Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

I know I am overdue in posting our Christmas updates, but as you can all likely understand – mama is wiped out!  I LOVE Christmas, and thankfully I usually arrange to have the week after Christmas off as vacation, because I need some time to relax!

The weekend before Christmas kicked off the festivities with our neighbors annual Christmas party.  Tatiana has adopted them as part of her family – as she refers to their dogs as “her dogs”.  She was super excited to see everyone (especially, yes, the dogs) and we had a great time.   Here is the Christmas Princess ready to go to the party – SHE picked out the shoes and the tights.  And she’ll quickly correct you if you call them “red shoes” – they are to be called RUBY SLIPPERS, please!

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The morning after was the Children’s program at church.  T did really well through most of the service – even though it was a longer one.  She LOVED hearing the children sing (and may have to join them some day!) and liked going outside to give Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus their presents to celebrate Jesus' birth and showing spirit of caring for those who might need help at this time.   And of course, she was super excited to show off another pretty dress.  The girl loves dresses and tights…

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The week seemed to fly by, mama was busy selling chocolate milk, juicy juice and coffee mate and praying she’d sell enough to hit the big December # (and she did! woo hoo – thanks Michigan distributors!!) and Tati still had school.  Wait.  What?  Yup – our school was one of the few that had school the week leading into Christmas.  Wednesday was the last day – so the morning class had a “party” (arts and crafts, snacks and a sing) and the afternoon class got to wear jammies, watch a movie, eat popcorn and play Christmas bingo.  TONS OF FUN!   Here’s a quick peak at the morning’s party:

IMG 085 IMG 076  IMG 082 Top left: Tatiana with Mrs. Jex (teacher); Top Right:  Making homemade “snow globes”; Bottom:  hangin’ on the class rug

Finally, it was Christmas Eve!  It seemed like we were getting ready for so long… “Red Elfie” (Elf on the Shelf) was here everyday in December and we had a cool advent calendar to help count down the days.  We had some family over Christmas Eve night and had a great dinner – very traditional menu in our family containing:  ham, potatoes (that form may change year to year), baked beans (a MUST, my grammas' recipe) and some form of Jell-O.   And of course lemon meringue pie.  Don’t ask.  It’s a long story and completely mandatory.  You could loose a finger in this family if you steal someone’s LM pie. 

Christmas Eve Pictures ~ IMG 114  Helping mama get ready for family to arrive….

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With cousins Riley & Ashley

I didn’t think T would EVER go to bed Christmas Eve night – she gabbed and sang until 10:30pm!  Christmas excitement had taken over.  In all the festivities we forgot to put out the cookies for Santa and the reindeer feed they made at school.  Thankfully, Santa and his reindeer still paid us a visit…

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Christmas morning

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After all the present merriment from mama, Santa and then Gramma Darlin, we went over the Great Grammas' for some more family fun.   IMG 188IMG 195

Now… can you tell why mama is tired?  Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Year’s to you….

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WANTED: Little Brother

So… here it is.  I am FINALLY going public.  See, I have had this deep dark secret brewing since March of this year.  Yes, you read that correctly, I said March.  As in almost 9 months ago. 

If you think back in time earlier this year, to March, Tatiana and I were celebrating her 1 year home anniversary.  Things were seriously picking up again, movement wise in the region that Tatiana was adopted from (Vladivostok) and so I thought, great!  No time like the present to get this thing started.  Let’s do this! 

And then *IT* happened.  Torry.  Hansen.  Outrage.  Fear.  Hysterics.  Anger.  Everything.   Why did she have to be single?  Why did she have to adopt from Vladivostok, the same region I adopted from?  And best of all, why did she do what she did?  Alas, we’ll probably never know the answers to that question… but needless to say my “Road to Vladivostok Version 2.0” came to a screeching halt.  I think you can still see the skid marks. 

But as many of you know, the world of adoption is usually not finite.   So it was time for Plan B.   A second dossier was prepared (#2 this time around for those of you keeping count, #1 was on it’s way to Vlad when this all happened!) for another region.  Tick tock, tick tock… the summer was slow with little movement.  Thankfully, T and I were busy, busy with lots going on to keep my mind off what was going on or NOT going on for adoption.

Just when I had put the timeline out of my head in September, a new referral popped up in yet a DIFFERENT region.  Isn’t it always when you least expect it?  So, off I went, full speed ahead with yes, dossier #3.   I think I am almost expert at this now right?

I don’t want to be-labor the story here, but suffice it to say, that referral for a variety of reasons was not meant to be.  It still makes me sad to think about, because for two months I thought of this little face as my future son, a solid match for brother-land.  

The story doesn’t end on a sad note, however.  Chapter 4 – Plan D, perhaps, is in full swing, and today, I have officially accepted the referral of a sweet little face.   Again, just when I thought the door was slamming closed, a little window was opened – highlighting another path.  The ironic thing is, this happened the same week that my dear friend Kim, who I have known for (WOW!) 26 years, approached me to ask if she could use my “wait” experience (and the frustrations of that wait) from Tatiana’s adoption in her sermon this past Sunday at church.  Kim is becoming a minister and I was beyond honored to be a part of HER journey!  

I don’t know all the details yet – when I’ll be traveling etc., so bear with me during this exciting time.  It feels odd and yet a relief to FINALLY be sharing all this news.  There are so many reasons I haven’t posted publically about journey #2 yet – but mainly because the waiting can be so difficult that sometimes it’s easier to keep it to yourself than have to explain it to so many people.  I can’t keep it quiet anymore.  I just can’t!  I realized that partially when I read another friend’s blog, who is also going back to Russia for adoption #2 and I found it so cathartic to read her thoughts on the process.  Sometimes it MAY be easier to keep to yourself… but sometimes it’s easier to share the load! 

Keep us in your thoughts, please!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thankful For This Face…

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Two cute little turkeys:  Tatiana and her cousin, Mary IMG 011Yum!  Let’s eat!

IMG 012Tatiana and Gramma Darlin

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Having fun on Thanksgiving…

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    Just a small little family gathering!  

Yes, once again, I am a slightly behind in my updates.  Here’s some of our pictures from our “intimate little Thanksgiving gathering” – just me, Tati and 85 of our family members!  I love our Thanksgiving tradition.   Our gathering is my maternal grandfather’s entire family.  Since he was 1 of 7 brothers, you can understand why we need to rent a hall.

I think with literally the exception of 2 of my 40 years, I have ALWAYS attended this gathering.  I look forward to it every year!  When my cousins (and 2nd cousins, etc!) and I were little we would run around our gathering place (first a library basement and now an American Legion hall) like a bunch of wild animals.  NOW it’s our kids turn.  It’s so funny to watch. 

Tatiana had a BLAST playing with her cousins.  The timeframe was rough (we eat @ 1pm), so Miss I Love My Nap started to get a little cranky later in the day, but overall she thought the day was pretty cool. 

Enjoy your holiday season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I was taking some pictures this week to include in holiday cards, and I ended up getting some great shots!  My model, of course, was some what temperamental, and we took a TON of shots to get our few great ones to share in Christmas cards, etc.  This is typical for this scenario.  Mama shoots and shoots and shoots, hoping and praying that there is a couple of good ones in the batch!  Sometimes we have tears (usually Tatiana’s!  ha!) and sometimes there are meltdowns (usually mama’s! ha!), but all in all we get the pictures done.  As I was looking through the final results, I laughed as some of the great “out –take shots” that won’t be used, but were too fun NOT to share.  I posted these on face book, but it got me thinking about some of the other fun shots from 2010.  So here’s some favorite “out-takes”!

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Seriously just trying to catch some shut eye here, lady – turn off the camera

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I get this grin a lot – it’s the ham it up grin IMG 087

And sometimes we get other faces….

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Or no face at all – doesn’t this look painful?IMG_8882 IMG_8879

I just want my party to start already!

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Ahhh, the grin is back… are you seeing a trend?


Just take the picture already, mama!

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Ahhh Christmas pictures!  Such pressure!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!  Have a great holiday! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nothing Much To Say…

It seems like November is crawling by, and yet, flying at the same time!  Is that possible? 

I neglected to post an amazing picture that doesn’t need much introduction at all, however, because I am not one to spare words, I’ll introduce it anyway!   This may not be that new if you are on facebook…

“2” was taken on my trip #1 visit, on Tatiana’s 2nd birthday, in the baby home – Artem, Russia.

“3” was taken last year during her big birthday celebration for birthday #3. 

“4” was taken during this year’s birthday celebration.  I just love watching her progression.  It’s hard to see on a daily basis – but here it’s AMAZING!


And at this time of year, you have to take the official playing in the leaves pictures!!  It’s a rite of passage for all kids! 

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tricks and Treats

Only took me a couple days – but here’s the long awaited Halloween photos.  This first one is for Michelle, who swears my little kitten is fake!  (haha!)  Here’s the 2nd photo in the “series” showing that she’s totally real!!  What I didn’t get a picture of is her licking the pumpkin and Tatiana complaining that “Macy’s eating my pumpkin, mama!!”

IMG 251Not the most flattering look – I was a little green around the gills

IMG 014Tatiana and Riley (Dorothy and a Pirate Girl) before Trick or Treating

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Cousins:  Paige, Tati, Mia, Riley and AshleyIMG 006

Getting ready to trick or treat at Gramma Darlin’s house IMG 011 IMG 012

It was a long, but fun day – Dorothy, I mean Tatiana had tons of fun.  It was COOOOOOLLLLLLDDDD, though!  Little Miss No Body Fat was chilly.  (And so was her mama!) 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting Ready for Halloween!

The fun thing about this time of the year is that you’re never TOO far away from a holiday or celebration in our family.  We start with Labor Day at the beginning of September.  From there, it’s a short slide to my birthday on 9/29.  (September is actually a mess of birthday’s in our family – but most of them old fogeys like me.)   Then it’s just less than 1 month until T’s birthday on 10/24, followed VERY quickly by Halloween!  (Do you need me to remind you of that specific date?  I didn’t think so!) 

November is jammed packed with Riley’s birthday (T’s cousin, 1 year and 1.5 weeks older!), CoCo’s birthday (another cousin – queen of the herd @ almost 17), Katy’s birthday (another cousin, same age as Riley) and of course Thanksgiving Day! 

From there, like most people our December is loaded up.  We make a run to Florida to see Grampa/Gramma, fill up on our share of holiday parties (and this year school events!) and then it’s onto Christmas/New Years.  Whew!  I am already tired just thinking about it. 

So let’s start the last of the October holidays.  Tati and I carved pumpkins this week, with a little help from baby Macy.  Friday was Tatiana’s preschool Halloween party.  In true Tatiana fashion, she has two costumes this year – she was Abby Cadabby (Sesame Street) at school and will be yet a different costume this weekend.  But… that’s a surprise!  (thankfully, I bought BOTH costumes last year on clearance!  My favorite thing… clearance shopping!)

Ok – enough chatter, let’s get on with the picture parade!

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