Sunday, December 31, 2006

Slumber Party

Last Saturday was Tatum's 4th birthday. Originally, the plan was to wait until after the holidays to celebrate her birthday since it falls 2 days before Christmas. So I made plans to go make cookies with my godchildren on that day. Then like a typical woman whose prerogative it is to change her mind, my sister decided to have a party. Now she said she didn't have a party. She just made a cake with candles, had presents, and invited over me and Grandma. Well, sis.. I think that defines a "party". Click here to see round one of the birthday. So I was stuck with the dilemma of where to go. Which kid do I disappoint? My godchildren or my niece? In the end, I stuck with the original plan and decided to have my own birthday celebration with Tatum. So she came over last night and we had a slumber party. There were a few tears as soon as Mommy left. Tate's never spent the night here by herself. She usually is part of the package deal with her brothers. So I think she was a little homesick. But as soon as I mentioned presents and cake, it was immediate mood change.
Here she is with her Little Mermaid presents. Below she's getting ready to blow out the candles on her mini-cake. And yes, she made me sing her "Happy Birthday" all by myself. Notice Ariel's arm at the bottom of the pic. I just saw that and had to look twice to figure out what it was.

Take a deep breath, make a wish and blow out the candles!

Later we chilled out in our matching penguin pj's and watched her "Little Mermaid" movie. Griffey was just a bit jealous so he wanted to get in on the attention getting. I tried to snap a pic of us while holding the camera out but kept cutting my head off. But I thought this was a cute pic anyway.
So now we've had our Fruity Pebbles for breakfast at her special request. We're hanging out for a bit and then going to get our nails done. Later tonight, I'm going to pick up the older boys and we're all going to a New Year's Eve party for some of our Single Adoptive Moms group hosted by Kim and Alex. I'm bringing the kids so that Alex has someone his own age to play with. Otherwise, it would be all moms and babies. It should be fun. And it will be an interesting social experiment to see how well kids can play together when they don't speak the same language. (Remember, Kim just came home with 7 yr old Alex from Guatemala 10 days ago.) Right now, Tatum's sitting behind me playing on the floor with some toys. She's talking to herself as she plays and I just heard "Fire in the hole!" WTF? Must have something to do with having 3 brothers.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year! And I hope I survive an entire weekend with children. :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Favorite Foto Friday

Here's the second annual Christmas penguin pajamas pic. Notice the matching pj's. I lucked into finding these. Especially the adult/kid match. Unfortunately, there were none small enough for Teagan so he got to stand out on his own. I think I might make this our little tradition. It'll be fun to see the way the kids change over the years. I just hope I'll always be able to find us penguin pj's. LOL!

For those of you not familiar with these gorgeous children, they belong to my sister. From the left is Tanner (9), Teagan (21 mths), Tatum (4) and Travis (6). You can view their adventures over at my sister's blog The Tales of the T's. Griffey is in the background there. He wanted in the pic also but was not very cooperative with sitting still. Check out last year. They all look pretty much the same but just a little taller. Except Teagan, he's losing his baby deliciousness and starting to look like a little boy now.
Speaking of changes.... here's the proof of what will happen if you spend a year EATING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE STRESS of deciding to adopt, finding a single's spot, paperchasing, Rumor Queen, lack of referrals, the unknown timeline, wait times lengthening and then the big final hurrah of new regulations from the CCAA which declare that I'm not fit to parent a second daughter from China and the worry that they might change their mind and decide that about the first one, too. Oh and sprinkle on a bit of getting over the broken heart left by the guy I thought was the "One" who left because he wasn't ready to "settle down" but who's now engaged and expecting his first child. Yeah, at least 10 lbs belong to him.... maybe 15. Guess you all figured out what my new year's resolution is. Gotta go dust off the treadmill. :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Mia

Merry Christmas
by Third Day

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are
But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine
It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And I'll tell you from my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas
As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow
But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here
It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And I'll tell you from my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas
Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
and we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life and prepare a place for us
so we could have a home with him above
It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll tell you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas.

Momma's waiting for you Mia. Know that wherever you may be tonight you are loved. I wish you a Merry Christmas and pray that this will be our last one without each other.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cookie Making Marathon: Day 1

Every year at Christmas I make iced sugar cookies. It's a tradition. Many years ago, I decided to have a cookie making party with all of my favorite kids. I turn them loose and they create their own. Then they take all the cookies home with them. It's crazy, chaotic, and messy but lots of fun. The kids love it. As soon as the Christmas trees go up they start asking "When are we making cookies?" Peyton (my best friend's daughter) always joins us. Even though she's twelve now, she still wouldn't miss it. Here is Tatum and I modeling our new aprons. Not sure why she has her mouth hanging open.

The aprons were made by my friend, Kim. (Who just got home with Alex on Thursday. She thanks you for all of your prayers and well wishes. They're doing well with the transition so far. More on that later.) This is actually Mia's apron made to match mine. But somehow I left my sister out of the apron order so we had to juggle around who wore which one. Luckily I have fabric left over so we'll make another one for Mia and this will be Tate's. This is before the chaos. And yes, we use cheater pre-made rolls of cookie dough. These kids do not have attention spans long enough to go through the whole made from scratch process. And Mommy and Aunt Krista don't have the stamina either.
Let the games begin! My sister has to stand guard over the toddler mayhem. Oh.. don't mind that large butcher knife you see on the table. It was only there for a few minutes while we cut the toddler's roll of dough in half. ( Don't worry CCAA..... you can trust me with a kid. I promise I won't let Mia play with knives. LOL!)

I told you they didn't have good attention spans. This one didn't even make it to the icing phase.
The cookies have been baked and cooled. We're moving on to the icing and decorating.

I don't think you can tell from this pic but I even have penguin cookie cutters. Tanner has just finished icing a penguin.
Had to stick this in here to show how so much of this project is about the eating.
"No I didn't eat any cookies yet. Why do you ask?"
Caught ya Peyton!
Tatum is trying to stick the sprinkles back into the jar through the little hole and yes.. I believe that is yellow frosting evidence on her cheek!
"Eat a cookie? Who me?"
After we were done, we ordered pizza and hung out watching the Polar Express. This is my newest favorite Christmas movie. If you haven't seen it, you must get it! Unfortunately, in my exhausted state, I managed to forget to take a pic of the finished products. You'll just have to take my word on it that they were beautiful. Next year, I hope to add a baby to the mix to make it even more crazy and fun.

And as promised, here's a pic of Chilly Willy all lit up.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cookie Making Marathon: Day 2

So remember how I said this is a tradition I've been doing for years. It started back in the olden days with my God-children. The two still at home are now 15 and 16. I didn't think they'd be interested in cookie making now that they're cool teenagers and all. But I was wrong. They asked if they could make cookies, too. They wanted to include the younger kids so I packed up the cookie making supplies and traveled to where they live now (about a half hour drive south) for another round of cookie chaos. This time it was much crazier. My friend, Dominique, was at work and her husband decided to leave and go do some Christmas shopping, I guess. Which left me with 2 teenagers and 4 kids under the age of 5!! I felt like I had just run the Ironman afterwards. All I can say is... somehow I survived to tell the tale.

This is 5 yr old Reuben and 3 yr old Maia rolling out their dough.

This is 15 yr old Alexis helping not yet 2 yr old Jack.

Here's the girls icing their creations. In all the madness, I missed pics of 16 yr old Adryan helping 2 yr old Mekhi. It was naptime for the two little ones so they didn't last long in the cookie making process.

Okay since you're all now confused, I'll explain a bit. My friendship with Dominique started in the 7th grade. By the time we were 19, Dominique had Ashlee, Adryan and Alexis. Yes... she started very young. She is now re-married and has added Reuben and Jack. Ashlee is now in Columbus going to school. (In case you're reading this..I hope that's what you're doing Ashlee!) Ashlee has added Maia and Mehki to the mix. Yes... also an early bloomer. So Dominique is my age and the mother of five and grandmother of two. To say her life is crazy would be an understatement. But she has a house full of beautiful kids. I bought the little ones matching penguin pj's, of course. So here they are modeling them. Here's Maia and Mekhi. They're virtual twins only about 16 months apart in age.

And the whole group. If they made these pajamas in sizes big enough for the older kids I absolutely would have bought them! Boy was it impossible to get this pic. So I gave up. Jack wouldn't cooperate as you can see. And trying to get all of them to look at the camera and smile at the same time was not even happening.

I was exhausted after last night but I had fun. The kids are all a riot! After Reuben got his pj's on he decided to run through the house saying he was "Nacho Libre" and even made me tie a blanket on his back for his cape. I enjoy spending time with the older ones even more. I've definitely had a hand in raising them. It's nice to see that they're blossoming into cool little adults in spite of the difficulties of being born to a teenage mom. If my A's are reading this... I just want you to know how much I love you and I'm proud of the people you're becoming.

I need to make a few more cookies for some family celebrations tonight and tomorrow. But I'm not sure I have the energy. I'm just about cookie'd out! Well, time to get to work. More later.

Happy Birthday Tatum!

On December 23rd, 2002 our little red haired princess was born. My sister had two boys before her and another after. It's rough being the only girl amongst so much testoterone but she's a spitfire and definitely holds her own. In talking about Mia, my mom told her that she was finally gonna get another girl to play dolls with. All Tatum could say was "No. I like trucks." She does indeed like baby dolls though. She's not all tomboy. Her given name is Myra Tatum. Myra after our maternal grandmother. But don't ever call her Myra...... she'll correct you right away with "I Ta-Tum!" She's fiesty, sassy, and the most fun loving kid I've ever seen. She's so excited about life and all it's wonders. It's absolutely contagious and you can't help but get swept up in her enthusiasm. She cracks me up constantly. Every time I come in the door I get that thousand watt smile as she yells out "Kri-ta!" and gives me a running hug. Those are the moments that make life worth living. I can't wait to see her and Mia grow up together.

I hope you had a wonderful day today Tatum. Happy 4th Birthday! I love you bunches!

Melissa Rocks!

Many of you read Melissa's blog "Awaiting Ava". I'm also a loyal reader. We've exchanged some e-mails back and forth and I made a promise the other day that before I die I was going to drink a margarita with this chick. She's my kind of peeps! So she asks for my address and I'm thinking she's sending a quilt square. I go to get the mail this morning and I see this. My first thought is "WTF?! Why in the hell is there a chainsaw on my front porch?" But then I saw it was from sweet Melissa and look what was inside......... Big surprises for me!! First, a light up penguin! How cool is this guy?! He immediately replaced the light up Santa that was here. Santa is now looking for a new home. I'll take a pic of this Chilly Willy look alike tonight in all his bright and shiny glory.
Ava sent an ornament for Mia! The pic came out dark but you can still see how adorable this is.
And penguin dishtowels and pot holders which could not have come at a better time. My sister noticed the pot holder we were using during the cookie making marathon was hers ... so she stole it back. These are the new official Xmas cookie making pot holders from now on!
Oh and she did send a quilt square. Actually two. I might even use both in Mia's quilt.
The most amazing thing about all of this is that I've NEVER EVEN MET Melissa! I promise I will someday though. She lives in Georgia so we'll have to work out a plan. I'm constantly amazed by the wonderful, generous, kind-hearted people I've met on this adoption journey. I never imagined I would make so many new friends and find such awesome support when I made this decision. We're all in this together and no one else can truly understand what we got through and how we feel except each other. I'm so blessed to have found this place. Thank you again Melissa for thinking of me in the middle of your busy life as a wife and mom to three kids, two dogs and awaiting Ava. You put a smile in my heart today!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blogger Parade Of Homes: Holiday Edition

Here's Shannon's request for a holiday home tour. Christmas is my absolute favorite season! I love it and I love decorating the house for it. I'm one of those people that has to pack things up and completely change the decor. It sucks taking it all down though. Click here to see the before pics. Here's the view of the living room from the front door. Griffey in his favorite spot, of course. Because my house is a bit smaller, I have to stick the tree in the dining room. But I found the perfect spot. I can sit on the couch and watch TV but still see my beaut-ious tree!

View from the other side. I've watched so many decorating shows that I've picked up some tips. Here's one... hang ornaments from the curtains to make the room look more festive.

The mantle again. With the stockings all hung. I even change the fireplace candles out for red ones and the ones on the wrought iron stands there next to it. You can just barely catch a glimpse of the Santa chair covers in the dining room and my new penguin tablecloth.

Here it is!! The main attraction. The Penguin Tree! Nothing but penguin ornaments here. Except for the June Bug heart for my DTC group and a snowman that my cousin, Hope, gave me. (But the snowman is hanging towards the back...sorry Hope.) Mumble the Happy Feet Penguin is sitting under the tree waiting for Mia.

A closer look. I've been collecting these ornaments since I was a kid. Many are gifts.

The living room all lit up at night. I love the lights and the colors! I'm really just a big kid at heart, I guess.

Rudolph is my favorite classic holiday cartoon. More cheap and easy decorating tips. Add simple, inexpensive Christmas items to pretty glass bowls or vases to make everything more festive. A few glass ball ornaments in a bowl and simple, cheap bows in a vase.

Bead garland wrapped around candles.

Tape pretty holiday cards over your existing pictures. Makes it look like you bought all new holiday art.

Hang cheap plastic ornaments from your light fixtures.

Stick some shiny tree garland in a vase.

Here's my house from the outside all lit up at night. Gorgggg-eous... if I do say so myself. I love love love Christmas!! Can you tell? Some might think it's a bit excessive but I think it's just right!

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Y'all come back now ya here...


Penguins, penguins, everywhere.... at Christmas time especially so. Here's the wreath on my front door. These little guys were crocheted by my mother many years ago. The other 7 are hanging on the tree.

My front steps leading up to Mr Animated Light Up Penguin on the porch. Check out those lawn stake lights. Awwwwe-some dude!

At night in all his glory!

The window ledge in the kitchen.

Cookie jar.

That guy on top the microwave sings and dances when you push a button!

The Hallmark figure. When you push a button the tree lights up and the snowman and penguins sing and move. The penguins even shake their booty! It's hilarious!

I got the new snowbabies figurine in the middle this year as a reminder of all the time I waited for Mia. It's called "Worth Waiting For" and there's a calendar hanging behind the snowbaby and the penguin.

Another cheap and easy way to decorate... candy canes in a pretty vase.

I painted those lamp shades myself. Not bad, huh? There's my favorite pic of the penguin pj's. More Christmas balls and beads in pretty vases. Gotta love cheap and easy...

I even sleep with penguins! Oh get your mind out of the gutter! Hardy har-har! Yes I have issues. But they're my issues and I like them! So thank you very much.