Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Day After Christmas

On our way home from the hotel, we stopped at Lynn's house. It was her daughter, Ciara's, first Christmas and we wanted to drop off our gifts to her. Jess kept asking to hold Ciara so I had Jason help and was able to get a pic of the 3 of them. Aren't they cute together?


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Today was Jess's second Christmas home but the first one she really understood. We got up at 7 and went downstairs to open presents. Santa was very, very good to the kids! Jess was so cute. After each present, she'd ask if she could open the next. I think one of her favorite things is her new toy cellphone. She was very excited to get a new Wiggles cd as her old one was skipping a lot. Jason loves his new Mario Kart Wii game; he and Mike are playing now. In a few hours we'll be off to Mike's parents and then to his aunt's for a party. We're visiting a friend of mine after that; it's her daughter's first Christmas. Tonight we'll be staying at a hotel. Jason's excited about going swimming. Santa was very good to me as well. I got gift certificates to a scrapbooking crop that some of my friends are going to; I can't wait!!

Before everyone got to the presents

Mommy's little helper

Jason's always wanted to learn how to juggle

Next year's Christmas card?
New Favorite Christmas Song

I was on Rumor Queen (what else is new?!?) and found a post about an awesome Christmas song. It made me remember how we were waiting two years ago and so thankful that our little girl is home with us for her second Christmas now. The song is Merry Christmas by Third Day. The guy who wrote it adopted a little girl from China and his family pics are in the video. What a beautiful family he has!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fun in the snow and the Christmas pageant
Friday we got out of school at 1 because of the blizzard they were expecting. The snow started coming down at 3 and by the end we got about 12 inches. The kids loved playing in it. Thankfully it was soft and fluffy so the only place that was hard to shovel was at the end of the driveway where the plow had packed it down. Friday night we lost power at 9 and it came back on the following morning at 8. I was just happy that it didn't stay off like in western MA. It snowed through Saturday. Mike had to work and the kids and I decorated the tree. Sunday we had our Christmas pageant at church. Jess went back and forth over whether she wanted to be in it. She wanted to during Sunday's practice but when it was time for the actual pageant she didn't want to do it. Luckily I got some cute shots during practice of my little angel. Jason was a reader and did a great job being front and center.
"Helping" me shovel

Jess's first snow angel
Jess's ornament from last year - Elmo

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something nice Xerox is doing for our troops
If you go to this web site, , you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. It's free and only takes a minute.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Success with Santa

Last week we went to see Santa arrive at the community room at the local shopping center and took a ride on a haywagon with him. He sat right next to us. Jess wouldn't get off my lap but she did wave at him which was more than she was willing to do last year. Reading those Christmas books all year long must have helped*S* We waited in line to see Rudolph. When we got there, Jess didn't want to get near him but as soon as we were out of line, she started crying she wanted to see him. This week we went back to see Clifford. She went right up to him and started patting his nose. Then we waited to see Santa and she went right up to him as well. She told him she wants a dollhouse. Next week Patricia's taking her there to see Curious George.

Jason and Santa

Jason and Rudolph.

Jess and Clifford the Big Red Dog

Telling Santa what she wants

I missed the smile but at least there are no tears.

Friday, November 28, 2008


We had Thanksgiving at our house this year which I really enjoyed. I'd been sick from Monday night through Tuesday and was really weak and achy on Wednesday but by Thursday I was ready for some turkey. My mom, Patricia, Michelle, Scott, Lynn and Ciara joined us. Jess was a little jealous of Ciara but by the end of the day was telling her she was "so cute".

Jason, Jess, Ciara and Scott

Jess looking cool with her sunglasses and Ciara's Minnie.

The whole crowd

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action, WIGGLES!!!
I took Jess to see the Wiggles today. What a blast!! We had okay seats - they were on the floor but were in section 6 and over to the left. Jess stood on my lap and was able to see fine. She was in awe the entire show. I didn't know if they'd allow cameras so I bought a disposable one that I could throw away if I had to. Of course, it turned out you can bring cameras in so if we go back I'll bring my digital. Once I get the camera developed, I'll post some pics. I told Jess she could pick something out from the kiosk they had. She chose a Captain Feathersword hat and sword. She looked adorable with them (of course!). After the show, we went to Bugaboo Creek for a late lunch since we had a long drive home (show was in Worcester). While we were there, a woman started talking to us about how cute Jess is and asked how old she is, etc. Then she said "Let me show you why I'm asking so many questions." and called her 3 year old over. She has an adorable little girl also from China. It was very nice not to have someone say "She's so little!" or "Wow! She's tiny, isn't she?" I know people don't mean anything bad when they make those observations, but it does get tiring. Jess had a long nap both on the way to the show and the way home so I'm sure she'll be up rather late tonight. Thankfully there's no Sunday School tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Jess was a Patriots cheerleader for Halloween and Jason's costume didn't actually have a name although he did look a bit like a dementor. He used a voice changer under his mask so he sounded scary. We all started off together at Jason's friend's house. We've gone with several families the past few years. I knew we would probably get separated since Jess was much younger than any of the other kids and we wouldn't be keeping up so I just told Jason to call me when he was done. Jess and I walked (rather, I walked, she walked sometimes rode sometimes) for 2 hours. She got the hang of saying trick or treat and thank you very quickly. She did ask one woman for more candy - oops! Everyone gave her costume a lot of attention - Go Pats! I should have dressed up as a football player - maybe next year :) By the end she was getting cold so she wrapped up in a blanket and my sweatshirt. I'd taken her out last year but she was too little to really understand it then. She had a blast this year!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jess's Birthday Party

We had Jess's birthday party today. Jess had a friend from church over; this is the first time she's had a friend over - my little girl's growing up*S* I had planned on Disney Princesses but Jess wanted Tinkerbell as a theme. Before everyone got there, she was dressed in a leotard and green/white tulle skirt with green wings. By the time everyone came over though she'd gotten tired of that and changed into a Tinkterbell t-shirt and jeans - at least she was still in theme. She got a lot of great gifts and will be having a great time playing with everything. I'll get started on thank you cards tomorrow that she can sign. I was reading a letter in the Globe Magazine by a woman who doesn't let her child open presents at his birthday party. That in itself isn't horrible; I've heard of some doing it afterward although I wouldn't do that. This woman though only lets her child open 1 present per day and then he writes the thank you card. She said that sometimes he goes days or a week without opening a present but she feels that as long as the thank you card is sent out eventually, it's all good. I think it's very strange to be opening presents weeks later that you actually received at your party and that it is very rude on the parent's part. Not a problem in our case though since we let our kids open their presents right away. We had a pinata and Jason pulled the magic string setting off a free for all for candy.
Jason and Jess playing with Jason's voice changer. I thought she'd be terrified by this but she loves it.

I call this preteen angst. Jason had been yelling "pinata or presents" and had been told to stop. I got the eyeroll.

Mike helping the kids with the pinata. I love the ones that you pull strings on rather than hitting with a bat.
Jess telling us she's 3.
The cake I made.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Jessica!!!!

Today Jessica turned 3. Last night when I asked how old she was going to be she kept trying to put up 3 fingers but couldn't get only 3 up - it was either 2 or 4. Finally, after she was supposed to be asleep, she came running into my room holding up 3 fingers and yelling "I did it, Momma!" So cute! Mike and I both had to work today so she went to Beth's who gave her a great playdoh set. Jess loves playdoh as does Jason so it will be getting a lot of use. I haven't been feeling great so I got out of work early and went to the doctor's. After that I got Jason, picked up Jess, stopped for my mom and we went to Bugaboo Creek which is one of Jess's favorite restaurants. Whenever we drive by, she wants to stop to see "The Moose". When we first got there, she wanted to be carried; it takes her a little bit to warm up to wherever she is. Pretty soon though she wanted to go see the talking animals. I'd signed her up for the birthday club so she got a free piece of cake and the waitstaff sang to her. I was amazed that she kissed the moosehead they brought over. It'd been hanging on a hook on the way to the bathroom so when we'd gone there earlier, I'd had her pet it hoping she'd be used to it by the time they brought it over. When we got home, she tried on Jason's Halloween mask. She's getting quite brave!

I cannot imagine our lives without Jessica. She has brought so much to our family. When I was rocking her last night, I thought about her birthmother. While I don't know for certain why she was unable to raise Jess, I do have my thoughts. I choose to believe that she made the decision she thought best for her baby and that she loved her very much. I found this poem on another blog that an adoptive mom wrote for her daughter's birthmother.
Beyond Your Tears
(written for Sophie Lu'sBirthmother in China)
I imagine you kissed
her sweet face so round
And gently placed her
where she would be found
I imagine your heartache
your pain and your tears
I wish I could show you
and soften your fears
I’d show you a girl
with hope in her eyes
A girl who loves stories
and sweet lullabies
A girl who laughs freely
and loves to play
A girl who sings sweetly
and dances all day
A girl with a future
So funny and smart
A girl who loves music
and reading and art
A girl who I hope
has your courage one day
I know it took courage
to love and walk away
Her beautiful smile
I wish you could see
She looks like you
and laughs like me
So, imagine her laughter
Imagine her touch
I wish I could show you
she’s loved so much
Remember her face
Remember that kiss
And when you cry,
remember this
Beyond your tears
Beyond your pain
Sometimes the sunshines
through the rain
And I know that she’ll ask me
about you one day
I’ll tell her you loved her
and wished she could stay
I’ll help her remember
and imagine you, too
when she starts to wonder
and dream about you
We’ll look at the moon
I’ll give her a kiss
and when she cries,
I’ll tell her this
Beyond your tears
Beyond your pain
Sometimes the sunshines
through the rain
by Shana Rae ,proud Mommy of Sophie Lu

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you the day the Eagle cried?

Where were you when the world stopped turning
that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
or working on some stage in LA?
- Alan Jackson
I can still remember quite clearly where I was that morning. I was just finishing circle time with my kindergarten students and was standing at the coat closet. We kept the children in the rest of the day. The teacher next door to me left quickly to check on her family in NY, many of whom worked in Manhattan. I emailed the advertising agency I worked at in Boston to check on our clients at the WTC. The brother of a guy I worked at with Draper was killed.
Tonight Mike and the rest of the firefighter pipe and drum will march to the fallen firefighter memorial. I'll be working as our school decided to have open house tonight. Mike's emailed the superintendent to let him know what he thought about that.
God bless the souls who left us and the family and friends they left behind. God bless the USA.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I found different lists like this on other sites and used some to compose my own list.

You Know You’ve Adopted from China When:
1. Your bathroom is stocked with shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and slippers from the White Swan Hotel (and, in our case, Hong Kong Disneyland)
2. You want to laugh when you hear someone whine about traveling from the east coast to the west coast. Hello - try 20 hours with a child who just lost his only child designation and a baby who's only known you for 2 weeks and having to run to make your last connection after taking forever to get through customs at O'Hare.
3. You start conversations with “Rumor Queen says…” or “Someone on one of my Yahoo groups said….”
4. The number of China-related Yahoo groups to which you belong spans 2 pages (while I don't get individual emails from all of them - just some- I can't bear to unsubscribe).
5. You know what DTC, LID, LOA, TA, and CCAA mean.
6. You’re stalked by waiting parents while shopping.
7. You have garnered and memorized from various Yahoo groups and fellow Rumor Queen subjects a list of come-backs to intrusive personal questions asked by strangers.
8. Your child squeaks when walking (got to LOVE those squeaky shoes!)
9. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
10. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
11. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who are waiting or have experienced the blessing of adoption.
12. It drives you crazy when people ask about your child’s “real” parents.
13. You know what the word “dossier” means and you can pronounce it.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you have adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
15. You own at least five of the following, all purchased on Shamian Island: a set of chopsticks, a granite etching, a calligraphy wall hanging, a chop, a tea set, a Chairman Mao watch, jade, pearls, a calligraphy set with brushes and ink, squeaky shoes, silk dresses in multiple sizes, hand-painted combs or hair clips, paper-cuts, paper or bamboo fans, porcelain and Chinese stamps
16. You have a quilt in your home made of completely mismatched squares and a fat scrapbook containing fabric swatches and sweet messages from total strangers
17. You stop and pay attention whenever you hear China mentioned on the television or in a public place ... even if they're just talking about the weather there
18. You're solo in the mall/ grocery store/ park and notice a cutie from China, so you begin doing the "is she from China dance," following the family around, looking for an opening, but not wanting to intrude
19. You have felt and witnessed the heart-wrenching sobs of Forever Family Day grief from a very small child
20. You've got your browser bookmarked with FCC, ChinaSprout, Tapestry Books, the CCAA, one or more Yahoo! internet groups related to China adoption and the Rumor Queen
21. You have a White Swan Hotel Barbie. (Jess’s sits on her bureau next to her Chinese New Year Barbie).
22. The suitcases you took to China still have duct tape on them.
23. Your children are already planning what they want to do when you visit China again
24. When packing for a trip, you never stress about supplies ... after all, you can always run to the store and at least this time you know you'll be able to read the labels (in Jinan, we bought a carton with a cow on it thinking it was milk; thankfully our daughter liked what turned out to be drinkable yogurt)
The Duck Boats of Cape Cod

On Monday Mike and I took the kids down to Hyannis and went on the Duck Boats. These boats take you on a tour of the city and then into the harbor. The weather was gorgeous. We sat at the back of the boat which I was a little nervous about doing. Years ago, I'd taken my friend's daughter on the Duck Tours in Boston and we sat in the back. We hadn't realized quite how hot it was going to be and there's no coverage back there. This time, thankfully, it was quite nice. No one sat across from us so Jason went there and sat by himself. Jess wanted to sit with him but there was no way she was sitting without Mike or me with her. Afterward we went to Sam Diego's for their taco bar.

A happy bunch

You can drive your boat right up to this restaurant and get out get seated.

Jess looking out at the harbor

Jason with his hair blowing in the breeze.

Our tour guide pointed out this one floor ranch house and said that if it were put ont the market, it would go for about 1.5M. She said these houses are rarely on the market and are usually passed down from generation to generation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Silent Tears

My brother gave me a gift certificate to and since I couldn't find this book in my library or the virtual library catelogue, I ordered it. I received it yesterday and began reading. I think it will take me a very long time to complete this book. Don't get me wrong - it's well written and very informative. It is written by an American who volunteered in a Chinese orphanage. The first thing the author depicts is the story of a woman who is faced with the hardest decision I can ever imagine making - keep her daughter or leave her where she will be found and brought to the orphanage thereby hopefully insuring she has food and shelter. This part of the book made my heart hurt. It is impossible to know why each child's birthparents were unable to raise them. I have my ideas about Jess's birthparents' reasons based on the little information I have but I will never know for certain. While reading, my heart hurt for the mother and for the innocent baby. It is a decision I cannot imagine having to make. I only read another chapter after that which dealt with their move to China. I am usually a fast reader but I think this is a book that, while I want to finish it, I will be going to and leaving off and on until completion.

An American volunteer in a Chinese orphanage learns to pull from the hidden strength within her to improve conditions for the children. If you have ever wondered what day to day life is like in a Chinese orphanage, this will tell it. If you have ever wondered what it is like to love a child so deeply, even though they aren't yours, this will tell it. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to move to a third-world country, this will tell it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bringing Jason to camp and Jess to Storyland

Sunday I took the kids to NH to bring Jason to camp. This is his third year at Calumet. I went there as a kid for 8 years. He wanted to go the first week this year so that he'd be there for his birthday because he'll get a small present (I think it's a camp water bottle). Before we dropped him off, we stopped at one of my favorite rib places in the world - Yankee Smokehouse (other favorite is Rendezvous in Memphis). The ribs were great as was the berry pie I had for dessert. After eating, we got to camp and got Jason registered. Once we got Jason settled, Jess and I headed for Storyland. They have a good deal where you go in after 3 and pay full price but get to go the next day for free. We got there around 3:15 and stayed until it closed at 6. The last thing we did at Storyland was go to the ballpit. I don't really like them and she's never been in one but she saw it and wanted to go. There were a couple of kids in it and she didn't know what to make of it as she tried to walk through the balls. After the other kids left, she didn't want to get out since she had it all to herself. Afterward, we checked into our motel and went looking for dinner. We ate at the Muddy Moose which was really good. I wanted to do some shopping at the outlets but since it was Sunday, everything closed at 6. The next morning we got up, checked out, ate at Peaches (awesome raspberry crepes!) and got to Storyland at 9. We went to see an imagination show with singing and dancing. Jess surprised me by getting up with the performers. She didn't want to go at first but as soon as she saw other kids going, she ran up. We stayed until about 12:30 before heading home. I discovered that I cannot go on tilt-a-whirl type rides anymore. I was fine until we did that; after going on the twirling turtles, I never felt the same for the rest of the day. It's a good thing Jess's big brother enjoys wild rides so she'll still have someone to go on with!

Kids outside the Yankee Smokehouse

Jess in a cage on the Safari ride

Chasing bubbles at the imagination show

Feeding popcorn to the panda bear

She wanted to know why she couldn't turn the pages of the book

She loved Humpty Dumpty

Riding the teacups (this ride I can still handle)

Riding a unicorn while waiting for the pumpkin coach to bring us to Cinderella's castle

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jessica no longer qualifies....

for Early Intervention! I knew she was close to age appropriate development so she would be discharged but we went through the official re-evaluation. I had to work but Mike was here. Four therapists came and played with her for an hour. Jess is 32 months old. Her skills ranged from 31 months to 34 months in all domains except self-care. She scored at 29 months in self-care because she's not potty trained yet (we're working on it!). It is so amazing how far this little girl has come in a year!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What exactly is a "non-mom"?
Well, according to NBC and the Today Show's contest for America's favorite mom it's a mom who hasn't physically given birth to her child. I first heard about this contest yesterday through an email from an adoption Yahoo group. I went to check out the links and there were several categories to enter your favorite mom in - working mom, stay at home mom, military mom, and, the one which set the internet wires ablaze, the non-mom. I'm guessing NBC was a little unprepared for the furor they caused. Within hours of getting the original email from the yahoo group, I got a reply to my email to NBC saying that they apologized for their insensitivity and that they were changing the category to "adopting mom". Better but really, why does there have to be a separate category for parents who adopted their children? Whether a child is born under your heart or in it, he or she is still your child. When I meet people, I say I have two children. Unless it's pertinent to a conversation, I don't say that I have one biological child and one adopted child. They're both my children no matter how they came into my family.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008