Thursday, June 17, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010


Kate's school is a creative arts and science magnet and as such they have an end of the year program extraodinaire! They are given total access to the Time Warner Music Pavillion which is such a great venue and such a fun, huge stage for the kids to strut their stuff. All grade levels were fantastic. It was obvious that they have top notch teachers working with the kids throughout the school year to produce such a professional show. Second grade's performance theme was the seasons and Kate was a snowflake. Brrr.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Outward Bound Bound

Alarm went of nice and early today (although not as bad as when Alex went to Japan last month) so we could drop Alex off for his 8th grade trip. They'll be spending the week out in the western part of the state with NC Outward Bound.

They left Raleigh this morning at 6:30 and should meet up with the Outward Bound instructors at 11:00. They'll be assigned to groups (of 10-12) and leaders, go over and pack their gear and then start walking. They won't return to base camp until Friday around noon. Everything they'll need for the week they'll pack in with them. They are taught how to use a compass and read a topo map and then are responsible for making sure they get to each evening's camp location. They have no tents, but will be taught how to make a canopy (if needed) with a tarp. They'll do some rock climbing and rappelling.

On Thursday they have reflection time, where each student is plopped down in the woods alone (although within earshot of the group leaders; each student has a whistle) for 2hrs of reflection time. They're to spend that time thinking and journaling about ????? The past few days; this past year; the past three years at Exploris; what the future holds; fears, concerns, excitement about the challenges ahead in high school; 2 hours worth of doodling? It's actually an exercise (minus the sitting alone in the wilderness to do it) that these kids are pretty comfortable with at this point in their Exploris career. Every semester they compile a portfolio of work they've done to present to their teacher and parents. They open with a letter of reflection, looking back at the semester and what they've accomplished and how they hope to grow. Alex' teacher this year has been a sixth grade teacher up until this year. When we had his portfolio conference in December his teacher commented that she needed to schedule longer conference sessions because these 8th graders are so much more verbose than the 6th graders . . . they've grown in their time there and are capable of really looking inside and sharing what they see.

Friday when they return to base camp they have a ceremony to celebrate the challenges that the students faced during the week. The students are each presented with a pin which the student can take if they feel they lived up to the expections they had set for themselves at the beginning of the trip. In the past, some students have chosen not to accept the pins, have gone home to continue the journey and at a later time contacted NC Outward Bound to tell them they had reached their goals. And a pin was sent to them.

Then they load up on the charter bus (poor, poor bus driver . . . I'm sure the stench will be beyond compensation)and head home.

I'm so excited and envious and I cannot wait to hear all about his week. And hopefully he'll remember to take a few photos!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saying Hello

It's been a while. A long, long while. I'm sure that anyone who was following me oh those many, many months ago has long since given up on me posting anything ever again. Can't say that I'll make amends and be a conscientious poster. I'll try. It just seemed like there wasn't 1. enough time (and facebook was so much quicker) and 2. not enough worthwhile to write about. There will probably still not be enough time and I'm sure that when (and if) I do find the time, my postings will have inane little tidbits about what cereal I had or how many gray hairs I discovered lounging on my head. Or not. One can hope.

So today, Kate, Alex, Tux and I went downtown to participate in the SPCA of Wake County's K9 3K Walk. Aside from alot of sniffing and barking, about 2 dozen businesses in Raleigh were dog friendly for the day. Opening their doors or at least patios to families and the pooches.

The walk had us meandering through the Historic Oakwood District of Raleigh, past some lovely bungaloes, four squares, the Krispy Kreme and the Governor's Mansion. After our walk we headed over to an Italian restaurant for lunch, then to my favorite gallery to visit some artists that we enjoy. Topped it off with the purchase of my Holly Aiken/Casey Porn messenger bag that I've been lusting after for quite some time!

Good Day!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Today was the last day for Alex in the middle school building that has embraced him for the past two years and one month. It's a long story, one which started the fall of his 6th grade year when their building (along with several surrounding buildings) was purchased and they were told they would need to leave. Thanks to a tanking economy, the anticipated interest in their space was nonexistent, so they'd been able to stay put while locating a new location.

A new location they do have. It's been revamped, remodeled and updated to accomodate our kids and their teachers, and will welcome them on Tuesday morning.

Today was my last day in the old school helping with pizza, so I took the opportunity to snap some shots of the school in transition. Bittersweet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One Year

We officially started our adoption process July 2005. Unofficially we had begun long before we were married. The idea of providing a home for a child in need of one was something that I had harbored, nurtured for a long time. Of course, perspectives change. I realized that I wouldn't be coming to the aid of a needy child, so much as that child would be a gift of joy for our family. We would be the lucky ones! The summer of 2005 we began our process to bring Kate home and filed an application with Children's Hope International. At the time it should have only taken about 8 months from log in date to referral. Well, we all know that that time frame changed. If we hadn't seen Kate and been selected to review her file (in January 2008) and ultimately decided that she was the one our family needed, we'd still be waiting. I read today that they are matched up to March 14, 2006. Our log in date was March 29, 2006. Close, but still not there.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Kate's arrival in the States. One year that she has been on US soil. With completely foreign sounds, sights and smells. One year that she has had to deal with the grief of leaving everything familiar. Any hope that she may have had of her biological family finding her, bringing her home. I'd be lying if I said it's been a breeze. There were a few times the first couple of weeks home that I sat in the bathroom crying, incredulous that I had actually wanted to do this.

But then I would consider the fact that no matter how stricken I felt, her anxiety had to be off the charts worse than mine. And unlike us, she only learned about her new family the day before she met us (this she shared with me a few weeks ago). And I think she was pretty much content at her "house in China" (which is what she calls the orpanage).

Today, a year later, she is a happy girl. She loves High School Musical. She loves elephants. She loves pizza, but hates cheese :). She loves dresses, especially pink ones. She loves to ride her bike and hunt for bugs. She loves to draw.

And she loves us. And we love her. And we cannot imagine what it was like without her, just over a year ago.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I think I'm in Love!!

After posting last night with my first attempt, I whipped up these two pages in no time! I'm no Ali Edwards, but I think they look cute. And I think this may restore sanity to my life!!

Friday, April 24, 2009


I've had Photoshop Elements collecting dust for over a year now. When I first got the software I installed the program and opened it up. I was hoping there would be a little Mr. Paperclip that would hold my hand and walk me through the entire process. That digital scrapbooking would be my new favorite way of saving our memories. Bringing beauty and joy to our lives.

Well, when after a few minutes of clicking and cursing, a beautiful page did not emerge, I returned to my old fashioned way of scrapping. Standing up at the draft table and cutting, pasting, stamping, and embossing . . . all by hand.

A few weeks ago my back started hurting. Not a big deal, just an annoyance. Two days ago the pain shifted from the lower back to radiating pain straight down the back of my right leg. Today went to the chiro and was told to get off my feet. So I decided that this forced inactivity would be the perfect time to sit around with my laptop and really figure out digital scrapbooking.

I've spent the better part of this afternoon experimenting with photoshop and some free downloads and came out with the above (lame, but fine for a first attempt and free downloads) layout.

An experiment about Kate's experiment she submitted to the school science fair. Granted she had a LOT of help in the entire process (when they got back from the fair last night I was eager to learn if I, I mean Kate, won anything), but it provided an opportunity for some new vocabulary and working on a big project for school. And a chance for Tux to play ball. He can never get enough of that!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kate On Two Wheels

We took away the training wheels today! It was really amazing! She hopped on and away she went! No spills. No tears. No bandaids. No kidding. She was fantastic!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where's Alex?

The 7th grade spring class trip was a three day adventure in Philadelphia so Kate had the chance to be an only child for a while. We thought she'd love being the princess . . . oh wait, she's ALWAYS the princess . . . love having our undivided attention for 3 whole days. And she did enjoy it. But she really missed having her brother around.

She told me that she was going to make a card for Alex (she's BIG into making cards right now). I told her I thought that was an excellent idea, that Alex would love to get a card from her. On the day that he was getting home (late, late that night), she ran upstairs afterschool and was busy for quite some time. She came down later with a sealed envelope and announced that she had made her card for Alex. Groovy.

When Alex got home (after 11pm) that night, this card was waiting for him on the kitchen counter:

When she says go home she really means come home. And wes is wish. So sweet. And just as wonderful was that Alex had used some of his spending money in Philly to buy Kate a gift. A key chain (she's got this amazing jingly key chain collection on her backpack) that said Philadelphia on one side (with a flag and some other patriotic stuff), and a flashing #1 Sister on the flip-side.

Happy sibs watching Stuart Little together!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vista and Valentine's

For my birthday I got my very own lovely laptop! It's fast. It's green (my fav color)! And it uses Windows Vista. Previously I was an XP girl so this has taken some adjustment. I'm not really digging the photo storage, but I'll get there. So I'm going to blame my slow learning curve on the reason why I haven't posted in ages. Or I could blame facebook.

Pic thanks to Shawndel who sent this to me from Kate's Valentine's Day breakfast at school (oh, about a month ago . . . oops).

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No School Today

It's 7:30am, the wind is whipping and the snow is falling!!! I wonder if the kids will let me curl up with a good book and a latte . . .

Sunday, January 18, 2009


He really wanted a hamster. Knowing that we have a very inquisitive cat and due to a poor track record for keeping pet enclosures clean, Santa opted to bring Alex an ant farm. It's actually pretty cool. It's filled with a gel that is not only their home, but their source of food (lots of little Hansels and Gretels).

We ordered the little guys on line a few weeks ago and had been eagerly awaiting their arrival. Of course the day of their delivery was the coldest we've had so far this year. And they had to hang out in the mailbox for hours until we returned home in the evening. They were in a little vial. No blankets. No mittens. No hot chocolate. They were not looking very happy. Or active. Or alive.

Much to our surprise, and quite the test of our reflexes, the little nippers were far from dead (well, most of them anyway) and those little Steve McQueen wannabees tried to escape! Only one brave soul perished in the ill fated prison break, may he rest in pieces. The surviving soldiers proceeded to scoop up the hypothermia victims, deposited them in one corner of their new home, and began tunneling. According to the literature it takes about a week for the ants to begin digging their new digs. Ours must be overachievers (Steve McQueen was no slouch) for they have moved and grooved and have a quite impressive 3 day old subterranean habitat.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bunny Clock

Debbie, a new blogging friend, posted a photo of a soup tureen that looked a bit like my bunny clock. I mentioned to her that I would snap a photo and post it for her to see. It's not an antique but I find it to be quite charming! Voila!