Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Pictures

My cousins Kelsie and Kayla
Eddie and Kayla

Madison, Eddie, and Kayla







The whole family
I was behind the camera this year because I was so sick I didn't want my appearance to be recorded in any way! I've been fighting a cold/cough/flu all week and have been really sick. I always get sick at the worst possible times (when 15 people are coming for Thanksgiving dinner, when you have to get the fall decor up and Christmas down, etc.) It's been a hard week, but hopefully I'm on the up swing! We have so much decorating to finish, but when we do I'll post some pictures!





Christmas Tradition #6


Christmas Tradition #6
Every year I always enjoy shopping at our local 'Christmas Village' which is a huge craft/specialty item/Christmas item sale. It really gets you in the Christmas spirit. I look around the area for other seasonal sales that are as festive also. Usually you can find more unique gifts at these types of places.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Tradition #5

Christmas Tradition #5

One thing that I have consistently done every year for about 12 years is to write a Christmas letter telling friends and family members about my year. I started this because I would receive letters from friends and families that I enjoyed so much. Each year I would look forward to hearing what they had been up to. When I began my 'Christmas Letters' I was still in college. I've compiled each letter into a scrapbook and it's so interesting to look back on my letters from years past to see what God has taught me or how he's brought me through a situation. I also usually mail a picture with the letter. In years past it would be a picture of me and my class at school, now it is usually a picture of me with Maddie and Eddie of course! I'm working on my letter for this year right now! I better get busy writing...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Tradition #4

Christmas Tradition #4


Shopping


Of course I had to include shopping on 'Black Friday' as tradition #4! Although I typically do not get into the crowds on Black Friday, I try to stay home and decorate. My goal each year is to have most all of my shopping completed well before Christmas. I try my best to stick with a budget and list. I think Christmas is way too commercialized and I really hope not to go crazy with the gifts and the 'Santa' thing when Molly actually gets here. This year for Eddie and Maddie I have bought them one present each (that's OK, right?)...I got her a monogrammed easel and him a little toddle toy.

I've heard of families setting a limit of 3 gifts per kid, or other such restrictions so as to not go too crazy just because it's Christmas. I don't know if I will be that stringent, but I do think it's good to keep things in perspective!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Christmas Tradition #3

I first discovered the Elf on the Shelf a year ago at a local Holiday Craft sale and thought it was the cutest idea! Basically you start a Christmas tradition for your family by reading the book which introduces the elf as 'Santa's helper' who will be reporting back to Santa each night while the kids are sleeping to see if they've been good or bad. The family can name the elf and make up your own rules. Each morning whent the kids wake up they have to 'find' the elf in a new location. Such a cute idea!!





Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's wishing you and your family a very wonderful Thanksgiving Day!


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Psalm 136:1

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Tradition #2

#2 My all time favorite Christmas Album is Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's 1984 release "A Christmas to Remember"

Every song is great, but this is one of my favorite songs on it:


The lyrics are quite hilarious and I just think the song is funny. Mom says she can actually remember 'hard candy' Christmases...so it has meaning!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Tradition #1

Well, today marks the first post about Christmas traditions. These are traditions my family has done in the past, traditions I would like to do with my children, or traditions I've heard other families do around this time of the year. Feel free during the next month to try the traditions out on your family and let me know how it worked. Also, please post your favorite things to do with your family so I can include it in next years list.

These traditions are going to be posted daily (from now until Christmas day) in no particular order:

#1 Watching White Christmas



My favorite clips:

And of course the finale which can be seen here.

I cannot remember the first time I watched this movie, I was very young. But it quickly became a tradition for my mom and me to watch together the Friday after Thanksgiving while we decorated the Christmas tree. I've seen it a hundred times and I could watch it a hundred more. It's just the best!

Info. from Wikipedia:
White Christmas is a 1954 jukebox musical movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye that features the songs of Irving Berlin, including the titular "White Christmas". The film was directed by Michael Curtiz and co-stars Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.
Filming took place between September and November 1953. The movie was the first to be filmed in the new VistaVision process and its lush Technicolor cinematography has ensured that it has had a long shelf life on TV, video and DVD. Released in 1954, it became the top grossing film of that year.
The movie was supposed to reunite Crosby and Fred Astaire for their third Irving Berlin extravaganza of song and dance—the first two being Holiday Inn (1942) and Blue Skies (1946). However, Astaire bowed out after reading the script. Donald O'Connor was selected to replace Astaire, but he, too, had to pass because of an illness. O'Connor was replaced by Danny Kaye. The choreography was done by Bob Fosse, although he was uncredited.[citation needed]
Vera-Ellen's singing was dubbed by Trudy Stevens, except in the song "Sisters," where Rosemary Clooney sang both parts[1].
The title song was first used in Holiday Inn, released in 1942, when it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The song Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep garnered this film an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Rosemary Clooney was not allowed to record her voice for the soundtrack album because it was being released by a record company (Decca) other than hers (Columbia). She was replaced on the soundtrack album by Peggy Lee.
Dancer Barrie Chase appears unbilled, as the character Doris Lenz ("Mutual, I'm sure!"). Future Academy Award winner George Chakiris also appears, and has a notable appearance in two musical numbers, but is unbilled. John Brascia is the lead dancer who appears opposite Vera-Ellen throughout the movie, particularly in the Mandy, Choreography, and Abraham numbers.
Academy Award-winning character actor Dean Jagger wore a toupee in the film. Also appearing were Mary Wickes, Anne Whitfield, Tony Butala, Bea Allen, Johnny Grant, and a large supporting cast.


21 Months Paper Pregnant

21 months have passed since my dossier was first logged in with China (CCAA). I cannot believe how incredibly slow referrals have become. With the way things are going it could realistically be another 4 years before they ever get to my LID (2/25/2006).

While the time has given me an incredible opportunity to prepare financially and emotionally, sometimes I just feel like I want my daughter NOW! I started this process early, virtually exactly when I turned 30 years old (the age requirement at the time for China adoptive parents) knowing that it would take a while. But with the way things look now, I could be a much older first time single parent.

I see the stress and incredible work it takes to be just a mediocre parent these days, and at times I wonder if all of my plans inside my head will actually come into action. I have so many piles of future lessons to share, traditions to start, and examples to share with my child/children. I have an entire shelf of parenting books highlighted and bookmarked with ideas about attachment, discipline, creative vacations to share with your children, and how to be a successful single parent. I'm telling you I've read a lot! I've planned a lot! And, I've dreamed even more.

When I see parents of my students and parents of my mom's daycare kids get frustrated and easily annoyed at their kids sometimes I want to SCREAM! I'm not saying parenting is easy, in fact I'm pretty sure I'll be shocked at how difficult it is. But, more often than not I see young couples want to have a baby, but not want to raise the child. It's human nature I guess that gets in the way and our selfish human side wants to have it's way. I know there is a balance because I had two parents who did it and I hope I can too.

My mom was/is a great mom. She made being a mom look so easy. My dad worked long/late hours so much of the time (especially when we were younger) she carried the parental load. She said it was just her dream in life to be a wife and mom (actually her dream was to marry my dad, they were childhood/high school sweethearts...how cute, I love that she got her wish in life) Maybe it was an easier time as well. Don't get me wrong, my dad's presence was very strong in the family, but it was really mom who carried everything out and made life work for us.

Well, I'm just on my soapbox so I guess I'll just close with a note to all parents out there...be thankful for your kids and spend time with them...TIME is the most important gift you could ever give them! I plan on giving my daughter lot's of it when I finally meet her!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Pictures 2008

Christmas 2008

Me, Eddie, Ambre, Maddie, 'Mama Maze', and Eddie

We had family pictures taken this weekend at Portrait Innovations. The family group shot turned out pretty good. The pictures of Eddie and Ambre and the kids were good too. Unfortunatley the kids were sick and so after these were taken they went down hill. I guess all the people and lights were quite overwhelming. They wouldn't smile much for individual pictures or pictures with me. But these turned out pretty good.












It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Last night mom and I went to a Christmas Open House. To say this lady was decorated for Christmas is an UNDERSTATEMENT! She had beautiful Christmas trees everywhere! Honestly, it was the prettiest thing I've ever seen. Unfortunately my camera was out of focus for many of the pictures. But you can see from the collage that there were an abundance of trees.








Sunday, November 16, 2008

Busy-ness

It's been a busy month and I've been a bit of a slacker in my blog world. I'm almost ready for my blog to change over to the Christmas theme and with that change I plan on writing a daily 'Christmas favorites' or 'top 25' or something like that as we count down for the holidays. So stay tuned!

We're getting Christmas pictures taken next weekend, hopefully they will turn out well enough to post a few and make Christmas cards...we'll see. You never know with little kids, they could turn out like this one from last year:




I really don't prefer to have pictures taken in a 'staged' setting like this, but they are quick, easy, and cheap. Sometimes it's just easier to go to a place that is staged and ready. My preference is to have a professional come to the house and take pictures around familiar settings and scenery, but a really good photographer is too expensive for now.

School has been hectic as well. It seems like all we do is assess, grade, report scores, assess, grade, report scores. I wish someone would realize if we don't have TIME to teach the skills, obviously students are not going to master them when they are assessed. So instead of throwing in every intervention known to education, if they backed way off and gave me freedom and time to teach my kids would do well. There is so much I could say about this topic, but it's Sunday afternoon and I don't want to get my blood pressure up!

In fact the stress of everything inside the school building got so thick last week with the semester winding down and teachers stressing over what is yet to be taught I had to take a personal (read: mental health day) on Friday. It was a lovely day all to myself. I enjoyed going to my annual Christmas shopping hot stop:

While shopping, I ran into 3 other teachers from my school!!!! I guess we all had the same idea! Hilarious!!!!

Then I went to the day spa and got a facial, massage, and eyebrow wax!

My last stop was to a pre-yard sale-sale. I went to a friend's house who has a daughter in first grade. She was selling some of the clothes that she had outgrown. The dresses were beautiful and I couldn't resist buying them for Molly. I absolutely love the traditional dresses I grew up wearing...handmade, smocked, bishop style with bows to match. These are impossible to find in department stores anymore.

I have a very specific taste in children's (girls) clothing. I don't like the trendy clothing they sell today that make 3 years olds look like 13 year olds. I've even noticed they have 'bikini' or "low rise" sized/shaped underwear for little ones!? What's wrong with that picture? I'm not a fan of baby gap or old navy. It's just too...trendy. My all time pet peeve is 'message shirts' for kids. You know the kind, anything with the word "princess" on it, or telling the world "am i cute or what". Well, you get the point. Just give me some simple clothes in great fabric, with a traditional design and I'm happy. Also a point of friction with my taste, jeans for little kids...they just don't look comfy, especially with a diaper on.

So I love shopping around boutiques and specialty stores (as well as eBay). I have really tried to control my spending for Molly b/c I don't know how old she'll be or what size she'll wear. But when I see something really nice and classic, I have to buy it. These dresses were all name brand dresses that retail for $60 and up. Mom and I bought them for $10 each. They range in size from 4-6 so Madison can use them also. She already has enough clothes to dress an army of girls, but these dresses are so special.

Lavender bunny dress and blue smocked dress

Summer yellow Capri outfit, Strasburg summer dress, and green gingham dress with ladybugs!

various smocked dresses



Here's my favorite...the ultimate party dress! Complete with a pink crinoline













Sunday, November 2, 2008

Go Vote!


I think we all agree that it will be very nice when this election is over, but make sure you do your part and cast a vote for the candidate you believe in. Nobody is perfect and we'll probably never have a candidate we agree with 100% of the time, but it is our job as American citizen's to vote.

Mom and I really enjoy keeping up with politics and the latest news, so we've watched our fair share of political news shows for the past several months and are actually looking forward to Tuesday night. We're having a little election night party (just the two of us!) and I have the menu planned. It's just a few appetizers that we can munch on throughout the night as we watch all the results come in.

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election.


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