About Me

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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weekend updates

The scene that greeted us...
The view from the living room looking down onto the river
Dinner is served
Another beautiful tree to admire
The larger than life polar bear...what a ride!
The whole family at the local, favorite restaurant
Whew! What a busy weekend! We went down South to visit my maternal extended family and had a great time. My uncle always knows how to co-host a wonderful party, and this time was no different! The house, which is beautiful on a regular, boring, ordinary day, was dressed up and shining just like the gorgeous tree in the living room. This year the decorations were all about bears--big ones, small ones, brown ones, polar ones and even flying ones (angel bears that is). Literally a child's wonderland. The Chinese Noodle had a wonderful time playing with her cousin and exploring all of those fun bears. I'm sure the highlight of her evening was riding around on the polar bear! What fun. As an FYI, my uncle attached the bear to a cabinet door that had 4 casters under it and then attached the cord. J and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with everyone while she was entertained (and entertaining).

The next day we all sat around after breakfast talking and laughing. Someone finally realized that it was lunchtime, so before everyone headed back on the road, we went down to a local favorite restaurant, that holds a special place in our family's heart, and had something to eat.

I have to say that the C.N. did a great job the whole weekend. She was a trooper driving in the car for the 3.5+ hours, was very well behaved all weekend and especially through the Christmas dinner eating a whole variety of things and for the most part looked at all of the beautiful things with her eyes rather than with her hands (no easy feat since there were so many interesting things to explore). There was one small mishap with room spray...but we were assured that it really was fine!

Next stop--New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 26, 2008

What a holly, jolly Christmas!

Claire helping Papa open gifts

Meeting my new cousin

Thanks Santa!

Pre-breakfast snack to help me keep up my energy.

Waiting, waiting, waiting is so hard to do!!

Daddy and his beautiful princess

All I want for Christmas is you!

Christmas tea

Christmas Eve festivities with Lollie and Papa

Ho Ho Ho...what a holly, jolly Christmas 2008 turned out to be! We went over to Lollie and Papa's house for Christmas Eve tea and then headed to 5:00 church. Once we got home, we read a few Christmas stories and ended with a child's version of the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Since the Chinese Noodle had decided not to take a nap earlier in the day, she went down pretty quickly, after of course setting out cookies and milk for Santa.

After waking up bright and early, opening presents (the big gift was the trike from Santa) and eating breakfast, we headed out West to visit Grandma and Grandpa and all the aunts, uncles and cousins. We stayed there most of the afternoon before heading back to town and stopping to exchange gifts with Lollie and Papa. We made it back home, had a light dinner, bath and then collapsed into bed.

This weekend we head down South for a visit with my extended family. We'll see how the Chinese Noodle does sitting in the car for 3.5 hours...My brother and sister-in-law come in on Sunday, so the festivities will continue throughout the weekend and into next week! Don't you just love this time of year?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

AWAA get together

Look how big we've gotten (and how our hair has grown!!)

A few days ago the Chinese Noodle and I met up with another AWAA family who traveled to China with us. They live about an hour away and were coming to our neck of the woods to pick up a relative at the airport. We caught up over breakfast at Bob Evan's, marveled at how much bigger our daughters have gotten in just 4 months, and traded stories. It was a wonderful chance to reconnect and definitely a Christmas blessing to see what a little bit of love can do for a child. Praise the Lord that these little girls will be experiencing a different Christmas this year than they did last year!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Chinese Noodle turns 2!!

Lollie, Papa, Grandma and Grandpa all came over to celebrate with the Chinese Noodle on her 2nd birthday. What a great evening we had. She got some fun gifts and an adorable outfit made by a family friend, Mrs. D. Our mantle is now complete (at least for the time being) since one of the C.N.'s presents was her stocking. It looked rather empty only having 2 hanging up there.

What birthday party is complete without pizza, birthday cake and ice cream? Certainly not the Chinese Noodle's, so that was the menu. Since our little one is so interested in dogs (from far away, in books, in stores, etc. but NOT up close in real life) I decided to try my hand at cake decorating and make her a dog cake. J. has fond memories growing up of always having these elaborately shaped and decorated birthday cakes made by a neighbor lady. I wanted to continue on that tradition too. The day before her party I baked, created and iced...let me tell ya', I have a new appreciation for professional cake decorators! It was fun none-the-less and I would definitely do it again.

While it was such an enjoyable day, a part of me was saddened thinking that somewhere on the other side of the world, a woman in China was mourning for the loss of her daughter. The sacrifice of the Chinese Noodle's birth mother was certainly our blessing. I hope that somehow she knows that the C.N. is loved beyond words.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Will they notice I've gotten into the address labels again?

I wonder if Daddy will realize there's a label attached to his shoe........

The Chinese Noodle has developed a fondness for address return labels. We keep them in a drawer in the kitchen where she is able to reach them and often when I am cooking, I'll look over and see her digging around for some. Since I just finished Christmas cards, there were even more out and available. Is it any wonder that she's been sticking them onto anything she can get her hands on (including herself)?! So...for this Thankful Thursday post, I am thankful that I have an inquisitive toddler who finds enjoyment out of the simplest of things!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Newest addition to the (extended) family and birthday wishes

Congratulations go out to J's brother and his wife on the arrival of their son this morning. The little guy weighed in at 6 lbs 7 oz and is 21 inches long. 100% boy, 100% healthy!! He joins his 4 brothers to complete their family. The Chinese Noodle will have a new playmate to pal around with at Grandma and Grandpa's house. How fun!

I also wanted to wish my dear friend, and former co-teacher, a happy birthday. We taught together for many years in a self-contained classroom for children with Autism. Let me tell ya, life was never dull...crazy, amazing, frustrating, inspiring, funny--yes. Dull--never. I learned so much from her and am blessed to have had her as a mentor. Thanks for the memories and a very happy b-day to you CS!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thoughtful gift

A friend of ours from church has a sister who has lived in China for the past 10+ years. She sent the Chinese Noodle these 2 adorable dolls, that were made by Chinese people with hearing impairments. Individuals with special needs generally do not have very many opportunities available to them in China. They are often forced to do what ever they can, in order to survive. This group, Hearts and Hands, is trying to change that and provide a meaningful life for those in need. Go check out their website. In addition to the various dolls representing the 56 different minorities in China, there are also beautiful pillows, table decor and Christmas items.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Deck the halls!!!

We ended up "decking the halls" last weekend, but I haven't posted until tonight. Too busy! This was the first year that we used an artificial tree. I always grew up with a live tree and love everything associated with them (wandering around the tree farm, picking out that "perfect" tree, the smell of the evergreen boughs, even the wiggling of the tree stump by that special man in my life--either Dad or J) EXCEPT the clean-up of needles. At the end of last year, we decided that perhaps it would be easier, especially if we had a child, to just get an artificial tree and that way we could put it up anytime and keep it up for as long as we liked. Also, perhaps the clean-up would be somewhat easier (the verdict is still out on that one).

That certainly was true this year. We decided to decorate last Saturday evening before going out to a Christmas party and to celebrate my birthday dinner. I strapped the Chinese Noodle to my back and helped J set up the tree. While I fed her dinner, J strung the lights and the garland. The following day, after dinner with my mom, we finished decorating after the C.N. had gone to bed. I had such romantic notions about of all 3 of us trimming the tree, however those of you with a two-year-old know that this is not always such a good idea!

I do have to say that the look on her face, when she comes downstairs, is priceless. It is like she is seeing the tree for the first time each morning. How magical to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. Fa la la la la!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Visions of Sugar Plums

Helping Daddy prepare breakfast

"Will this salad spinner spin me?"

Wow...this soup pot does hold a lot!

A while ago, I talked about how the Chinese Noodle likes to take things out of the cupboard and "help" us cook. I think she's taking it to a whole new level. This was what was going on behind J's back as he made the oatmeal this morning. When he turned around, he had to snap a few photos. And yes, I have gotten into the practice of washing all the pots/bowls/measuring cups/strainers/etc. BEFORE I cook with them. Too funny :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Gingerbread" village

We decided this year to start a new Christmas tradition and make "gingerbread" houses, but instead of using gingerbread, we used milk/juice cartons. I should have known when we started, my darling hubby, the architect, would not be satisfied with mere houses. Oh no...we had to have 3 different styles. One single pitch (also known as a Saltbox), a traditional Colonial and a modern house. While he refrained from using his exacto-knife he did break out a straight edge. Gotta love that man!

The Chinese Noodle enjoyed helping add the details. We were about 3/4 of the way through before she realized that EVERYTHING we were using was sweet...and edible. After that point, each candy item got a sample lick before it was handed over to Daddy. Good thing we weren't planning on eating any of it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Funny Friday

I know. I'm quite the diva.

Hmmmm. The impressions we make on our children.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Four candles. Minus a few decades.

What a yummy looking birthday dinner. Even better since I didn't have to prepare it!

Ooooohhh...more beautiful jewelry!

"Sure Mama...I'll sit here and read my paper so you can read yours. It is my birthday gift to you!"

Now that's a birthday sight that warms my heart...my handsome hubby holding our "Chinese Noodle" bearing coffee...early in the morning. Notice the bow--the C.N. requested to wear it. J just made it sure it matched the p.j.s!

I had a very special birthday, thanks to my loving family. In the morning, the C.N. and I had a playdate with a friend and her 2 granddaughters at the local library. After the C.N.'s nap, my mom, "Lolly", stopped by for a chat, a cup of tea and a tea biscuit (one of my favorites!). Then J. came home and brought sushi for dinner as well as German Chocolate cake for dessert. I then opened my presents, but the best gift of all, of course, was the C.N. being here to celebrate with us. Definitely a birthday to remember!!

The unveiling of the new blog...

Greetings everyone! So glad you decided to stop by to visit our new blog. I decided to create this for our day-t0-day events as we ride this roller coaster called life. It seemed fitting to unveil this blog today, December 4, because something else happened 30 some odd years ago on this very day as well. I'll let you ponder what that may be...