Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Memories in Snapshots

Update: I have re-opened our "baby blog"! Check it out!! :-) Happy New Year!




First glimpse of Santa goodness:


Our new...much loved family member...Baby Alive...now named (by Lia!), Julianna Hannah...





...and now, as we turn our attention towards the new year with new opportunities...we will tuck these precious memories of this most magical season away for a lifetime. Our best wishes to you all for a wonderful New year!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Seriously...can it get any better??

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This is the tag that was on the gift I received from my goddaughter (and niece), Annemarie, age 8. She chose the gift and wrapped it herself. Really...that wrap job and the handwritten tag were enough...she's really good...but she picked out a digital picture frame (that holds up to 60 photos...way cool...no??) and a beautiful scrapbook for me. She definitely zeroed right in on what I'm all about these days.

Good times, peeps...good times. It really doesn't get any better. I sure am one lucky ant. :-)

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Big Very Merry to You All!!

After agonizing over "the card" for several weeks...I decided to go with pictures from the professional. I used some of the images that Debbie took in Williamsburg in the fall. I love how the cards came out...she captured Lia perfectly!

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"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." ~ Norman Vincent Peale

And now as we prepare to experience the magic of this very special time of year, I wish you all peace, happiness, health and prosperity. Thank you for taking the time to share in our lives. It is hard to believe that I started this blog almost a year ago. It has changed my life in ways I never would have imagined. I have enjoyed getting to know so many new friends and I consider you all a blessing. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're down to the bones...preparations in warp speed!!

The gifts are bought...and mostly wrapped. Obligatory baking has taken place...by Jim no less...who commandeered the kitchen all day yesterday and was a cookie chef extraordinaire!! Our laundry is done and waiting to be packed for our visit west...and we clapped our hands in glee that we were done...for about 1 hour yesterday afternoon...until the contractor showed up with some great ideas for our family room.

As we celebrate a year in our home, we are so excited to be starting a small renovation project. As these things often do, it has grown in scope just a bit from our original intentions...but still a modest project from most standards. Our contractor convinced us of the value of doing a lot of the demolition when we are away for the holiday week...and while that sounds great...it means I have a room to clear out before we leave on the 26th. And there was the small issue of the computer having to be disconnected...we will have to figure out plan B for that...I can't go three weeks offline!!! :-) The Laundromat may become my new best friend as we will also be without a washer and dryer. I am hoping this temporary inconvenience will be worth the end result. You can be sure I will be taking lots of pictures along the way!!

We had our first weather event yesterday...a small ice storm...that melted by noon. We enjoyed being housebound for a few hours playing Christmas music! We won't talk about the very ungraceful fall I took while snapping these photos!



Lia was super snugly before bed...and allowed me to take a few shots. They are a little blurry, I know...still practicing getting clear shots inside...



I hope you all are having a wonderful Monday!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Of Castles, Caillou...and L-L-L-Ladies

So I am pretty sure my face was as green as the Grinch with envy when I read of the trip my friend Lisa was rewarded with for a job well done (and Lisa... I really am happy for you and plan to live vicariously...so I hope you live it up big!). It hit me this morning that it might be time for Jim and I to plan a little get-away of our own. Our conversation revolved around the following earth shattering questions:

1) Do Max and Ruby have a last name?

2) Where are their little rabbit parents?

3) How much does the "actor" make for voicing the part of Max? At most he repeats no more than two words throughout each episode!

And my personal favorite:

4) Did Caillou's mother used to be Olive Oyl? It could just be the shirt...or maybe it's just me...

Yeah...it's definitely time for a little "adult" time...sans Sprout or Noggin. I am going to work on that! :-)

Heading in a different direction...Lia had a little phonics breakthrough this week...and I am SO proud! Her teacher introduces a new "sound" each week. We have been advised since Lia's early days at her school to introduce sounds rather than the actual letter name (although for the record they do practice letter recognition and Lia does know all her letters by sight!). The children are invited to bring in an object to share during class meeting that begins with the "sound of the week". While I occasionally bring up the sound each week, I have been waiting for Lia to take the initiative in choosing an object...waiting for that proverbial light bulb...a "sound connection" so to speak. Last night she randomly blurted out that l-l-l-lady started with the "LLLL" sound. It took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about, but a quick check on the calendar confirmed that it was indeed "L" week. I was so excited as she dug around in her dollhouse basket and came up with her "lady" to share with her class!!! I did get carried away a bit and suggested that maybe she could put herself in the basket...being L-L-L-Lia and all...but she looked at me like I had two heads. I try hard for the laughs...but she is tough I tell you!

Lia's "L-L-L-Lady":


Finally...when I picked Lia up this afternoon, she immediately started telling me about a castle she drew for her dad before he took her to school this morning. When we arrived at home, I couldn't believe what she had drawn. She is a better artist than I am! I only wish it wasn't on scrap paper and drawn with a marker that was obviously on it's last legs. It is beautiful. Lia told me the colored portion at the base of the castle is water. Of course it is.


She never fails to impress me. May she always be grounded in the day to day lessons...but never stop dreaming of those castles!!

Happy weekend to all...and to all a good-night... :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just sharing some love...with Real Memories!

I started my blog in an effort to collect some of our memories. Traditional scrapbooking??? Just. not. going. to happen. Along the way, I have discovered an almost all-consuming love of photography. I have more pictures than, frankly, I know what to do with. During this holiday season, I decided it was finally time to get some of them framed and hung on the walls. I came across a wonderful website that takes all the hard work out of doing just that....for a very reasonable price, I must say. The site allows you to upload pictures...and then...the fun part...choose a frame, matting and a whole host of other personalization options. I received my order today...and seriously...I almost cried. While I can't show the surprise I ordered for Jim, I will show you the small picture of Lia and Li Li that I had framed for Lia's room. It turned out better than I even imagined (no doubt aided by Debbie's photography expertise...she gets the credit for this picture! :-))...and I know Lia will be thrilled. The framed photos arrived safe and sound...packed so securely, I think they could have withstood any manner of delivery abuse.

I don't do much advertising on my blog...but if you are looking for a place to turn your virtual memories into Real Memories...check out this wonderful company!



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Angels we have heard on high??

According to Lia, "The angel on our tree is very very tall!" :-)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

You've got a friend in me...

Last night was the highlight of our holiday season...really. We were hosted so grandly by Jen and Dan for our third annual Holiday Extravaganza. As always, we enjoyed a smorgasbord (hmmm...even with my Swedish roots I had to look that one up!) of delicious foods...and drink too (Jen, you must e-mail me that "punch" recipe...it sure lived up to it's name as it definitely packed a wallop!! :-))! But by far, the most gratifying part of the evening was seeing how the girls are developing real friendships and enjoying each other's company. It is so interesting to see individual interests coming out. It is obvious that Katie Min and Lia are two princess peas in a pod. They disappeared together and when Jim went to find them...he was met by two girls in various stages of undress as they were huridly throwing off their party clothes in favor of some princess finery. I am sure Lia felt right at home as "princess" bests any other style of dress with one hand tied behind it's back any old day of the week at our house!

Okay...my own version of Waldo...I came out from behind the camera to pose with my pretty girl before we left for the party.



Lia and Emma enjoyed making Christmas ornaments...they are so serious about it!!


More craft seriousness!


Lia and Katie (before the princess transformation)!



And after the big change...Lia and Katie...aka Ariel and Bride Ariel...even a mermaid has to eat!! Is it just me or do they look guilty of something??


One thing all the girls have in common is their love of dancing! We were treated to an impromptu dancing recital that brought tears to my eyes for its' sweetness!!



Of course no Chirstmas party is complete without a visit from jolly old Saint Nick. This may be my favorite image of the night...it is Lia when she caught a glimpse of Santa coming in through the front door. Priceless. The fact that he entered through the door has been worrying her all day! I have had to think fast to explain away this un-Santa like entrance!


Lia seriously told Santa that she wanted "nothing" for Christmas. Luckily for us she gave the Santa at the mall a proper list!!


Santa had a gift for each child...and even though Lia wanted nothing, she was very excited with her Tinkerbelle movie!!


The whole gang with Santa! This is such a great photo...Lia with some of her oldest friends and some of her newest!! Truly dreamy all around!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Sort of like "Where's Waldo?"...

I've gotten so many comments about how patient Lia must be to pose for so many photos...and for the most part, she is. I usually photograph her doing something which is helpful in making her forget I am stalking her with the camera. But I have to admit...she is NOT at all patient with me as I try to master shooting in manual. Already, I have gotten much faster...but I am still painfully slow...and Lia is having none of it. I delete more pictures than I save these days, but I like to think I am learning little by little along the way. I captured this picture this afternoon...but by the 7th try...there were no smiles...

Our Christmas tree is up, with lights...but mostly decorated along the bottom third...where little hands can reach. Lia loves to hang two or three ornaments on each branch...and well...trying to go with a theme...or even compatible colors, is apparently not of interest to her. Someone at work told me I should re-arrange the ornaments after Lia goes to bed...but I decided that our Christmas tree is perfect the way it is...and so while I might add a few more ornaments to the top 2/3's, the bottom part will remain bedazzled in Lia fashion!!


The face I love...


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rain, rain....go away...

"It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold cold wet day"
~The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Moments that Matter..

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Three years ago today we saw Lia's face for the first time when we received our referral. After 8 1/2 months of waiting, that moment when she first popped up on the computer screen was one I will never forget. I have tried to put that moment into words, but have failed miserably. How can you express in words the moment your life began? The moment you found your purpose in life? The moment you first knew a mother's love...

She took my breath away the moment I first saw her...and she continues to take my breath away everyday. We are blessed beyond reason or expectation...and so very very thankful.

43-Zhang Hui Wen,12-1-04

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stonn Ostri and Comera Amenym to You!!

Does anyone else have fun with the codes you have to type in to leave comments on some blogs?? I actually have a lot of trouble making them out at times and occasionally have to try two or three times to get them right! That could be why I take particular notice of them...but the fun part is that they contain consonants and vowels in the correct positions to form pseudo-words. The "words" amuse me during the times when I am not frustrated by them! Does anyone else gain entertainment this way? Please tell me it's not just me. I would hate it if it was just me.

We are in a bit of cold snap in our part of the country. We even have a layer of snow on the ground this morning. Mother Nature didn't stop Lia and Jim from "wacking a few balls" (yes...these were Lia's actual words) in the front yard yesterday. As funny as that phrase was...what really got me was what she said after she hit the golf ball. "Yay for Lia! I got a goal!" She is so my daughter. :-)

Of course I replied, "Way to go...two points!"

Peas and carrots, peeps...we go together like peas and carrots.