Thursday, January 29, 2009

...and she dances

I truly felt like the Mamarazzi this afternoon trying to capture Lia in action. I was literally shooting through a crack in the door, and AROUND a corner to get these shots...but oh so worth it. Priceless to me!!!






My personal interpretive dance of some sort!! :-)



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

With thanks from the academy (well...okay...mostly just me!)


Today marks the one year anniversary of Livin' La Vida Lia. I have been thinking for a few weeks how I might mark the occasion. So have so much to say...and so few words feeling "right" about it all. So in the end, I just decided that I would use this post to thank so many of you who have made a difference in my life in the past year.

I started reading adoption blogs after we returned home with Lia. To begin with, I stuck with the members of my Yahoo DTC group. Colleen's blog was one of the first I read. I also fell in love with Terrye's blog and Margie's blog and Amie's blog. They felt oddly like my extended family...and after sharing so much with them all during our wait...they really WERE like family. During the past year, I have been overjoyed to watch two of these families bring home another China miracle. To these bloggers...thank you for being my extended "virtual" family...even if you didn't know you were.

You can imagine my delight when I discovered the genius of the "link lists". I soon found a world of inspiration just waiting for me. I began to follow a few "big" blogs that continue to be some of my favorites. On the occasion that these authors take time to leave comments on my blog...I am so touched...and always always starstruck. In Kim, Shana and Kristi, I admire the ability to tell a story, take a pretty picture and have a sense of humor . To these bloggers...thank you for sharing your story with me and for reminding me to celebrate the small moments that make up our lives. You are all an inspiration.

Along the way, I have made new "virtual" friends that I know I can count on in thick and thin. My husband used to shake his head and roll his eyes when I spoke of my blogger "friends"...but now he truly "gets it"...that you all are true friends in every sense of the word. Missy, Jan, Jodee, Deb, Lucy and Bridget and Heather...thank you for letting me share in your lives, and for sharing in ours. My day wouldn't be complete without checking in on you all.

Love in real life: I am so insanely blessed to belong to an active local adoption group. These women are truly my sisters. I love each one more than I could say (there are actually more and they know who they are...they are just not bloggers). Jen, Deb, Laura, Lisa, Kellyann...and my new friend Ivy...what can I say??? You rock in every sense of the word. My life would be so different without you all...I can't even imagine. Thank you for your generosity, caring, friendship and love. I am fortunate to call you all "friend".

During my year in blogdom, I have been so inspired. The next category are those blogs which have helped me get in touch with my creativity...whether it was parenting, decorating, photography or just the art of writing, I regularly turn to Lori, Paige, Debbie and Tonggu Momma and Danielle for a dose of inspiration. Thank you to these bloggers for helping me look for the beauty, create the beauty...and laugh at the (lack of) beauty that is all around me.

This last paragraph has been floating around my head for a few weeks...and I'm still a bit apprehensive about sharing it...but I wanted to, needed to share a little bit about the reason I began blogging one year ago. We had just moved into our new home. I was extremely overwhelmed with unpacking and settling in. It was during one cold Sunday morning in early January that Lia had an "accident" for which I did and still do feel responsible for. I have said it time and again...but angels truly were at our doorstep that morning. Lia was...and is perfectly fine and had no residual effects. She is vibrant and healthy...and I don't take that for granted for one moment. I have spent a good deal of time the last year learning to forgive myself, trying to watch over Lia without smothering her with attention and over caution (with varying degrees of success) and assimilating the events of that morning into my psyche. And trying to move on. It's not been easy. But in those early days....I reached out to two women who were really strangers to me. They both responded in such heartfelt ways and helped me more than they could ever know. I will be eternally grateful to both of them. Truly grateful. inspire me. You are so beautiful and full of grace. You live your life in a way I aspire to. Your intelligence and sense of humor, your artistic and aesthetic sense are true gifts. Thank you for sharing them with me. Your words and understanding made a difference in my life. Thank you for your friendship...and for not thinking I was a crazy stalker. You are a blessing in my life...and I wish you nothing less than sunny days...for you certainly deserve that.

And finally...sweet Lisa...what can I say? Your friendship...your perseverance in sticking with me...your guidance...your brilliance...your understanding...are not deserved. You "took me in." It means more than I could ever explain. I feel a kindred spirit with you. Thank you. Just thank you. Please know how much you mean to me.

Of course there are so many more blogs that I many more...and I don't want to slight anyone by not mentioning them. I just wanted this post to relflect my gratitude in being part of this community. Thank you all for sharing in our lives.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Scenes from a Laundromat...Earning my Street Cred...

Today marks the third week we have had to trek to a laundromat due to our little construction project. It has been...well...interesting. The first week we went, it was very crowded causing my anxiety to rise and culminating in me breaking one change machine, dropping all the quarters on the floor once I did get them...and my husband to hiss under his breath when he was helping me pick them up, "Please try to act like you belong!!". :-)

We have it down to a science now and I have enjoyed trying to beat the record each week by completing the laundry with the least number of quarters I can. (Seriously...that may be slightly pathetic and indicative of my need for some real entertainment.....but I'm keeping it real, peeps...keeping it real...)

I feel extremely positive that I will not have the opportunity to go for another personal best as after a slight delivery delay, the floors are here...and being installed as I type (and they totally soon! :-)).

Today I decided to take my camera to help pass the time and aside from a few quizzical looks, I enjoyed looking at the laundromat in a whole new light.





Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm ready for my close-up...

Add one pink boa to one very silly gal trying to postpone bedtime...and you get...FEATHER FABULOUS!!!





Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

{Old and New}...A Mamarazzi Thing

I belong to a great blog called {We Picture This}...a Mamarazzi Blog. Each month we vote on a theme and then post our interpretations of that theme. I happily admit that I am in way over my photographic head...but I am learning so much from these talented photographers and I just LOVE having a new "project" every time the new theme comes out. This month the theme is {Old and New}. I think it is my favorite one yet! I was so excited when it was the winner. Since Lia and I have had a long weekend, I had some time to take some shots and try a few things out. To see the image I chose to post...go here. (Gram...I hope you like it! :-))

This is another image I really liked. The {Old} part is the necklace around Lia's neck. It belonged to my Grandmother who passed away last April. The {New} part is, of course, Lia.

There are so many possibilities for this theme...I can't wait to see the other interpretations!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hot Chocolate...definitely good for what ails you!!

Update: We got the test results back today(1/13/09)...sooner than I expected...and both the blood and urine were all clear! Hooray!

During Lia's 4 year old check up in December, I discussed the possibility of melamine exposure with her pediatrician. While we don't suspect any problems, I agreed with the doctor that it was most prudent to run the lab work just to make sure. I have really been dragging my feet on this one, but I finally took her to the lab today. Lia was such a trooper, charming the pants off of everyone from the receptionist to the phlebotomist along the way. We were able to complete the blood draw with a minimum of tears...and when I told Lia she could choose any treat she wanted, she requested hot chocolate. I secretly believe that her favorite part is stirring the whipped cream in rather than the actual drinking...but if she's happy than so am I! I was extremely glad to check this "obligation" off my to do list...and will breathe one last sigh of relief when we get the all clear from the doctor...hopefully in a few days.





Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mild Mannered Gas Meter Salesman by Day...Superhero by...well...Day!

We had the slightest bit of winter weather this weekend. A little nothing really...melted by noon even. But as our day was just getting started yesterday morning, I looked out the window and saw a little problem across the street. A teen aged girl tried to take a turn too quickly...and ended up, as Lia would say, in a pickle.

After determining that the girls were not hurt, Jim didn't miss a beat in getting his boots on and rushing to their assistance. It took a little digging and quite a bit of pushing...but he got the car free. He was just finishing up changing the tire when the driver's Dad showed up.

Lia and I took it all in from the warmth of the living new lens worked great in getting some close up shots of the action! Lia was actually really concerned for Jim which was so sweet...and when he came back in, she couldn't wait to surprise him with the hot chocolate we had ready!




Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow Ball 2009...or...Where does time go??

My niece, my first niece, the girl I love more than life turned 14 a few weeks ago. I remember every detail of the day she was born. My sister and brother in law lived in Minneapolis at the time and we spent a very long day half a country away waiting for the phone to ring. We were thrilled when we learned that Renee had been born and all was well.

And then...seemingly in the blink of an eye...she turned 14.

Last night Renee attended her first formal dance. With, ahem...a boy. The 8th grade Snow Ball has been the topic of discussion for quite some time and every detail from the dress to, to the shoes (oh my...the shoes!) was discussed in great detail.

I have to say...when I saw the pictures last night, my heart skipped a beat or two. I work with 8th graders everyday, but it startled me somehow to see my Renee so grown up...and beautiful. She took my breath away. I am beyond proud of her. She excels academically. She dances like an angel. She is kind and patient with her younger cousins. And although I haven't witnessed it firsthand, I hear she can ski like a champ. As I start to seem glimpses of the adult she will become, I can hardly wait to see what direction she will choose in life (although officially, Renee, I am in no hurry for you to grow up!).

...and last thing...from your somewhat vertically challenged aunt...I know the shoe issue (or perhaps, more specifically, your mom's opinion of the shoes!) was a big hurdle for you...but I say if you can pull off heels like that for an entire dance...more power to you! :-)




Thursday, January 8, 2009

Such a "Big Girl" in so Many Ways...

...and yet at times so little. She snuggled in on our bed after her bath tonight and when I came back from cleaning up the tub...this was the sight that greeted me. She's obviously put in a hard week at the salt mines...and that Thursday afternoon Ballet class just did her in!! :-)


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I really feel like the Mamarazzi now!

I have been having a lot of fun practicing with my new camera lens that Jim gave me for Christmas. Officially it is a 75-300 mm lens...but what really matters to me is that I can take close-ups of Lia without being right in her face. Of course the weather in our neck of the woods has not been very my practice has mostly been inside...not the best for this lens. Undeterred, I have flipped the switch back into automatic and have become a shooting fool. These are a few pictures I took over the past few days. Lia was in the living room. And I was in the dining room. read that right...a whole room away. Almost unobtrusive. Ahhh....the possibilities are endless. I can't wait for some sunny weather and wide open spaces!





Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Family Room...a Work in Progress!

In our rush to pack and leave for our Christmas vacation, I forgot to take "before" pictures of the family room...can you believe that??? So I took pictures of what we returned to last night. I am totally obsessing over the paint color. I used a warm shortbread color in our condo that I loved...but since I am going fairly dark with our hardwood floors, I thought a lighter color would be better on the walls here. I chose a color from a Williamsburg decorating guide and it was custom blended. I hoped it would be cream with just a hint of yellow...but it sure looks VERY yellow all over the walls, doesn't it?? I am trying not to make a hasty decision and I am hoping when the rest of the trim is painted and put up and the floors and window treatments added that it will look a little less...vivid. If anyone has a nice warm cream color that you love...please feel free to share.

The fireplace wall...wired for the huge flat screen tv. I am pretty sure that is all Jim dreams about these days! I found a beautiful mantle antique shopping with my sister that I think will look great!


Between the kitchen and family room...there were some very dated spindles that have been removed...not a moment too soon!


A view from the family room into the entry.


A view of the windows. There had been a window seat kind of thing there that made arranging furniture very difficult. It's gone...and I am just sorry I was not the one to take a sledge hammer to it!! :-) Also these window had wooden shutters on them that just made the room very dark. I am still deciding how to dress the windows...and in fact am considering replacing them with a different style all together.


Finally, the back door and the laundry room. The hardwood will extend to cover this whole area.


As we expected we came home to a big mess...but it's so much fun to see the changes being made. We had a successful meeting with our Social Worker this moring to update our homestudy and expanded our approval to include Special Needs and older we will see where that leads us. So far, 2009 is turning out to be an exciting year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009