Two more days and 2005 will be over. What have I done this year? It seems like it was only yesterday that it was January 2005, and yet it also seems like the year has been a VERY long year.
Early in January we got word from USCIS that our application for extension on Denice's tourist visa was denied. We had been able to bring Denice back with us to the US in June of 2004 on a tourist visa while waiting for the immigrant visa application to be processed. Because of the denial, we had to hurriedly make plans to return to Malaysia and wait out the finalization of her immigrant visa there. So there we were, Duncan and I, three months in Miri with Denice and living in my parents' home. Doug had to go back to California, and was going to return to pick us up when the immigrant visa for Denice was approved.
While in Miri, the processing of Denice's immigrant visa moved along, and we (Denice, her birth mother, and I) made a special trip to KL in February so the DNA testing (to prove the relationship between mother and child) could be done. It was in April that Doug returned to Malaysia and signed all relevant documents at the US Embassy in KL when the immigrant visa was approved. What a relief it was when we could all go home as one complete family! On entry in the US, Denice automatically became a US citizen. After more than a year of waiting she is finally in the US for good and no more to be burdened with bureaucratic intricacies of international adoption and emigration.
Once things started settling down at home, I got back into the swing of things with my home business. Business started picking up again when customers started dropping off their quilt tops. My new crop of customers was all due to Shirley Hutcherson's help. Shirley is a regular customer and has become a good friend. She helped distribute my business cards from her conveniently located place of work inside the JoAnn superstore.
In early May, Doug and I, were invited to Kathy Carr's 50th birthday party. It was a great 50th birthday party and I am inspired to arrange a similar party for Doug's 50th birthday next year! Kathy and Richard Carr have become dear friends to us and we really appreciate their friendship.
In June, we made two trips to Nipomo. Doug's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and they had two big receptions, first with friends, and second with family. It was nice for me to meet some old friends of Doug's parents, and it was also an opportunity for them to show off their daughter-in-law and grandchildren to their friends!
In July we celebrated Independence Day at the Carrs. They had organzied a bar-be-que and it was a nice way to remember the birth of the nation. The kids got to run and play with the Carrs' dogs in their large back yard.
In August, we started sending the kids to day-care/pre-school three times a week. Their time away from home has given me a lot more freedom to go out and do things. It was getting harder to bring to them out by myself now that they are toddlers. They would kick at each other while on the double stroller, or start grabbing at things along the aisle while shopping.
In late August, a good friend from Miri, now living in Florida, came to visit for a week. We brought her to see places around here and also brought her to visit Doug's parents in Nipomo. I fell sick with the stomach flu during that visit but Doug, along with the kids and his mother, showed Tina the attractions in the area.
In early September, a day after Tina left, Herbert and Mui Foon from Miri, came to spend the weekend. They had spent a few days with a cousin in San Jose, and were later intending to go to Las Vegas for leisure and onward to Houston and London for business. I've always enjoyed visits from friends from back home. Wish more were able to come!
In November I got to spend a weekend in Kirkwood with three other ladies. It was the first time that I had left the kids with Doug for a weekend! I enjoyed my trip to Kirkwood and I was glad Doug proved himself capable of looking after the kids all by himself for more than a day! :-)
In between all these, Doug's parents came to visit several times since we all got back from Malaysia in April. They also spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with us. I got to cook turkey for the first time at this year's Thanksgiving, and again at Christmas. For me, that was quite a big deal because I had never attempted anything that big (poultry size wise) before!
Also in between all these happenings there were a lot of childhood illnesses - the usual coughs and colds, fevers, vomitting and diarrhea. :-( As the primary care-giver, I wasn't exempted from these same illnesses either! :-( While we are on the subject of illnesses, I was diagnosed with hypertension in October. Hypertension runs in my family, so it wasn't that big a surprise.
I would like to say a special Thank You to Kirsten and Magenta who were always available to baby-sit the kids whenever Doug and I wanted to spend some time by ourselves away from home and the kids. Kirsten is only 12 but has proven herself to be such an able baby-sitter. We are so glad that she lives very close by! Magenta is now in college, and despite struggling with cerebral palsy, has also been an able baby-sitter for us.
All in all, 2005 has been a very good year. I am glad, despite the reason for being there, to have been able to spend 3 months in Miri this year. It was good to be able to meet up with friends again and spend lots of time with family and relatives. Also the extended time spent away from home has made me realize that home in California is truly my home now.
I am thankful for all the blessings received and all the good things that have happened in 2005. For the other challenges that happened this year, I am grateful that God brought us through, and taught us and reminded us that the bad always comes with the good.
Happy New Year 2006. May God bless you richly this coming year.