Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Playing Jingle Bells at the mall after meeting Santa
I also got a bike from Grampa & Gramma... here's Grampa trying to help me ride...
And they had a wagon for me... I liked pulling as much as riding...
Swinging at the park with Aunt Kay -- my favorite!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Hanging out with Mary at Thanksgiving celebration
Checking out the Santa Christmas tree
The trees are up, the house is decorated inside and out. Presents are pretty much purchased and wrapped. WHEW! Now it's time to enjoy!
Monday, November 23, 2009
This week is our big Thanksgiving celebration. My grandfather was one of seven brothers and essentially all seven families still get together. It's a great tradition that I love. I can't wait to see the little T bopping around the hall with her cousins like I did when I was little.
I have been trying to explain Thanksgiving to T a little bit everyday. It's difficult to explain the concept of "thankfulness" to a three year old! We talked about being thankful for family, friends, being healthy, etc. And then we also talked about the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I think the two thoughts got crossed because when I asked her later what we'd eat for Thanksgiving she said "turkey, and stuffing and family!" Baby steps .... baby steps!
Here's some pre-holiday pictures of T...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
So in these troubling times, or even if it's not troubling times, I love a great deal! I stumbled across a blog the other day of a lady who is really dedicated to saving money and bargains. This one is so good... I have to share!
Interested in 50 FREE (yes, I repeat FREE) photo cards? Any theme - including Christmas... etc. It's so free you don't even have to pay for shipping AND there are no tricks - they don't even ask for your credit card info.
Here's what you need to do...
1) Go to seehere.com
2) Create an account - harmless, no personal info other than the basic address, email etc.
3) Create a photo card - choose your theme, picture and text
4) Order 50 and add to your cart
5) Enter promo code "freebies4mom-1109" (no quotes) and watch as the total goes to $0!
That's it! Seriously! I always buy my Christmas cards on December 26th the year before... but these may get added to the card as an insert. I mean -- they are free!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
However... in the meantime, I started brainstorming on my ride across my great state tonight. I know - a scary premise! In the past few months, I have enjoyed reading other mom's blogs. I have learned A LOT. I also like talking with other mom's and getting different perspectives. So I am considering starting another blog - for busy mom's. Like you, like me.
First topic. What Christmas presents are you planning on for your little ones this year? (If that's the sort of thing you celebrate) Or -- what was one of your favorite presents you gave in the past? Leave a note here, drop me an email or however you prefer. If you have specific brand/item names and gender/age appropriateness, I'd appreciate it, because I'd like to have a list of ideas for those moms (and dads!) looking for great suggestions.
Thanks in advance for any ideas!!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Me and my new "slower" - from Grampa & GrammaI have had a super busy week. After my birthday party, my Aunt Carrie and cousin Mary spent the night. It was really fun and Mary and I got to hang out, dance, watch my favorite TV shows and play. Mama was really proud of me and smiled a lot because she said it was one of the first times that I didn't just watch everyone and I actually got in the mix and played. Mary and I really enjoyed each other and mama kept say how nice it was to see me so happy and laughing all the time. Not that I am grump other times -- but, you know mamas.
Hangin with Mary
Mama also keeps telling me that Halloween is this weekend. I am not sure yet what all that entails, but I do like pointing out all the pumpkins I see when we are in the car. I have this cool thing she keeps calling a costume, but I think it's just a pretty dress. She's made me try it on a couple times and gramma did something to "fix my hat". That crazy mama keeps making me say "trick or treat" now and then for practice. Reminds me of when we practiced blowing out candles for my birthday.
Speaking of pumpkins, we cut up two of our pumpkins this week. Mama thought I'd help a little more, but I really thought the insides were kinda gross. Plus Uncle Mark showed up with a birthday present - and well, birthday present vs. pumpkin guts? No contest.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It's amazing how fate works. My friend Joy said the other day that Tatiana and I were like a pair of mittens - we just fit together. My mother told Tatiana a few months ago that she was the best idea I ever had.
I can't agree more...
I have a hard time remembering life before Tatiana. I used to be a TV junkie. I love pop culture - and TV fits into that so well. These days, I am lucky to get caught up on Glee and Grey's Anatomy. I have 5 full episodes (the max my DVR keeps of a show) of Project Runway, Saturday Night Live and Monk waiting for me - that I may never get to. I haven't watched my Netflix movie that's been waiting here for me for a month when I used to schedule it so I could get two movies in a week. Watch Saturday or Sunday - in the mail Monday, new movie received and watched Wednesday - in the mail Thursday - new movie for the weekend. Repeat.
I still find the occasional moment to blog and check in with facebook but it's typically at night after the little one is asleep. I used to stay awake almost nightly until midnight, now I am lucky to see 10:30 - 11pm. I used to never miss a party/shower/happening if I could avoid it -- and now, I RSVP'd no to my cousin's baby shower because it's adults only and I can't imagine choosing to spend another 6 hours away from her on a weekend, when I am already away from her enough!
Looking back 1 year ago, after declining my first referral and waiting to see if I could meet the 2nd one that day, I spied a little girl with a red hat on and brown curls tumbling out the back. I said "I wish I could have a little girl JUST like her - she's perfect".
I was right!
Ok maybe perfect is too ideal of a word, but she's perfect for me and yes, mom. She IS the best idea I ever had! My life changed a year ago today, and I wouldn't change it back for all the money in the world.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
When we reached the airport that night, I said to Rhonda "oh my gosh - I am going to meet my son". I left planning for a boy and returned over the moon with giddiness for my daughter. Lots of crazy, wild things happened on that trip, much of I have spoken about. Two quick memories that I'd like to relive with you ...
When Rhonda and I landed in Seoul, we were STRUNG OUT. I don't know if it was the heat on Korean Air, the lack of sleep or just being slap happy from a 5 hour flight and then a 13 hour flight. Because we were so out of it - we didn't put two and two together and figure out the whole "transit" passenger instructions. On top of this, a majority of the passengers on the plane were ending their trip in Seoul, we we just followed the herd, desperate for some food. Because we weren't in the transit area, most of the workers did NOT speak English - just Korean. They didn't understand that we were between flights and just wanted to get a snack. We couldn't see ANY restaurants on the level we were at. The employees told us that at that hour (it was like 5:30am) we'd have to exit security, go through customs and there would be food outside. We begrudgingly did this - after 30 minutes of trying to figure out where we were going, thinking the whole time "Incheon is the 5th largest airport in the world there HAS to be food somewhere". We found it and then headed back through security and UP a level to the mecca that is the real airport. Sheesh. At least our passports say that we were in Korea!!
Monday night we were tucked safely in our room at the Vlad Motor Inn. I had just been through an emotional roller coaster after the in country coordinator told me that "the boy is not good" (speaking about my referral). I was stressed and over tired. I went to sleep while Rhonda caught up on some email and got ready for bed. Apparently the bathroom door in our room made a weird noise when you closed it. In my super over tired state, I swore someone was trying to break in to our room - or something along those lines. Then I realized it was just in the room and I was yelling at Rhonda "do you hear that?" and then something like "stop that!". The tables were turned about 3 hours later when the phone rang at mid-night and she was talking in-coherently to me while I was trying to talk to my agency back in the US. I was asking her to be quiet (shhhhhh) and telling her it was Lorien and she was thinking I was yelling at her again.
Both stories are HYSTERICAL to me now -- and I am sure most of it was "you had to be there" type funny, but I can look back at that stressful week and laugh, smile and thank god for the way that everything worked out.
A year later I spent a wonderful day with my daughter. Here she is below in the required fall leaves pictures! I've said it before... and I'll say it again, it's amazing how things work out!!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I won't look at the camera but I sure am cute...
Another couple firsts for Little Miss T. This weekend her Great Aunt Kay was in town - visiting from Florida. Aunt Kay is T's Gramma's baby sister. In fact, if T hadn't had such a great Russian name, she likely would have been Elizabeth Kay.
Friday, October 2, 2009
One year ago yesterday, on 10/1, I was on a business trip in Holland and Grand Rapids, MI. I had a meeting early in the morning, so I spent the night before (9/30) in a hotel. That day 3 families who were waiting for referrals for the Moscow City program at my agency received the big phone call. While I was so over the moon excited for my "friends", I was bummed that I hadn't heard anything. At this stage, I had only been officially waiting for 4 weeks - in hindsight, that's NOTHING! So many families wait for much, much longer. Alas, it was my birthday week so I can chock my emotions up to that craziness. I sent an email off to Lorien at my agency asking for an update on how things were going in Vladivostok.
After my Holland meeting, I left for Grand Rapids where I was planning to have lunch and kill some time talking to customers before my 2nd appointment that day with a wholesaler. I was walking out of a store getting ready to go to lunch when my phone rang. It was Lorien at my agency. I immediately thought that maybe my emotions had gotten the best of me and that my questions must have sounded snippy so she was trying to answer them on the phone. She asked if I was in my office and had my computer handy. Because I had stayed in a hotel, I did have my laptop with me - but told her it wasn't turned on at this time. And then it hit me -- WHY WAS SHE ASKING ABOUT MY COMPUTER? At the same time she said -- "oh well then you haven't seen what I sent you - A REFERRAL!". I think I literally screamed.
I quickly went across the road to Boston Market for lunch where I opened the email, called my mom, my dad and of course, Rhonda. Mom and dad were both excited... Rhonda cried. Which started my crying as well. I even told the staff at Boston Market what was going on and showed them the pictures of the little guy.
Wait. What? Little guy? Yup - if you remember my referral was for a little guy who was 16 months old. An adorably cute little blond haired, blue eyed little guy. Two days later, the IA Specialist Doctor ranked him as "above average risk" and I agreed to travel to meet him. Due to his health situation and the answers to the questions that the doctors had about him, I ended up declining this little guy during my trip #1.
So why am I celebrating this referral that didn't end up working out? I firmly believe that everything on my crazy, emotional journey lead me directly to my little Russian sprite, Tatiana. While I didn't end up being the best mom for little Vladimir (which may or may not be his name!), he was a CRUCIAL step along the way to meeting T. So, every October 1st, I will celebrate him and a big step in the road to meeting Tatiana. I still pray that he finds the perfect mama and leads a happy life. I saw him briefly at the baby home during trip #2 and he made me smile. And yes, I have been known to check the database to see if he's still there.
Finally, there was another celebration yesterday. My beautiful friend Sara, who not only shared such a parallel path on her route to Vladivostok for trip #1 but also shared travel days with me, FINALLY got her court date! You could probably hear my celebratory scream in Vladivostok! So many great people are in/will be in Vladivostok this month - I wish I could be there with you!
And of course, I'll leave you with another shot of T the beautiful!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This morning I was woken up by a sweet little Russian voice on the baby monitor singing "Happy BooYou to You". Her own little version of the birthday song. We had been talking that today was mama's birthday - and being the little smarty that she is, she remembered first thing when she woke up today. What a great birthday present!!
Not only is today my 39th birthday, (yes, that's right -- it's REALLY the 39th birthday, next year is the big 4-0!) but today is our official 6 MONTHS HOME! I can't believe she's been home that long - and strangely at the same time, it feels like she's been here forever! What a difference a year... and 6 months makes!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It's almost hard to remember that pasty white, scared girl, who was excited and nervous all at the same time. She was sweet and smiley, and yet cried almost every time she left the "Duck" groupa in Artem. She was pretty much Queen Bee in her room -- one of the oldest. This was probably one of the things that also held her back a bit.
At almost 2 and a half, T barely said 10 words in Russian. She understood everything you said - she just wasn't speaking much. She would say mama, dya dya (uncle), cuck-co (peek-a-boo), dock dock (knock knock), and her favorite, nah (here). Beyond that there were a couple words here and there, but that about sums it up. She didn't understand sippy cups and straws and essentially every night to go to sleep she had to cry and rock herself to sleep. If I tried to soothe her, hold her, she just cried harder - almost as if she thought she was in trouble. She HATED riding in the car. Instant tears - in fact she'd cry upon the sight of our driver.
So where are we now? Just 6 months later?
Remember that old theory of Nature vs. Nurture? Tatiana is a PRIME example of that! I don't intend to criticize the baby home she came from. I truly believe that a majority of the baby homes in Russia mean well and do the best with the limited means they have. However, there's nothing like having so good old fashioned mama (or daddy! or both!) bonding time. Tati has flourished in the last 6 months.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Coloring: This my newest passion. I think I want to be the next VanGogh.
Minus the whole ear removal thing. Mom thinks that's not necessary.
So a last week after what mom kept saying was "Labor Day" all the big kids at daycare went back to school. Mom kept saying that the summer was over. That stinks! I still point the pool out to mom everyday and want to go "swimmin".
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Waiting For Our Turn
Someday I WILL graduate to 2T clothing!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Tonight at dinner she made me laugh so hard. Which I know is not necessarily recommended when you are trying to be stern. Gramma was here -- which means "show off because now I have an audience of two". She kept asking for a drink from gramma's cup and was told she had to finish her milk first. I believe the words were "make it all gone". Bad words. T decided to make it all gone by dumping it out on her high chair tray. She was caught mid-stream by gramma and while some milk was spilled... it was not the WHOLE cup. Just a second later while gramma and I were discussing this - she attempted to dump it again. I quickly verbally said "uh uh" as in no. T, being the sensitive soul that she is, looked like a wounded bird and the tears (crocodile) starting flowing. She pointed to herself MANY times and said "baby". As in - mama don't you EVER scold the baby. Man did she give me the business for this offense! I literally had to bite into my corn and put my head down because I was laughing so hard. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT SCOLD THE BABY!! Hysterical.
In other news... I returned home last Wednesday eve from a quick trip up north for work. To my dismay, I was greeted in the front hallway with another feline present. This time a DEAD BAT. Yes, you read that correctly. A DEAD BAT. I disposed of the nasty rat with wings and quickly made appointments for the next morning at the vet for Rabies boosters (follow up shots to the original!). Casey (aka Patient X for her LONG list of maladies after her spay surgery) ended up getting a distemper booster that she needed as well and in true Casey fashion - had an allergic reaction that ended us BACK up at the vet on Friday am as well. Sheesh. The weekend passed by uneventfully and with crud weather. On Monday morning around 10am, Batman's brother (or sister) returned for it's revenge. Oh great, now a LIVE bat in the house. Seriously? That makes the count (for those of you keeping track) 5 mice and 2 bats. I played baseball in my living room with the bat, as the ball and a broom as the bat - how's that for irony? I am happy to report that I WON. I had the rodent patrol man here today - a great guy who doesn't live too far from me - and thankfully he couldn't find any sign of them in the house. Aside from ONE tiny little piece of bat droppings... probably from Batman or Robin... there was no sign. He thinks they may have come in through the furnace pipe/chimney so he put a screen cover over the top of that. Please say a couple extra prayers for no more bats in the house...
Waiting in the gym for the Girls to get home!!