Saturday, November 28, 2009

The final ascent...

It's true. We have had one very long year of waiting for the big "5" to roll around. We have had endless discussions about the fabulosity of all things birthday and I do not feel one bit bad to say I am going to be almost as glad as Lia to see that oft talked about grand, best day of all arrive on Tuesday. We warmed up tonight with a little Nana and Papa love before they hit the road for home on Monday, but Jim and I were reminded several times that it was not her real we will keep our game faces on until we crash into bed exhausted on Tuesday. I hope we get some good sleep that night, because I fear "6 anticipation" may be lurking just around the corner...



ps...fabulosity came up as mispelled...did I coin that word??? I have been so so jealous ever since Beyonce got "bootylicious" into the dictionary...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ARRRRGGGGGG.....We be wishing you a Happy Halloween!!!!

Thought you all might enjoy viewing this swashbuckling Autumnal ensemble Lia sported to a midget football game this morning. Can you read the independent, conventions be d***ed attitude coming through loud and clear??? You're getting that, right??

For the record...the rain boots are a size and 1/2 too small...and that IS a red Philles (because who isn't a Phanatic these days???) shirt under that pulled out of the hamper Halloween sweatshirt.

Mom...0...and in need of a nap.


...and, well, for the further record...when we got to the game, it was pouring...and we realized the only umbrella we had...was the one Lia brought. It took her three and 1/2 years...but she has finally outsmarted us. We're happy we lasted this long.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Making of a Princess...or Lia finds "Her People"

When she found out we had a trip to Disney planned, my sister was most emphatic that Lia experience a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover at Cinderella's castle. I hemmed and hawed around just enough for her to make all the arrangements and present the whole fantastic adventure to Lia for an early 5th birthday present (I LOVE it when a plan comes together!! :-)).

For some time now, we have suspected that Lia is, indeed, part royal. She, who adores a beautiful dress up gown, nail polish and (I know she's only 4!) make-up....and who rules our small kingdom with her dimples and loving ways could be no less than royalty!

And, you know, it was confirmed at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

The entire experience WAS magical from the moment we entered the hallowed grounds of Cinderella's castle until the last bit of blue fairy dust was scrubbed from her hair (three shampoos later)!

Lia endured all the attention and gussying up in her usual stoic manner...but as I watched her take it all in and make such important decisions as hair style (Cinderella of course!) and nail polish color (blue), I could tell how much she loved it and it brings me to tears even as I type this.

This trip was a bit extra emotional for me for a variety of reasons...and watching Lia undergo such a magical experience was, truly, a highlight for me. Thank you Aunt Carolyn for insisting that we do this. None of us will soon forget our wonderful time at the castle.

Conferring with her (makeover) Fairy Godmother (it wasn't the REAL Fairy Godmother she told me):


She looks so serious in this picture...Jim and I were trying to joke and talk to her and it made her mad! She just wanted to enjoy the pampering in peace apparently!


Gettng her nails painted WHILE she gets her hair done. Jim kept pointing out to me how they were doing the hair so that I could replicate the look for dance recitals. It's always harder than it looks!


A lttle make-up...


...and fairy dust...


...and of course, who should we meet leaving the castle but THE Fairy Godmother! Perfection!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Memories for a Lifetime

We traveled to Disney with two other families that we met through our adoption. I have to say that the three four year olds got along famously despite the complete lack of schedule, sleep, or normalcy. It was so much fun to watch them try to process all the excitement. Two of my favorite memories revolve around our meeting of Lady Tremaine and her know...the EVIL Stepmother and Stepsisters to Cinderella. I expected Lia to love all things Princess...but soon discovered these three lovelies really rock her boat. When I pointed out that they are mean...she told me they are FUNNY. When we met them at dinner with Cinderella, the three girls ganged up to convince Anastasia that the mice and NOT Cinderella had stolen her sash and that the ripping of Cinderella's gown was unnecessary. (you've all seen the movie right??). We met the same three actresses two days later at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Check SpellingParty and the girls were first in line at the meet and greet for the Family Tremaine. This time they sang, "Sing Sweet Nightingale" for them...also from the movie. Lia was just thrilled beyond words...and I was overcome with pride. You know...because Lia sang for the EVIL STEPMOTHER and all. Always a surprise with my girl...but she never fails to make me laugh. (and for the record, I am working hard to drive home the importance of kindness and putting others first... :-))



Another highlight was a little group photoshoot we attempted after our dinner with Cinderella. Disney has professional photographers stationed around the park. Once you get a card, you can stop and have photos taken that they just scan onto your card. As a group, we were able to all have our own cards, and then combine them at the end of the trip. We all loved doing this and are now enjoying going through the over 1000 pictures we have between us to put together our albums. We spotted a photographer at the Floridian and thought since the girls were dressed up like princesses, we would try to get them all together. They gave the poor guy a real run for his money. I enjoyed documenting him trying to wrangle them all. I will share the photos he got once I get the cd, but needless to say, they are hilarious. This one was early in the session...they were still relatively tame and cute!!


I still have tons of photos to go through and edit. Lia is sick...and Daddy is in Houston. Despite the magic of our trip, we landed squarely back in REAL LIFE pretty quickly. I hope to catch up this weekend and organize our trip by doesn't THAT sound interesting???

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Disney Teaser...for the Grandparents :-)

Update: I was in such a hurry to get this post up, I forgot to mention that the over the top cute outfits were made by her and her...I have not sewn a stitch since 8th Grade Home Ec...and heaven help us if I ever try...

The outfits were quite a hit, but wait until you see the matching tote bags they made for the moms...fabulousity!!!

We arrived home late last night from 8 fabulous days at Disney. We had tons of fun...and not so much rest and relaxation. It truly was the trip of a lifetime and I have tons of photos to go through and edit. We flew off the grid for the week as I was unable to get an Internet despite the bone crushing exhaustion I am feeling (it's true I may have picked up a bit of a dramatic flair from those fabulous princesses), I wanted to post a few highlight photos for the grandparents, who have been waiting none too patiently...much more to come!!







Friday, September 4, 2009

Sunshine in a Plaid Hat

She was not happy when I bought this hat. She even glared at me...and I swear I heard someone whisper something about such a pretty girl to have such a scary stink-eye.

Yeah...she really gave it to me, but I bought it anyway. And not surprisingly she has refused to don it all summer. My visions of a "Michael Jackson Tribute" photo shoot fell by the wayside. C'est la vie, you know??

So you can imagine my hand clapping glee when she came downstairs wearing "the hat" the other afternoon and asked me to take some pictures. Maybe she knew her Mama needed a pick me up...or maybe she just realized how incredibly cool that hat really is...but I didn't wait to find out. I just grabbed the camera and started shooting!

.PriM aNd PlaiD All OvEr.

.HoLd oN To YouR HaT...iT's GoiNg to Be a BuMpy RiDe.


.So FuNny. To HeRseLf.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer in Fast Forward

Gosh it's been fun. Summer, that is. I look forward all year to the three blissful months I have off to spend with Lia...and just be. We have made the most of the dog days...and there has been nothing lazy about them. We have been on vacation for four weeks this summer...more than we have spent at home. In the 7 weeks we have been off, Lia has attended three week long camps, one week of intensive swimming lessons (which she loved!), and completed an introductory gymnastics course (which she also loved!). We came home yesterday from another week with grandparents and beloved cousins where she swam, attended campfires complete with s'mores and mountain pies, had makeovers galore (another fave!)...and just generally lived the good life.

.great minds.

.cousin posse.

Like a fish...and happy as a clam!

Nature's Fireworks

During an early summer visit we went with Lia's older cousin while she got her ears pierced. As I suspected, Lia was VERY interested in that! I really hadn't planned to get her ears pierced until she was six (a completely arbitrary number that just sounded about right to me)...but after giving it careful consideration...and near constant discussion time for two weeks, Lia convinced me she was ready to take the plunge. The day of the big event we were at the mall before the doors opened. She was beside herself with excitement...until she was up in the chair. We had two false starts...and then she decided she could do it if her dad was there. We waited at the mall FOR THREE HOURS until Jim could come over for lunch and moral support. We had them do both ears at the same time...and I am not even sure Lia cried any real tears. She was thrilled once she saw the earrings...and has told me at least once a day how happy she is that she has earrings. She also has been very good about reminding me to clean them three times a day. I wasn't sure I was ready for earrings...but they do look awfully cute...and she is so happy with them.

Oh yes she did!

So now we are home for the rest of the summer...registering for fall activities, getting organized for the school year...and of course getting ready for our next big adventure...our trip to Disney World in September. Plans have been underway for several months, and we can hardly believe it is almost time. It promises to be the second best trip I have ever taken (behind China, of course! :-)). More to come on that later!

.LoVe PuRe aNd SimPle.

.It's nEveR JusT blAcK aNd wHitE.

.CamPy CHiC.

That about sums up our summer...pretty simple everyday stuff to most...but exactly the stuff my dreams are made of.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I heart my girl...

.she hearts the beach.

So sorry for abandoning my beloved blog...we all are well and very busy squeezing every last drop of summer fun we can into our days...we will be back...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beach Reflections 2009 (and a little more!)

Our week at the shore ended all too quickly...but the golden memories shall live on forever. We packed a lot into the week...lots of beach time (where Lia mastered her boogie board for the first time...and consequently asked for a snowboard for winter!), good seafood, a quick trip to the R*ainforest C*afe in Atlantic City and a day trip to a local children's amusement park. Lia was thrilled when her friend Hannah came for their very first sleepover. The girls were great...if not slightly overly excited! They closed down the beach (when high tide nearly swept away my beach bag!), munched on pizza for dinner, enjoyed an evening movie and went right to sleep. Almost. :-) We have blocked out the 10 pm call to Hannah's mom and the retrieval that almost occurred. I finally won Hannah over with a promise that she could help me crack the eggs for breakfast. She told me she was a "good cracker"...and frankly...she may be a better cracker than I am! We all survived (and kudos to Hannah's mom, who fielded such a teary call...and still trusted us enough to keep her girl through the night!)...and I think it was the highlight of Lia's trip!

We returned to a busy week here. Lia is taking Science and Art Fusion Camp this week and also started gymnastics for the first time. She has been asking me for awhile to take gymnastics so we enrolled her in a summer class to see how she likes it. She was awake and dressed in her leotard at 6:30 this morning. She was just one hoppy, happy little girl...and I think it's safe to say that we will be adding gymnastics to the fall schedule for Lia...and some anti-anxiety classes for me most likely. :-) Gosh they look so little climbing on that large, dangerous looking equipment!

We will be heading out at the end of the week for another week away with our parents. After ringing in the 4th, Lia is so excited to be attending Nature Camp with her cousins. It promises be a fun-filled, busy week...just the sort of dreamy days we fantasize about all winter long.

These are some random photos from the beach. If you click on any of them, it will take you to my flickr stream (my new obsession!), where you can see more photos.

Happy summer to you all!!! I hope you are having a good one!!


Off Duty :-)



reflection of an angel

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summertime...and the livin's easy...

I know, I know...two posts in one day...and all after months of sporadic updates...but we're at the beach and I finally have time to breathe. It was too cold for Lia to swim...but she couldn't wait to get her tootsies in the off we went...

the livin's good...real good :-)

.just bliss.

It's hard to complain about 40 when the day ends as perfectly as this one. It's going to be a good year indeed! :-)

Happy Father's Blue and White!! :-)

Happy(early) Father's Day to Papa and Grandpa...both proud Penn State alumni!! Our Father's Day gift this year includes a little walk down the old Blue and White memory turn up your speakers and re-live some of your glory days!!

We love you both and hope you have a fabulous Father's Day!

(My Dad...playing a hot game of Candyland with Lia...we won't mention the allegations of card fixing Dad...)


Grandpa is a serial camera avoider...but I can't believe I don't have ONE picture of him! Shine yourself up, Grandpa, because I will be fixing that little problem when I bring my camera and come home next month!! :-)

...and now I bid you all good-bye for now as we pack the car and head for a week of beach bliss!! Let the summer fun begin!! :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Reflections of a middle aged mom...

40 sucks. (Sorry mom...I know you REALLY prefer me to say sucks eggs as somehow that seems more polite to you...but, well, tomorrow I turn feel free to let one blames you anymore for my questionable language... :-)).

It is the kind of birthday that causes one to take stock of one's life. Examine where you've been, where you haven't been, what you've accomplished...and well...the sucky part...what hasn't been checked off the life list.

Admittedly, the tail has wagged the dog a bit in my life. I still wake up occasionally and ask myself questions like, "How did I end up with such a wonderful husband?", "Is this beautiful child REALLY my daughter"...and "I traveled where to bring her home??"

In those two people, my life is very complete. It is the dream that I held for many years. But I realize that I am guilty of running on auto-pilot a good deal of the time. While I don't, for one second, take my family for granted...I am not always great at slowing down and enjoying the small moments...the laugh over macaroni and cheese with Lia or cuddling with Jim and enjoying some trashy reality tv. Those are the moments that make memories for a lifetime. And I am determined, in my new found wisdom of 40, to enjoy them.

So...yeah...I am not thrilled about turning 40. But in taking stock of this life, my is a good one. I am blessed beyond reason with riches that go way beyond the financial or the material realm. I have had more adventure than I could have ever hoped for (and really...I am not an adventure seeking kind of gal). I have a wonderful family and friends that enrich my life more than I could ever explain. My heart is full with anticipation for our second daughter that will join us from China (sometime before my next milestone birthday I hope!)...and the opportunities I have to take some chances and step out of the box so to speak. I feel so lucky to have found a hobby, photography, that brings me so much joy and satisfaction. My life is full and I am happy. In many ways it is not the life I envisioned for myself...but indeed, it is a life full of gifts I could never have been capable of imagining...and I am grateful. I am thankful. I am humbled. I. am. happy. :-)

So feel free, my dear blogger friends, to join me in a celebration of life's little moments...for one day those will be the big moments we reflect on. Join me as I dance like no one's watching. Sing loudly with the car radio. Laugh freely at myself...and only kindly at others (except maybe my mom...she is fun to laugh AT, all in good fun of course! See first paragraph above! :-)). Live mindlfully and creatively. In ALL things be grateful. Love more. Play more. Help more. Just be.

After only turn 39 again once...and I am determined to live every second to the fullest!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Braids and "Fancy Hair"...just a few of the joys of being a girl!!

It's been a glorious week of "fancy hair" for Miss Lia. She was thrilled to sport braids "like Katie Min!"...and then go "all up" for her dance dress rehearsal later in the week. :-)

.my why.


and the grandparents...Lia asked for an accordian this week. Patrick brought one in for sound week at school (Lia chose to take a Christmas cd by the 12 Girls Band :-))and she informed us she did not need lessons...apparently she "knows how to play it." If you could hook her up, that would be sweet...there's no telling how much polka dancing we could enjoy...

Monday, May 11, 2009

i Heart Faces ~ Week 18 ~ Laughter

Another week...another photo contest theme at i heart Faces! If you didn't catch it in the title of my's all about the laughter this week. I seriously cannot wait to peruse the entries and get my smile's sure to be contagious!

This is a photo of my sweet Lia REALLY enjoying getting wet in a fountain at a local garden. While she loves running down the paths, ohhhing and ahhhing over the beautiful is definitely the water that catches her fancy!

The quality and creativeness of the entries in this contest each week just blows me away...and makes me want to learn so much more about the art of photography. You will not be disappointed if you take a few minutes and check them out via the link below!


Friday, May 8, 2009

That's the stuff...

Today was the annual Mother's Day Breakfast at Lia's school. It is nothing particularly fancy...but the teacher's and staff put a lot of work into this event...and it is, of course, a highlight for me. :-)

The moms arrive to the breakfast before the children are brought from their classrooms. We have time for a little chit chat and tea...and to inspect the gifts that are waiting for us. Lia had a terrible time keeping it all secret. She has been sizing me up all week...peppering me with questions like, "Do you love to take baths?", "Will you fit in my bathtub?", "Do you love sweet smells?"...and then finally..."I made you something for the bath for Mother's Day!!!". I assured her I would be so surprised when I saw the gift...and the little jar of homemade bath salts IS just darling!

But my favorite gift was the card...made with love by such sweet, hardworking little hands. It is beautiful!!


She has been working hard on her writing and she did such a great job copying the message for inside!!


All great stuff...but the best part was the little Q & A that her teachers took the time to type out and paste in the card. Here, verbatim, is what my girl had to say...about a lot of things!

1. What is something that mommy always says to you?

How was your day?

2. What makes mommy happy?

When I listen to her.

3. How does mommy make you laugh?

A splatter waterfall on my belly! (??? question marks all mine...she must mean raspberries on her belly!)

4. What was mommy like when she was a child?

She loved Mr. Rogers, but now he is gone (not on our local PBS line-up!)

5. How old is your mom?


6. How tall is your mom?

Taller than my head!

7. What is mommy's favorite thing to do?

Play with me.

8. What does mommy do when you are not together?

Teach boys who don't listen.

9. What is your mom really good at?

Taking pictures. (maybe someday!! :-))

10. What is mommy's favorite food?

Vegetable soup

11. What makes you proud of your mom?

Her good pictures

12. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Princess mommy

13. What do you and mommy do together?


14. How are you and mommy the same?

We have the same skin (not by a mile...I should be so lucky!)

15. How are you and mommy different?

Mommy has freckles and I don't.

16. How do you know that mommy loves you?

She loves me and cares about me and always loves me. She is the best mommy forever.

17. Where is mommy's favorite place to go?

Philadelphia to take pictures. (I am assuming this interview was completed around the time I took my recent Pixel Fairy Workshop...really the only time I've been to Philadelphia to take pictures...but she's right...I DID love it!!)

So there you have it...out of the mouths of babes...and more special than just about anything else I can think of. I am off to spend a glorious weekend with my favorite silly all of you...Happy Mother's Day!!


Monday, May 4, 2009

i Heart Faces ~ Week 17 ~ Hats!

After a few weeks of "face hiatus" (:-)), I am back in the game! This week the theme at i Heart Faces is "Hats". I say it every time, but THIS week just might be my favorite one yet!! Lia is ALL about the head caps, flowered finery, crowns...she loves them all. I found this hat at an antique shop last summer for her to wear in the annual "Hat Parade" at her school...but as you can see, she couldn't wait to put it on and model!!

she's a rockstar

Hop on over to i Heart Faces and check out the fabulous entries in this week's contest!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sowing seeds...

Every flower of every tomorrow is in the seeds of today ~Chinese Proverb