Sunday, March 30, 2008

Into every life...a little rain...

It's been a bit of a rough week around here. Two woman I know and love received a diagnosis of cancer. One of them, my grandmother, is 92 years old. She has elected not to receive treatments other than relief of pain as she requires it. She is a spunky sort of grandmother. She has crammed a lot of living into her 92 years. I imagine she has few regrets as she has run the good race and lived a grand life. It is hard not to think about her without recalling one of a million funny stories she has provided for our family. I pray that her doctors can find a way to keep her pain to a minimum and that we, her family, can comfort her in the way that she needs.

A dear friend, the mother of two young girls, also received a diagnosis of cancer this week. I hoped and prayed fervently that this would not be the news that she heard. She is young and vibrant. She has so much to fight for. It is so hard to understand why bad things happen to such good people, but she is strong and ready to fight. In what I am coming to realize is her typical, admirable, concern for others, she actually offered a shoulder for ME when she found out about my grandmother's diagnosis. I admire so much about my friend...her compassion, her grace, her love for her family and friends. I pray for my own strength and wisdom as I prepare to stand shoulder to shoulder in the trenches with her and fight in any way I can.

Finally, it appears that our hope of the domestic adoption is at an end. We knew complications were present that would make it difficult, but it seems they may be insurmountable. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but I am still glad that we made the attempt. I pray for this child and for his family. I am comforted to know he is with his grandmother who adores the ground he walks on. He is loved and cared for. I pray this will give him the foundation he needs to live a full, happy life.

I am so HAPPY to report that tomorrow we will close on the selling of our condo. We moved into our house in December and have been waiting (none too patiently I might add!) for a buyer for the condo. Admittedly, I am a bit nostalgic in saying good bye to our happy home on Potters Place. It is the house we brought Lia home to in 2006. But I am thrilled for the young buyers who will begin a new life there tomorrow. May they have as much happiness as we did.

And so another week begins. If we don't answer when you call it's because we are out looking for the sun.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Spring! Happy Easter!

We spent a fabulous Easter 2008 and have many wonderful memories! We made the decision to stay put in our new home for the mini-break instead of driving to spend the holiday with our families. Although we missed our traditional family fanfare, the choice turned out to be a good one. Jim spent most of last week battling a very high fever and I am pretty sure he would not have been able to make the five hour drive on Friday. Luckily he was back on his feet by Saturday and able to enjoy a bit of family time with Lia and me.

We were thrilled to receive an invitation to Easter dinner from our dear friends Laura, Kevin and Emma. Emma came home from China at exactly the same time as Lia and their birthdays are only one week apart. They welcomed us into their home like family and for that I will always be grateful. We enjoyed getting to know Kevin's parents. We also met Kevin's brother and his wife...the parents of two lovely girls, Jamie and Mary. Lia took part in a grand Easter Egg hunt (thanks Kevin!), ate a delicious meal and tormented the ever patient Jamie to no end. Laura even sent us home with left overs. It doesn't get any better!

Before bed last night, I asked Lia what her favorite part of our busy day was. After careful consideration, she replied, "The whole day!". I have to agree with her on that one!

I hope you all had a blessed, happy, healthy Easter!

Lia, Mary, Jamie and Emma
The Easter Bunny cake Lia and I made. We took this picture AFTER transporting it and I didn't realize he was a little worse for the wear. Luckily he still tasted great!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Jim and Kate Plus Three!!

We were thrilled to have a visit from Taylor and Jace this morning! Taylor is three, like Lia, and Jace will be two at the end of March. Taylor and I dropped Lia off at dance class and then headed to the donut shop for some treats and good old fashioned girl talk. The "boys" stayed home and performed some fabulous engineering feats with blocks and legos.
It was a blast to listen to Lia and Taylor chatting away in the backseat of the car....although to be completely honest I could not follow the entire conversation! One of the funniest moments of the morning, however, was when I was getting the girls out of the car after dance class. I told them I was making hot dogs for lunch. They were so excited that they ran to the porch and gave each other a high five! What an easy crowd. I hope they always have an appreciation for the simple pleasures in life!
Taylor, Jace and Lia
There's nothing better than dress up! Even Jace got into the act with the red shoes!
Yep....that's Lia teaching Taylor and Jace how to pose for the camera!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Princess Fun!! Happy Birthday Katie Min Min!

One of the hidden blessings in our adoption of Lia was meeting a group of people that would truly become like family to us. We were delighted, after submitting paperwork to China, to find two families who lived within 30 minutes of us and were using the same agency! Not only did they live close by...we were all on the same timetable and traveled together to bring our daughters home. We formed an adoption support group of sorts with a few other families, who although were using a different agency, were on the same timeline. Since returning home from China, we have added several families as we meet them and our group now has about 10 active families. We get together every few months to celebrate birthdays, holidays and the odd luau (mostly because who can resist the sight of little girls in grass skirts??). As we have added families, we have also added children through adoption and the old fashioned way too! As you can imagine, as the group has grown, so has the fun and merriment. I look forward to our get togethers more than almost anything else we do! you can imagine how very excited we were to be invited to celebrate the BIG "3" of our pal Katie!! Not only would we see our dearest friends and be treated to fabulous food......but Lia was invited to dress as her favorite Disney Princess!!!! We could hardly stand the wait!!!

Jen and Dan graciously threw open their doors and we all got down to some serious birthday fun! It was another one for the books! We will revel in the wonderful memories for some time to come! Enjoy the pictures...but please note that I am going to have to learn to snap faster...I am telling you...two and three year old princesses are extremely fast moving targets!!

Mulan (Hannah) and Cinderella (Lia)
One of our newest princesses, Belle (Lotus)
Belle #2 (Emma) intent on making the best crown ever!
Snow White (Mia)
Tinkerbell (Maddie)
Belle and Cinderella (sisters!) (Jade and Hayley)
Sleeping Beauty (and birthday girl!) Katie Min Min
Forget the Mamarazzi....these princesses want to play!

Friday, March 7, 2008

More Birthday Fun!

I realized I never posted pictures of Jim and his FABULOUS birthday cake! Lia and I conspired for several days as to the type and flavor of cake Daddy might like. Lia was absolutely convinced that he would adore a Diego cake...because Daddy is a boy! Well, since I couldn't argue with the obvious, off we went to order a Diego cake that was chocolate AND vanilla. Once we reached the bakery, Lia momentarily waffled and thought for a few minutes that Daddy would absolutely LOVE a 3D Cinderella cake, but I was so proud that she really gave it some thought and came back to Diego (and not the one SHE liked best!). I am fairly certain that this was the first time the cake decorator was requested to pipe "Happy Birthday Daddy" on a Diego cake...she may still be shaking her head at that one!

We picked up the cake after school on Jim's birthday. Lia could not stand the long wait until Daddy got home to see his surprise. She was just beside herself with excitement. I finally called Jim and asked him to come home early!

We had a wonderful dinner topped off by a piece of the sweetest cake I have ever eaten. It really was the stuff that Mom dreams are made of. Here is a picture of the birthday boy and his favorite girl!

See what I mean??? EVERY TIME I get the camera out....funny face time...

For the Love of a Bear

Lia in March of 2006 (home for one month!) with two of her favorite people...Pink Bear and Great Grandma:

Lia received a plushy, squishy, sweet pink bear as a gift when we first brought her home. That bear instantly became her best buddy. We (I) initially named "him" (and I know what you're's a PINK bear...but he was always a "he" for some reason!) "Bear"-y Manilow...a nod to the other man in my life. However, before long we just started calling him Pink Bear and that name stuck. Pink, Pinky, the Pinkster, P.B....he answers to more names than Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy....well you get the idea!

We could not leave the house without him. When Lia started to school, he went along...although he was forced the indignity of waiting for Lia out in the hall. They were both happy at nap time, when they could be reunited for a good round of hugs and loving for a few blissful hours.

I ordered a spare bear just in case the unthinkable might happen. The spare came in handy on a few occasions when I committed the ultimate in bad mommydom and left old P.B. at school. Lia was never the wiser and we all got a good night's sleep!

As Lia gets older (sob!), she is not SO reliant on her stuffed buddy. He still sleeps with her, but it is not necessary to take him along for EVERY outing. But don't fear...he's still getting his fair share of playtime here at home. These are two pictures I took just this week. I got a good chuckle out of both of these situations. Is it just me or does it seem like Pink has a pleading look for help in the picture of him sporting a pair of Lia's "Big Girl" pants??

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rock, Paper, Scissors......Shoe???

Lia is the youngest student in her Montessori pre-school class. The students range in age from 3 to 5. The older children provide excellent modeling for many skills...and are actually considered "co-teachers" in the Montessori environment. I am excited to watch Lia over the next few years as she goes from being the youngest to becoming one of the older students in her class and assumes more of a leadership role.

But of course in addition to the desirable skills and behaviors, she is also picking up a few, shall we say, "questionable" phrases and learning some "funny things" from her older friends. The "funny face" in the picture above is just one example of what is apparently all the rage in pre-school these days. She does this every time I get the camera out!!

Just this week she came home saying, "Knock-knock". Of course I answered with, "who's there?". This is where it all begins to fall apart. She chooses any object she spies in the room, such as "refrigerator". When I say "Refrigerator who?", she comes back with something like, "Refrigerator cabbage"...and then laughs hysterically. Frankly, it is hard not to join in with her contagious gleefulness and we have laughed ourselves silly over many such crazy jokes this week.

She stumped us for a bit over dinner a few nights ago when she asked us if we wanted to play "rock, paper, scissors, shoe". When I questioned her a little bit she started to pump her fist up and down saying, "rock, paper, scissors, SHOE!". I realized she was trying to play rock, paper, scissors......Shoot! So innocent and sweet........and keeping her Mama and Daddy in stitches this week!