director reports that the children are fine. The director says that he’s doing his best to ensure that the children do not suffer. Public transportation is crippled by the snow and HTS nannies and teachers are waiting for hours to catch a bus for home or even walking home in the snowy dark.

Nanjing reports no problems at all despite the heavy snows. I tried to fly into Nanjing yesterday but it was not possible.

Anhui Province -
Chuzhou has both water and power. Only public transportation has failed. HTS nannies and teachers are walking to work. They are leaving home extra early to be there for the children.

Guangxi Province –
Guilin has two broken HTS heater/air conditioners in the Infant Nurture rooms and they’ve asked us to replace. The rooms are very, very cold. They ask for more soft matting for the floors and also snow boots for our HTS nannies who’ve been slipping and falling in the ice and snow as they come to work. They are so ill-equipped to handle severe weather.

Jiangxi Province –
Fuzhou lost power for a few days but now it is back to normal. The snow stopped a couple of days ago but now is falling again. The directors and HTS staff have gathered all the children into one big room to keep them warm. They’ve bought New Years clothes for the children and will have a party no matter how bad the weather. This year, however, the foster parents will stay home to keep the children safe. The institution has enough food and water. They want us to focus on those in more serious trouble and ask us please not to worry.

Jiujiang says they’ve never faced such bitter weather. They desperately need disposable diapers. Washable diapers cannot be dried. They need warm clothes, shoes, gloves hats quilts and warm mats for the floors. They need medicine for infant coughs and colds.

Hubei Province –
Wuhan suffers heavy snows but they still have power. Heaters are working but there is no water for bathing. The local community has offered to take children in for the Chinese New Year and the institution feels this may be the best decision to keep them safe.

Huangshi reports that the freeze is so severe that all heater/air conditioners have stopped functioning. They need quilts and warm clothes for the children. They need disposable diapers. Several HTS nannies have fallen on the ice on their way to work and they need medicine to treat cuts and bruises.

Gathering these reports together makes me think about how careful we have always been at Half the Sky to maintain our focus on nurture and education programs. Ours is not a medical or relief organization. There are many wonderful groups who do that work. Probably the primary reason we’ve been able to accomplish so much and reach so many children is because we’ve maintained our focus on our core mission — providing nurturing care for children who’ve lost their families..

But a moment like this really cannot be ignored. The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in the US taught us that no matter how wealthy a country might be, its vulnerable citizens (old, poor, ill, and orphaned children) are the ones who suffer most when disaster strikes. Even as China seems to be entering the first world, a disaster like this is quite simply crippling. We know that orphaned children will be among those who suffer the damage most.

I say this because I think we should break one of Half the Sky’s rules and, if there are sufficient funds raised in the Little Mouse Emergency Fund, we should offer relief (water, food, diapers, quilts, clothing) to any orphanage where children need help.

Let’s see how this goes. If people are as generous as I think they might be, we will work with the provincial Bureaus of Civil Affairs in every hard-hit community, and offer assistance to all welfare institutions where there is need.

Please lend a hand, however you can. You can donate to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund by calling us in the US at +1-510-525-3377 or in Asia at +852- 2520-5266 or by clicking on “Donate Now” or
download a form to mail or fax. Donations are tax-deductible in US, Canada and Hong Kong. Please forward this message and tell your friends and family. I will be back with an update very, very soon."

Please go here to donate. If there's anything that you can give, please help. These are our children and they need us right now.