Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Razzle Dazzle 'Em!

Dear Lia,

Tonight we had your very first dress rehearsal. Mama has happily attended your cousins' recitals many times, always dreaming of the moment I would be able to watch my own daughter up on stage. When we first tried dance class last September, I wasn't sure this would be the year. You were the youngest in your class...and you much preferred laying on the floor to participating. After you turned 3 (!) in December, we decided to try again...and you loved it from the start.

You have been singing "Robin in the Rain", your recital number, almost non-stop for the past month...and practicing hard. You and I were both giddy when we finally laid eyes on the beautiful costume you get to wear in your recital. We did a few practice runs of putting your hair up in a bun over the past few weeks. You sure don't care much for the pins necessary to hold all that hair in place...but when I assured you that Julia and Lauren would also have pins in their hair, you decided it would all be okay. And Mama is getting better at it each time we practice!

As luck would have it, Daddy was away on business today, so it was just you and me. Mama made a somewhat lengthy list so we would not forget anything and be on time. You couldn't have been better...and let me tell you, when you found out there was make-up involved, you practically threw your clothes off in one fluid movement...so eager were you to get ready!

When we got to the school where your recital will be held in a few weeks, you took in all the activity with your usual wariness. The photographer did everything but stand on his head to get a smile out of you, but you were very serious about it all. Have no doubt...I will still treasure those pictures forever. I would love them even if YOU were standing on your head (without messing up your hair of course!)

When we got to your backstage waiting area, you recognized your friends from class and you started to warm up...and smile. I could tell that you loved looking at all the costumes the "big girls" were sporting. You were especially taken by the "pink girls"...and I can see why...they looked very beautiful in their pink confections...cotton candy with legs!!

They sent the mamas to get seats right before you took the stage. I spent a few minutes in panic trying to figure out the video camera before deciding I would just take still photos. I didn't want to chance messing up the video and not having any pictures.

Lia, when your "Saturday, 10:30" class took the stage, I realized that collectively, you were a tour de force!! Each and every one of you sang and danced your little hearts out! I thought MY heart would surely leap from my chest...I was so proud! And you even smiled once or twice!

When your number was over...all too fast... you were given the opportunity to walk across the stage to thunderous applause from all the parents. You didn't miss a beat, walking and waving...I truly believe you could one day be queen of something other than this house! It was fabulous. And when you stopped at the end to blow a kiss, I was done. I am pretty sure I was one of the only mamas in the audience crying happy tears. But don't worry...I didn't embarrass you...I wiped them away before anyone noticed!

Lia...once again, you have surpassed my dreams of motherhood and how sweet it would be. I am so proud of you. You have blessed my life beyond reason or expectation.

You wowed the crowd tonight...but baby...you razzle dazzle ME everyday!

I love you.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Let us Remember

To all of our brave service men and women, past and present~we acknowledge your sacrifice.
We pray for your safety~ today and everyday.
We thank you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

She's Beautiful

Recently I was driving in the car when I heard the song, "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt. I realize it is a song of unrequited love, but it will forever remind me of my first days with Lia in February 2006. We had just returned home from China and were watching the Olympics. For the first time that evening, Lia allowed me to hold her bottle and feed her...something she would have no part of previously, preferring instead to feed herself while cudling with me. I remember being overwhelmed with emotion and just swept away by the miraculous magnitude of becoming Mama to Jhang Hui Wen. Of course this moment, locked in my memory forever, occurred as a skater performed a routine to the James Blunt song in the background. I still cry happy tears everytime I hear this song as I recall holding Lia and dancing her around the living room. These are the precious moments destined to be with me until my final breath. How lucky I am to know such love as this.

Today that love seems ever so much more precious. Like most families in this widespread, yet somehow closeknit, international adoption community, I spent the day distraught over the tragedy that has befallen the Steven Curtis Chapman family. Our prayers will contiue to be with this beautiful family now and in the coming weeks and months. It is devastating.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Pay it Forward!!

Edited to add: I am thrilled to be able to pay it forward to Jen, Nicole and Laurie!! If you could please e-mail your address to me : 64coyote@verizon.net, I will get your gifts out soon! Thanks for playing!!

Have you seen this movie? It is one of my favorites about the power of kindness multiplied...paid forward. My friend, Lisa, did a lovely little giveaway on her blog a few months back about kindness. I loved the whole idea (and Lisa too, for being the kindhearted person she is!). I have thought from time to time about how to incorporate her idea on my blog.

So you can imagine the fun I've had watching a Pay it Forward movement travel through blogland over the past few weeks. On Saturday, I had no sooner mentioned to Jim that I would love to do a Pay it Forward on my blog, when I spotted a new post from one of the most inspirational bloggers I "know". I was thrilled to be the first lucky recipient of Denise's Pay it Forward...and even more thrilled to get my own up and running!

Here's how it works: (I copied this straight from Denise's blog!)


Here are the rules:

I will send a gift (a surprise!!) to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this "PIF" exchange, and who make the same pledge on their own blog. The only thing you have to do in return is PAY IT FORWARD - on your own blog.
So, if you want to get a goodie from me, and are willing to "Pay it Forward" on your blog, let me know!
I'd just love to send out a fun little present to you!!!
* Note I'll need your real (snail mail) address... which you can do by private email.

So come on...be one of the first three comments......
I can't wait to Pay It Forward to YOU!!!!



Sunday, May 18, 2008

Is Your Mama a Llama??

Yeah....Lia's isn't either...but she DID see a llama today!! We spent a very wonderful, very wet afternoon celebrating the birthdays of Hayley and Jade. Despite torrential downpours and the nagging suspicion that Mother Nature really does have it out for us, the children had a wonderful time feeding and petting a small menagerie consisting of a llama (of course!), goats, sheep, hens and one abnormally large bunny (frankly the rabbit was just freakish...but that might just be me!). Lia just LOVED the chickens, but I found the baby goats drinking milk from baby bottles most endearing. Regretfully, because of the rain, I didn't get a lot of shots, but the wonderful fellowship and the many laughs we shared along the way will undoubtedly linger in our collective memories for some time to come! Happy happy birthday Hayley and Jade!

Of course...after all the animal fun we enjoyed delicious meal and finished up with an ice cream cake...Yum!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Buddy can you spare...a friend??

Lia gets plenty of socialization. Really. She goes to school 5 days a week and her weekends are packed with dance class and friend fun. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that she converted the newel post into an imaginary friend. Complete with a hat and jewelry. And she provided refreshments (note the cup tucked nicely in beside the scarf). Someone (okay it was really just my mom) once told me that children who create imaginary friends have high I.Q.'s.

So should I schedule Lia for a Mensa evaluation or does she just need a few extra play dates?? :-)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Oh the sheer bliss....

Today was the annual Mother's Day Breakfast at Lia's Montessori school. It has been a major topic of conversation at our house this week. Listed, in no particular order (except for the first two...which really belong at the top of the list in Lia's book!) are the things that Lia (and her Mama) were most excited about:
1. The wearing of a fancy dress...
2. ...with stockings (serious joy of all joys!)
3. Mama would get to sit right beside Lia at the breakfast
4. The "surprise" present Lia was working on in school
5. The "surprise" flower card she also made in school
This was my second year to attend the breakfast...and I can honestly say it is one of the events at Lia's school I particularly love. I had a wonderful opportunity to chat with other moms as we waited for the children to arrive from their classrooms, which is a rare treat since drop off and pickup times vary by child and I rarely get the chance to talk at length with anyone. But of course, the absolute BEST part of the morning was seeing Lia arriving in line with her class. The look on her face when she spotted me at the table almost made me cry (and I didn't get a picture as I was too busy trying to get her attention!). The hour or so that I spent at her school this morning met every dreamy expectation I ever had as I waited so many years to become a mom. I am blessed beyond reason and so very humbled by and thankful to Lia's China mother. May she somehow know how very much her beautiful Hui Wen is loved and treasured .
This is a picture of Lia and me this morning, all dolled up for the big shindig. I think this is one of the first times I have knowingly stepped to the other side of the camera lens for blog purposes. I would like to mention that this photo was taken at 7:00 am before I left for school...and I am just getting over a little bout of the stomach flu...but here I am. :-)

This is the BIG GIFT Lia has been working on all week. It is entitled, "Meet My Mom". Lia's teachers asked her questions about me and filled in what she said:

Her name is: umm... Katie (:-))
Her hair is: ...I think it's black (actually brown with blonde highlights!)
Her eyes are: blue (this is a huge topic of conversation in our house...she's obsessed with eye color right now!)
Her favorite color is: orange (!?!)
She likes to: do some work on the computer (big red flag to me....definitely cutting back!)
I love my mom because: she loves me too ~ every day she loves me!

Yes she does, baby...she loves you more than you'll every know!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Princess Posse Rides Again!

We spent another wild and crazy weekend with the "The Asian Invasion"...our China playgroup. We were thrilled that one of our founding members, Kim, brought her daughter Hannah to visit for the weekend from points south where they now reside. I can't be sure, but I am almost certain I detected a hint of southern drawl in their speech...

The Moms enjoyed a girls night out on Friday. Of course there was plenty of laughter and good times all around. I don't have pictures to share because, just like Vegas, what happens at girls night out...stays at girls night out! *

On Saturday we enjoyed another picnic at Jen and Dan's house. Despite almost frigid temperatures, the food was great, the company even better and we rang in Cinqo De Mayo a little early...but with fabulous flair! With all the commotion and fun, it is almost impossible to remember our first picnic with Jen and Dan almost three years ago...when we were all just a group of hopeful, first time parents-to-be waiting for our referrals. It certainly was a much calmer, quieter type of affair back then...but oh, how blessed we all are with our beautiful, full of life, children. It is so fulfilling to see them developing real friendships and relationships with one another. Blessed I tell you.

Saturday happened to be Kim's birthday. The girls enjoyed singing happy birthday to her and helping her blow out the candles on her cupcakes. It was even more fun as they realized that the candles were the magical kind that re-light every time you blow them out. I loved the expressions as they all tried to figure out why the candles kept lighting up again...priceless!!

Good times with great friends is time well spent indeed!

*( Really, I just forgot my camera! We're actually a rather tame group of moms! :-))

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Our Favorite Maid....and Other Tales We Love

Lia loves her bedtime stories so much....and it is also one of my favorite times of day. After she is in jammies, with her teeth brushed, we climb up on my bed to read whatever story she has chosen. We actually start talking about what story we will read while we are eating dinner. Lately we have been reading Amelia Bedelia stories...a throwback to my childhood days. This series was originally published in the 1960's and it definitely shows through the language in the book. While I get a chuckle about some of the words, the simple stories are an excellent tool for building vocabulary. Amelia is a maid for the Rogers family...and is forever confusing directions and doing exactly what she is told (for instance, when told to "dust the furniture", she pours powder all over it...at her house they un-dust the furniture! Amelia gets herself into one pickle after another much to the merriment of those reading about her!) Lia is too young to catch all of the blunders and understand it all, but the language is simple enough that she enjoys the story anyway and still gets a good laugh!

This is another classic that Lia loves. We have read it so much that she can recite almost the entire book by memory.

Finally...this is a new one. We have a long wait for our mei mei, but Lia still enjoys reading this book about a little girl who travels to China to bring her mei mei home.

So these are just a few of the books we're enjoying at the moment, but we are always looking for new ones! What's on your shelf these days?? Please share your favorites!