Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tree

Growing up, our tree was always a mish mash of homemade ornaments and special ornaments. Think Styrofoam bells with glitter. My mom has since graduated from that and has a fully coordinated tree with silvers and blues. Very, very pretty. I think those trees look great and so Martha Stewart.

But, my tree is a lot like the one we had growing up. Hubs always has to try and pick the biggest tree he can find. This was great when we had a two-story living room. One year our tree was 10 feet tall. This was also the year I realized that tree stands are rated for tree heights. Our tree came tumbling down the night after Christmas. I think it was in a tree stand rated 7-8 feet. We now have one rated 8-10 feet, but we have ten feet ceilings now so we need to limit our tree to 9 feet and below. This year I had to cut the top off to get the angel on.

Some of our special ornaments are a lighthouse that says NC 2001 the year we moved here and bought our house, one that says First Year as husband and wife 2002 from our old neighbors, a Baby’s First Christmas 2003, assorted ones C made, and now one that Miss M made. I also love the ones that have their pictures in them. This year my favorite ones are a Little Sister and a Big Brother, I saw them and had to get them for the kids. I just love that I have the two little kids this year and feel so complete. Christopher asked me “Mom, are you happy this year that we have M?” I said of course I am, so he asked “Would you still be happy if it was just me?” I explained to him that yes he is special and I am and always have been happy that I am his mommy, but part of me would have been sad if he didn’t have a little brother or sister to share his time with. He said he is happy that he has M.

We even have a few ornaments for Calvin, we are just missing one for Cuppy.

So here are some of our special ornaments:

Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


And sitting atop our tree is our new angel this year. Beautiful.

Photobucket

What does your tree look like? What are your favorite ornaments?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas in Apex 2010

So once again I procrastinated with scheduling Christmas pictures (happened last year, too) and the photographers we wanted to use were booked. So I was left with few options when I had an “Aha” moment last night and remembered that Downtown Apex does Christmas pictures (a little 5 minute photo shoot) with Santa in front of an old fashioned fire truck and they take them high resolution and then give you the disc for $10. I stumbled on it last year. They also do a pancake breakfast.

Well, this year the line was 2 hours long so we missed the pancake breakfast. Bummer, but we got the pictures so I will be able to create Christmas cards. The pictures turned out really nice. The kids were amazingly good considering it was freezing cold and we stood outside in line for 45 minutes before we made it into the warm building. M cried as soon as I tried to put her on his lap and has qquite the expressions in the dozen images we got.

Since we missed the breakfast we decided to go to lunch and we hit Tyler’s Taproom. The server was awesome, the food was good and they give Wiki Sticks to the kids to play with during the meal. C was so happy and entertained. I definitely think we will go back. They customized his kid meal to noodles and grilled chicken and he was so happy.

Here are some of my favorite pictures.

M is not so sure of Santa, but C is smiling big for the camera:
Photobucket

Santa made her laugh:
Photobucket

A Family shot:
Photobucket

C telling Santa that he wanted a digital camera for Xmas:
Photobucket

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tis the Season......for Christmas Cards

It is that time of year for Christmas cards again. I love creating our family cards and we usually get really into making sure we get a family picture for the card.
I have ordered from Shutterfly in the past and will be ordering from them again. It is super easy. You upload a picture (or two or three or more) and pick a design, then choose the layout, add a greeting and then preview. Once you decide it is super easy to order.
Here is a sample from a card from a previous year that we ordered from Shutterfly (all your projects can be saved and shared on their site). This one is from 2008. It remains one of my favorites because I love the picture with Santa reaching out his hand to C. Although, he told us and everyone who mentioned that picture that it was “Arvey’s hand” the assistant that was helping take the picture.

Christmas 2008:
Winter Snowmen Winter
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

So far these are my choices for this year:
Love Hope Faith Religious
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Joy Sky Story Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

I really like the “faith hope love” card because it seems so appropriate this year. This year has been so big for us with getting M placed with us in January, then adopted in August. I saw this card and thought it was “perfect” for our Christmas cards this year. I love the “joy and magic” one, too because it also sums up how the year was for us, joyous and magical.
I will probably end up doing a combination of the two so that our Jewish recipients get a holiday season one vs. more Christmas-y and we usually try to stick with a more “holiday” or “happy new year”.
All the grandmas are requesting calendars again this year, they love seeing the pictures of the grandchildren throughout the year. And I need a new mug for my desk because mine is a family picture from 2006, pretty outdated. I have gotten the grandmas mugs, also, in the past but I think they will just get calendars this year.

p.s. I got 50 free cards for writing about Shutterfly, but I would have ordered from Shutterfly without the promotion and the card preview from 2008 was the actual Shutterfly card we sent out two years ago. They have a very good product.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How the kids enjoyed Mexico

Here are some pictures of how the kids enjoyed their time in Mexico.

The kids in the pool, one of my absolute faves. They really do like each other and make each other smile all the time. Makes me realize that I am so happy we were able to finally give C a sibling:
Photobucket

Me, my mom, and Miss M in the pool:
Photobucket

Miss M lounging on the chair under the Tiki Hut (Did I tell you how much I loved the Tiki Huts and chairs on the beach?)
Photobucket

We got to see and hold baby Sea Turtles. They had hatched at the resort so they gathered them up for the governement to come and get and deposit in less populated areas. They were so cute and small. You can also see in this picture that Maya had her hair braided while we were there. A lady on the beach did it and it was super cute!
Photobucket

A great picture of daddy and the kids in the pool:
christopher,Chris,Maya

We went to the Mexican Fiesta night at my mom's resort and the girls paid a lot of attention to C. She gave him a kiss and left lipstick on his cheek that we were not allowed to wipe off.
Photobucket

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mexico

We took the kids to Mexico last week for a family vacation. We originally had planned to go for Spring Break, but because of M's adoption we had to postpone the trip. Pesky little things like birth certificates and passports kept us in the country.
So we booked the trip for November 6th through the 13th. I hadn't been to Mexico since I was 20 and hubby and the kids had never been. We didn't know what really to expect on the vacation, but loved it and would definitely go back.
We went to Puerto Vallarta which is on the West Coast. It is surrounded by mountains and has very pretty beaches. The water was a little chilly but we did go in the ocean swimming some. C and I even snorkeled while hubby and M sat tight in the boat. The flight from NC was really easy about 2 hours 20 minutes to Houston and then another 2 ½ hours to Puerto Vallarta. It seemed easier than or just as easy to get there as it is to get to West Coast of US.
We booked our vacation at Paradise Village which is just north of Puerto Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta. The resort was great for families. You can do pay as you go or an all-inclusive package. We opted out of all-inclusive since we had a kitchen and would be spending some time with my mom at her resort, Villa Palmar de Los Flamingos. The food was pretty good at the resort, but glad that we were able to cook some as C wasn’t a huge fan of the food. M loved having guacamole every day though. Paradise Village had great kid activities like pool volleyball, beach soccer, pool basketball, bingo, water polo, bocce ball tournaments, and dancing lessons. C loved playing with the activities staff. I played the pool volleyball, too. The pool was great, it had two large waterslides lots of area to swim, a kiddie section, and nice hot tub. The beach was great and the resort has a ton of little Tiki Huts to sit under while you relax on the beach, very nice for me since I burn so easily so it was nice to sit in the shade while M napped on the beach. There was a market, dominoes, McDonalds, cafĂ©, and Starbucks a very short walk right outside the gates of the resort. The resort also had Tigers on site and a few exotic birds. Our building had a pool and hot tub right outside. The room was really nice, too, it was a 2 bedroom, 2 baths with full kitchen and washer/dryer.
My mom’s resort seemed a little stuffier, but also had a fantastic pool. Our resort had a bunch of kids and there were hardly any kids at hers. But the rooms were really nice, too. We did do a theme dinner night, Mexican Fiesta, at her hotel and that was so much fun, the staff was very entertaining and the food was great.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Girl

I made this outfit a while ago and being it was summer, I wasn’t ready for her to wear it. It is not quite Fall, but cool in the mornings so I finally put it on her. It was super cute on her and I set her on the bench outside day care to snap a few pics.

She was so stinkin adorable. I asked her to say cheese and this is what I got:
Photobucket

Then I eventually got the “I am tired of you taking my picture” eye roll:
Photobucket

She is such a happy girl in the morning. She is bouncing by the time I get to her crib and then jumps into my arms where I am greeted by huge hugs. She fusses for her diaper change if I take too long to get to her bottle. But, after she relaxes during her bottle, she just sits up and is so happy and ready to go. So much fun! My spunky little girl.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Love with my new Canvas

In June, we got our family pictures taken by Katie McAnally. She was wonderful with the family and took some great pictures of the whole family and of the kids and even a really cute one of hubby and I. I bought her package with the CD and then she even added one more in there that I specifically could make into a canvas. I loved working with her, she was so great and gets back to you quickly.
I finally took that image and ordered a canvas from Canvas on Demand. It is a local company, but they ship all over the country. I talked with the customer service rep and she assured me that the canvas would turn out perfect and they would center the family picture on the canvas. I was very nervous just uploading the image and not getting a "preview" box. They do all the editing after you upload and decide how the picture will look best. Wow! I was so impressed when we got the package. I am so happy with it!!!!!
My photo on Canvas from CanvasOnDemand.com
If you click on the canvas picture of us, you can get a coupon for Canvas on Demand. I will also have to post some more of the pics Katie took of us. She took the one on this post of me holding Maya that is black and white.

Monday, September 6, 2010

So frustrated

I am beyond frustrated right now. We received our adoption decree and our Social Worker told us it will take 1-2 months to get a Birth Certificate. My mom had been planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta that I had been telling her that we need to see what the timelines for adoption are before we confirm that we are going. After we got our decree and found out from Social Worker it would take just 1-2 months to get a Birth Certificate, we told my mom we could go.

Well, I went to Vital Records on Friday and they hadn't received word from the Adoption Review Unit that reviews adoptions after final decree and before it goes to vital records. What?!?!?! I was never told about such a thing. Adoption review Unit received it August 8th. So, they gave me the number for the adoption review unit and told me to ask for the supervisor and ask to get my adoption review expedited. Simple enough, right? I was optimistic calling. I left a message for the lady who does it for our county and she called me back that day. She said they are working on a 4-6 month timeframe to review and approve adoptions and get them to vital records to obtain a Birth Certificate. She said vacation is not an important reason to expedite and to call her at the end of September to see where they were. I was so mad but stayed calm on the phone, explained that this was a big family trip, we really want to take Miss M with us and need a Birth Certificate to get a passport issued. She blew me off and said I could contact her supervisor who is on vacation until the 13th and plead my case with her but realistically we are looking at getting it maybe by the end of the year. It is not like I asked for it tomorrow, I asked if I could have it by the beginning of October, a MONTH away. The trip is in November.

I don't see what other alternatives we have. I don't see not taking Miss M as an alternative. I am so mad, had we been told this up front we wouldn't have gotten excited and said we could go. I am mad. I got my hopes up and was excited about this trip.

I understand that we jump through a million hoops for adoption, but I thought we were done once we had the decree and now it is just a new set of hoops where these people don't care about us and she made it very clear. I hate that we are going to miss an opportunity to see my mom if we don't go and that means we wouldn't get to see her until next year.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Second Grade

It seems like just yesterday that my baby started Kindergarten. But in reality, it was 2 years ago. Wow, does time fly. He is almost 7, getting so tall, looking like a big kid. These are the times that I really wish I could freeze time. I keep saying each year he just gets cooler and cooler. But he really is so cool right now! He is at an age where he still loves mom, not quite too afraid to show it, but just around the corner he will be. He has developed his own personality. He is a sports fanatic; he will even watch ESPN almost as much as he watches the Disney Channel. He spent the last few weeks watching the X Games on the DVR and then the Little League World Series.
I think he is more ready for the school year and it isn’t as terrifying since we know the routine, the school, and the kids. He has his little buddy from Kindergarten in his class so that made the morning super easy.
I look back today and he is looking so much older. He is growing so fast.

Kindergarten:

Beginning of School Day

First Grade:

school,blog

Second Grade:


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Precious Daughter

Our precious daughter
On August 5th, the adoption of our sweet Miss M became finalized. We didn’t find out until August 10th, our Social Worker called to tell us we had the final decree of adoption. I had already realized it would be a little anti-climactic. You spend months jumping through hoops, signing paperwork, getting things notarized, being available for any last minute social worker visits, while we were also juggling our everyday lives and watching with amazement how quickly she was growing up. Then one day, the paper comes and she is ours forever. It was still an amazing feeling. My Social Workers were happy for us and we are ecstatic. We love the little lady with all our hearts. We were on a family vacation in Las Vegas with family so got to celebrate with our extended family.

Here is our filing day picture, June 2:

Photobucket

Here is my sweet lady:

Photobucket

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dress Shirt to Toddler Dress

I have been taking a sewing class and have recently put some of what I learned to practice. I had seen this link a while ago about making a toddler dress from a men’s dress shirt. I decided not to raid hubby’s closet and instead went to the Goodwill and spent $3 on a shirt. Pretty good bargain after searching for other things to do with the shirt. From the one shirt I made Miss M a dress, a pair of pants, and a head scarf. I didn’t have bias tape and wanted to use what I had, so I just improvised on the scarf. Bias tape would have made it a 5 minute project, it turned into more of a twenty+ minute project using the fabric. The pants were super easy. The dress was a tad hard, but I think I could make another in less than 2 hours.

I am so pleased with the results and look forward to shopping for some more shirts. Sewing is pretty fun.

Miss M's Dress:

crafts,blog

Here is my dress I made over the past few weeks in sewing class:

crafts,blog

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Long time no update. I think all my blog posts start similar to this.

This time I have a really good reason, no really I do.

So in the last few months we have been busy. We have yet another new addition, Miss M. We have always wanted to adopt and due to some fertility issues, we decided to try sooner than later to adopt. We decided to go through foster care and currently are foster parents to the sweet adorable little chunka-chunk Miss M. The plan is to adopt and we will see as we get closer to the date, hopefully nothing is standing in our way. In the meantime, we just enjoy her and giver her lots of love.

Miss M is 9 months old now and has been with us 4 months on Mother’s Day. She is super sweet, cute, happy, strong-willed and a pretty smart girl. She is standing on her own, eats everything you put in front of her (black beans, tomatoes, veggies, fruit, noodles, bread, etc.), claps, plays peek-a-boo, and fake sneezes so we have to say “bless you”. Her words are mam-mam, da-da, by-by, ba-ba, bruh (I think because we always say bro bro for C), and more. She has really bonded to us and kicks and screeches when one of us returns to the room or I pick her up from daycare or she sees daddy at the end of the day. I can’t tell you how much it melted my heart the first time I got that “mommy” recognition from her and I realized she is so totally happy that I just entered the room.

C is now 6 ½ years and I think it has gone by in a blink. He is still into BMX and any sport we let him play. He does Karate twice a week, plays soccer again (same team as fall with Coach Daddy), plays on a street hockey league, and wants Lacrosse sticks. I don’t think he has met or will ever meet a sport he doesn’t like. First grade is almost over. He lost two teeth and has two coming in (one where he hasn’t yet lost one). He is BIG, well I should say tall with legs that go on forever.


Happy Mother's Day:
christopher,mommy

C with his missing tooth:
Photobucket

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Sweet M

My Sweet M -

I can't believe you are 8 months old now! You have been with us almost three months now and we are even more smitten with you than before if that is even possible.

You have grown so much in the past 11 weeks we have had you. You just got your first tooth and second tooth last week; I think maybe you will let me get them on camera soon. Right now, you stick your tongue out every time I go to look at them. You pull up, crawl, clap and your favorite word is da-da. Your current other “words” are by by, ba ba, and other babbling. You say da-da all day long, even when Da-da is nowhere in sight. I think one of your favorite things to do is to bounce, just like Christopher I am calling you Tigger a lot. You could probably spend hours bouncing in the jumper and you go crazy in it bouncing and twirling. Some of your other favorite things are pulling up, crawling, watching C who I can imagine you think is the coolest dude in your world, watching the dogs and pulling Calvin’s hair. You grab our fingers and pull yourself up and get so tickled with yourself when you do it. Of course, you will really pull up on anything and seem to be standing a lot. Daddy called me up to your room the first time he found you standing in your crib. Good thing the Social Worker said to lower the crib, I think she helped us to avert a fall.

You didn’t really eat yet when we got you; you loved your bottles and still do. But now, you eat everything. I think Sweet Potatoes are your favorites. But, really you love the puffs and cheerios we give you and have mastered the pincer grasp. Calvin and Cuppy are so happy you have started to eat finger food and they stake a claim under your high chair and are so attentive while you eat. Calvin was smart and remembered what it was like to have a baby and he has been under your high chair from Day 1. He has realized persistence pays off. Cuppy only recently realized why he was doing that.

Your most recent stats are 19 pounds 2 ounces and 28 inches long. You were 16 pounds 4 ounces at your 6 month well-check so you have gained 3 pounds in almost 3 months. You seem longer, too. Your feet are still so small and dainty. You wear 0-6 month Robeez but you are in Size 12 months clothes, mostly.

C is still responsible for your heartiest belly laughs and I love to watch him make you laugh. He is always concerned about your happiness and does not like it when you cry. If you start fussing, he runs over and sticks your pacifier in your mouth and says “Maya don’t cry, bluebirds are signing in the sky”. He made up that rhyme himself. You laugh when we kiss you and when we play peek-a-boo. Poor Cuppy is subjected to playing peek-a-boo with you when I bring her in and out of your sight.

Love ya, “Mommy”