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!

There's Ice in My Birdbath!

How wonderfully seasonal! Although my family in Chicago may feel differently, I'm so happy for the cold!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nine on the Ninth of Ohh Nine

One year ago today we logged on to our agency's website to see the new list of waiting children. That is when we first saw our Kate. I could say that hers was the only face that spoke to me. The shy smile and the hand on the hip. But there were others. Other children that we would have been very lucky to welcome into our fold. One thing that did stand out about our Kate was that the very day that we were looking at her picture was her birthday. My first thought was I hope her family finds her today on her birthday.

When we got the call the following week, it was my birthday wish that was being answered (our birthdays are two weeks apart)! And our life and family took a new, exciting turn. We took this picture one year ago to send to our daughter waiting for us in China.

It's amazing to think that 9 years ago today this amazing, spunky, loving creature was born. And 1 year ago today this amazing, spunky, loving creature was born to us.

Happy Birthday Kate!! We love you and are lucky beyond compare to have you as a part of our family!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Lemonade Award

The purpose of this award is to give it to someone who is showing gratitude or a good attitude ("if life hands you lemons, make lemonade") within their life or blog.
The rules:
1) put the logo on your blog
2) nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude and/or gratitude.
3) have your 10 pass it along to 10 more!

I wish I had enough blogging friends in my arsenal to pass this along to and do it justice, but I think the few friends that I do have tagging along with me on this journey will be able to spread the wishes as strongly as 10 friends would!

Thank you Kimberly! A wonderful friend to me and my family here in North Carolina. I appreciate the Lemonade Award and will pass it right along!

Below are a few friends that have been very supportive in many ways, being there when perhaps I was the "lemon" that they had to deal with! Some I think I was able to be on my best behavior with. An old blogging friend that has had to deal with the lemons that were dealt out to our agency, but has hands down handled them with grace and whose blog brings so much beauty to those that visit it. And one new friend that I have yet to have met, although I did know her husband in college, and I hope to meet her in person someday!

Lynn at

Lori at (who I know is very busy getting her business started up, but your blog has brought much joy!)

Lynn (a different expat Lynn) at

Chelsea at

Jolie at

Carla at

Picture Tag

My friend Lynn tagged me for picture tag. Sounds like fun, so I think I'll play along.

The object of picture tag is to:
1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer.
2) Select the 4th picture in the folder.
3) Explain the picture.
4) Tag 4 people to do the same.

No Cheating! (cropping, editing, etc)

So this is a picture of one of our Virginia Tech friends, Brian Self, at his wedding in July 2006 to Eileen. They were married in Colorado in the shadow of Pikes Peak. They are now living in San Luis Obispo, SLO, (not sure if I spelled that correctly), California. He's an engineering professor at Cal Poly and she is working on her Masters in Sustainable Architecture.

So, Kimberly, Chelsea, Carla, Kristy? Photos anyone?