Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'08...was Oh-So.....

I saw my friend Jess comment about reflecting about 2008. My thoughts about the past year....
(In no particular order!)

1. Cameron decided to play football and did very well, we're so proud of him!
2. Anna loved soccer this year and that was a switch from not liking it at all.
3. I coached (head coached one, and assisted the other) 2 teams this spring soccer season and lived!
4. Cam and Anna both loved their baseball/t-ball seasons.
5. Julia started Kindergarten and wow, where did that time go?
6. Wayne got a promotion and a new title (I love joking about being the Executive Vice President of Operations wife!)
7. My whole family was healthy this year, no major illnesses.
8. We have gained some new friends and strengthened the bonds with some "old" ones too.
9. Wayne and I have greater appreciation of what the other does as far as our roles are parents, spouses, lovers, friends and providers.
10. Cameron and Anna are both doing well in school and seem to like it.
11. We spent a lot of time camping this summer with both our families. Experiences that we hope the the kids will continue with their own families some day.
12. One new friend made it possible for us to get photos back to China and to Julia's orphanage director and foster mom. That is something that I've been grateful for and can't begin to thank her enough.
13. My baby sister met someone very special to her and she's moving on in the next phase of her life. I miss her, the kids miss her but I know that it's good for her to get out and see new things.
14. Our friends the Danielson's are expecting their new kiddo soon...FROM CHINA! Wayne and I have been so blessed to have gotten to be a part of their journey and I can't wait to spoil that little guy (or girl!)
15. It's been 3 years since Julia came home, and well, you'd have never guessed she wasn't here from the start. Each day she brings light, joy and hope to our days. Her laugh and smile are infectious and I don't think I can love her any more than I do.
16. Anna has become quite the young lady and manages many parts of her hearing loss. She is aware of what she needs and how to ask for it. I know that God has a plan for Anna and she's more than willing to take that on!
17. Cameron reminds me a lot of me. He's emotional, caring, giving and loves proving people wrong. Cam is the type of kid that if he's got $5, he's going to blow it on something at iTunes or donating it to a charity. He's generous and he to has shown me this year the depth of his concern for others.
18. Wayne. He's the center of my world. Without him, life wouldn't be what it is. He works hard, gives everything he has to me and the kids and smiles about it. He drives me batty with his sense of humor and random singing, but it keeps me in check. I love him with everything that I have.
19. Well, I was hoping to end at 20...but I may end here. How was 2008 for me? My kids are growing up and needing me less in ways, but needing me still more in others. My role as caregiver, driver, cook, maid and all around slave keep me hopping. No I haven't won any awards for my house keeping, but I did win one for being an Exceptional Parent. Yes, I know that was for my volunteering in everything related to hearing loss, but...it made me think. Being parent has many facets and I will never be perfect, I won't even come close. I do however look at my parents and grandparents and take from them the experiences and knowledge that I am doing something right.
20. My hope for all you that read my blog, my friends, is that 2009 brings us all good luck, good fortune and everything you need to be the best for your families. I love you all!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Julia and Realize



video


I was trying to find a song at iTunes and was listening to some other stuff when Colbie came on and Ju began to sing. Being the camera nut mom I am, I had the camera RIGHT next to me and shot this little video! Enjoy!

Is it really spring already?

Hey Tim...(and everyone else!), Remember those pictures I posted on Christmas Eve of all the snow and stuff? Welllll...after 12 or so hours of warm winds, rain and tons of FOG....this is what we have today. A mud mess! YUCK! I love spring, I mean, the REAL SPRING. The one that shows up in April or late March. The one where all the new life of greens growing is real. Not this late December crappola where all the pretty white snow has melted into this fog soup. Anyways...just thought you'd all like to see what it's like in Ludington today. :-) (Sorry for any dog poo that may have shown itself...Damn dogs don't scoop after they go!)











Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow for Tim




Oh yeah...


I got another Sony. Couldn't pull myself away from it. LOL! It's a Cyber Shot H10. It's got everything I really need and more. This is will be my 3rd Sony camera and I know how it works and liked my old two really well. I've got some things to learn about it, but...it's cool. :-)


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New camera...silly pics

Ollie looking all too worried...

Wayne in sepia

Close up Ollie with ZOOOOOM!


Ok...as most of you know, I love to take self portraits of me (and usually the kids or my sisters) and I had to try my new camera out. Not bad! I will take better ones tomorrow. ;-)



Geez...thanks!

Dawn won another award and so in turn, so did I! LOL! I have to list 5 things I'm addicted to. Here they are in no particular order:

1. My laptop/email/wireless internet
2. Facebook (sadly...)
3. Watching Intervention, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Sopranos, Criminal Minds
4. Lela Thurow's Kettle Korn
5. Taking pictures of the kids/family/dogs doing random things

Sooooo...if I mentioned you (Liam, Jess and Kristi...) you've got to do this one too. LOL! (Only if you want to...)

Blog tag/Award

My bestest friend Dawn over at Hummingbirds Don't Lie gave me a little award (which we're not sure if it's for how a blog looks or what the author writes about...jeez, hope it's for what I write about because right now I have a free layout that ANYONE can have!!) So part of the award is telling 6 things that I am grateful for. Here goes!

1. My family and friends, because without them, I wouldn't be who I am today. Aren't you all excited that you've had an impact on how I turned out? Muuhahaha... But seriously, I am grateful for all the love and support.
2. The Body Shop's Shea body butter...without it, my legs would never see the light of day in the winter. I'm addicted to ANY body butter actually.
3. Wireless Internet. I seriously can't imagine life with dial-up ever again. Besides, it's a scream to be able to sit on the toilet with my laptop and blog. (TMI?)
4. For my friend's Tonni and Dawn creativity...I have 2 of the best dressed girls in Mason County because of them. Sure I can make jewelry, but bows and cute outfits blow me away!!
5. My friend Mik's sense of humor. He always knows how to lift my spirits and make me smile.
6. Last but not least, Wayne. He should have been first, but...I like surprises. :-) Wayne has supported every hair brain idea, every conference, every decision I've made. He knows how important certain causes are to me and encourages me to get involved. Without all his hard work, I'd have not been able to stay home and raise our kids the way I wanted to. Sure, I can crab about him, but in the end. He knows me. He understands my desire change the world, one kiddo at a time...
So, here's where I nominate a few of my bloggy friends for this award! Here's my nominations:

Have a peachy day! Love you guys!

Monday, December 22, 2008

To all my fellow bloggers/picture takers...

This is my old one

The time has come for me to get a new camera. I love my old Sony DSC-something I don't remember because we got it RIGHT before we went to China. It's a simple point and shoot. I love being able to take video with it and I want that with my new camera. Sooo...here's my question...What is everyone using to take those great pictures of moving, wild, won't stay still kids? I don't care about colors or what looks cool, I just good quality pictures and video. :-) Any suggestions are welcome!

Conversations with Wayne

So Wayne and I are laying in bed talking about Christmas, things that we need to wrap up and things we need to shop for yet. This is the conversation:

Wayne: I need to find something for you yet, honey.
Me: Yeah, I don't know...not sure what I want.
Wayne: What about a cordless mouse for your laptop?
Me: WHAT?!! Those are ONLY LIKE $20 bucks!! (Insert eye rolling and sarcastic tone)
Wayne: Well, it wasn't going to be the ONLY thing you got, sheesh. I know you were thinking like washers and dryers or something really big.
Me: Yeah...sorry.

Then we totally laid there and laughed and laughed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ladybugs...

No..these aren't my toes, but some very cool ladybug nails!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread girl! (Another D. Baron original!)




Because Dawn is my best friend and LOVES me...she made Julia this AWESOME gingerbread man outfit. Julia got sooooo many compliments on this. Everyone wanted to know if I made it. HECK NO! I can't even sew a button on, let alone something that requires a machine. I bet I could have taken orders for at least 3-4 outfits! Julia loved twirling around and in it and telling people that her friend EmmaLi's mom made it for her.
Thanks so much Dawn!! We love you!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sometimes losing the battle isn't so bad

Where to start...For those of you that know us, you know we like to ride snowmobiles. Living in Michigan, we have to have some winter sports or otherwise we'd all be nut cases from staying inside so much. Can't say that snowmobiling is my favorite thing to do, but the kids seem to really enjoy it and I know Wayne loves it, so I do it. In the past few years, the kids have grown and it's made riding more of a chore. We have 2 sleds...one station wagon 2-up and Wayne's hot rod 600. Well, momma was getting the crap end of the stick and having to take 2 kids on the station wagon. It's tough! Cameron was growing too big to ride with Wayne and so below are the results of what the boys bought today.

Cameron has wanted a sled, Wayne has wanted to get another sled, I was dragging my feet. I could find 1500 ways to spend $1500 dollars. However, after seeing the smile on Cam's face, it's all worth it AND it will make riding for me more enjoyable as Wayne can take one of the girls and I will only have one with me. So now our sled total is 3. All Polaris. Woohooo! Bring on the snow!









Wow...

So while checking out the dashboard part of my blog, my friend Liam's blog came up. He has a picture of the cover of Time magazine posted. Here's the conversation I had with Julia:

Julia: Hey! I know that guy.
Me: Who?
Julia points to the magazine cover.
Me: You know who that is?
Julia: Yeah, it's Barack Obama.
Me: You're right. Cool.
Julia: Duh...he's the President of the WORLDDDDD!!

Way too cute!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For Kristi...

Well...Let me back up. My dad, sister and I moved out 2 old recliners through a doorway that required us to move the Christmas tree. (Note to self: Trying to move a fully decorated REAL tree is NOT a good idea.) Anyways, the merry band of movers thought we had the tree back in the "correct" spot, but knowing Wayne like I do, I knew he'd notice that it wasn't right. So, he started to move it and well, it's started to fall. Hence the giant "SHHHEEEEIIIITTT" comment from the other room. All the kids just looked at me as I ran over and shrugged their shoulders like, "Hey man, it's your deal." LOL!

The tree is back safe and sound to where it should be, no one was hurt by falling ornaments and Wayne and I are still on talking terms. Life is Good! :-)

However, now that my recliners are gone....I'm sitting in my 8 y/o's fuzzy purple moon chair. Nice, eh? Hahaha.....

Before the program and wearing her new dress!

Here's the dress that Dawn made for Ju! Wayne just yelled, "Sh*t" so I better go check what the deal is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another snow day, another day of Momma Madness

Tonni posted a great list of things to do when your kids are all home from school. Ok, yeah, that's for a motivated mom. LOL! Just kidding. I just hate having plans to get things done and WHAM! Snow day. Boooooo!! So far that's 3. 2 last week, 1 this week. Ehhh...at this rate I will get nothing done before 2 of our family Christmas parties next weekend. We also have a school parties this week. One of which I am semi in charge of. Yes, Virginia, I have lost my mind!! LOL! And we are getting a few pieces of new furniture this week. Dawn, remember that couch you sat on? The one we couldn't get out of? HAHAHA! Well, it's going to be GONE as of Thursday. I've been dragging my feet when it comes to new stuff. With 3 kids, 2 dogs...well, you see the point. The recliners/couch we have are from 12 years ago and it was cheapy stuff, so it's long over due. I think I'm beginning to ramble...I should get showered and dressed for the day. But why? LOL! I doubt we're going anywhere!!

Aren't you glad you stopped by to read the ramblings of snowbound mother? ;-)
(Oh yeah, spellchecker didn't like the spelling of cheapy...tough, it's my favorite word!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tutu Cute!

We got home from a long weekend of shopping and I told Julia to get her jammies on. This is what she came out in. Long underwear, new black patent shoes AND her purple tutu from Dawn. (Please forgive me for the messy table and background!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Now's the time that we need to share...

Because this is the season...I have Supertramp's "Give a little bit" running through my head. Actually, I have the Goo Goo Dolls version running through on occassion too, but...I'm a fan of Supertramp from wayyyyy back. Anyways...

I wanted to share what's happened this week at our house. First, Wayne got a promotion. He was the Operations Manager for just the Ludington facility of Cal-Chlor. Now, he's the Excutive Vice President of Operations for all 3 plants (Ludington; Bound Brook, NJ; and Opeluosas, LA). He's beyond excited, I'm thrilled and the kids asked if that meant we could go to New Jersey! Not sure what they think is cool about NJ, but... Seeing how the economy the way it is, Wayne and I feel so very blessed to be a part of a company that is growing by leaps and bounds. The great part of it, is that Wayne enjoys his job and is looking forward to the new challenges that are coming.

The second part is that because Cal-Chlor is growing and doing well, we got a Christmas bonus! YAY! Again, in these tough times, we couldn't be more grateful. This will help us pay off some of our debt, but Wayne and I both agreed that we are giving up some of gift giving games that we play with our families to donate what would have been spent on the games. I could rattle off a ton of charities that are deserving. We all have ones that are special and close to our hearts.

I guess what I'm getting at is, drop a few coins in the Salvation Army bell-ringer's buckets. Pick up a new toy and drop it off at a Toys for Tots location. Donate some canned or boxed food to your local pantries. Just remember, there is always someone who has less than you do. Tomorrow, it could be you. It could be us. My friend Sharon B. from VA always joked that she would live in a cardboard box behind a Food Lion, but still have Internet. (I'm not making fun of the homeless, just that she (Sharon) would give up everything but her laptop!) :-)

I know...when it comes to donating time, money and energy...I'm preaching to the choir with my readers. But a little reminder couldn't hurt! Love you all!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter is here

It's still snowing...will take pictures later of our 12+ inches later. Bleh.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yes, I am the Ladybug Paparazzi (or Stalkerazzi)

So if anyone has ever paid attention to my blog you know I have a thing for ladybugs and for what the represent. In adoption circle, ladybugs mean good luck. Welllll.....today, Julia found this little beauty bookin' across the our kitchen floor. I scooped her or him up and placed it on the closest living green thing I could find! I feel bad for the bug, I took a ton of flashy pictures. Poor guy doesn't know what hit him!!

I really don't know if it means anything...but to me it does and I've got my fingers and toes crossed and am sending up a few prayers. ;-)








Friday, December 5, 2008

As promised, the things that make me happy list!

1. Seeing the kids fight over who gets to put the next decoration on the advent tree.
2. How the Christmas tree/Christmas decorations make our house feel more homey.
3. Watching Riley and Oliver sleep next to each other...(they're the dogs).
4. My red flannel sheets.
5. Reading any of my J. Maarten Troost books! I just love this guy!
6. Hearing Wayne whisper, "I love you" before we both roll over into our sleeping positions.
7. Playing the Wii with the kids...and beating Cameron at anything I can, because he's just that good!
8. Thinking about my baby sister being home from Minnesota in 4 days!! Woohoo!
8b. Spending time in my parent's house for Christmas with everyone there...and all Mom's trees!
9. Watching CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds, Most Evil, Red Wings hockey, Intervention and my total guilty pleasure...Dog the Bounty Hunter.
10. And last...knowing that I have some of the best friends in the world...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

An FYI

I'm taking my "other" blog down for bit...with the holidays coming, I barely have enough time to write and post to one, let alone two! :-) No biggie.

Things that annoy me lately

1. Breaking my thumb nail down so far that you can't trim it and having it bleed forever. (You have no idea how much you use your thumbs until you can't. Like pulling down jeans to pee, putting earrings in, washing your hair...it's endless!)

2. Snow. Winter. Cold.
2a. Trying to find doggie poo in the snow so the piles don't become secret boobie traps for kids that want to play outside.

3. The whole Black Friday/Cyber Monday thing...Deals will be out there if you look hard enough. Every day I get a new coupon for some store!

4. Feeling like I need to drop a buck every time I enter a store with a bell ringer out front (even though I always do and enjoy it, it still bugs me if I don't have the dollar.)

5. People who pull out in front of me while driving and don't get MOVING FAST ENOUGH!

6. Kids who don't take care of their winter clothes so there's a trail of hats, mittens, and boots from the door all the way through the house....

7. Feeling like a fraud because my kids still believe in Santa when their friends are making fun of them because they know the truth.

8. Forgetting to warm up the van before we head out...cold seats are not my favorite!

If you all are lucky, I'll let you in on what I DO ENJOY! LOL! :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Conversations with Julia

Me: Ju...do you know what we were doing 3 years ago?
Ju: Yeah, we were in China.
Me: I was so excited to finally get to hold you.
Ju: Mom, you have stinky breath.

So much for deep thoughts......

Philip Hayden Foundation Auction


I know I emailed most of my friends...but I wanted to make you all aware of an auction that my friend Karen is doing. 100% of what's raised by the auction will be donated to the Philip Hayden Foundation. Two of her sons were fostered there and it's a very special place to her as well as to me. Here's the link to the auction, please go check it out!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Today was the day....

Yep. November 30th, 2005. We became a family of 5! I would have never imagined it would have happened 7000 miles away from home. Wayne and I have been talking a lot about our trip to China and the whole adoption experience. From start to finish, everything went smooth. Julia's transition was fairly painless for all of us. We can't believe the little girl that our once scared toddler has become. So here are some fun Julia facts:



1. She's left handed (so is Wayne...but neither Cam or Anna is...)

2. She's not a huge meat eater, she'd rather have veggies, fruit, rice or noodles.

3. She loves to paint, draw, color, and write. She's got momma's crafty side!

4. She can beat any adult at the game of Memory. Doubt me? Come on over!

5. She talks openly about being adopted, her foster mom and Baba Lu (the orphanage director)

6. She loooovvveeeesss potato chips. Not any chips. Yellow bag ones, momma. (Lay's)

7. She loves to sing and can recall lyrics as good as I can.

8. Tickle fights are her favorite thing to play with me.

9. She only likes orange juice boxes...and will scold me for not getting them if we run out.

10. She's very proud of being Chinese and loves to look at books about China.



So yeah...I thought about getting all mushy, but I think the picture of me and her together says it all (see previous post). You all know how the story turned out. (And to think I wasn't going to blog much after we arrived home. HA. HA HA!)



Wayne and I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to parent 3 great kids. Yes, we have chaos; Yes I get stressed; Yes, I have clothes in the dryer that need to be folded; Yes, there are dishes to be done; Yes, my kids fight and fight and fight. But in the end, I woudn't trade my family for anything.

Friday, November 28, 2008

For Karen

It's a few days early, but Karen mentioned this photo and I wanted to repost it. Here's a very unsure Lu Yin Gui and a VERY happy momma sharing their first bottle together. Shortly after this bottle, she had an accident and got her first bath with us. It's unbelievable that this little one is sitting on the arm of my chair, talking about how it's ok for boys to wear earrings too.

To Jess and Tim...every bump, every road block, every extra day that you have to wait to get your little one is so worth it. I don't think there's a happier picture of Julia and I together than this one. :-) Love you guys, can't wait to see you tonight!! Yay!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

3 years ago today...do you know where you were?

This is the baby I went to China for...


We were on a plane headed to China! Yep, it's been that long aready. Liz and Brion, Wayne and I boarded a small little plane in Grand Rapids which would take us to the big BIG plane waiting for us in Chicago. Once in Chicago we decided to eat a bite at Quiznos and that's when I think my nerves really started. I remember walking towards the sign that said "Flight 851 to BEIJING"!!! It was really happenening! We were headed to China! Wow!

I will warn you...the next two weeks of posts will probably contain certain memories, pictures and writings from our trip. Each day that we are home, I am still amazed at Julia. Last night, she was upset that I beat her in Memory. I have to REALLY try to beat her, otherwise she'd kick my butt everytime!



Maybe if I get real ambitious I can figure out how to get some of our videos loaded. :-) We have some cute stuff of Julia talking into the play phone. She loves to watch it too!






This is the little girl I get to wake up every morning!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Most disturbing....


I hear Anna plunkin' away on her little Barbie piano in her room. How cute you say? Well, she was using the legs of a bodiless Barbie. Yes. She was using them much like chopsticks, but to play the piano. Think Ted Bundy started out this way?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crabbin'

If I hear of one more bailout, I'm gonna SCREAM!

Ok done.

If I let it, it will swallow me whole

As most parents this time of year, Wayne and I getting serious about Christmas shopping plans. We take a weekend and head to Grand Rapids for a few nights. My aunt Pam takes the kids during the day while Wayne and I run ourselves ragged looking for just the right PollyPocketiPodWiigottahaveitgadgetbecauseifIdon'tIwon'tbecoolwhenIgobacktoschool. I will totally admit, I love to shop. I love finding the right thing for each kid. This year, it's pulling me down. Budgets are tighter, but that's not really it...

It's knowing that there are over 1 million children in China alone who don't get a Christmas morning. It's knowing that we have soooooo much, that our kids get enough gifts to supply a small orphanage that doesn't have what it needs to care for the children. It's not even that...it's looking into face of kids who don't know the love of a family. It's something most people push away, they choose not to think about that. I include myself in that statement too. I get wrapped up in getting what I want. Not giving, but getting. Go to the CWA.org and check out the older children who need families, tell me they aren't deserving. On the bright side, there is one little guy who has at least 10 families that are interested in him. :-) But still many wait and wait.....

So for my friends that pray, say a little prayer for those kiddos that who don't know what the holidays are all about, that they too will come to know the love a family and a sense of belonging.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lost on Planet China


It's what I'm reading and LOVE IT.

Saturday is party day

Cameron had a b-day party from 2-4:30, roller skating...
Julia had a b-day from 2-4, bowling...
Anna has a b-day party from 5-8, spa night...

I'm thinking Wayne and I need "Mom and Dad have drinks and play the Wii" night...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gmail...I love you!


Gmail added new themes and I'm in love...This is the footer of my email account. It changes depending on the time of day. This is what I see after 9ish at night...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life doesn't make any sense...

1. I have a great hair day today. So, yeah...I did have a meeting with Mik at church. I did have to go to the grocery store, but no one to really appreciate what it means to have a decent hair day. Plus, it's a blizzard outside, so within 3+ minutes of being outside, my hair was back to crap anyways.



2. "Holiday" Oreos. WTF? They are regular Oreos with red creme centers. Red is Christmas color. Holidays don't have a color association...depends on the Holiday. At least with Easter Oreos they call them Spring Oreos and have lilac or yellow centers. But Holidays? I dunno. Just call it what it is...Christmas.


3. I'm beginning to worry about my affinity for The Sopranos. I yelled out "Forgetaboutit" last night.