SugarHouse Mama

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmastime Was Full of Yumminess {and No, I Didn't Ask MIL Bertha How Many Pounds of Butter She Used for the Holiday. Learned My Lesson Previously}

Our drive to SD was pleasant {as pleasant as an eleven hour drive can be}. We stopped off in Vegas to visit my grandma and grandpa {Aunt Julie was there too}. We chatted it up for a bit and then hit the road. I was wishing we could have stayed the night, but we had 2 dogs and, as I mentioned, Julie was already there, so sleeping areas were sparse.

The days were packed with family and food - just the way a Holiday should be. We got free tickets to Sea World {thanks Karen!} and I missed our daughter soooo much.

Sea World was especially hard. We thought we'd have Adjoa home in time when we made the plans, and we just knew she would LOVE it. I kept picturing her little face light up as exclaimed "NSU! NSU!" when she saw the ocean for the first time. I walked around the park with that image in my mind and it broke my heart a bit.

Luckily Maddi and Brandon were there to brighten the day. They are a riot, and while Maddi is getting so big and is now a little shy around me, I still see the little 3 year-old that loved me to pieces when Robert and I were dating.

We drove back Sunday so I could get back to the grindstone Monday morning. It took nearly 16 hours with all the traffic. Ugh!

Kingsley took Adjoa to her visa appointment today. The Embassy lost some of the paperwork {between the I-600 approval and the visa appointment} so the interview was not what we had hoped. Kingsley rushed off to get the paperwork redone and will hopefully submit it tomorrow.

The Consulate office told Kingsley that if he can get the paperwork turned in before Thursday, they will be able to give us a visa Friday.
  • We are praying for his speedy and safe travel to and from various offices
  • We are praying the necessary people will be available {and willing to help}
  • We are praying that there are no problems with office equipment like the printers, etc.
  • We are praying that the electricity will be working {seriously. I'm not making that one up}
  • And we are praying that the Consulate office will honor their promise to get the visa done in time

After all that, we will be praying for safe and easy travel for Adjoa and the Westerby's!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BossMan Cookies...In Other Words Cookies Used to Bribe the BossMan

Robert's employer gives the company about 2 weeks off for Christmas - paid. It's awesome {should be the standard for all employers...nudge, nudge, wink, wink}.

The catch: you must be at work the day before the holiday begins.

MY boss doesn't do that. MY boss requires that I be back at work Monday, the 29th. So to make the most of our trip to San Diego, Robert asked his boss if he could make an exception and allow Robert to leave on the 23rd.

Jeff conceded - as long as Robert brought in cookies. These are the yummy cookies I used to bribe Robert's boss into signing off on Robert's extra day so Robert could get paid for his holiday.

They are Martha cookies, from her yummy Cookie Book {thanks for the early and potentially way delicious Christmas present, Eden! hmmm, that sounded like the present was potentially yummy. You know what I mean}

I'll be giving some to my boss never hurts to bribe and butter up a little.

Martha calls these:

Chocolate Crackles
makes about 5 dozen

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk {I didn't have whole milk on hand, so I used heavy cream}
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, or the top of a double boiler, over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Into a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix on low speed until just combined. Divide dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide each piece into sixteen 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners' sugar to coat. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake until surfaces crack, about 14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days. They are WAY good, I promise. You will want a tall glass of milk with them, though.

Friday, December 19, 2008

24 Hours = All the Difference in the World

I am so amazed and grateful tonight. Not long after last night's post, emails and calls started flooding in. Dozens of people rallied around us in our time of need.

I truly believe God sends others to aide and comfort us in our difficult times. He brings peace in trying times, but so often he uses friends, family, and even strangers to answer our prayers.

A man we don't even know {you know how it works - a friend of a friend of a friend} is a pilot for Delta. We have been told that he wants to give us one of his buddy passes so we can fly to New York and bring Adjoa home on the 5th! He only receives 6 every year, and he is giving one to us!

I love the kindness of God, and I love that so often it can be found in everyday people.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Everything is NOT Coming up Roses but Maybe That's Because it's Winter...or Rather New Year's in New York

So I don't even know where to start but I've been getting phone calls and emails, so I better update my blog.

As most of you know, there was a fellow adoptive mom in Ghana filing some paperwork. We had all our ducks in a row for Adjoa to come home before Christmas. Of course, we needed someone to sit by her on the plane and watch her sleep for half the flight. I figured another mom who has been in my shoes would understand. Not the case. She felt like she needed to rest on the flight back. {I know some of you have already pointed out that we would be meeting the person in NY and that would give her time to rest, but you can't really say that to the person who said 'no, I'm not willing to help you.'} She felt it was the best decision for her family.

Anyway, we put the word out there and had a lot of help from many of you {THANK YOU!}.

We had people volunteer to travel {who were not planning on flying at all, let alone making a 17 hour trip to Africa and back} if we could round up a ticket. We had several people with friends and family flying but they were either on a different airline {we had already purchased her ticket with Delta} or they weren't expecting to travel for a while.

Robert and I are both so grateful for the kindness and selflessness everyone has shown. Even perfect strangers have been willing to help - it brings tears of gratitude to my eyes just thinking about you all.

At this point, our quickest option is the Westerby family. Ginny was planning on traveling with her 8-year-old daughter to Ghana to bring home baby Esther. She volunteered immediately to travel by herself with 3 children! Ticket prices dropped and now they are planning on coming home January 5th!

Another adoptive mother, Lori, offered to bring Adjoa home around the middle of January when she is going to get her son.

Our dilemma now is the airfare to and from New York. Anyone ever flown to or from New York around the 1st of the year???? It's not pretty. It's $700 not pretty, in fact.

We have officially paid more in unexpected airfare than our entire adoption cost.

So we are faced with paying more than $500 above standard airfare to bring her home on the 5th or waiting a few more weeks and saving $500.

A mother in crisis, missing her daughter's first Christmas should NOT be expected to make a decision like that.

Any help/advice you care to offer????

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Say a Little Prayer

I saw this prayer at one of my favorite quilt stores and it made me laugh. I promptly jotted it down so I could share:

Dear God,

So far today I'm doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, nasty, grumpy, selfish, or self-indulgent. I have not whined, complained, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. I have charged nothing on my credit card.

But I will be getting out of bed in a minute, and I think that I will really need your help then.

In all seriousness, though, I'm amazed that in spite of our weakness and our failings, God will always support us. Though we fail Him constantly through our imperfections, He never fails us.

During this Christmas season I am particularly humbled that God trusts me so much. I suppose my new-found humility is brought on by the awesome task of motherhood that lies before me. I am grateful and astounded that He trusts me so much to care for a precious gift from heaven - our little girl!

And I think that I will really need His help - but you know what? I also trust Him and have enough faith in Him to know that strength and answers and direction will come.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross

So I read Pope Joan while I was in Ghana in November. {Yeah, I know. It's been a while - please don't expect a lot from me on this one, the details are already foggy}

Robert's mom recommended it when we were visiting for Nana's birthday.

It was a great book to take along and read during a long flight. The story is fast-paced and fun to read. Predictable, but still intriguing. I loved the details about Medieval life - Cross has a talent for painting a vivid picture without being gruesome or violent {I'm assuming everyone has a fairly good idea about how violent and gruesome Medieval times were}.

I'm sure there are elements of the Pope Joan story that are true, but I'm not sure I believe the entire thing. I read that a historian said it was a terrible story - that the gist of it is 'don't let a woman become pope, she will screw up.' I tend to lean in that direction.

In the novel, Joan is blinded by her desire to achieve all that is forbidden to her. It seems, at times, she only wants what she can't have. Of course, some of those desires - like education - are good things, but she forgets that there is a time and a place for everything. I admire her desire to rise above - to stretch and grow - but she becomes sort of obsessed with it. And of course, it destroys her.

On the whole, it was an entertaining, well-written, and unfamiliar story. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. I will probably see the movie when it comes out. And I will probably think the book was better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How is it Possible That I Have the Most Awesomest News EVER and NO ONE is answering Their Phone?!?!?

So I logged into my email account today and saw {buried in a pile of 20-odd new messages since 10pm last night} an email from Ginny. THEY RECEIVED THEIR I600 APPROVAL TODAY! Yeah!

So I did a super-screaming-jump-up-and-down celebratory dance and called Ginny.

She said Lori got her approval this morning too!

I went back to my email to send a quick note to Lori and I saw a Reply from Accra USCIS just below Ginny's email:

Good Morning Jessica Sorenson:

This is to inform you that the I-600 Petition filed for Maame Adjoa Quarshie Sorenson has been reviewed and been approved. The entire case file has since been forwarded to our Consular Section at post. You will be contacted by the Consular Section on the procedure to be followed, to enable you obtain a visa for your adopted child.

In the interim, you may also contact the Consular Section on the following numbers for all further inquiries on this case: Phone – (233 21) 741000 ext 1710, Fax – (233 21) 741426.

Thank you
USCIS, Accra.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Recital Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Man I've missed Grosgrain. What a great time to visit her site again--- so many cute giveaways!

Recital Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Soooo pretty. Adjoa would look smashing in bright green!

Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Tree Lighting Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

I LOVE this dress - probably because I'm a big fan of Shabby Apple, and here's a little dress modeled after one of my favs from their line.

Tree Lighting Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


So I KNOW I have been MIA in the blogging world lately - actually, I've been MIA in the real world too.

Sorry about that.

I have many, many reasons. Most of which involve no progress on the adoption front. Our paperwork is waiting for approval at the US Embassy. {They need a letter from Social Welfare. Apparently they don't care if the SW gave his recommendation that we leave the country with Adjoa before the adoption, they want the recommendation after the adoption has been granted.}

Kingsley went to Kenya for an international conference regarding issues for orphans, and did not return until today {one week later than he expected to return}, so we haven't even been able to try to get the letter from Social Welfare. This means we won't be able to turn in the letter until Wednesday. Which also means it is highly unlikely that Adjoa will be home for Christmas. We are still wishing, and hoping and praying, for sure - but the days are dwindling fast.

Work has been VERY busy since I returned from Ghana - and the stress of the economy and housing market only compounds the need to make these deals happen. I am very lucky to even have clients to work with so I can't complain that much about it, right?

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that all my late night/2 am phone calls to Ghana, stressing about the paperwork, worrying about Kingsley's whereabouts in Kenya, focusing on business, helping out with some Luckyhill Orphan/School needs during the Holidays caused me to reach my stress threshold and get sick.

That was fun. Talk about bad timing.

I've done my sulking, my crying, my begging, my stressing, my tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth. So now I can blog.

Oh how I've missed you!