I plan on ringing in the new year with a toast to Pipo for her beautiful new daughter, Claire. And one for Ozimum on the addition of Tari. Another toast for Kelli on her referral of Madeline. And while I'm at it I'll celebrate a little for Pug Mama since we can all rest easy that her referral is gonna come now, too. Man... after all those toasts I might be a little drunk. LOL!
To all my bloggy peeps, have a safe and happy new year celebration.
Hurry on over to my very first bloggy BFF's place and congratulate PIPO on her beautiful new daughter, Claire!!Excuse me now. I have to go grab some more tissues cuz I can't stop crying my eyes out. All happy tears though. Get on over there and see that beautiful baby girl. She was worth the wait!
My brother's girlfriend got a very special Christmas present this year. An engagement ring! My brother finally popped the question. LOL! And of course, she said yes! Congratulations to the newly engaged couple.Travis is the baby of the three of us. I know it wasn't easy growing up with two older sisters. But sometimes it comes in handy. Like when it comes to jewelry! He called and asked my advice about ring buying a couple weeks ago. That's what sisters are for. LOL!
After he gave me the news and I picked myself up off the floor, I called the jeweler who designed my wedding ring. His business is completely word of mouth and he's The Best around. Your jewelry buying experience is totally personal with him. He takes you into his office and gets to know you a little bit before suggesting what he thinks will work. I even brought a picture of Kristy so he could see the woman he was designing the ring for. See that giant vault in the background? It's filled ...FILLED... with jewelry and loose diamonds. My heart was all a flutter just sitting that close to it! LOL! I can't even begin to imagine how much money we were sitting in the same room with. Being all big sisterly, I had to whip out my camera and document the occasion. LOL! Travis chose his own diamond. He told Mr B what size, cut and clarity he wanted. I was impressed. The boy had done his homework. Then he decided on a setting. The ring is gorgeous! The diamond just absolutely sparkles. The pics don't even do it justice. It's a round solitaire but also has two small diamonds on the bottom of the prongs. It's very unique. I'm so happy he chose something one of a kind instead of going to one of those mall stores and getting a mass produced ring just like everyone else. Now Kristy has something that's really special designed by her future husband specifically for her and her taste. And I'm truly honored that he let me in on his plans and allowed me to be a part of the ring shopping. I even got to be a hand model and try some on. All those diamonds gave me a high that lasted the whole afternoon. LOL! It was a really fun time and a memory I'll treasure forever. So about the proposal.... cuz I know everyone wants to know how he did it, right? I tried to talk him into asking her at our family Christmas celebration but he flat refused. I mean, since we're a family of bloggers we could've all blogged it! But he said absolutely not. LOL! He wanted something private just between the two of them. He also wanted it to be a total surprise so he knew he couldn't do anything out of the ordinary. A fancy dinner or weekend away would've tipped her off that something was up. So on Christmas Eve after they'd put Braeden to bed they started to put the gifts under the tree. Just a normal thing..... until he pointed out this ornament hanging there.He said she was very surprised. They'd talked about marriage and both knew it'd happen eventually but she wasn't expecting it just yet. So the proposal was a success. And yes... he did get down on one knee and ask properly. No date set. That'll all come in time. Congrats again to the happy couple! This was a Christmas they'll always remember.
Dear Mia Not a day has gone by since February 15, 2006 without thoughts of you. In fact, I've dreamed of being a mother for many, many years before that. But on that day, I began the journey to you.
I think of you often. I wonder when you'll be born. And where. I imagine what you'll look like, what your personality will be like. I dream of what it will feel like to see your face, look into your eyes, hold you in my arms. To finally be your mother.
I hope you let me rock you to sleep at night. At least for awhile. When you're ready, I'll teach you how to walk. But maybe you'll already know how. That's okay, too. I'll teach you your ABC's and how to count. I'll read you bedtime stories and tuck you in. I'll take you to the park and watch you laugh when I push you on the swing. In the winter, I'll introduce you to snow. And when you get big enough I'll take you around the corner to the big hill and teach you how to sled.
At Christmas time, we'll make cookies. Just like I have for so many years with your cousins. We'll drive around at night just to look at all the lights. I'll take you to the mall for your initiation into the traditional "photo op with Santa". I hope you don't cry... but it's alright if you do. We'll wear penguin pajamas and put out cookies for Santa. And Christmas morning will be noisy and crazy and chaotic.... after so many years of quiet.
I imagine you a little older..... as a teenager. Will you be an athlete? Or a bookworm? Maybe both? Will you borrow my jewelry? Will you tell me your secrets? Will you obey my curfew? Can I be your mother AND your friend like the wise 14 yr old, Peyton, advised me to? She told me to respect you and to always listen without judgement. That way you'll know you can always come to me with anything. I hope you will. I pray my love will lessen some of the hurts you'll have. And I pray that when it's time, I'll have the right words to explain your beginnings and how we came to be together.
I heard a song on the radio the other day about a mother on her daughter's wedding day. It made me cry. I can easily imagine you as a child. And knowing Peyton has opened up my imagination to think about what life will be like with you as a teenager. But I don't think I've ever really thought about you as a woman. Going off to college, maybe getting married, having children of your own some day. I hope that as you leave my nest we'll remain close. Maybe some day you'll even say that I'm your best friend. Then I'd know I'd done a really good job.
But for now, you're still just a dream in my heart. I hope that some day you'll understand just how much I've loved you all the years that I've waited for you. And I can't wait to know you. Because I'm sure I'll love you a million times more. Merry Christmas Mia bella ... my beautiful. Love, Mommy
Today my oldest niece turns six years old. With a birthday two days before Christmas it's hard to get a present for her. Instead we try to take her someplace special and do something fun. Which is a treat all in itself when you have four other siblings. I mean, to go by yourself. That's probably the biggest treat.
This year Carla and I took her to see The Nutcracker Ballet. She saw it for the first time when she was three yrs old. But I think she enjoyed it much more now that she's a little older. Plus she's also taking ballet classes herself. So I think she got a kick out of seeing the really good, experienced dancers up there on stage. I was amazed at just how long the Sugar Plum Fairy stayed up on her pointy toe. Just watching it made my feet hurt. It was a beautiful, magical, mesmerizing performance. I love to see all the little girls in their pretty dresses coming to the ballet with their moms. I have visions of bringing Mia some day..... when she's old enough to sit still for two hours. LOL! Anyway, I digress.
Back to the point.... which is that today is the day to wish my obstinate, fiesty, beautiful, goofy, opinionated, talkative, very smart, hysterically funny, creative, curious, stubborn, sassy, demanding, some days a tomboy, some days a princess and very much loved niece a happy 6th birthday! I couldn't imagine life without her in it.
This time last year, I was deep in the abyss of what we China PAP's like to call "adoption depression". I could barely drag myself through the holidays. I had absolutely no desire to celebrate or decorate so no tree went up. Thank goodness this year is better. Behold.... my beautiful (but fake) Christmas tree.I changed some of the decor this go round. Simplified some things. I didn't put out as much stuff as I used to. And I switched all my lights to white instead of the multi-colored kind I had loved for so many years. I really really like the white. It totally makes the red on the tree pop, dontcha think?I even put some garland and lights on top of my new china cabinet. It's so pretty at night.Oh... for those folks who started reading my blog sometime after Christmas of 2006, don't be shocked by my totally penguin tree. Yes... only penguin ornaments. Some call it a compulsion. I just call it fabulous. LOL! Here are some of the newest additions. An ode to my nieces and nephews affectionately known as "The T's".A gift from my cousin, Lisa B.A gift from my sister, Carla.I bought this last year at the end of the season for half price. My two favorite holiday things..... Santa and penguins.Another gift from last year, I believe. Didn't one of my cousins get this at our ornament exchange? Any of my cousins out there remember and want to speak up? My apologies for forgetting but I'm using that "I was really depressed and not myself" excuse .A gift from this year's exchange. I actually got two of these from two separate cousins, Missy and Debbie.I found these gorgeous sparkly candles to replace my pink and green polka dotted ones. But only for the holidays. I can't wait to put the polka dots back up. I love those dang things.Last but not least, my mantle. I put old Christmas cards and some wrapping paper in black frames for a cheap and easy way to holiday it up. Clever, eh?And check out my new stockings!!! I love these!Remember the old ones that looked like I made them in kindergarten? With the do-it-yourself glue and green glitter monogramming on a cheap drugstore stocking? Well, I finally invested in some real grown up stockings. And I think they're beautiful! They look soooooo much better.By the way, if you missed the last holiday decorations from 2006 and want to see the difference or just want to make fun of my insane penguin obsession, you can click here or here. LOL!
I love getting the mail during the holidays. Some days I get sweet Christmas cards from friends and family. Some days an unexpected gift. Some days there's a package I've ordered during my own holiday shopping.
This week was no exception. I got a really cool Christmas card from my Canadian buddies, Rhonda and Josh. Somehow they knew that I really liked penguins. Imagine that? Plus this card has CANDY in it! I'm torn though. Do I destroy the card to get to the candy? Right now my willpower is strong because I've decided it's worth keeping. Thanks and Merry Christmas to you both!Wendy the Penguin also arrived this week all the way from sunny California. She's named for the woman who created her soft, cuddly, snuggliousness. That'd be wzgirl. You can check out her fabulous Etsy shop at buttercupbloom. When Wz started making owls in her little Etsy shop I knew she was just one step away from penguins. So I badgered her until she took a stab at it. I think she's done a wonderful job.Wendy the Penguin is made from felted, upcycled black cashmere and white corduroy. She has a special little surprise upholstery fabric that peeks out from under her wings. The same fabric is also on her bottom. But for the sake of her vanity I didn't photograph it. LOL! And check out her little scarf in my favorite colors. Wendy will have a new home displayed on a shelf in Mia's nursery. Well, when there actually is a nursery, I mean. For now she'll live on a shelf near my computer. Thanks Wendy.... (the talented human sewing genius not the very soft, cuddly stuffed penguin).... I love her! :)And thanks for including this sweet little bookmark. It might just motivate me to read a little more. LOL!Remember this post? Well, the CoCo BonBons website is having a huge 75% off clearance sale. You won't believe the prices! I wish I'd waited just a few more days before I ordered this outfit. I could've saved about half the money I spent. Oh well! Mia has a few more penguin pieces added to the wardrobe now thanks to the amazing sale. And you may even see two little T's with matching dresses soon. But the sale is only this weekend so get over there! Now!
Last Sunday was the annual cookie making day with the niece and nephews. Oops... I mean "nieces" plural. I've been so used to saying it in the singular for the last 5 yrs. Sometimes I still forget I have two now. Tess is still a bit young for cookie mayhem so she sat this one out.Here's my not-singular-anymore niece practicing her dough rolling skills. Tatum ditched us for a couple hours to go to her first "invited to" birthday party. She came back talking of Hannah-Montana pinatas and party favors. It was exciting. Teagan was very independent this year. He's in that "I do it myself" stage.Which includes wardrobe choices. We told him he had his shirt on backwards but he didn't care and refused to let anyone fix it. He wore it like that all day. LOL!The kids are getting pretty good at cookie making. Apparently, they actually have been listening to my lessons over the years. Who'da thunk it?They all did a really good job of using the flour so their rolling pins didn't stick. And keeping the cutters close to each other so you can get more cookies out of each rolled out batch.Tess just hung out with Grandpa. This was the last day of his week long visit from Wyoming.Teagan was in to a more minimalist approach to icing the cookies. Less is more.... as far as he's concerned. LOL!For the 2nd year in a row, Tanner would not wear the apron. He's clearly way too cool for such things.The other boys are still very much digging their aprons. How many more years will it take Travis to decide it's too lame for him, too, I wonder?Teagan had his own unique vision for his cookie creations this year. This is the teddy bear carnage. He removed the arms and legs. He said he wanted it like that. Not sure who wants to eat a teddy bear torso.... but okay, buddy.Tess and Grandpa decided to come supervise the action. Excuse her wild hair. She's going through a phase. LOL!Very serious cookie decorating going on here.....They're given free reign to design these however they want. Dontcha just love their creativity? Somebody obviously really likes the green tube of icing. Wonder who that would be?Picking just the right sprinkles is sometimes a difficult decision.Lots of cookies were made. And all were left at my sister's house. Hahahahaha!Just a gratuitous cute baby shot thrown in for good measure.Grandpa left for the airport right after we took this last pic. It was nice to have him around for awhile. Hopefully, he'll come back and visit again soon.Oh wait... I just noticed somebody turned Teagan's shirt around for the pic. I must have missed that happening. But it says... Be My Valentine? Wrong holiday, dude. LOL!
A week or so ago while browsing through the Etsy site I decided to see what popped up if I searched "adoption jewelry". I fell in love with this pendant and immediately knew I HAD TO HAVE IT! It's a beautiful glass tile about the size of a stamp.I e-mailed back and forth with the artist, Gail. She was so nice and very easy to work with. She offered to put my LID on the back of the charm. Isn't that the coolest thing? I love love love it! It turned out even better than I expected.I love the pendant so much I wanted to share her site with everybody. It's called Dos Besitos's and is located here on Etsy. She has all kinds of glass tile pendants and magnets representing many different countries including Russia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Haiti and the Philipines. The pendants aren't just for waiting moms either. There are some with little maps like this one below.Or with words written in different languages like this one that says "mother" in Amharic.These are just a few examples of the beautiful work she has on her site. Go check it out.