Saturday, February 28, 2009

Adding Her Touch...

Abby wants to be a Knight when she grows up. We hear the story all the time. She is going to be a girl knight and ride up to the castle on her "mighty steed" (what she calls her horse) and save the Prince that is cowering in the tower.... Forget being the distraught Princess... that "accepted" version of the classic fairytale is not for Abby.... no way! She will be taking care of the scary dragon all on her own!

Add Lilli to the mix... who is as "Princess-ee" as they come and this is what you get...

Those are some very lucky "My Little Ponies" - hangin' with the big boys... Abby keeps telling Lilli they are NOT mighty steeds!

So.... I told you Abby's version of the classic fairytale above... I will tell you Lilli's now...
Lilli's is the Princess in the tallest tower in the most beautiful kingdom. While ALL the Princes are fighting over who is going to save her from the huge dragon, Lilli is batting her beautiful dark eyes at the dragon and working that charm of hers.... She convinces the dragon to rescue her. She struts past all of the fighting knights and says, "Hey silly boys, I am going to save the world now... but first I am going to get my nails done! See ya!".
That is my Lilli's version of the classic!

Put Me in Coach, I'm Ready to Play

Abby has been counting down to organized sports for years. She made her "sporting debut" at her brother's basketball game at the ripe age of 1 month old. Since then... she has been a devoted fan. Getting older, she just did not understand why she could not be on a team. It was her most wished wish... and now that wish has come true.
I would like to introduce the newest "Blue Dolphin"! If excitement counts for anything, she will leave Cal Ripken Jr. in her dust...

An added note.... Abby is 5 years old. She has been in our legal custody since age 4 days. It has been the most emotional adoption journey... seriously... it has had me on my knees in tears and it has brought me the greatest joy... and everywhere in between. Abby is amazing... It is not her... It is the fact that she is from Indonesia. Indonesia and America have no International Agreement regarding adoption. The year we adopted Abby, she was one of only 8 children adopted internationally from Indonesia - the majority of the children being adopted to Australian families. Indonesia is a Muslim country... a fact that I naively thought would have no affect on the adoption... a certain Homeland Security official thought differently... And lastly, Indonesia was a Hague Treaty country long before the US was. Add all these factors (and a few million others that popped up along the way) and what you get is a very long and difficult adoption.

How apropos that the day Abby joined the ranks of those enjoying the "Great American Past Time", is the day that Abby received her Certificate of American Citizenship! It is the "Home Base" of all international adoptions! We are ELATED!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lilli's Acting Debut

Today, Lilli had her first foray into the acting world. She had 2 lines which she delivered with perfection! She is a natural. She did have to take a break to apply lip gloss ... and call her biggest fan... her nanny! She loved it... especially the "pep-roni" pizza that was supplied for the cast!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Proud Peacock Post

Just have to mention a couple things that my big kids have done to make me one proud peacock these days:

1) Latest report cards have everyone on Honor Roll once more... Holly had 3 out of 4 grades that were 100%... perfect! I recently went to the High School to "sign off" on Joey's and Holly's schedules for next year. I was thrilled that every person that I came in contact with had nothing but compliments for the kids - both academically and on a personal level. They have all transitioned well!

2) Each of the older kids basketball teams made the playoffs. Holly had a phenomenal game on Saturday where she scored 16 of her teams 30 points. She stole the ball in a play that ended with a buzzer beater win ~ 30 to 28! Her final game is next Saturday. I love that she wants to win; however, second place won't be bad because "I like silver better than gold!" she told me! Only a girl would say this! Joey's team lost in the final game last week and Daniel is playing for 3rd place this coming Saturday also. It has been a great season for them all. On to Abby's T-ball... Which we are all excited about!

3) Joey and Holly just took a field trip to University of Alabama for an Alabama High School Journalism Event. Holly went as a member of the Yearbook Staff and Joey went as a member of the School Newspaper Staff. They both had an exciting day on the huge UA campus in Tuscaloosa. They took classes and learned a great deal. Joey's day ended with an award ~ Best Overall Sportswriter for the State of Alabama. WOW! He is always so low key... but was super pumped about this grand accomplishment! Joe and I are so proud !

Bottom line... everyday, and I mean everyday, I stop and smile because of my children. They never cease to amaze me with their courage, strength, and willingness to put 100% of their energy into reaching their goals! ... and they are always front and center to help me!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Trying to Fatten Me Up???

I think my husband is trying to fatten me up ... I received this yesterday afternoon:

It is so full of dark chocolate... I am going to enjoy it so much on Saturday... YEP... I think I will eat it all (I might share a little with the kids... : ) maybe NOT) on Valentine's Day while watching a great romantic comedy... You've Got Mail, Notting Hill, Pretty Woman, American President, The Holiday, Gidget, Pillow Talk, Runaway Bride.... maybe I will watch them all and miss Joe and eat chocolate... and PLAN next Valentine's Day!


The littles were so excited to go to school today as they were celebrating Valentine's Day! 8:40am could not come fast enough for them!

We made little goody bags for their classmates with a few little treats inside. For the actual valentine, I bought a handful of different $1 packs from the dollar store. It was so fun watching the girls pick the "best" card for each of their classmates. It took us over an hour to pick and sign cards for 20 children. It was so much fun listening to them vocalize the selection process. Lilli says, "Katlyn is a girl and she is my good friend. I like Tinkerbell so she likes Tinkerbell, but I am going to pick the ice cream one for her". OK... I got that logic! Abby pretty much picked Lightning McQueen and Toy Story for all the boys and Kung Fu Panda and Nemo for the girls.

It has finally "clicked" with me that Lilli is at her best when she is 100% focused on a task at hand. Her days must be structured and busy. Down time is naughty time for her. I do get an occasional 30 minutes of video time... watching Mulan or Sky Dancers??????? or Dora. But at all other times... she must have a task to focus on. I am a fly by the seat of my pants girl so this is a bit of a stretch for me. I am learning how to plan my days from morning until night so that we have activities mixed with outdoor play (also very important for Lilli to burn off excess energy that would otherwise be put to good use in our house getting into something off limits!) Throw in three meals, a few healthy snacks (ok ok occasional junk food!) a nap, a little down time in front of a video or Leapster... and our days are good. Lilli especially likes arts and crafts... anything that she can do with scissors and stickers is GOOODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD in her book! Abby goes along with anything... as long as she can be "cool" doing it!

Based on this "ah-ha" moment, I have decided to enroll Lilli in school 5 days a week next year. She and Abby will continue at their current school. Abby will start Kindergarten in the fall and Lilli will move into the 4 year old preschool class. They will both go to school M-F from 9 until 1. The school, which is run by a local Methodist Church, is phenomenal. Abby has learned so much... and is so ready for Kindergarten. I am sure Lilli will blow away the 4 year old teacher next year with her smarts too!

Off to run errands... Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is This a JOKE?

Sadly it is not a joke.

This little guy is way cute:

But seriously... why should 30million - YES 30 MILLION - of OUR money go to research this little guy? This is one of the so called stimulating items in the Stimulus Package that is almost a done deal.

Oh... by the way... I actually know WHY 30 million dollars worth of research is included in the bill ... It is simply because the money is going directly to Nancy Pelosi's district - and she has previously been extremely vocal about researching this little mouse. But... I am told over and over that there are NO earmarks... hmmmmmmmmmmm...

I wonder how many hungry children are in Pelosi's district? How many families are being put out of their homes? How many people are being turned away from a medical facility? Isn't it her state that is "holding" tax refunds that are owed to citizens?? 30 Million is not enough to "fix" any of the problems; however, 30 Million would be a good start... 30 Million could be used for so many more important things. Research the little mouse when the economy recovers.

How is this right? How is this smart? How the heck can our government shove this down our throats? How do I explain to my children that they (as well as their children) will be paying for the crazy spending of my generation? How do I, a single person among millions and millions, make my voice heard... make a difference?

I 100% support our government being proactive. I 100% support lowering taxes - personal and small business and even corporate - to stimulate the economy ~ to create jobs, I fully support aiding our financial infrastructure so that citizens can get personal and small business loans, I 100% support HELPING those that are hungry, sick, and more importantly who have fallen victim to the CRAZY mortgage schemes of the past decade. We need to spend money on reconfiguring mortgages so that the housing market is stabilized... So that the value of my home and yours does not fall... To make sure that there are good jobs for those who want to work hard. I 100% support infrastructure spending in order to create jobs- focusing on those projects across the US - in small towns everywhere - projects that have already been planned and approved, yet shelved due to funding issues... get the money out there now. Don't start from scratch... takes too long to plan and seek approval for a major project....

Preaching Doom and Gloom and researching the Harvest Mouse... I just don't get it! Anyone out there get it and want to explain it to me????

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Decorating LOTS of Walls on a Budget

Abby and Lilli have a big room - lots and lots of wall space. Also, there is a door that leads to a playroom that they call their "Secret Room" - tons more wall space. I have been searching for some type of art that would be good for my toddler girls that would not break the bank ... because I need LOTS of it! I love many things that I have found... but when the price is pushing $100 per piece or more... I just can't do it. They will be older soon and we all know that what once was great for kids and parents gives way to decor that is more clutter than actual decor!

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, in hopes to save money and to create a cute space... I decided to make my own!
I started with some very reasonable priced small prints that I just fell in love with. My favorite site to find these are . I LOVE both Danita and Tummy Mountain.

You can get small signed prints for just a few dollars. They are too small to decorate a big space... so I decided to "fix" that problem.

I gathered all my craft paraphernalia... which includes MASS AMOUNTS of scrapbook paper and fabric. (Don't you just love Amy Butler????) I will admit that I do not - repeat do not - scrapbook. I do; however, have a certain odd and somewhat questionable love of scrapbook paper! I have collected pieces here and there for years now. I knew that it would all come in handy.

I supplemented my pile of "stuff" with a quick trip to Michael's to purchase some large Canvases. WOW...they were on sale for $5.99 for a two pack!

I am also using pieces of fabric from my collection (yes... again a very questionable love as I DO NOT sew!) to decorate the play room. Besides canvas, I departed Michael's with a shopping bag overflowing with inexpensive embroidery hoops in a veritable potpourri of sizes. You can see why below.

So here are some pics of what I had and what I did... I still have some work to do... but I am thrilled with the final product as are the girls!

Most Perfect Baby EVER!

My niece and her husband just welcomed their second son into the family last week. These are new pictures... and personally, I think Cody is the most perfect baby EVER!

Just Pictures

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lilli AnHui and Rod Blagojevich Have Something in Common...

Lilli has potty issues. She came home from China fully "potty-trained" and now... not so much!
I have been really worked up about this... having a 4 year old that is still wearing pull-ups... a reminder of my parenting failure about a dozen times a day.

Well, in recently talking to a Social Worker and other adoptive moms (of children adopted as toddlers) I have learned that Lilli and I are not alone. I asked for advice and received tons of great ideas... thanks for that!

Bottom line, I am going to stop worrying about it. Lilli is brilliant... she knows what she is doing. Most importantly, there are no medical concerns. It is not that she can't, it is that she won't... does not want to. Neither positive nor negative reinforcement has worked... so i am just going to let it be.
I had a talk with Lilli yesterday. I told her this was hers to own. When she was ready she could let me know. I did offer some "carrots"! She is signed up for Ballet Camp this summer with an amazing teacher... she MUST be potty trained. I offered a day out with mommy - shopping for ballet things, getting our nails done, lunch, picking out beautiful panties... maybe a movie. Fun Fun Fun time for Mommy and Lilli!
Abby took in the whole conversation... and I am guessing she processed it quite well - just as I am sure Lilli did! At lunch, Abby and Lilli were chatting about this and that and all of the sudden, Abby asked, "Lilli, when do you think you will be ready to be potty-trained?" Lilli replied, "Soon. About a month before Daddy comes home. I am just not ready yet Abby." Then they went back to normal chatter. OK... I can do this... if Lilli holds to that time line, we have about 4 or 5 more months of pull-ups and then viola'! WOW... summer brings JOE and a house full of potty-trained kids! YES!!!!
Fast forward ... this morning we are driving to school. We pass the baseball fields where Abby will be playing T-ball in a few weeks... she is sooooooooooooooo excited. She was talking a mile a minute about all her baseball stuff and her team etc etc etc. Lilli chimed in about what is going to happen when she "peepees in the potty every time". This included a short discussion about ballet and princesses and all the fun things we have planned to do when she is "ready". She added a cute little high pitched "I am so sited! (meaning EXCITED) at the end of the discussion... or what I thought was the end! This is going to work is what I was thinking and I am so sited too!
Then .... here is where the commonality between Lilli and the former Governor of Illinois comes into play... just remember Blago's infamous quote (I am removing the expletives) "this is a valuable thing... I am not just going to give it away for nothing"! Well... smart smart smart Lilli was thinking the exact same thing.... her next statement was "And mommy, when I peepee every time, I would like a white horse named Milkshake too!" WHAT???? Serious... to me... this IS more important than being able to appoint a Senator... I wouldn't just give it away either.... GOOD TRY Lilli! Sorry... but NO! I don't think our neighborhood charter allows a white horse named Milkshake in the backyard! But good try... setting high goals... I LOVE that!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Far We Have Come...

My oldest son was playing around with his new Ipod last night. He was showing me a new "app" or application that he had just downloaded. Apple has "apps" for EVERYTHING! You need to make sure something is level... download the "app"... want to play a certain game... "download the "app".... having the ability to download your favorite song within seconds... that is old school for him... he has never known any different.

Watching him fiddle around with his miniature size modern little marvel of a machine made me smile as I thought back to what my childhood was like... trying to remember my favorite"gadgets" and how I would wait for hours in front of my stereo to hear my favorite song on the radio. I was lucky as I had scored a Sony Cassette Recorder one year for Christmas so my hours of waiting would eventually pay off and the B-97FM Deejays would eventually play my song and I could tape it.... along with all the background noise in my house!!! I always missed the first second or two... and the quality was less than desirable... but it was my "IPOD" and I was a happy girl suffering for days in front of the stereo to make a single "mixed-tape". My children will never know this torture! : )

As I was thinking about the cassette recorder and how much I begged and begged and was over the moon when Santa brought it to me in the late 70's, I was thinking about all the other things that brought me joy during my childhood!

Remembering these make me smile:

I spent the majority of my youth outside. If the weather was good I was outside. I rode my bike everywhere (we could back then with no worries) played basketball and badminton, flipped on the laundry poles as they were my personal gymnastics equipment, and I lived on the tire swing. I could swing for hours - on the inside... on the top... flipped upside down... it didn't matter... I LOVED the tire swing!
I made a million of these potholders... It was my life's mission for a while. I woke up to weave and went to sleep only to dream about weaving... I wonder where all those potholders are???Skating was IN...I was at the rink pretty much every weekend. I think it was around 6th/7th grade that everyone had skating parties. I remember the "couple skate"... maybe because I was never a couple... wonder if Joe would take me to a skating rink now and skate the couple skate with me? He better makes plans to take me to the hospital shortly after that to get my backside repaired! : )Always about the music... two of my favorites were KC (forget the Sunshine Band... I was all about KC). And Donny... sweet Donny... I thought he would be my husband one day. I planned it all ... planned the wedding, planned the kids, the house, the car... but alas, Joe found me first! Sorry Donny... you missed out!. Holly Hobbie... what needs to be said about Holly Hobbie... I LOVED HER! Anything with that cute faceless image was the bomb in my book! I had the backpack and the lunch box! I was so stylin'!
This was a dream come true when it showed up under the Christmas tree one year.... The hours I spent spinning and dripping ... and making a complete mess... That was some fabulous art that I created! I wonder how much they would fetch on Ebay? My mom hated this thing! Mainly because she had to clean up after me... but also because I went through paint and paper faster than Jeff Gordan at a Nascar Race!
Oh My Merlin.... I have to stop and smile. How could 11 dots that lit up in 2 colors keep me busy for hours on end? Seriously...hours and hours. And... it caused fights in my house. My brother was always trying to take it away from me! He too was just crazy over the 11 light dots!
This guy needs no introduction... he speaks for himself. I will only say that I became a master (a master of taking the stickers off and repositioning them when I became frustrated!) Yes... I CHEATED! Sorry! OK... don't tell my parents about this one.... Wait, I am an adult now. : ) Anyone remember this book... and how it traveled in the underground world of teenage girls... passing from the lucky girls whose moms unknowingly bought it to all of the rest of us drooling to get our hands on the "naughtyness"..... It addressed the issue of menstruation... OH NO! My school censored it... as did all the other schools in the area... so that made it much more of a must read! Funny to think back on how I hid it for the week it was in my possession and my heart would race whenever my mom was in the same room where it was hidden... I was so BAD!

These shoes were the first thing that I begged and pleaded and cried and pouted for... Yo-Yo's. They are actually kind of ugly; however, when my mom finally gave in (toward the end of the fad when she found them for 75% off the already low clearance price) and bought them for me, I wore them with everything... pants, shorts, dresses, skirts, my pajamas.... I was so hot in these shoes! NOT!
I smelled good through my entire childhood thanks to Loves Baby Soft! I saw it at WalMart the other day and had to buy it for Holly (actually more for me... who am I kidding). I waited so impatiently for Holly to get home from school to share this part of my childhood with her... bonding.... serious bonding moment. Problem is... Loves Baby Soft is actually a bit stinky... And the shape of the bottle is pretty revolting when you think about it.
Abby watches Wizard of Oz on occasion... fast forwarding through all the bad parts (that would be witch and flying monkey parts). She will just ask to watch it out of the blue. Not a problem as we own both the DVD (about 67cents in Indonesia) and the VCR Tape. Easy Easy to watch what you want - when you want to. I try to explain to my kids about the excitement that surrounded the once a year showing of The Wizard of Oz when I was a child. It would always be on a Sunday night and we would always watch... No matter what was on any other channel (remember there were only 4 back then ~if you counted PBS! Try explaining that to your teenage children and watch their faces contort! ) It was an EVENT in my house... in my childhood! I was never hungry as a child because I always had this.... Chef Boyardee Lasagna... in a can... Lasagna in a can???? My hubbies Italian ancestors would cringe! : ) But seriously, I could eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner when I was a kid.... They still make it - unfortunately, it has lost it's charm ... but I still LOVE sphagettios!

OK.... this is a great movie! I loved it then and still love it today! Confession... I also like Grease 2 - please don't hold it against me! Michele Pfiefer has never been better. Here portrayal of a pink lady was worthy of an Oscar... and Michael... with his foreign accent... I was crushing!!!

When I was a senior in High School, I was chosen for a very special class. It was an introduction to computers. My school had received a gift of 4 Radio Shack TRS-80s. There was a ceremony and everything!!! I worked so hard for an entire year to get my computer to make a monochromatic smiley face ... "IF X, Then Y" . It is amazing to think how far we have come! The Ipod that fits neatly into Joey's hand (actually his hand is so big that about 3 Ipods could fit) has a gazillion** times more power and a gazillion times more memory than this cutting edge machine!

Had to add this as it is the only thing that I really really wanted that I never had... can you believe the nerve of my parent's for not giving into my every whim and desire? I can't! This might be the cause of all of my underlying personality issues... Could be!!! I could just see myself (like the Brady Bunch kids that had a Pogo Stick) jumping and jumping and jumping. I knew I could be good enough to go to the Olympics... but my parents just did not understand. It is like unrequited love...

Did I miss anything? Let me know what your favorite was when you were a kid ... before IPODs!

** Gazillion... a term that means much more than billions or Even trillions... as in "If the current stimulus plan passes in the Senate, we are going to leave our children a Gazillion dollars in debt".