Thursday, August 12, 2010

Countdown: Less than 24 Hours

I am feeling pretty good about where we sit right now.  Today was a big day.  I had my latest doctor’s appointment, and things are looking good for my elbow!!!  I am going to take my brace off when we meet Penny for the first time.  I think it will be a nice surprise for her.  My arm is really improving, and I may be fully out of the brace by the end of the month.  We’ll see!

While I was at the doctor, Stanley Steemer was here.  Melissa housesat for me while they cleaned up the carpets.  Our basement carpet seriously looks like new.  I never knew it could look so good.  AMAZING.  Our bedroom and upper hallway came out nicely too.  I didn’t get any of the other carpet done, because that was the nastiest and I figured needed it the most.

I got back and we took the car over to a detailing place so I could have the juice stains removed.  They offered me one dandy of a package to clean the car, but considering it would have cost more than the carpets in the house, I politely declined and just paid for a vacuum and shampoo.  They said it would take a while and I should come back, so I hopped in Melissa’s car and we went down to Fredericksburg Lanes and hung out with our friend Wendy and her kids.  We had lunch with her and our friend Cindy and her kids and then came home so Leah could have a nap.  I wanted to put the finishing touches on Penny’s room while Hurricane Leah slept, and Melissa suggested we decorate the door, so we came downstairs and got out tons of paper and the Cricut and started going to town, cutting out stars, flowers, hearts, and Penny’s name.  Ultimately, we calmed down and only put her name and flowers on the door:

P1050122We were so impressed with ourselves.  I think it looks super-cute and it sort of hides Mike’s nameplate which is permanently attached to the door from when it was an office.  (see it under the “enn”?)  We used the stars that we made to decorate the bulletin board and scattered the hearts on top of the dresser.  I put the finishing touches on her room (roses) and took some pictures.  Here is Penny’s room!

P1050128 P1050124 P1050125 P1050126 P1050127

Leah was up and helping by then, so she climbed up and played with the bear that we plan to give Penny tomorrow when we pick her up:

P1050123She was more interested in the flags than the bear, so I had to re-attach the flags later on.

Afterwards, we hung out downstairs until the car was ready and went back to pick it up.  It does look rather nice without all the juice stains all over the seats.  It is still damp inside, so tomorrow after the rain is done, I will open the windows and let it air out and dry.  By then Mike was home, and we all went to dinner and then Melissa went home.  I’ve finished decluttering the main floor of the house, and vacuumed the living room.  I still have a list a mile long, including:

  • Putting “stuff” back in the car (maps, bungees, etc)
  • Dusting Penny’s room
  • Cleaning up my desk
  • Putting the toys back on the floor
  • Scrubbing toilets
  • Talking to my parents

I am happy that my parents are former host parents and I can rely on their wisdom.

We are leaving at 2:15 tomorrow afternoon and will get to Oakton around 3:45, hopefully.  Then we’ll meet Penny, and head home, hopefully on the road by 4:30.   We plan to stop in Manassas at the Golden Corral for dinner (we figure it’s pretty good quality and Penny can try a ton of different American foods) and hit Fredericksburg hopefully before 8pm.  Traffic is brutal here in the DC area on Fridays in the summer.  I’ll be monitoring the situation carefully and we will decide what to do.  Then we’ll get Penny in and settled, and I imagine she will probably pass out cold, although maybe she’ll be too excited to sleep!  I wonder if I’ll get any sleep, wondering if she needs anything.  I didn’t sleep at all the night we brought Leah home.  Maybe it’ll be the same with Penny!

I have enjoyed hearing from Penny’s friends today on Facebook.  They all want to be in touch with her and I have explained AFS’s rules about no contact with people from home for a month.  I promised to pass along any letters or messages to her, but other than that, we wouldn’t take phone calls or email or anything right now.  Once she is settled, she will certainly have time to make up for!  I have also heard from Penny’s mom who says it is suddenly very quiet at home and she has to get used to it.  That made me a little teary-eyed.  Today was Mother’s Day in Thailand, and Linda is an inspiration to me to let your children do what they need to do to have the best life possible.  I often joke that Leah will live at home till she’s 40, but I know sooner or later, she will have a moment she wants to spread her wings and fly.  I hope I am able to do so with such grace as Linda has shown.  I am also enjoying all my fellow host families’ blogs and Facebook posts. :)  I’m so excited for all of us and the coming two days when we meet our kids!

Good luck, everyone!!!!


  1. Sounds like you got a lot accomplished. I had to laugh at the Hurricane Leah part. We refer to Tyler as the Tyler Tornado for that way he can destroy a room in a short amount of time. Yesterday, I must have cleaned my living room five times. We pick up tomorrow. He is actually less than an hour from touching down at JFK. I am glad that I found your blog and have another parent with a toddler to lean on if I have to. I hope you guys have a very nice meeting today.

  2. Great post and the room looks fantastic. I spent the day yesterday getting Gianluca and Mason's room spruced up. I think it looks a lot better but the foosball table takes up quite a bit of room. I asked Mason what he thought of the room and he said it felt kind of like a girls college form. Uh on! Not good. He said he liked it though and it will have to do!

    Good luck with Penny! I know it's going to be great.

  3. Not sure where my post went to you. Just wanted to say great post and the room looks beautiful! What a lucky girl to have such a special room. Yesterday I spent time sprucing up Gianluca and Mason's room (they have to share). I asked Mason what he thought and he said it looked like a girls college dorm room. Uh oh. It'll have to do, and I'm not sure I agree. Most girls don't have foosball tables in their rooms. I'll post photos of it later. He does like the room but maybe the colors are a bit mature for him or something.

    Have a great time with Penny. One word of advice on the communication with family and friends back home, as a host mother of over 10 students, use your intuition. If you think the student is solid then talking with family back home when she arrives won't hurt. You can flex on this if you think it will help her adjust. You'll just KNOW what is best once you assess the situation. It's not a hard and fast rule, but a good guideline. Gianluca will have to use my laptop to communicate with family and friends and it's not available often. In his room is a computer that he can type papers on, but it has no internet. I think this will work out well.

    Have a great time!